Stiff Neck

Whether it has occurred when first waking in the morning or developed after performing strenuous activities; most people have experienced a stiff neck at some point in their lives.

A stiff neck, typically characterized by limited mobility (commonly from side to side) and pain is often caused by muscle strain, inflammation of the joints or soft tissue sprain.

Examples of activities that may contribute to a stiff neck include:

  • Looking at smartphones or similar electronic devices for an extended period of time
  • Driving for a long period of time
  • Sleeping with the neck in an awkward position
  • Falling or sudden impact
  • Turning the head repeatedly from side to side during an activity
  • Experiencing prolonged periods of stress, which can lead to tension of neck muscles

The following self-care treatments can be applied for mild cases of a stiff neck:

  • Heat or cold therapy
  • Resting the neck by reducing activities that require frequent movement
  • Over-the-counter medications ( used as recommended or as advised by a physician)
  • Low impact exercises
  • Massages

On rare occasions, a stiff neck may be indicative of a more serious health condition. If a stiff neck is accompanied by the following symptoms, it is advised that medical attention is sought right away:

  • Fever
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Headaches
  • Fatigue
  • Coordination issues
  • Changes in mental state (confusion or mood swings)

It is also recommended that you see a doctor if milder symptoms of a stiff neck including pain and limited mobility do not improve after a week.

 

 

 

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

Can Practicing Yoga Help Lower Your Blood Pressure?

Practicing yoga can give your overall health an added boost.  Studies have found that it is also helpful in fighting hypertension when combined with other methods of management such as a healthy diet, medication and aerobic exercise.  Research indicates that on average patients who incorporated yoga into their care management routine saw a notable reduction in their systolic blood pressure (top number) and diastolic blood pressure (bottom number).

It is believed that yoga is an effective complementary treatment for hypertension because it increases and strengthens the body’s ability to take in oxygen.  Additionally it can help improve resiliency to stress; a trigger in elevating blood pressure levels.

If you decide to include yoga as a part of your care, it is important to know that not all yoga poses are created equal in high blood pressure management. There are some poses that are helpful and there are others that can be harmful.

Yoga poses that can be beneficial are:

  • Bridge pose
  • Posterior stretch pose
  • Savasana pose
  • Child pose

Yoga poses that should be avoided or modified include:

  • Bow pose
  • Camel pose
  • Feathered peacock pose
  • Balasana pose

It is important that you speak with your physician before trying yoga.  Your physician will assess your health and advise if you are physically capable.  If your doctor has given you the green light, inform your yoga instructor about your hypertension.  This information will help in the prevention of injuries or the exacerbation of your medical condition.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

How Can Your Pharmacist Help You Manage Your Care?

Managing your health requires a team approach. Many different healthcare professionals, including doctors, nurses, and various specialized technicians all participate in your care, but one member of that team who plays a significant role in your treatment is often overlooked and underutilized; your pharmacist.

Many people view their local pharmacist as only a person who dispenses their medications, but your pharmacist is an active member of your healthcare team.  They are a valuable resource to answer questions about your medications and offer helpful tips. In addition, patients have many more interactions with their pharmacist than they do with their doctor each year, so why not take advantage of their expertise?

Here are a few ways your local pharmacist can help you:

  • Information on side effects – Information about potential side effects on medication labels can often be confusing and overwhelming. Your pharmacist can explain which side effects are most common and outline who is most at risk for developing them.
  • Scheduling your medications – Your pharmacist can help you map out a schedule for when to take your medications. This can be especially helpful if you are taking multiple prescriptions. The effectiveness of certain medications can be minimized when taken simultaneously with others. Some medications can also work better if taken at certain times of day or with or without food.
  • Consequences for missing a dose – While skipping your regular dose of medication is not recommended, it is not always a cause for concern.  How to deal with this type of situation depends on the medication and why it is being taken. Your pharmacist can explain how to handle this problem if and when it occurs.
  • Storage Instructions – Properly storing your medications will greatly impact their effectiveness. Be sure to ask your pharmacist how to store them. Most medications should be kept at room temperature with low humidity. Some however, need to be refrigerated.

When choosing a pharmacist, make sure he or she will take the time to answer all your questions. If you do not have a pharmacist, Flushing Hospital has a retail pharmacy located in the lobby of the Medical Science building. Our staff will take the time to ensure that you have a full understanding of how to take your medications to ensure you properly manage your health. For more information about our pharmacy service, please call 718-353-3160.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

Flushing Hospital Offers Health Facts to Keep You Healthy this Summer

Memorial Day marks the unofficial start of summer for many, and while summer brings with it a greater opportunity to spend more time outdoors, it also provides an increased risk for many health-related conditions.

