Tension Headache Got Stress

The name “tension headache” immediately implies the cause for this malady that affects millions of people every day. People who suffer from these types of headaches describe them as tightness in their head or neck muscles-almost like someone is pulling on them. These types of headaches often have a gradual onset unlike other possibly more severe headaches like the migraine. Because of this gradual onset some people do not even realize they are getting a tension headache until it is full-blown. Sometimes the pain can be just as bad as or even worse than a migraine. The key to treating these types of headaches is to catch them while they are in their early stages, before they get bad.

Stress Happens

As we go through our daily activities we experience tension regarding situations at work, at home, and other scenarios. This is when a tension headache is most likely to occur-as the pressure in our lives builds, so does the tendency to build tension and therefore, we may get a headache.

Do You Know The Type Of Headache You Have?

If you are not sure what type of headache you are suffering from, you should make an appointment with your doctor. Your doctor will probably want detailed information about when the headaches occur, what seems to trigger them and where they are located. If you do have a tension headache problem, it will be fairly simple to diagnose and treat.

How Do You Treat It?

Most of the time you can treat this type of headache with over the counter pain relievers such as ibuprofen and acetaminophen. You won’t need a prescription and they often come in store brands that make them a less expensive alternative to treat your tension headache. Just make sure that you check for the amount of medicine contained in the tablets, so that you can get the right dosing information. Some of the drug companies have even come out with formulas that are specifically for each type of headache-like sinus, migraine, or tension headache. Talk to the pharmacist if you are concerned about drug interactions with medications you may already be taking. They will be able to let you know if what you are taking will be safe.

If you are already taking over the counter medications and they are not having any effect on your tension headache you may need to make another trip to the doctor. Sometimes our bodies become so accustomed to a medication that it no longer works. In this case, it may be necessary to get a prescription pain killer that can be taken at the onset of a tension headache. If you suffer from daily headaches with no relief from any type of medication, you may need to be on a daily medication that you take whether you are experiencing a headache at the time or not.

Another medication free treatment for a headache is to apply heat or cold to the area-this is especially effective when the tension is just beginning. You can also take a hot shower and let the water “massage” your neck and head muscles. You can even try massage to alleviate some of the tension.

Be Preventative!

One of the best things that you can do for yourself when dealing with a tension headache is to try to prevent it. Some of the known things that you can do are to make sure that you get enough sleep every night to avoid fatigue, drink plenty of water, and get daily exercise. Doing these types of things will not only help with your headaches, but your overall health and well-being as well.

Trigger Thumb in Children

Trigger Thumb in ChildrenThe Problem

The diagnosis of trigger thumb in children is usually made when the parents notice that the child cannot straighten the thumb all the way. The involved thumb is “bent” at the joint closest to the thumb nail.

Trigger thumb involves a thickening of the flexor tendon of the child’s thumb in the region of the metacarpophalangeal joint (the MP joint – on the palm side). These children usually have a bump or knot in this location that parents can easily feel.

Trigger thumb is rare – one estimate is that for every 1000 babies born, three of them may be affected by trigger thumb at one year of age. About 30% of children with trigger thumb have it on both sides.

The Cause

Several explanations exist for pediatric trigger thumb:

  • degeneration (wearing out) of the tendon in the thumb
  • thickening of the tendon lining (synovium)
  • positioning of the baby in the uterus may contribute to the thumb’s position or function

These are just theories, and there is no good scientific evidence to back them up. The ultimate cause is unknown.

This is often referred to as “congenital” (present at birth) trigger thumb, but multiple research studies of newborns have showed that it is not present at birth.

The Diagnosis

Most children are at least six months old when they develop the condition. Parents notice the flexed (bent) position of the thumb, often because the child injures some other area of the hand or wrist.

There may be painful locking, snapping, or clicking of the thumb, but the thumb is usually locked in a bent position. Sometimes parents don’t remember an injury; the child may deny hurting it, and may not complain of pain or discomfort at all.

Trigger thumb is usually diagnosed without x-rays. This is not a problem with the bones or joints in the thumb – the tendon (where the problem is) is not visible on regular x-rays. The surgeon may order x-rays if the diagnosis is not clear from examining the child.

The Treatment

No one knows exactly what percentage of trigger thumbs in kids will get better (resolve) over time. Several research studies have shown conflicting information on this; rates of improvement range from 0% (none get better) to 49%.

Most hand surgeons believe that chances of the thumb suddenly getting better may decrease as the child gets older.

Surgery for trigger thumb in children is very reliable. It involves cutting a tight, constrictive portion of the tendon sheath through a small incision. The incision is placed in one of the creases of the thumb, so the scar is minimized. Dissolvable sutures are used, so they don’t have to be taken out in the office.

Delaying surgery does not typically cause problems. Several research studies have shown good results from surgery even after delaying surgery for four years after parents noticed the symptoms.

Non-surgical methods such as simply waiting for spontaneous improvement, stretching, or splinting, may also be tried before deciding on surgery. There is currently no good science that tells us what results to expect with these methods.

How To Determine If Your Child Has An Ear Infection

Children are prone to ear infections, because their Eustachian tubes are still growing. It has been reported that 5 out of 6 children will be diagnosed with otitis media, by the time they turn three years old.

