A total pain in the neck
Q. The back of my neck hurts every day in the evening. It is all right by morning.
People tend to spend long hours at their desks working on papers or staring at a laptop or computer screen. This often means that their heads (which weigh 4-5 kg) are balanced asymmetrically on the neck bones and muscles. Try to make sure your computer screen is at eye level and your feet are firmly planted on the floor while seated at a desk. While using a cellphone, keep your head straight (many of us tilt our heads to one side) or use a hands-free device.
If the neck pain does not go away in a week, please consult a physician.
Q. Both my parents have diabetes. I am heading towards my fortieth birthday. I checked my blood sugar and found it was borderline.
You can try and prevent yourself from tipping over into diabetes by getting your BMI (weight divided by height in metre squared ) as close to 23 as possible. Even if you do not achieve your ideal BMI, losing 5-7 kilos is beneficial. Also, exercise aerobically by walking, running, cycling swimming or dancing for 40 minutes a day at least five days a week. Combine this with 20 minutes of weight training and 10 minutes of relaxation. Sleep at least 7-8 hours a night. Remember, smoking increases your risk of diabetes by 40 per cent. All of this has to be continued lifelong for sustained benefits.
Q. My legs feel cold all the time. I also noticed that the hair growth on my legs has decreased.
This may be a sign of poor blood circulation or thyroid disease. Check your blood pressure, and then do blood counts, sugar values, thyroid functions and lipid levels.
Treatment of the cause will improve circulation. A few simple ways to increase blood circulation to the legs is to stop smoking, walk 30-40 minutes a day, and do 10 toe rises every hour when you sit at your desk and work.
Too much sweat
Q. I burst into a sweat several times a day for no apparent reason. It is quite embarrassing.
Sweating can be because of fever, chronic illnesses, a sudden drop in blood sugar, smoking, coffee, tea or spicy food, exercise, pregnancy and menopause. If none of these conditions is present then evaluation and blood tests may be required.
Don’t pick pimples
Q. I regularly pick my pimples. Is it dangerous?
Pimples contain sebum and a little pus. Popping them can force the pus not only outside but also into the deeper layers of the skin causing redness and inflammation. Bacteria can enter the bloodstream and cause dangerous infection elsewhere.
It is better to steam your face regularly. Creams like 5 per cent Persol can also be applied on the pimples.
Q. I have severe pain for two days when I get my periods. I used to miss school and college on those days. It did not matter at that time. Now that I am working, this frequent absence from work is taking a toll on my efficiency and promotion. I have been extensively investigated and the doctors did not find anything wrong.
Painful periods or dysmenorrhea can occur for a variety of reasons like fibroids or endometriosis. It can also occur for no apparent reason. Try taking paracetamol or mefenamic acid tablets prophylactically as soon as the periods are due before the pain sets in, every eight hours, for two days. Place a hot water bottle on your abdomen. There are some asanas in yoga with help with menstrual pain. Learn and practise them regularly.
The writer is a paediatrician with a family practice at Vellore and author of Staying Healthy in Modern India. If you have any questions on health issues please write to email@example.com