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Category Archives: Pain

Holiday Indigestion: Annoying or a Sign of Something More Serious?

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Don't let holiday indigestion get the best of you.

Anyone over 50 years old will undoubtedly remember the commercial that started,

“You ate too much, you ate too fast!”

Well, with today’s rushed society people often eat too fast and/or too much and that can lead to a case of indigestion that truly isn’t funny!  And during the holiday season, the likelihood of triggering a serious case of indigestion is even more likely.

According to the Mayo Clinic there are many symptoms of indigestion but they can affect people in completely different ways. That being said, some of the more common signs can include feeling full when you haven’t eaten much, pain in the upper abdomen between the bottom of the breastbone and the naval and/or burning in the upper abdomen.

While indigestion is not a disease it does cause millions of people great discomfort on a daily basis although many people get indigestion far less frequently. For most people the discomfort is manageable but some people with indigestion can be affected to the point where they feel they’re about to vomit.

While many cases of heartburn and indigestion are fairly mild, indigestion can be caused by a condition in the digestive track such as a peptic ulcer, cancer or GERD (gastro esophageal reflux disease). Many people don’t realize there’s a difference between heartburn and indigestion but there is. Heartburn is generally described as a pain or burning feeling in the center of the chest that may spread to other body parts.

While over-the-counter medicines may provide some help for both indigestion and heartburn, and while mild indigestion is generally not considered serious, there are situations where it is best to seek medical advice. Some of the reasons to seek out immediate medical care can include vomiting, jaundice or yellow coloring of the skin and/or black, tarry stools. Also, it’s advisable to seek medical attention for any symptoms that last over two weeks.

For cases of serious or recurrent indigestion doctors can use a wide variety of tests to diagnose the problem including blood, breath and stool tests, and an upper endoscopy with accompanying biopsies.

Seek immediate attention if you have shortness of breath, sweating or chest pain that radiates to the jaw, neck or arm because these could be signs of a heart problem or even a heart attack rather than indigestion or heartburn.
While there may be many reasons people get indigestion and/or heartburn some relief usually occurs with some lifestyle changes. Decreasing stress and losing weight may help some sufferers considerably. Doctors may prescribe antacids, prescription drugs and/or antibiotics to treat the symptoms and provide relief.
For information contact your Mountains Community Hospital physician.


The Mysteries of Multiple Sclerosis

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Multiple Sclerosis Can take a toll on the victim and his or her entire family.

While the medical world still has much to learn about the strange illness called Multiple Sclerosis, great strides have been made which allow physicians and their patients to better understand the symptoms and treatment. Here are a few facts about the disease:

  • Women are more likely to get MS than men.
  • Symptoms vary and each attack is likely to be different than any previous ones.
  • Researchers have discovered, although they aren’t sure why, that people living in Northern Europe, the Northern U.S., in southern Australia and New Zealand are more likely to have MS.
  • The possibility of environmental issues and the disease are under investigation.

Multiple Sclerosis is a disease in which the immune system attacks the covering (the myelin sheath) surrounding the nerve cables in the brain and spinal cord. Some MS symptoms include loss of balance, muscle spasms, numbness, problems moving and/or tremors in arms or legs, constipation and a frequent need to urinate.

An MRI scan of the brain and a nerve function test can diagnose the problem. Neurological studies can show if there is reduced nerve function. Unfortunately, nerve damage will worsen over time.

Although MS can attack a body’s system at any age, it primarily strikes people who are 20-40 years old. Some of the problems patients can face include depression, uncontrolled vision loss, double vision and other eye problems. Because the result of the disease can be debilitating, depression can also accompany MS, particularly as it progresses.

Although there is no known cure for MS, treatments are available that may help a patient control, at least to a certain extent, the devastating effects. One of the goals of the medical world is to be able to help MS patients have as good “quality of life” as possible. Some medications may help slow the progression of the disease. Medications typically prescribed reduce muscle spasms, relieve depression and help fight fatigue.

Physical, speech and occupational therapy, a healthy lifestyle (including healthy food selections and rest and relaxation) are always recommended—especially to people who find their abilities declining. Support and encouragement from family and friends will also help and can be extremely important to the patient at every stage of the illness.

