Beating Your Back Pain

Text by Dr. Benny Brandvold, Benefis Neurosurgeon and Director of Neurotrauma
and Dr. Paul Miller, Benefis Orthopedic Spine Surgeon

Most Americans will experience an episode of significant back pain over the course of their lives. The good news is: most back problems get better on their own – approximately 90 percent of patients with lower back problems recover within six weeks, including those with disk herniations.

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Pelvic Prolapse

A Common Problem for Women

Text by Dr. Jeffery Palen, DO, Benefis Obstetrics-Gynecology

Many people find it shocking that your organs can move out of their appropriate place over time, but the shifting of organs, particularly those in the pelvic area is actually quite common, especially for women. This movement of organs from their proper place in the pelvic cavity is known as a pelvic organ prolapse. The organs in this area that can prolapse include the bladder, urethra, uterus, vagina, small bowel, and rectum.

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Lives Reclaimed

Finding Hope in the Battle Against Chronic Pain

Text by Holly Matkin | Photography by Marcus Serrano

Like so many Montanans who depend on the earth and sky for their livelihoods, Steve and Josie Gordon embody the principles of rural western culture. Propelled by determination, ambition and fortitude in the face of inevitable adversities, they toil away on their fourth-generation cattle ranch southeast of Cascade, fostering their family’s legacy.

Fellow Great Falls area resident Margaret “Maggie” Welzenbach exudes a similar tenacity and zest for life as a sprightly, self-proclaimed “wild child.” If you are having difficulty reaching her by telephone, it is highly probable she is outside, busily tending to her much-adored chickens.

Regardless of age, profession or specific location, Maggie and the Gordons exemplify the commonalities of Montanans as a whole.

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Don’t Skip Your Annual Exam

Pap vs. Pelvic?

Text by Kelly Timmer, FNP-BC, WHNP-BC, and Sydne Skaer, FNP-BC

For years, women have been accustomed to getting a Pap smear—a test to detect certain cancerous or precancerous cells of the cervix—annually. A few years ago, however, the Pap smear guidelines for most women were revised to recommend a Pap smear once every three to five years instead of yearly. This change generated a major misconception—that no annual Pap meant there was no need for an annual exam.

There is, and always has been,

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A Pain in the Gut

Abdominal Aortic Aneurysms

By: Dr. Steven Bailey, Benefis Heart & Vascular Institute

When someone hears the term “aneurysm,” they commonly think of the brain, but in reality aneurysms are most common in the aorta—the major blood vessel that supplies blood to the body and runs from your heart through the center of your chest and abdomen. While aneurysms can develop anywhere along the aorta, they most commonly form in the lower part, which is referred to as an abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA).

An aneurysm is a balloon-like bulge in an artery that can be caused by the strong force of blood pushing against a weakened or injured artery wall. As the aorta enlarges, it may weaken and begin to leak or in the most severe cases, rupture.

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Diabetes – A Growing Problem

Text by Deb Bjorsness- Benefis Diabetes Program Coordinator

Diabetes is the seventh leading cause of death in the United States and continues to affect more Americans every year. From 1988 to 2008, the prevalence of diabetes diagnoses increased by a staggering 125 percent, and if the current growth patterns continue, as many as one in three Americans will have diabetes by 2050.

In addition to the increase of diabetes occurrence, pre-diabetes continues to grow in the United States. Pre-diabetes affects 86 million Americans, or approximately one in every three American adults.

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