Your Type Of Headache: How We Can Help


Some information provided by the Mayo Clinic.

It’s common for people to experience headaches from time to time. However, if you have a headache more days than not, you may be experiencing chronic daily headaches. The incessant nature of chronic daily headaches makes them among the most disabling headaches. The Headache Center offers treatment that may reduce pain and lead to fewer headaches. Some headaches are mild and nagging while others can be severe and debilitating. Headache pain can lead to:

  • Lost time at work
  • Poor job performance
  • Missed time with family and friends

By definition, chronic daily headaches occur 15 days or more a month, for at least three months. True (primary) chronic daily headaches aren’t caused by another condition. Headaches can be frustrating and difficult to treat and can be caused by a number of issues including:

  • Fatigue
  • Insomnia
  • Sedentary lifestyle
  • Stress
  • Medications
  • Food allergies

Types of Headaches

  • Migraine headaches
    Pain may be generalized, or on one side or both sides of the head
    Can cause mood swings, fatigue, food craving, nausea, vomiting or vertigo
    May also cause visual disturbances or sensitivity to light and sound, flashing lights or floaters
    Usually last 4-72 hours
  • Tension headaches
    Usually occurs at the base of your head and is usually on both sides of your head
    Dull, vice-like pressure around the head
    Can be triggered by stress or muscle tension, poor ergonomics or body mechanics
    Can be intermittent and lasting throughout the day
  • Cluster headaches
    Pain may affect the eye, temple, face and/or neck areas
    Sudden and excruciating pain that can happen at night waking you up from sleep
    May be accompanied with a runny nose on one side or nasal stuffiness
    May cause watering in one eye
    Can occur at the same time for several days
  • Chronic daily headaches
    Daily or nearly daily headache for more than 3 months
  • Medication overuse headaches
    Use of an analgesic more than 3 times weekly for more than 3 months
  • Sinus Headache
    Pain or pressure occurring behind the brow bone or cheek bone
    Often accompanied with nasal or sinus congestion
    Ear fullness


You should seek treatment if:

  • Sudden onset of excruciating pain
  • First or worst headache of your life
  • Worsening pattern of headaches
  • Fever associated with a headache
  • Rapid onset of headache with strenuous exercise
  • Any change in mental status or level of consciousness
  • New headache in patients under 5 or over 50

Your doctor will likely examine you for signs of illness, infection or neurological problems. He or she will ask about your headache history. If the cause of your headaches remains uncertain, your doctor may order imaging tests, such as a CT scan or MRI, to look for an underlying medical condition. If you think you might be experiencing signs of chronic headaches or if you have any questions, contact us.

It’s time to take control of your health. Contact us if you think you might be experiencing signs of chronic headaches or if you have any questions.

Taking Care of Your Lung Health: Pulmonary Function Testing


Some information provided by Medicine Plus.

Pulmonary function tests measure how well the lungs take in and exhale air.  It also helps to determine how efficiently the lungs transfer oxygen into the bloodstream.  This test is helpful in diagnosing certain types of lung disorders such as asthma and/or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

How The Test Is Performed

By measuring how much air you exhale, and how quickly you exhale, spirometry can evaluate a broad range of lung diseases. In a spirometry test, while you are sitting, you breathe into a mouthpiece that is connected to an instrument called a spirometer. The spirometer records the amount and the rate of air that you breathe in and out over a period of time. When standing, some numbers might be slightly different.

For some of the test measurements, you can breathe normally and quietly. Other tests require forced inhalation or exhalation after a deep breath. Sometimes, you will be asked to inhale a different gas or a medicine to see how it changes your test results.

Lung volume measurement can be done in two ways:

  • The most accurate way is called body plethysmography. You sit in a clear airtight box that looks like a phone booth. The technologist asks you to breathe in and out of a mouthpiece. Changes in pressure inside the box help determine the lung volume.
  • Lung volume can also be measured when you breathe nitrogen or helium gas through a tube for a certain period of time. The concentration of the gas in a chamber attached to the tube is measured to estimate the lung volume.

