March 2017

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Subscribers Only — Participants, who had heart disease or were at increased risk for it, were randomly assigned to celecoxib (100 mg twice a day), ibuprofen (600 mg three times a day) or naproxen (375 mg twice a day), which they took for at least 18 months. There was no significant difference in the occurrence of heart attack, stroke or death between the three groups. One limitation of the study was the high number of people who dropped out. However, “the drop-out rate was similar for all three groups, so I don’t think it affects the overall conclusions,” says Dr. Husni.   More...

Bone Density Tests and Fish Oil Supplements

The National Osteoporosis Foundation recommends a bone density test of the hip and spine for all women age 65 and older and all men age 70 and older. They also recommend testing for postmenopausal women under age 65 who have risk factors for osteoporosis. Fish oil is loaded with omega-3 fatty acids, which the body needs but cannot manufacture. Omega-3 fatty acids are involved with brain function, growth and development. They also help reduce inflammation. Being deficient in these fats can lead to health problems, including heart disease.   More...

Ankylosing Spondylitis

Subscribers Only — Back pain is a common complaint. Most often the cause is something like a pulled muscle or overstretched ligament, and it is short-lived. Deterioration of cartilage and disks in the spine can also lead to back problems. For a smaller number of people with back pain, the cause is a type of arthritis called ankylosing spondylitis (AS). This type of arthritis causes inflammation at the joints in the spine and the joint at the bottom of the spine that connects it to the pelvis (sacroiliac joint), resulting in pain and discomfort.   More...

5 Tips for Coping with Fatigue

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) causes pain, swelling and stiffness in joints. But RA can cause other symptoms as well, one of the most common of which is fatigue. Fatigue with RA differs from tiredness anyone can feel from time to time, for example after a bad night of sleep. It’s a feeling of exhaustion all the time. It may interfere with your ability to go about normal daily activities and function effectively at work.   More...

Strengthen Your Core to Ease Pain

Subscribers Only — Everyone can benefit from building strength in their core, meaning the group of muscles in the abdomen, back, hips and pelvis. Having a strong core takes pressure off nearby joints and helps the body to maintain good posture. “The most important thing our core musculature does is give us a brace with movement,” says Cleveland Clinic physical therapist Jennifer Smith, PT, DPT, OCS. “We need this stability for greater mobility.” When evaluating patients with low back pain or pain in their lower extremities, Smith examines their core strength.   More...

NSAIDs and Heart Disease

Subscribers Only — NSAIDs can be effective, but they are not completely benign. There are possible side effects, most commonly stomach problems. This can occur, at least in part, because most NSAIDs (such as ibuprofen and naproxen) work by blocking the action of two enzymes. The COX-2 enzyme causes pain and inflammation. The COX-1 enzyme helps protect the stomach lining. Blocking COX-1 can leave the stomach vulnerable to damaging effects of stomach acid, which may lead to an ulcers and other problems.   More...

In the News: March 2017

Foods containing fiber, including grains, fruits, vegetables, nuts and legumes, contain vital nutrients for a healthy diet. Sexuality is an important part of life for many people, and chronic back pain can sometimes interfere. Regular exercise can protect against developing osteoarthritis (OA), or at least delay the onset of it. But what about running? People with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) are at increased risk for diabetes, and the drugs they take appear to play a role.   More...

Sorting Out Sciatica

The sciatic nerve starts as a collection of nerve fibers at the lower portions of the spine—the bottom segments of the lumbar spine (L4 and L5) and the top segment of the sacral spine (S1 to S3). The nerves exit the spinal canal and come together to form the large sciatic nerve, which then runs below a muscle in the buttocks (the piriformis muscle) and down the back of the thigh. Above the knee, the nerve separates into two nerves, which extend down to the foot.   More...