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Ask the Medical Expert Archives 2000-2004

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Week of June 25, 2001

    Question:   I was told last week, that I have a herniated disk and am being referred to a Orthopedic Surgeon. I understand that surgery does not automatically need to be done and there are other options such as physical therapy and so on. My concern is at the end of the conversation with the doctor, he said that the only time the Orthopedic doctor should recommend surgery at once is if I cannot hold my urine or bowls...    Dr. Ganiat's Answer

    Question:   After years of believing myself to have irritable bowel syndrome, I was recently (post-colonoscopy) diagnosed with colitis -- that being the base of information, I have not had a normal formed bowel movement since March, mostly it is frequent, watery stool, relatively urgent I might add -- can a diagnosis of colitis be all the explanation one needs for this set of symptoms? The gastroenterologist recommends a powerful course of prednisone but it is such a serious medication with such serious side effects, I really don't want to go that route -- are there other methods out there?    Dr. Ganiat's Answer

    Question:   I am a 42-year-old woman with arthritis in both my hands. In the mornings they tend to be very stiff so I can hardly bend them. I take Advil and glucosamine, which definitely helps with the pain. Are there any kinds of specific stretching exercises that would help with the stiffness? Now that it's winter, they seem to be stiff all day. Thank you.    Dr. Ganiat's Answer