Although the medical world does not have an accurate count, it is believed that approximately 250,000 to 350,000 people in the United States alone have MS. The medical cost of the disease is staggering, with the annual cost in this country can be counted in billions of dollars.

For information on MS or if you feel you may have it talk with your Mountains Community Hospital physician. Remember, Mountains Community Hospital cares about you and your health and we’re here to help!

Eczema: Help is on the Way from Mountains Community Hospital

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Hope for those with Eczema

Ever heard of Atopic Dermatitis? How about Seborrhea Dermatitis? If not, you’re hardly alone. These strange names are just a few of the medical terms for common allergic reactions to a condition known as eczema.

Eczema can cover several skin issues that cause swollen, irritated and/or itchy skin and make life generally miserable for those who suffer from this all-too-common condition. Dandruff, diaper rash and rashes that appear after touching plants like poison oak or poison ivy are also considered types of eczema.

Cold, dry winter weather can wreak havoc on skin and can lead to a variety of skin conditions that require special attention. Eczema is one of those conditions as it can pop up suddenly and is adversely affected by weather and dry winter air. Often times, the result is dry, flaky areas of skin that can be very uncomfortable and for the patient and unsightly to all.

Because winter air generally has less moisture, patients often experience outbreaks characterized by scaly, itchy, swollen spots when the weather is cold. People who know they are prone to experiencing dry skin during the winter should be vigilant by using a reliable product to keep their skin moisturized. Working to keep skin moist is important any time of year for eczema patients. So they need to use lotions that do not contain dyes or fragrances since these ingredients can exacerbate breakouts. Many dermatologists urge patients to moisturize two or three times daily during winter months.

Eczema patients should take warm baths or showers and should moisturize their bodies after they emerge from the tub or shower. The Mayo Clinic urges patients to use dye and fragrance-free laundry detergent and skip fabric softener as well as perfumed dryer sheets. Also, people with eczema should keep their fingernails short so they will do only minimum damage to their skin if they scratch itchy spots.

Because we care about your health at Mountains Community Hospital, we urge eczema patients who smoke and/or who suffer from a lot of stress to quit smoking and work toward reducing stress levels, both of which will help keep flare-ups at bay.

Atopic Dermatitis is a type of eczema but it occurs in people who have a predisposition to allergens which can range from food to hay fever and other airborne allergens such as weeds, flowers and pollen. It is vital that people who suffer with this type of eczema learn what their “triggers” are so they can reduce the possibility of outbreaks.

Remember, Mountains Community Hospital cares about your health and invites you to log onto their website at For information on medical issues click on the link entitled Resource Center. “We’re here to help” and have been for over half a century.

Migraines: The “Ultimate” Headache!

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women with a headache

Migraines can be debilitating. Mountains Community Hospital provides ideas for preventing the pain.

There are headaches and there are migraine headaches. And the difference between the two is enormous. Most routine headaches last just a few hours with only slight discomfort, compared to migraines, which are extremely painful and can last up to three days—or more.

Migraines have a variety of symptoms. Patients may or may not have all of the “standard indicators.” But some must be present for the headache to be considered a migraine. These include:

  • An “aura,”
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Sensitivity to sound
  • Nausea
  • Throbbing pain on at least one side of the head

Despite the medical world’s best efforts, it remains difficult for sufferers to find the right medication to stop an oncoming headache or quickly stop one once it’s underway.

The Mayo Clinic advises patients to take pain medication as soon as symptoms arise. Over-the-counter drugs, such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen, may help at the beginning. But if the pain continues, these medications won’t be effective and probably won’t affect a severe headache in the slightest. Many physicians will prescribe “routine” or “repeat” sufferers with daily medication to help keep migraines at bay and/or reduce their duration and severity.

In addition to milder, over-the-counter drugs, a variety of pharmacy-strength medicines as well as opiates can potentially abate pain.