Flushing Hospital Medical Center wants to provide the community with the facts about some health concerns commonly associated with the warm weather months and offer tips on how to avoid them.

Athlete’s Foot – This fungus results in an itchy, burning rash on the feet. Athlete’s foot is more prevalent during the summer months because it loves to spread in warm, wet surfaces, such as on poolside pavement and public showers. Doctors suggest wearing flip flops when in these environments to avoid becoming infected.

Heat Exhaustion – Temperatures during the summer months are higher than any other time of year. When our bodies are exposed to these hot conditions, we need to stay hydrated by drinking plenty of fluids. When we don’t drink enough, we experience heat exhaustion, which is marked by weakness, nausea, vomiting, and fainting.

Food Poisoning – The increased heat and humidity in the summer are ideal breeding grounds for the growth of bacteria in our food.  The next time, you are enjoying food at a picnic or outdoor barbeque, make sure that food is not left out in the heat too long. Also follow food temperature guidelines when grilling meat and poultry.

Skin Infections – Our skin is exposed more during the summer. This increases the risk of sustaining a cut that can develop into an infection. The most common place for this to occur is at the beach, when bacteria in the sand or water can enter a cut and lead to a potentially serious infection.  If you get cut, be sure to wash it immediately with soap and water and monitor it for early signs of infection.

Ear Infection / Swimmer’s Ear – Naturally, we spend more time swimming in pools or in the ocean during the summer than any other time of year. The additional moisture in the ear from spending time in the water can help facilitate the growth of bacteria, which can lead to an infection. To prevent excess moisture build-up, dry your ears thoroughly after swimming.

Flushing Hospital wants those in our community to enjoy everything that the next few months has to offer. By taking these extra precautions, you can only increase your chances of having a healthy, fun-filled summer.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

Slow Changes Can Lead to Wellness

Rear view of young hiking couple walking through field

When looking for a routine that can bring wellness to your entire being, you don’t have to climb a mountain in Tibet or strip away all food you love. Experts say that the best way to bring a wellness routine into your life is through a series of small changes that will gradually make a difference.

Changes such as:
◾Meditation – Take a moment in the morning to meditate. It will set the tone for the day and clear your head to prepare for what the day may bring.
◾Music – Play calming music. The body’s internal rhythms sync with the rhythms of music. By focusing on the music and its melody, you will start to feel your breathing and heart rate begin to slow down, bringing you to a much calmer place
◾Plan a trip – According to research, happiness spikes when planning a trip.
ut down your smartphone – When the impulse to pick up your phone comes, and you resist it, you may feel a wave of anxiety. Don’t panic! Breath through the anxiety and you will see that there is calm that will follow.
◾Breathe deeply – Sit in a comfortable place, breathe naturally and settle your attention on your breath. With each inhale and exhale, mentally repeat the words “in” and “out.” Even if you mind wanders, don’t get distracted; just bring your attention back to your breathing.
◾Don’t check your email when you first wake up – When you wake, sit silently and allow your mind to wander. Take 10 minutes to just center yourself before you start your day.
◾Walk – Use part of your lunch break to take a walk. This activity will aid with digestion, keep you active and relieve stress.

No one likes change and it rarely comes easy. That’s why slowly incorporating small steps toward your goals overtime can lead to huge changes in the long run.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

Lyme Disease Prevention Tips

shermankleinpic

With summer approaching we will be spending more time doing activities outdoors in areas such as parks, forests and hiking trails.  While getting out and keeping physically fit is strongly encouraged it is important to keep in mind that being in these areas can put you at risk for Lyme disease.

Dr. Sherman Klein, MD, specializing in Internal Medicine at Flushing Hospital Medical Center’s Ambulatory Care Center offers the following information on Lyme disease, how it is spread, its symptoms, and treatment.

Lyme disease is the most common tick-born infection in New York City and in the United States.  On the east coast, Lyme disease is spread by the bite of a black-legged tick infected with the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi.  Not all black-legged ticks carry this bacterium and, even if they are infected, they must be attached for at least 36 – 48 hours after a person is bitten to transmit the disease.

Blacklegged ticks are rarely found in NYC, but if you have been traveling in more rural areas of New York such as Westchester and Long Island you are at greater risk of coming into contact with an infected tick.

The annual number of cases of Lyme disease reported continues to rise each year in non-rural communities.

Some of the early warning signs of Lyme disease are:

  • Muscle aches
  • Headache
  • Fatigue
  • Fever
  • Rash

These signs and symptoms may occur anywhere from three to 30 days after being bitten.  After an infected tick bite, a widening red area may appear at the infected site that is clear in the center, forming a bull’s eye appearance.

