What Is the Best Treatment for Rheumatoid Arthritis?

Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a chronic inflammatory disorder that affects the joints. But in some people, RA also damages the skin, eyes, lungs, heart and blood vessels. In fact, about 40 percent of people who suffer from rheumatoid arthritis also experience signs and symptoms beyond the joints.

Although there is no cure for RA, there is a range of effective medications and therapies that help many you manage your condition.

Medications to treat rheumatoid arthritis

After evaluating the severity of your symptoms and how long you’ve had RA, your doctor may recommend one of the following medications:

  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) – Nonprescription NSAIDs such as Advil®, Motrin® IB and Aleve® can relieve pain and reduce inflammation. Stronger NSAIDs are available by prescription.
  • Steroids – Corticosteroid medications, such as prednisone, can reduce inflammation, and help relieve pain and slow joint damage. You may be prescribed a corticosteroid to relieve acute symptoms, with the goal of tapering off the medication.
  • Disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDs) –These drugs can slow the progression of rheumatoid arthritis and save the joints and other tissues from permanent damage.
  • Biologic agents –Biologic drugs target parts of the immune system that trigger inflammation that cause joint and tissue damage.

Treating rheumatoid arthritis with physical therapy

Physical or occupational therapy helps many RA patients improve joint flexibility. During these sessions, you’ll learn exercises to help keep your joints flexible, and can discover ways to perform daily tasks to ease joint pressure. At Pomona Valley Health Centers, physical therapy is part of our complete offering of sports medicine in Pomona Valley.

Exceptional healthcare has never been more accessible and convenient

If you or a loved one is suffering from rheumatoid arthritis or a sports-related injury, the caring team at PVHC is here for you. Comprised of dedicated, experienced doctors, physician assistants, nurse practitioners and nurses, the PVHC pros are ready to address your every medical need. From family medicine and women’s health to sports medicine and urgent care, the support you need is close to home.

Schedule an appointment at a PVHC location near you. For Claremont, Chino Hills or Pomona, call 909-536-1493 or click here to use our online form.

What Are the Best Ways to Treat Seasonal Allergies?

Seasonal Allergies

There’s no greater feeling of taking a deep breath of fresh air on a beautiful day. Until your seasonal allergies (also known as hay fever and allergic rhinitis) kick in. The runny nose, sneezing, itchy eyes, congestion and sinus pressure can come between you and your favorite activities, and even make you feel downright miserable.

If you love the outdoors, but they don’t love you back, it’s time to explore ways to treat your seasonal allergies.

Over-the-counter care for seasonal allergies

If you’re among the 36 million allergy suffers in the U.S., you may have tried several types of nonprescription medications. For many people, they deliver the quick, consistent relief, and even help manage allergy symptoms day after day, season after season. They include:

  • Antihistamines – Typically available without a prescription in pill form, antihistamines can help relieve sneezing, itching, a runny nose and watery eyes. Talk with your doctor or pharmacist to get symptom-specific recommendations.
  • Oral decongestants – These medications can also be taken in pill form and are available over-the-counter. They can provide temporary relief from nasal stuffiness. Decongestants also come in nasal sprays, but only use nasal decongestants for a few days in a row. Longer-term use of decongestant nasal sprays can worsen symptoms (resulting in rebound congestion).
  • Nasal spray ­–Nasal spray can usually ease allergy symptoms without serious side effects, though it’s most effective when you begin using it before your symptoms start.
  • Combination medications –Some allergy medications combine an antihistamine with a decongestant, such as Claritin-D® and Allegra-D®.

Treat seasonal allergies by “rinsing” your sinuses

Rinsing your sinuses with saline solution (nasal irrigation) is a quick and inexpensive way to relieve nasal congestion. Rinsing can also effectively flush mucus and allergens from your nose. Simply purchase a squeeze bottle or a neti pot—a container with a spout designed for nasal rinsing—at your pharmacy or health food store, and follow the directions closely.

Count on our credentialed, compassionate doctors for excellent healthcare

When over-the-counter medications aren’t enough, or you’d like to get to the source of your allergies, our team of skilled physicians and specialists at Pomona Valley Health Centers is ready to help. By conducting skin or blood tests, we can find out exactly what allergens are triggering your symptoms. Then, we’ll identify the treatments likely to work best for you, and help you take specific steps to avoid your allergen triggers.

And should you or a family member need immediate allergy treatment in Pomona Valley, our urgent care center is here year ‘round, with extended hours at our Chino Hills Crossroads and Claremont locations.

To schedule an appointment for allergy care, family medicine or specialty care, call 909-536-1493 or click here to use our online form.

What Are Common Sports Injuries?

What Are Common Sports Injuries

In athletics, victory can come with a price—often in the form of a sports injury. As a result, you need to know what the common sports injuries are to stay one step ahead. While sports injuries aren’t 100 percent preventable, a little knowledge goes a long way toward staying in the game.

Shoulders: The weakest joint

As one of your body’s weakest joints, it’s not surprising to learn that it’s also among the most commonly injured. Equally important to consider is how so many athletic movements (throwing, catching, blocking, etc.) depend on shoulder strength. The takeaway: Any shoulder pain that persists for more than two weeks should be evaluated by a sports medicine professional.

Hurting hamstrings

Hamstrings are tricky. As they’re often left tight, weak and un-stretched, injuries involving hamstrings have become quite common. Moreover, as they’re located on the back of your thigh, they can be easy to forget. Our advice: Keep your hamstrings well stretched and strengthened to avoid injury.

Concussions

Concussions are among the most serious sports injuries; what’s more, they come with harmful, long-term consequences. Concussions are injuries to the brain, such as bruises, that result from blows to the head and can occur with or without loss of consciousness. A potential concussion should not go unreported or untreated. When you’re experiencing symptoms such as confusion, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, or slurred speech, seek immediate medical help. 

Shin splints

Shin splints (like many sports injuries) begin with chronic pain—in this case, pain of the lower leg bone (tibia). Runners are the primary victims of shin splints, but anyone who participates in any vigorous physical activity is at risk of developing them. The most effective ways to prevent and even treat nagging shin splints are rest, icing, stretching and cross-training. From there, gradually increase your running activities to prevent shin splints from reoccurring.

ACL tear or strain

Your ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) is one of the ligaments that helps stabilize your knee. Cutting, pivoting, or changing directions lead to tears or strains of the ACL. One of the most devastating sports injuries, rehabilitation, and even surgery, is necessary to get you back to your daily activities. Help prevent ACL injuries by warming up, stretching, and seeing a sports medicine physician to help develop an individualized ACL prevention program.

Stay in the game

No one wants to be sidelined when it comes to sports injuries, which is why it’s important to take proper precautions. To learn more about sports medicine in Pomona Valley, call 909-536-1493.

 

How to Heal My Bone Fracture as Fast as Possible

Bone Fracture

Falls and accidents. Diseases and chronic conditions. Sports injuries. Bone fractures can happen to anyone at any time. But with advanced treatments, and by making some lifestyle and nutritional adjustments, there are several ways to accelerate the healing of a bone fracture.

How to heal a bone fracture as fast as possible

Because bone healing is a natural process, treatment of a fracture should focus on giving the bone optimum conditions to heal itself. Some effective bone fracture therapies include:

  • Fracture management – Including closed reduction (bone alignment through manipulation or traction), immobilization (using a splint or cast) and rehabilitation (physical therapy)
  • Physical therapy – To regain strength and normal function in the affected area
  • Ultrasound-guided injections – Injections can be precisely applied to joints or soft tissues in the body

Take preventive actions to heal a bone fracture faster

Prevention is one of the most effective ways to help your body overcome a bone fracture. Consuming 1200-1500 mg of calcium and 800-1000 IU vitamin D can help keep bones strong. You can also seek out foods that contain these key nutrients. Here are some high-calcium foods to include in your diet each day:

  • Dairy products – Milk, yogurt and eggs
  • Whole grains – Brown rice, quinoa, oats and rye
  • Vegetables – Broccoli, spinach and kale
  • Beans – Chickpeas, black beans and tofu
  • Nuts and seeds – Almonds, chia seeds and flax seeds

Staying active is also a great way to keep bones strong and healthy, so they have a better chance of healing quicker after a fracture. Simply spending time a few days per week doing weight-bearing exercises such as brisk walking, yoga, dancing, golf, hiking, tai chi or weight training is highly beneficial.