Onset on Otitis Media

The onset of otitis media will normally follow a bout of rhinitis (common cold), sinusitis, and other upper respiratory illnesses. Fluid will become trapped in the middle ear, behind the eardrum and over time the fluid will build up causing inflammation.

An earache will go away on its own, without any type of treatment, but you can use a warm compress or water bottle to soothe the pain and reduce the inflammation. Of course, otitis media will require a pediatric visit, in order to get a genuine diagnosis.

If your child becomes restless and tugging at his ears, he may very well be suffering from otitis media. While a small infant cannot verbally tell you what ails him, you as a parent will need to learn the warning signs of an ear infection.

Signs of Otitis Media

Most children exhibit the same symptoms, when it involves many of the childhood illness, especially otitis media. Symptoms may include:

· Pulling the ears

· Irritability with/without crying

· Insomnia

· Fluid or pus drainage noted from the affected ear

· Poor balance (this can be very difficult to notice in toddlers, because they are just beginning to learn how to walk)

· Difficulty hearing

A troublesome Fever is as follows: younger than 3 months (100.4 F), 3-6 months (102 F), 6-24 months (higher than 102 F) will require emergency treatment to determine the source of infection.

Lower Immunity

Young infants and children will not have yet developed strong immunity, which means their immune system may not be able to combat the antigen (bacteria). The adenoids (nasopharyngeal tonsil), which are located in the nasal cavity are part of the immune system.

The adenoids will work diligently to trap bacteria and prevent it from entering the body. The adenoid tonsils can become enlarged due to upper respiratory tract infections, which mean they will not be able to function properly.

Otitis Media Diagnosis

When you take your infant to the emergency room or pediatrician, they will immediately begin to do a head to toe examination. This exam will involve using an otoscope to look inside the ears, oral and nasal cavities. The nurse will also check your child’s temperature and blood pressure.

Otitis Media Treatment

Once the pediatrician has determined that your child has acute otitis media, an antibiotic will be prescribed. Be sure to follow the directions on the bottle to a tee, because you definitely want to completely eradicate the bacteria. Fluid may potentially remain in the ear canal for several weeks, but this is nothing to be concerned about, because it will disappear gradually.


Avoid smoking around your child, because tobacco smoke can potentially increase your child’s risks of upper respiratory and ear infections. The 13-valent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine is also available for all children under the age of 2.

Back Pain How to Get Your Back in Shape

Back Pain affects 4 out of 5 adults in America at some time in their life. Back pain can range from a nagging discomfort to agonizing pain. Pain medication can offer temporary relief of pain but it does not address the root of the problem.

Here are 10 tips to condition your back to stay healthy, strong, and pain free :

1.Lose Weight. Excess weight puts a strain on the back muscles which causes pain or exacerbates existing pain. If you are overweight the single best thing you can do is to lose weight.

2.Exercise. Regular aerobic exercise increases strength and endurance in the back muscles. This in turn allows the muscles to function better. Walking, swimming, biking, or elliptical machines are good choices.

3.Abdominal Crunches. Stomach muscles work together with back muscles to support the spine. Crunches strengthen stomach muscles and take strain off of the back.

4.Stop Smoking. Smoking causes diminished oxygen levels in the spinal tissues. This can interfere with the healing process and make back pain worse.

5.Stand Correct. Standing for long periods of time with poor posture causes back pain. Maintain a neutral pelvic position while standing. If you must stand for long periods of time, take the load off your lower back by alternately placing your feet on a low footstool.

6.Sit Correct. Don’t hunch over your desk or keyboard. Use a chair with good lower back support and arm rests.

7.Lift Correct. Keep your back straight and bend only at the knees. Hold what you are lifting close to the body. Avoid lifting and twisting at the same time.

8.Sleep Correct. People with back pain should use a medium-firm mattress. Use pillows for support. Avoid pillows that force your neck up at a severe angle. If you sleep on your side, placing a pillow between your legs may help you sleep better.

9.Wear Correct Shoes. Sorry ladies, but wearing high heels with back pain is like pouring gasoline on a fire. Low heels are the way to go if you suffer from back pain.

10.Get Up and Move. If you stay seated in one position for too long your back muscles will tighten and spasm. Take a break to stretch every hour or so during long drives. If your job is sedentary, likewise, get up, stretch, and walk around periodically.

Be good to your back and your back will be good to you.

Dr. Messina became a Board Certified Family Practitioner in 1985. He was in solo practice until 1994.He then helped form a group Family Practice in which he served as Vice President.He left group practice in 1997 and became the Medical Director of a Wellness Center. He was responsible for coordinating the efforts of nutritionists, acupuncturists, massage therapists, exercise physiologists, and Chinese medicine practitioners into integrated medical care plans that were individualized to the patient.He became the Medical Director of an independent clinical research facility in 2000. He has been the Principal Investigator in over 50 clinical trials involving osteoarthritis, diabetes, hypertension, hypercholesterolemia, chronic pain, depression, anxiety, dry eye, migraine, and diabetes prevention.He has served as consultant to a nutritional company, and has formulated nutritional supplements.