Jaw pain: what causes it?

My jaw has been clicking since an extended visit to the dentist some months ago. Sometimes my jaw hurts, feeling as if top and bottom are wired together, and sometimes it hurts on yawning and chewing but nothing that isn't fixed by an over-the-counter painkiller. My GP gave me 10mg amitriptyline but it made me so dopey in the mornings that I gave it up. A course of Indian head massage helped my general inability to relax. But I never know with a minor joint condition like this if I should exercise my jaw by chewing or rest it by eating baby food? Are there any long-term, negative effects of this kind of problem, or is it best to just learn to live with it, take the occasional aspirin and keep clicking? How much does it really matter?

Vitamin D: how can I get a boost?

We are told that we need sunlight to make vitamin D, and that vitamin D is necessary to prevent osteoporosis and brittle bones. Is it possible to make vitamin D while sitting in a double-glazed conservatory? Or do I have to go out into the open air to get enough sunlight to make vitamin D?

Medicines: Why are some not available in the UK?

Many of my friends and colleagues, when on holiday, buy "over the counter" medicines not available in the UK - mainly Tylenol and melatonin. Why are these not available in the UK? Is it legal to bring back large quantities for distribution to friends and family?

Lyme Disease: How can I prevent it?

We are spending our next holiday in the New Forest. We have been warned that the ticks there carry Lyme Disease. What can we do?

Shingles: A sign of an immunity problem?

Our six-year-old daughter developed shingles recently on her chest and down her leg. We were told by her GP that she got this because she was run down as a result of the chickenpox that she had about a year ago. Although she is back to normal, we are worried that there may be some underlying immunity problem. Are there any further tests that can be done?

TIA (Transient Ischaemic Attack): What is going on?

In mid February, I suffered two transient ischaemic attacks (TIAs) in 22 hours. The symptoms were pins and needles in my left hand, arm and side of my mouth, with loss of function in my fingers and slurred speech. I am now on low-dose aspirin, simvastatin and dipyridamole. On two occasions since, I have had the pins and needle sensation, without the loss of function. I wasn't really given an explanation as to what is causing the sensation. What is going on?

Co-Codamol: Was I addicted?

Last summer, I took the painkiller co-codamol for back pain. I started with the lowest dose of codeine (8mg), but then took the 30mg tablets for two months. Coming off it gave me the experience of "cold turkey"; I felt very strange and agitated, and sleep proved difficult. With advice from NHS addictive drug agencies, I managed to get off them. My question is: how common is such an experience and should I have been warned? There is no reference to addiction in the patient information leaflet.

Asthma: Will ibuprofen affect me?

I have both asthma and arthritis. The arthritis is quite painful, but when I try to buy ibuprofen from a pharmacist, they refuse because I have asthma. I have taken ibuprofen many times with no problems. Should I avoid it?

Blurred Vision: Could it be linked to my red blood cell count?

I consulted my GP about my vision blurring and general tiredness. An optician's eye examination had shown no eye defect. Blood tests came back normal except for an excess red cell count. This is the second time in two years this has been picked up. Could this cause my symptoms?

Health checks: Advisable before a long trip?

My wife and I are planning a round-the-world trip. Before setting off we want to have a thorough health check, as we will be travelling in remote areas where medical help may not be easily available. A friend has suggested that we begin our trip in America with a whole-body scan. Would it be a sensible precaution?

Hip Prosthesis: Could I cough it loose?

I had a hip replacement six years ago, and it's brilliant. However, I get a lot of chest infections, and when I cough vigorously, my hip prosthesis hurts. It never hurts at any other time, and I'm afraid that I might cough it loose, so I lie on my side to restrict it from - as I imagine - ricocheting around. Is it actually possible to cough a prosthesis loose, and should I be careful?

Thyroid: Am I taking too much medication?

I have been diagnosed with an underactive thyroid gland, and now have to take thyroxine tablets every day. I was started on a low dose, and this has gradually been increased because blood tests still show my levels to be low. The starting dose was 50mcg a day, and I am now up to 300mcg a day. Is there a maximum dose that is safe? And could I take a dose as high as 400mcg a day, if it were necessary?

Cancer: Is it inherited?

My father died from cancer of the prostate at the age of 57, over 40 years ago. I am now 61 and wonder whether there could be any implications for me, even though I'm female.

Contraceptives: Does the pill store up my eggs?

I have been taking the combined pill for a couple of years, and my question is, if the Pill suppresses the release of an egg, do the eggs get stored up to be used at a later date?

Blood Pressure: Can a machine conrol my blood pressure?

I have seen adverts for a machine that apparently reduces blood pressure by controlling one's breathing rate, working on a sort of bio-feedback system. I have been prescribed tablets for high blood pressure, but I would prefer a non-drug solution. Does this machine work?

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