Over the years of writing Health Tips, I was surprised to discover that one I’d written a few years ago about vitamin B12 deficiency had received the most comments and questions from readers. Since there have been some interesting developments in both the diagnosis and treatment of B12 deficiency, and since B12 deficiency remains so […]
Multiple sclerosis can seem like the cruelest disease. We’ve all heard of cases where a young adult, once in the bloom of health, becomes disabled and confined to a wheelchair. And while it’s true that MS attacks healthy young people, fortunately very few cases lead to rapid disability. By far the common MS “story” is one of flare-ups followed by very long disease-free periods, so that disability, if it does occur at all, may not happen for decades. Although the cause of MS remains unknown, physicians believe it’s an autoimmune disease, where the immune system winds up attacking its own central nervous system. Doctors are far less helpless in the face of MS than they once were. Disease “modifiers” such as the interferon-based medications Betaseron or Avonex and the drug glatiramer acetate (Copaxone), all have been shown to reduce flare-up rates dramatically and delay the time to disability.
Doctors have written about carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) for more than 100 years, but it took the emergence of computer keyboards for the condition to achieve national prominence. In fact, any activity that constantly strains the wrist, from guitar playing to rowing, from assembly line work to knitting, can bring it on. Sometimes, however, carpal tunnel syndrome can begin without any apparent cause at all. Carpal tunnel syndrome usually starts as repeated local irritations swell the tendons and ligaments in the wrist. This then compresses the median nerve, which passes through a “tunnel” from the forearm to the hand. The combination of the inflamed tendons and the squeezed median nerve are responsible for the pain, tingling, numbness and weakness of the thumb and index and middle fingers characteristic of CTS. In addition, any of the following have been associated with this painful condition: an underactive thyroid, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, obesity, pregnancy, premenstrual syndrome (PMS), birth control pills, and menopause.
Although conventional medicine can be very helpful, I believe one of its options, namely surgery, should be the last resort. As many physicians are unaware of alternative therapies, let’s see if our WholeHealth Chicago suggestions can help keep you out of the operating room. No guarantees, of course, but nothing ventured . . .