Do you sometimes experience sudden, stabbing shoulder pain that you can’t explain? Is it so painful that you find it hard to concentrate on anything else?
This kind of pain can be common not only because shoulder movement is essential to the way we function but also because the shoulder is one of the largest and most complex joints in the body and is the center of a collection of muscles and tendons. Muscles require a lot of oxygen, so issues with the circulatory system can radiate out to the shoulder.
In an effort to identify some of the potential sources of pain, I was featured in a helpful article that describes some of these issues, Cause of Sudden Severe Shoulder Pain that Comes and Goes:
So where can this intense, sudden shoulder pain come from, if you haven’t recently fallen on this joint, been hit there by a baseball or broken a bone there?
“Making sure there is not a muscle or ligament tear is important, i.e., clinical exam and MRI,” says Dr. Moshe Lewis, MD, Chief of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at California Pacific Medical Center - St. Luke’s Campus in the Department of Orthopedics.
“If this is negative, presumably, the pain still has to be minimized or else therapy will only flare things more. Options include an anti-inflammatory or icing for acute pain, heat for chronic pain.”
To learn more about shoulder pain and what to do about it, read Cause of Sudden Severe Shoulder Pain that Comes and Goes from ScarySymptoms.com. If the discomfort is too great, see your doctor immediately.
Medicine wasn’t always a pharmaceutical product, but rather materials one kind find in their own kitchen. Whether you are feeling under the weather and don’t have time for another trip to the pharmacy or you are concerned about the compound effects some drugs will have on your body, you will want to know about these easy home remedies for common ailments.
One great solution for a sore throat is simply a glass of salty water. The saline solution will reduce inflammation, as well as clear out allergens and bacteria that may be causing additional discomfort.
To see how this and a few other excellent remedies work, read Mandy Seay’s Home Remedies that Never Fail.
Do you find your feet to be in aching pain when going for a run in the morning or afternoon? Is it an intense, sharp pain on the heel of your foot and arch? You are not alone. Most likely, you are one of the ten percent of Americans who have an inflammatory condition in their feet known as “plantar fasciitis”. Plantar fasciitis is caused by stress in the foot’s arch tendon, and it can affect anyone. It is one of the most common medical conditions seen in America, affecting over two million people per year. It accounts for over one million physician visits yearly. Those who are most at risk are athletes, soldiers, and obese people who find themselves standing frequently and placing heavy strain on their feet.
Athletes of all levels and abilities are particularly vulnerable, because they are frequently driven to overtrain. Today more Americans than ever are under constant pressure to succeed at the next level, and neglecting healthy and recuperative rest leads to chronic strains and tears in ligaments. Furthermore, with increasing competition from other players to take over starting roles on a team, athletes are pressured more than ever to rush through injury rehabilitation. Without proper healing time, an athlete can quickly fall into a cycle of failing to properly heal and re-aggravating inflammatory conditions.
Plantar fasciitis is the most common cause of pain on the bottom of the heel. The plantar fascia, a fibrous band of tissue that supports the arches, becomes inflamed and irritated. The plantar fascia is a very thin ligament that connects the heel to the front of the foot in order to absorb stress and shock that we place on our feet. The direct result of straining this ligament? Pain, swelling, weakness, and irritation that affects daily living activities.
The symptoms are generally noted as an intense sharp heel pain when a person takes her first few steps of activity. Sometimes there is occasional relief of the pain after a few minutes. However, the feet will hurt more as the day goes on, if activity (and weight-bearing pressure) continues. Walking on hard surfaces is especially hard on the plantar fascia.
Plantar fasciitis is usually a difficult problem to completely eliminate. However, treatment is generally nonsurgical and conservative in nature. To reduce pain and swelling, many physicians recommend taking an over-the-counter pain reliever like ibuprofen (Advil or Motrin), naproxen (Aleve), or aspirin. It will also help to do preventative calf stretches several times a day, especially when waking up and beginning daily exercises. Try to not run or walk on hard surfaces, and pick shoes that have good arch support and well-cushioned soles.
Osteoarthritis, being a debilitating and painful disease, can turn athletes into couch potatoes. We all understand that exercise is important to stay healthy and live longer, but it’s tough for those with osteoarthritis to do the bare minimum of exercise. The catch 22 of osteoarthritis is that exercise is an important way to reduce pain in the joints and prevent the pain from getting worse in the future. EverydayHealth.com showcases a few low impact exercises that allow patients with osteoarthritis to maintain their health and keep their joint pain from worsening:
1. Tai Chi
I was featured in an article from SOMA Orthopedics a while ago. It’s still relevant, so I wanted to share it with you!
Ashley is an avid cyclist who started noticing increased pain earlier and earlier in her exercise routine after she turned 42. When she learned she had an early form of arthritis, she asked her physician if there were any safe, non-invasive treatments for the condition. Her physician told her about the BioniCare Knee Device, an exciting alternative to the use of medications or surgery for knee pain due to joint wear and tear.
“Ashley’s case is somewhat unique,” said Dr. Moshe Lewis, a Physical Medicine and rehabilitation physician at California Pacific Medical Center, St. Luke’s Campus. “Osteoarthritis occurs more frequently in males before the age of 45. Women are more prone to the disease after age 55.”
Osteoarthritis is the breakdown and eventual loss of the articular cartilage in one or more joints and occurs more frequently as we age. This process destroys the cushion-like qualities of cartilage, which is a natural shock absorber. About 50 million Americans suffer from some form of osteoarthritis and is sometimes found in multiple members of the same family, implying a genetic basis for the condition.
With aging, the water content of the cartilage in the knee increases and the protein makeup degenerates. Repetitive use of the joints over the years irritates and inflames the cartilage, causing joint pain and swelling. Eventually, cartilage begins to degenerate by flaking or forming tiny cracks. In advanced cases of osteoarthritis, there is a complete loss of the cartilage cushion between the bones of the joints. The result is friction, leading to pain and reduced joint mobility.
Dr. Lewis specializes in non-surgical treatments for conditions that cause chronic pain, such as arthritis and degenerative disc disease. In the past two years, he has placed the Bionicare Knee Device on more than 100 patients.