Compassionate, high-quality healthcare is here for you

Bone fractures can happen in an instant, but through proper care, the board-certified physicians at Pomona Valley Health Centers can help you heal quickly. Come see us for complete sports medicine in Pomona Valley; featuring nonsurgical, leading-edge treatment for bone fractures. You can also learn how to safely begin a new exercise routine or sport. And should you get injured, we’re here with urgent care centers to treat you right way.

To schedule an appointment for sports medicine, family medicine or specialty care, call 909-536-1493 or click here to use our online form.

What Are the Differences Between the Common Cold and the Flu?

What Are the Differences Between the Common Cold and the Flu?

During cold and flu season, staying healthy can be a real challenge. And because colds and flu share many symptoms, it can be virtually impossible to tell the difference between them based on symptoms alone.

What are the differences between a cold and the flu?

Let’s start with a similarity: The flu and the common cold are both respiratory illnesses, but caused by different viruses. Generally, the flu is worse than the common cold in terms of the intensity of symptoms. Colds typically feel milder than the flu, with symptoms such as a runny or stuffy nose. And colds usually do not progress to serious health problems like pneumonia, bacterial infections or hospitalizations.

Flu, on the other hand, can have very serious associated complications. Flu symptoms can include fever or feeling feverish/chills, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, muscle or body aches, headaches and fatigue.

Colds vs. the flu: A quick reference guide

When cold and flu symptoms arise, you and your family will be better prepared to fight them if you know what you’re facing. Use the reference guide below to help you navigate the rest of the way through cold and flu season:

What Are the Differences Between the Common Cold and the Flu?
Courtesy of the Centers for Disease Control

Complete family healthcare is all around you

At Pomona Valley Health Centers, you and your family’s health is our priority. Our board-certified physicians are here for checkups and physicals, for urgent care, and preventive care for conditions like diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease and more. We’re here when you’re sick or injured with efficient, see-you-today urgent care centers. And last but not least, we’re here to provide complete family medicine in Pomona Valley, with locations in Claremont, Chino Hills, Chino Hills Crossroads, La Verne and Pomona.

Throughout cold and flu season and all year round, count on us to help keep you and your family well.

To schedule an appointment, call 909-536-1493 or click here to use our online form.

When Should I Go To An Urgent Care?

When Should I Go To An Urgent Care

When you or a loved one suffers an unexpected fall, injury or illness, you deserve easy access to prompt, high-quality treatment. We understand how worrying it can be when you need urgent care and your primary doctor is unavailable. That’s why Pomona Valley Health Centers offers urgent care facilities 365 days a year with extended hours. Our urgent care center helps fill an essential gap when you are in need of immediate medical attention.

Do you need an emergency room or urgent care?

If you have a serious, potentially life-threatening medical condition like a large open wound, compound fracture, chest pain, head injury or difficulty breathing, you should go to the nearest emergency room. Emergency rooms have the equipment and medications necessary to help people with serious, life-threatening conditions.

If you have an urgent need for medical care, but are not in immediate danger of losing your life or limb, you may be better off visiting an urgent care facility. Why? Emergency rooms must take patients with life-threatening illnesses or injuries first. Everyone else will have a longer wait. For faster service, we recommend visiting urgent care at Pomona Valley Health Centers. Our doctors have extensive experience treating a wide range of illnesses and injuries—including worker’s comp cases.

The difference between the words ‘emergency’ and ‘urgent’ can get confusing because they both suggest there is a medical issue that needs prompt attention. Here is an easy way to determine whether an urgent care facility or emergency room is right for you:

  • Visit an urgent care facility if you are suffering from a sudden illness or injury that you would normally address with your primary doctor.
  • Visit an emergency room if you have a serious, potentially life-threatening medical issue.

Medical conditions that can be treated at an urgent care facility

If you find yourself in need of prompt medical care, but aren’t sure if an urgent care facility can help, below are common illnesses and injuries treated at PVHC urgent care:

  • Mild asthma attacks or other mild breathing issues
  • Cold and flu symptoms
  • Children’s illnesses
  • Urinary tract infections
  • Minor cuts, scrapes, burns or rashes
  • Allergies
  • Sprains and strains
  • Sports injuries
  • Bites and stings
  • Migraine headaches
  • Eye irritation
  • Fever
  • Sore throat
  • Vomiting, diarrhea, or dehydration
  • Minor broken bones

If you or a loved one needs urgent care in Pomona Valley, the skilled physicians at Pomona Valley Health Centers are here for you—no appointments necessary. If you’re wondering if urgent care is the right choice for your medical condition, please call 909-536-1493.

 

Should I Get the Seasonal Flu Shot?

Should I Get the Seasonal Flu Shot?

The Centers for Disease Control and Protection (CDC) recommends that everyone over the age of 6 months receive a seasonal flu shot. A seasonal flu shot not only protects you from a serious disease that may lead to hospitalization, it can also help your body build infection-fighting antibodies and protect your heart. This is especially true for those with pre-existing, chronic illnesses like heart disease, diabetes or high blood pressure. When you combine the flu virus with a pre-existing or chronic illness, your already taxed immune system may not be able to fight the flu virus on its own.

Still not convinced?

5 reasons why you should get the seasonal flu shot

  • You can spread the flu to other people, even if you don’t get sick.
    Young, healthy people may carry the influenza virus without ever experiencing any signs or symptoms, but it’s still contagious.
  • You can protect a child under 6 months.
    Babies younger than 6 months are much more susceptible to the influenza virus than adults. Unfortunately, they cannot get a flu shot; but you can help keep them safe by getting yourself vaccinated.
  • Your smartphone can give you the flu.
    Viruses can easily cling to hard, plastic surfaces, like your smartphone as well as the tables, chairs and counters you set it on.
  • The seasonal flu shot cannot give you the flu.
    This is a myth, the flu vaccine does not contain live flu virus.
  • It might spare you a heart attack.
    Influenza causes inflammation throughout your body, which can cause arterial plaque to dislodge and form a blood clot.

If you haven’t received your seasonal flu shot yet, there is still time! For flu shots in Pomona Valley, visit Pomona Valley Health Centers and protect yourself (and those you may come in contact with) from this severe flu season.

Should You Go to Urgent Care or the Emergency Room?

urgent care

Though it’s comforting to know emergency rooms and urgent care facilities are there if you need them, you hope you never do. But it’s good to understand their differences, so you can get treated as quickly as possible.

Emergency rooms must take patients with life-threatening illnesses and injuries first. So that means everyone waiting in the ER with a cold, fever or sprain has a longer wait. For faster assistance in Los Angeles County, anyone experiencing a non-life-threatening medical issue should visit PVHC’s urgent care facility instead of the emergency room. Our urgent care center fills a vital gap for people in need of non-life threatening medical attention.

Urgent care or the emergency room?

Here is an easy way to determine whether you should go to the emergency room or an urgent care facility: If you have a medical issue that is not life-threatening, but can’t wait until your doctor is available, then you should visit an urgent care facility. Emergency rooms should be reserved for life-threatening or other severe medical issues.

One important reason it’s important to use the emergency room sparingly is because the services tend to be very expensive. Emergency room visits are approximately 85 percent more per visit than urgent care.

Below is a list of medical issues that can be treated at an urgent care facility:

  • Mild abdominal pain
  • Cough and cold
  • Eye irritation
  • Fever
  • Flu symptoms
  • Mild asthma attacks or other breathing issues
  • Migraine
  • Minor broken bones
  • Sprains and strains
  • Sore throat
  • Tick bites
  • Rash
  • Urinary tract infections
  • Vomiting, diarrhea, or dehydration

Head to the emergency room for the following medical emergencies:

  • Eye injuries
  • Head injuries
  • Loss of balance/fainting
  • Newborn baby with fever
  • Chest pain
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Severe abdominal pain
  • Deep cuts that require stitches
  • Pregnancy-related problems
  • Intestinal bleeding
  • Large open wound
  • Compound fracture (bone protrudes through skin)

Visit our urgent care in Pomona Valley when you need high-quality, compassionate care for any non-life-threatening medical problems that just can’t wait. Schedule your urgent care visit by calling 909-536-1493.

 

How a CT Scan Can Help You

CT scan

CT scans help doctors treat and diagnose injuries and illnesses. This technology provides a clear picture of the inside of your body so they can better determine what may be causing your symptoms. There are many reasons why you might need a CT scan and it can be especially useful for those who are unable to undergo an MRI. Often, people with injuries or an implanted medical device cannot comfortably lie down for 30-60 minutes. Using a CT scan is an effective alternative.

