• What is a Herniated Disc?

    Back Pain

    A slipped, ruptured, or herniated disc is a spine problem that primarily affects adults in their 30s and 40s who repeatedly or improperly lift heavy objects. Read on to learn what causes herniated discs and how they can be treated:

    The spine is comprised of many small bones known as vertebrae, that are stacked on top of one another. To enable movement, these vertebrae are separated by discs made up of a jellylike substance surrounded by a tough outer membrane. Occasionally, due to age, trauma, or back strain, the outer layer of the disc may tear, causing the soft inner portion to spill out and put pressure on the spinal nerves.

    Pain is a common symptom of a herniated disc , with the intensity varying according to the severity of the condition. A disc herniation in the lower back may cause sciatica, manifesting with pain or numbness that radiates into the buttocks and down the leg. If the ruptured disc is in the cervical spine, symptoms may involve pain in the neck, upper back, or arms, as well as tingling or numbness in one or both arms.

    Home remedies for a herniated disc include over-the-counter pain relievers, bed rest, massage, and hot or cold packs. Your doctor may also recommend physical therapy, traction, or prescription pain medication. If your condition does not respond to these conservative measures, steroidal injections or a minimally-invasive procedure to remove the problematic disc material may be indicated. In extreme cases, surgery to remove the excess disc tissue or sculpt the vertebrae may be necessary.

    Find out how to minimize your risk of suffering a herniated disc or schedule an appointment with a neurologist by calling West Hills Hospital & Medical Center at (818) 676-4000. We offer minimally-invasive spine care services to relieve chronic pain and improve the outcomes of trauma patients.

  • Plan for a Smarter Delivery

    Every mother wants the best for her baby, but preparing for your little one’s arrival involves more than taking care of your health during pregnancy. Watch this video to learn about West Hills Hospital & Medical Center’s Labor and Delivery Program .

    The maternity services available at West Hills Hospital & Medical Center include prenatal education, perinatal consultation for high-risk pregnancies, around-the-clock anesthesiology services, and a level II NICU with on-staff neonatologists to promote the health of your newborn baby.

    Find out more about West Hills Hospital & Medical Center’s maternity services by calling (818) 676-4000. We have nurses available 24/7 to discuss your pregnancy questions and help you choose the right OB/GYN for your needs.

  • What to Expect When Visiting the Emergency Room

    Horizontal Closeup of Doctor Holding Stethoscope

    Hospital emergency rooms are often busy places. People come to the emergency room (or ER) with problems that are sudden or potentially severe enough to cause disability, death, or other serious consequences. These include heart attacks, strokes, asthma flare-ups, injuries, and mental or emotional issues.

    Understanding how doctors, nurses, and other providers offer care in the ER will help you get the best treatment possible at your next visit.   

    When you arrive
    When you come to the ER, a staff member – typically a nurse – will examine you to get a sense of the severity of your illness or injury. This process is called triage . It allows providers to quickly start treating the more serious cases. The triage provider will likely:

    • Ask you about your symptoms
    • Discuss your history of medical problems, whether you have allergies, and what medications you’re currently taking
    • Measure your vital signs such as your temperature, pulse, and blood pressure

    This step only takes place if you come to the ER on your own or a friend or family member brings you. You’ll be treated more quickly if you’re unconscious or arrive by ambulance.

    Getting into the system
    If your illness or injury doesn’t require immediate treatment, you may register at this point. This requires giving an ER staff member your name, address, and other basic information, along with your health insurance information. (If you don’t have insurance, hospitals are required to still provide emergency care.)

    Waiting to see a doctor
    ERs provide treatment first to the people who are sickest or most badly hurt. So people who arrived after you may get to see a medical provider before you if they’re in more serious condition. In the meantime, visitors to the ER remain in a waiting room.

    If your symptoms are growing worse while you’re in the waiting room, be sure to let the triage nurse know.

    Getting treatment
    An ER doctor – or other specialist in the hospital who may be consulted for your case – will examine you to diagnose and treat your health problem. Depending on your illness or injury, this may involve:

    • Blood tests
    • Imaging tests such as an X-ray, MRI, or CT scan
    • Tests to see how well your heart is working

    The emergency room doctor may provide a treatment for your problem – such as a cast for a broken bone or a medication for an illness – and discharge you so you can return home. But if you have a serious issue that needs more monitoring and treatment, you may be admitted to the hospital.

    The staff of specialty physicians and emergency health care professionals at West Hills Hospital & Medical Center serves the community around the clock. You can learn more about our advanced and comprehensive emergency care services by calling (818) 676-4000 today. You can also get our emergency room wait times sent directly to your mobile phone by texting ‘ER’ to 23000 and responding with your West Hills zip code.

  • Getting Screened for Prostate Cancer

    Appointment for Prostate Exam

    Prostate cancer is one of the most deadly types of cancer for men, second only to lung cancer in the amount of lives it claims. Fortunately, the condition can be caught early, thanks to screening tests that identify tumors and other prostate distress.