How to Prepare For the Test

If you’re on medications that open your airways, such as those used for asthma or bronchitis, your doctor may ask you to stop taking them before the test. If it isn’t clear whether or not you should take your medication, make sure to ask your doctor. Pain medications may also affect the results of the test. It may be suggested that you do not eat a heavy meal before the test. If you’re a smoker, do not smoke 4-6 hours before the test. Don’t worry, you’re in good hands – you will get specific instructions before the test is performed.

Why the Test is Performed

Pulmonary function tests are done to:

  • Diagnose certain types of lung disease, such as asthma, bronchitis, and emphysema
  • Find the cause of shortness of breath
  • Measure whether exposure to chemicals at work affects lung function
  • Check lung function before someone has surgery
  • Assess the effect of medication
  • Measure progress in disease treatment


Normal values are different from person-to-person. The differences are based on your age, height, ethnicity, and gender. Normal results are expressed as a percentage. A value is usually considered abnormal if it is approximately less than 80% of your predicted value.

Normal value ranges may vary slightly among different laboratories. Talk to your doctor about the meaning of your specific test results. Abnormal results could potentially mean that you may have chest or lung disease. Some lung diseases (such as emphysema, asthma, chronic bronchitis, and infections) can make the lungs contain too much air and take longer to empty. These lung diseases are called obstructive lung disorders. Other lung diseases make the lungs scarred and smaller so that they contain too little air and are poor at transferring oxygen into the blood. Examples of these types of illnesses include:

  • Extreme overweight
  • Pulmonary fibrosis (scarring or thickening of the lung tissue)
  • Sarcoidosis and scleroderma

Muscular weakness can also cause abnormal test results, even if the lungs are normal, that is similar to the diseases that cause smaller lungs.

After your test is completed, your healthcare provider will talk with you about your test results. It’s time to take control of your health and get tested. Contact us for more information or to schedule an appointment.

Good Sleep – Healthy Heart


Sleep is a time of rest for the entire body. Even the heart, which works day and night, naturally slows down during sleep. That’s why unhealthy heart function can deprive the body of restful sleep. Yet, the relationship between heart function and sleep works both ways. For instance, sleep-related breathing disorders have been shown to play a major role in causing several types of heart and blood vessel disease.

Maintaining a Healthy Heart

Many things can be done to maintain a healthy heart: eat a nutritional diet, maintain a healthy weight, exercise regularly, get regular medical check-ups, and get adequate amounts of good quality sleep. If you have any kind of heart condition, it is especially to watch signs that you may have a sleep related breathing disorder, such as OSA, which could stress your heart.

Breathing Disorders And The Heart

People with OSA are often overweight and experience loud snoring, gasping or choking episodes while sleeping, as well as trouble staying awake during the daytime. If you already have hypertension or cardiovascular disease (coronary artery disease, angina pectoris, stroke), talk with your healthcare professional about whether or not you may have a sleep and breathing disorder, such as OSA or CSA. It is also important that patients with congestive heart failure be monitored for CSA and other sleep disorders. In contrast to people with OSA, those with heart failure and CSA are commonly thin and may not snore at all. If your healthcare professional thinks that you have a sleep disorder, he or she may suggest you have a diagnostic test, called a sleep study, or refer you to a sleep medicine specialist. Sleep studies are usually done in a sleep laboratory. Small sensors called electrodes are attached to your body to measure your sleep, breathing heart rate and oxygen level. The sleep specialist will be able to determine whether you have any abnormalities in the quality of your sleep. Your healthcare professional is then given the results and the two of you can decide on the best course of treatment. Sleep disorders are treatable, and treatment can lead to a more healthy heart.

How To Sleep Well

  • Get up about the same time every day.
  • Go to bed only when sleepy.
  • Establish relaxing pre-sleep rituals, such as a warm bath, light bedtime snack, or 10 minutes of reading.
  • Exercise regularly. Vigorous exercise should be confined to the early part of the day, light exercise should take place at least four hours before bedtime.
  • Maintain a regular schedule.
  • Avoid caffeine within six hours of bedtime.
  • Try to nap at the same time every day; mid-afternoon is best for most people.
  • Never combine sleeping pills and alcohol.

Sleep isn’t just a “time out” from daily life. It is an active state important for renewing our mental and physical health each day. If you’re failing to get a good night’s sleep, contact us to schedule an appointment or answer any questions.