“The device has reduced the use of pain medications and, in some cases, postponed the need for surgery in these patients,” Lewis said. “Active people want to stay healthy and perform at peak levels longer without pain. As a result, there is a growing interest in treatment options that have few side effects and the BioniCare device is a great example of that technology.”
The Knee Device was cleared for home use by the Food and Drug Administration in 2004 and requires a physician prescription. It transmits pulsed electrical stimulation to the knee and may help rejuvenate of cartilage. During therapy, a wrap is applied and worn for 8-10 hours, typically while the patient sleeps. Patient’s who accumulate more than 750 hours of cumulative wearing time demonstrate the best results.
“This product has proven itself to be a great alternative for people like Ashley, who are in the early stages of osteoarthritis and wish to remain active without being dependent on pain medications or invasive procedures,” Lewis said. “It’s really represents good news.”
Every day at work you execute thousands of precise, frenetic keystrokes while hunched painfully over a monitor. You text and type and staple and file throughout the day, performing a daily marathon with your forearms and fingers.
And like a marathoner, your tireless performance comes at the cost of physical pain. If left unchecked, your low-impact daily tasks may put you at risk for a repetitive stress injury.
Repetitive stress injuries, or RSIs, are caused by repeated everyday actions. The two most common RSIs are tendinitis, the inflammation of a tendon; and bursitis, the inflammation of a bursa sac. Some well-known examples include carpal tunnel syndrome and tennis elbow.
Though repetitive stress injuries often start as an inconvenient ache, the symptoms can become far more severe if they are ignored. People sometimes assume that their risk of RSI depends on the amount of time spent on a certain action. The time spent is actually less important than the number of repetitions.
For example, if you spent two hours typing only 100 words, your risk is far lower than a friend who typed an epic 2,000 words in only 20 minutes. Furthermore, if your friend repeated her typing binge several times daily over weeks and months, she might start to accumulate orthopedic damage if she didn’t rest prudently.
This repetition of a task over time is what leads to RSI symptoms. The most severe RSIs require physical therapy and medication—even surgery. But the majority of RSIs are easily reversible. Paying attention to posture and switching to more ergonomic products can help to prevent or alleviate painful symptoms.
Computer use is a leading cause of office-related RSIs. To fight this epidemic, many ergonomic products are now available to help improve your posture and take stress off vulnerable joints. One of the most common and effective office aids is the ergonomic keyboard. Its split curved keypad surface elevates typing hands to a less damaging posture. Critics have questioned the effectiveness of ergonomic keyboards since their inception, but it’s hard to argue with results; a 2010 study showed that typists with RSI-related disorders were able to reduce the severity of their symptoms by using ergonomic keyboards.
But what about the computer user on the go? In this modern era, mobility is everything, and laptops are more common than ever. But a laptop is a terrible surface for a portable computer. The hip-height keyboard and screen put strain on your wrists and your neck, and your lap is less steady than a table, which also makes for high-stress typing.
To reduce RSI risk, try elevating the computer to eye level and connecting an external keyboard to your laptop. This will allow you to use the computer as comfortably and ergonomically as you might use a desktop.
If you are at risk for RSIs, it may be best to avoid buying an ultra-compact netbook. Netbooks have keyboards that are smaller than regular laptops, and this can increase the likelihood of typing with incorrect posture.
Phone texting and browsing have become key parts of professional communication, and they have simultaneously become a frequent source of RSIs. Smartphones tend to be heavier than regular cell phones. Android phones and iPhones increase RSI risk for the very reasons they make such enticing gadgets—the touch-screen and added functionality make them more useful, and thus they tend to keep your fingers active when you might otherwise be still.
A recent study suggests that to reduce the likelihood of RSI, you should use both thumbs when texting and take breaks between writing messages. If you find your hands truly in need of rest, try an old-fashioned remedy: use your phone to talk instead of type.
Your home life has just as many possible sources of RSIs. Cooking, gardening, needlecraft, and leisure sports all have their own risks. Game controllers are notorious culprits.
To prevent home and leisure injuries, simply remember that even light exercise puts stress on joints. During leisure time, take it easy. Stretch before playing and take breaks before a slight stiffness becomes a full-blown injury.
Head over to Physician’s Money Digest to read Ed Rabinowitz’s profile of Dr. Jet. An excerpt:
When Lewis was studying to be a physician, his original line of thinking was surgery. That changed before he finished medical school. His mother, who had been a nurse and inspired him to explore the health care field, experienced a stroke, and watching her work through rehabilitation changed his focus.
“I think anything that happens with your parents tends to inspire you,” Lewis explains. “Being involved there, trying to get her to walk again, and feed her again, because it was a pretty intense stroke, really got my interest going in that direction. And my sister is an occupational therapist, so we spent a lot of time together talking.”
Those experiences propelled Lewis into the world of pain management, and set the stage for his embracing an integrative approach to healing.
In the following press release, I offer a personal testimonial for VQ OrthoCare’s BioniCare Knee System, a utility and alternative treatment for reducing osteoarthritis-induced knee pain and enabling increased functionality.
Ashley is an avid cyclist who started noticing pain earlier in her exercise routine after she turned 42. When she learned that she had an early form of arthritis, she asked her physician if there were any safe, non-invasive treatments available for the condition. Her physician told her about the BioniCare Knee System, an exciting alternative to the use of medications or surgery for knee pain due to joint wear and tear.
“Ashley’s case is somewhat unique,” said Dr. Moshe Lewis, a Physical Medicine and rehabilitation physician at California Pacific Medical Center, St. Luke’s Campus. “Osteoarthritis occurs more frequently in males before the age of 45. Women are more prone to the disease after age 55.”
Osteoarthritis is the breakdown of the knee joints and occurs more frequently as we age. This process destroys the cushion-like qualities of the knee joint, which performs as a natural shock absorber. About 50 million Americans suffer from some form of osteoarthritis and it is sometimes found in multiple members of the same family, implying a genetic basis for the condition.
With aging, the water content within the knee increases and the protein makeup degenerates. Repetitive use of the joints over the years irritates and inflames the knee joint, causing pain and swelling. In advanced cases of osteoarthritis, there is a complete loss of the cushion between the bones of the joints. The result of this is friction, leading to pain and reduced joint mobility.
