Tuesday, 13 May 2014

Hallucination, absence of Stimulus with qualities of real perception

Hallucination is a perception which occurs in the absence of a stimulus which has qualities of real perception. It happens when someone hears, smells, sees, taste or feels thing which does not exist beyond their mind. Hallucinations are substantial, vivid and are distinguished from the related phenomena of dreaming that is not connected to wakefulness; illusion involving distorted or misinterpreted real perceptions; imagery that does not associate with real perception.

Hallucination may occur in any sensory modality like visual, olfactory, auditory, gustatory, proprioceptive, tactile, equilibrioceptive, nociceptive, chronoceptive and thermoceptive. It is common in people with schizophrenia who experience it as hearing voices.

Hallucination with/without Mental Sickness

Hallucination may occur as a result of consuming illicit drugs or alcohol or it could be a part of mental illness like schizophrenia. Some people may experience hallucination which may not be related to a mental sickness.

It could make a person feel nervous, frightened or paranoid and hence it is important to be with people whom they can trust. Hallucination could also occur due to extreme tiredness or a recent loss of a member of a household. The typical types of hallucination include hearing voices, hallucination and sleep, drug induced hallucination and hallucination experienced by children running a high fever.

Hearing voices in the mind is one of the most common types of hallucination in schizophrenia victims where the voices could be critical, neutral or complimentary. They could give out harmful commands or may engage the person in a conversation or even make an on-going comment on the person’s actions.


People may experience hallucination especially when they are high on illicit drugs and can also happen at the time of withdrawal from alcohol or drugs if they tend to suddenly refrain from taking them. Usually visual hallucination are drug induced but can also affect the other senses which may include abstract shapes or flashes of light or may even take the shape of an animal of a person.

Visual distortions often occur that may change the persons’ perception of the world around them. Hallucination may occur on their own or as a part of drug induced psychosis. Besides this, heavy consumption of alcohol can also lead to psychotic state, dementia and hallucination.


It is also common for people to have hallucination when they are about to fall asleep which is known as hypnagogic or when they start to wake up from their sleep, known as hypnopompic. They may hear sounds or may see things which do not exist, like moving object or images of person and may think that they have seen a ghost.

This type of hallucination is common especially in people with sleep disorder, though it is also common in people without this disorder. Hallucination in the case of children running high temperature, can be referred to the physician for treatment while at the same time encourage the patient to consume plenty of fluid to keep the temperature in control.

Few treatments are available for the various types of hallucination but abstaining from drugs, alcohol, managing stress levels, living a healthy life and plenty of sleep and relaxation could help to reduce hallucination. Hallucinations caused by mental illness, a psychologist or a psychiatrist should be consulted where treatment would be given based on their observations.

Friday, 9 May 2014

Sciatica – A Nerve Pain

Sciatica is a nerve pain caused from irritation of the sciatic nerve. The sciatic nerve is the longest nerve in the body running from the back of the pelvis though the buttocks all the way down both legs and ending at the feet.

 When the sciatic nerve is compressed or irritated, it tends to cause pain which radiates out from the lower back travelling down the leg to the calf which may range from being mild or very painful. Sciatica pain is normally felt from the lower back to the back of the thigh and radiating down below the knee.

The symptoms of Sciatica is constant pain on one side of the buttock or leg, in rare cases may occur in both legs, with burning or tingling sensation down the leg, pain that may worsen on sitting, sharp shooting pain which may make it difficult to stand up or walk, weakness, numbness or even difficulty in moving the leg or the foot.

Common Cause - Slipped Disc

This pain may vary from infrequent and irritating to constant and specific sciatica symptoms may also vary widely in location, type and severity depending on the condition causing the pain like a lumbar herniated disc and though the symptoms could be very painful, instances are rare that permanent sciatic nerve damage or tissue damage may occur.

The most common cause of sciatica is a slipped disc though in some cases there is no evident cause and in less common causes may include spinal stenosis or narrowing of the nerve passages in the spine, infection or a growth in the spine, injury.

Cauda Equina Syndrome 

In rare cases, sciatica symptoms which worsen quickly may need immediate surgery. Symptoms which continue to get worse instead of improving may indicate a possibility of nerve damage especially if the progressive symptoms seem to be neurological like a feeling or weakness. Symptoms which may occur in both the legs known as bilateral sciatica may cause either bowel or bladder incontinence or dysfunction indicating cauda equina syndrome which is an acute compression of one or several nerve roots that may occur very rarely. If a person experiences these symptoms, the need for immediate medical attention would be essential.

Acute/Chronic Sciatica

Some lower back problems may lead to pain which may radiate along the sciatic nerve while most of the sciatica pain is caused when the L5 or S1 nerve root which is in the lower spine get irritated by a herniated disc. When this occurs, the pain radiates in the rear and the back of the thigh as well as the calf and at times may extend down to the foot.

There is also a feeling of numbness, tingling, prickling or burning sensation which is common in sciatica symptoms. Most of the short term or acute sciatica passes off without the need of treatment. With the combination of over the counter painkiller, exercises, hot or cold pack may tend to relieve the symptoms of sciatica.

In case of persistent sciatica or chronic, one is advised to undertake a structured exercise program under the supervision of a physiotherapist and in very rare case one may need to undergo surgery in order to control the symptoms.