What is a CT scan?

CT, or computerized tomography, is a special x-ray test that produces cross-sectional images of the body. There are different types of CT scans, depending on the type of injury or illness:

  • CT scanning of the abdomen
    A CT scan of the abdomen helps doctors visualize several types of organs and tissues with great clarity, including the liver, spleen, pancreas, kidneys, lower gastrointestinal (GI) tract, colon and rectum. This type of scan is the preferred method for diagnosing many types of cancers and vascular disorders.
  • CT angiography
    CT angiography uses x-rays to visualize blood flow in arterial vessels throughout the entire body. It helps doctors diagnose issues associated with arteries serving the brain, lungs, kidneys, arms and legs.
  • CT scanning of the chest
    A CT scan of the chest can be used to help diagnose pneumonia, tuberculosis, emphysema, bronchiectasis and lung disease. It’s also useful for accident victims or internal chest injuries. It helps assess damage to the organs, bones, spinal column and large blood vessels.
  • CT scanning of the head
    A CT scan of the head helps diagnose things like head injuries, skull fractures, brain tumors, blood clots, aneurysms and many types of cancers and other conditions.
  • CT scanning of the spine
    A CT scan of the spine is very useful in ruling out spinal cord damage for accident victims as well as diagnosing different types of cancers.

Is a CT scan safe?

Medical imaging exams, like CT scans, are directly linked to greater life expectancies and declining death rates from cancer. Moreover, they are safer and less expensive than more invasive procedures, like surgery.

For more information about sports medicine in Pomona Valley, please call 909-536-1493. Our PVHC doctors provide comprehensive care, including proactive preventive care for chronic conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease and more. Our board-certified primary care doctors deliver all the care you need today, to ensure you and your family enjoy a healthier tomorrow.

Concussion Management and Recovery

Concussion Management

School is back in session and that means kids and young adults across America are lacing up their cleats and heading toward the playing field. Participating in a sport is a great way to teach teens and young adults leadership, confidence and teamwork, but it’s important to keep the potential risks in mind.

There are approximately 300,000 sports-related concussions among high school athletes each year in the United States. Surprisingly, only a small fraction—about 25 percent—gets medical care. With proper rehabilitation, most mild to moderate concussions can be completely healed.

Common signs and symptoms of concussions

Here are a few signs and symptoms of a concussion, so you can identify them and seek medical care as soon as possible:

  • Depression
  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Nausea
  • Persistent pressure in the head
  • Repeating questions
  • Slurred speech
  • Trouble falling asleep
  • Vomiting

Concussion management

Your brain is a muscle and, like all muscles, it will take time to heal from an injury. It’s important to rest and limit activity for about 72 hours following a mild to moderate concussion. This will give your brain a rest, lessen symptoms and help it heal. After the initial three days, it’s very important to resume light activities to avoid feeling worse and delaying recovery.

Anyone who has suffered a concussion should not return to moderate or strenuous activities or sports without doctor approval. Improper healing from an initial concussion may cause a condition known as second impact syndrome. This condition increases your chances of severe brain swelling and may be fatal, which is why it’s always best to get proper medical treatment for any head injury or trauma.

If you or someone you know has suffered a severe concussion, it’s important to understand that the spine may also be compromised. Watch for things like difficulty breathing, nerve pain, headaches and varying degrees of paralysis, which can indicate a spinal injury. Concussion management at Pomona Valley Health Centers is second to none when it comes to caring for your sports-related injury. For more information about our sports medicine services, please call 909-536-1493.

The Benefits of a Mammogram

Benefits of a mammogram

Mammograms are a vital preventative diagnostic test to help women and their doctors detect signs of early breast cancer — whether you’re experiencing symptoms or not. Women should schedule their first mammogram between the ages of 45 and 50. Once you reach 50 years of age, you should schedule an annual mammogram because the best prevention is early detection.

What is a mammogram?

A mammogram is a low-dose x-ray that gives your doctor the ability to look for any changes in breast tissue. The machine has two plates that compress the breast to spread the tissue apart, which provides a better image of the tissue. This method also uses less radiation.

Types of mammograms

Screening mammograms are used for women who are not experiencing any common symptoms of breast cancer (e.g., lumps, pain, skin dimpling or nipple discharge). Diagnostic mammograms provide more detailed x-rays of the breast using specialized techniques. These mammograms are typically used to get more information about breast changes in women who are experiencing symptoms or who have received abnormal screening results.

Benefits of mammography

Let’s take a look at the benefits of mammography:

  • Annual mammograms can save your life.
    Detecting breast cancer early reduces your fatality risk by approximately 30 percent.
  • Early detection is the best prevention.
    Mammograms can detect abnormal breast tissue approximately two years before it becomes cancerous.
  • Mammograms improve your chances of breast conservation.
    Early detection of localized breast cancer lowers your chances of needing a mastectomy (breast removal).

If you are between the ages of 45 and 50, it’s time to schedule your annual mammogram. Our skilled specialists are ready to help you with mammography services at Pomona Valley Health Centers. We are proud to offer highly compassionate and advanced women’s health care at all four of our office locations.

For more information about our women’s health services, please call 909-536-1493.

Why Prenatal Diagnosis is Important for Your Health

Prenatal Diagnosis

More than 70 percent of pregnant women in the United States routinely screen their unborn children for things like Down syndrome, spinal cord defects or other genetic conditions. Not only is prenatal diagnosis important in determining the health of the fetus, they can also help identify health concerns for the mother.

What is prenatal diagnosis?

Prenatal testing, screening and diagnosis are important tools to help your doctor determine, before birth, whether your fetus has any genetic disorders or congenital anomalies. Tests can be anything from amniocentesis and chorionic villus sampling (CVS) to a simple blood test. These tests are especially useful for children born to mothers over the age of 35 who are at an increased risk for genetic abnormalities.

How can prenatal diagnosis help protect my health?

Prenatal diagnosis has also helped reduce the mother’s risk of hemorrhage or stroke during childbirth by detecting conditions like placenta previa and preeclampsia.

  • Placenta previa is a condition in which the placenta is too close to the cervix to allow for a safe vaginal delivery. Women with placenta previa are at a heightened risk of hemorrhaging, particularly during childbirth.
  • Preeclampsia is a unique pregnancy disorder in which the expectant mother has continuous high blood pressure. This disorder can lead to stroke, kidney and liver damage, fluid in the lungs and seizures.

Prenatal blood tests are a sophisticated, highly sensitive and noninvasive method that can pick up very unexpected issues. If a woman’s fetus tests positive for genetic conditions, but her baby is born healthy, the test could reveal an underlying issue with the mother. Doctors are noticing that imbalances in the genetic material of the expectant mother may be associated with a tumor. Researchers and doctors were unaware that tumors could be a source of the false positive DNA results until 2013, however, it’s an extremely rare finding and will not be used as a cancer screen. While broad benefits of this finding have yet to be discovered, doctors continue to look for patterns that might suggest which expectant mothers are at risk for cancer.

Contact Pomona Valley Health Centers to learn more about prenatal diagnosis. We can help you have a happy, healthy pregnancy and delivery experience. Call us today at 909-536-1493 to schedule an appointment.

Menopause Management: How We Can Help

Menopause Management: How We Can Help

Menopause is the natural decline in reproductive hormones in women. This life event typically occurs between the ages of 40 and 50. It’s often self-diagnosable because its symptoms are very consistent. Some of the most common symptoms include hot flashes, vaginal dryness and sleep issues. Though menopause is a naturally-occurring event in every woman’s life, the skilled physicians at Pomona Valley Health Centers can help you manage its symptoms, so you can get back to uninterrupted sleep at night and symptom-free days.

How we help you manage menopause

Menopause is a natural process, but treatments are available to minimize common symptoms. These treatments include:

  • Estrogen therapy
    Estrogen therapy is the most effective treatment option for relieving menopausal hot flashes. As an added benefit, estrogen also helps prevent bone loss. While long-term therapy has shown an increased risk for developing some types of cardiovascular disease and breast cancers, it has also shown to benefit women when the therapy is started around the time menopause begins.
  • Vaginal estrogen
    Vaginal creams may be used to temporarily relieve vaginal dryness, discomfort with intercourse and some urinary symptoms. Estrogen creams are inserted directly into the vagina and absorbed by the vaginal tissues.
  • Gabapentin
    This medication was originally intended to treat seizures. However, it has proven useful for women who are unable to use estrogen therapy, but suffer from nighttime hot flashes.
  • Clonidine
    A pill or patch originally intended for treating high blood pressure may also provide some relief from hot flashes.
  • Low-dose antidepressants
    Low-dose antidepressants may help decrease menopausal hot flashes and may be taken by women who are unable to take estrogen for various health reasons.

