A man smiling and casually leaning on red playground equipment

Understanding the PSA Test: Prostate Health Screening Explained

A man smiling and casually leaning on red playground equipment

Prostate cancer is one of the most common cancers among men worldwide. The prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test is one of the key tools in the early detection and management of prostate health issues.

This blog aims to provide a comprehensive understanding of the PSA test, its significance, and how it plays a critical role in the early detection of prostate cancer and other prostate-related conditions. Let’s begin.

Basics of the PSA Test and Its Importance

The PSA test measures the level of PSA (a protein in men’s blood produced by both cancerous and noncancerous tissue in the prostate). The PSA test is primarily used to screen for prostate cancer before symptoms appear.

A higher-than-normal concentration of PSA can be an early indicator of prostate cancer. However, elevated PSA levels can also be due to benign prostate conditions, e.g., benign prostatic hyperplasia or inflammation of the prostate.

Decoding PSA Test Results

Interpreting PSA test results can be complex. PSA levels are measured in nanograms per milliliter (ng/mL) of blood. While there’s no universally accepted “normal” or “safe” PSA level, a PSA of 4 ng/mL or lower is often considered normal, whereas levels above 4 ng/mL may require further evaluation.

Factors like age, race, and family history can affect PSA levels. It’s also important to note that PSA levels can fluctuate due to noncancerous factors like medical procedures, certain medications, and even ejaculation.

Therefore, an elevated PSA level doesn’t immediately indicate cancer. Further diagnostic procedures, like a biopsy, may be recommended for a conclusive diagnosis.

Beyond Screening: The Diagnostic Role of the PSA Test

The PSA test plays a significant role in monitoring patients who have been diagnosed with the condition or are undergoing treatment. For men diagnosed with prostate cancer, regular PSA tests can help assess the effectiveness of the chosen treatment regimen (whether it’s surgery, radiation, or hormone therapy). A steady decrease in PSA levels post-treatment often indicates that the treatment is effective. Conversely, a rise in PSA levels might suggest that the cancer isn’t responding to treatment or has recurred.

The Debate Around PSA Testing

A lab worker places a slide underneath a microscope

The PSA test isn’t without controversy. The main concern is the potential for “overdiagnosis” and “overtreatment” of prostate cancers that may never have caused symptoms or posed a significant health risk. Overdiagnosis can lead to unnecessary treatments (which can have side effects like incontinence and erectile dysfunction). Consequently, there’s ongoing debate in the medical community regarding the recommendations for PSA screening. The decision to undergo PSA testing should be made after discussing the potential benefits and risks with a healthcare provider.

Visit Houston Physicians’ Hospital

The PSA test remains a critical component in the early detection and management of prostate health issues. Understanding the nuances of the test, its implications, and how it fits into the broader context of prostate health is essential for making informed healthcare decisions.

At Houston Physicians’ Hospital, we understand the importance of regular prostate screenings, especially for those in high-risk groups. Our comprehensive approach combines the latest in medical imaging in Houston with expert consultations to interpret PSA test results accurately and tailor a follow-up care plan that aligns with an individual’s health needs and concerns.

Whether you’re exploring prostate health screening options or seeking advanced urology services in Webster, TX, our dedicated team is here to guide you through each step of the process. We believe in empowering our patients with knowledge and providing compassionate care that addresses both preventive measures and active treatment options.

Let us support you in taking proactive steps toward maintaining your prostate health with the utmost precision and care. Visit HPH Hospital to learn more about our urology services and find a urologist who’s right for you.

A man holding his neck in pain while sitting on a couch

Physical Therapy for Neck Pain: What to Expect

A man holding his neck in pain while sitting on a couch

Neck pain is a common ailment that affects a significant portion of the population at some point in their lives. Whether it’s due to poor posture, an underlying medical condition, or an injury, neck pain can significantly impact daily activities and overall quality of life.

Physical therapy can be an effective treatment option for managing and alleviating neck pain. This blog aims to provide an in-depth look at what individuals can expect when undergoing physical therapy for neck pain, including the types of treatments, exercises involved, and benefits of therapy.

Initial Assessment and Evaluation

The journey to relief from neck pain begins with a comprehensive assessment by a qualified physical therapist. This initial evaluation is essential for developing a personalized treatment plan.

The physical therapist will gather a detailed medical history and may perform several assessments to determine range of motion, muscle strength, and nerve function. They will also ask about the nature of the pain, e.g., when it started, any activities that worsen or alleviate it, and whether it radiates.

Understanding the root cause is essential for the treatment of any condition, including neck pain. This initial evaluation provides the foundation for the therapy sessions that follow.

Recommended Read: How to Ease Neck Pain in Your 50s

Customized Treatment Plans

Based on the initial assessment, the physical therapist will develop a customized treatment plan tailored to the individual’s specific needs. This plan may include a combination of manual therapy techniques, exercises, and the use of therapeutic modalities.

