a nurse checking a man's blood pressure

The Silent Threat: Understanding and Managing High Blood Pressure

a nurse checking a man's blood pressure

High blood pressure, or hypertension, is a pervasive health issue that affects millions globally. Called the “silent killer,” it often appears without any overt symptoms. This makes it a silent but significant threat to health.

Understanding and managing high blood pressure is vital for preventing long-term complications like heart disease, stroke, and kidney failure. This blog explores the intricacies of high blood pressure. We’ll shed light on its causes, risk factors, and effective management strategies.

Understanding High Blood Pressure

High blood pressure occurs when the force of blood against your blood vessels’ walls is persistently too high. This condition can lead to the weakening and narrowing of blood vessels over time.

Blood pressure readings are categorized into normal, elevated, stage 1 hypertension, and stage 2 hypertension (based on the measurements of systolic and diastolic blood pressure). Understanding the importance of regular monitoring is the first step in managing this condition.

Risk Factors and Causes

Several factors contribute to the development of high blood pressure. These include genetics, age, a high-salt diet, obesity, physical inactivity, tobacco use, alcohol consumption, and underlying conditions such as diabetes and kidney disease.

Understanding these risk factors is essential for identifying individuals at higher risk and implementing early intervention strategies to prevent the onset of hypertension.

Lifestyle Changes for Management

Managing high blood pressure often involves significant lifestyle changes.

A heart-healthy diet low in sodium and rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein can have a profound impact.

Regular physical activity, weight loss for overweight individuals, moderation in alcohol consumption, and cessation of smoking are also important.

Medication and Treatment Options

 a man with long grey hair and beard and a woman with gray hair run along the coast

For some individuals, lifestyle changes alone may not be sufficient to manage high blood pressure effectively. In such cases, medication may be necessary.

There are various classes of blood pressure medications, including ACE inhibitors, beta-blockers, diuretics, and calcium channel blockers. Each works in different ways to lower blood pressure.

It’s important to work closely with healthcare providers to find the most suitable medication or combination of medications.

Monitoring and Regular Check-Ups

Blood pressure monitoring is essential for those diagnosed with hypertension or at high risk. Home blood pressure monitoring can complement regular check-ups with a healthcare provider. These check-ups are also an opportunity to adjust treatment plans, discuss concerns, and ensure that blood pressure is being managed effectively.

Recommended Read: High Blood Pressure Prevention

Visit Houston Physicians’ Hospital

Understanding high blood pressure is the first step toward effective management. By recognizing the risk factors, making necessary lifestyle changes, utilizing medication when needed, and maintaining regular monitoring and check-ups, individuals can significantly reduce their risk of complications associated with hypertension. With proactive management, it is possible to live a healthy and active life despite the diagnosis of high blood pressure.

At Houston Physicians’ Hospital, the cardiologists at our Heart and Vascular Center of Excellence can diagnose and treat a wide range of conditions, including high blood pressure. If you have a heart or vascular condition that you’re concerne with, you can visit our Heart and Vascular Center of Excellence webpage to learn more and find a cardiologist who’s right for you.

We also specialize in joint pain treatment, spine solutions, back surgery, hip replacement, knee surgery, and more.

A 3D female figure with the cervical spine near the head highlighted in reddish orange.

6 Innovative Approaches to Cervical Spine Health in 2024

A 3D female figure with the cervical spine near the head highlighted in reddish orange.

Your cervical spine, comprised of the first seven vertebrae in your spine, plays a crucial role in supporting the weight of your head, protecting your spinal cord, and facilitating various movements.

However, this vital region of the spine is susceptible to a myriad of conditions, ranging from neck pain and arthritis to degenerative bone and disk disease and stenosis. These conditions can significantly impact your quality of life, leading to discomfort, reduced mobility, and functional limitations.

Fortunately, various approaches have emerged in response to cervical spine health challenges, offering promising solutions for prevention, diagnosis, and treatment in 2024.

1. Precision Medicine

Advancements in genetic testing, biomarker identification, and personalized treatment algorithms are paving the way for precision medicine in cervical spine health.