If you’d like to learn more about how you can manage the symptoms of menopause, contact Pomona Valley Health Centers. Our skilled specialists can tell you everything you need to know about menopause management. Call us today at 909-536-1493 to schedule an appointment.

Arthritis Pain Management: What You Need to Know

Arthritis Pain Management: What You Need to Know

Despite what many people may think, arthritis is not an “old person’s disease.” The fact is, about 50 million Americans of all ages live with some form of arthritis. But how do you know if you’re hurting from a sports injury or from arthritis? And if arthritis is causing your pain, how can you manage it?

Pain types: What you need to know

There are two main types of pain: Acute and chronic. Acute pain is often described as a sharp, throbbing, shooting or stinging feeling, which can be brief (burning your hand on a stove or pulling away from a knife cut) or linger after an injury or surgical procedure.

Chronic pain (aching, dull, burning or throbbing pain) is pain that lasts for at least three months. But for some people, it can last as long as six months and continue for years. Arthritis pain, migraine headaches, nerve damage and low back pain are examples of chronic pain.

Arthritis pain management: What you need to know

Many people manage their pain with over-the-counter and prescription medications, which typically do not treat the pain source. For other people, medications work best as a complementary therapy to long-term pain management techniques, which might include:

  • Losing weight – Taking off extra pounds is not only great for your overall health, it will help reduce the stress on your joints, improve mobility, decrease pain and may even prevent future joint damage.
  • Exercising – Staying active is great for maintaining joint flexibility. Just be sure to avoid weight-bearing workouts like running or walking, and try low-impact exercises such as water aerobics or swimming.
  • Applying hot/cold therapy – Hot therapies, such as taking hot showers or baths, and using an electric blanket or moist heating pad, help ease joint stiffness. Cold treatments, like gel ice packs or a bag of frozen vegetables help ease joint pain, swelling and inflammation.
  • Eating arthritis-friendly foods – Omega 3 fatty acids, which are high in fish oil supplements, have been shown to reduce joint stiffness and pain. You can also find high amounts of omega-3s in Brussels sprouts, kale, spinach, flaxseeds, chia seeds and walnuts. In addition, many people find that adding turmeric (a yellow spice packed with anti-inflammatory properties) to their food decreases arthritic pain.

Other helpful arthritis pain management techniques include getting regular massages, practicing meditation and taking herbal supplements. Consult your doctor before adopting a new exercise routine, nutritional program or supplement regimen.

Providing excellence in arthritis pain management in Pomona, Chino Hills and Claremont

Whether you’re experiencing the pain of an injury, or the chronic pain of arthritis, getting the expert care you need is close to home. At Pomona Valley Health Centers (PVHC) our experienced, board-certified physicians are ready to provide effective arthritis management strategies, tools and total support to help you stay out of pain.

For all your health needs, from family medicine to urgent care, you’ll find a commitment to prompt, convenient, cost-friendly health care at PVHC. To learn more or schedule an appointment, call 909-536-1493 or click here to use our online form.

The Benefits of Genetic Counseling

genetic counseling

If you are concerned about your current or future pregnancy, the skilled genetic counselors at Pomona Valley Health Centers can help. They work closely with you and your physicians and provide the personalized care you deserve. Our genetic counselors help couples understand genetic or medical conditions and their causes, as well as their probability of conceiving a child with a medical concern.

What are the benefits of genetic counseling?

Genetic counseling benefits couples in many ways, including:

  • Increased understanding
    Genetic screening tests can help calculate the likelihood that the fetus might be born with Down syndrome, cystic fibrosis, Tay-Sachs disease or sickle cell anemia. Genetic counselors are there to effectively communicate this information and help couples understand any potential benefits of preventative measures to individuals and their family members.
  • Better peace of mind
    For parents-to-be who are aware of a family history of a particular disease or condition, it can be cathartic to learn that they do not carry the gene.
  • Early intervention
    In some cases, genetic testing can uncover a hidden gene mutation that puts you at risk of developing a deadly disease. Our counselors help you understand the cause of this condition and what you can do to prevent it from developing and/or spreading.
  • Appropriate testing
    A genetic counselor can help couples determine what tests are most appropriate for your pregnancy. It can be especially important if any standard prenatal screening test yields an abnormal result.
  • Decision-making
    Our counselors help you understand testing options, diagnosis and the underlying causes of the genetic disorders, as well as guide you through any decision-making regarding genetic testing or family planning.

Contact Pomona Valley Health Centers to learn more about genetic counseling. We are eager to help you have a healthy, happy pregnancy. Call us today at 909-536-1493 to schedule an appointment.

Ways to Improve Men’s Health

men's health

Did you know that men are 80 percent less likely to use a regular source of healthcare, like a primary care physician, than women? In fact, a lot of men go to the doctor only if they’re sick or have a medical emergency. However, regular check-ups are important for preventing things like cancer, high blood pressure, heart disease and diabetes. If you haven’t had a preventative care check-up in over a year, it’s time to visit your doctor. Many diseases and conditions don’t have obvious symptoms but may put you at risk for heart attack or stroke.

5 ways to improve men’s health

Aside from eating well, staying physically active and avoiding tobacco products, the doctors at Pomona Valley Health Centers have a few additional tips for improving your health:

  • Protect yourself
    Protecting yourself from injury is important for your overall health and well being. Take care of yourself with helmets, safety glasses, seatbelts, sunscreen and insect repellent. Frequent and proper hand washing is also important to protect yourself from disease and illness.
  • Protect your prostate
    Your prostate grows as you age. You may notice changes in urinary habits and urinary problems. The best thing you can do to lower your risk of an enlarged prostate or prostate cancer is to eat a nutritious, balanced low-fat diet.
  • Manage stress
    Take time every day to do something you enjoy, and get plenty of rest each night. Doctors recommend between 7 to 9 hours of sleep. Another important part of managing your stress is maintaining a positive mental attitude. Meditation is one way to help improve your mood.
  • Get regular check-ups and screenings
    Like women, men have unique healthcare needs. Regular check-ups and health screenings not only protect your health, they also help your doctor understand your overall health. When your doctor is familiar with you and your health history, he can treat you more quickly and effectively in the event that you become ill. Find out from your doctor which health screenings are right for you based on your age and lifestyle.

For more information or to schedule an appointment, call the team of experienced doctors at Pomona Valley Health Centers at 909-536-1493. Or use our easy online form.

10 Early Signs and Symptoms of Alzheimer’s Disease

10 Early Signs and Symptoms of Alzheimer’s Disease

Alzheimer’s is a progressive mental deterioration most often occurring in people who are middle or old aged. As this disease progresses, it destroys memory and other important mental functions. While there is no known cure for Alzheimer’s, there are medications that may temporarily slow its progression and improve the quality of life for anyone diagnosed with this disease.

10 early signs and symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease

People may experience one or more of these symptoms in varying degrees of seriousness. If you experience any of them, please contact your doctor. These include:

Memory loss

One of the most common signs of early Alzheimer’s is short-term memory loss and increased reliance on memory aids or family members for things they used to remember on their own. Temporarily forgetting names or appointments is a typical age-related change and should not be confused with early Alzheimer’s.

Challenges in problem solving or planning

Challenges like difficulty following a plan or familiar recipe, or an inability to work with numbers and manage household expenses can be a sign. Those suffering from early Alzheimer’s also have difficulty concentrating and take longer to complete tasks than before. Occasional errors while balancing a checkbook is typical as people enter middle and old age.

Difficulty completing daily tasks

Sometimes in early Alzheimer’s, people may have trouble driving to a familiar location, managing a budget, or remembering the rules of a favorite game. Occasional help using a microwave or television is not considered a symptom of Alzheimer’s.

Confusion with time and place

Alzheimer’s can cause people to lose track of dates, seasons and the passage of time. They may also experience difficulty understanding when something is happening (especially if it isn’t happening right at that moment). Some may also struggle with knowing where they are or how they got there.