    Determining Your Risk
    Screening for prostate cancer is recommended for men over the age of 50, although those at higher risk may be instructed to begin screening as young as age 40. Screening is thought to be less valuable over age 75, depending on overall health and quality of life, as the treatment for cancers caught at this age may be more disruptive than any potential symptoms experienced. Factors that are likely to increase your risk of prostate cancer include a sedentary lifestyle, a high-fat diet, African-American ethnicity, and a family history of the disease.

    Receiving a Digital Rectal Exam
    This test is often performed by a primary care practitioner as part of a routine check-up. While you are bent over or lying on the examining table, your doctor will insert a gloved finger into your rectum to palpate your prostate. This enables the physician to detect tumors on the prostate gland as well as any rectal abnormalities.

    Undergoing a PSA Test
    Because the digital rectal exam cannot consistently reveal the presence of early prostate cancer, you may be asked to undergo a prostate specific antigen (PSA) test, which is a blood test measuring the amount of PSA produced by the prostate. High levels of the substance may indicate prostate cancer, although they may also result from benign prostatic hypertrophy or prostatitis.

    To schedule a prostate cancer screening or to speak with a urologist about the results of your latest test, call West Hills Hospital & Medical Center at (818) 676-4000. Our state-of-the-art Cancer Care center treats more patients in the West Hills area than any other facility.

  • Visit These Websites to Learn More About Your Health and the Services Offered by West Hills Hospital

    Online Health Services

    In our recent blog posts, we discussed burn injury treatment and first aid procedures. 

    If you are looking to learn more about these health topics, click through these resources or contact West Hills Hospital & Medical Center at (818) 676-4000.

    • Drowning and near drowning occur from suffocation underwater. Learn more about the symptoms, causes, and treatment of this medical emergency on MedlinePlus.
    • Keep your friends and family safe near water this summer by reading through this guide on the American Red Cross website.
    • Most cases of cervical cancer are the result of human papillomavirus (HPV) infection. Learn more about cervical cancer on the National Cancer Institute website.
    • You can also find out more about cervical cancer and the screening guidelines for the detection of this disease on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website.
    • Are you at risk for cervical cancer? This article from the American Cancer Society provides more information about the factors that may contribute to the development of this disease.
    • Burn injuries can result from heat, radiation, chemicals, or electricity. Read about the degrees of burns and their treatment in this helpful article.
    • Burns can occur in any household. Learn about preventing burn injuries in your home by reading this article on FamilyDoctor.org .
    • Visit WomensHealth.gov to find many helpful resources regarding women’s health topics.
    • You can also check out the CDC website to find some of the most up-to-date information associated with women’s health and research topics.
    • Getting screened regularly for breast cancer , cervical cancer, and other diseases can help you to stay healthy. Visit the American Cancer Society website to find a recommended screening schedule.

  • Protecting Yourself from Harmful UV Rays

    The sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays are one of the most important factors in the development of skin cancer and the premature aging of the skin. If you are planning on venturing out into the warm weather this summer, make sure that you and your family is protected from harmful UV rays with sunscreen, clothing, and other protective gear.

    This video discusses the importance of sunscreen and how the Food and Drug Administration is working hard to help families better protect themselves from the sun’s UV rays. Watch to learn more about how stronger labeling rules translate to better sun protection.

    To learn more helpful ways to protect yourself and your family this summer, contact the healthcare professionals at West Hills Hospital & Medical Center . Our nurses are available at any time of the day or night to answer your health questions—call us at (818) 676-4000 today.

  • Happy 4th of July from West Hills Hospital and Medical Center!


  • The Women’s Diagnostic Center at West Hills Hospital

    Women's Health

    Through our Women’s Diagnostic Center , West Hills Hospital seeks to provide the women of West Hills and the surrounding areas with a convenient, comprehensive healthcare resource to promote their continued health. With extended hours, free parking, and a full range of diagnostic imaging services, women can be sure that they are getting just that. Read on to learn more about some of our diagnostic services and how they may benefit you and your loved ones.

    • Mammography
      Using low doses of x-radiation, the mammogram can detect cancerous growths of the breast before they become symptomatic. This screen is typically performed routinely in women without symptoms, but can be used to diagnose a breast mass or the cause of nipple discharge.
    • Breast ultrasound
      Ultrasound utilizes high-frequency sound waves to evaluate breast masses that are detected during a mammogram or physical exam. This advanced test can also help to learn more about lumps that may not show up as well on a mammogram.
    • DEXA Scan
      Osteoporosis is a condition that results in progressive bone loss. In the past, this disruptive and often painful condition would remain undiagnosed until the patient suffered from a bone fracture. Using the state-of-the-art DEXA scan, the experts at West Hills Hospital can detect bone loss in its earliest stages before bone fracture occurs.
    • ICAD Program
      West Hills Hospital is also proud to offer a Second Look Computer-Assisted Detection System, an advanced technology that can detect breast cancers earlier by analyzing digital mammograms for abnormalities. The ICAD program can provide patients with a computerized second opinion without the need for further testing and radiation exposure.

    To learn more about your recommended testing and screening schedules, contact your primary care physician or call the West Hills Hospital & Medical Center Consult-A-Nurse healthcare referral line at (818) 676-4000. Our nurses can help you to locate an experienced medical specialist near you.