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Orthogate
1089 Spadina Road
Toronto, AL M5N 2M7
Ph: 416-483-2654
Fax: 416-483-2654
christian@orthogate.com






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  • Why do muscles shrink after surgery or if a cast is applied?
  • My doctor has prescribed a COX-2 inhibitor for my pain and inflammation. What is it? Will it work?
  • What will happen on my first visit to the doctor?
  • What is an EMG test?
  • Will my doctor prescribe medication for my pain?
  • I keep reading about using glucosamine for arthritis. Will it help me?
  • Some people say I should use heat for my pain, and others say ice. Which is best?
  • Where do bone grafts come from?
  • I have had intense pain for months. Why won't my doctor keep giving me strong pain medications? The pain is just as bad now as it was earlier.
  • My doctor wants to do an MRI. What is it, and what will it show?
  • I have an artificial hip, and I need an MRI scan of my low back. I know the MRI machine uses a very strong magnet. Will the metal in my artificial hip cause a problem with the MRI?
  • What is osteopenia? It just sounds like osteoporosis to me.
  • Are there other health-care professionals who can help me with my chronic pain?
  • What is a spinal tap, and why do I need one?
  • What is an SSEP test?
  • What is a TENS unit? What does it do?
  • My doctor wants to do an X-ray. What will that show?
  • What is a bone scan?
  • I have finished chemotherapy for breast cancer. My doctor says this puts me at high risk for osteoporosis. What can I do to lower my risk?
  • After a day at work, my neck and arms ache, and I have a pounding headache. Most of the time, all I do is sit at a desk and work on a computer. What is causing this pain?
  • My doctor recommends a cortisone injection to control my pain and swelling. I don't want to take a steroid. Will the cortisone injection hurt me?
  • I've heard that you can get blood clots after surgery. I'm having surgery soon, and I'm worried. Are blood clots really a problem, and can they be prevented?
  • I am going to have fusion surgery. My doctor wants me to use a bone growth stimulator after surgery. What is it? Does it work?
  • My doctor used metal plates and screws to hold two of my bones together. Can I go through metal detectors at the airport?
  • My therapy treatments help my pain so much. Why can't I just keep coming once a week?
  • I get ultrasound treatments for chronic pain. Last time I had a burning sensation during the treatment. Could I have been burned from ultrasound?
  • I'm supposed to start ultrasound treatments for my sore joints. Is this the same kind of ultrasound that doctors use to look at hearts?
  • Ultrasound treatments really relieve the pain in my sore neck. Can they help my headaches, too?
  • Why don't I feel anything when my therapist rubs the ultrasound head on my skin? I thought it was supposed to feel warm.
  • Why do I feel heat when my therapist treats my aches and pains with ultrasound?
  • What can ultrasound treatments do for my pain?
  • How does the ultrasound machine used by my therapist work?
  • I have one sore spot. Why can't my therapist just hold the ultrasound right on it, instead of rubbing it around?
  • Is there a home ultrasound unit? Ultrasound really relieves my pain, but I always have to go to my therapist to get treatments.
  • Will the radiation from the ultrasound machine hurt me?
  • Can I get an electric shock from ultrasound treatments?
  • I can't get my therapist to do ultrasound treatments all over where it hurts. Why does she just do ultrasound in a little spot?
  • My husband has emphysema which, according to his doctor, is from many years of smoking. He was told that if he "exercised his lungs" using some kind of breathing machine, it might help. Have you ever heard of such a thing?
  • I've noticed that later in my run my breathing gets faster, even though I'm running the same pace the whole time. I've been doing this level of workout for years. Shouldn't I be used to it by now?
  • I get up early and go for a three-mile run in the mornings. I heard that coffee is not good before exercising so have been avoiding it. But I need it to wake up. Without it, I'm a danger to myself out there! Any suggestions?
  • I run on a track team as a sprinter in the spring and cross country in the fall. My friends all drink caffeine pops before running. They say it helps their time. My track coach says caffeine can actually make me more tired. I'm not sure who to believe.
  • I'm training for my first triathlon. I'm a terrible swimmer, so I am looking for anything to help in that event. I have friends who are competitive swimmers who swear that using caffeine before swim meets can help. Is it true?
  • I heard that there was some kind of lung exerciser that was supposed to make your breathing muscles stronger. Is there such a thing?
  • I broke my leg two years ago, and it still hasn't healed. My orthopedist says it's because of my age (I'm 77) and the fact that I have to take steroids for my arthritis. I haven't time to hobble about. Anything new out there?
  • How does ultrasound work to heal bone fractures?
  • My doctor has prescribed ultrasound to heal the broken bone in my arm. I've never heard of this. Does ultrasound have any side effects or dangers?
  • I've been a doctor for nearly twenty years. I see many people in their fifties and beyond who are at risk for health problems such as diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease. I always stress that regular exercise can help prevent these serious health problems. Still, many of my patients don't exercise. What am I missing?
  • In the past two years, I've run two half-marathon races. Surprisingly, I trained less for the first race than I did for the second one, yet I did better in the first race. I trained hard to improve my time on second race. Why didn't my hard work pay off?
  • I'm training for a swim meet at my local YMCA. I've read about tapering off my usual training program a week or so before the meet. I don't have a coach and am not experienced with this. Any suggestions on how to do it?
  • My track coach said that he will shorten our training a week before the upcoming state competition. I'm not complaining, but I am curious how this will help us do better at state.
  • At what age should a person start using a cane or walker?
  • My grandmother is elderly, and she is very frail. Is this genetic, or can I do something to avoid frailty myself?
  • One always hears that exercising during youth can make you stronger as an elderly person. How is this possible?
  • What exactly is meant by a success rate? How is a treatment's success rate measured?
  • My doctor read that a medical procedure had a good success rate. But then he said the success rate couldn't be trusted because the researchers didn't use good methods. What's he talking about?
  • I've heard that smoking interferes with bone fusion surgeries. How exactly does nicotine get in the way of healing?
  • I've heard that applying ice to an injury is important, but also that it's not a good idea to put ice directly on the skin. Is this true?
  • I've been diagnosed with complex regional pain syndrome type I. My doctor seems to have tried everything for the pain--corticosteroids, anesthetics, physical therapy, and even counseling. Is there any hope for relief of my pain?
  • When I use capsaicin for my arthritis, I feel a burning sensation on my skin. Should I stop using the product?
  • What is capsaicin?
  • I've heard the term "resistive training" used to describe exercise. What does it mean?
  • I have a friend who is totally crazy about running. He clocks at least 40 miles per week. I, on the other hand, do well to get in 20 miles per week. Neither of us has a weight problem, so I'm wondering if there is some health reason for me to push it more.
  • I recently went to see my doctor for my annual tune up. She was pleased that I exercise but felt I needed to pick up the pace. I currently walk about half a mile five to six days per week, admittedly at a slow pace. She checked my heart and said it would be safe to pick up the pace in order to tone the nervous system's affect on my heart. What did she mean?
  • I recently noticed that when I'm lying down quietly, my heart rate speeds up and slows down. Should I be alarmed?
  • I strained my right hamstring muscle three months ago. At first, I could deal with the pain using anti-inflammatory medication. I'm just now getting back to sports, and the pain is still there. Should I continue taking the medicine?
  • I hurt my calf muscle playing basketball last week. My doctor said that I have a "grade three" strain of the muscle. How badly did I hurt myself, and how will this affect my ability to play sports?
  • I'm trying to get into shape and loose that extra 10 pounds I can't seem to shake. I lift weights three or four days a week. A friend told me that I can't loose weight lifting weights. Should I abandon my weights?
  • Another woman at work told me I would be able to keep up with the men on the job if I got into a strength training program. She also told me I need to lift heavier weights quickly with few repetitions, rather than lifting lighter weights with lots of slow repetitions. Which way works the best?
  • I've recently started lifting weights. My trainer told me that my blood pressure will go up while I lift. Is this a problem?
  • I have to pass a fitness test for my ROTC course. Let's just say I spend way more time in front of a computer screen than at the gym. How should I get in shape for the test?
  • I am about 50 pounds overweight, and it's killing my knees. I'm trying to loose weight. I swim laps three or four days a week. I usually swim for 45 minutes but have to admit sometimes my laps lack "oomph." Some workouts I swim twice as many laps in that 45 minutes as I do on the days when my energy is low. Does the added intensity make much difference?
  • I work for a construction company that builds skyscrapers. This involves a lot of heavy lifting and hard work. I'm the only woman on the crew and have a hard time keeping up with the guys. (Most are twice my weight.) I keep in good shape by running and stretching regularly. Any other suggestions?
  • For about a year now, I've been walking and occasionally lifting weights. If I burn about 300 calories during a workout, then a single candy bar would cancel the benefits of my workout. Still, I've managed to take off 12 pounds in the last year without changing my diet much. How is that possible?
  • What is "endurance training?"
  • The pain and swelling in my leg have gotten worse since I strained my calf muscle yesterday. Is it true that wrapping it and keeping the leg elevated can help the swelling go down?
  • It's been three weeks since I had a minor strain in my calf muscle. I'm feeling pretty good and want to get back to playing tennis. Am I safe to go back to playing? How can I be sure to avoid hurting my calf again while I'm out on the court?
  • Should I use heat or ice for the muscle I strained last night?
  • My older sister who is in college (and therefore thinks she knows everything) told me my bones are constantly rebuilding themselves and that now is the time to get lots of calcium. (I'm 16.) Should my parents get their money back, or did her college anatomy class teach her something?
  • I've been taking birth control pills for a year. My mom is going through "the change" and has started taking some kind of hormone, too. It has helped her get back to normal. (Mr. Hyde is definitely making fewer appearances.) Besides that, she said it will help keep her bones strong. Will my pills do that too? If it makes any difference, I am a long distance runner. (I heard this is supposed to build strong bones.)
  • My son is involved in water polo and track. He recently broke his arm in an accident which made me wonder. Is one sport better for bones than the other?
  • What is the difference between an autograft and an allograft?
  • I recently read that hormone and growth levels in swimmers are less than in basketball players or runners. Our swim-team workouts are much more strenuous than the workouts for these other sports. What gives?
  • I am a sophomore in high school. My friends and I don't play sports. We seem to be much smaller than the "jocks" our age. Is this just a coincidence?
  • I've been a baseball fan for years. Is it my imagination, or are more players out of the game due to injuries now than ever before?
  • I've heard that preventing bone problems later in life depends on how much calcium we get as children. What can I do for my children to improve their "bone banks" now?
  • My 16-year-old daughter is very involved in a gymnastics club. She practices up to 20 hours a week. I've noticed she's lost a lot of weight, but I thought this was normal for her level of activity. Then she broke a bone in her foot. When they X-rayed her foot, there were signs of early osteoporosis. The doctor has diagnosed her with "female athlete triad." What is this?
  • Are soccer players more likely to be injured during practice or competition?
  • I am 35 and have been playing soccer for years. Am I more likely to get injured now that I'm older?
  • How dangerous is soccer when it comes to injuries?
  • I've given birth three times. My mother says I'd better do Kegel exercises to avoid incontinence later. Is she right?
  • I've heard that people with major pelvic trauma may need to have surgery right away. Why is that?
  • I am a nurse in a trauma unit. We have a few different kinds of mechanical compression devices for patients to use after pelvic trauma to prevent blood clots. Is there one device that's better than the rest?
  • Some of my patients suffer from incontinence. I've suggested they do exercises to strengthen the muscles in the pelvic floor. But patients seem to have a hard time with these exercises. What else can I recommend?
  • My doctor said that doing certain types of abdomimal exercise could help me avoid incontinence. Is this true?
  • I am a 30-year-old woman who hates sports and is basically inactive. How big is my risk for osteoporosis?
  • Is it helpful to take anti-inflammatories right after having a muscle strain?
  • Will doing leg stretches before I jog keep me from getting an injury?
  • I am a female college athlete involved in track and swimming. Whenever I cough or laugh, I leak a few drops of urine. My coach told me there is weakness of the muscles that hold my bladder in place. How can these muscles be weak since I exercise every day?
  • I recently gave birth to my first child. Now I am having problems getting to the bathroom in time before losing urine. Will this go away with time?
  • I notice that whenever I increase from walking to jogging I leak urine. What can I do about this?
  • My mother's been on bed rest after serious surgery. I'm worried that her muscles will deteriorate. Are there exercises she should be doing to prevent this? How many exercises should she do, and how often?
  • I read that the new recommendations for improved health include at least 30 minutes of moderately intense physical activity. What does "moderately intense" mean?
  • I heard on the news that the government has released new guidelines for exercise. What are they, and who are they for?
  • At age 41, I broke my arm slipping on the ice. Could this injury have anything to do with having used birth control pills for nearly 15 years?
  • My doctor gave me an anti-inflammatory medication for my recent muscle contusion. How do these kinds of drugs work? Do they have any negative effects I should know about?
  • Does stretching actually change the muscles? Or does it only feel that way?
  • I have no flexibility in my muscles at all. Sometimes stretching actually hurts. How much do I need to stretch to make the discomfort go away?
  • I am 42, and I was startled to be diagnosed with osteoporosis. I am very thin, having been a distance runner for years. I have frequently missed my period and been told this was because my body was stressed by my running. I thought exercise on top of good calcium intake was enough to make sure my bones stayed strong. What is the story?
  • My football coach said that tightening your muscles before tackling an opponent can reduce the chance of injury. Is this true?
  • I got a contusion in my thigh playing soccer. How long should I rest my leg?
  • I saw an article in a womens' magazine that said walking could lower my blood pressure. Is this true?
  • What is arthrography?
  • What happens to the muscles during long periods of bed rest?
  • If there's no gravity in space, does that mean astronauts don't use their muscles? What's the effect of this over time?
  • What is a visual analog scale, and why do doctors use it?
  • How is arthroscopic surgery different from regular surgery?
  • Does sports medicine help professional baseball players lose less time to injuries?
  • I've heard that my symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis will improve during pregnancy. My doctor told me there might be less joint pain and less swelling. Can you explain this?
  • I thought studies showed that women could lower their risk of breast cancer by keeping physically active. Now I see that recreational activity may not lower my risk of breast cancer. Is this true?
  • I was told that doing household activities at a moderate intensity may lower my risk for breast cancer. What exactly does this include?
  • I have arthritis in my hips and knees, and I can't exercise on a regular basis. Will my risk of breast cancer increase because I can't exercise?
  • I read an article in a magazine about arthritis and some of the new studies on how to prevent this disease. Why is it necessary to do so many studies and repeat the same ones over and over? Isn't this a waste of money that could go directly to treatment?
  • When it comes to physical activity, is it more important for boys or girls to learn basic movement skills?
  • Do physical skills have something to do with whether or not kids play sports?
  • I injured my back in a work-related activity. Workers' compensation is covering my medical expenses. I see there is an ongoing study at the clinic for anyone who has a back injury. The notice says that anyone on workers' comp can't participate. What's different about workers' comp that keeps me from being part of the study?
  • Sometimes I wake up at night and my hands will be numb or one whole arm has gone to sleep. If I get up and move around, this goes away but it worries me. What can I do to prevent this from happening?
  • Our eight-year old son has Ewing's sarcoma, a tumor of the bone. In his case, the tumor is located in one of the forearm bones. The surgeon is planning to remove the tumor and fuse the two forearm bones together to hold the arm in a better position. What can we expect after surgery?
  • What kinds of patients do chiropractors treat?
  • What does "complementary and alternative therapy" mean?
  • I started playing handball last summer. This fall I began to have sharp pain along the inside edge of my lower leg. The pain gets worse when I play handball and better when I rest. Is there any kind of test that could tell me what the problem is?
  • Six weeks ago, I had a baby. The birth and delivery seemed to go well. But over the last few weeks, I have noticed increasing difficulty getting out of bed. For some reason, I can't seem to lift my leg to get started. There isn't any pain, but a definite sense of "heaviness." What could be causing this?
  • I'm supposed to use an ice pack to help decrease pain and muscle spasm caused by an injury. Does it matter what size pack I use?
  • I have heard that applying ice to an injury helps reduce pain and swelling. How does this work?
  • I heard that smokers are more depressed than nonsmokers. What's the relationship between smoking and depression?
  • My 75-year-old father seems to be wasting away before my eyes. His muscles seem to have lost their shape and bulk. I think this is because of his diet. Is there any research to back me up on this?
  • My mother was recently diagnosed with sarcopenia. What is this, and what causes it?
  • It seems like there is more and more in the news about exercising to keep up muscle strength as we age. What is the effect of aging on our muscles?
  • Can children have osteoporosis? I thought this was just a disease of older women.
  • When should children or teenagers take calcium tablets to boost their bone density?
  • I had an X-ray of my hip after a horseback riding accident. According to the radiologist's report, there was no sign of osteoporosis. My neighbor had a different test called "DEXA scanning" that showed she did have early thinning of bone. What is the best test for this problem?
  • I heard that the average adult loses one to three inches in height by age 70. Are men or women more likely to lose height as they age?
  • It seems like exercise is the answer to everything. When I turn on the TV, there is a commercial for exercise to prevent osteoporosis. When I read a magazine, it says exercise can improve my diabetes. Now I see that exercising can keep my muscles from deteriorating. Are all these claims true?