Vision problems

Trouble understanding visual images and spatial relationships is a sign of Alzheimer’s. People may also have a difficult time reading, judging distance and determining color or contrast.

Trouble following or joining conversations

Stopping in the middle of a conversation with no idea how to continue, struggling with vocabulary and having difficulty finding the right word for things are all signs of early Alzheimer’s. This is not to be confused with sometimes having a difficult time finding the right word to use.

Misplacing things

People struggling with Alzheimer’s disease often put things down in unusual places. Inevitably these items get lost and the person suffering from this disease is unable to retrace their steps and often accuses someone of stealing.

Decreased or poor judgment

Using poor judgment with regards to money and less concern with personal hygiene are more common signs of Alzheimer’s. If you suspect a loved one might have this disease, pay close attention to how they spend their money.

Professional and social withdrawal

People may intentionally withdraw from engaging with other people as a result of the changes they have experienced.

Altered mood and personality

Confusion, suspicion, depression, fear or anxiety may be a secondary symptom of Alzheimer’s, especially when the person is still aware of what is happening.

At Pomona Valley Health Centers, we offer advanced digital radiology exams that can detect Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. Call 909-536-1493 for more information or to schedule an appointment.

Tips to Boost Women’s Health

Tips to Boost Women’s Health

Women are notorious for shouldering much of the mental and physical burden of managing a household. So, let’s take a moment to celebrate them, help them feel better and live longer with a few tips focused on boosting women’s health.

Manage your stress

Stress can have a significant and negative affect on a woman’s health and may lead to infertility, depression, anxiety and heart disease. Overscheduling can cause unnecessary stress, so get good at saying no. Instead, take time to meditate, read a book, relax in a bath or catch up on some much needed rest.

Exercise

Though many people have trouble making time to exercise, keep in mind that exercise is important for reducing your risk of osteoporosis, heart disease, cancer and diabetes. Exercise also helps elevate the mood, which is important for a woman’s mental health. So, add in a mix of cardio, resistance or weight training three to five times per week to help prevent disease and feel better.

Eat well

Fortify your health with fresh fruit, vegetables, legumes, whole grains and lean meats. Include non-fat dairy products as well to help reduce the risk of osteoporosis. Depending on your age, you need between 800 and 1,500 milligrams of calcium each day. If you’re not getting enough vitamins and nutrients in your diet, consider taking a multivitamin and calcium supplement to support your overall health.

Get plenty of rest

Even though it can be tempting to catch up on chores, emails or your favorite television show when the house is quiet at night — choose sleep. It will improve your memory, reduce your risk of heart disease, and help you stay focused and alert throughout the day.

Check for breast cancer

Take a moment during your morning or evening routine to check your breasts for any unusual lumps or changes in your breasts and do not delay in contacting your doctor if you have any concerns. Start this routine in your 20s and schedule yearly mammograms once you turn 40 years old.

Women’s health needs change as they age, but following a few simple tips may help improve your quality of life for years to come. For information about Pomona Valley Health Centers women’s health services, contact us today at 909-536-1493.

The Benefits of Exercise at Every Age

exercise at every age

No matter your age, you can take small, easy steps to improve your quality of life today. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle and staying physically active has lasting effects on your heart health, mental health and overall longevity.

If you’ve ever felt too old to start something new, let Ernestine Shepherd be your inspiration. At almost 81 years old, she is the oldest competitive body builder in the world — but she didn’t start exercising until she was 56. She is living proof that age is just a number.

What can you do to improve your overall fitness?

Don’t worry; you don’t have to become a competitive bodybuilder to improve your quality of life. Here are a few easy things you can do today to start improving your physical and mental fitness:

  • Reduce the amount of sugar in your diet
    Eating too much sugar can cause weight gain, abdominal obesity, high blood pressure and high cholesterol, and serves as a stepping stone to insulin resistance and diabetes.
  • Try different types of physical activities
    Activities like hiking, walking, cycling, jogging or swimming may improve your cardiovascular health and increase your energy levels. Alternating between different types of physical activity is not only beneficial for your body; it helps keep your mind engaged as you look forward to something different each day.
  • Exercise regularly
    Regular exercise helps regulate your body’s sugar, fat and insulin levels, and strengthens your immune system and muscles. So head outside or to the gym for a regular dose of health.

What are the benefits of being physically fit?

Physical fitness helps you live longer, prevent chronic disease, and is also one of the most effective ways to improve your mental health. Regular exercise can:

  • Reduce your risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, stroke, type 2 diabetes, and colon and breast cancers
  • Have a profoundly positive effect on those suffering from depression, anxiety and ADHD
  • Relieve stress, improve memory, help you sleep better and boost your overall mood

Take advantage of warmer weather this season by starting a new exercise routine and eating a healthier diet. Before you get started, consult your primary care physician. They can advise you on an exercise routine and diet that is right for you.

The doctors at Pomona Valley Health Centers are here to help you lead your healthiest life. Contact us today to schedule an appointment at 909-536-1493.

10 Tips For A Healthy Pregnancy

10 Tips For A Healthy Pregnancy

If you haven’t already discovered, there is a lot of information that the Internet, books and family and friends are eager to share with you about pregnancy. It can be overwhelming, to say the least. How can you know what is best for you and your baby? Luckily, the doctors at Pomona Valley Health Centers have put together a list of the 10 essential things you need to know to have a healthy pregnancy.

10 Tips for a Healthy Pregnancy

We understand you want to do what’s best for you and your baby during your pregnancy. Here are our essential tips to help give your baby a great start to life:

Get early prenatal care

If you are planning to start a family, or have just found out that you are expecting, good prenatal care is essential for you and your baby. During your first visit, your doctor will be able to confirm your pregnancy and screen for certain medical conditions that could lead to complications.

Maintain a healthy diet

While it’s okay to occasionally give in to your cravings during pregnancy, it’s important to keep in mind that you typically only need an additional 300 calories per day. Make sure you are getting enough protein and calcium each day and avoid deli meats to prevent yourself from consuming bacteria that could harm your baby.

Take prenatal vitamins

Ask your doctor which prenatal vitamins are best for you and your baby, particularly how much folic acid and calcium you’ll need. Prenatal vitamins ensure you are giving your baby the important vitamins and nutrients it needs, like folic acid, iron, calcium and DHA. These vitamins play an important role in bone, vision and brain development.

Exercise regularly

Regular daily exercise increases your chance of having a vaginal delivery and helps you manage the common discomforts of pregnancy. Exercise can also aid in postpartum recovery. However, if you did not exercise regularly before becoming pregnant, check with your doctor before starting an exercise regimen.

Listen to your body

The first and third trimesters come with fatigue, which is your body’s way of telling you to take it easy. So, listen to your body and sit back with a good book or take a nap when you are feeling tired.

Eliminate alcohol and limit caffeine

It’s important to take good care of your body during pregnancy. We recommend you avoid alcohol, limit your caffeine intake and steer clear of any nonprescription drugs throughout your pregnancy. Indulging in alcohol can adversely affect your baby’s brain or spinal development, too much caffeine has been linked to a higher instance of miscarriage, and nonprescription drugs can lead to birth defects or behavioral problems.

Limit your exposure

If you work around chemicals or other substances known to cause birth defects, it’s important to take the necessary steps to protect your baby. It’s also important to use non-toxic household cleaning solutions throughout your pregnancy to limit your risk of exposure.

Visit your dentist

Hormonal shifts during pregnancy can leave you with an increased risk of gingivitis. Increased progesterone and estrogen levels interact with the bacteria in plaque, leading to swollen, tender or bleeding gums.

Wear sunscreen

Your skin is more susceptible to sunburn and chloasma (dark, blotchy spots on the face) when you are pregnant, so it’s important to apply a sunscreen that is at least SPF 30 or higher and avoid tanning beds.

Know when to call the doctor

If you have any of the following symptoms, the Center for Disease Control recommends contacting your doctor:

  • Vaginal bleeding or leaking of fluid
  • Contractions that are 20 minutes apart or less
  • Pain of any kind
  • Strong cramps
  • Heart palpitations
  • Dizziness or fainting
  • Decreased activity of the baby
  • Shortness of breath

Our team is dedicated to providing expert care for women during every stage of their lives — from adolescence, to preparing for childbirth, to menopause and beyond. For more information about our women’s health services, contact us today at 909-865-9152.