Dr. Klein suggests that the best way to avoid contracting Lyme disease is to avoid direct contact with ticks.  You can do this by avoiding wooded and brushy areas, and high grass.  If you are hiking, try to walk in the center of the trails and wear long pants and a long-sleeved shirt. If in a wooded area you should use a strong repellent.  Dr. Klein cautions that when using any repellent, you should avoid applying the solution to your hands, eyes and mouth.

Some of the tips to find and remove ticks from your body and clothing are:

  • Do a check of your entire body viewing under your arms, behind and in your ears, inside your navel, behind your knees, along your legs, waist and hair. Also, check your pet.
  • Take a shower soon after returning indoors. If you wash within two hours of returning indoors, the ticks are more easily found and washed off your body.
  • Once you are indoors, take your clothing and place them in the wash using hot water and then put them in the dryer on “high” for at least 10 minutes; if the clothes were washed in cold water, place them in the dryer on “high” for at least 90 minutes

If Lyme disease is left untreated, it can spread to other parts of the body causing arthritis cardiac and nervous system problems.   Dr. Sherman Klein is one of the many qualified doctors specializing in Internal Medicine at Flushing Hospital Medical Center.  To schedule an appointment with him, or any of our other doctors, please call 718-670-5486

 

 

 

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

Do You Have a Deviated Septum?

Ours nose is in the middle of our face, so naturally we pay a great deal of attention to how it looks. If we look carefully though, most of us will find that our nose is not perfectly straight. In fact, it is estimated that approximately 80% of Americans have a nose that is off-center.  Known as a deviated septum, this condition is not a cause of concern for most, for those with a severely deviated septum the condition can result in multiple issues.

Rhinoplasty

So what exactly is a deviated septum? There is a thin wall of cartilage and bone that separates our nostrils called the septum. A deviation of the septum occurs when it is displaced to one side, making one nasal passage smaller than the other. When severe, a deviated septum can restrict airflow and make breathing difficult. A person can be born with a deviated septum, can develop one during normal childhood growth, or sustain one as the result of an injury or trauma, such as a broken nose.

Regardless of the cause of a deviated septum, when significant enough, it can be the cause of many problems, including:

  • Difficulty breathing through the nose
  • Nasal congestion (usually on one side)
  • Recurring sinus infections
  • Nosebleeds
  • Sleep disorders, including snoring or sleep apnea
  • Facial pain or headaches
  • Postnasal drip
  • Dry mouth (due to chronic mouth breathing)

A doctor, usually an otolaryngologist, also known as an ear nose and throat specialist can perform a physical examination using an instrument called a nasal speculum to determine how severe the septum is deviated. Based on the doctor’s findings, an appropriate course of treatment will be provided.  In most cases, the symptoms of a deviated septum can be treated through a variety of medications, such as decongestants, antihistamines, or steroid sprays.

If medications don’t relieve your symptoms, surgical intervention may be recommended.  A procedure, known as a septoplasty, where the nasal passage is straightened and repositioned in the center of the nose, can be performed. The procedure is usually performed on an outpatient level, meaning you can return home the same day, but healing normally takes a few weeks. Symptoms associated with a deviated septum are often completely resolved after surgery.

To make an appointment with a doctor at Flushing Hospital’s Ambulatory Care Center, please call 718-670-5440.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

Is It A Cold Or Is It Allergies?

The transition from winter to spring can be challenging to your health. The change in seasons often results in an overlap of symptoms that could be either the remnants of a winter cold or the first signs of spring allergies.

Woman coughing and blowing her nose in autumn

While many of the symptoms of colds and allergies are similar, the causes of each are very different.

Colds are contagious and they are contracted when a person is exposed to an individual infected with a cold virus.  Our body’s immune system will launch a counter attack against the virus. This response usually brings on the classic symptoms, such as a runny nose or cough.

An allergic reaction is caused by an overactive immune system that mistakes harmless things, such as pollen, and attacks them. To combat what it thinks are germs, your body releases chemicals called histamines as a defense. The release of these histamines can cause a swelling of the nasal passages and result in coughing and sneezing. Allergies are not contagious.

While many of the symptoms are similar, the easiest way to determine if you have a cold or are suffering from allergies is the duration of your condition. While most colds last from three to 14 days, allergies can last for months as long as the person is in contact with the allergen. Other differences are:

  • An allergic reaction will begin immediately after exposure to an allergen while cold symptoms usually take approximately three days to appear after exposure
  • Colds can sometimes cause fever and body aches while allergies never do
  • An allergic reaction can often result in itchy, watery eyes, which a cold rarely produces this type of reaction

Once a determination between cold or allergy is made, the appropriate treatment can be applied.

