Tears and anger may come from adrenalin
Linda Calabresi is a GP and editor of MedicalObserver. Send your queries to firstname.lastname@example.org I ama 58-year-old woman. About three weeks ago I developed a painful left shoulder. There was no fall or injury that I remember. The pain has been getting worse, especially at night, and the shoulder is getting stiffer. I’ve tried resting it, a heat pack, and pain-killers. Any suggestions? CHECK with your doctor to be sure, but it sounds as though you might have what is known as a frozen shoulder. A frozen shoulder tends to develop in three stages. The first is the painful inflammatory stage where the capsule housing the shoulder joint becomes acutely inflamed. This is usually followed by the less painful ‘‘ freezing’’ stage, in which scar tissue develops and movement becomes significantly reduced. Finally there is the ‘‘ thawing’’ stage, where movement gradually returns. No matter what you do, chances are the shoulder will get better by itself. This can take up to two years — longer in rare cases. Analgesics and antiinflammatories should help in the painful phase. Your doctor might also offer a corticosteroid injection, which is often very effective. Once the pain has subsided, treatments such as massage, acupuncture, and physiotherapy can be useful to get the joint moving again. Occasionally, surgery is needed to divide the scar tissue. When my body is overtaxed, such as when recovering from an operation, sleepdeprived, or working a lot of overtime, I become very emotional. This usually manifests as bursting into tears and occasional angry outbursts. Why? This threatens to seriously affect my personal and professional relationships . I am usually a happy, easy-going person. IT is not uncommon that at times of stress, with higher than normal levels of circulating adrenalin in the body, one reaction is emotional lability (the technical term for being particularly sensitive). If this is a relatively new phenomenon for you, it might be worthwhile checking with your doctor to see if there is any underlying condition that could be contributing to this, such as thyroid disease, anaemia, hormonal imbalance (such as in menopause), depression or even some recently commenced medication. You might also want to look at how you can reduce underlying stress levels, thereby making you more resilient when these added burdens come along. Effective stress management will mean different things to different people. For some, yoga and meditation is the key, while for others physical exercise works better. You are fortunate in that you recognise that the problem lies in your response to stress — many people blame the stressors, and that is far more destructive to relationships. Psychotherapy is often very effective in changing behaviour patterns. For over 20 years we have always boiled tap water. Is boiling water really beneficial in removing harmful matter? YOU must be receiving your water from an untreated source, because in the vast majority of areas in Australia tap water has already been treated, rendering it safe for consumption and making boiling unnecessary. Water supplies are tested regularly to ensure treatment is effective and that contaminants level remains low and safe for consumption. For untreated water, or in areas relying on water from rainwater tanks or bores, correctly done boiling effectively eliminates practically all possible contaminants — in particular bacteria and viruses. Some fungal spores and prions can survive, but these are very uncommon. Effective sterilisation is achieved through bringing the water to boil vigorously and continuously for one minute.