Sometimes back pain is not strictly related to spinal structures. Sometimes back pain comes from other places, specifically internal organs. In a process called referred pain , internal organs can send pain signals to other parts of the body. For example, when someone is experiencing a heart attack, the left arm may ache. Nothing is wrong with the arm, but this limb hurts because the heart is referring pain to it. The neck, mid-back and low back are also potential targets for referred pain. Here are two examples when "back pain" has nothing to do with spinal problems.
Gallbladder : The gallbladder is a small organ tucked up near the liver that helps with digestion. Within this internal organ problems can arise like a blockage from a stone, an infection, or just an inflamed gallbladder attack. Sometimes the symptoms clearly point to a problem with the gallbladder. These classic symptoms include right upper quadrant abdominal pain just underneath the right chest wall, nausea, gas, ...
Last week , I proposed that we conceptualize bipolar as a “cycling” illness where we transition through overlapping “phases” rather than as an “episodic” illness where we ping-pong back and forth between discrete symptomatic “states.”
In essence, we treat the cycle rather than the episode and its symptoms.
This is hardly a new idea, but it has yet to catch on in practice. In a comment, Tabby noted that her first doctor told her, “we have to treat the cycle, not the symptoms,” then he proceeded to load her up on meds.
It’s not my place here to second-guess how doctors treat their patients, but I am entitled to call out individuals on their egregious failure in logic. Tabby’s doctor, of course, only gave lip-service to the cycle. Then he proceeded to pharmaceutically carpet-bomb the two “poles” in bipolar at once.
This is the conventional wisdom that I have h...
I never much cared for anatomy class. Dead bodies, the cold, and the smell were just not the way I liked to spend an afternoon. Every first year medical student spends hours in the anatomy room because learning the parts is important, but even more important is knowing what those parts do and how they work—functional anatomy. Thankfully, studying functional anatomy requires warm, live people who don’t usually smell. Let’s learn some parts without the smell because if you understand the parts, then you will understand the treatment. Getting down to the framework of your body is the skeleton which holds you upright, otherwise you would be a blob of gooey mush. As part of the skeleton, the spine is your backbone that bridges the span between your head and your butt. Because it is a bridge, the spine has passive, stationary structures (bones, ligaments, and discs) which don’t “do” anything except provide support for the whole body. However, these parts o...
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