  • I am 73 years old and still very active. I would like to keep exercising, but my family tells me I should "take it easy." What's the best way to approach exercise as I get older?
  • My doctor told me that I have "fragile bones." What does this mean, and what causes it?
  • I recently had a total knee replacement because of severe osteoarthritis. Everything went well, and I am on track with my rehabilitation program. I am not having any problems with my back, but my doctor is recommending tests to look for changes in my spine. Is there some connection between my knees and my back?
  • I heard there is a new glue that can be used for bone fractures instead of casting or surgery. Is this available everywhere? What is it called?
  • Is obesity more common among certain types of people?
  • I am in the military and have to maintain a certain weight for my height. The commander of my unit gives us the choice of using skin calipers to measure skinfold or calculating body mass index (BMI). Which is a better measure of body fat?
  • What classifies someone as "obese"?
  • I have been taking a steroid medication for the last six months. I've been told there are various side effects that can develop. I'd like to join a community soccer team. Should I avoid sports while I'm on this medication?
  • I read a lot of sports journals. I often read about stress fractures of the legs and feet. Do these kinds of fractures occur anywhere else?
  • I broke my forearm in a polo accident. I had an X-ray and a bone scan done. What's the difference between these two tests?
  • Where do tissue grafts used in surgery come from?
  • What is extracorporeal irradiation, and when is it used?
  • I saw an article in the newspaper about reducing back injuries in athletes by following a core-strengthening program. I'm interested in doing this kind of program. What exercises are involved?
  • I read in a health magazine about exercises to avoid back pain. The advice was based on a study done on college athletes. Since I am not college-aged or an athlete, does this information apply to me?
  • I work for an industrial laundry. My arm got caught in one of the machines. Nothing was broken, but the doctors think I have neuropraxia. What is this?
  • Is there a ďbestĒ way to stretch the hamstring muscles?
  • What is a "placebo effect"?
  • I get frustrated with my older parents when they visit the doctor. They don't ask any questions and just blindly follow instructions they are given. My sister thinks they get better faster and we should leave them alone. Is there any scientific proof to this?
  • What does an EMG measure?
  • What is anatomic research?
  • I read an article about joint replacements for arthritis. I have rheumatoid arthritis. Is this the kind of arthritis that requires joint replacement?
  • What's the difference between myositis ossificans and heterotopic ossification?
  • What's the difference between eccentric and concentric muscle contractions?
  • I work out at the gym at least three days a week. I notice some people doing the exercise as fast as possible. Others move through each motion as slow as possible. Which is better?
  • I've been preparing for the upcoming soccer season. My coach tells us to stretch before the season begins. Which muscles are most important to stretch to prevent injuries?
  • I saw a physical therapist for a muscle injury. The therapist used a plastic device to measure my flexibility. How good is something this simple?
  • Every now and then, I hear scientists talk about substance P in a news report. What is this and why is it important?
  • What do medical doctors say about complementary therapies?
  • What are complementary therapies?
  • I see in the news that there's a move to "change the work, not the worker" in cases of occupational injury. What's the goal here?
  • I have a fairly nice gym set up for myself at home. This gives me the flexibility of exercising whenever my schedule allows. I did work with a personal trainer for about a month. On my own at home, I notice that my effort seems less. Even though I am doing the same exercises, will there be the same effect as when someone is coaching me?
  • I heard a news report that sea coral can be used to fuse bones together. Is this true?
  • I am a competitive swimmer. I know itís good to strengthen my abdominal muscles, but why?
  • When exercising, what is a "kinetic chain"?
  • I have two teenage sons who have just started skiing. I worry about broken bones and injuries. How common are these, really?
  • What is osteochondritis dissecans? My 12-year old daughter has been diagnosed with this condition.
  • I have three daughters in gymnastics from ages seven to 12. Each one practices at least 20 hours a week. I worry about injuries. How much is too much?
  • I am a 77-year old woman living alone. Although I am very active and walk two to three miles every other day, I have trouble vacuuming my house. After just one room, I am short of breath and have to rest. My doctor suggested buying a self-propelled vacuum. Donít these models still require pulling the unit towards myself? Will this really solve my problem?
  • After having two heart attacks, I've finished a cardiac rehab program and now exercise on my own. The physical therapist showed me how to use METs to guide my activities. Can you tell me how many METs are used for vacuuming?
  • I have diabetes, heart disease, and a painful shoulder. Vacuuming seems to be the hardest thing I do at home. I live alone and canít really afford a cleaning service. What do you suggest?
  • I am a 56-year old woman with a family history of breast cancer. Iíve never been much for exercising, but heard it could help prevent cancer. Is it too late to start now and get any benefit from it?
  • I've heard that exercise can help prevent breast cancer. What kind of exercise does this mean?
  • My mother died of breast cancer. What can I do to reduce my risk of getting it?
  • I have a history of blood clots in my legs. I also have very bad knees and want to try a knee joint replacement. Iím already taking a preventive blood thinner. What else can be done to prevent clots from forming?
  • I am a 73-year old woman in fairly good health. I hear many reports about the risks of breast cancer and brittle bones for aging women. Which one of these is more likely to happen to me?
  • I have a question about how research is done. I read an article about a study to show which treatment helps back pain the most. The patients were divided into two groups, but there were more people in one group compared to the other. Is this fair?
  • I've been taking a cholesterol-lowering drug. I've heard these drugs can cause a serious muscle condition. How common is this?
  • My son is in the military and finished basic training a year ago. He was recently diagnosed with rhabdomyolysis. What is this?
  • There is a history of diastrophic dysplasia in my family. My husband and I would like to have children. Can we find out before we try if the child will have this problem?
  • I have a friend who is a dwarf with a special condition called diastrophic dysplasia. She is bent forward at the hips and knees and canít stand up straight. What causes this?
  • Is it true that people in good shape get better faster after surgery?
  • My 75-year old father was just put on a diuretic for high blood pressure. The package warns to watch for dehydration as a possible side effect. What should we look for?
  • Both of my aging parents seem to struggle with medical problems related to dehydration. Is this a problem we all face as we get older?
  • Can you tell me some other websites where I can get reliable information about ankylosing spondylitis?
  • I took advantage of the new law that says patients can look at their medical records. There's a doctor's note that says I had a "closed reduction under anesthesia." I have no idea what this means. If I didnít really have this, how do I change my record?
  • I've been told that aspirin is used to prevent blood clots after hip or knee surgery. I am allergic to aspirin. Is there anything else I can use?
  • I've been having trouble sleeping at night. My doctor advised me to get more exercise. Does that just tire me out more so I sleep better?
  • I notice as I get older that it seems harder and harder to get a good night's sleep. Why is that?
  • If I'm sick with the flu at the time of an injury, will my injury be worse than if I was well?
  • I heard that when a human is standing upright and perfectly still, no muscle is contracting. Is this true?
  • My daughter is doing a science project on osteoporosis. I found some information on the web that advertises the years from 2000 to 2010 as the "Bone and Joint Decade." Where can we find out more about this?
  • What is an electromyogram?
  • I am eight years old and doing a science report on muscles. Do human muscles have white and dark muscles like chickens?
  • Can the new recombinant bone protein be used in humans yet?
  • My nephew just finished college with a degree in biology. Now heís going to school in engineering. Wouldnít it make more sense to do something in science so he can use his biology degree?
  • I've heard there's a problem with shortage of bone for bone grafts. Can bone from animals be used in humans?
  • Is there any age limit on doing yoga? I'm 70 years old but fairly active. I'd like to give it a try but I'm concerned I might injure myself.
  • My son has just been diagnosed with Albers-Schonberg disease. I understand this is a bone disease. What else can you tell me?
  • I am a fairly new track coach working with the hurdle event. I know core training is a good thing but I'm not sure how to explain to my hurdlers why they need to do it. Can you help me out?
  • I've been training for gymnastics with a strong focus on "core training." Now I've heard a fitness guru say there's no such thing as a "core" to train. Just what is the core and does training make a difference?
  • I notice I'm having trouble standing up straight without using my hands to push against my thighs to get up. This doesn't seem normal. Is it?
  • I notice a lot of older people have trouble getting up and down out of a chair. I'm creeping up there in age myself. Is there any way to keep this from happening to me?
  • I am a diabetic on medication for my diabetes. I've heard that yoga can help me get off my drugs. Is this true?
  • I see Yoga is all the craze for us senior citizens now. Why is yoga any better than my regular walking program?
  • When I visited my neighbor in the hospital, I saw a big picture of different faces on the wall. They ranged from very sad to neutral to very happy. What is this for?
  • Sometimes I hear commercials about second- and third-generation drugs. What does this mean?
  • The news reports about the debate over "off-label" uses for drugs. What does this mean?
  • I just started taking Fosamax for osteoporosis. My doctor told me to avoid eating before taking the drug and to remain sitting up for 30 minutes after taking it. Why is this important?
  • I have diabetes, heart disease, and a painful shoulder. Vacuuming seems to be the hardest thing I do at home. I live alone and canít really afford a cleaning service. What do you suggest?
  • I am a 77-year old woman living alone. Although I am very active and walk two to three miles every other day, I have trouble vacuuming my house. After just one room, I am short of breath and have to rest. My doctor suggested buying a self-propelled vacuum. Donít these models still require pulling the unit towards myself? Will this really solve my problem?
  • Six months ago, I injured myself on the job. I'm supposed to take a test to see if I'm ready to go back to work. What kind of test is this?
  • I've heard a new term that I don't quite understand. What is "exercise prescription"?
  • I notice my 83-year old grandfather seems to sway from side to side whenever he stands still. I'm worried he's going to fall over. Is this something that should be checked by a doctor?
  • I see lots of reports that moderate activity is what's needed for good health. I walk about two and a half miles in 45 minutes four times a week. Is that enough?
  • My two sons are in high school. Both are overweight from being book worms. Why doesn't the school require PE anymore? They are done with PE after their sophomore year.
  • I took a little quiz as part of a health care study. It seemed like they just asked the same question in different ways. Why is that?
  • I've had fibromyalgia with tender points for 10 years. Now the doctor is telling me I have trigger points from another problem called myofascial pain syndrome. What's the difference?
  • What's the difference between a pedometer and an accelerometer?
  • My doctor gave me a pedometer with my new hip implant but didn't say anything (that I can remember) about how long to use it? What do you suggest?
  • I'm just home from the hospital after having a total knee replacement. The home health nurse suggested I wear a pedometer for a few weeks to see how much walking I'm doing everyday. Right now the days seem so long, a week seems like forever. Wouldn't one day be enough to tell?
  • I saw a physical therapist for a problem in my neck. He asked if he could do a neck manipulation on me. What kind of training is needed for therapists to do this treatment?
  • I just bought a laundry business. There are many expenses related to the use of sick leave for workers with muscle and joint problems. How do we start looking for ways to change this?
  • What's the difference between ibuprofen and glucosamine? Should I be taking both of them for my arthritis?
  • I've heard that the non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen and Feldene can cause more than just stomach problems. I take these drugs for my arthritis. What else should I be watching for?
  • I was taking an anti-inflammatory for my arthritis called Vioxx. Then it was taken off the market. Will it come back?
  • Is there any truth to the idea that you are as fit as you think? My two teenage sons think they are physically fit but I think their status as couch potatoes speaks for itself.
  • I teach high school physical education. Every year we have a group of boys who want to join the Marine Corps. They ask us to help them get ready for boot camp. What can we do to help these fellows?
  • Our son was recruited in high school for the Marine Corps. We were pretty nervous about boot camp. He made it through but said the drop out rate was pretty high. If the military needs more volunteers why don't they recruit young adults who can make it?
  • What is physical fitness exactly? How do I know if I'm physically fit?
  • I've been a marathon runner for the past 10 years. I'm 26 now and pregnant with my first child. I know keeping fit is important during pregnancy. If I can do it, I'd like to run a marathon before the baby comes. Is it safe for the baby?
  • I've always been in good shape for my age (33 years old). I recently had a baby and find myself 30 pounds overweight and out of shape. How long does it take to get back to my previous level of fitness?
  • I notice I'm having more and more trouble tripping over the smallest thing. I even trip over the dog when I know she's there. The optometrist says my vision is fine so long as I wear my glasses. What else could be causing this problem?
  • I notice my mother-in-law has trouble stepping over obstacles even when she knows they are there. I'm worried she will fall and hurt herself. Am I worrying over nothing?
  • What is dry-needling? Is it the same as acupuncture?
  • What is phantom pain? Is it the same as phantom sensation?
  • One time I had a steroid injection for tennis elbow and it worked great. I had another injection for knee arthritis that didn't work at all. Why is that?
  • What are the selective tissue tension tests used by physical therapists?
  • Whenever I see a doctor or nurse about a painful problem they always ask me to rate the pain from zero to 10. Is that the only way to measure pain?
  • I notice when I exercise I can't always bend over and touch my toes right away. After I stretch and practice bending forward, I can get down there. An hour later I can't touch my toes again. What's going on?
  • I just started a new yoga class. The instructor has us do a lot of slow forward bending while sitting. I already sit for long hours in front of my computer. Doesn't it seem like I should be doing more extension movements to counter act this?
  • I have had two nerve blocks for chronic pain in my leg called complex regional pain syndrome. They didn't work. Why not?
  • I had a bad car accident and ended up with a condition called complex regional pain syndrome. I understand not everyone gets this so I'm wondering why me? I don't really expect an answer to my question. I'm just frustrated.
  • Have you ever heard of a nerve block for arm pain called sphenopalatine block? I found some information on the web about this and wondered if it works.
  • I've been using a Swiss ball during my exercise work-out. So far I've learned how to do the hands-and-knees exercise with the ball underneath me. What's next?
  • I'd like to find an exercise program that works my spine, arms, and legs. I just don't have time to get all three in three-to-four times a week at the gym. What can you suggest?
  • I took a Swiss ball class at the local women's club. I'm thinking about buying a ball and working out at home. How do you know which size ball to use?
  • What's the overload principle? I've heard it mentioned at the club where I work out. The other guys are always talking about it when they discuss their workouts.
  • I've heard that I can actually strengthen my abdominal muscles while sitting at my computer just by pulling my stomach in and holding tight. Is this really true?
  • When a study reports that it is randomized, what does that mean?
  • As a woman I know exercise is important during the changes of midlife. The problem is I get bored easily and give up. How do other people keep up their exercise?
  • I used to be a competitive jump rope skipper. Now that I'm menopausal I've been thinking of starting to jump rope again. I've heard it can strengthen my bones. Is this true?
  • My girlfriend and I had our heel tested at a health fair for osteoporosis. My bone density was 0.577 and my T-score was zero. Her T-score was -0.10. Which one is better?
  • My mother-in-law's voice has been permanently hoarse ever since she had her thyroid taken out in 1960. Now I'm having the same operation. What are the chances this will happen to me?
  • I've been told exercise is the best medicine for my arthritis. How can this be true? Isn't exercise going to make my joint symptoms worse?
  • My doctor keeps telling me about how important exercise is for my arthritis. What does exercise really do for this problem?
  • I have osteoarthritis of the hips and knees. A news report I saw suggested exercise as a good way to treat this problem. How in the world am I going to exercise when moving hurts so much?
  • Could you settle an argument I'm having with my wife? I think people with arthritis are more likely to stick with an exercise program if they are younger. She thinks it's the older folks like us who know the value of exercise and stay committed. Who's right?
  • My mother and my sister both have hip and knee arthritis. So far I don't have any signs of this. Is it hereditary?
  • I have a twin brother who is starting to get hip arthritis at an early age (45 years old). Does this mean I'll get it too?
  • I'm having a problem with balance and I'm worried about falling. When my hip and knee arthritis start acting up, I can't put too much weight on that side. This changes the way I walk and I start to lose my balance more. How can I improve my balance when it's too painful to practice standing on one leg?
  • I've heard that medications can increase the risk of falls in older adults. My father seems to be falling quite a bit lately. He does take a fair amount of drugs for his heart. Which ones might be the culprit?
  • What can I do to help my mother-in-law? She is constantly tripping over things in her apartment. I'm afraid she's going to fall and kill herself.
  • My husband has a chance to try a space-age device called a lower body positive- pressure (LBPP) chamber. It's supposed to take the pressure of gravity off the legs while walking. I'm concerned because he has a significant heart history. Is it safe to use a machine like this for a 62-year-old man with a heart condition?
  • What's the Hawthorne effect? I seem to remember something about this from my high school biology class.
  • Today I filled out a survey at the physical therapist's office. I was asked about my level of satisfaction. One of the questions was to rate my agreement or disagreement with these statements: I am completely satisfied with my care. I liked the therapists well enough, but they were always behind schedule. How can we as patients answer these kinds of questions fairly?
  • When reports or ads say that most patients are satisfied with the care they receive, what is this based on? What are they satisfied with? The cost? The results?
  • I notice more and more I'm being asked to fill out medical forms about how happy I am with the service. I've gotten one from the local hospital, my doctor's clinic, even the physical therapist. What's this all about?
  • As technology improves surgeons are doing more and more operations with smaller and smaller scars. Is a smaller scar really worth all the money it takes to buy the necessary equipment?
  • If the doctor puts me on a blood thinner to prevent blood clots after surgery, what's to keep me from bleeding during the operation?
  • I notice my 78-year old mother has slowed down quite a bit in the last year. She used to be a part of the mall walking program and now it seems she can hardly get around her own house. She seems in good health. Is this decline normal?