Tailoring interventions based on individual genetic profiles, disease characteristics, and patient preferences holds great promise for optimizing treatment efficacy and minimizing adverse effects.

2. Minimally Invasive Procedures

Minimally invasive techniques continue to evolve, offering safer and more effective alternatives to traditional open surgeries for cervical spine disorders.

Innovations such as endoscopic spine surgery, robotic-assisted procedures, and percutaneous interventions enable surgeons to achieve precise spinal decompression, fusion, and stabilization with reduced tissue trauma, shorter recovery times, and improved patient satisfaction.

3.  Advanced Imaging Modalities

Emerging imaging technologies, including high-resolution MRI, Spatial Photon Counting CT (SPCCT), and intraoperative navigation systems, provide unprecedented insights into cervical spine anatomy, pathology, and surgical planning.

Real-time visualization and navigation capabilities enable surgeons to perform safer and more accurate procedures, leading to improved patient outcomes and reduced operative risks.

Three doctors looking at an X-ray of a spinal column.

4. Biologics and Regenerative Therapies

Biological agents, growth factors, and regenerative therapies hold great promise for enhancing tissue healing, promoting spinal fusion, and reducing inflammation in cervical spine disorders. Innovative approaches such as platelet-rich plasma (PRP), stem cell therapy, and tissue engineering techniques offer potential alternatives or adjuncts to traditional surgical interventions, fostering tissue repair and regeneration.

5. Telemedicine and Remote Monitoring

The widespread adoption of telemedicine platforms and remote monitoring technologies has transformed the delivery of cervical spine care, particularly in remote or underserved areas.

Teleconsultations, virtual follow-up visits, and wearable devices enable healthcare providers to remotely assess patients’ progress, monitor treatment adherence, and provide timely interventions, enhancing access to care and patient convenience.

6. Integrative and Multidisciplinary Care Models

Integrative care models that combine conventional treatments with complementary therapies such as acupuncture, chiropractic care, physical therapy, and mind-body interventions are gaining recognition in cervical spine health.

Multidisciplinary teams comprising spine surgeons, pain specialists, rehabilitation therapists, and holistic practitioners can collaborate to address the complex needs of patients, emphasizing holistic wellness and functional recovery.

Find a doctor who’s right for you at Houston Physicians’ Hospital. Our team of expert physicians offers personalized care tailored to your specific condition, ensuring you receive the highest quality treatment and support.

Whether you need orthopedic care, spine surgery, pain management, or any other service at a specialty hospital, we’re here to support your health and wellness. Experience the difference made by comprehensive evaluations; state-of-the-art treatments; and compassionate, patient-centered care given by healthcare professionals at Houston Physicians’ Hospital in Webster.

A woman sits in a chair while holding her lower back as though she is experiencing back pain.

Understanding Physical Therapy in the Treatment of Back Pain

A woman sits in a chair while holding her lower back as though she is experiencing back pain.

Back pain is a pervasive and often debilitating condition that affects millions of individuals worldwide, impacting their daily activities, productivity, and overall quality of life. When experiencing back or neck pain, you may have a strong tendency to stop all activity.

Inactivity that results in prolonged rest can exacerbate back discomfort. Moving past this initial reluctance and engaging in physical therapy and exercise often proves to be the most effective strategy to reduce pain.


Physical Therapy for Back Pain: What You Need to Know

Research indicates that physical therapy can yield significant benefits, with studies demonstrating up to a 60% improvement in lower back pain and its associated symptoms. Through targeted exercises addressing the entire kinetic chain, physical therapy aims to provide flexibility and strength training to promote pain relief and functional improvement.

Physical therapy for back pain is structured around achieving both short- and long-term goals aimed at enhancing quality of life and reducing discomfort. These goals typically encompass:

  • Alleviating Pain: The primary focus is on reducing or eliminating the pain experienced in the back, whether localized or radiating to other areas, such as the legs. By addressing the root causes of pain, physical therapyaims to provide relief and enhance overall comfort levels.
  • Improving Functionality: Physical therapy may enhance the functional capacity of the back, enabling individuals to engage in daily activities with greater ease and independence. This may involve improving posture, enhancing strength and flexibility, and optimizing movement patterns.
  • Enhancing Mobility and Flexibility: Through targeted exercises, manual techniques, and therapeutic modalities, physical therapycan enhance the mobility and flexibility of the spine and its surrounding musculature. By increasing the range of motion and reducing stiffness, patients may experience improved movement and reduced discomfort.
  • Preventing Recurrence: A critical aspect of physical therapyis to address underlying issues and develop strategies to prevent the recurrence of back pain in the future. This may involve educating patients on proper body mechanics, implementing strengthening and stabilization exercises, and promoting lifestyle modifications to support spinal health.