There is no cure for a cold, but there are medications that can help alleviate the symptoms. Cough syrups, pain relievers, decongestant sprays, or multi-symptom cold relief medicines can all be used to help, but should only be taken after consulting your doctor, especially if you are taking other medications or if you have other underlying health conditions. Drinking plenty of liquids also speeds up the recovery process.

To treat allergies, your doctor may recommend an over-the-counter antihistamine to block the reaction to the allergens. There are many forms of antihistamines and some may cause drowsiness so be sure to look for the non-drowsy formula or only take them at night. Decongestants may also be suggested to relieve nasal congestion and avoid an infection.

If you are not sure if you have a cold or allergies, please speak with your doctor. If you do not have a doctor, Flushing Hospital’s Ambulatory Care Center can help. To make an appointment, please call 718-670-8939.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

Q and A: Medication Expiration Dates

Q: Do over -the-counter and prescription medications have expiration dates? Do they mean anything and is it safe to take them past the expiration date?

A: Over-the-counter and prescription medications are time stamped with expiration dates. Time stamps can be found on the labels or on the actual container. It is important that you pay attention to these dates. The expiration dates indicate a guarantee of full potency and safety within the recommended shelf life.

Person holding vial of pills, pointing at label, Close-up of hands

According to the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) – “Don’t be tempted to take expired medications.” The FDA states, using expired medical products is “risky and possibly harmful to your health.” This is because the efficiency of a medication may lessen over time due to changes in its chemical composition or a decrease in its potency.

 

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

Five Best Tips for Putting Your Best Fork Forward to Shed the Winter Pounds

Healthy resolutions for the New Year 2017.

Did you know that March is National Nutrition Month?  Every year, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics generates a nutrition, education and information campaign.  This year’s message is “Put Your Best Fork Forward.”

Each person has the tools to make healthy dietary choices.  Now  that winter is coming to an end, and spring is approaching, it is a wonderful time to reflect on our current habits and lifestyle and decide which tools we will use to shed some excess weight gained over the winter months.

Tool #1 – Balance

  • Visit Choose My Plate at https://www.choosemyplate.gov/ – Use the “my plate” method of ½ plate non starchy veggies, ¼ plate protein, ¼ plate fiber rich carbohydrate to balance your nutrients throughout the day.
  • Drink water or mild instead of sweetened beverages (soda or juice).
  • Eat healthy snacks, such as fruits/nuts with yogurt or crackers with peanut butter.
  • Substitute processed or artificially flavored food items with natural unprocessed foods. By skipping the cookies and having a piece of fruit, you will get more vitamins and fiber allowing your body to feel more energized throughout the day.

Tool #2 – Let’s get Physical

Physical activity, in any form, is imperative for managing weight. Some ways to get more active are:

  • Consider non weight bearing exercises such as using resistance bands for building muscle and increasing flexibility, stationary bike or water aerobics.
  • Walking 10,000 steps per day is equivalent to walking five miles! Aim to achieve as many steps as possible throughout the day such as parking your car a little further from your destination, taking the stairs instead of the elevator and partaking in walking breaks, especially if you are sitting for most of the day.
  • March gives us extra daylight, so the best way to utilize this extra time is by being active. Activities such as walking, jogging, gardening, swimming and yoga are perfect ways to spend 30 minutes doing an outside activity.

Tool #3 – Reduce Stress

  • Everyone has stress which can obstruct weight loss. Stress increased the hormone called cortisol, which can contribute to weight gain.  Stress also contributes to emotional eating and other damaging behaviors.
  • It is important to ask for help and have support to get through the daily stressors of life. Consider support groups, meditation, coloring, knitting or spending time with a loved one to relieve the stressors in your daily life and help you stay focused and on track of your goals and progress.

Tool #4 – Be SMART About Your Goals

By setting SMART goals, results are greater!  SMART goals encompass five parameters to make the goal more productive:

S          is the SPECIFICS of the goal.  Is the goal definable?

M         is the MEASURABILITY of the goal. Is it possible to track/measure progress?

A          is ATTAINABILITY of the goal.  Is the goal a reasonable one ?

R          is RELEVENCY of the goal.  Is the goal worthwhile and will it meet your needs?

T          is TIMELINESS of the goal.  How much time can you give to accomplishing goals?

Tool #5 – Track Your Progress

  • Keep a diary or journal and record your progress and shortcomings.
  • Keep a food log and track your dietary intake.
  • “There’s an App for that” – There are so many wonderful Apps for goal setting and tracking caloric intake, physical activity, etc., utilize the technology on your smart phone or tablet to monitor your progress.

This article was submitted by Sadia Tahir Khan MS, RD and Michelle Hill, RD, CDN, CDE, Food and Nutrition Department of Flushing Hospital Medical Center

 

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.