  • My 77-year old mother just got out of the hospital after collapsing from dehydration and heart problems. She hasn't been home two days and she's already making herself go up and down stairs, carrying laundry up two flights, and rearranging things on her kitchen shelves. We think this is too much but can't seem to convince her to slow down. Is she in any danger from overdoing it?
  • Sometimes when I read articles in magazines they talk about the effect of race and ethnicity on health. What's the difference between these two things? I thought they were the same thing.
  • I live in California and work at a nursing home. We've noticed that some of the patients here call themselves "Latino." Others say they are Hispanic. What's the difference?
  • I've just been told I have acetabular cysts. This is what's causing so much hip and groin pain. What causes the cysts? I do have ovarian cysts. Are the two related?
  • My 23-year old daughter was diagnosed with synovial chrondromatosis. What in the world is this? She lives in another state and we are having problems getting any information about this condition. What can you tell us?
  • I'm 66 years old and in good health. I have no joint pain or signs of arthritis. It seems like all my friends are taking two or three drugs for arthritis. Is it just a matter of time before it hits me?
  • I've just joined an adult tennis league. I haven't played tennis since I was on my high school tennis team. I can't use the backhand stroke unless I use both hands. How can I train to get back to a single-hand backstroke?
  • I keep hearing about exercise programs to train the "core" muscles. What are these and what works best?
  • I see in the news more athletes have been found using steroids. Are athletes ever asked years later if they used these illegal drugs?
  • I was taking Vioxxģ for my arthritis. Then it was taken off the market. I heard there's an even better drug being used in Europe called Bextra. When will we be able to have this drug in the United States?
  • Sometimes I like to read science journals at the library. I notice a lot of studies are done using rats, dogs, pigs, and other animals. How do they use this information for humans?
  • I am a 55-year old man in the roofing business. I sliced my hand on some metal sheeting and need surgery to repair a severed tendon. I've been taking Celebrex for hip arthritis but the doctor says this might keep the tendon from healing. I'm worried if I stop taking it, my hip will start acting up again. What do you advise?
  • My insurance company denied payment for ultrasound treatment I received in Canada for a fractured tibia. The notice said it wasn't "medically necessary." Why not? When would it be medically necessary?
  • I've heard it's possible to use ultrasound to heal bone fractures. How does this work?
  • Why do some people get hip and knee arthritis and others don't? I'm in my 70s and most of my friends still alive have a hip or knee replacement. I don't have a single ounce of pain or problems in any joint!
  • I went to my doctor for a regular check up and came out with osteoarthritis I didn't know I had. The X-rays show I'm about out of cartilage and walking with bone on bone. Why don't I have any pain or other symptoms of this problem? Can this be right?
  • I had one breast removed from breast cancer when I was 45 years old. Now I am 55 and in the middle of menopause. It's very tempting to take hormones to stop the hot flashes and other symptoms I'm having. I've heard there's an increase risk of breast cancer with the hormones. Is that true?
  • I've just taken over the care of my aging mother. I discovered she is still taking hormone replacement therapy. Shouldn't she be taken off this now?
  • I didn't pay any attention to all the hype about hormone replacement therapy because it didn't affect me. Now I'm having symptoms of menopause. I'm wondering what's the latest on this drug?
  • I'm hearing more and more reports on brittle bones. There was an ad on TV advising exercise and physical activity to prevent this problem. When do we have to start being concerned about this happening to us?
  • I just had bone mineral density studies done and found out I'm becoming osteoporotic. The doctor is sending me to a special exercise program for people with this problem. How long will it take to build up my bones again? When should I have the next test?
  • I've heard that swimming won't help prevent osteoporosis. Is this really true? I always get a good workout when I swim.
  • My father had a total shoulder replacement five years ago and suffered from severe nausea afterwards. Now he needs a total hip replacement. He's putting it off because of the experience he had last time. Is there anything new that can help him with this?
  • What can you tell me about the new heat wraps I hear advertised on the radio? Are these safe? Can't the skin get burned wearing this for so many hours?
  • I saw an article in a health magazine that suggested walking and talking with a partner is the best form of exercise. It was called the Talk Test. Since this was a women's magazine, I assume the advice is only for women. Is this true?
  • I saw a commercial on TV from the American Heart Association saying that we should be able to talk while exercising. Since I walk or ride my bike alone, is humming good enough? I don't really want to talk out loud while exercising by myself.
  • I notice many people exercise with another person. They are often walking and talking at the same time. Are they getting any real exercise this way? I need to work up a sweat to feel like I've gotten a good workout.
  • Ten months ago my doctor told me to try taking glucosamine for my joints. I started seeing a new doctor who says I shouldn't take it because I'm borderline diabetic. It really seems to be helping my knees. What would happen if I keep taking it?
  • I've heard I should stop taking herbal supplements before having surgery. When do I do this?
  • I've been taking gingko biloba and St. John's Wort for several years now. The doctor has advised me to quit taking all herbal supplements before having a total knee replacement done. These products really seem to help me. Why can't I keep taking them as usual?
  • I took my mother in for her regular check up with the nurse practitioner. They seemed very concerned about her blood pressure. Her blood pressure was taken in each arm and while sitting and standing. She wasn't put on any blood pressure medication so what's this all about?
  • My mother had high blood pressure and fell at age 86. She broke her hip and never recovered. I'm getting a little worried about myself as I see my blood pressure start to rise. Is there any way I can keep all this from happening to me?
  • I was treated for prostate cancer two years ago. Now I have weak bones from the treatment. Does this happen to everyone?
  • All of my aunts have had bone fractures from osteoporosis. Not one male in the family has ever been affected. Why is that?
  • What can I do about stiffness in my shoulders, knee, and hands? Seems like it's worse in the mornings. It takes me a lot longer to get ready for work in the morning, but by the time I get to work I'm okay.
  • How can I tell if I have arthritis? Seems the older I get, the stiffer I am, and the more joint pain I notice.
  • I watched much of the summer olympics this year. Track events are my favorite. I couldn't help but wonder what makes one runner better than another? They must all train hard. The difference between a gold and silver medal is often only a fraction of a second.
  • I've heard that you should stretch every muscle at least a full minute before jumping into an athletic or sports activity. Is this true?
  • I strained my hamstring muscle just doing a simple exercise activity. It doesn't seem to be getting better. When should I stretch it: before or after working out?
  • What does "off-label use" mean? I see this sometimes in tiny print at the end of articles in health magazines.
  • Does being overweight cause arthritis?
  • What are mini-operations? I've heard these can be used for all kinds of surgeries.
  • My 70-year-old mother died of ovarian cancer because she was treated for symptoms they thought were from rheumatoid arthritis. Isn't there a special test for ovarian cancer now?
  • Six of my aunts have been diagnosed with osteoarthritis. They've all died by age 65. Is there some connection here?
  • When I was in high school we always did strength training using weights. Everything was done in three sets of 10 repetitions for each exercise. Is this still the standard way to exercise?
  • I've been an athlete all my life. Now I'm pregnant for the first time. Will I still be able to play noncompetitively? My favorite sports are soccer and volleyball.
  • What's the difference between an inguinal hernia and a sports hernia? Are they the same thing?
  • Our son plays college football. For about eight months he has walked with a limp because of the sharp pains just below his abdomen in the groin area. He wakes up at night in agony when he rolls over in bed. He can't get comfortable in any sitting position. The doctors can't find anything on X-ray or CT scan. What could possibly be wrong?
  • Our 16-year old son was diagnosed with a sports hernia from playing soccer. I've never heard of this, and I've been in sports all my life. Is it something new?
  • I see a lot of commercials on TV for arthritis medication. But I don't know anyone who has arthritis. Is it really that common?
  • My doctor prescribed Naproxen for my arthritis. I see the same drug at the store over-the-counter. Is it the very same thing?
  • My aunt has been diagnosed with "bone lysis." What is this and what causes it?
  • After breaking my nose and both arms in a drunk driving accident a year ago, I find that I can't drive without tensing up and imagining an accident at every corner. My bones have healed, but I can't seem to get over it. What can I do about this?
  • My sister was in a car-pedestrian accident. She was the driver. The pedestrian was hurt but got better. My sister had only cuts and bruises. There was no serious physical injury. However, the emotional problems caused by the accident seem to have lingered. Is this a sign of an unstable personality?
  • I'm a coach in a small town for all the sports on both sides (males and females). I try to keep up on the latest findings in athletics. I know girls are at greater risk for leg injuries than boys. Is this true for all sports?
  • What are "closed chain" sports activities? I heard a brief report on this during an ESPN sports news conference. The newscaster reported a higher rate of injuries during this type of activity.
  • I injured my back two years ago and had a disc removed at that time. I've been reading up on the importance of core strength. How can I improve my core strength without risking more disc damage?
  • It seems the older I get, the stiffer I feel, especially my back. What causes this and what can be done about it? Anything?
  • As a woman working outside the home I wonder if homemakers have better health since they have more time to exercise?
  • I've been thinking about trying Tai Chi exercise for my osteoporosis. How long does it take for this type of exercise to work?
  • Bone loss and osteoporosis is a big topic in the news for women after menopause. What's the connection?
  • Our health club is advertising Tai Chi for senior citizens. Isn't this an exercise like yoga for all ages? Or is it really just for seniors?
  • I received two ultrasound treatments for shoulder and upper neck pain. At first I felt better. At the third session I had sharp prickly pain during the ultrasound. Is that a sign the ultrasound is working? I didn't feel it the first two times.
  • I'm concerned about my aging mother. She sits so much of the time. When she walks she often sways from side to side. I'm afraid she's going to fall and break something. Is there any way to have her balance tested?
  • I asked my doctors how to use the Internet to find out more about my condition. They didn't seem to know anything about it. Is this true for everyone in health care?
  • How can I tell if medical information on the Internet is accurate and up to date?
  • I've heard not to rely on medical information found on the Internet. Why is this?
  • I broke my leg in a bad fall down the stairs. The doctor put me in a cast and told me I could put a small amount of weight on it--I can touch my big toe to the ground. I'm a little worried about doing even this much. Will it still heal with this much pressure?
  • I'm a newcomer to arthritis. What can I expect with treatment for my osteoarthritis?
  • I see ads on TV for COX-2 drugs. These are supposed to help with arthritis pain. My 83-year-old mother broke her hip last month and has pain everyday from her arthritis. Can she take these drugs?
  • I hurt my arm in a car accident and now I'm in rehab. I found an older book (1959) on anatomy to help me understand the exercises I'm doing. Now I'm wondering if I need a more up-to-date book. Is anatomy the same today as it was in the 1950s?
  • What does it mean when a medical report says "break test is negative?" My 17-year old son had a baseball injury this season. I'm trying to understand just what got hurt and why.
  • I looked up some information about a muscle I damaged in a bad fall. I was amazed about all the details written to describe where the muscle attaches and what it does. How do they know all this for sure?
  • What is elective surgery? My 26-year old son came back from the doctor with the option of elective surgery for a herniated disc. I don't understand what this means.
  • My sister has always been what the family calls "high maintenance." Last year she fell and broke her wrist. It's been no end of problems ever since. Now she has a problem called complex regional pain syndrome. We think she should get counseling. Will psychologic help make a difference with this problem?
  • I was in a car accident and fractured my forearm in six places. I'm in a special splint with pins and wires. About two weeks ago I was diagnosed with complex regional pain syndrome, type 1. How many types are there and what's the difference?
  • I've heard that MRI and ultrasound results are only as good as the person reading them. Is this true?
  • I've heard there's a link between smoking and depression. Does smoking cause depression or vice versa?
  • It seems like smoking gets blamed for everything. Now I hear injured workers are less likely to go back to work if they smoke. Is there anything to this report?
  • Which is worse: smoking a few cigarettes every day for years or smoking heavily for a shorter amount of time?
  • My mother had a total shoulder replacement six months ago. Six weeks later she started having all kinds of problems with that arm. The doctor says it's a condition called CRPS. Can you tell me what this is and what causes it?
  • My sister has always been what the family calls "high maintenance." Last year she fell and broke her wrist. It's been no end of problems ever since. Now she has a problem called complex regional pain syndrome. We think she should get counseling. Will psychologic help make a difference with this problem?
  • I was in a car accident and fractured my forearm in six places. I'm in a special splint with pins and wires. About two weeks ago I was diagnosed with complex regional pain syndrome, type 1. How many types are there and what's the difference?
  • I am an occupational therapy student. I have to do a research project by the end of my program. What would you suggest to measure the effect of treatment on the arm?
  • Six months ago, I was involved in a phosphate mining accident. My left leg had to be amputated. My case is up for review. I can't go back to my job, so I'm expecting to get disability. Does the doctor just decide "yes" or "no" without seeing me?
  • I have a lead fragment from a gunshot wound in my leg. It doesn't bother me, but I wonder about lead poisoning. Is this possible from such a small piece?
  • I know our country is getting rid of lead-based paint and lead in the gasoline, but what about lead-based bullets? Aren't these a danger as well?
  • What is plumbism? I saw this word in a crossword puzzle with the clue: "lead poisoning."
  • When I work out I end up sore the next day. Other times I do the same amount of activity and I'm not sore at all. Why is that?
  • When I took high school physical education 30 years ago, we were always told to bounce while stretching. My high school children tell me not to do this. Their coach tells them bouncing can cause injuries. Whose right?
  • My sixth grader came home with a report from the President's Council for Physical Fitness and Sports. It said stretching might not prevent injuries and could even cause injuries. This is the exact opposite of everything I've learned. What's the current thinking on this topic?
  • I seem to have very loose muscles and joints. Do I even need to bother with stretching before exercise?
  • What is a Dacron graft? My mother-in-law had an ultrasound that showed an aneurysm. The doctor is going to put one of these over the damaged blood vessel to repair it.
  • My nephew is going to have a muscle biopsy next week. What can they tell from this test?
  • I've heard that world class endurance runners have a certain kind of muscle type. Is there any way to train to get this myself?
  • I am new to the manufacturing business. My boss has asked me to find out how much money we lose each month due to injuries and lost time on the job. If I replace the worker with another (sometimes untrained) worker, do I still count it as a loss?
  • I was in a study at work to find out how much health care really costs the workers versus the employer. For three months I wrote down every penny I spent on any health care cost. I did this for two separate time periods (each three months long). It seemed to me that whenever I kept this cost diary, nothing happened. As soon as the time ended, I ended up paying out-of-pocket for something. Is this kind of study really accurate?
  • I've heard there are some medications that can cause balance problems. What are these?
  • I just started going to a beginning yoga class. One of the poses is for standing balance. I'm only 34, but I'm having trouble standing on one leg without falling over. Is this normal?
  • I've heard people say some illnesses are much more painful than others. For example, gallbladder attacks and kidney stones are much worse than even cancer sometimes. Is it really true or just in the mind of the pain sufferer?
  • All my golf buddies seem to have some kind of injuries. What are the most common golf injuries?
  • I'm concerned about my aging parents. They tell the doctor everything's fine, but I can see problems. They are starting to do less and less. Is there a test that can be done to show what they really need?
  • What's the difference between pulmonary embolism and a blood clot?
  • What's a comorbidity? My mother-in-law was told she has too many comorbidities to have surgery at this time. She is very overweight. Is this a new medical term for obesity?
  • I started a weight lifting program at the gym. The trainer told me to exhale when lifting the weight and inhale when returning it to the starting position. Is this right? A book I have on lifting weights says just the opposite.
  • What's the best breathing method to use when lifting heavy objects? Should I take a deep breath and hold it? Or is it better to let all my air out first before lifting?
  • Why should glaucoma patients avoid lifting? Isn't it safe if I'm careful? I always breathe out when I lift.
  • What is heterotopic ossification and what causes it?
  • My brother goes from doctor to doctor until he hears what he wants to hear. Why do people do this instead of accepting what they hear the first time?
  • After getting hurt on-the-job I was sent to a special rehab program. I saw a doctor, psychologist, physical therapist, and case manager. Everyone worked together to get me back to work as soon as possible. Is this the way it's done everywhere? I was very impressed.
  • I'm a little worried. I had a car accident and ruptured my spleen and broke my wrist in three places. I was in the hospital for a week and had two operations. Every time the doctors came to see me, I could see my bill piling up and up. Do doctors charge for every visit they make in the hospital?
  • I just took a new job with a capitated health care plan. What does this mean?
  • I'm a med student in my second year looking at future options. I'd really like to work in orthopedics, but I've heard the market for doctors in this area is down. What can you tell me?
  • Is there a proper way to stretch muscles? If I'm going to do it, I might as well do it right.
  • I tore my left hamstring muscle in a football game last year. It's the start of training season. I'm worried about tearing it again. Are my risks of muscle injury greater because I've already had one tear?
  • When I go to the gym to work out, I see all these people stretching. I just want to get to the exercise. Is all this warm-up stretching really needed?
  • I've heard there's actually an "age pigment" that colors the cells inside our body an ugly brown. Is this true?
  • I just started working in a homeless center. There are a lot of injection drug users. The staff told me to watch for infections in these people. What's the connection between shooting drugs and infection?
  • I just got a job in a nursing home. I know I'll be lifting patients, and I'm a little worried because I'm out of shape. Would doing sit-ups help me get ready?
