Is your back hurting? You’re in good company. In any 3-month period, about 1 in 4 adults in the U.S. has at least one day of back pain, mostly in the lower back. The back is a complicated structure. Its center is the spine, which is made up of 33 bones called vertebrae, stacked in a column. The nerves of the spinal cord run in a tunnel through the middle of those bones. Spongy discs between the vertebrae act as cushions. Ligaments and tendons hold everything together. A lot of things can go wrong with your back. A strained muscle
What is atopic dermatitis? Atopic dermatitis, often called eczema, is a chronic (long-lasting) disease that causes the skin to become inflamed and irritated, making it extremely itchy. Scratching leads to: Redness. Swelling. Cracking. “Weeping” clear fluid. Crusting. Scaling. In most cases, there are times when the disease is worse, called flares, followed by times when the skin improves or clears up entirely, called remissions. Atopic dermatitis is a common condition, and anyone can get the disease. However, it usually begins in childhood. Atopic dermatitis cannot be spread from person to person. No one knows what causes atopic dermatitis. Depending on
What is tendinitis? Tendinitis is swelling and pain in a tendon, which is tissue that connects muscles to bones. It is a common condition, usually caused by repeated injuries to a tendon.
What is alopecia areata? Alopecia areata is a disease that attacks your hair follicles (the part of your skin that makes hair). In most cases, hair falls out in small, round patches about the size of a quarter. This causes only a few bare patches. Some people may lose more hair. In only a few people, the disease causes total loss of hair on the head or loss of all body hair. Your hair may grow back, even if you lose all of it. But it may fall out again. No one can tell you when it might fall out
What is back pain? Back pain is one of the most common medical problems in the United States. It might feel like a dull, constant ache or a sudden, sharp pain. Back pain can result from: An accident. A fall. Lifting something heavy. Changes that happen in the spine as you age. A disorder or medical condition. Treatment depends on the cause and symptoms of your pain. You can do things to improve your health and lower your chance of developing chronic (long-lasting) back pain.
What is osteoporosis? Osteoporosis is a disease that causes bones to become weak and brittle. This increases your risk of broken bones (fractures). Osteoporosis is a “silent” disease because you may not have symptoms. You may not even know you have the disease until you break a bone. Breaks can occur in any bone but happen most often in: Hip bones. Vertebrae in the spine. Wrist. You can take steps to help prevent osteoporosis and broken bones by: Doing weight-bearing exercises, such as walking or dancing, and lifting weights. Not drinking too much alcohol. Quitting smoking, or not starting if
Integrins, a large class of cell surface molecules, play a role in a skin disease called scleroderma, according to research funded in part by the NIH’s National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases and published in the journal Nature. The study showed that targeting integrins in mice with a form of scleroderma reversed the skin abnormalities associated with the disease. Scleroderma is a potentially life-threatening condition in which previously healthy people develop scarring of the skin, and in some cases damage to blood vessels and internal organs. In most forms of scleroderma, the cause of the disease is
A higher level of a small signaling molecule correlates with a more severe form of scleroderma, a chronic autoimmune disorder that involves the abnormal growth of connective tissue, according to a study funded in part by the NIH’s National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases and published in The New England Journal of Medicine. The findings suggest that the molecule, CXCL4, could be used as a diagnostic marker for the disease and as a therapeutic target. Scleroderma is an autoimmune disease characterized by damage to blood vessels and thickening and scarring of the skin. In some cases, internal
Psoriasis is a chronic skin condition characterized by itchy red patches and silvery scales, usually on the elbows, knees or scalp. It affects about 2 percent of Americans, and is sometimes associated with other health problems, such as arthritis, diabetes and heart disease. The causes are not fully understood, but the condition is related to an abnormal immune assault on skin cells that triggers inflammation. Scientists have been trying to understand the molecular details of what causes psoriasis. Now, two studies funded in part by the NIH’s National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS) and published in