TV medic Dr Amir Khan has tackled just about everything during his career – one patient even brought their pet rabbit in hoping for treatment.
As the GP, a regular face on This Morning, launches his memoir, he serves up solutions to five common questions.
What’s best for a bad back?
Lower back pain can come on after exercise, lifting or working.
Typically your back feels stiff and hurts when you move.
The temptation is to be still but this will cause muscles to seize up. Movement is key.
Taking anti-inflammatories such as ibuprofen gels or tablets for a short time can ease pain while you get moving.
Gently get up and about – no heavy lifting.
If it doesn’t improve after two weeks, or if you have urinary or bowel incontinence or a change of sensation around the anal area, consult a doctor.
Upper back pain is less common where there is no injury. Best speak to a doctor.
Physiotherapy, movement and exercise is better than pills for most lower back pain.
If you are over 60 with new symptoms, call a doctor. See nhs.uk for back exercises.
Is it skin cancer?
Everyone should check their skin regularly for changes or growths.
The majority are benign and nothing to worry about.
If a pre-existing skin growth changes in size, shape, colour or sensation or bleeds, get it looked at by a GP.
New growths need looking at.
If you are unsure, take a photo and reassess in two weeks.
Doctors get concerned about skin growths that bleed or do not heal fully.
Anything on sun-exposed areas such as the scalp, forehead, temples, nose or forearms, needs checking out.
Why do I have an upset tummy?
If you are healthy but get a recurrent upset stomach, you may be suffering from irritable bowel disease.
It can cause cramps, bloating and loose motions.
There can be normal periods then a flare-up.
There is no test but your GP will ask you questions to see if your symptoms fit.
There is no cure but exercising, avoiding stress and a diet full of fresh veg can help.
If you notice blood in your motions, lose weight without trying, lose your appetite or are over 50 with a change in bowel habits you must see a GP.
Am I depressed or down?
It is hard to tell the difference so do speak to a professional.
Depression is often more debilitating – it sucks enjoyment from life, you don’t look forward to things, your sleep, appetite and concentration are affected and you may have dark thoughts.
Speak to someone immediately. The Samaritans is a good place to start.
With low mood, you feel sad, anxious, angry and have low self-esteem.
Can I protect myself against Covid?
You can’t completely protect yourself unless you cut yourself off from the rest of the world.
But being as healthy as possible will give you a better chance.
Sleeping well, a balanced diet rich in fruit, veg and pulses, exercise and maintaining a healthy weight will help.
- The Doctor Will See You Now: The Highs And Lows Of My Life As An NHS GP, by Dr Amir Khan, is out now. Ebury Press, £16.99.