  • I grew up in Canada, but I've lived in the United States for 10 years now. Canada has a national health survey to collect data from selected households. They use this information to study health issues, ways to prevent diseases, and plan better treatment. Why doesn't the United States have something like this?
  • I see more and more women's magazines are reporting on the high number of injuries in today's female athletes. What injuries are they counting? Are they including every little hang nail to make women look bad compared to men?
  • It seems like women's sports (especially soccer) are more cut throat and competitive than ever before. Is this why they have so many injuries?
  • What constitutes a remission from rheumatoid arthritis?
  • I have rheumatoid arthritis but I seem to be getting along okay without taking all those drugs. My doctor seems to think different. What do the experts say?
  • I heard there's a medical cure for rheumatoid arthritis now. My grandma suffers from this greatly. How can I find out more about this cure?
  • My doctor wants me to have X-rays of my joints. I already know I have rheumatoid arthritis. What's an X-ray going to do for me? Would an MRI be better?
  • I have had hepatitis C for the last five years. Now I've been diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis. Is there any connection between the two? Will the hepatitis make the arthritis worse or vice versa?
  • I read an article in a magazine that said one of the early signs of rheumatoid arthritis is "gelling." What is that?
  • My son wants to go out for high school football as a walk-on. We've never let him play competitive sports because of a heart murmur. Is it possible he has outgrown this problem so it's safe to play now?
  • I'm not a sports nut but I follow several sports teams. Seems like there are more and more serious (even fatal) injuries these days. Is anything being done to change this trend?
  • The internet has really changed my life. Now I have more of a say in my health care. But I notice that the more I search the web for information on medical conditions, the more uncomfortable my doctor seems to be. Is it true that doctors don't want patients to know what's going on?
  • I'm overwhelmed by the information on the Internet. Most of the time I can tell what's real and what's bogus. When I look up stuff on my health I'm not sure if I should go to the message boards first and find out what other patients are saying or go with what doctors say. What do you advise?
  • I have fibromyalgia that I can keep under control with a weekly massage. Is this just a stress or psychologic problem?
  • Is there any proof that massage works for fibromyalgia?
  • I've seen studies that show men and women have similar muscle power in the legs when size is accounted for. What makes one man better than another like Lance Armstrong?
  • I am a 30-year-old woman training for a triathlon with running, biking, and swimming. I notice in sprint training that sometimes I'm really on and others I'm just sluggish. Is my age already starting to wear me down?
  • It makes sense that men are stronger than women because they are usually bigger than women. If you take a man and woman of the same size, would they have the same strength?
  • I like to ride my bike on trips with other people. I notice I can outlast anyone for the long haul but I can never sprint fast for very long like some folks do. Why is that?
  • After a couple of falls my mother seems to have lost her confidence. She refuses to join her regular exercise group. We're worried she'll just decline more and more. What can we do?
  • My father just moved from his home into an Independent Living facility. They are constantly asking him to come to activity groups. One of the reasons he's in this place is because his activity level has gone downhill fast. What can we do to help encourage him to go to these groups?
  • My grandson was told he has ankylosing spondylitis, a form of arthritis. I have rheumatoid arthritis myself. What's the difference between these two problems?
  • I am extremely allergic to penicillin but the doctor wants me to take antibiotics after my total knee replacement next week. I'm in good health. They are using small incisions to cut the knee open because the operation is arthroscopic. Could I skip the antibiotics?
  • I just got my preop instructions for a total knee replacement. I was told to shower the night before but not to shave my legs. That seems like contradictory advice. I always shave when I shower. Why do they give out these instructions?
  • What's the difference between a synovial cyst and a ganglion cyst? I've had a ganglion cyst in my wrist. Now I have a synovial cyst in my spine. Are they the same thing?
  • I took some medication with codeine in it and did fine but I have a friend who got addicted quickly. It seems all her family members have a problem with addiction to prescription painkillers. Is this an inherited tendency?
  • My 33-year old niece was just told she has osteoporosis. She's seven months pregnant. What could be causing this in someone so young? I'm 55 and don't have it and neither does my sister (her mother) who is two years older than me.
  • I am a 45-year old man with a new diagnosis of osteoporosis. How is this possible? I thought this was a disease of old women?
  • I'm taking a drug called Fosamax for my osteoporosis. The doctor thinks it might help keep my total hip replacement from getting loose. How does it work?
  • I've just been diagnosed with early stages of osteoarthritis. Mostly my left hip bothers me. I saw a report that moderate exercise is best for this condition. How is that possible when movement is what makes it hurt?
  • Sometimes I ask my doctor about improvements in medical care that I've read about in the newspaper or seen on TV. He doesn't seem to know about most of these things. If my doctor hasn't heard about them, are they even worth finding out about them or trying them myself?
  • I've heard there's a new drug called abatacept for rheumatoid arthritis. Who's it for?
  • I was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis after having Lyme's disease about ten years ago. None of the regular drugs have been much help. I feel better for a short while, then back to the same old symptoms. Is there anything new on the market?
  • A group of my friends have asked me to join them on a golf tournament just for fun. I'm not much of a golfer. Should I take a few lessons first?
  • What advice can you give women about preventing golf injuries? I'm the lone female in a group of corporate men. A lot of business decisions are made out on the golf course. I need to keep up without injuring myself.
  • I'm proud to say I've lost 100 pounds over the last two years. I notice that exercising is much easier now. When walking or biking, I can go distances faster and longer. I've been using METs at the gym to keep my level of activity at the moderate range. Now that it's easier to exercise should I switch to something else?
  • Whenever I work out at the gym I see signs around about using the MET system to exercise. What is the MET system?
  • I'm an 18-year old male training for speed skating but I've taken a liking to the new ski-skating. As a speed skater, would I have any advantage over the ski-skaters if I switched over?
  • I notice if I don't exercise for a long time and then hit the gym hard, I'm really, really sore the next day or even two days later. I hear other people complain about this, too. What can I do to keep this from happening?
  • I've had gout for about five years. It's slowly been getting worse. I'm starting to take my own care a little more seriously. The most recent lab tests show my urate level is about a nine. What does that mean?
  • I've just started having some problems with gout. My doctor wants to stick a needle in the joint and drain the fluid. I'm thinking a wait-and-see approach may be better. What do you advise?
  • My 23-year old daughter was just diagnosed with fibromyalgia. She was always a healthy child with no major problems. What could cause this problem now?
  • I was recently told by my doctor that I have fibromyalgia. Where can I get more information about this condition?
  • I'm starting basic training for military service next month. I am on a birth control injection to regulate my periods. I've been told this could increase my chances of getting hurt. Is there any truth to this?
  • Ten years ago, I was treated with radiation for lymphoma. Now I need a new hip. Will there be any problems because of the radiation?
  • I heard the term disease mongering on a talk radio show. What does it mean?
  • My husband has septic arthritis of the hip. The doctor wants him to take antibiotics right away. I thought we are supposed to avoid taking antibiotics.
  • I'm a machine operator at a large metal works plant. After six weeks of shoulder pain, I found out I have septic arthritis. I don't remember hurting myself but I do use my arms a lot at work. Could this be a work-related problem?
  • My parents both had bones break because of osteoporosis. Is this hereditary?
  • I've heard that Tai Chi can help people with fibromyalgia. Is there any proof that this is true?
  • I have fibromyalgia and every time I try to exercise, my symptoms get worse. I know exercise is supposed to be helpful. Why does this happen? What am I doing wrong?
  • My 30-year old daughter has Crohn's disease. She's had it since she was in her early 20s. Lately she's been complaining of back and hip pain. Can the Crohnís cause this?
  • My brother has been diagnosed with the HIV infection. So far he's been pretty healthy but now I'm noticing he's complaining of joint pain. And he keeps getting conjunctivitis. Are these part of the HIV problem? Should I insist he see a doctor? So far, he's just been treating the symptoms at home.
  • I was recently diagnosed with fibromyalgia syndrome. I can't believe how many other women I've found who have the same problem. Is this a problem just among American women? Maybe if we had to struggle everyday just to get water or feed our families, we wouldn't notice a few extra aches and pains.
  • I work in a food products factory bagging up candy and other similar items for sale. Most of the workers are women of all ages. Some start to develop arm and hand pain after just a few weeks there. I've been working for six years without a complaint. Is it just a matter of attitude?
  • Our 11-year old daughter was just diagnosed with Lyme disease. She's being treated now with antibiotics. What can we expect down the road with this condition?
  • My father is scheduled for endoscopic surgery to remove a ruptured disc. Just what exactly is endoscopic surgery?
  • I've been taking baby aspirin for my heart. Now my arthritis is acting up. Should I just increase my dosage of aspirin? I'm worried about getting an ulcer on top of everything else.
  • I've heard there are new drugs out that can actually reverse the effects of arthritis. What are these called?
  • Last year I was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis. At first I tried a variety of nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drugs. Then my doctor switched me to methotrexate. I did okay for about six months. Now my symptoms are worse than ever. What's the next step? Do I just need to take MTX more often?
  • I've heard there are some new drugs coming for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis. I'm currently using methotrexate with pretty good results. Will these newer medications be better for me?
  • What is the female athlete triad? I heard about this in the news. As a female athlete myself, I'm always interested in the latest developments. I know about triathalons. Is this some new kind of sports activity?
  • I have had rheumatoid arthritis for 10 years. As I go through menopause my symptoms are worse and now I have osteoporosis on top of everything else. I know there are dangers from taking hormone replacement but would it help both my arthritis and the osteoporosis? Would the risks be worth it?
  • I've been hearing more and more that we all need more vitamin D. I have rheumatoid arthritis. How important is vitamin D therapy for people with this disease?
  • I'm really against these government backed programs that just give people health care. I don't think people value what they get for free. What do you think?
  • Until last year my children and I were covered by Medicaid. Now that I have a better job, I have private insurance. I notice a big difference in how much faster I get service with private insurance compared to the Medicaid. Is this true for everyone? I would like to help change this for other people.
  • I have hip and knee arthritis. Many of my friends go to a pool program sponsored by the Arthritis Foundation. I'm already working out on my own. Would a pool therapy program help me more than doing exercises at the gym?
  • Is there a difference between pool therapy, hydrotherapy, or aquatic therapy? I've seen all three advertised. I want to go to the one that will help me the most with my arthritis.
  • I just came back from the doctor's with a diagnosis of septic arthritis. I've been scheduled for arthroscopy this afternoon so I'm trying to find out everything I can about this problem. The first question is: do I really need this surgery?
  • How much benefit is there in hiking as a form of exercise? I don't really like to bike or run. Hiking seems to suit me but is it enough?
  • I've just been diagnosed with osteoporosis bad enough to take medications for it. I have tried to avoid taking any drugs my entire life. It seems like they come with their own problems. The doctor assures me that this one (Fosamax) is safe. What's the benefit of taking it?
  • My father fell last night and broke his hip. He's in surgery right now. The doctor's first report was pretty iffy. She thought he was too osteoporotic for them to use screws to hold it until it heals. Does osteoporosis make the bone soft?
  • Three years ago I had a total hip replacement. I developed myositis occificans and it was months before I got my motion back. I'm thinking about having a disc replaced in my low back but I'm worried about getting MO again. Is there any way to tell if this will happen?
  • I noticed my husband started to walk like a drunken sailor without a drop to drink. A visit to the doctor revealed a vitamin B12 deficiency. With supplementation, he's back to normal. Can you explain this to me?
  • Sometimes I go walking at the mall with my Grandma. She's 77 years old but still pretty spry. I have noticed in the last year that her walking speed has slowed way down. She seems in good health otherwise. Should I enourage her to try and speed up?
  • I went to see my doctor because my hands were starting to bother me. I found out I have rheumatoid arthritis. My Grandma had this condition. Her hands were all gnarled up and very painful. The doctor assures me today's treatment is much better for this problem. What can I expect over the next 20 years?
  • I saw an older gentleman using a Bodyblade at the P.T. clinic where I go for back treatment. He made it look so easy, but when I tried it, I just couldn't get the right rhythm. What the trick?
  • My mother has a condition called sarcoidosis. It mostly affects her lungs so she has to take prednisone for it. Last week she broke her hip because of the prednisone. Now she has a new hip replacement. What's to keep it from breaking too?
  • Two years ago I had a bad car accident and shattered my leg bone. I had several reconstructive surgeries. It's almost impossible to see where the break was or where the bone graft was put to fill in the big gap of bone. What happens to that bone graft once it's inside the body?
  • How can someone prepare for something like retirement when you don't know when it will happen?
  • What can you tell me about hereditary exostosis? My husband has it and so do several of his family members. If we have children will they be affected?
  • I've heard that Tai Chi is a good exercise for older adults. Everything I see talks about postmenopausal women. What about men? Does this exercise help us at all?
  • My motherís doctor has suggested she try Tai Chi at her living facility. She says it can help Mother's bones and prevent falls. Mother is a very religious person and says Tai Chi is against her religion. How can I help convince her to try it?
  • Last summer I was bit by a tick while hiking the northern section of the Appalachian trail. I took the preventive dose of antibiotics. So far, nothing has happened. Is the danger of Lyme disease over now?
  • Our family is planning a camping trip to Montana this summer. Do we need to take precautions for Lyme disease?
  • I'm starting to develop some significant pain in my knees from osteoarthritis. I'd really like to avoid taking drugs. What else can I do?
  • Every time I watch the news or read a newspaper, it seems that another study says that foods that we thought were good for us aren't or foods we were told to stay away from are now okay to eat. How can someone decide what makes up a healthy diet?
  • If natural things like herbs are good for me, why do I hear warnings about mixing natural products with medications?
  • It seems I've developed a case of gout in the knee. I thought this was a big toe problem. How can it attack my knee?
  • I started having some pain and swelling in my big toe and ankle. The doctor thinks it might be gout. How can I know for sure?
  • I've heard all the recommendations about getting 30 to 40 minutes of exercise each day. But with my job and family, I can only exercise on the weekends. If I just increase how much I exercise, is it enough?
  • My wife is really starting to get on my back about exercising. I admit I've gained a few pounds in the last few years. But when the work day or work week is over, the last thing I want to do is go to the gym and work out. What do you suggest?
  • Should I bother getting a DEXA scan if I'm not going to take Fosamax or any other drug for osteoporosis?
  • My mother lives in a small rural town in Nevada. She doesn't have access to modern medical technology. There's no way to measure her osteoporosis. What do you suggest?
  • I was diagnosed with lupus (the systemic kind) about six months ago. When I went to the clinic for my check up last week, I noticed many of the people there have terrible looking skin. When does this start to develop?
  • What is lupus? My sister was just told this is what is causing her problems. I've heard of it but I don't really know what it is.
  • Why is it so important how you take osteoporosis medications? Why can't I just swallow my pill and go on with my day?
  • I am taking a medication, a bisphosphonate, for my osteoporosis. How does the medication work?
  • I've heard a lot in the news about the benefits of taking vitamin D, but can you tell me what foods have the highest amount of vitamin D in them?
  • Other than bone strength, what other benefits are there to gain from vitamin D?
  • My mother has osteoporosis and I'm afraid of getting it. What can I do to prevent it from happening to me?
  • There used to be only one drug on the market for treating osteoporosis. Now I see from the ads on TV that there are several others. I've been taking Fosamax myself. Are any of these other medications better? Should I switch?
  • Have you ever heard of someone getting jaw disease from taking osteoporosis drugs? My mother's sister just called and said this happened to her. What causes that?
  • Our daughter just graduated and is off to West Point for a military career. She's only five feet, four inches tall. Will this be a disadvantage for her?
  • What is a pulmonary embolism and why is it dangerous?
  • I've heard about embolisms in the lung after flying. How does that happen?
  • What is vitamin C for and how much vitamin C is safe to take?
  • My sister has been diagnosed with CRPS after being in a car accident a few months ago. Up to then, we thought she was just looking for attention. How can the doctor tell if she's really having pain?
  • The last two jobs I've had involved some lifting. My current training boss says it doesn't matter how I lift -- just get the boxes on the shelf. My last boss insisted we lift from the legs, not from the back. Does it really matter?
  • How do bones heal?
  • I've heard the term dystonia before, but I don't really understand what it means. Could you explain it?
  • Is dystonia painful? The people I've seen with it seem so uncomfortable.
  • Whenever I take my Gramma in to see the doctor or the physical therapist, they always talk about her impairments. I'm not really sure what this refers to. Can you explain it to me, please?
  • Our 15-year old daughter broke her hip in a water-skiing accident. There's some concern about the bone dying and causing the hip to collapse. My mother is taking a drug called Boniva to help her bones after she broke her hip last year. Would something like this help my daughter?
  • I have a sister who is bipolar and must take her meds everyday. She lives with me so I help make sure this happens. We also have a family history of osteoporosis and both of us are getting up there in age. Her doctor has told us the drug she's taking can have an adverse effect on bone. Can we do anything to prevent this from happening?
  • Mother has osteoporosis, heart burn, and is a breast cancer survivor. I notice she's been popping antacids like candy lately. I seem to recall this isn't good for her bones but I can't find that information. Should we be concerned?
  • I've been taking anti-inflammatories for my osteoarthritis. But I saw some information that says these drugs can actually make my arthritis worse. What's the scoop on this?
  • My mother-in-law swears by SAMe for her arthritis yet she's already had two major joint replacements. Could this stuff really be making her worse and she doesn't know it?