The Importance of Regular Check-Ups

regular check-ups

A generation ago, people used to see their doctor only when they were sick, or dying. Today, preventative health care is becoming commonplace as people become more educated and empowered about their own health. People are preemptively seeking medical advice on how to live a healthy lifestyle. They are looking to lower their risk of various conditions or diseases by maintaining a healthy diet, weight, and level of physical activity.

Doctors are also requesting that patients get regular check-ups to help stay on top of their health. They are highlighting the importance of prevention, as a means to reduce the number of patients requiring medical treatment or surgery.

Regular check-ups can help find potential health issues before they become a problem. When you see your doctor regularly, they are able to detect health conditions or diseases early. Early detection gives you the best chance for getting the right treatment quickly, avoiding any complications. By getting the correct health services, screenings, and treatment you are taking important steps toward living a longer, healthier life.

The benefits of regular check-ups include:

  • Reduce your risk of getting sick
  • Detect potentially life-threatening health conditions or diseases early
  • Increase chances for treatment and cure
  • Limit risk of complications by closely monitoring existing conditions
  • Increase lifespan and improve health
  • Reduce healthcare costs over time by avoiding costly medical services
  • Form a good partnership with the doctor so treatment can be more efficient
  • Get updated on new medical information or technologies that are available

Preventive health screening checklist for adults

  • Annual well-visit (annually)
    • Family history
    • Blood pressure
    • Body mass index (BMI)
    • Physical exam
    • Preventive screening
    • Counseling
  • Cancer screenings (as recommended)
    • Colorectal
    • Skin
    • Breast (women)
    • Cervical (women)
    • Testicular and Prostate (men)
  • Sensory screenings
    • Eyesight
    • Hearing (only if symptoms arise)
  • Immunizations
    • Tetanus, Diptheria (Tdap)
    • Influenza
    • Pneumococcal
    • MMR
    • Meningococcal
    • Varicella
    • Shingles
    • Human papillomavirus (HPV)
    • Hepatitis A
    • Hepatitis B
    • Haemophilus Influenza Type B

Take charge of your health and schedule an appointment with Pomona Valley Health Centers today. We offer a wide variety of services for exceptional treatment and care for you and your family. Contact us today at 909-865-9152 to schedule an appointment.

Surprising Things That Are Affecting Your Sleep

Surprising Things Affecting Sleep

According to the National Sleep Foundation, adults should sleep between seven and nine consecutive hours every night. How much sleep are you getting? Chances are, it’s not enough.

Your body and brain rely on restorative sleep to keep you healthy and help you get the most out of your waking hours. If you wake up after a short or restless nights sleep, you may notice you have a shortened attention span, foggy memory, or decreased alertness. Perhaps it’s time for a 30-minute power nap?

Surprising Things That Are Affecting Your Sleep

If you’re struggling with sleep, you may be surprised to learn what may be keeping you from a good night’s rest.

Sleep apnea

Snoring or inefficient breathing can give you a fitful night of sleep and leave you tired and sluggish throughout your day. If this happens to you regularly, try using a CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) mask to increase air pressure in your throat so it doesn’t collapse when you breathe in, or an oral appliance to help keep the airway open during sleep.

Insomnia

Whether the culprit is anxiety, depression, over consumption of alcohol, or certain medications, insomnia can strike and cause you difficulty in falling asleep, staying asleep, waking too early, or waking up unrefreshed. Unless you are taking a medication that disrupts your sleep, often a relaxing shower, soothing music or the scent of lavender can help you relax and get to sleep.

Minty fresh breath

While we don’t recommend you stop brushing your teeth before bed, you might want to avoid toothpastes and mouthwashes that contain peppermint and cinnamon, or try brushing an hour or two before bed. These ingredients can have a stimulating effect and increase your alertness.

Vitamin B

If you’re having trouble staying asleep, try taking your vitamins in the morning. Vitamin B12 affects melatonin levels, making sleep more difficult to come by. Also, if vivid dreams are waking you up, vitamin B6 may be the culprit.

A nightcap or chocolate

Drinking a glass of wine or indulging in a bit of chocolate before bed can affect your sleep homeostasis, your brain’s regulator for sleep and wake cycles.

Polyester

If you’re waking up hot and sweaty in the middle of the night, check the fabric content of your bed sheets. Polyester bed linens aren’t breathable, which can cause sleep disruptions.

Too much time indoors

Regular exposure to sunlight strengthens your circadian rhythm and makes you more likely to fall asleep easily at night.

Smartphones and tablets

These devices emit light that can interfere with your natural sleep cycle. Not only that, but using technology shortly before bed increases the time it takes for you to fall asleep and your ability to stay asleep.

Sound effect

Sleeping in a noisy environment cannot only be disruptive, it can adversely affect your health. Try to find a quiet place to get some shut-eye. You will have more restful, higher-quality sleep and wake up feeling refreshed.

At the PVHC Sleep Center, we are ready to help you sleep better by discovering what sleep issues you have. Schedule your sleep consultation today by calling 909-865-9152. Our doctors are ready to help you sleep soundly.

Small Changes You Can Make To Improve Your Heart Health

Small Changes You Can Make To Improve Your Heart Health

The team at Pomona Valley Heath Centers wants to help you improve your heart health with a few simple lifestyle changes. These changes are small, they won’t take much time, and you don’t have to do them all at once.

To enjoy a long, heart-healthy life, start by making a few small changes now to help strengthen your heart for a lifetime.

Easy ways to a healthier heart

Try making one small change a week to improve your heart health.

Heart healthy diet

The best thing you can do for your heart each day is to eat a heart-healthy diet filled with a variety of fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Limiting saturated fats, trans fats and sodium is very important for heart health because they can lead to high blood pressure and coronary artery disease. If hydrogenated margarine, butter, lard and nondairy creamers are a regular part of your diet, try substituting with olive oil, coconut oil or avocados.

Cardiovascular exercise

One brisk, 10-minute walk a day can get your blood pumping and help strengthen your heart. Once you’re ready, you can alternate walking with jogging, climbing stairs, or biking to keep your routine interesting.

Weight training

Don’t be intimidated by the thought of lifting weights. You can easily weight train at home with a few soup cans. Try lifting soup cans above your head, out to your sides, and in front of you for three sets of ten. When this gets too easy, you can increase the number of repetitions and add in lower body exercises as well. This not only tones and strengthens your arms; it helps improve circulation.

Frequent hand washing

This one is almost too easy. Washing your hands can help prevent infections like flu and pneumonia, which can be very hard on your heart. So wash often with clean, running water and soap for at least 20 seconds. Take care to wash your wrists, in between your fingers and under your fingernails, as well as the backs of your hands where germs can hide.

Sleep

Regularly sleeping six to eight hours a night has shown to help lower heart rate and blood pressure. Be sure to get plenty of rest to help prevent cardiovascular problems later in life.

Taking good care of your heart is easy. Make a few easy lifestyle changes now, and you will reap the rewards of a healthy heart for years to come. Incorporate one of these simple changes into your daily routine each week for a healthier heart.

Schedule an appointment today with the experienced physicians at Pomona Valley Health Centers at (909) 536-1493.

Sports Medicine for Athletes and Weekend Warriors

Sports Medicine for Athletes and Weekend Warriors

Whether you’re competing for a national championship, or a weekend warrior participating in local intramurals, you don’t want to miss a game because of an injury. You want to heal quickly and get back to doing what you love. The experienced sports medicine physicians at Pomona Valley Health Center are prepared to give you the care you need to restore your body. We are highly trained non operative musculoskeletal specialists who understand the framework of your body and the mechanics that make it function. Repetitive movements like lifting, throwing and twisting can accelerate wear and tear on your joints, muscles, cartilage, and bones. Trouble with any of these areas will make it difficult and painful to do the things that you love.

Signs you should see a sports medicine specialist

If you have any pain in your ankles, knees, hips, shoulders, back, or any of the symptoms below, you should seek medical treatment to avoid improper healing or re-injury:

  • Limited range of motion/stiffness
  • Difficulty or pain when performing normal daily tasks
  • Swelling, bruising, limping, locking or giving out
  • Infection in or around the injury

If you’ve suffered a minor injury, it’s important to seek medical advice and treatment before returning to sports. Injuries that are left untreated can heal improperly, limit your range of motion, and adversely affect your physical performance. PVHC physicians can get you back to the game that you love through their nonsurgical approach to treatment.

