Doctors in the House - ENT Cancer, Back Pain

1) I am nearing my middle years and have frequent runny nose but not flu or cold. Could it be a sign of ENT cancer?

  • Frequent running nose is more a symptom of rhinitis rather than cancer. A common cause might be allergic rhinitis.
  • Symptoms of nasopharynx cancer would include blood stained nasal discharge, neck lumps and a blocked ear.

2) I had given birth to my first child in jan this year and I am having pain all this while on my lower back whenever I lie flat on my back for sometime.

The pain is excruciating that I have to move bit by bit to get myself up.

Also, very often I have this pain on my lower right side of my back down to my bum.

I am wondering is this due to the epidural that I had during my labour or is it not enough exercise?What steps should I take to make the pain go away?

  • Up to 80% of pregnant women will complain of back pain during pregnancy. This is
  • due to a combination of mechanical and hormonal factors. Hormonal changes lead to laxity in joints and ligaments including those which attach pelvic bones to spine.
  • With the enlarging uterus anteriorly, the body's center of gravity shifts. This shift leads to increase in the natural inward curvature of lower spine and thus increases stress on the lower back.
  • While most low back pain will resolve by itself within 6 months of delivery, some will cause longer lasting problems.
  • A possible contributory factor is new mothers inadvertently worsen their back problem by not being conscious of good posture while caring for their newborn. An example is during feeding time. Sitting hunched over will place a strain on the neck and upper back muscles which can then pull on the low back muscles.
  • There is no evidence that epidural for pain relief in labour increases the risk of low back pain subsequently. In addition, there is no difference between those who had epidural versus those who did not have epidural in terms of objective measurements of spinal mobility after more than 2 years.
  • If one has low back pain after delivery, it is important that she consults the doctor for an assessment. New back problems (such as slipped disc) may arise coincidentally after delivery.
  • If the back pain is musculoskeletal in nature, measures such as analgesia, exercise, massage and physiotherapy will help to provide relief from the back pain. Observing good posture will also help eg. keep back straight when sitting or standing. 

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