Dr. Lewis specializes in non-surgical treatments for conditions that cause chronic pain, such as arthritis and degenerative disc disease. In the past four years, he has placed the BioniCare Knee System on more than 100 patients.
“The device has reduced the use of pain medications and, in some cases, postponed the need for surgery in these patients,” Lewis said. “Active people want to stay healthy and perform at peak levels longer without pain. As a result, there is a growing interest in treatment options that have few side effects and the BioniCare device is a great example of that technology.”
The BioniCare Knee System was cleared for home use by the Food and Drug Administration in 2004 and requires a physician prescription. The system transmits pulsed electrical stimulation to the knee to reduce pain and improve overall function. During therapy, a wrap is applied, and worn for 8–10 hours, typically while the patient sleeps. Patients who accumulate more than 250 hours of cumulative wearing time demonstrate results (roughly one month), with full results at 2,250 hours (roughly 9 months).
“This product has proven itself to be a great alternative for people like Ashley, who are in the early stages of osteoarthritis, looking for long term results and wish to remain active without being dependent on pain medications or invasive procedures,” Lewis said. “It really represents good news in Osteoarthritis treatment.”
Dr. Moshe Lewis specializes in the non-surgical management of musculoskeletal and neurological injuries and diseases. He has devoted his professional career to providing compassionate care to people who suffer with chronic pain. He can be reached through his website www.mosheleiwsmd.com. For more information on VQ OrthoCare’s BioniCare® Knee System or the OActive™ Knee Brace, please visit, www.bionicare.com or call (800) 444–1456.
Although spring is a notorious harbinger of sneezing, watery eyes, and other classic symptoms of a seasonal allergy, these symptoms often persist well into the summer. Since trees generally stop pollinating by the end of spring, grasses and weeds produce the most pollen during this season. Pollen being the most prominent offender, additional heat and humidity from the summer climate can make a nasty combination. If you’re traveling this summer, be sure to keep an eye out for possible allergens at your destination such as ragweed and even insects like dust mites that can cause irritation and a runny nose.
It makes sense that while changes in weather, such as barometric pressure, high humidity, extremes of heat and cold are known to bring about migraine headaches, studies are also finding a relationship exists with allergies. From a recent piece in Everyday Health:
Research published in the Annals of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology found that seasonal allergies are related not just to regular headaches but also to migraine headaches. Of the 76 people in the study with seasonal allergies, 34 percent also had migraines, compared with a migraine rate of just 4 percent among people who didn’t get seasonal allergies.
The seasonal allergies-headache association was also made in a study published in the journal Headache, which looked at 536 people with allergies and headache symptoms. Researchers at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine discovered that advancing age and severity of allergies are among the factors that contribute to more frequent migraines.
Migraines can be downright awful, but there are a few ways to deal with them. A headache specialist can help you determine the cause of your headaches and provide an appropriate course of medication which might include drugs called triptans that relieve swelling in the brain. Alternative, natural remedies might include the use of ice packs applied to the forehead and meditation.
It can be tempting, or even necessary, to use pain killers in moments of extreme discomfort—especially when it disrupts our productivity and our lives. Headaches, a universally common symptom, are frequently the culprit behind these effects and while they can be alleviated with compounds such as acetaminophen and ibuprofen, there are other methods available to those who are concerned about their medicating habits.
In a piece for EverydayHealth I talk about how temperature, light sensitivity, sleep, and other factors can change the way you feel and how to use this knowledge to relieve headaches naturally.
“It is easy to become reliant on drugs — we all live in a fast-paced nation, and there is little understanding when you miss obligations over a headache,” says Moshe Lewis, MD, a pain management specialist in Redwood City, Calif.
For example, acupressure, a procedure that utilizes familiar acupuncture principles but involves instead pressure rather than the insertion of needles, may prove beneficial:
Performed by a qualified practitioner, acupressure can bring relief for headaches and a variety of other pain-related conditions, says Lewis. Japanese research explains that acupressure may work by stimulating the autonomic nervous system, which is why it may have an impact on headache and related conditions such as chronic neck pain. Though recent studies haven’t been done, earlier research on 500 people with frequent headaches found that self-administered acupressure was helpful and worth trying because there are no negative side effects.
In the interview above, I talk with Stephanie Stephens from Mind Your Body about ways to control pain while avoiding surgery and pills. If you’re wondering what viscosupplementation is, or how radio frequency ablation works you’ll find the video helpful. Additional topics include: epidurals, TENS unit, pain pumps, and nerve/facet blocks.
It’s no secret that it can be really difficult to maintain your fitness and overall health when so many of your days are spent in the office. Employees can develop carpal tunnel from repetitive wrist movements and a constant deficiency in circulation can cause a number of cardiovascular problems. There are, however, some great solutions to prevent discomfort and a deterioration in health while at work. Some of the best results come from employers that lead by example and implement programs such as a walking group or a push for ergonomics awareness.
A recent post on the Nuesoft Blog shares some great advice when it comes to workplace wellness. In the featured Neusoft video podcast, I talk with Lindsey Coates about how to engage in a routine that works for everyone as well as how to encourage good habits and comfort. Here are some ideas to get you started:
- Designate a coordinator to get everyone involved.
- Create a board that will centralize all wellness information (leaflets, routines, leader board – if you want to make it a competition, etc.).
- Walk as a group during lunch around the building or floor you are on.
- Sit on a yoga ball for an hour a day while working on the computer. When your hour is up pass it to another team member.
- Sign up as a group to do a 5k, softball team or other sporting activity. It’ll also promote morale!
While many health problems do require specialized attention, there are some great remedies for health problems that may be in your own kitchen. As an advocate of natural remedies, I contributed to a recent article offering four easy fixes for some common ailments:
Try: honey and petroleum jelly.
Why: “Honey has been shown to have both antibacterial and wound-healing properties,” says Adam Friedman, MD, dermatologist and assistant professor of dermatology at Montefiore Medical Center and Albert Einstein College of Medicine. “When you combine it with the moisturizing effect of petroleum jelly, you’re relieving and curing chapped lips.”