The Sleep Center: How We Can Help You


According to the National Commission on Sleep Disorders, millions of Americans are needlessly suffering from undiagnosed or misdiagnosed sleep disorders. While poor sleep can have a negative effect on performance, alertness, memory concentration and reaction times, it is also being linked to other health issues such as heart disease and depression.

Sleep disorders are a serious health concern. It is especially important for persons suffering from hypertension, diabetes, obesity and heart failure to see a sleep specialist for the detection and treatment of sleep apnea as it may prevent heart attacks and strokes as well as minimize underlying symptoms of other diseases. Left untreated, sleep disorders can lead to increased health risks and an overall lower quality of life.

Symptoms of a sleep disorder can include:

  • Insomnia
  • Daytime Sleepiness
  • Morning headaches
  • Constant leg movement
  • Gasping episodes at night
  • Overweight/obesity
  • Hypertension
  • Loud Snoring
  • Dry mouth, sore throat
  • Forgetfulness
  • Loss of energy

People who have sleep disorders may experience:

  • More frequent illness
  • Lost productivity
  • Workplace accidents or car crashes from falling asleep on the job or at the wheel

About the ADC Sleep Disorder Center

The sleep disorder center at Amarillo Diagnostic Clinic opened in 1999 and is a comprehensive clinic accredited by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine. Our sleep center is supervised by highly trained, highly qualified, and board certified physicians. Using the latest technology for diagnosing and treating sleep disorders in a comfortable and home-like atmosphere, our team of sleep professionals is dedicated to improving the sleep of our patients.

What is a Sleep Study?

A sleep study may involve the following:

Polysomnogram (PSG) – a diagnostic test which monitors brain activity, breathing and leg movements which helps to evaluate sleep apnea (obstruction of air flow) or a condition known as periodic leg movements of sleep.

Multiple Sleep Latency Test (MSLT) – a daytime sleep study which evaluates how fast a person falls asleep.

What to Expect?

The first step will be an initial visit with our sleep specialist who will review your medical and sleep history. You will then schedule an appointment for an overnight visit. To help determine if a sleep disorder exists, your physician will need to know what physiologic chances occur during your typical night of sleep. We do this by recording your brainwave pattern (known as the EEG) as well as your eye movements and degree of muscle tone. Using an EKG monitor, we will measure your heart rate and check for irregular heart beats during the night. Other measurements will include oxygen saturation, snoring, leg movements or jerking and respiratory effort. An intercom in the room will allow communication with the technician should have any questions or require assistance. Studies will usually begin between 8:00pm and 9:00pm and will conclude at about 6am. You will then follow up with your physician who will make recommendations for treatment of the disorder.

We are a team that’s committed to making sure our patients get the best sleep possible. Contact us if you have any questions or to set up an appointment. 

Coping With Restless Legs Syndrome: What Can Be Done


You may think you’re managing to cope with your Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS). You may even be getting treatment or taking medication for it. But the truth is, if you’re dealing with RLS  symptoms over and over, you’re stuck in a coping routine that’s affecting your life and changing your behavior.

RLS Isn’t Just About Your Legs

Studies have shown that RLS is actually a neurological condition that causes those unusual sensations in your legs. People with RLS describe the urge to move their legs in many different ways. Two common descriptions are a tingly-tightening sensation in the legs or a creepy-crawly feeling under the skin.

If you’ve ever experienced these symptoms, you know how frustrating RLS can be. Just when you’re about to relax, you feel uncomfortable sensations that give you the urge to move your legs. The symptoms can appear any time but most often occur in the evening or at night when you’re trying to rest. If you recognize these symptoms, discuss them with your doctor:

  • An urge to move the legs, usually accompanied or caused by uncomfortable and unpleasant leg sensations
  • Symptoms begin or worsen during periods of rest or inactivity such as lying or sitting
  • Symptoms are partially or totally relieved by movement, such as walking or stretching, at least as long as the activity continues.
  • Symptoms are worse or occur only in the evening or at night

Talk To Us

Only your doctor can diagnose RLS, so if you are experiencing the symptoms discussed above, we can help you find out for sure. It’s important for your doctor to know as much as possible when it comes to making a diagnosis, so be sure to:

  • Discuss the symptoms you’re having
  • Tell your doctor about your medical history, and if anyone in your family has RLS
  • Tell your doctor about any medications you’re taking, including over-the-counter and prescription, as well as any herbal or vitamin supplements.

