DR MARTIN SCURR answers your health questions

I’ve suffered for a very long time with what I feel are referred to as splinter complications. They happen a couple of occasions a day, lasting for a minute or so, when it looks like somebody is capturing an arrow via my eye. Eye assessments and an MRI scan discovered nothing incorrect. What are you able to counsel?

Mrs R. O’Grady, Hounslow.

I’m not acquainted with the time period ‘splinter’ headache, though I believe it’s what is thought medically as a major stabbing headache, usually additionally referred to as ice-pick complications.

These are transient assaults, often lasting seconds, and for which there isn’t any confirmed trigger.

Exactly as you describe, the expertise is, for a lot of, a sudden ache, like a needle stabbing via the attention. I’ve come throughout sufferers who are suffering the stabs of ache a number of occasions a day.

Commonly prescribed remedies embody the anti-inflammatory drug indomethacin. Up to 60 per cent of sufferers with frequent ice-pick complications discover they stop solely; in others, they develop into far much less frequent, although no much less extreme, after taking this drug.

I am not familiar with the term ‘splinter’ headache, although I suspect it is what is known medically as a primary stabbing headache, often also called ice-pick headaches

I’m not acquainted with the time period ‘splinter’ headache, though I believe it’s what is thought medically as a major stabbing headache, usually additionally referred to as ice-pick complications

Gabapentin, an anti-convulsant drug used for treating nerve ache, additionally out there on prescription, is one other risk, with comparable success reported.

Both medicines include a danger of side-effects, equivalent to nausea.

Ice-pick complications are extra frequent in ladies and could also be linked to hormone-related sensitivities within the brain.

It’s price noting that sufferers with a historical past of migraine have a better incidence of any such headache, however it isn’t a type of migraine and doesn’t reply to anti-migraine treatment.

There is a view that major stabbing complications are attributable to an instability or an area disturbance of the brain’s pain-processing system. However, as our present information on that is scant, it’s hoped future analysis will reveal additional remedy prospects.

In the meantime, it might assist to maintain a symptom diary to see if you happen to can determine triggers — publicity to shiny gentle and sudden actions of the pinnacle are frequent ones. If you discover a sample, you’ll be able to then take steps to keep away from triggers the place potential.

I’d additionally go to your GP to debate the opportunity of a prescription for the treatment I discussed. I hope this helps.

Although I’m 90, I’m very match — I’m going to the fitness center or play golf not less than thrice every week. My blood strain and resting coronary heart rate are each excellent. But if I sit for any size of time, say watching TV, after which stand up to maneuver round, I battle with my respiration for a couple of moments, earlier than it settles once more. What could possibly be the trigger?

Name and deal with equipped.

You nearly actually don’t have anything to fret about — I consider what you’re experiencing is named effort dyspnoea, or breathlessness on exertion.

When we go from being stationary to shifting, one thing referred to as the baroreceptor reflex kicks in. This is the place tiny receptors within the carotid arteries within the neck — referred to as baroreceptors — ship a sign to the brain that motion is occurring and the physique’s main muscular tissues want extra blood to work successfully.

When you then stand, blood naturally swimming pools within the veins of the decrease a part of your physique and your legs and the enter to your coronary heart falls momentarily.

In your youth, the baroreceptor reflex would routinely modify the center’s output of blood so the move to each your muscular tissues and lungs stays unimpaired.

But ageing can blunt this reflex, and at your age that adjustment takes a fraction longer. As a outcome there’s a transient shortfall within the move to the center and lungs, inflicting breathlessness.

But when you begin to transfer about, blood then flows again up from your legs to the center and regular output is restored, easing your breathlessness. Your expertise is regular, to be anticipated and never an indication of any dysfunction.

Write to Dr Scurr

Write to Dr Scurr at Good Health, Daily Mail, 2 Derry Street, London W8 5TT or electronic mail: [email protected] — embody contact particulars. Dr Scurr can not enter into personal correspondence. Replies ought to be taken in a basic context. Consult your personal GP with any health worries.

In my view…  Jury continues to be out on osteopathy

Last week a pal sought my opinion on whether or not to see an osteopath. She had all of the indicators of a typical, painful situation referred to as costochondritis — irritation of the cartilage connecting the ribcage to the breastbone.

She’d had a number of digital consultations together with her GP follow however no person gave a prognosis or examined her. So my recommendation was sure, see the osteopath if she felt it’d profit her.

That’s not a ringing endorsement of the science behind this ‘alternative’ remedy, on which the jury continues to be out.

A review by scientists in Italy of 9 earlier research, revealed in BMJ Open final week, discovered osteopathy — mushy manipulation of the physique’s tissues and bones — can ease decrease again and neck ache.

But osteopaths use a variety of strategies — together with lasers and therapeutic ultrasound — which makes all of it however inconceivable to say what works and what doesn’t.

But it’s clear sufferers get the time and a spotlight they should assist them really feel higher — one thing hard-pressed NHS GPs can battle to supply. So I stick by my recommendation to my pal. A visit to the osteopath could possibly be simply what she wants.

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