How: Wet lips with lukewarm water, then apply a thin layer of honey to your lips and let it dry for a few seconds. Next, put a layer of petroleum jelly over it and let it sit for 10 to 15 minutes. Remove the moisturizing combo with a cotton swab dipped in warm water. Repeat once daily for a few days.
Try: salt water.
Why: A saline solution (salt and water) helps soothe inflamed tissues in the throat and also loosens mucus, which helps flush out irritants like allergens and bacteria, says Moshe Lewis, MD, a pain management specialist in San Francisco. In fact, one study found gargling with salt water three times a day reduced respiratory infections up to 40%.
How: Dissolve 1/2 tsp table salt in 8 oz warm water and gargle at least three times a day.
Why: Parsley contains chlorophyll, which is thought to fight the odor-causing bacteria that causes bad breath, says Jennifer Wider, MD, women’s health specialist and host of Am I Normal? on Cosmo Radio, found on Sirius Satellite.
How: Chew on a fresh sprig for a minute or two whenever necessary.
Try: chamomile tea.
Why: Research found that chamomile contains glycine, a chemical that egresses contractions in the lower intestine and may relieve muscle spasms, says Jessica Shepherd, MD, assistant professor of OB-GYN and women’s health at the University of Illinois at Chicago.
How: Sip on a cup of chamomile tea at least once a day when you’re feeling crampy.
Exercise is a great way to reduce pain. In fact, a sedentary lifestyle tends to exacerbate pain. It may initially seem that pain can be avoided when you avoid activity, but the truth is muscles atrophy over time and small, daily tasks can become troublesome. But just getting even a little bit of exercise in each day can make a huge difference. The movement that comes from activities such as stretching, walking, and water therapy can loosen up tightened muscles and relieve pain from achy joints. Movement is incredibly effective in the workplace as well–a quick walk around the office could boost your mood and increase productivity. Without painful distractions and frequent discomfort, you can get back to living again.
If you’re looking for some great tips and tricks, see my interview at Fitness and Wellness News.
Chronic pain causes The United States around $558 billion a year in lost productivity and medical bills. Not surprisingly, thats more than the entire effect of heart disease, America’s number one killer. Chronic pain can be managed to increase your productivity in the workplace.
EverydayHealth has another great article about how to reduce chronic pain in the office. I was interviewed for tips 3 and 4, Move During Your Breaks and Get Help for Heavy Lifting. Here are the links to EverydayHealth’s tips:
Read this EverydayHealth Article on their website.
Doctor visits typically increase as the year comes to an end. How many times have you been to the doctor’s office, been poked and prodded, leaving with a prescription, only to recall all of the things you didn’t ask? Or maybe there was something the doctor said you didn’t quite understand? Since many people are going to the doctor’s office to improve their overall health, the next time you go, make the most of the visit with a few strategic tips.
Chronic pain has the ability to strip individuals of their productivity, happiness, and well-being. ABC News wrote this great piece about Tiiu Leek and her pain in the workplace, describing how women feel more pain than men do. The article references a relatively new study from The Journal of Pain that showed women generally feel more pain than men. However, this study wasn’t thorough since it didn’t account for confounding factors such as emotional effects or an additional painful disease. Women tend to be better at analyzing and describing their pain to doctors which give the illusion they feel more pain. As a culture, men are expected to complain about pain less as well as talk about their emotions. One’s mental well-being has a huge effect on physical pain, thus conclusive studies are hard to produce. Nevertheless, the findings reflect what I see as a chronic pain specialist. Here is a telling excerpt from the ABC News article:
Meyer saw 13 doctors before she got a proper diagnosis and the majority were men. “It’s very uncomfortable for them to see real emotion: ‘Tell me the facts, m’am, just the facts.’ I see them tune out.”
Now, she consciously spares the doctor the emotional talk. “I can literally be in so much pain I am crying when the staff is in there, but I pull it together when the doctor is in the room and have no tears at all. And it’s not easy to have to do that.”
She said doctors need to listen more to their female patients – “feelings are a part of the equation … Patients shouldn’t have to shut things down.”
Both Meyer and Leek sit on the leadership circle at For Grace, an advocacy organization that educates, supports and empowers women in pain through annual conferences and legislative outreach.
For Grace’s “Fail First” bill recently got through the California State Assembly’s appropriations committee on a 12-5 vote. If signed by the governor, it will allow women in pain much better access to pain medications, bypassing insurance companies.
As for Leek, she has seen marked improvement in her pelvic pain thought exercise and homeopathic approaches. She also tries to surround herself with positive people.
“My career was lost, but not my optimism,” she said. “I continue to live well. I once read that if you can get through your 60s unscathed, you can have a pretty good life.”
Read this article on ABCnews.com
Many consider pain to be a physical sensation. It seems too obvious that pain originates around the body because that's where many feel it, but in reality pain is created in your mind. Since we perceive the world through our brains as we gather external sensory information from our surroundings, any sort of pain we feel becomes reality. In this way, heartache and mental pain can surprisingly cause physical pain. As acknowledged by the holistic medicinal community, one's mental well-being can effect how their physical bodies feel. In this recent Scientific American article, author Christie Wilcox explores how emotional turmoil caused by those close to us can have very real and physical results:
I know I’m not physically hurt. Though it feels like I’ve been kicked in the stomach with steel-toed boots, my abdomen isn’t bruised. Spiking cortisol levels are causing my muscles to tense and diverting blood away from my gut, leading to this twisting, gnawing agony that I cannot stop thinking about. I can’t stop crying. I can’t move. I just stare at the ceiling, wondering when, if ever, this pain is going to go away.
It doesn’t matter that my injuries are emotional. The term heartache isn’t a metaphor: emotional wounds literally hurt. The exact same parts of the brain that light up when we’re in physical pain go haywire when we experience rejection. As far as our neurons are concerned, emotional distress is physical trauma.
Evolutionary biologists would say that it’s not surprising that our emotions have hijacked the pain system. As social creatures, mammals are dependent from birth upon others. We must forge and maintain relationships to survive and pass on our genes. Pain is a strong motivator; it is the primary way for our bodies tell us that something is wrong and needs to be fixed. Our intense aversion to pain causes us to instantly change behavior to ensure we don’t hurt anymore. Since the need to maintain social bonds is crucial to mammalian survival, experiencing pain when they are threatened is an adaptive way to prevent the potential danger of being alone.