Key Components of Physical Therapy in Back Pain Treatment

Physical therapists conduct thorough assessments to identify the underlying causes and contributing factors of back pain. This includes evaluating a patient’s posture, range of motion, muscle strength, flexibility, and any specific functional limitations.

Based on the assessment findings, physical therapists develop personalized treatment plans tailored to the unique needs and goals of each patient. These plans may include a combination of therapeutic exercises, manual therapy techniques, modalities, and patient education.

A man stands with his arms forward as a physiotherapist provides physical therapy for his back pain.

Therapeutic Exercise

Therapeutic exercises are a central component of physical therapy for back pain. These exercises aim to strengthen the muscles supporting the spine, improve flexibility, and enhance overall function. Specific exercises may target the core muscles, back extensors, abdominals, and hip muscles to promote stability and alignment.

Manual Therapy Techniques

Hands-on manual therapy techniques such as joint mobilization, soft tissue mobilization, and spinal manipulation are commonly used in back pain treatment. These techniques help alleviate pain, improve joint mobility, and restore normal movement patterns by addressing muscle tightness, joint stiffness, and tissue restrictions.


Physical therapists may use various modalities to complement other treatment approaches and provide pain relief. Common modalities include heat therapy, cold therapy, ultrasound, electrical stimulation, and traction, which can help reduce inflammation, alleviate muscle spasms, and promote tissue healing.


Patient Education

Education plays a crucial role in physical therapy for back pain. Physical therapists educate patients about their condition, as well as proper body mechanics, ergonomics, posture, and strategies for pain management. Patients who are empowered with knowledge and self-care techniques can take an active role in their own recovery and prevent future episodes of back pain.

Functional Rehabilitation

Functional rehabilitation focuses on restoring the patient’s ability to perform daily activities and functional tasks with minimal discomfort. This may involve simulating real-life movements and activities to improve balance, coordination, and proprioception, ultimately facilitating a safe return to work, sports, and recreational activities.

Living with Excruciating Back Pain?

Don’t let back pain hold you back any longer. At Houston Physicians’ Hospital, we can help you find a doctor who’s right for you and who will explore different treatment plans to find the one that’s most effective in resolving your specific condition. Our expert physicians and therapists will work closely with you to develop a personalized treatment plan that targets the root cause of your discomfort and sets you on the path to recovery.

Whether you’re seeking relief from back pain, neck pain,  knee pain, Hip Surgery in Webster TX, or any other condition affecting your well-being, we’re committed to providing compassionate care and innovative treatments to help you reclaim your vitality.

A wrinkled pair of hands belonging to an elderly person.

What’s the Difference Between Parkinson’s Disease and Essential Tremor?

A wrinkled pair of hands belonging to an elderly person.

When observing someone with trembling hands or involuntary movements in the arms, legs, or head, many may immediately associate these symptoms with Parkinson’s disease (PD). However, it’s important to recognize that these manifestations could also indicate a more prevalent albeit less severe condition known as essential tremor.

Since both are distinct neurological disorders, knowing the difference between Parkinson’s disease (PD) and essential tremor (ET) is important for an accurate diagnosis and effective management.

What Is Essential Tremor?

Essential tremor is the most prevalent type of tremor, characterized by involuntary shaking, primarily affecting the hands and arms. Although not life-threatening, severe cases can lead to disability.

Initially, the tremor is typically low-amplitude/frequency (lower force) and may affect the head and voice as well. Typically starting with mild shaking, the tremors may increase in severity but occur with a reduced frequency over time.