Treatment Options

There are two types of RLS: primary RLS, a chronic condition that can be hereditary, and secondary RLS, which is caused by another condition (such as pregnancy or iron-deficiency) and may resolve once the underlying condition no longer exists. Only your doctor can diagnose the type of RLS you may have and provide appropriate treatment options.

Now that you know that RLS is a neurological condition, you should also know that there are treatment options that can help, including medications and non-medication options. Contact us if you have any questions or to set up an appointment. 

Shift Work and Problem Sleepiness

ADC shift work and problem sleepiness

Some information provided by The National Sleep Foundation.

About 20 million Americans (20 to 25 percent of workers) perform shift work. Most shift workers get less sleep over 24 hours than day workers. Sleep loss is greatest for night shift workers, those who work early morning shifts, and female shift workers with children at home. About 60 to 70 percent of shift workers have difficulty sleeping and/or problem sleepiness.

Sleep-Wake System

The human sleep-wake system is designed to prepare the body and mind for sleep at night and wakefulness during the day. These natural rhythms make it difficult to sleep during daylight hours and to stay awake during the night hours, even in people who are well rested. It is possible that the human body never completely adjusts to nighttime activity and daytime sleep, even in those who work permanent night shifts.

In addition to the sleep-wake system, environmental factors can influence sleepiness in shift workers. Because our society is strongly day-oriented, shift worker who try to sleep during the day are often interrupted by noise, light, telephones, family members and other distractions. In contrast, the nighttime sleep of day workers is largely protected by social customs that keep noises and interruptions to a minimum.

Problem sleepiness in shift workers may result in:

  • Increased risk for automobile crashes, especially while driving home after the night shift
  • Decreased quality of life
  • Decreased productivity (night work performance may be slower and less accurate than day performance
  • Increased risk of accidents and injuries at work

What Can Help? 

Many people simply do not allow enough time for sleep on a regular basis. A first step may be to evaluate daily activities and sleep-wake patterns to determine how much sleep is obtained. If you are consistently getting less than 8 hours of sleep per night, more sleep may be needed. A good approach is to gradually move to an earlier bedtime. For example, if an extra hour of sleep is needed, try going to be 15 minutes earlier each night for four nights and then keep the last bedtime. This method will increase the amount of time in bed without causing a sudden change in schedule. However, if work or family schedules do not permit the earlier bedtime, a 30 to 60 minute daily nap may help.

For some shift workers, napping is essential. It can be extremely effective at eliminating fatigue-related accidents and injuries and reducing workers compensation costs. Although most employers do not allow napping in the workplace, a ban on napping may soon prove to be a legal liability. Thus, efforts to make workplace policies nap-friendly may soon gain popularity as the issue increases in global significance.

Here are some tips for sleeping during the day:

  • Wear dark glasses to block out the sunlight on your way home.
  • Keep to the same bedtime and wake time schedule, even on weekends.
  • Eliminate noise and light from your sleep environment (use eye masks and ear plugs).
  • Avoid caffeinated beverages and foods close to bedtime.
  • Avoid alcohol; although it may seem to improve sleep initially, tolerance develops quickly and it will soon disturb sleep.

If you think you are getting enough sleep, but still feel sleepy during the day, check with ADC to be sure your sleepiness is not due to a sleep disorder. Contact us if you have any questions or to set up an appointment. 

Problem Sleepiness And Adolescents

ADC - Adolescents and problem sleepiness

Sleepiness can be due to the body’s natural daily sleep-wake cycles, inadequate sleep, sleep disorders or certain drugs. Many U.S. high school and college have signs of problem sleepiness such as:

  • Difficulty getting up for school
  • Falling asleep at school
  • Struggling to stay awake while doing homework

The need for sleep may be 9 hours or more per night as a person goes through adolescence. At the same time, many teens begin to show preference for a later bed time, which may be due to a biological change. Teens tend to stay up later but have to get up early for school, resulting in their getting much less sleep than they need.