Of course, being able to evolutionarily rationalize this feeling doesn’t make it go away.
I lie flattened, like the weight of his words has literally crushed me. I need to do something, anything to lessen this ache. The thought crosses my mind to self medicate, but I quickly decide against that. Mild analgesics like ibuprofen would be useless, as they act peripherally, targeting the pain nerves which send signals to the brain. In this case, it is my brain that is causing the pain. I would have to take something different, like an opioid, which depresses the central nervous system and thus inhibits the brain’s ability to feel. Tempting as that might be, painkillers are an easy – and dangerous – way out. No, I need to deal with this some other way. Slowly, I sit up and grab the guitar at the foot of my bed.
Where music comes from, or even why we like and create music, is still a mystery. What we do know is that it has a powerful affect on our brains. Music evokes strong emotions and changes how we perceive the world around us. Simply listening to music causes the release of dopamine, a neurotransmitter linked to the brain’s reward system and feelings of happiness. But even more impressive is its affect on pain. Multiple studies have shown that listening to music alters our perception of painful stimuli and strengthens feelings of control. People are able to tolerate pain for longer periods of time when listening to music, and will even rate the severity of the sensation as lower, suggesting that something so simple as a melody has a direct affect on our neural pathways.
So, too, does self expression. Expressive writing about traumatic, stressful or emotional events is more than just a way to let out emotion – college students told to write about their most upsetting moments, for example, were found to be in remarkably better health four months later than their counterparts who wrote on frivolous topics. These positive results of self-expression are amplified when the product is shared w
So, I begin to write. At first, it is just a jumble of chords and words, haphazardly strung together. But, slowly, I edit and rewrite, weaving my emotions into lyrics. I play it over and over, honing the phrasing, perfecting the sound.
The rush of dopamine loosens the knot in my stomach ever so slightly. For now, the agony is dulled. Still, I can’t help but think that I’m never going to really feel better – that the memory of this moment will be seared into my brain, and a mental scar will always be there, torturing me with this intense feeling of loss.
Scientifically, I know I’m wrong. As I close my eyes, I am comforted by the thought that the human brain, though capable of processing and storing ridiculous amounts of information, is flawed. The permanence of memory is an illusion. My memory of this moment will weaken over time. It will be altered by future experiences, until what I envision when I try to recall it will be only a faint reflection of what I actually feel. Eventually, this pain won’t overwhelm me, and I will finally be able to let go.
Read and comment on this article on ScientificAmerican.com.
As I’ve mentioned several times in my blog and in my videos before, acupuncture has been around for thousands of years and withstood the test of time, but the traditional medicine community turns a blind eye towards the eastern approach to acupuncture. In this article written by BeckerSorthopedicAndSpine.com, author Abby Callard quotes me along with Christian Nix, an acupuncturist in Chicago, about the utility of acupuncture. Christian Nix explains how many aren’t educated in philosophy and practice of acupuncture and its place in the medical industry. I always recommend acupuncture to my patients due to its effectiveness, its low cost, and practicality. Below is an excerpt from the article:
Moshe Lewis, MD, SpineCare Medical Group, Daly City, Calif., and Pain Management and Rehabilitation, Redwood City, Calif., is an interventional pain management physician who employs acupuncture to help his chronic pain patients. He agrees that acupuncture has a place complementing interventional pain management procedures.
“Everything that we do in medicine is based on experience, data and clinical presentation,” he says. “I don’t want to say that acupuncture is going to work for everyone. However, on the flip side, I think that it has an important place in medicine and can be an effective treatment for several conditions.”
Acupuncture can be helpful with acute conditions such as epicondylitis, and it can also treat chronic conditions such as repetitive stress syndrome well, Dr. Moshe says. “Anyone who sits at a computer long enough is likely to encounter symptoms of repetitive stress syndrome or tendinitis,” he says.
This disorder generally presents with pain in the wrists and hands, and can cause achy muscles and even myofacial pain. Dr. Moshe says acupuncture works better with muscle disorders than bone disorders because the treatment can help to relax the muscles. Bones, discs and cartilage disorders are much harder to treat definitively. For example, an 80-year-old woman who has arthritis and is no longer walking straight will not be likely to improve her posture with acupuncture. It might alleviate the pain, but it won’t actually treat the problem, Dr. Moshe says. Therefore, acupuncture should always be customized for the appropriate patient and diagnosis where it is likely to be of benefit.
However, it’s the low cost of the treatment that has some insurance companies realizing the benefits of acupuncture, Dr. Moshe says. The cost is low, and patients want it. Insurance companies are beginning to cover it for some providers.
When Jack Frost starts nipping at your nose, he might also be taking a jackhammer to your immune system. Everyone knows that winter weather is hard on your health, and the change of the season takes away easy access to health boosters like sunlight, outdoor exercise, and fresh vegetables. Add in the stress of the holiday season, and you’ve got the perfect recipe for overwhelming your immune system just in time to miss all of the festivities.
‘Tis the season for orange juice and echinacea—supermarkets and supplement stores are actively suggesting ways to give your immune system a natural boost. Researchers have been working for years to figure out which of these natural cures are best. Unfortunately, a surprising number of these immune boosters have something in common with Santa Claus—they only work because you believe in them. Here’s a guide to some of the most common natural immune strategies.
In general there are many obstacles to determine if an herbal product is effective or not. Most patients and physicians are not aware that products available under the same herbal name, for example supplements with the name Echinacea differ considerably in their composition (including different plants, e.g. Echinacea purpurea versus Echinacea angustifolia), use of variable plant parts (e.g. roots versus leaves) extraction methods (e.g. drying versus alcohol extractions) and the addition of other components. These obstacles are also seen in studies testing different things but calling it the same and then generalizing the results.