Wednesday, 7 May 2014

Quinsy - Complication of Tonsillitis

Quinsy is a complication of tonsillitis which is left untreated and is also known as peritonsillar abscess. The abscess or the collection of pus is formed between one of the tonsils and the wall of the throat. Tonsils are the two small glands which are at the back of the throat behind the tongue. This can occur when the infection spreads over from the infected tonsil to the surrounding areas.

The first symptoms of peritonsillar abscess is a sore throat without fever or other symptoms may develop as the abscess increases which may occur between two to five days from the start of the symptoms and abscess formation.

The mouth and the throat may show signs of swollen area of inflammation which could be on the affected side and the uvula, which is the small finger of tissue that hangs down in the middle of the throat, may be moved away from the swollen side of the mouth. The lymph glands in the neck may also be enlarged and tender.

Quinsy with Sore Throat

Quinsy could be suspected when the tonsillitis or a sore throat tends to get bad very quickly and at this point of time, it is essential that the patient visits the physician without any delay.

There is a likelihood that if the abscess grows large enough it could also block the airway causing breathing difficulties and hence treatment should be given at the earliest.

It is very important that quinsy be diagnosed and treated quickly in order to avoid the infection from spreading. If quinsy is diagnosed, the person is referred to an ear, nose and throat specialist where further test are conducted and immediate hospitalisation could also be recommended for severe quinsy.

Antibiotics and Painkillers 

The person suffering from quinsy may have a high temperature of 38 degree C; a bad sore throat usually one sided, difficulty in opening the mouth, pain at the time of swallowing resulting to drooling saliva, changes in the voice or even difficulty while speaking.

 They may also suffer from bad breath, earache on the affected side, with headache and feeling of sickness, swelling around the face and neck. Immediate attention is needed when the person suffers from a bad sore throat which tends to get worse quickly and severe tonsillitis.

Antibiotics are recommended in order to clear the infection with painkillers to eliminate the pain while the pus from the abscess may be needed to be drained which would involve a minor surgery that is carried out under anaesthetic in the hospital.

Not a Common Ailment

Quinsy is not a common ailment because most of the people with tonsillitis have taken effective treatment early to prevent it from developing and occurs mostly in teenagers and young adults. The best way to avoid tonsillitis is to stay away from people who may be suffering from this condition and who have the viral or bacterial infection.

Most of the belongings like their dishes and other objects used by the patient should be avoided and maintenance of high level of hygiene by washing of the hand, regularly with soap and hot water should be done. The person should also avoid smoking which could possibly increase the risk of quinsy. Do get back to Dream Health for updates related to health issues.

Saturday, 3 May 2014

Kyphosis – Curvature of the Spine

Kyphosis, a curvature of the spine is an ailment, which causes the top of the back to appear more rounded than normal. The spine has a series of curves which can be seen when viewed from the side. Though some degree of curvature is normal, a curve which is more than 60 degrees is considered to be a sign of kyphosis.

At times, kyphosis does not have any symptoms besides the back appearing abnormally curved or hunched and in some cases the condition may cause back pain and stiffness with tenderness of the spine accompanied with tiredness.

In adults with kyphosis, back pain can be a problem since the body has to compensate for the spinal abnormality. A person suffering from severe kyphosis may tend to get worse over a period of time and may also experience difficulty in breathing and eating.

In kyphosis, the middle portion of vertebrae, the thoracic vertebrae, tends to curve out of position and there are a number of reasons for the cause of this ailment. 

Results – Poor Posture/Spinal Injury/Abnormally Shaped

It could be due to poor posture known as postural kyphosis, like leaning back in chairs, and carrying of heavy loads which may stretch supporting ligaments and muscles and can be the result of pulling the thoracic vertebrae out of its normal position.

It could also be the result of abnormally shaped vertebrae known as Scheuermann’s kyphosis and if the vertebrae are not developed rightly, it may result in being out of position.

Abnormal development of the spine at the time of birth, congenital kyphosis, is when something disrupts the spine’s normal development; a couple or more vertebrae at times may fuse together. Besides, it may also be the result of a spinal injury.

Symptoms – Back Pain/Muscle Fatigue/Stiffness

Common symptoms for people with abnormal kyphosis are the appearance of poor posture with a hump appearance or a hunchback.

Kyphosis patient may experience back pain, muscle fatigue with stiffness in the back and in most cases, these symptoms may remain constant and may not get worse. In severe cases the person may experience these symptom which tends to get worse over a period of time wherein the kyphosis progresses resulting in a more exaggerated hunchback.

 In other rare cases, it may lead to compression of the spinal cord with neurologic symptoms which include weakness, with loss of sensation or even loss of bowel and bladder control.

Cases of severe thoracic kyphosis may also limit the amount of space in chest causing cardiac and pulmonary issues leading to shortness of breath or chest pain which may lead to pulmonary or heart failure.

Treatment Depending on Extent of Curvature

Treatment will depend on the extent of curvature of the spine and whether there are any additional symptoms like back pain or any other underlying ailments.

Children suffering from mild kyphosis may not be treated since they tend to grow out of this condition as they grow and mature though there is a possibility of correcting the spine with the use of non-surgical treatment known as bracing.

The condition of kyphosis rarely needs surgical treatment and is only essential in severe cases to correct the curvature of the spine.