Many factors contribute to problem sleepiness in teens and young adults,but the main causes are not getting enough sleep and irregular sleep schedules. Some of the factors that influence adolescent sleep include:

  • Social activities with peers that lead to a later bedtime
  • Homework to be done in the evenings
  • Early wake-up times due to early school start times
  • Parents being less involved in setting and enforcing bedtimes
  • Employment, sports or other extracurricular activities that decrease the time available for sleep

Teens and young adults who do not get enough sleep are at risk for problems such as:

  • Automobile crashes
  • Poor performance in school and poor grades
  • Depressed moods
  • Problems with peers and adult relationships

Many adolescents have part-time jobs in addition to their classes and other activities. High school students who work more than 20 hours per week have more than 20 hours per week have more problem sleepiness and may use more caffeine nicotine and alcohol than those who work less than 20 hours per week or not at all.

Sleep – There is no substitute! 

The amount of sleep needed each night varies among people. Each person needs a particular amount of sleep in order to be fully alert throughout the day. Many people simply do not allow enough time for sleep on a regular basis. A first step may be to evaluate daily activities and sleep-wake patterns to determine how much sleep is obtained. If you are consistently getting less than 8 hours of sleep per night, more sleep may be needed. If you think you are getting enough sleep, but still feel sleepy during the day, check with your doctor to be sure your sleepiness is not due to a sleep disorder. Contact us if you have any questions or to schedule an appointment.

Essential Information: Midlife Hormone Management Therapy

ADCPA - hormone therapy

Some information provided by

Mid-Life hormone management therapy is available to help women who are dealing with the not-so-fun side effects of menopause. As women get older, their bodies start to produce less estrogen. Most women recognize this process as menopause, and have experienced first hand or heard about the series of symptoms that comes along with this unavoidable milestone. Some side effects of menopause could alter your quality of life.

Side Effects Of Menopause

  • Hot flashes
  • Night sweats
  • Pain during intercourse
  • Increased anxiety or irritability
  • The need to urinate more often
  • Weight gain
  • Loss of sex drive
  • Vaginal changes

These side effects are not enjoyable for anyone. Fortunately, there are ways to replace the hormones that a woman is lacking. This is called hormone replacement therapy (HRT). The therapy supplies the estrogen (and a progesterone type hormone, called a progestin, to reduce the risk of uterine cancer from estrogen alone for women who have not had a hysterectomy).

Women can have the option of hormone replacement therapy for as long as they receive the associated benefits and are aware of the risks for their personal circumstances. They can try to go without hormone replacement therapy every few years, but menopausal symptoms in some women can last for many years.

Who Should Consider Midlife hormonal treatment?

Although there are some health risks, systemic estrogen is still the most effective treatment for menopausal symptoms. The good news is that benefits of hormone therapy may outweigh the risks if you’re healthy and are experiencing symptoms of menopause.

With the onset of menopause, the amount of natural estrogen and progesterone the ovaries produce drops distinctly. As a result, your body can start to experience symptoms such as: as hot flashes, night sweats, vaginal dryness, painful intercourse, mood changes, and sleep problems.

Additionally, it can also boost the risk of osteoporosis. By replenishing the body’s estrogen supply, hormone therapy can help relieve menopause symptoms and guard against osteoporosis.

Who Should Not Consider Hormone Therapy? 

Women with breast cancer,  heart disease, liver disease, or a history of blood clots or  women who are not experiencing menopausal symptoms, are not candidates for hormone replacement therapy.


To determine if hormone therapy is a good treatment option for you, contact us to set up an appointment or talk about your individual symptoms and health risks. Be sure to keep the doctors updated on your menopausal years.

The Problem With Problem Sleepiness

ADC - problem sleepiness

Everyone feels sleepy at times. However, when sleepiness interferes with daily routines and activities or reduces the ability to function, it is called “problem sleepiness.” A person can be sleepy without realizing it. For example, a person may not feel sleepy during activities such as talking and listening to music at a party, but the same person can fall asleep while driving home afterward. You may have problem sleepiness if you:

  • Consistenlty do not get enough sleep or get poor quality sleep
  • Fall asleep while driving
  • Struggle to stay awake when inactive such as when watching televison or reading
  • Have difficulty paying attention or concentrating at work, school or home.
  • Have performance problems at work or school
  • Are often told by others that you are sleepy
  • Have difficulty remembering
  • Have slowed responses
  • Have difficulty controlling your emotions
  • Must take naps on most days

What Causes Problem Sleepiness?