Conventional wisdom tells us that taking vitamins is good for our health. It turns out that multivitamins also affect our immune system. There is some evidence that various micronutrient deficiencies—for example, deficiencies of zinc, selenium, iron, copper, folic acid, and vitamins A, B6, C, and E—alter immune responses in animals. However, the impact of these immune system changes on the health of animals is less clear, and the effect of similar deficiencies on the human immune response has yet to be assessed. While we don’t yet know whether a multivitamin tablet can ward off a cold, it’s simply a good health practice to take vitamins, particularly in winter. Supplements can make up for the nutrition that we often get through fresh summer food, not to mention the vitamin D we get from sunlight.
Though we often call Vitamin C the gold standard immune system helper, recent reviews show us that that this may not be true unless you’re training for the annual Antarctica Marathon. A vitamin C supplement may help you to prevent illness if you’re under a significant amount of physical stress like cold exposure or extreme exercise. But even a super-dose of vitamin C won’t stop an average person from catching a cold or flu. That said, if you’ve been enjoying a daily glass of orange juice, don’t stop—new research suggests that vitamin C is an antioxidant, and plays a role in cancer prevention.
We’ve seen evidence that topical aloe vera is helpful for minor burns, wounds, or frostbite. Researchers have started paying attention to its internal and antioxidant effects as well. Although numerous claims have been published on the internet and elsewhere about aloe’s immune system benefits, no medical studies on aloe’s cold prevention properties have yet been published. Stay tuned, though. Aloe is a promising natural remedy, and plenty of new research on this plant is being published every year. Drinking aloe juice will certainly not harm your immune system, and you may find that you enjoy it.
Echinacea is one of the most common herbal health supplements for cold fighting—it has become the banner herb for winter immune boosting. On a 2009 meta-analysis (analysis of multiple studies) comparing treatment results of Echinacea with placebo, a significant effect was reported in nine comparisons, a trend in one, and no difference in six. Interestingly on another meta-analysis of 3 studies testing prevention of cold (after inoculation with the rhino-virus) found a 55% higher risk of getting the cold when Echinacea was not taken. At this point the jury is still debating this one, more to come.
Ginseng is a well-known herb used to promote health in Asian medicine. Astragalus is an herb used in Chinese medicine to help bolster the body against disease. Like many traditional Chinese medicinal herbs, ginseng and astragalus are receiving renewed attention in Western medicine. However, that attention has not yet resulted in definitive evidence that either of these herbs helps to fight colds. The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) considers there have been insufficient large studies of a high enough quality to support the claims of immune boosting with ginseng. Similarly, the quality of the existing studies demonstrating the immune-stimulating properties of astragalus are poor; some suggest that astragalus may harm as much as it helps.
Garlic lovers will happily believe that it will cure anything that ails you. Medical science is showing a lot of love for the pungent bulb, as well. In laboratory tests, researchers have seen garlic work against bacteria, viruses, and fungi. However, there haven’t been enough well-designed human studies conducted to know whether this translates into human benefits.
Probiotics are good bacteria, such as Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium, which can safely dwell in your digestive tract. Thanks to a new generation of yogurt products, it is easy to incorporate a breadth of probiotics into your diet, resulting in a multitude of digestive benefits. However, though some probiotic enthusiasts claim that these wonder bacteria can help the immune system as well, it hasn’t yet been proven that probiotics directly influence immune strength. However, good health practices tend to help the immune system indirectly; probiotics may not help you to fight a cold, but they do contribute to your overall health.
If the news about supplements has been disappointing, don’t despair. Some of the best ways to avoid winter illnesses don’t involve supplements at all. Simply making basic common-sense efforts to take care of your health will go a long way toward avoiding sickness. For example, washing your hands frequently to prevent the spread of germs will prevent illnesses before they even have a chance to tax your immune system.
Perhaps the best way boost your immunity this winter is to avoid stress in the first place. Though the holidays and New Year tend to stoke our ambitions, winter is not the best time of year to work yourself to death or take on herculean projects. So, for the sake of your health, find time to have fun. Go Christmas caroling, do a good deed or take a walk. Pay attention to your emotional wellbeing as well as your physical, and enjoy your healthiest winter yet.
Stretching, warming up, building endurance, taking care of your nutrition and feet, and mainly having fun are great ways to be healthier!
If you’ve been using your weekends to their athletic maximum to make up for sedentary time during the week, congratulations, Weekend Warrior! Weekend sports and outdoor adventures like team sports, hikes, swimming and skiing are good for both the mind and the body. Your well-earned weekend recreation has the added benefits of boosting your mood, reducing stress, increasing muscle and cardiovascular health, and providing a great social outlet.
But using physical recreation as a weekends-only reward comes with its own set of risks. Intermittent exercise quickly increases the risk of a muscle strain or ligament tear. Joints can easily be injured without the proper warm-up during the week. Repetitive stress injuries like plantar fasciitis or shin splints can put you in a walking boot for weeks. Skimping on weekday workouts leaves muscles stiff and poorly conditioned for weekend performance, so you’re far more likely to get injured in the pursuit of weekend excellence.
Luckily, a little bit of preparation goes a long way. You can start immediately to optimize your weekday routines in order to excel at your weekend sports activities. Here are six simple tips that can make your weekend performance better, safer and more fun.
Stretching should always be the first step in a warm-up routine. Basic stretching allows you to prepare the muscles for the work they are going to do, preventing muscle strain injuries. More advanced stretching exercises like yoga and Pilates also improve your balance, core strength, back strength, and conditioning for the spine. You can reap the benefits of stretching even if you are unable to take a dedicated weekday class—just devote fifteen minutes to stretching a few days every week. Stretch before any strenuous athletic activity, on the weekend too. For a bit of variety, try an online yoga routine. You’ll feel better during your weekend activities, as well as the rest of your week.
Strength training is an essential way to build endurance for the Weekend Warrior. Muscles need resistance training to function at their full capacity. Utilize lighter weights with multiple reps to improve tone initially—even doing curls with a soup can will help to tone your muscles for endurance-based activities like hiking or distance running. If you’d like to build strength and bulk, gradually move to higher weights with fewer reps. When using heavier weights, don’t forget to rest and pace yourself.
