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Wed, 8th March 2017
 

One hundred per cent will get a sore back - just a matter of time. First, the good news. Most painful backs will get better, with or without treatment. Time and Dr Nature are a magical combination. Some get worse and lead to complex interventions. To start, cause of most is "musculo-skeletal". All muscles are composed of millions of tiny elastic bands called fibres.

These prefer kind treatment, otherwise they rebel. Over-stretching, sudden jerks, getting cold, sitting in the same spot for hours without moving are commonest causes. Overstretched fibres go into spasm. This means blood and oxygen are cut off. Stuff called lactic acid builds up, and increases spasm, which the brain interprets as pain. It is also a warning to "do something". Sometimes, little blood capillaries rupture or clot, worsening it.

Some suggestions. Keep active. Walking is still the best. Also, try alternate hot and cold alternate showers. This brings fresh blood. One minute as hot as bearable. Then 20 seconds cold (yelp!). Do it. Continue for five minutes, twice a day, end with cold. This improves circulation and breaks spasm. Hot packs often help (try a heated wheat bag).

Deep massage of affected muscles is great "Remedial massage with trigger points". There are many trained practitioners around. Most recover within a week. Slow release "Panadol-Osteo" is first line therapy for pain relief. Sure beats the NSAIDs which may cause stomach irritation or even heart disorders. Persisting back pain needs intervention by your GP.

 
CATARACT

Q: 

My grandmother is in her 90s, finds reading difficult, but refuses to see the doctor saying she is "too old".

A: 

No age is too old for undergoing IOL, intraocular lens intervention. Many people over 100 have been successfully treated. "107 is my oldest" says my referring eye specialist. It can transform the life of a person. Colours are more brilliant, many can read fine print without specs, and many continue to drive. Do not delay. You're in and out of the eye centre within a few hours - cured! No general anesthesia needed.

 
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BABY LOVE

Q: 

My 50 year old daughter has a twelve year old son - the one and only. She chose education over starting a family, with subsequent pregnancies resulting in miscarriages. Which makes him even more precious. But she still "puts him to bed" every night.

A: 

Who wouldn't look after the "one and only". Understandable, but it's almost time he was able to get into bed and care for himself. Specially as any boarding school kids (often from 6 years on) quickly finds out. However, nature will balance everything out. Don't worry. May I suggest he learn "self defense", and become good with his fists. Otherwise the jungle out there maybe a little harsh on him.

 
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PLUG

Q: 

We're continually being asked to conserve water. What's up with placing a plug in the hand basin, rather than the tap running whilst you splash water around.

A: 

This is an enormous water saver. As a young doctor in the bush, we did with a little hand shower. One bucket of warm water was the maximum available for a total shower. Plugs likewise were always used. Rain water from the roof going in to a galvanized iron tank was the sole supply. It was no hardship - just training and learning.

 
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WIPE OUT

Q: 

I am getting older and finding it difficult after attending the loo, as bending is more difficult.

A: 

Visit a shop (often a pharmacist) providing "aids". There is one with a long handle, and curve at the end which holds toilet tissues. A few gentle swipes and all is clean and comfortable. No fuss, no bother, no embarrassment, and it's easy.

 
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WALNUTS

Q: 

Some think that eating walnuts is good for their heart and so there is no need to see the doctor if the beats become irregular.

A: 

Is that so? What a mistake. Walnuts generally help heart health but any irregularity requires immediate medical intervention. If left, risk of clot formation escalates. This may lead to stroke or heart attack, which may be fatal. "Natural remedies" are fine in their place, but certainly not when life endangering symptoms occur.

 
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This health advice is general in nature. You are advised to seek medical attention from your doctor or health care provider for your own specific symptoms and circumstances.

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