Researchers are uncertain about the condition’s cause, but there is evidence of genetic predisposition, with a higher likelihood among people whose parents have suffered from it. Essential tremor can manifest at any age but it’s most common in adults over 40, affecting both genders equally.


What Is Parkinson’s Disease?

Parkinson’s disease is a progressive neurological disorder resulting from insufficient dopamine production in the brain. It predominantly affects older adults over 60, with a higher incidence in men.

Tremors in Parkinson’s typically begin unilaterally, often in the hands, before spreading to the other side of the body. These tremors are characterized by a amplitude but lower frequency compared to essential tremors.

Parkinson’s presents a range of symptoms beyond tremors, including muscle stiffness, bradykinesia (slowed movements), and postural instability. While tremors are a hallmark symptom, other motor and non-motor symptoms distinguish Parkinson’s disease.


More Differences Between Parkinson’s and Essential Tremor

The Numbers

According to estimates, essential tremors impact approximately 7 million people in the United States alone, making it considerably more common than Parkinson’s disease, with a prevalence at least eight times higher.

Meanwhile, Parkinson’s disease is a progressive neurological condition that affects about 1% of individuals over 60 years old. It is characterized by movement difficulties, as opposed to essential tremors, where bilateral tremors in the hands and arms are the hallmark feature.


PD results from the degeneration of dopamine-producing neurons in the brain’s substantia nigra region. The exact cause remains unknown, but genetic and environmental factors likely play a role.

ET’s precise cause is also unclear, but it is believed to involve abnormalities in the cerebellum, a brain region responsible for coordinating movement. Genetic factors may contribute to its development.

The Tremors

According to the Parkinson’s Foundation, the primary distinction between Parkinsonian tremors (PT) and other types of tremors lies in their presentation. PT typically manifest as a “resting tremor,” characterized by trembling or shaking movements occurring while the individual is at rest or maintaining stillness.

In contrast, other types of tremors, such as essential tremor or tremors associated with dystonia or cerebellar disorders, typically present as “action tremors.” These tremors manifest when the individual actively engages or uses the affected body part, such as during movement or when maintaining a particular posture.

Progression and Life Span

PD is a progressive condition, with symptoms worsening over time as neuronal degeneration advances. Patients may experience fluctuations in symptoms and may eventually develop significant motor and non-motor complications.

Meanwhile, ET tends to be a slowly progressive condition, although the rate of progression varies among individuals. While tremors may worsen over time, many patients experience relatively stable symptoms with appropriate management.

Moreover, essential tremor symptoms may progress but generally don’t shorten an individual’s life span, whereas Parkinson’s tends to worsen over time and can impact life expectancy due to decreased levodopa production.

A patient lies in an MRI machine undergoing Insightec treatment for his essential tremor.

Associated Health Problems

In addition to tremors, PD is characterized by bradykinesia (again, slowed movements), rigidity, and postural instability. Patients may also experience stooped posture, shuffling gait, freezing of gait, and non-motor symptoms like depression and cognitive changes.

While ET is primarily characterized by tremors, some patients may also experience mild balance difficulties or coordination problems. Unlike PD, ET typically does not cause significant motor impairments or non-motor symptoms.

Management Strategies

Both conditions can be managed with medications, physical therapy, and other techniques, like deep brain stimulation. However, MR-guided focused ultrasound from Insightec has been used successfully in the treatment of both essential tremor and PD. The treatment is completely noninvasive and the effects are instantaneous and can last up to six years. Plus, it can be administered to both sides of the brain and it’s covered under Medicare.

Consulting a healthcare professional is crucial for personalized guidance and support. If PD, ET, or any other chronic healthcare condition is disrupting your life, Houston Physicians’ Hospital can help. Visit their webpage dedicated to MR-Focused Ultrasound for Essential Tremor Treatment to learn more and to find a doctor who can provide the treatment.

Professionals at our specialty hospital understand the challenges you may face and are dedicated to providing comprehensive care tailored to your individual needs. Whether you require medication management, physical therapy Services in Houston, or other advanced treatment options, we’re here to support your journey toward regaining control and improving your quality of life.

A man exercising with the help of a physical therapist.

The Role of Physical Therapy in Orthopedic Recovery

A man exercising with the help of a physical therapist.