Our nonsurgical techniques include:

  • Sports injuries
  • Arthritis management
  • Concussion management
  • Exercise plans
  • Fracture management
  • Ultrasound-guided injections

We can also give you a full body assessment to determine muscle imbalances, poor mechanics, alignment issues or other potential problems that may affect your performance in the future. Our physicians will discuss the results and recommend exercises, rehab programs or lifestyle changes to help strengthen any weak or problem areas.

We understand that, with surgery, you’ll sit on the bench for longer than you’d like. Our approach aims to focus on a non-operative orthopedics program to keep athletes and weekend warriors, like you, in the game (or get you back in the game quickly). PVHC physicians employ effective, nonsurgical services and techniques that typically have shorter recovery times than surgery.

Whether you need preventive care or treatment for an existing issue, contact Pomona Valley Health Centers at (909) 526-1493 and schedule an appointment today.

Oh, My Aching Back…….

Back pain. Most of us have experienced this at one time or another. In fact, low back pain is the second leading cause of physician visits among American adults each year. The annual cost to the health care system is estimated to be between 50 and 100 billion dollars. The low back, or lumbar spine, is the most frequent area of the spine involved in back pain. It is subject to the largest forces and stresses with daily activities and also carries the most amount of body weight. The difficulty with treating lumbar spine pain is that only one to four percent of patients have a clearly identifiable problem. The good news, however, is that the natural history of recovery from an episode of low back pain is favorable, with 44 to 50 percent of patients better in one week and 80 percent of patients better in two months. The downside is that once you have had an episode of low back pain, you are likely to have future episodes and the recurrence rate is reported to be up to 85 percent.

One of the reasons the cause of low back pain is so difficult to diagnose is the complicated anatomy in the lumbar spine. The lumbar spine begins directly below the thoracic, or mid-back region, and ends directly above the sacrum. It consists of five vertebrae and the soft tissue that surrounds them, including discs, muscles, tendons, ligaments, nerves and other tissues. In other words, there is a lot of stuff in a small space. Back pain can be simply localized pain or aching in the low back area, which is common with muscle strains and degenerative joint or degenerative disc disease. However, if the problem involves the nerve roots that exit the spinal cord in the lumbar spine, you may experience symptoms radiating down the leg such as pain, numbness, or tingling. This is commonly called sciatica. But just being diagnosed with sciatica does not necessarily tell the practitioner how to treat it. The nerve irritation or compression may be due to a bulging disc, a narrowing of the canal the nerve root exits through, or something more serious, although rare, such as a tumor. All of these conditions require different treatment approaches. The more the nerve becomes irritated and compressed; it can lead to more serious symptoms, such as muscle weakness, and can lead to permanent nerve damage.

The first course of treatment for an episode of low back pain is often medication such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS). The American College of Physicians has recently changed its position on the approach for initial treatment, advising doctors to prescribe other treatments first, such as exercise, massage or yoga. The new guidelines were published online on February 13, 2017 in Annals of Internal Medicine. In general, for an acute episode of low back pain, you should stay as active as possible and avoid prolonged bed rest, and may use hot packs or cold packs helpful for short-term relief. If your symptoms persist or worsen, or you have symptoms radiating down your leg, you should consult your physician. Physical therapy may be prescribed, and your physical therapist can provide you with the appropriate exercises for your specific problem, as well as guidelines for long-term management.

For more information about back pain treatment or physical therapy services offered at Pomona Valley Health Centers, call 909-536-1493.

Advanced Detection and Analysis with Radiology

Advanced Detection and Analysis with Radiology

Radiology plays several crucial roles in medicine. It can be used for advanced testing and treatment, for screening and wellness, and to detect diseases and conditions. Think of radiology as a huge umbrella, with many specific technologies underneath it.

Radiology for testing and treatment

In the realm of testing and treatment, there is a wide range of radiology techniques, including, but not limited to:

  • X-ray, or radiography, is used to diagnose fractured bones, detect injury or infection, or to locate foreign objects in soft tissue. Some x-ray exams employ an iodine-based contrast material to clarify the visibility of specific organs like the heart, lungs, blood vessels or tissues.
  • Computed tomography (CT) creates detailed images of internal organs, bones, soft tissue and blood vessels. CT is considered by many doctors as the preferred method to detect cancer, since it can confirm the presence of a tumor and determine its size and location. In emergency cases, CT can quickly reveal internal injuries and bleeding to help save lives.
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) uses a powerful magnetic field and radio waves to detect conditions such as tumors and diseases of the liver, heart and bowel. MRI may also be used to monitor an unborn child in the womb.
  • Ultrasound imaging is an effective method of diagnosing unexplained pain, swelling and infection. It can provide imaging guidance for needle biopsies or evaluate conditions related to blood flow. Ultrasound is also the preferred imaging method for monitoring a pregnant woman and her unborn child.
  • Mammography breast imaging uses low-dose x-rays to detect cancer early —when it is most treatable. Mammography plays a leading role in early detection, because it can show changes in the breast up to two years before you or your physician can feel them.

Radiology for screening and wellness

To evaluate the health of specific areas of the body, one or more radiology techniques are often used in combination. Radiology can accurately screen for:

  • Breast cancer
  • Cardiac (Heart)
  • Carotid artery
  • Clinical trial candidacy
  • Colorectal cancer
  • Lung cancer

Radiology for detecting diseases and conditions

There are dozens of diseases and conditions radiology exams can detect throughout the body. Here is just a partial list:

  • Alzheimer’s disease and dementia
  • Anemia
  • Appendicitis
  • Arthritis and osteoporosis
  • Blood clots and peripheral artery disease (PAD)
  • Brain tumors
  • Many types of cancers
  • Pneumonia and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
  • Cirrhosis of the liver, fatty liver disease and liver fibrosis
  • Crohn’s disease
  • Kidney and bladder stones
  • Kidney failure
  • Renal cysts
  • Stroke

Advanced radiology services in the Inland Empire

At Pomona Valley Health Centers (PVHC) in Claremont, Chino Hills and Chino Hills Crossroads, we offer advanced digital radiology exams. From CT and DEXA scans, screening mammography and the powerful 3 Tesla MRI, we provide some of the most accurate analyses available in the area.

But radiology is just one of the areas of medical expertise we cover. Whether you need routine checkups or urgent care, total women’s health care, pediatric care, physical therapy, or other services, the caring doctors and nurses of PVHC are here for you and your family.

To schedule an appointment, call 909-536-1493 or click here to use our online form.

10 Things to Know About HPV and Cervical Cancer

10 Things to Know About HPV and Cervical Cancer

January is Cervical Health Awareness Month. During this time, the nation’s attention is turned to cervical health. The focus is on educating women about the connection between cervical cancer and the human papillomavirus (HPV), a common sexually transmitted infection.

Many women may not realize that virtually all cases of cervical cancer are caused by just two types of HPV: 16 and 18. These viruses are responsible for about 70 percent of all cervical cancer cases. Here are a few quick facts about HPV:

  • Most sexually active people contract HPV at some point
  • At any time, there are approximately 79 million people in the U.S. with HPV
  • There are 14 million new HPV infections in the U.S. each year

10 key facts about HPV and cervical cancer

Although few HPV infections lead to cervical cancer, early detection of HPV 16 and 18 — the types that cause cervical cancer — is key. Here are 10 things to know about HPV and cervical cancer:

  • No one is HPV-immune: Anyone who has had sex of any kind can get HPV.
  • Certain people have a higher risk for cervical cancer: Women who have HPV that doesn’t go away, have HIV or AIDS, or smoke, can be at a greater risk of getting cervical cancer.
  • Vaccines: HPV vaccines can help prevent infection from the high-risk HPV types (16 and 18) that cause cervical cancer. Vaccines are recommended for all men and women through age 26.
  • HPV symptoms: Certain types of HPV manifest in genital warts or warts on the fingers and hands. HPV 16 and 18 types cause changes in the cervix cells, which are detected in a Pap test.
  • Testing: A Pap test can detect HPV-caused cell changes to the cervix (that can develop into cancerous cells). For women age 30 and over, an HPV test may be used along with a Pap.
  • Detection: It can be years after exposure to the virus before HPV is detected. Which is why it’s usually impossible to determine when, or from whom, HPV has been contracted. A recent diagnosis of HPV does not necessarily mean anyone has been unfaithful, even in a long-term relationship.
  • Treatment: There is no cure for the HPV virus. But HPV infections that cause genital warts, benign respiratory tract tumors and precancerous changes at the cervix can be treated. Abnormal cells can be removed via biopsy, cryotherapy (freezing cells) or laser therapy.
  • Pregnancy: Pregnant women with HPV almost always have natural deliveries and healthy babies. It’s very rare for a newborn to get HPV from the mother.
  • HPV is common: Being diagnosed with HPV doesn’t mean you or your partner did something wrong. It just indicates that you, like millions of other people, were exposed to a common infection.
  • Finding support: The National Cervical Cancer Coalition provides online support communities that connect patients, partners and caregivers.

