Shingles—officially known as herpes zoster—is an infection of a nerve and the area of skin supplied by the nerve. It is caused by the varicella zoster virus, a virus in the herpes family that also causes chickenpox. After a person has chickenpox, some virus particles remain inactive in the nerve … Read More
For more than 100 million Americans, conditions like arthritis, fibromyalgia, nerve damage, migraine headaches, or cancer can cause unrelenting pain. But relief is now available in new classes of drugs, yoga exercises, and inflammation-reducing diets.
Take migraine headaches, for instance, a common source of chronic pain affecting 1 in 10 Americans, most of them women. These are not just everyday headaches. Migraine symptoms also include nausea, vomiting, light and sound sensitivity, auras, and other visual disturbances. Because doctors still don’t fully understand what causes migraines, they haven’t been able to develop a cure for this condition. Treatments aim to reduce the frequency of migraine attacks and relieve symptoms when they start.
Fibromyalgia is another poorly understood condition. The estimated 5 million Americans who have this condition experience fatigue and pain in particular spots around their body. Other fibromyalgia symptoms include sleep problems, headaches, sensitivity to heat and cold, bowel issues, and memory problems.
Back problems are another source of chronic pain. Sciatica affects the lower back and legs. It starts in the sciatic nerve, which runs down the lower back, hips, buttocks, and legs. A herniated disk that puts pressure on the sciatic nerve often triggers sciatica. Spinal stenosis—a narrowing of the spine—can also put pressure on the sciatic nerve. Sciatica can be very painful, but medicines, physical therapy, and other treatments usually improve the pain within a few weeks.
Sometimes back pain can be traced to the kidneys, which are located on the back side of the body. Many people mistake kidney pain for back muscle strains. The most common causes of kidney pain are infection, kidney stones, polycystic kidney disease (in which growths called cysts form in the kidneys), bleeding, and kidney cancer. Because kidney pain can signal a more serious condition, it’s important to call the doctor for any constant, dull pain on one side of the back.
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Because kidney pain location is frequently focused in the upper back, it’s easy to mistake kidney pain for pinched nerve that can trigger spinal stenosis symptoms. Kidney pain also tends to feel different—deeper, with kidney pain location under the ribs rather than centered on the spinal column (although kidneys pain … Read More
Drinking plenty of fluids has been among the top recommended strategies for preventing urinary tract infections (UTIs). But how much water is enough? Drinking an additional three pints of water a day may keep the urinary tract infection (UTI) away, at least for women who are prone, according to a … Read More
Typhus is a group of bacterial diseases with a long history. “Epidemic typhus caused by Rickettsia prowazekii is one of the oldest pestilential diseases of humankind,” according to researchers of an article published in the journal Microbiology Spectrum.
Despite hanging around for centuries, giving generations of researchers a chance to study … Read More
The moment your doctor tells you that you’ll have to undergo a surgical procedure can be a frightening, confusing, and stressful experience. All kinds of thoughts will cross your mind—it’s natural to worry about the skills of your medical team, the operation’s outcome, and potentially high medical bills that will … Read More
As medical experts learn more about inflammation and how it affects our overall health, its link to a broad array of diseases and medical conditions has also been discovered. Its effect on almost all parts of the body—heart, lungs, bones, joints, skin, brain, and more—means that doctors often recommend a … Read More
Do you find yourself experiencing sore muscles more frequently than you should? The condition may be nothing to worry about—or it could be something that needs medical attention. Consider that there are two types of muscle soreness: One is called acute muscle soreness and the other is delayed onset muscle … Read More
Our skin is our body’s largest and fastest-growing organ—it protects us from harmful bacteria, keeps us warm when it’s cold and cool when it’s hot, and allows us to feel the outside world through the nerves that exist beneath it. But sometimes our immune system, which is also meant to … Read More
A concussion is more than a knock on the head that makes your mind foggy for a while. Research has linked concussion with a greater risk for dementia in older age, while other studies suggest that the concussions many teen athletes sustain while playing sports such as football and ice … Read More