Sleepiness can be due to the body’s natural daily sleep-wake cycles, inadequate sleep, sleep disorders or certain drugs.

Sleep-Wake Cycle

Each day there are two periods when the body experiences a natural tendency toward sleepiness: during the late night hours (generally between midnight and 7 a.m.) and gain during the midafternoon (generally between 1 p.m. and 4 p.m.). If people are awake during these times, they ahve a higher risk of falling asleep unintentionally, especially if they havent been getting enough sleep.

Inadequate Sleep

The amount of sleep needed each night varis among people. Each person needs a particular amount of sleep in order to be fully alert throughout the day. Research has shown that when healthy adults are allowed to sleep unrestricted, the average time slept is 8 to 8.5 hours. Some people need more than that to avoid problem sleepiness; others need less.

If a person does not get enough sleep, even on one night, a “sleep debt” begins to build and increases until enough sleep is obtained. Problem sleepiness occurs as the debt accumulates. Many people do not get enough sleep during the work week and then sleep longer on the weekends or days off to reduce their sleep debt. If too much sleep has been lost, sleeping in on the weekend may not completely reverse the effects of not getting enough sleep during the work week.


What Can Help?

Many people simply do not allow enough time for sleep on a regular basis. A first step may be to evaluate daily activites and sleep-wake patterns to determine how much sleep is obtained. If you are consistently getting less than 8 hours of sleep per night, moe sleep may be needed. A good approach is to gradually move to an earlier bed-time. For example, if an extra hour of sleep is needed, try going to bed 15 minutes earlier each night for four nights and then keep the last bedtime. This method will increase the amount of time in bed without causing a sudden change in schedule. However, if work or family schedules do not permit the earlier bedtime, a 30 – to 6o minute daily nap may help.

A person with problem sleepiness is limited in reaching their full potential, let us help you find a solution. Contact us for more information or to schedule an appointment.

Testing Information: Your Muscle and Nerve Function

ADC - Nerve and Muscle Testing

Electromyography (EMG) and nerve conduction studies (NCS) are tests that measure muscle and nerve function. In most cases, both tests are performed. NCS is most often done first.

During NSC, mild electrical currents are applied to the skin on some parts of your body. This is done to see how quickly impulses travel between nerves. EMG assesses muscle function. To do this, a fine needle is placed under your skin into the muscle being tested. This is repeated on other muscles. The needle allows the electrical activity in your muscles to be measured. No electrical currents are applied with the needle.

During each test, wavy lines (waveforms) appear on a screen or on paper. these lines show how well your nerves and muscles work. These waveforms help to determine your test results.

Before Your Test

Prepare for your test as instructed. Shower or bathe, but don’t use powder, oil, or lotion. your skin should be clean and free of excess oil. Wear loose clothes. Be aware that you may be asked to change into a hospital gown. the entire test will take about 1 hour. Be sure to allow extra time to check in.

During Your Test

You will be asked to lie on an exam table with a blanket over you. You may have one or both of the following:

Nerve Conduction Study (NCS)

Small metal disks (electrodes) will be attached to your skin on the area of your body being tested. This will be done using water based gel or paste. A doctor or technologist will apply mind electrical currents to your skin. Your muscles will twitch. But the test won’t harm you. Currents may again be applied to the same area. Or, the test may continue on other parts of your body.

Electromyography (EMG)

Most of the electrodes will be removed for EMG. The doctor will clean the area being tested with alcohol. A fine needle will be inserted into the muscle in this region. When the needle is inserted, you may feel as if your skin is being pinched. Try to relax and do as instructed.

After Your Test

Before you leave, all electrodes will be removed. You can then get right back to your normal routine. If you feel tired or have some discomfort, take it easy. If you were told to stop taking any for your test, ask when you can start taking them again. Your doctor will let you know when your test results are ready.

For the safety and for the success of your test, tell the technologist if you have any bleeding problems or if you take blood thinners. You may also be asked questions about your overall health. Contact us to answer any questions you may have or to schedule an appointment.