Orthopedic injuries and surgeries can significantly impact an individual’s mobility, functionality, and overall quality of life. In the journey toward recovery, physical therapy emerges as a pivotal component, offering tailored interventions to promote healing, restore function, and prevent future complications.

Key Interventions in Physical Therapy for Orthopedic Recovery

Physical therapy holds a central position in orthopedic recovery due to its multifaceted approach to rehabilitation. Through comprehensive assessment and personalized treatment plans, physical therapists address the unique needs of each patient, considering factors such as the nature of the injury, functional limitations, and individual goals.

Physical therapy for orthopedic recovery encompasses a wide range of interventions tailored to the specific needs of patients. These may include:

Therapeutic Exercise: Targeted exercises designed to improve strength, flexibility, endurance, and proprioception are fundamental components of orthopedic rehabilitation. Therapists prescribe exercises based on the patient’s condition, gradually increasing the exercises’ intensity and complexity to facilitate functional recovery.

Manual Therapy Techniques: Hands-on techniques such as joint mobilization, soft tissue mobilization, and manual stretching are utilized to improve joint mobility, reduce pain, and address tissue restrictions. Manual therapy interventions are often integrated into treatment plans to complement therapeutic exercise and promote tissue healing.

Gait Training and Functional Rehabilitation: For individuals recovering from orthopedic injuries affecting mobility, gait training and functional rehabilitation are essential. Physical therapists employ various techniques to improve walking patterns, balance, and coordination, facilitating a safe return to daily activities and functional independence.

Modalities: Modalities such as ultrasound, electrical stimulation, and heat/cold therapy may be used adjunctively to manage pain, reduce inflammation, and promote tissue healing. While these modalities do not constitute stand-alone treatments, they can complement other therapeutic interventions within a comprehensive rehabilitation program.

Patient Education and Home Exercise Programs: Empowering patients with knowledge about their condition, proper body mechanics, and injury prevention strategies is integral to orthopedic rehabilitation.

Physical therapists educate patients about their treatment plans, monitor progress, and provide guidance on home exercise programs to reinforce gains achieved during therapy sessions.


Outcomes and Benefits of Physical Therapy for Orthopedic Recovery 

Improved Functionality

By targeting impairments and restoring mobility, strength, and coordination, physical therapy may enhance functional abilities, allowing individuals to perform daily tasks with greater ease and efficiency.

Pain Management

Physical therapy interventions such as manual therapy, therapeutic exercise, and modalities may effectively manage pain associated with orthopedic conditions, promoting comfort and facilitating participation in rehabilitation activities.

A man running in a group after receiving physical therapy for orthopedic recovery for an injury.

Enhanced Recovery

Through structured rehabilitation programs, physical therapy may accelerate the recovery process, facilitating tissue healing, preventing complications, and optimizing overall recovery outcomes.

Reduced Disability

Orthopedic physical therapy aims to minimize disability and prevent long-term limitations by addressing functional deficits early in the rehabilitation process and promoting optimal recovery.

Increased Quality of Life

By restoring mobility, reducing pain, and improving function, physical therapy can enhance the overall quality of life for individuals recovering from orthopedic injuries, enabling them to resume meaningful activities and engage fully in daily life.

Every orthopedic case presents its own set of challenges and complexities, demanding a tailored approach to rehabilitation. At Houston Physicians’ Hospital, our physical therapy services in Webster are tailored to meet your individual needs.

Our team of experienced orthopedic doctors conducts comprehensive assessments to understand the specific nature of each condition and the unique goals of every patient. From there, they craft personalized treatment plans that address the individual needs, preferences, and circumstances of each patient.

Whether it’s neck pain, joint pain, arthritis, back pain, knee surgery in Webster TX, or any other complications from an injury or 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.

Throughout the rehabilitation process, your physician will closely monitor your progress and make necessary adjustments to empower you to actively participate in your recovery journey, fostering a collaborative and supportive environment that maximizes success.

If you suffer from a musculoskeletal condition that’s causing you pain, visit our Orthopedic Center of Excellence webpage to learn more. At the bottom of the page, you can select from a list of doctors—find one who’s right for you.