ITEMS IN AFP WITH MESH TERM:
ABSTRACT: When abdominal pain is chronic and unremitting, with minimal or no relationship to eating or bowel function but often a relationship to posture (i.e., lying, sitting, standing), the abdominal wall should be suspected as the source of pain. Frequently, a localized, tender trigger point can be identified, although the pain may radiate over a diffuse area of the abdomen. If tenderness is unchanged or increased when abdominal muscles are tensed (positive Carnett's sign), the abdominal wall is the likely origin of pain. Most commonly, abdominal wall pain is related to cutaneous nerve root irritation or myofascial irritation. The pain can also result from structural conditions, such as localized endometriosis or rectus sheath hematoma, or from incisional or other abdominal wall hernias. If hernia or structural disease is excluded, injection of a local anesthetic with or without a corticosteroid into the pain trigger point can be diagnostic and therapeutic.
Headaches in Children and Adolescents - Article
ABSTRACT: Headaches are common during childhood and become more common and increase in frequency during adolescence. The rational, cost-effective evaluation of children with headache begins with a careful history. The first step is to identify the temporal pattern of the headache--acute, acute-recurrent, chronic-progressive, chronic-nonprogressive, or mixed. The next step is a physical and neurologic examination focusing on the optic disc, eye movements, motor asymmetry, coordination, and reflexes. Neuroimaging is not routinely warranted in the evaluation of childhood headache and should be reserved for use in children with chronic-progressive patterns or abnormalities on neurologic examination. Once the headache diagnosis is established, management must be based on the frequency and severity of headache and the impact on the patient's lifestyle. Treatment of childhood migraine includes the intermittent use of oral analgesics and antiemetics and, occasionally, daily prophylactic agents. Often, the most important therapeutic intervention is confident reassurance about the absence of serious underlying neurologic disease.
ABSTRACT: As many as 30 million Americans have migraine headaches. The impact on patients and their families can be tremendous, and treatment of migraines can present diagnostic and therapeutic challenges for family physicians. Abortive treatment options include nonspecific and migraine-specific therapy. Nonspecific therapies include analgesics (aspirin, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, and opiates), adjunctive therapies (antiemetics and sedatives), and other nonspecific medications (intranasal lidocaine or steroids). Migraine-specific abortive therapies include ergotamine and its derivatives, and triptans. Complementary and alternative therapies can also be used to abort the headache or enhance the efficacy of another therapeutic modality. Treatment choices for acute migraine should be based on headache severity, migraine frequency, associated symptoms, and comorbidities.
The Patient with Daily Headaches - Article
ABSTRACT: The term 'chronic daily headache' (CDH) describes a variety of headache types, of which chronic migraine is the most common. Daily headaches often are disabling and may be challenging to diagnose and treat. Medication overuse, or drug rebound headache, is the most treatable cause of refractory daily headache. A pathologic underlying cause should be considered in patients with recent-onset daily headache, a change from a previous headache pattern, or associated neurologic or systemic symptoms. Treatment of CDH focuses on reduction of headache triggers and use of preventive medication, most commonly anti-depressants, antiepileptic drugs, and beta blockers. Medication overuse must be treated with discontinuation of symptomatic medicines, a transitional therapy, and long-term prophylaxis. Anxiety and depression are common in patients with CDH and should be identified and treated. Although the condition is challenging, appropriate treatment of patients with CDH can bring about significant improvement in the patient's quality-of-life.
Management of Corneal Abrasions - Article
ABSTRACT: Corneal abrasions result from cutting, scratching, or abrading the thin, protective, clear coat of the exposed anterior portion of the ocular epithelium. These injuries cause pain, tearing, photophobia, foreign body sensation, and a gritty feeling. Symptoms can be worsened by exposure to light, blinking, and rubbing the injured surface against the inside of the eyelid. Visualizing the cornea under cobalt-blue filtered light after the application of fluorescein can confirm the diagnosis. Most corneal abrasions heal in 24 to 72 hours and rarely progress to corneal erosion or infection. Although eye patching traditionally has been recommended in the treatment of corneal abrasions, multiple well-designed studies show that patching does not help and may hinder healing. Topical mydriatics also are not beneficial. Initial treatment should be symptomatic, consisting of foreign body removal and analgesia with topical nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or oral analgesics; topical antibiotics also may be used. Corneal abrasions can be avoided through the use of protective eyewear.