Manual therapy techniques, such as massage and mobilization, can help reduce pain, improve circulation, and increase range of motion. The physical therapist will also prescribe specific exercises aimed at strengthening the neck muscles, improving posture, and enhancing flexibility.

Additionally, therapeutic modalities like heat therapy, cold therapy, and electrical stimulation may be used to relieve pain and reduce inflammation.

Therapeutic Exercises and Techniques

A significant component of physical therapy for neck pain involves therapeutic exercises. These exercises are designed to strengthen the muscles that support the neck, improve flexibility, and increase range of motion.

Patients will learn exercises to perform at home as part of their daily routine (which is essential for the long-term management of neck pain). Stretching exercises can help alleviate stiffness, while strengthening exercises build up the muscles around the neck and upper back to provide better support to the cervical spine. The physical therapist will closely monitor the patient’s progress and adjust the exercises as needed to ensure optimal outcomes.

Education and Lifestyle Modifications

A group of people stretching on yoga mats

Education is a key aspect of physical therapy for neck pain. Physical therapists provide valuable information on how to maintain proper posture, both while sitting and standing, to prevent future neck pain. They may also recommend ergonomic adjustments in the workplace or at home to reduce strain on the neck.

Additionally, physical therapists can offer advice on sleep positions and pillow types that support spinal alignment. Lifestyle modifications, including regular physical activity and stress management techniques, can further enhance the benefits of physical therapy and contribute to overall neck health.

Visit Houston Physicians’ Hospital

At Houston Physicians’ Hospital, the physical therapy services in Webster and our 14 additional locations are tailored to meet your individual needs.

Whether your neck pain is due to an injury or a chronic condition, our team is committed to helping you achieve the best possible outcome. We utilize a range of therapeutic techniques aimed at reducing pain, improving mobility, and strengthening the muscles in the neck and around the spine.

Trust in our expertise and dedication to bring you comfort and healing. If you’re suffering from neck pain, you can learn more and find an orthopedic spine specialist on our Orthopedic Center of Excellence webpage. Or find a physical therapy office near you.

We also specialize in back surgery, hip replacement surgery, knee surgery in Webster TX, and more.Bottom of Form

An older man reading a newspaper on a bench overlooking a vast field

10 Early Signs of Arthritis You Should Not Overlook

An older man reading a newspaper on a bench overlooking a vast field

Arthritis, characterized by inflammation of one or more joints, is a condition that affects millions globally. This blog highlights 10 early signs of arthritis that shouldn’t be ignored.

1. Persistent Joint Pain

One of the most unmistakable early signs of arthritis is persistent joint pain. This discomfort may be constant or may come and go. Unlike the temporary joint pain that can follow physical exertion, arthritis-related pain persists over time. It gradually intensifies and becomes more frequent.

2. Stiffness in Joints

Stiffness in the joints that lasts more than 30 minutes can be an early sign of arthritis. This stiffness often occurs after periods of inactivity. It’s a hallmark of rheumatoid arthritis, an autoimmune form of the disease, but it’s also common in other types of arthritis.

3. Swelling or Tenderness

Joint swelling or tenderness is another early warning sign. Inflammation caused by arthritis can lead to noticeable swelling in and around the joints (accompanied by tenderness to the touch). Swelling that persists for days or occurs repeatedly over a short period warrants medical evaluation.

4. Reduced Range of Motion

A reduction in range of motion is a sign that arthritis may be affecting joint function. Individuals might find it challenging to perform simple tasks that require bending at the joint, such as tying shoes or reaching for objects. This limitation can progress and severely impact daily activities if not addressed promptly with physical therapy and other management strategies.

5. Joint Warmth and Redness

Warmth and redness around a joint, along with other symptoms like pain and swelling, can indicate inflammatory arthritis, particularly when observed in multiple joints. The affected area may feel hot and appear redder compared to the surrounding skin.

6. Crepitus

Crepitus, or the sensation of cracking, popping, or grinding in the joints with movement, is often an early sign of arthritis. This symptom indicates that the cartilage within the joint may be deteriorating or that there is a decrease in the synovial fluid that lubricates the joint. Crepitus occurs more commonly with osteoarthritis.

7. Fatigue

A young woman with fatigue lies in bed

Fatigue is a less recognized but significant early sign of certain types of arthritis. This systemic symptom arises from the body’s immune response to inflammation. Experiencing persistent fatigue along with other joint symptoms can indicate the need for an arthritis evaluation.

8. Numbness or Tingling

Numbness or tingling, particularly in the hands, may signal inflammatory arthritis affecting the nerves. For instance, rheumatoid arthritis can cause inflammation that compresses nerves. This symptom, often overlooked as unrelated to joint issues, should prompt consideration of an arthritis evaluation.