More than one in 10 Americans suffers from migraines. And women are more likely to suffer from them than men. While specific causes are unknown, researchers believe that brain chemicals as well as blood vessels and nerves in the brain affect any person’s likelihood of suffering from migraine headaches. Hormones and certain foods as well as stress are very likely triggers. Unfortunately, aged and/or fermented products such as cheese, red wine, soy sauce, pickles and pepperoni can trigger a migraine if the trigger comes from a substance called Tyramine. This substance is formed by the breakdown of the amino acid thyosine. Getting enough consistent sleep is also important. And while no one can escape stress or difficult times, many people who listen to relaxing music and/or participate in slow-moving exercises such as yoga or tai-chi claim to find a certain amount of relief.

Researchers are investigating a potential connection between depression and migraine headaches. While this correlation isn’t new, what is new is the fact that researchers are discovering a link between the two which may result from genetic factors. According to a recent article on migraines and depression, author Steven Reinberg reported in an online edition of Neurology, that according to a Dutch research study of 2,652 people, 360 had migraines and 977 had depression. Twenty-five percent of the migraine suffers also had depression compared to 13 percent of the study participants who didn’t get migraine headaches.

While the jury is still out, one way patients can help their physicians diagnose and treat migraines is to keep and share a diary of their symptoms. If you suffer from headaches, we want you to find relief because MCH cares about your health. Call today to find a physician and/or to schedule an appointment with your doctor (909) 336-3651.

Osteoarthritis: Where and Why is it Hurting?

Senior couple on bicycles

Mountains Community Hospital in Lake Arrowhead offers a variety of treatments for Osteoarthritis.

Many “baby boomers” who were born after the end of World War II when servicemen returned from the war are now literally  “knee-deep” in a type of arthritis that is caused, generally speaking, by years of wear and tear on the body’s joints.

Osteoarthritis is a condition that frequently causes patients to change their lifestyle in many different ways. According to an online article on there are risk factors that patients can control to a certain extent and there are factors they can’t control.

There are different types of arthritis but osteoarthritis occurs when cartilage that helps cushion the ends of bones gradually wears away. When this occurs the bones grind against each other and that can cause a great deal of pain. The pain can be so severe that our range of movement is affected because it hurts to raise your arm or walk on legs where there’s no cushioning in the knees.

Among the factors none of us have any control over is ageing. Women over 50 are more likely to have it than men. Sometimes genetic factors will play a role because if it “runs in the family” it increases the likelihood that other family members will eventually have it as well.

Some of the ways people can help “ward off” osteoarthritis is by being selective about what sports they play. Football and other sports where tackling is often part of the game are probably not the best idea for players with arthritis risk factors. Osteoarthritis usually occurs in weight-bearing joints such as the knees and hips but it can also be found in fingers, the thumb, neck and big toe. In some cases patients will develop osteoarthritis as the result of some type of physical trauma, such as an automobile accident.

Obesity ramps up the possibility that people will get osteoarthritis. Losing weight, even just a few pounds, can reduce the chances for ultimately facing the challenging “osteoarthritis onslaught.”

Patients can help their physician by keeping a record on where, when and how much they feel pain. X-rays or other imaging techniques may be ordered to confirm the osteoarthritis diagnosis.

Unfortunately, there is little if anything that can be done to stop cartilage from eroding. However, there are ways to help patients deal with pain and increase their flexibility. Physical therapy is one of the best avenues because it teaches patients how to slowly strengthen the muscles surrounding the affected joint.

Web Md. Com cautions patients that, overall, studies do not show that supplements like glucosamine and chondroitin help relieve pain and stiffness and they urge patients to discuss taking chondroitin with their physician, especially if they’re taking blood-thinners.

Mountains Community Hospital makes possible essential quality medical services to the residents and visitors of the local mountains. We provide peace of mind by securing the health of the community. Patient care is guided by interdepartmental collaboration which takes into account the unique knowledge, judgment and skills of a variety of professionals and disciplines. Open communication between departments ensures the most efficient, effective patient care.

Considering the patient and his or her family valued partners in the delivery of care, we include them in each step of treatment. We administer at MCH does not stop at the physical, but incorporates developmental, emotional, social, psychological, cultural and spiritual healing, as well.  We recognize the diversity of our community and are committed to preserving the dignity of our patients and acting as advocates on their behalf. At Mountains Community Hospital, we care about your health.