Many of us are weekend warriors by necessity, not choice—our routine simply does not permit a lot of time to train during the week. But if you can find the time for even a little bit of simple aerobic conditioning, you’ll see a huge change in both your weekend performance and your everyday energy level. Activities like light jogging, hiking, aqua-therapy, tai-chi, yoga and rowing are easy, low impact ways to optimize cardiovascular health, limit damage to the cartilage and joint while having our body burn calories, thereby mobilizing muscles in a very natural way. For the athlete who prefers structured activity, a class or a second sport is an ideal way to train for weekend events. Aerobic fitness classes, dance classes, golfing, tennis and cross country skiing can all help you to step up your game while providing good cross training of multiple muscle groups simultaneously. Sometimes even tried-and-true exercises like running can cause knee pain, so don’t hesitate to decrease impact by using the elliptical or hopping in the pool every other day instead.
From Omega 3′s to glucosamine to antioxidants to vitamin D, the right nutrition and dietary supplements can make a big difference in your sports performance and your general wellbeing. Always consult your doctor, who can support your good health through the appropriate supplements. Remember, a healthy diet, including adequate fluid intake, are essential to all athletes, professionals and weekend warriors alike.
Good ergonomics, posture and even the wear of your shoes can make or break your technique. Take a page from professional athletes, who optimize the mechanics of their technique with custom orthotics, proper shoes, and correct body mechanics. Consider taking a few lessons from a professional trainer in your sport of choice. Also, consider seeing a podiatrist for advice on inserts and shoe wear, especially if you have foot pain. An investment in proper foot support is an investment in your long-term orthopedic health.
Most importantly, realize that exercise should be fun! This certainly goes for your weekend recreational events, but the fun doesn’t have to end on Sunday night. It’s far easier to keep up on your regular conditioning if you genuinely enjoy it and look forward to it. If you’ve been having trouble jogging to prepare for your weekend pursuits, why not substitute rigorous swing dancing? Swimming? Dog frisbee? Or even aerobic gardening? Any weekday physical activity is better than none, and regular light activity will help your body to be acclimated for weekly hard activity. If you can keep moving, stretching, and having fun during the week, you’ll reach new levels of excellence in your weekend pursuits in no time.
2. Rehab Manag. 2011 Apr;24(3):18-9. An ounce of prevention: physical activity plan can help weekend athletes allay overuse injuries. Berliner M.
3. N J Med. 1991 Sep;88(9):639-40. Recreational sports and the weekend athlete. White KM, McInerney VK, Hirsch PJ.
Carly Zinderman has written a great article on the benefits of alternative medicine and treatments in the chronic pain treatment profession. If you are curious to know why pain management specialists like Lisa Shives, M.D. and I use alternative medicine, take a look at Carly’s article at HealthTree:
People who suffer from chronic pain and other conditions, ranging from sleep disorders to menopausal symptoms like hot flashes, are finding new benefits from alternative medicine. As Eastern and Western medicines draw closer, more and more patients are looking at alternative pain relief than ever before.
Pain management specialist Dr. Moshe Lewis regularly uses alternative therapies, including acupuncture and massage to treat chronic pain. Although he studied traditional medicine at some of the top medical hospitals on the East Coast, including Mount Sinai Medical Center, after moving to California, Lewis began to integrate alternative pain relief into his practice and even maintains an acupuncturist on his staff. Lewis recommends different alternative pain relief methods for each of his patients with chronic pain. Some may find relief in physical therapy and massage, while others benefit from acupuncture.
USAweekend.com recently released an article title “Important tips to manage your chronic pain: 4 sure-fire strategies for feeling better”. The article includes important information on how to practice mindful meditation, supplements, and how to accept your pain (in order to move forward in life). It’s a great read:
Move a little everydayChronic pain can be debilitating, all-consuming and even frustrating — especially when you’ve taken every test and tried every medication and you still hurt. You start to think maybe it’s all in your head (it’s not) and there’s nothing else you can do (not true). Research shows the best way to control chronic pain is to tackle it from all fronts; in fact, a published review found that comprehensive pain programs — ones that address biological, psychological and social aspects of pain — are most effective at improving quality of life. For many conditions, medications help; to better manage pain, try these strategies, too
Read the rest of this article on USAweekend.com/
Spending for back and neck problems grew 65% over eight years to almost $86 billion nationally, with prescription drugs the fastest-growing component, according to a new study in the Feb. 13 edition of the Journal of the American Medical Association.
But it doesn’t appear to be helping people much. The portion of people with back or neck problems who said they had physical functioning limitations rose to 25% in 2005 from 21% in 1997, the study found.
“We’re spending more on back pain than people thought, and at the same time we’re not seeing commensurate improvements in health status that we should expect to see from investments in health care over time,” said Brook Martin, the lead author and a research scientist at the University of Washington’s Department of Orthopedics and Sports Medicine in Seattle.
The study examined annual federal survey data of 23,000 people, more than 3,100 of whom reported spine problems.
Back pain can come from a variety of sources, including natural aging processes, injury, excessive or not enough physical activity and carrying too much body weight. It affects most people at some point in their lives. Nearly 53% of patients surveyed in 2005 had nonspecific back disorders, a category that included spinal stenosis, back ache and sciatica. The second largest category was disk disorders with 16%.
Dr. James Bean, president-elect of the American Association of Neurological Surgeons and a neurosurgeon in Lexington, Ky., said the study’s findings worry him, but they don’t tell the whole story.
Patients’ expectations have changed as well, Bean said. “People want something done when they’re hurting. They don’t like to be told go home, wait three to six weeks and you’ll feel better.”
Can’t live without your tablet, laptop, or smartphone? These gadgets may be convenient, but for many, they may also be the source of chronic pain.
Cancer is a scary word and the diagnosis plunges patients into a search for the most effective treatments. Some gravitate toward modern medical treatments, some to alternative treatments, and some blend the best of both.
This is the first of a three-part special report by CreakyJoints about the dangers of oxycodone. The pain associated with osteoarthritis is often unbearable. As the joint deteriorates, the bones begin to rub together, making even the most basic movement incredibly painful. One of the most commonly prescribed painkillers for the pain associated with arthritis is Oxycontin
More than 40 million Americans are affected by arthritis. If left untreated, arthritis can become a chronic condition with symptoms of severe pain and swelling that seriously disrupts everyday life. Learning how to live with arthritis can be extremely difficult, but by making healthy lifestyle changes and incorporating different treatments, you can manage the symptoms and improve your quality of life.