Fibromyalgia - Article
ABSTRACT: Fibromyalgia is an idiopathic, chronic, nonarticular pain syndrome with generalized tender points. It is a multisystem disease characterized by sleep disturbance, fatigue, headache, morning stiffness, paresthesias, and anxiety. Nearly 2 percent of the general population in the United States suffers from fibromyalgia, with females of middle age being at increased risk. The diagnosis is primarily based on the presence of widespread pain for a period of at least three months and the presence of 11 tender points among 18 specific anatomic sites. There are certain comorbid conditions that overlap with, and also may be confused with, fibromyalgia. Recently there has been improved recognition and understanding of fibromyalgia. Although there are no guidelines for treatment, there is evidence that a multidimensional approach with patient education, cognitive behavior therapy, exercise, physical therapy, and pharmacologic therapy can be effective.
ABSTRACT: Otitis externa can take an acute or a chronic form, with the acute form affecting four in 1,000 persons annually and the chronic form affecting 3 to 5 percent of the population. Acute disease commonly results from bacterial (90 percent of cases) or fungal (10 percent of cases) overgrowth in an ear canal subjected to excess moisture or to local trauma. Chronic disease often is part of a more generalized dermatologic or allergic problem. Symptoms of early acute and most chronic disease include pruritus and local discomfort. If left untreated, acute disease can be followed by canal edema, discharge, and pain, and eventually by extra-canal manifestations. Topical application of an acidifying solution is usually adequate in treating early disease. An antimicrobial-containing ototopical is the preferred treatment for later-stage acute disease, and oral antibiotic therapy is reserved for advanced disease or those who are immunocompromised. Preventive measures reduce recurrences and typically involve minimizing ear canal moisture, trauma, or exposure to materials that incite local irritation or contact dermatitis.
ABSTRACT: Chronic shoulder pain is a common problem in the primary care physician's office. Effective treatment depends on an accurate diagnosis of the more common etiologies: rotator cuff disorders, adhesive capsulitis, acromioclavicular osteoarthritis, glenohumeral osteoarthritis, and instability. Activity modification and analgesic medications comprise the initial treatment in most cases. If this does not lead to improvement, or if the initial presentation is of sufficient severity, a trial of physical therapy that focuses on the specific diagnosis is indicated. Combined steroid and local anesthetic injections can be used alone or as an adjuvant to the physical therapy. The site of the injection (subacromial, acromioclavicular joint, or intra-articular) depends on the diagnosis. Injections into the glenohumeral joint should be done under fluoroscopic guidance. Symptoms that persist or worsen after six to 12 weeks of directed treatment should be referred to an orthopedic specialist.
Managing Pain in the Dying Patient - Article
ABSTRACT: End-of-life care can be a challenge requiring the full range of a family physician's skills. Significant pain is common but is often undertreated despite available medications and technology. Starting with an appropriate assessment and following recommended guidelines on the use of analgesics, family physicians can achieve successful pain relief in nearly 90 percent of dying patients. Physicians must overcome their own fears about using narcotics and allay similar fears in patients, families and communities. Drugs such as corticosteroids, antidepressants and anticonvulsants can also help to alleviate pain. Anticonvulsants can be especially useful in relieving neuropathic pain. Side effects of pain medications should be anticipated and treated promptly, but good pain control should be maintained. The physical, psychologic, social and spiritual needs of dying patients are best managed with a team approach. Home visits can provide comfort and facilitate the doctor-patient relationship at the end of life.
ABSTRACT: The diagnosis and initial management of urolithiasis have undergone considerable evolution in recent years. The application of noncontrast helical computed tomography (CT) in patients with suspected renal colic is one major advance. The superior sensitivity and specificity of helical CT allow urolithiasis to be diagnosed or excluded definitively and expeditiously without the potential harmful effects of contrast media. Initial management is based on three key concepts: (1) the recognition of urgent and emergency requirements for urologic consultation, (2) the provision of effective pain control using a combination of narcotics and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs in appropriate patients and (3) an understanding of the impact of stone location and size on natural history and definitive urologic management. These concepts are discussed with reference to contemporary literature, with the goal of providing tools that family physicians can use in the emergency department or clinic.