  • My mother was diagnosed with osteoarthritis. What is the difference between osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis?
  • How is osteoarthritis treated? Is it curable?
  • I don't like to go out in the sun so I also keep my children out as well. Now I'm hearing that we need to get sun to get vitamin D. Can't we get that through food?
  • My nephew was diagnosed with rickets. I thought that rickets were gone, like polio and small pox.
  • I've read about how much vitamin D we should have, but why do different groups have different requirements?
  • There is a push for us to take in more vitamin D. Can we over do it?
  • I have had itching on my upper arms for years now. My doctor is no longer taking me seriously because I'm otherwise healthy. How can I convince him that the itching is driving me crazy?
  • My mother has had really bad itching since she had shingles a few years ago. Her doctor has prescribed an antidepressant for her, but she's not depressed!
  • My brother was in a fight last night at a local bar. Believe it or not, the fellow he tangled with actually bit him. Should we be concerned? Can you get rabies from a human bite?
  • Our 17-year old daughter was in a mountain climbing accident. She almost lost her leg. The surgeons think they can help the bone fill in better using some kind of new bone substitute. How does this work?
  • Ok, this may sound odd but when I was in a bad accident a year ago, I didn't break anything. This winter, I slipped on ice and broke my arm in two places. Why would I not break anything in my accident but my arm in a simple fall?
  • My sister has finished treatment for a type of bone cancer called sarcoma. Now we just wait and see. Is there any way to know sooner than later if the cancer has come back? Is there some kind of screening test like they have for colon or breast cancer?
  • My mother died last year of a sarcoma bone cancer. I always blame myself for letting it go so long before taking her to a doctor. Looking back on it, she must have had symptoms at least six months before we did anything about it. Could she have been saved if she was diagnosed sooner?
  • What's the difference between mobilization done by physical therapists and manipulation done by chiropractors?
  • Is gout linked with menopause?
  • I met a little person the other day who said that he was a achondroplastic dwarf. I know there are different types of dwarfism; what is this type?
  • What can you tell me about the new drug for fibromyalgia? I've been using amitriptyline but wonder if I should switch.
  • Two years ago I found out I have fibromyalgia. I really wanted to avoid drugs, so I've been trying every other treatment under the sun. Nothing has helped, and I'm ready to throw in the towel. What should I take first?
  • What can I do to reduce my risk of infection from spine surgery? I had a disc removed years ago and got a terrible staph infection. Now the surgeon is talking about doing a two-part operation to fuse my spine. I'm not sure I want to risk two more surgeries after what I went through.
  • Is it important to tell my doctor if I am taking an alternative medication such as herbs or supplements?
  • I prefer using Complementary and Alternative Medicines when I can. I have a fracture in my foot. Are there any herbs or supplements that may be beneficial?
  • I read recently that many studies are done with men and not with women, and that this means that not all treatments are really appropriate for women. Why is this?
  • My doctor says my sister has a schwannoma in her forearm - it's affecting her ability to use her pointing finger for typing and similar activities. She needs surgery to remove it, he says, but he doesn't seem to be in any rush to do it. Shouldn't it be removed right away?
  • If schwannomas are on the outside of the nerves, why do they cause pain and problems with movement?
  • I can't get my mother to go back to her rheumatologist for her arthritis pain. She says she is done with doctors. She's trying everything else possible: acupuncture, massage, yoga, and even hypnosis. Is there any proof that these methods work?
  • I have a bone condition called osteopetrosis. Over the years, it has caused severe arthritis in my hips and knees. I need joint replacements but how can they do this without damaging the bones even more?
  • Have you ever heard of marble bone disease? What is this and what causes it?
  • When my son had a cast put on his arm after he broke it, the cast felt very warm when it was wet. Why is that?
  • What is better for a cast - plaster or fiberglass?
  • I'm thinking about being a tissue donor if anything should happen to me. How do I know if I'm eligible?
  • I'm 81-years old with mild diabetes. I've always taken daily walks to stay in shape. But now I'm getting neuropathy in my feet. I'm starting to trip and fall and that scares me. What can I do to keep exercising?
  • What is functional fitness? I've heard that older adults need to work on this, but I don't know what it is.
  • As I get older, I notice it takes me longer to do my exercises. I could spend all day trying to keep up my aerobic exercise, do my strength program, and stay flexible with yoga for seniors and stretching. Is there one exercise that could get all this done at once?
  • I've heard that President Abraham Lincoln had a disease called Marfan syndrome. Is this true and what is this condition?
  • What are the dangers of insomnia?
  • My brother is mentally ill and, although he lives with my parents, he doesn't take very good care of himself. He hurt his knee a while ago and the doctor wants to do surgery, but I'm afraid that he won't take care of himself properly. Do the surgeons work with psychiatrists in these types of cases?
  • Why is it that patients with schizophrenia seem to have more problems healing after surgery?
  • What exactly is an arthroscopy?
  • I'm a healthy 72-year old who wants to stay that way. Everywhere I turn, I see information about the need to keep up my balance skills. They say this will help prevent falls and fractures. But how do I do it? Is there a specific exercise I should be doing?
  • I realized this morning that I can no longer balance on one foot to put my shoes on. This concerns me. What can I do to improve my balance before it gets much worse?
  • I went to a large box company to apply for a job. On the front door was a sign saying that all applicants would be screened for substance use. This really surprised me. Is it such a big problem that they do pre-employment screening now?
  • I notice a lot of workers in our office take mental health days. It seems like we lose a lot of steam and productivity because of this. What can we do to cut down these losses?
  • My mother was just diagnosed with osteoporosis. Now I'm wondering if maybe Dad doesn't have this problem, too. What sort of symptoms would a man have if he had osteoporosis?
  • My older brother was just diagnosed with osteoporosis. I didn't even know men could have this problem. I thought it was just women. What causes it?
  • I've been told my grandmother died of milk-leg. Can you tell me what this is?
  • I don't know what to do. The doctor thinks I have rheumatoid arthritis and wants me to start on some medications. My lab tests have all come back negative so I don't know what to think. I don't want to take drugs if I don't have to.
  • I'm not one for going to the doctor but I think I may have some arthritis starting in my hands. Is there really anything they can do about this anyway?
  • Is there any hope for arthritis sufferers who don't respond to medications? I've tried all the newer drugs without success. I'm only 42-years old and worry about what the next 40 years will be like with this crippling disease.
  • Our adult daughter just received a diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis to explain her joint pain and stiffness. The rheumatologist has prescribed several medications for her. What can we expect over the next few years?
  • I had some special X-rays taken that resulted in skin damage. The doctor called it dermal necrosis. Does this happen very often?
  • When I was a kid it seemed like there were many great athletes whose careers were ended by injuries. How are today's players able to keep going with torn ligaments, separated shoulders, and worse?
  • Have you ever heard of a disappearing bone disease? My sister just emailed me that she has this -- what is it?
  • What's the prognosis for Gorham's disease? Does it go away eventually?
  • What is cast wedging? Our daughter fell and broke both bones in her forearm playing soccer. The surgeon mentioned using this technique to set the bones. Even though it was explained to us, everything went by in such a blur. Now that we're home, we don't remember what it means.
  • I had a hip replacement that went bad and had to be removed. As it was explained to me, the implant had tiny debris particles that caused it to loosen. That's all taken care of now but I'm scheduled to have a disc replacement in my neck. Is this likely to happen with disc implants?
  • What happens if a broken bone doesn't heal properly, like if it's set wrong,or something like that?
  • I have trigger points in my muscles from a condition called myofascial pain syndrome. Would acupuncture help?
  • My sister just emailed me that she has something called myofascial pain syndrome. What can they do to treat this problem?
  • Our sons were always involved in football during their high school years. They had their fair share of injuries but nothing serious. Now we have grandsons who are participating in wrestling. They seem to have more scrapes, sprains, and injuries from wrestling than our sons ever had with football. Is this normal?
  • Both our sons are involved in high school wrestling. And both have developed skin infections at some point in the season. Half the team had a skin break out last week. What can we do as parents to help the coaches address this problem?
  • I've heard that if I improve my proprioception, there's less chance I'll fall. With my bad knee osteoarthritis, falls are always on my mind. What is proprioception and how do I work on it?
  • I've never been one to take pills. Now my doctor wants me to take a drug to prevent osteoporosis. Is this really necessary? I'm 66 years old and in perfect health.
  • I'm going to be seeing my primary care physician next month for a check-up. Should I ask to have my bones checked for osteoporosis?
  • Have you ever heard of arthritis being caused by Crohn's disease? I've had Crohn's for 10 years but never had any joint problems. Now my low back, hips, and sacroiliac joint are starting to bother me. My doctor thinks it's all related to the Crohn's.
  • My doctor says I qualify for partial disability and I should take it and quit work. But I really like my job and would like to get back to work. Is there some kind of program that could help me with this?
  • I heard a report that they are using stem cells now to heal arthritis. Is this true and if so, where can I go to get this treatment?
  • What's the latest in stem cell research? Whatever happened to the controversy over using stem cells from embryos? And how long before they can use stem cells to cure diseases like arthritis, torn cartilage, and tendon tears?
  • I have been heavy all my life and now my doctor tells me that part of my new back pain is my weight. I don't understand, it's not like I just gained the weight now.
  • More and more of my younger friends are getting arthritis. By younger, I mean they aren't even 65 yet! What's going on? Are we just wearing ourselves out with our hectic pace of life?
  • My family has a long history of rheumatoid arthritis (RA). So far I haven't gotten it yet. I've heard there are actually fewer cases of RA now than ever before. Is this true? And if so, how do they explain it?
  • What is a compensation injury? My brother-in-law says he can't go back to work because of this. I've never heard of this kind of problem.
  • What is the big deal with core training? Everywhere I go it seems there are programs and classes for core training. I love to exercise but who really needs this? Should I be jumping on the band wagon too?
  • Is there anyone who shouldn't do the core stabilization exercises taught in Pilates courses? Our fitness facility offers these classes to everyone. We're thinking we should post a warning for anyone who shouldn't be doing these exercises. But who would that include?
  • I've heard that doing Tai Chi is very healthful for older adults. It's supposed to help with balance, prevent falls, and take down the risk of breaking a hip. I'm an active senior citizen. I walk every day. Is this Tai Chi exercise really better than walking?
  • I've heard that doing Tai Chi is very good for you. It's supposed to improve balance but every time I do it, I get dizzy. What am I doing wrong?
  • I've heard that it takes 12 to 18 years for information from studies to filter down to the doctor. Is this really true? How do I know if my doctor is keeping up?
  • What in the world is going on? Both my mother and her sister (my aunt) have osteoporosis. Both of their husbands have hip and knee replacements for arthritis. Their golden years of retirement have turned into a medical nightmare. Is this what we are all going to have to look forward to as we get older? Can we do anything to prevent it?
  • I've always been told that sore muscles after a work out is a sign that I've overworked my limit. Then I saw a little comment in the health bulletin that comes out in our local paper saying this isn't so. What's the latest thinking on this?
  • Is there any truth to the idea that being overweight is linked with thumb arthritis? I have both and I've been told there's a connection. What is it?
  • I see some of my coworkers hurting their arms with the type of work we do. It's quite repetitive but it has to be done. How can I protect myself? I can't afford to stop working.
  • I'm being treated for rheumatoid arthritis. So far, the X-rays look pretty good so the doctor thinks we've caught it early. No one seems to think having an MRI would be helpful, but I've heard they show early signs of joint change. What can you tell me about this?
  • Mother had severe rheumatoid arthritis by the time she was my age. So far, there's been no sign of the disease in my hands, but I worry about it. Are there any tests that can be done to show if I'm going to get this disease? Would an X-ray help?
  • I've heard beer is really bad for you if you have gout. Is this really true? Why?
  • I have flare ups of gout off and on. They seem to be triggered by taking the medication (Zyloprim) prescribed by my doctor.
  • It is my understanding that some people can benefit from some drugs, while others do not. What causes this?
  • Is there a test to see if someone is faking an illness?
  • I met someone the other day who had his leg amputated after an accident. He said that he sometimes has feelings in his missing leg. How is this possible? Is it his imagination?
  • Ok, I'm grossed out. I heard that you could have a tapeworm set up residence in your body and form a cyst in the muscles. Please tell me that's not true?
  • What is the difference between osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis?
  • What is septic arthritis?
  • I haven't been feeling well for quite some time. I was told I had a thyroid problem (low thyroid). Now they say I have fibromyalgia. Are these two problems connected somehow?
  • Last month I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia syndrome. Since then, I've gotten lots of advice from many friends and family about what to do for this problem. What do the experts say is best?
  • I have heard about a new treatment for osteoarthritis called MIRE. What is it?
  • I went to a physical therapist and had three sessions of iontophoresis for tendonitis. I couldn't believe how good it worked. Just exactly how does this treatment cure tendonitis?
  • I just got word from our hospital administrator that we will be required to survey patients before and after treatment. We're supposed to find out who gets better and analyze why. This will help us improve our treatment and make it more specific for each patient. The goal is to get the best outcome possible. The problem is that we already have three long pages of information we collect from everyone. How can we streamline this task?
  • I'm going to sign up for pool therapy to help with my fibromyalgia. The program is geared specifically for people with chronic pain. How many sessions should I go to?
  • Can you tell us a little about antibiotic beads? Our father had cellulitis and ended up with a compartment syndrome. When they opened up his leg in surgery, they put these beads inside. We've never heard of such a thing before.
  • Mother had a bad reaction to some antibiotic beads that were put inside an open wound to prevent infection. The surgeon said sometimes that happens. What causes that kind of response?
  • What is a tendon? How is it different from the ligament?
  • What types of injuries can happen to a tendon?
  • Why are some broken arms treated with casts that go below the elbow and some above?
  • Do you think it's really possible to diagnose myofascial pain syndrome by poking people's muscles? That's the only test I had. It seems like there should be some other testing.
  • Sometimes my middle finger starts twitching all by itself. When I press on my forearm, it stops but there is a lot of pain there. What could be causing this kind of reaction?
  • My parents used to be so active in the community -- dancing, BINGO, the Elks' Club. But now they have arthritis and they seem to be going downhill. The doctor says their condition isn't as bad as they make out. What could account for this disconnect between symptoms and activities?
  • I work at a senior citizen center with older adults who have knee and hip osteoarthritis. Is there any truth to the idea that people with a higher education level have milder arthritis disease?
  • I've heard that too much or not enough sleep isn't good for you. But what is just right?
  • I'm always hearing information on the radio and TV about osteoporosis and how to prevent it. What's the latest on taking calcium and vitamin D? For a while that was the big deal. Lately I haven't heard a thing.
  • I've heard that men can get osteoporosis (not just women). How can I tell if my husband has this?
  • My mother has had diabetes for many years. She takes insulin every day and takes very good care of herself. Unfortunately, that's not helping much because she's developing a whole bunch of complications from her eyes to her kidneys. Her latest one is that she is having trouble straightening out her hands. She was sure it was arthritis, but her doctor said it was something else. I can't recall the name, but it was something about the joints and he said that a lot of diabetics get it. Would you know what I'm talking about?
  • What is the biggest problem that people who have joint replacements face?
  • What is arthroscopic surgery?
  • If arthroscopic surgeries are so much better than open surgeries, how come not all are done that way now?
  • What is the difference between rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis?
  • Why are joint replacements not more common for people who have arthritis?
  • Does flooring make a difference in reducing fractures in the elderly?
  • I've heard all kinds of horror stories about taking steroids. But I have to take dexamethasone for nausea while having chemotherapy for my cancer. Is there anything I should do to prevent the negative effects of the dexamethasone?
  • I have asthma and another inflammatory lung condition called Sarcoidosis. I have to take an inhaled and an oral corticosteroid for these two problems. I've had one vertebral compression fracture so far. The doctor tells me I'll always be at risk for other fractures because of the steroids. What's the connection between these medications and bone fractures?
  • I see there's a health fair in our area that offers free bone scans for anyone who qualifies. How do I know if I qualify?
  • My doctor wants me to take a bisphosphonate drug to help prevent bone fractures from osteoporosis. When I went on-line I found out these drugs can cause problems with the jaw. What can you tell me about this?
  • What is the difference between rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, and septic arthritis?
  • I know that women and men feel pain differently. Could it be that it's because pain medications and treatments are usually tested on men and not women, so the doses or techniques may not be right for women?
  • What is the best way to test for osteoporosis?
  • My sister has multiple sclerosis and is slowly starting to lose her ability to function, although she's managing ok right now. The doctor did a test called the Hoffmann test. I understand it's just a simple thing to see if the nerves are working as they should. Can you explain it?
  • Why do diseases have such odd and hard to say names like Dupuytren disease or schwanomas?
  • I've recently been hired as a management and prevention specialist for professional dancers. I am a former dancer myself with a background in massage and athletic training. How can I help our dancers reduce their injuries?
  • I am a physical therapist with Pilates training and an interest in working with dancers. It seems like there are enough dance-related injuries to support this type of practice. Do you have any information that could help me with this decision?
  • Where does bone come from when they say I'll get donor tissue from the bone bank? And what's an allograft?
  • Is it possible to get AIDS from a tendon transplant?
  • As adult children, we are watching our parents struggle through Dad's new diagnosis of osteoarthritis. He seems to be in a lot of pain but unwilling to say so. Mom seems to be unaware (insensitive?) to his needs. Should we say something? And if so, what?