Your optimal cervical health and more starts here

For comprehensive women’s healthcare to routine check-ups, urgent care and specialized treatments, the providers of Pomona Valley Health Centers (PVHC) are here for you. With locations across the Inland Empire, we proudly offer you and your family compassionate, convenient medical care.

Let us show you what a difference our team of dedicated providers can make in your health and well-being. To schedule an appointment, call 909-536-1493 or click here to use our online form.

Why Squat? Think Skiing and Snowboarding!

Athletes understand that an important reason to squat is to enhance athletic performance. Properly performed squatting exercises strengthen the buttocks, thighs, and core. Winter sports enthusiasts might be interested to know that squat endurance and strengthening exercises are essential when preparing for a safe and enjoyable skiing and snowboarding season. Squats enhance balance and stability and help reduce the risk of injuries, such as ACL tear or patellofemoral pain.

There are many variations of the squat, including the use of weights, bosu balls, elastic bands, single leg squats, etc. I leave it to you and your personal trainer to guide you in your choice of exercises to accomplish your personal goals. However, you must first learn to perform a basic squat correctly before taking it into the weight room.

To squat properly, you must first learn to separate movements of the hips from movements of the lower back. You must be able to bend your hips and knees without moving the lumbar spine out of its neutral alignment. Once you master this “hip hinge” motion, you can progress to squatting in the following way:

Start with your feet a little wider than shoulder width apart with the feet very slightly turned outward. As you begin to squat using the hip hinge motion, your pelvis should move backward during the downward phase. The pelvis should continue to move along approximately a 45-degree angle backward and downward until your thighs are approximately parallel with the floor. Keep your chest up and the shoulder blades back to help you keep the lower back neutral. To return to full standing, use the buttock muscles to drive the hips forward and upward. If you lack adequate strength or hip flexibility, you might not be able to squat as deeply as described above. If this is the case, start with shallower squats and work into deeper squats as your strength develops. If you have a history of anterior knee pain (knee cap pain), use caution with squatting exercises, especially when adding weight or with deeper squats. Discontinue the exercise if you are experiencing pain.

In the beginning, as you are learning to squat, you can start with your arms outstretched to the sides and move the arms forward as you squat to help you keep your balance. The three photographs above show the start position, mid-point in the squat, and end position of the downward phase.

Start with three sets of 10 repetitions and progress to three sets of 20 repetitions. Continuing three sets of 20 reps of these basic squats three times per week should be adequate training to help you maintain good postures during your activities of daily living. If you are performing basic squats with good form, and you are interested in using squats to enhance sports performance, you are now ready to add some weight to your squats. I recommend working with a trainer, initially, to learn how to safely use dumbbells, barbells or other equipment with your squats.

Understanding Sleep Disorders

understanding sleep disorders

We all have those nights: It’s difficult to fall asleep or stay asleep. Some of us can’t resist the 2 am smart phone check to read text messages or browse social media. Occasional restless nights of our own creation, increased stress at work, schedule changes, jet lag or the loss of a loved one are normal. But consistent sleep disruptions could indicate a sleep disorder.

Almost half of Americans report sleep-related problems—from minor sleep interruptions to chronic sleep disorders. That translates to roughly 162 million people attempting to drive safely and work efficiently on interrupted sleep or not enough sleep. People with sleep insufficiency are also more susceptible to chronic diseases, including:

  • Hypertension
  • Diabetes
  • Depression
  • Obesity
  • Cancer

Common sleep disorders

There are more than 80 kinds of sleep disorders. The most common types are:

  • Insomnia – A hard time falling or staying asleep, resulting in decreased daytime function
  • Sleep apnea – Breathing interruptions during sleep
  • Restless legs syndrome – A tingling or prickly sensation in the legs relieved by moving, which may interfere with sleep
  • Narcolepsy – Daytime “sleep attacks,” sometimes accompanied by sudden muscle weakness

Causes of sleep disorders

Factors that contribute to sleep disorders include:

  • Physical and mental conditions – Heartburn, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, chronic muscle or joint pain, allergies and respiratory problems, along with depression and anxiety disorders, can disrupt sleep
  • Environmental Alcohol, caffeine and other stimulants will often interfere with the sleep cycle
  • Working the night shift – People who work at night often cannot sleep, even when they feel drowsy — their activities run contrary to their “biological clocks”
  • Medicines – Many medicines can interfere with sleep
  • Aging – About half of all adults over the age of 65 have some sort of sleep disorder

Sleep disorder treatments

Depending on the cause of the sleep disorder, treatment normally involves a combination of medical care and lifestyle changes, such as:

  • Treating underlying health issues, like cardiac disease or pain
  • Using a CPAP machine or other continuous positive airway pressure devices, dental devices such as mandibular advancement and/or surgical options for sleep apnea
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy (education about strategies to improve sleep)
  • Improving sleep environment
  • Psychological evaluations for anxiety and/or depression
  • Regular exercise
  • Limiting caffeine intake, especially in the late afternoon or evening
  • Eliminating tobacco use and decreasing alcohol use
  • Avoidance of alcohol near bedtime

Expert care for sleep disorders and more

If your life, health and job are being impacted by poor quality sleep, interrupted sleep, insufficient sleep or daytime sleepiness, the team at Pomona Valley Health Centers is here for you. Our board-certified physicians are sleep disorder specialists who offer leading-edge diagnosis and treatment for sleep disorders.

Not only can we help you sleep better, we can care for the health and well being of your entire family. From family medicine to sports medicine and physical therapy, complete women’s health care and urgent care, PVHC offers four convenient locations throughout Southern California’s Inland Empire.

Experience comprehensive, compassionate health care that’s close to home. To schedule your appointment, call 909-536-1493 or click here to use our online form.

GERD Awareness Week: Reducing Symptoms of GERD

GERD Awareness WeekGastroesophageal Reflux Disorder (GERD) is a digestive disorder. “Gastroesophageal” refers to the stomach and esophagus. “Reflux” is what happens when the lower esophageal ring is weakened and stomach contents flow back into the esophagus.

The 17th Annual GERD Awareness Week is November 20th through 26th, 2016. Yes, that’s the week of Thanksgiving — the day millions of Americans experience heartburn and acid reflux, which may or may not be related to GERD.

Is it heartburn or GERD?

Nearly everyone has experienced heartburn from things like a spicy meal or eating and drinking too much in one sitting. Yet heartburn is also the most common symptom of GERD. Talk to your doctor if:

  • Heartburn occurs two or more times per week
  • Heartburn worsens over time
  • It wakes you from sleep
  • Occasional heartburn has gone on for several years
  • Discomfort or pain interferes with your daily activities

Symptoms of GERD include:

  • Dysphagia (feels like food is sticking in the throat)
  • Chronic sore throat
  • Difficulty or pain when swallowing
  • Laryngitis
  • Inflammation of the gums
  • Erosion of the enamel of the teeth
  • Chronic irritation in the throat
  • Hoarseness in the morning
  • A sour taste and/or bad breath

Reducing the symptoms of GERD

Symptoms can be aggravated by a number of factors, including foods and medications. Some ways to reduce GERD symptoms include:

  • Eat meals 2 to 3 hours before bed
  • Decrease the size of portions
  • Avoid heartburn triggers (keep a food diary to track of yours)
  • Lose excess weight
  • Stop smoking
  • Avoid alcohol

Superior quality health care for GERD and so much more

Whether you’re experiencing chronic heartburn or other symptoms of GERD, need complete family care or are seeking specialized treatments, Pomona Valley Health Centers (PVHC) can help. Our experienced compassionate physicians are dedicated to providing excellent, patient-focused care that’s also efficient and convenient. We are proud to be affiliated with Pomona Valley Hospital Medical Center, a regional leader with a legacy of 100 years of service.

To learn more or schedule an appointment, call 909-536-1493 or click here to use our online form.