9. Unexplained Weight Loss

Unexplained weight loss can accompany the early stages of inflammatory arthritis. As the body’s immune system fights the inflammation, metabolism may increase, leading to weight loss. This systemic sign, combined with other early signs of arthritis, underscores the condition’s impact beyond just the joints.

10. Fever

A low-grade fever can accompany the early stages of some types of arthritis. Fever alone is nonspecific; however, when it occurs with joint pain, stiffness, and swelling, it can be a sign of underlying inflammatory arthritis.

Visit Houston Physicians’ Hospital

Arthritis can significantly impact one’s quality of life. However, recognizing these early signs offers the best chance for effective management and treatment. Awareness of these symptoms, coupled with timely medical consultation, can help mitigate the effects of arthritis.

At Houston Physicians’ Hospital, we have doctors who specialize in joint pain treatment, whether it’s caused by arthritis or another ailment. Our Orthopedic Center of Excellence is equipped with state-of-the-art technology and staffed by leading orthopedic specialists who can diagnose and manage your condition effectively. Visit the webpage to learn more and find an orthopedic physician who’s right for you.


An elderly patient’s hand

The Early Signs of Essential Tremor and Treatment Options

An elderly patient’s hand

Essential tremor, a neurological disorder that causes involuntary and rhythmic shaking, can affect almost any part of the body but most commonly affects the hands (especially when performing simple tasks like drinking from a glass or tying a shoelace).

Understanding the early signs and various treatment options available is essential for managing the condition effectively and maintaining a high quality of life. This blog delves into the early indicators of essential tremor and explores the spectrum of treatments (from lifestyle adjustments to medical interventions). Keep reading.

Identifying Early Signs of Essential Tremor

The initial manifestation of essential tremor often involves a slight shaking or trembling in one or both hands. The tremor typically occurs when the hands are in use, termed an “action tremor,” contrasting with tremors that occur at rest. These tremors can also affect the head, voice, legs, and torso.

Some individuals may notice a “yes-yes” or “no-no” motion of the head. Notably, stress, fatigue, and extreme temperatures can exacerbate the tremors and make them more noticeable. Early detection is often challenging due to the gradual onset and mild initial symptoms. However, paying attention to these subtle changes is imperative.

Lifestyle Adjustments and Coping Strategies

Essential tremor management involves several lifestyle adjustments that can significantly alleviate symptoms. Reducing caffeine intake and avoiding other stimulants can help. Engaging in relaxation techniques like deep breathing, meditation, and yoga can also reduce tremor severity by minimizing stress (which often aggravates tremors).

Some individuals find that using heavier utensils and glasses stabilizes their hands and reduces the impact of the tremors on daily activities. Occupational therapy can be incredibly beneficial. It offers strategies and adaptive devices to manage tremors effectively.

Medication and Nonsurgical Treatment Options

The MRI Caring Suite at Houston Physicians’ Hospital where focused ultrasound is used to treat essential tremor

When lifestyle adjustments aren’t sufficient to control tremor symptoms, medication may be prescribed. Beta-blockers, traditionally used to treat high blood pressure, have been effective in reducing tremors for many individuals. Primidone, an anti-seizure medication, is another common prescription for managing essential tremor. Additionally, Botox injections have been used to treat hand and voice tremors by temporarily paralyzing the tremor-producing muscles. It’s important to discuss the potential side effects and benefits of these treatments with a healthcare provider.

Surgical and Advanced Therapies

For individuals with severe tremors that significantly impact their quality of life and do not respond to medication, surgical options may be considered. Deep brain stimulation is a procedure that involves implanting an electrode in the brain connected to a stimulator device in the chest (which sends electrical pulses to the brain to reduce tremors). Another promising treatment is focused ultrasound therapy. This noninvasive procedure, created by a company called Insightec, uses focused ultrasound waves to target and lesion the brain areas responsible for the tremors. Both treatments have been options for years, but focused ultrasound is proving to be the more effective method in significantly reducing tremors for many patients.

Emerging Research and Future Directions

Ongoing research into essential tremor is broadening our understanding of the condition and paving the way for new treatment options. Genetic studies are uncovering potential hereditary links. Innovative technologies in neuromodulation and pharmacotherapy hold promise for more effective management of tremors. Patient participation in clinical trials is essential for advancing these developments and offering hope for future breakthroughs in essential tremor treatment.

Visit Houston Physicians’ Hospital for Essential Tremor Treatment

Recognizing the early signs of essential tremor is essential for timely intervention. At Houston Physicians’ Hospital, we provide advanced diagnostic and treatment options, including MR-guided focused ultrasound from Insightec. Our neurosurgeons in Clear Lake TX, are at the forefront of utilizing innovative approaches for conditions that may be exacerbated by essential tremor complications. If you or someone you know suffers from essential tremor, visit our webpage to learn more and contact us to schedule an appointment.