  • What's an aneurysm and how is it treated? My brother just called to say his wife has this problem. He was so upset, he couldn't explain anything to me.
  • I watched a video at the hospital that showed how they can use bone substitute instead of bone graft now for problems with fractures that leave a hole or don't heal. How can anything manmade be better than what God put in us?
  • When my mother was examined by the doctor for her pain in her side, her doctor commented that she was "guarding." I asked what that meant, but she didn't answer. What does it mean when someone is guarding?
  • Is it true that healthy athletes have been killed by staph infection? I heard that on an ESPN sports radio program.
  • I have the kind of psoriasis that comes with arthritis. I've been taking a simple over-the-counter antiinflammatory to control my joint symptoms. But what can I do for the skin problems? They don't seem to go away with the pills.
  • Is there a down side to taking Methotrexate for my psoriatic arthritis? I've been taking it for six years. It seems to be working, but I always worry it might not be good for me.
  • I keep hearing conflicting reports on diet for gout. My husband has occasional flare-ups, so I try to make sure I only cook and serve things that won't bother him. We don't really eat much lunchmeat, sausage, or other meats they tell us to avoid. What else can I do?
  • When someone is getting a blood thinner, how do doctors know how thin to make the blood?
  • My father got a blood clot in his leg after he had surgery on his lower back and it caused a lot of pain. How does this happen?
  • My sister has fibromyalgia and has a lot of difficulty remembering things or even completing things she starts. She used to be a wonderful writer and now her writing isn't nearly the caliber that it was before she got sick. Is that part of the disease and will it get worse?
  • When researchers look to see if a treatment is cost effective, what are they looking at?
  • What is pyomyositis?
  • What is the difference in care I may get between my orthopedic surgeon, who operated on my broken hip, or my own family doctor?
  • My mother's doctor wants her to take a medication called risedronateto build up her bones. She's already fallen and broken her hip twice. Isn't it too late?
  • My husband has had COPD for the last 10 years. He seems to have taken a real downturn this year. For a while we even had hospice here. But he seems to be slowly pulling out of it. Is it possible he could recover fully?
  • Is there any connection between arthritis and being a postmenopausal woman? Or does it all just have to do with getting older?
  • I don't understand what a stress fracture is. My daughter, a dancer, had one a few years ago.
  • What is the difference between a benign tumor and a malignant one?
  • My father had a tumor removed from behind his knee. The doctor took out out and said it wasn't cancer. How can he know for sure?
  • When I look in the mirror at myself, I see a noticeable bump on top of my collarbone on the right side. I don't remember injuring myself. What could be causing this?
  • What is this quality of life I hear about all the time when it comes to medicine and surgery?
  • What is a multidisciplinary approach in medicine?
  • My sister goes to a doctor where there is her regular doctor, a physiotherapist, an dietitian, and a midwife. My doctor refers me out to other people if I need it. Isn't it better to work the way my sister's doctor does?
  • When I was a child, I had Perthes disease. Now that I'm 30-years old, I still have a limp and some hip pain, but no other sign of a problem. I'm wondering about the limp and what I can do to get rid of it. What can you tell me?
  • I read a true story about a woman who lost the use of her arms after surgery. I myself am a paraplegic with no sensation or function below the belt. How could she lose sensation and movement of the arms but not the legs? This doesn't make any sense to me.
  • I see people wearing magnets around their knees or ankle for arthritis. Is there any proof that this works? I might give it a try if there is.
  • Our father had a very unusual problem after heart surgery. It's called the man-in-the-chest. We understand there was some brain damage from loss of blood. The area that was without blood and oxygen affected motor control of his arms. So he can feel his arms but he can't move them. How long does this last? Is it permanent?
  • Everyone I know seems to be complaining that they don't sleep well. I don't sleep well either but it's because I have fibromyalgia. What causes poor sleep with this condition? Is it different from the sleep issues that other people are struggling with?
  • I've heard that people with multiple sclerosis do better in a cooler climate. Is that true for people with fibromyalgia too?
  • I've been told I have fibromyalgia and that I need to exercise every day. But whenever I try to do anything, it just flares up my pain and other symptoms. I feel like I'm caught in a catch-22. How do other people with this problem manage?
  • What can you tell me about the cause of fibromyalgia? Is it stress?
  • I've been told I have myofascial pain syndrome. The diagnosis is made on the basis of the number of tender points on the body. But three different people have examined me, and they all used a different amount of pressure to test for those tender points. It makes me wonder if the test is really accurate. Won't everyone have tender points if you press hard enough?
  • Could you help my sister and I understand something? She has fibromyalgia. I have myofascial pain syndrome. We both hurt all over. What's the difference between these two problems?
  • Is there any evidence that smoking causes fibromyalgia?
  • I've been after my Mom to quit smoking since I was five. She has fibromyalgia and says it helps her pain. Isn't there something else that would work better?
  • My cousin had a bone infection and almost lost her leg. How can that happen? The doctor said something about a super bug.
  • How can MRSA infections be prevented?
  • Is there any truth to the idea that I'll live longer if I have less pain to deal with? Having rheumatoid arthritis has really limited my daily activities. It's been suggested to me that if I would have surgery for my wrist pain, I would have a better quality of life and then live longer.
  • I can't get my older teenagers to wear their seat belts when driving the car. They insist the air bags will protect them. Am I barking up the wrong tree here? Are they right?
  • Do doctors have to follow guidelines for treatment for a specific problem or are they only recommended guidelines?
  • Why are we told not to take antibiotics if we don't need them, but some doctors give them to prevent infection, like with surgery?
  • I heard there's going to be a shortage of surgeons able to do joint replacements on us older types. What's happening to cause this kind of shift?
  • My sister-in-law is a massage therapist. She's always telling us how beneficial massage is and that if everyone got a massage every week, we'd all be a lot healthier. Frankly, I'm getting kind of sick of hearing it. Isn't it true that everyone feels better with massage after being so touch deprived in our high-tech world? Is it really the massage that's therapy or just seeing someone who pays attention to you that makes the difference?
  • Why is there a distinction between people who get MRSA infection in the hospital and those who get it at home?
  • What is MRSA?
  • Workers' Comp has sent me to a physical therapy program to get me back to my job. I'm all for it, but I'm not sure my therapist really believes in me. The first day I was there, he asked me, Do you think your work status is going to be limited down the road by your health status? Why would he ask me this unless he thinks I can't make it?
  • I've been off work more than six months because of chronic neck and shoulder pain. I work as a grocery store checker, so I have to be able to lift and scan food products. Some of the items (like a gallon of milk or a 12-pack of beer) can be pretty heavy. Other items are light, but I'm picking up and scanning hundreds of things in a single work shift. Worker's comp is now sending me to a therapist for a functional capacity evaluation. Will the test really be an accurate way to test my ability to do the job?
  • Mother has every reason under the sun why she can't exercise to help her arthritis. She's in too much pain. She's too busy. She has no one to exercise with. How can we help her get into a regular routine of exercise?
  • I've started having painful leg cramps at night. The doctor is testing me to find out what might be causing it. She says it could be pregnancy (I'm too old), diabetes (I don't have that), a thyroid problem (they are checking for that), a side effect of medications (possible for me), and a long list of other things I don't even understand. If all these things can cause leg cramps, what's really happening inside my legs?
  • Is there any proof that those heated sports pants can help reduce muscle sprains and strains?
  • My father has been diagnosed with osteoarthritis. This is no surprise to us. He's been complaining about joint pain and predicting the weather for years. Now all of a sudden, his doctor wants him to take special classes on arthritis. How in the world is that going to help him?
  • Does it seem like there's more people now than even a generation ago with arthritis? I remember one of my aunts and one of my grandmothers had arthritis -- but it wasn't everyone. In my family alone, four of my siblings have arthritis and most of my friends. What is that all about?
  • Have you ever heard of bone graft being recalled? I thought that was just for food items. But my neighbor is a surgeon and she says it can happen. I can't tell if she's pulling my leg or not.
  • Can you get AIDs from a bone graft? I'm going to have a spinal fusion. Since my own bone is too brittle, the surgeon is going to use some from a bone bank. I'm worried about getting some disease from someone I don't know.
  • What happens to people with osteochondritis dissecans? I had this problem when I was a teenager. Now that I'm in my 30s, I'm old enough to take better care of myself. So I'm wondering if it will come back.
  • I've been working as an EMT in a fairly rural setting. Now I'm moving to a more urban (large) city. I'm brushing up on things like gunshot wounds and how they are treated. Can you direct me to any reading materials that might help?
  • I'm a high school cross country coach. For the first time in 20 years of coaching, I've got almost an entire team out with leg injuries. Most of them are ankle or knee problems. Could it be the shoes these kids are wearing? I've gone over and over in my mind the training approach I use -- but it hasn't caused injuries in the past, so why would it now?
  • Every TV talk show, news report, and magazine is full of how we should exercise every day or else suffer the consequences. Well, I don't really like to exercise. What do you suggest for people like me?
  • I work in an office with three other women who are very into running and exercising. They look great but it seems like they always have something wrong with them -- back pain, knee problems, ankle sprains. Isn't exercise supposed to help you stay fit? Can you overdo it?
  • My wife and I are both nurses planning to go to China with a volunteer medical aid group. We've been studying up on the types of problems that occur in that country. My special area of expertise is orthopedics. I see that the Chinese are more likely than Caucasians of developing a problem called giant cell tumor. What can you tell me about this?
  • I'm fairly young (32 years old) and need to have a spinal fusion for damage done to my spine in a car accident years ago. They told me I'll have to use my own bone harvested from the pelvic bone. Evidently, I'm not a candidate for bone graft substitutes because I could get pregnant. What does that have to do with anything?
  • My brother and I are having an argument over our mother's health care. She wants to see a homeopathic physician so I take her once a week for her remedies. He wants her to see a real medical doctor, but she doesn't want to go. Does it really matter how she's treated if she feels better?
  • Our family seems to be at risk for wrist and ankle sprains. It seems like someone is always bandaged up for one or the other. Is this something that is inherited?
  • We have a 13-year old gymnast for a daughter who insists she is going to join the Cirque du Soleil circus as soon as she leaves home. My husband is seeing the medical bills piling up for injuries of all kind. As a former gymnast (local only) myself, I assure him she will be trained to avoid injuries. What else can I tell him to get him to calm down and see reason about this decision?
  • We just came back from Las Vegas where we saw the Cirque du Soleil show Love. We haven't stopped talking about it from day one! How do they do that stuff without killing themselves? Or at least without breaking in half?
  • Is it true that it's better to have a shoulder problem from repetitive tasks on-the-job rather than a hand problem? I've been told shoulders recover faster but hand problems can become chronic in a short amount of time. I actually have a shoulder, elbow, AND hand problem.
  • I had a case of shingles that went away but I still have pain from it. The doctor tells me I have postherpetic pain. I'm using capsaicin cream right now but it's not much help. Does this eventually go away on its own?
  • Have you ever heard of a fracture belt? I used to live in the South, so I know there's a Bible belt, but this is the first I've heard of a fracture belt.
  • We just came back from the rehab center where my 88-year-old father is living for the moment. He fell and broke his hip but he's too old for a hip replacement, so they just pinned the bones together. The therapists say he's ready to go home but we (the adult children) don't think so. How can they possibly know what he is or isn't able to do at home alone? Can we challenge this decision?
  • My aging auntie (father's sister) lived with us for a while but we finally had to move her to an assisted living facility. Now she is doing so much better, she wants to move back with us. Is this a good idea? Or will she end up with another health problem, decline, and then we'll need to find her another placement? We just don't know what to do.
  • My father-in-law, mother-in-law, and my own mother have all fallen and broken their hips. Of course, we never really knew if the hip broke and they fell or they fell and the hip broke. In any case, I got to wondering why is it always the hip that breaks? Why don't older adults who fall break a leg or an ankle instead?
  • Can you tell me what chondrolysis is and how they treat this problem?
  • We've had a rash of reinjuries in our high school girls soccer team. As the assistant coach, it's my responsibility to help the girls prevent reinjuries. I'm scratching my head trying to figure out what we might be doing wrong. Is there any research out there that can help me?
  • My regular doctor sent me to an internist who specializes in metabolic diseases like osteoporosis. Now that they know I have osteoporosis for sure, more blood tests have been ordered. Do I really need all this testing? Isn't it enough to know I have osteoporosis and treat it?
  • I've been trying to keep up with the latest information on fibromyalgia. I get several newsletters on fibromyalgia and I read every twitter I can from other people with this problem. Is it true that scientists are close to finding a cure for this problem?
  • I've heard that you can get fibromyalgia from being a victim of child abuse. Is this really true? Both my sister and I grew up in a violent home. She has fibromyalgia, but I don't. Does this mean I will eventually come down with it?
  • Our 77-year-old mother is in the hospital with a broken leg. She had surgery late last night (Friday) and now nursing staff is waiting for the physical therapist to get her up and walking. The surgeon says he wants her up as soon as possible after the surgery to reduce complications. And she's supposed to be walking with a walker and medical staff everyday. But the therapist is only here this morning and there's reduced nursing coverage (and no therapist) tomorrow. If they have these policies in place, why don't they carry them out? I'm frustrated!
  • What's the latest on taking glucosamine for knee arthritis? One health magazine says, Take it, an article in today's newspaper says, Don't bother. Which is it?
  • I am seeing an internal specialist to try and find out what's causing my muscles and joints to ache so. I'm stiff, tired, don't sleep well, and I've lost my appetite. She tells me it might be fibromyalgia because my tests all came back normal. What if it is fibromyalgia? What happens then?
  • I have been diagnosed with fibromyalgia that may be part of a posttraumatic stress disorder. I'm not usually one to take medications but my physician is encouraging me to consider this as a way to get started. Can you tell me a little bit about the different drug choices?
  • My brother and I have both lost our spouses and live together now in our older years. He's developed some gout and refuses to see a doctor for it. Says it will go away on its own. Is this true? Should I insist that he get some kind of treatment? I don't know what to do.
  • I've heard that drinking regular soda pop can give you gout. Is that true?
  • I had low Vitamin D levels because I take seizure medication. At least that's what the doctor told me. I heard that I could go to a tanning booth and get all the vitamin D I need. I thought tanning booths were taboo. What's the scoop on this?
  • I started to experience muscle pain and weakness when I was in my mid-40s. Our old town doc told me to take calcium pills with vitamin D and it would go away. Sure enough it did. Now, 20 years later, I see this is the headline news in the health industry. What is it exactly that vitamin D does for muscles?
  • I'm reading more about fibromyalgia now. Is it becoming a "real" disease finally?
  • I'm looking into the possibility of getting one of those platelet-plasma shots for my knee arthritis. I'll stop at nothing until I can get some pain relief from this problem. The question I have is: can I get this treatment if I've had cancer? I know it's supposed to help speed up blood supply and healing to the area. Could that also cause cancer cells to grow faster? I am getting chemotherapy for the rest of my life for ovarian cancer.
  • I've heard of people getting bits of bone taken from one part of the body and used in another part. How does this work?
  • What are the advantages of a bone graft from your own body over a bone graft from a donor?
  • I'm getting very nervous with reports I hear of problems women are having taking Fosamax with hip fractures. I think I may stop taking the drug before something happens to me. What do you suggest?
  • My sister is always going to the emergency room for one problem or another. I don't remember her being a hypochondriac as a child. How does this kind of problem get started? Is there anything we can do as a family (her siblings) to help?
  • I don't hear much about psychosomatic disorders any more. I always kind of thought I had some of this going on but I was too embarrassed to get help. Is this still a real problem?
  • My husband and I went to a health fair and had our bones tested for osteoporosis. We were surprised that his test result was actually much worse than mine! What do we do now?
  • The local Meals on Wheels group who bring lunch to my parents suggested we get a physical therapist into the home to help Mom and Dad avoid falls that can break bones. What sorts of things can the therapist do that we can't?
  • What is the difference between MRSA infection that you can get in a hospital and what doctors are saying you can get at home. Are they two different bugs?
  • If lap belts are dangerous (causing broken backs and stuff), why are they allowed in cars?
  • I've had fibromyalgia for five-years now. Every year I hope for a cure. Every year I try something different but nothing works. Why can't I find a treatment that would at least help me get through each day with a little less pain?
  • I've heard that Pilates exercises works for all kinds of problems. Could it help someone like me with low energy and chronic pain from fibromyalgia?
  • When will doctors start using computers and scans in operating rooms to decrease the number of mistakes they make?
  • Someone told me that using scans and stuff in operating rooms adds too much time to surgery, making it dangerous to be open for that long. Is that true?
  • I am a well-educated English speaking African American woman. Despite all that, I still feel that when I go to a clinic or hospital (for myself or for my children), I am not treated with the same care and attention a white woman might get. Is this just me or do others have this same experience?
  • I am a nurses aid in a southern area of the United States. More than half of my patients are black. I have worked in other places where the patients were mostly white. It seems to me like the white folks get more medications and faster for pain than people of any other color. The more I pay attention to this situation, the more convinced I am that it is really true. Should I say something to the nurses? They are the ones giving out the pain pills.
