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Ask the expert: Mary Norman, M.D.

Created date

April 26th, 2010

Erickson health and wellness experts can be found at Erickson-built communities all over the U.S. This month our expert is Mary Norman, M.D., the medical director at ' Highland Springs in Dallas, Tex. . Norman received her bachelor s degree in business administration and economics from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Tex., and her medical degree from the University of California, San Francisco. She completed her internship and residency in internal medicine and a fellowship in geriatrics also at the University of California, San Francisco. Norman is board certified in internal medicine and geriatrics. She joined Highland Springs in June 2007.

Please note: The following questions were submitted by readers. The answers are intended for general information purposes and should not replace your doctor s medical advice. Q: Over the past few years I ve noticed that I get a runny nose whenever I go out to eat at a restaurant. I am 76 years old and have never suffered from any allergies. What could be wrong? A: You might have a form of rhinitis known as vasomotor rhinitis. Rhinitis is a fancy way of saying that the nose is inflamed. As a result, it becomes runny or stuffy. Vasomotor rhinitis is not an allergy but rather a reaction to an irritant such as perfume; cigarette smoke; cooking vapors; or warm, cold, or dry air all of which can be found in restaurants. In addition, eating anything (but especially spicy foods) can contribute. Talk to your doctor about nasal sprays that might help your symptoms and make your dining experiences more pleasant. Q: I had surgery about a year ago because of pain in my lower back due to arthritis. Lately it seems that my pain has returned. Shouldn t the surgery have fixed it? [caption id="attachment_11521" align="alignright" width="280" caption="Arthritis: an ongoing condition with or without surgery. (File photo)"][/caption] A: Although you had surgery to repair some structural damage done by arthritis, the arthritis itself is still there. Arthritis is a chronic condition, which means it is ongoing and may have frequent flare-ups. Some people experience lower back pain when they ve done something out of the ordinary, like lifting a heavy object or engaging in activities they are not accustomed to. Often, pain returns when people stop the therapeutic exercises that were prescribed after their surgery, movements which are designed to stretch and strengthen your muscles. Regardless of the cause, tell your doctor about your pain so that you can receive prompt relief. Send your health question ' It could be featured in an upcoming edition of the Erickson Tribune!