  • Okay, I'm a baby boomer looking in the mirror and realizing that middle-age passed me by quite some time ago. I'm gray, spreading in the middle, and getting stiffer everyday. Never thought it would happen to me. Now I have the disease I thought was reserved for my grandparents: osteoarthritis. Give me a quick review on what I need to do to stay on top of this problem.
  • I am a 75-year-old senior with degenerative arthritis of the hips and knees. My grandson is a nurse and he really wants me to go see a physical therapist. I don't want to sound ignorant but what can they do for me that my grandson can't do?
  • I saw a special program on TV showing how doctors are going back to some old ways of treating problems with things like leeches and electric eels. In today's modern world, this seems barbaric to me. I think I understand how the leeches can be used to reduce local swelling. What do you think about the electric eel idea?
  • I am a candy-striper in our local hospital. They let me wheel patients down to physical therapy and over to X-ray. Every time I'm there, I take one man to physical therapy who has a badly broken leg. But what I don't understand is why they don't sew his skin closed? There's a wide open hole so you can see clear to the bone. I hate to admit this but it's really gross.
  • Can nails and screws used to fix broken bones be seen by x-ray and can they set off metal detectors?
  • My son's new friend has one leg that is shorter than another. She's 14. What could be the cause of that?
  • My daughter has one leg shorter than the other. She wants pretty shoes but we are limited to certain types (closed toe, for example) that can be built up by shoemaker. Is there any other option? Doing without the lift isn't possible.
  • I'm a little embarrassed to say this but my doctor told me I have osteoporosis and I don't really know what that is. She explained it to me but I was so shocked that there was anything wrong, I don't think it sunk in. Could you give me a simple explanation to start? I'll go to the library and get some more information later after I digest this.
  • I see Sally Fields on TV talking about taking medications for her bone health. She seems so young. I'm at least 10 years older than her. Do I need to take this, too?
  • Two years ago, I was diagnosed with complex regional pain syndrome or CRPS for short. At first, I didn't think much about it -- just slower to recover than I expected. But in some ways I'm worse than I was back then. Will I ever get better from this problem?
  • Is complex regional pain syndrome a psycho-somatic problem? This is going to sound weird, but I notice my symptoms are much better when my husband is gone for a week or when I'm on vacation alone. I'm kind of surprised by that because we get along fine, and I think I'm a pretty balanced person overall.
  • My doctor wants to prescribe a drug to me that isn't meant for my illness. She says that it's an off-label use, but if the FDA has approved it for one thing, how can a doctor legally prescribe it for another?
  • Grafting bones sounds like a very complicated procedure and it seems to be more painful for a child to take part of a bone from another part of the body to do this. Is there no other option?
  • If you're given a choice to have surgery to fix a dislocated joint, but you don't have to have it, according to your doctor, how do you decide?
  • What are the differences between the different joints in our body?
  • Our 14-year-old daughter wants to start a weight lifting program. She's just a tiny thing. How can we help her get started? Should we buy free-weights or a bench press? Is it better to use a home unit or go to a gym where they have those machines? As her mother, I'm mostly worried she's going to hurt herself. I've even heard people can kill themselves bench pressing too much weight that falls on them.
  • My wife and I run a small town fitness center located in the back of a sporting goods store. We are seeing more and more folks come in looking for a suitable weight-training program. We're also seeing an increase in the number of injuries. Is this happening elsewhere? We're wondering if it's just the small town macho attitude that keeps people from listening to us on how to train and then they end up hurting themselves. Anyone else seeing this?
  • Our daughter is enrolling in the university here in our own state. We were surprised by how much paperwork she had to complete. There was even a survey on how often she plays sports and what type of sports injuries she's had. Is that kind of information really necessary to attend university these days?
  • There's all this hype about kids today sitting too much while watching TV or playing computer games. What about all those injuries in young people involved in sports? Is there really so much advantage in being active when it's just going to end up in a different set of problems?
  • I heard an advertisement on the radio for gout sufferers. The message was for patients with gout that new treatment is now available with drugs approved by the FDA. I haven't had any gout for two years but I thought maybe I should check this out. Where can I get more information?
  • My husband has suffered with gout for years. I've been trying to find any information possible about a different or better way to treat this disease. His doctor says there hasn't been anything new drug-wise since the 1960s but there's some indication that this might change soon. What can you tell us?
  • My sister takes a pill called Amitriptyline for fibromyalgia. It helps her sleep and reduces her pain. I tried one of her pills for my chronic elbow tendonitis. I slept better, felt more rested, and could use my computer for the first time without pain. Would my doctor prescribe this for me if I don't have fibromyalgia?
  • I've just started taking a drug called Amitriptylene for a combination of problems -- chronic headaches and muscle aches and pains. I might have fibromyalgia but it hasn't been decided for sure. The drug seems to be helping because I feel better and can get more done at work. But when I get up in the morning, I am just dragging. I catch myself taking little cat naps at my desk. What can I do about this?
  • I've had fibromyalgia syndrome for 10 years and it's still going strong. At first they told me it would eventually burn itself out. Now I've found out that the muscle pain is the least of my worries. Depression, poor sleep, lack of sex drive -- you name it, I've got it. Is there any hope for a cure anytime soon?
  • I am a busy executive with a large corporation. And I've been handed a diagnosis of fibromyalgia syndrome to explain my chronic muscle and joint pain. My physician has given me a treatment plan that includes medication, vitamins, nutrition, and exercise. How long before I can expect to get on top of this problem?
  • I heard that Hispanics don't have to worry about brittle bones and fractures from osteoporosis. I'm a little suspicious about this because it isn't what my doctor told me. Is it true?
  • Ive never paid much attention to the whole brittle bone/osteoporosis thing but now that I'm turning 60 (this year), it has caught my attention. How can I tell if I'll get this problem?
  • Mother is going to have some kind of blood injection of platelets into her knee for arthritis. She will be donating her own blood for the procedure, so we've been told there won't be any kind of transfusion reaction. We don't really know much more about this treatment. Are there dangerous side effects?
  • In 1995, I did my biology research project in college on a new treatment called platelet-rich plasma. The research community was sure there would be all kinds of applications for this product. What is it being used for (if anything)? How successful has it been?
  • We are an older couple (in our 80s), downsizing, and moving out of our home built in the 1970s to something smaller. My wife has diabetes and uses a push-type wheelchair. We are having trouble finding a place with door frames wide enough. Aren't buildings supposed to be wheelchair accessible these days?
  • Our 77-year-old mother wants to draw down her savings to buy an expensive scooter. We are concerned on several levels. First, she needs exercise and she can walk just fine without even a walker. Second, her home is an older 1940s model with narrow hallways and small rooms. And, of course, the expense. Are we being unrealistic?
  • Mother spent almost $5,000 on a scooter that she only uses around the house and in her immediate neighborhood. This seems like a big waste of money to us. How do other people justify this kind of expenditure?
  • I know we are like many middle-aged people trying to help their parents stay healthy and active. But Mom and Dad don't want to go anywhere or do anything farther away than around the block. Is that enough? How hard should we push? I don't want them to end up in a wheelchair or nursing home any sooner than they have to but we also have our own family to care for.
  • The kids at school think I'm a freak because I can put both my legs and arms behind my head with no trouble at all. My mother thinks I'm going to dislocate something doing this trick. Is it really possible to pop a joint out when I'm already so flexible?
  • What is the difference between an open fracture and a closed fracture? Is one worse than the other?
  • I am a graduating medical student heading into an internship in two months. I'm looking for any information that might help me get ready for my pediatric rotation. Where should I start?
  • Our 14-year-old daughter is a very good ballet dancer with a potential career in ballet. She is very flexible -- probably too flexible. It almost seems like she injures herself often because the joints bend too far. Is there something that can be done to help tighten her up a bit?
  • All my life I have sprained and strained various joints. I've had injuries to my wrists, ankles, knees, and both thumbs. I was finally diagnosed with a generalized joint hypermobility (GJH) condition. I found some information in a book that says people like me are more likely to experience joint injuries because of the GJH. But an article I read on-line said there's no real proof of that. Which is it?
  • I've had chronic tennis elbow off and on for the last 10 years. The last two years, it's been more on than off. My surgeon is recommending something called PRP. It's injected into the area to help kick start healing in that area. What can you tell me about this?
  • I had a new treatment for my plantar fasciitis called platelet-rich plasma or PRP that seemed to work beautifully. But I heard a report on TV that said they are taking a second look at this product because it's not working as well as they had hoped. What's going on?
  • I seem really prone to muscle cramps in my calf muscles. I've heard that pickle juice works for this kind of problem. Is it true and does it really work?
  • Can you explain something to me? My brother and I are identical twins. We are both 16-years-old and actively involved in all kinds of sports. I get muscle cramps in my legs, he doesn't. How come? We seem so alike in every other way -- our size is the same, we eat the same foods, we both exercise, train, and workout together.
  • We're not sure you can really answer this question but here goes. How much medical testing is really needed to tell if a child has something called Loeys-Dietz? This concerns our adult foster daughter who has a child with this condition. The genetic testing has confirmed it, so why do they have to do more X-rays, CT scans, and an echocardiogram?
  • Have you ever heard of a nerve conduit? It's supposed to help nerves grow back. How does it work?
  • What's holding up the research on tendon injuries using stem cells? With the new administration in Washington, D.C., I thought this was going to be something we would see sooner than later.
  • I heard there are attempts to make a ready-to-use stem cell repair kit for injuries -- even things like tennis elbow (which I suffer from). Is this true? How do they do it?
  • It seems to me like some of the people at work are taking advantage of the Workers' Compensation system. Since they don't have to pay for the care they receive, it's like a paid vacation. Where's the incentive to get better?
  • I think I finally figured out that the symptoms I'm having are from fibromyalgia. But there's a ton of stuff on the Internet about where to go for help and what to do first. I can't decide between ordering nutritional supplements, getting a massage, using essential oils, trying hypnosis, and a million other things. What do you advise?
  • My sister just came back from the doctor's with a diagnosis of fibromyalgia syndrome. That clears up a lot about why she's had so much pain and can't sleep. What are some things we should know about this condition in order to help support her?
  • Is there anything new in the treatment of fibromyalgia? My case is pretty well under control but I like to be ready if I should have a flare-up.
  • I'm a newcomer on the scene for fibromyalgia. I understand it's a diagnosis that's been around for awhile. What can you tell me about it to catch me up with everyone else who's got it?
  • I've been a long-time sufferer with lupus. My symptoms are pretty well controlled with medications. But the meds have side effects of their own. I've heard there might be some new drugs out soon. What can you tell me about these?
  • Is it really true that having lupus will shorten my life?
  • Mother had arthritis as a senior citizen that later put her in a wheelchair. At age 62, I'm starting to develop some of the same symptoms. It seemed like her arthritis took over fast. How can I avoid the same fate?
  • I just found out that I don't have osteoarthritis after all. I can't tell you how relieved I am. But it took going to three doctors before I got the correct diagnosis. How can they miss something like this? Isn't arthritis pretty easy to tell?
  • We are sending our three children to their grandparents for three weeks this summer. They live in the woods where there are snakes known to be around. I'm not sure what to tell the kids to help prepare them for the possibility of poking around and finding something venomous. What do you advise?
  • Is it true that snake bites shouldn't be treated by making small cuts and drawing the poison out?
  • We live in Utah where mosquitoes are rare but spiders are everywhere. I used to put spider boards down on the floors. I always collected many more spiders than I would like. Now I have two very young children who are on the floor. How do I keep them from getting spider bites?
  • I thought I found the miracle cure for my gout when my doctor prescribed colchicine for me. But I've developed terrible nausea, diarrhea, and sometimes vomiting. I've stopped taking the drug but my symptoms are coming back. What do you suggest?
  • I'm not getting the results I expected from drug therapy for my gout. What else can I do?
  • I've just been diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis. My physician wants me to start taking medications right away. I would rather wait as long as possible. She is advising against that strategy saying early treatment is best. What do you think?
  • Mom has been given a new set of drugs by her doctor guaranteed to put her into "remission". What does that mean exactly? These drugs are costing her a fortune. We think they are going to put her in the poor house.
  • Everybody in my bridge club belly aches about their arthritis but nobody seems to do anything about it. Are there things I can suggest without raising their ire?
  • My daughter has this strange idea that if she donates her body to science after she dies, they can use it to make important discoveries about bones, joints, and muscles. This is important to her as she has had many orthopedic injuries in her younger years as an athlete. I can't see how this donation of her body is really going to advance science. I'd rather have a gravesite to visit. What do you think?
  • I've always believed that if I eat right and exercise every day, I wouldn't develop arthritis. Now the X-rays show me how wrong I was in that idea! So what is it about aging that brings on osteoarthritis?
  • Can you tell me a little bit about a test called SSEP? I'm having some spinal surgery where this will be used and I'd like to understand it a little better.
  • Last year I had a thumb problem that turned out to be De Quervain syndrome. Now I have a new problem called intersection syndrome. It feels pretty much the same, so what's the difference? It might help you to know I work as a housekeeper at a large hotel chain.
  • What can you tell me about stress fractures these days? When I was an athlete, this seemed to be a rarity. But now with three teenage girls in the family and all involved in various sports, dance, and gymnastics, we are starting to see these crop up.
  • I'm only 51-years-old but I've already started noticing how much trouble I'm having with simple things like brushing my hair or getting up and down from the table. I'm not highly active, but I'm not a couch potato either. Could there be something serious happening?
  • My mother was just diagnosed with dermatomyositis. It started out with a skin rash and some funny bumps on her hands then muscle weakness to the point of being in a wheelchair. The physician she's seeing has put her on some medications and thinks her symptoms will get turned around. What can we do to help get her back on her feet?
  • Mother has just been put on prednisone for her rheumatoid arthritis. It's a trial basis to see how she does. The pharmacist gave her a sheet of possible "adverse effects" of this medication. One of the items on the list is osteonecrosis of the hip or shoulder. My uncle had this (her brother) and ended up with a hip replacement because of it. That's the last thing Mother needs right now. What are her real chances of developing osteonecrosis from taking this drug?
  • What can you tell me about a problem in the hand called acute compartment syndrome? My grandpa is in the hospital with this, and I don't really understand what's going on.
  • What do you think of the new arthritis cream available now? Does it work? Should I give it a try?
  • I was a medic in the Viet Nam war so I know what it's like to get a wounded soldier off the field and to a med-evac unit. But now that it's my son who was injured in Operation Iraqi Freedom, I can't help but wonder how they got this kid from the front lines to the U.S. in under a week. That would have never happened for us. I can't really ask him yet (the subject is off limits) so I'm digging around on the Internet to see what I can find about combat injuries.
  • I have fibromyalgia and my sister has rheumatoid arthritis. Is there any chance either of us would develop the other problem (I get the arthritis on top of my fibro and she gets fibro on top of her arthritis)? Is there a blood test that might show if we are at risk?
  • Our state flag is flying at half-mast again for yet another soldier killed in the Iraqi war. I think those are the lucky ones. When I see the news casts of returning soldiers with missing fingers, toes, arms, and legs, I can't help but wonder how that is affecting our morale, our security, and the war effort.
  • It looks like our wounded warriors stationed in Iraq are coming home in bits and pieces. It's obvious when they've lost an arm or leg but what other injuries are these terrible bombs causing that we can't see?
  • Is it true that penicillin no longer works as an antibiotic?
  • Our daughter is at the Walter Reed Hospital facing some serious leg injuries from an IED. What should we brace ourselves for in the next few weeks to months?
  • Early on in the Iraq war, our son was injured by a car bomb. He came back to the U.S. missing a foot but ended up having the lower leg removed because of the pain. Is anything better being done now to help save these kids' limbs?
  • How are nerve injuries treated these days? My 20-year-old nephew is being med evaced to the states from Iraq where he has been serving with Operation Desert Storm. All we know is that the major nerve(s)? to his hand have been severed by an explosive device.
  • I am physical therapist working in a rehab center where we often see traumatic leg and arm injuries from car and work-related accidents. We are trying to develop a way to measure and document muscle loss from the time of the injury through discharge from treatment. What are other trauma centers using?
  • I'm having a hard time seeing how my husband is going to recover from a wound he received in Iraq. Half of the lower leg is simply missing. I can't say this to him but given the number of surgeries they are saying it will take to reconstruct the leg, I can't help but wonder if it will be worth all the time, energy, effort, and pain.
  • I lived in New York City until six months ago. Now I'm in the west with my daughter and son-in-law. I'm concerned because I saw a report that older folks like me (I'm 77-years-old) aren't always treated the same if living on the east coast compared to being out west. I'm in good health but would like to stay that way should anything happen to me. What do you know about this?
  • I am new to the diagnosis of fibromyalgia but I'm convinced my doctor is right and that's what I have. She tells me it's not just in my head -- it's in my entire nervous system. Could you help me understand this a little more? Why is my nervous system acting this way?
  • I know I'm not crazy and I know I'm not making this up. I have constant pain in parts of my body that have no signs of injury, damage, or inflammation. I did have a car accident several years ago that started all this. Does anyone know how to turn off the system without drugs or surgery? That's what I'm after.
  • What can you tell us about a skin condition called necrotizing fasciitis? We understand it is fairly rare (our elderly father is in the hospital with this) and can be deadly.
  • What is hyperbaric oxygen therapy and how does it work? My husband is at a large teaching hospital where they have all the latest technology. They are proposing this treatment for necrotizing fasciitis. He is in danger of losing his leg from a strep and staph infection without it.
  • Do you think it makes a difference whether a surgeon uses imaging to inject the shoulder joint? My surgeon takes X-rays before but does the actual injection in the office just using visual guidance. From what I've found on the Internet, this method isn't as accurate as with using ultrasound or real-time X-rays.
  • I'm a parent who has had to practice "tough love" many times with my son who is now a young adult. His latest escapade involves shooting up drugs and landing in the hospital with something called compartment syndrome of the forearm. I don't plan to rescue him, but I'd like to know what could happen as a result of this injury.
  • Our family watched the new release of an old western ("True Grit") last night. The girl in the movie gets a snake bite and ends up losing her arm. The cowboy who rescues her does cut the snake bite open and suck the poison out. So why did she still end up losing her arm? I really didn't know how to explain it to the kids.
  • What's the prognosis for compartment syndrome of the forearm and what can happen if it isn't treated?
  • My brother was just diagnosed with a form of arthritis called psoriatic arthritis. He's not saying much. Could you tell us what's the worse he might expect with this disease?
  • I am seeing a new rheumatologist for my psoriatic arthritis. She seems bent on having every imaging study done possible -- X-rays, MRIs, ultrasound. My old rheumatologist didn't do all this business. Do I really need all these studies?
  • What's the difference between vitamin D insufficiency and deficiency? I see both terms and wonder if I am one or the other.
  • I've heard there's a new drug out for lupus. What do you know about it? Should I jump on the wagon?
  • What is lupus and how is it treated? My sister-in-law who is hispanic was just diagnosed. They say it's more common in this ethnic group. Other than that, we don't know much about this problem.
  • Doc says I have to give up coffee if I want to get rid of my migraines. Would a single cup of coffee in the morning still be a problem?
  • I am supposed to fast for 12 hours before my scheduled surgery next week and I'm a little worried. I confess to being addicted to caffeine and I know I'll get a lollapallooza of a headache if I don't get my daily "fix." How can I avoid this problem without my coffee, chocolate, and daily energy drink?
  • I have just been diagnosed with a special kind of arthritis called psoriatic arthritis. It progressed from some mild joint swelling to a full blown, severe case in a matter of days. My doctor is talking about which medication is best to treat this. What do your experts say?
  • I'm not trying to be a difficult patient but every drug I've taken for my arthritis just doesn't work. Either I get worse side effects than the arthritis symptoms or it simply doesn't work. I have a special kind of arthritis called psoriatic arthritis. Is there anything new on the horizon for this problem?
  • I'm feeling like an old grandmother today with bursitis in my knee and my elbow and I'm only 55-years-old. I always thought of this as an old-lady disease but here I am with it. Is it really a reflection of my age or something else?
  • I confess I'm a retired physician with a healthy interest in sports, sports celebrities, and the treatment of sports injuries. For awhile, the new platelet-rich plasma treatment for soft tissue injuries was front and center of all the news media reports. When any big time player got this treatment, we all heard about it. But it seems to have fallen off. What's the status of this treatment technique? Was it all media hype and bogus or is there something to it?
  • I heard Tiger Woods had some kind of blood treatment for his ACL injury. Is this something that's available for anyone or just celebrities with lots of money? If there's something out there that could help my ACL (besides surgery), I'm all interested.
  • I've had lupus since I was 23. Now at age 40, I have found ways to manage except for my right wrist. I am right-handed and it would be helpful if I could get the full use of that wrist back. Splinting hasn't helped. Exercises help me stay the same but they don't improve things -- just keep them from getting worse. Any suggestions?
  • I really love my Pilates class -- I go almost everyday. But I can't help but wonder if there's any real scientific basis for this technique. I've heard it has been around a long time but I couldn't find much on the Internet to prove it works. What do you know about it?
  • My niece is a physical therapist and a pretty smart cookie. She's been involved in some studies developing something she calls treatment-based classification. She tries to explain it to me but I think I need a tutorial. Can you help me out? I'd like to keep the conversation she's interested in going but I'm at a loss here.
  • I've had a bone problem called multiple hereditary exostoses since I was a kid. It's never bothered me and I've given it almost no thought. But recently, I found out that one of these bony bumps is becoming cancerous. I'm scheduled to have surgery to remove it but I'd like to know how serious is this condition?
  • Dad is in having spine surgery right now for several bad disks that have gotten tangled up around the spinal nerves. Before surgery, they told us the surgeon would be monitoring him to make sure things don't go bad. I guess he could end up paralyzed if something went wrong. I've been searching on-line about this business and found that not all surgeons do this because it's not really accurate. What can you tell me about this monitoring?
  • What can you tell me about bone cysts? And especially aneurysmal bone cysts?
  • I keep pretty close watch on my favorite teams. Baseball is my top sport of interest. Is it just me or does it seem like more players than ever before are hitting the disability list? What's up with that? (I have my own theories but I'd like to hear yours).
  • I have a "little" brother (23-years-old) who is a rookie for a top team I won't name. He went into the group in top physical condition but seems to be on the disability list more than he's off. First it's the elbow, then the knee. Now it's his back. Is this typical? Do they try and kill off their own rookies before the season even begins?
  • I'm really confused about how much alcohol is good to drink. I've always been told "too much" is bad for you -- alcoholism and liver damage. Then it was, "Oh alcohol is good for your heart." Now I heard a report that it's also good for the bones." It doesn't seem like we can have it both ways...bad for you, good for you. What do you tell your patients?
  • Mother refuses to see a doctor about her bones. Even though she is getting more and more stooped over, she insists her spine is straight as ever. Is there any way to tell if she is getting brittle bones without an X-ray? It would sure be helpful if there was some kind of test kit at the drug store like they have for early pregnancy testing.
  • I am a gout sufferer. I just happened to be traveling in Europe this summer when I saw a special report that many patients with this disease aren't really getting the control they should be with their meds. How can I tell if I might be one of them?
  • What's the connection between sugar drinks and gout? Is there one? I have gout and my 80-year-old mother is still telling me to cut out the soda pop because it can cause my gout to flare up. Since she is usually right about these things, I thought I would at least ask.
  • I just applied for a job that required a TB test. It came back positive but I don't have any symptoms. I have had rheumatoid arthritis but that doesn't bother me with the new meds I'm on. The rheumatologist is saying I have a "latent" case of TB. What does that mean exactly?
  • My mother has a pretty serious case of rheumatoid arthritis. I heard on NPR that people with rheumatoid arthritis are getting tuberculosis now from the medications they are taking. Should Mom be tested for TB? What should we be telling her?
  • Can you give me some general guidelines for activity and exercise after I have my knee replaced? I know this varies from person-to-person but what are patients told are general good rules to follow? I intend to be very active but don't want to blow it either.
  • I like to keep up with my self-care in all areas. This week I'm checking out what's the latest on osteoporosis. Anything new or different I should be doing? Right now, I take calcium, exercise every day, and eat a healthy diet. Am I missing anything?
  • My husband is having joint replacement surgery next week. The surgeon is recommending the use of a pain pump to keep on top of the pain. The idea is that rehab goes better and faster if the patient has little to no pain. Are there any downsides to this treatment? We really like to go without drugs as much as possible.
  • I had a knee replacement last year that went very well. They put me on a pain pump to numb the knee. I could get up and get going so much easier without the terrible pain other people told me to expect. Now I hear these pain pumps cause joint damage and shouldn't be used. Will that affect me too?
  • My sister is pushing me to get an advance directive and include donating my body for the sake of science. Can you give me even one example of how my dead body is going to help anyone?
  • I'm chasing after any and every treatment for my degenerative disc disease. I've looked into acupuncture, hypnosis, prolotherapy, and even inversion therapy. I just read a report that there are blood injections that work for everything. Would this be a reasonable option for me?
  • Can you tell me if there are any negative effects of platelet-rich plasma injections? How often should I have this treatment? What's the maximum number of injections I can have?
  • What ever happened to stem cell research? I thought this was going to be the miracle cure for all diseases including arthritic joints. I'm definitely interested!
  • I've heard they are using blood injections to cure tennis elbow and other tendon problems. What about joint problems? Can I get an injection of my own blood put in my arthritic knees? Is this idea getting any press?
  • I saw a very interesting TV special on ways to stop arthritis before it starts. One that they mentioned but didn't say much more about was the use of our own platelet cells injected into the joints. How does this work exactly? Aren't platelets what help blood clot? Wouldn't clots be a problem in the joints?
  • When a surgeon does a bone graft procedure, how long does it take for the graft to "take" so-to-speak? I'm just wondering because my sister just had this done and I want her to be in my wedding next month.
  • I'm doing some research on the Internet about bone grafting. I may have to have this done if the break in my leg bone doesn't start healing up better than it is. I keep seeing reference to "minor" and "major" complications. It sure seems to me like they all sound major. How are these different?
  • I just added a new word to my medical vocabulary: myofascial trigger point. Turns out that's what's been causing my neck and arm pain. A physical therapist figured this out and now I'm getting the right treatment for the problem. Can you tell me a little more about this condition?
  • My brother has this annoying habit of coming up behind me and pinching the muscle above my shoulder. He says it's the "Vulcan death grip." I can believe that because it is incredibly painful. Brings me to my knees every time. What is he really pinching and what can I do to stay relaxed and unresponsive to this technique?
  • Can you tell me a little about the kind of surgery they might do for psoriatic arthritis? I have pretty severe joint damage and I'm just starting to explore my options.
  • I've had psoriasis for a long time now. Thought I'd check in and see if there's anything new. Give me a quick refresher, won't you please?
  • I'm reading various articles on-line about platelet-rich plasma therapy. I've had several key players on my basketball team get these treatments. I'm trying to figure out if they really work well enough to insist other injured players get the same treatment. I'm having some difficulty understanding what is meant when studies are deemed "low-quality" or "moderate evidence." Help?
  • I have a question about the new blood injection therapy available for sports injuries. I understand they take the patient's own blood and spin it down to get just the platelets. Then they inject those platelets into the injured area. But don't platelet just cause blood to clot? How does this help the sprained ankle for example?
  • I am a physical therapist interested in platelet-rich plasma (PRP) treatment for sports injuries. Some of the more recent research suggests that the inflammatory process at the beginning of an injury should not be slowed down by using ice or taking antiinflammatory medications like ibuprofen. But what about the PRP treatment? Doesn't that introduce an elevated number of white blood cells and growth factors? Doesn't that heighten the inflammatory process?
  • I'm doing a little research for the orthopedic surgeon I work for. She uses platelet-rich plasma treatments for some carefully selected patients. We have recently found out that the lab where the samples are collected is reporting different blood (platelet and white blood cell) counts. I have the task to find out more about this. Is this happening everywhere? Are there any studies to help us investigate this further ourselves?
  • Maybe I'm being a bit obsessive compulsive but that is my nature. I'm investigating the use of platelet-rich plasma to treat a chronic tendon problem I have. So far, I understand the concept and the procedure. But now I find there are dozens of "kits" the surgeon can choose from to actually do the blood draw and make the injection. How do they know which one to choose? Should I investigate further?
  • Are there any safety issues with blood injection plasma for tendon tears? I'm planning to have this treatment but thought I'd do a little checking on the Internet before actually going through with it.
  • I am not an athlete and I'm heading toward middle age (I'm 43 years old) but I seem to have developed the kind of tendon problems athletes deal with. In fact, the doctor calls it tendinopathy, which is the same term I've heard applied to some of my favorite athletes. How does a guy like me get a problem like this?
  • I am 16-years old and the captain of both the girls' volleyball and soccer teams at my high school. Lately, I've been having tendon problems. First it was my elbow, now it's my knee. My parents don't want me to have the steroid injections that have been recommended. And I certainly don't want to miss out on my senior year if I opt for surgery. What can I do to get through this problem quickly?
  • It seems like all of my friends (yes, we are all "Seniors") are taking something for their joint pain they found on the Internet. I've been advised to take SAMe, glucosamine, fish oil, capaicin cream, and a ton of other stuff. Is there any scientific proof that any of these things really work?
  • The guy at our local vitamin shop has advised me against taking glucosamine for my arthritis. I have allergies to shellfish and these supplements are evidently made from the shells of shellfish. Are these pills really helpful? Does having an allergy to shellfish really mean I should avoid them?
  • I suffered my first gout attack about six months ago. After the second attack yesterday, my doctor gave me a prescription for colchicine. But my father (who also has gout) told me he's never heard of this drug. Should I really be taking it? Should my father find out about it? Maybe HE should be taking it, too.
  • When should someone with gout have the fluid taken out of the joint and sent to the lab? I've never had this done but someone else I know has. Just wondering why there's a difference in how we are treated when we both have the same problem.
  • How reliable are animal studies when checking out something that is going to be used on humans? I ask this because my surgeon wants to inject my own blood plasma into my elbow for a true golfer's elbow. But when I went on-line, most of the studies using this blood injection therapy have been on animals. So I'm a little less than enthusiastic to try this new treatment. What can you tell me?
  • I've been thinking about have a PRP injection into my elbow to help heal a bad case of tennis elbow. When I looked on-line I found your Patient Guide to Platelet-Rich Plasma Treatment. I work in a lab in a hospital so I know that preparations of this type are not all equal. How do I know I'll be getting the exact right mix for my problem?
  • I am a college-level athlete (women's basketball). I've started taking some supplements my Mom sent me but I also saw some stuff on the Web that says what I really need is Vitamin D3 (not D2) even if I am young and healthy. I don't want to pollute my body with anything (including vitamins) without knowing they are helping. Do you have any advise on this?
  • Is it true everyone living in the north should take vitamin supplements? What if I am very healthy, very active, and participate in outdoor sports activities like golf, tennis, and hiking? How do I know what I really need?
  • I am self-employed so if anything happens to me on-the-job, it's tough luck, Charlie. I have a couple of friends who seem to take advantage of the Worker Compensation system. It takes them much much longer to heal and recover compared to someone like me who can't afford to miss a day of work. Wouldn't we be better off if there was NO Worker Compensation system at all? Then the "no work, no pay" approach would ensure an equal playing field.
  • I'm new in the business of industry that involves worker injuries and Worker Compensation. I hear grumbling that workers who have been injured are just holding out for higher settlements. But most of our workers are younger and eager to get back to work. What's the real truth here?
  • Can a young, healthy athlete really have muscle (and other) injuries from low vitamin D? I heard that somewhere. Just checking it out. I don't think it applies to me, but want to make sure.
  • Can young, healthy athletes really be vitamin D deficient? Our son's basketball coach wants everyone tested. We think it's a lot of hype. Do you think this is really necessary?
  • I heard they are now saying fat comes in white and brown and the white kind is what leads to joint arthritis. Is this really true?
  • Can you help explain something to me? Both my brother and I are significantly overweight (more than 100 pounds). He has terrible knee arthritis, which his doctor insists is because he is fat. I am even heavier than he is and I don't have any knee pain. Why the difference between us?
  • This is kind of a touchy question but how do I know if my doctor is keeping up with the latest treatment of rheumatoid arthritis? I want to make sure I am getting everything possible and necessary to keep this problem in check.
  • We are looking into all ways to treat osteoporosis for my aging father. He had what they call a low-energy fracture (fell from a standing position without being pushed) and broke his arm. I saw on-line that this problem should be treated with diet, exercise, and medications. What are the most commonly used medications and what should we watch out for?
  • My mother, grandmother, and myself all have hand osteoarthritis but when we compared notes, it seems we all react to the weather differently. Hot temperatures make my hands worse, while Mom gets better and Grandmama says she only feels worse when it's humid outside. Can you explain this to us?
  • I am a military wife with three small children depending on my husband (U.S. Army) for support. Currently, he is in the hospital with compartment syndrome of the right leg. What are his chances for full return to active duty?
  • I am a competitive athlete getting ready for the Hawaii iron man event next month. Unfortunately, I have come up lame with compartment syndrome of both legs. I had surgery to release the pressure but now I have an inflamed nerve. Will this get better? What is the treatment for it?
  • What's the best way to treat a strained or torn muscle? I'm not sure which one I have but whatever you tell me to do, I'll try!
  • How can I tell if my hamstring muscle is strained or actually ruptured? I think I may have torn my left hamstrings muscle but I can't tell for sure.
  • I participated in a study at the large medical center associated with our university system. They collected and compared stem cells from two places (bone marrow from my breast bone and pelvic bone). But I never heard the results of the study. What kind of research is being done with bone marrow stem cells?
  • How does platelet rich plasma work to improve cartilage?
  • What is the difference between a surgical complication and a surgical sentinel event? †
  • What do surgeons consider when someone comes in with a mangled arm from a piece of farming equipment? I am a 40 year old farmer and recently had a run in with my tractor and had my arm amputated below the elbow as a result.I am wondering why they didnít try to reconstruct it.
  • Are there serious complications from having a blood transfusion during a total joint replacement?
  • What risk factors might someone have that makes it more likely they would receive a blood transfusion during or right after a total joint replacement?
  • What are my treatment options for double crush syndrome?
  • 1)Why do athletes put tape on their joints?
  • I was recently diagnosed with severe osteoporosis by my regular doctor. Besides calcium supplements, is there anything else that I should be doing?
  • I am worried about my 72 year old mom who has osteoporosis and recently fell and broke her hip. †Is there anything that I can do to prevent this again in the future?



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