Ken McCoy recently interviewed me on his radio show. We had a great time discussing what pain management is, what pain management specialists do, and my philosophy regarding pain management in general. Click the play button on the audio player above to listen to our segment. Here’s an overview of what we talked about:
Trying to get patients to understand their medication: Medication is extremely important to many, but some forget what their medicine is supposed to be doing for them. Sometimes they no longer need to be taking it.
Ken McCoy and I also discuss how I got started as a pain management, physical medicine, and rehabilitation specialist. * We discuss how the holistic approach to treating patients and the future of medicine/health.
Horse back riding is my love and has been my entire life. I started out at the ripe age of 7 and at age 57, I am still able to haul myself up onto my sweet mare and enjoy all that the hobby offers.
One hectic day almost 30 years ago, I came across my first obstacle that threatened my abilities to enjoy what I love so much. I was preparing my two horses for a show and needed to ride both horses each day before the sun set. I worked a job that required sitting all day every day. Combine all of this together, a rushed twisting motion carrying a 50 lb saddle, led me right into the hospital for 7 days in traction.
Before and after a ride, pelvic tilts are really helpful. Dr. Lewis says pelvic tilts are often recommended for those who need to develop support in the low back, low abdominals, sacroiliac joint and adjacent structures. They are very subtle exercises that strengthen the support muscles around the low back, particularly the abdominals. Specifically, pelvic tilts wake up the nerves in the core posture muscles that live in the pelvis, they also help to strengthen those muscles, which in turn stabilizes the low backs well as stretch tight muscles around the hip, for example, the hamstrings, psoas and/or quadriceps.
Note that any twisting is not recommended. I have everything set up as always moving forward. Remember to take your time, your horse loves calm assertive attitude. Keep your head straight.
Taboo Talk: a talk show featuring Lady Charmaine Day, Pastor and Christian Consultant of Unlimited Help Ministries Unlimited Help. Today Lady Charmaine talks to Dr. Moshe Lewis — Pain Management Specialist — about staying healthy and new advances in pain treatment technology:
Relatively clear evidence emerged to suggest that t'ai chi is effective for fall prevention and improving psychological health and was associated with general health benefits for older people. t'ai chi is a practice that combines deep breathing and relaxation with slow and gentle movements and is based on the Confucian and Buddhist belief that health is controlled by 2 opposing life forces, yin and yang. This is based on a recent extensive review of the literature by Myeong Soo Lee as reported in the May 16th British Journal of Sports Medicine.
However, t'ai chi seems to be ineffective for the symptomatic treatment of cancer and Rheumatoid Arthritis. Interestingly, a separate paper that was presented at the Royal College of Nursing’s research conference within the same week has found that T’ai Chi sessions may “help those with rheumatoid arthritis to gain increased self-efficacy and confidence through greater control over their mobility and condition within a supportive environment.”
It is also important to note that Tai Chi is only one form of Qi Gong. The various aspects of Qi Gong exercises can be even more beneficial for your health. T’ai Chi was developed hundreds of years ago in China as a series of graceful physical movements combined with deep breathing, and is now thought to be practiced by at least 2.5 million people around the world.
Alice Francis and her husband Alan had always been a dynamic and evenly-matched couple. They both worked in high-energy careers that they loved; they traveled the world together; they exercised together regularly, and led extremely active lives. When Alan’s first flares of chronic back pain prevented him from keeping up with their fast-paced lifestyle, Alice quickly realized that their relationship was about to undergo some drastic adjustments.
“This transition has been life-changing,” she admitted, “and although I wouldn’t want anyone to have chronic pain, I have learned a lot of lessons regarding pain care and advocating for my spouse in this ‘adventure’ ”.
Alice does not like referring to herself as her husband’s “caregiver”, but it is an apt description of the role she has had to fill in Alan’s health care management. As her husband’s treatment progressed through office visits, complex pain regimens, and four corrective surgeries, Alice has taken on an active role in helping her Alan to manage his chronic pain. In the six years since Alan’s degenerative disc disease was first diagnosed, Alice has learned to be an effective champion of her husband’s medical care while maintaining her own positive outlook on life.
Thousands of spouses and children of pain sufferers find themselves in Alice’s position every year. Becoming involved in the care and treatment of a suffering loved one is a natural and loving gesture, but it can easily take its toll on even the most patient caregiver. Here are some of Alice’s tips for others who are caring for loved ones suffering from chronic pain.
- How long has the doctor provided pain management?
- Does the doctor give injections, and if so, where were they trained and what is their general outlook on patient injection needs? (In our experience, doctors who were trained via Mayo Clinic will give only 3 injections per year. Doctors trained in other programs are sometime more open to assessing the number of injections based on the need of the patient.)
- What is the doctor’s general philosophy on pain management? If they don’t have one, that’s a red flag.
- How many doctors are in the practice? Will patients generally see the doctor or the physician’s assistant?
- How far in advance do you need to make an appointment?
- Who is the contact when you are unable to reach the doctor?
- Will you be able to get copies of all medical records and appointment notes? (I always request this on a monthly or quarterly basis. It’s important to see what the doctor’s interpretation of the appointment was, which can be quite different than yours or the patient’s.)
- Has the doctor ever experienced long-term or chronic pain? Although this isn’t a deal-breaker, the doctor’s firsthand experience is a plus. They will most certainly have a high level of compassion and understanding for what the patient is going through.
Alice stresses that finding the right rapport between a doctor and the patient is extremely important, since this doctor-patient relationship could potentially last for years. She found that helping Alan to be proactive about his own emotional needs made it easier to find doctors who were a good match for Alan. “At the beginning of our pain journey, it was very important for my husband to explain to a doctor who he was before pain. He wanted them to have a glimpse of what his life was like before this happened. He was struggling to deal with all the changes going on, and needed people to know that he hadn’t always been the ‘patient’.
“Some doctors were very attentive during this dialogue. Others were very dismissive and condescending. Their reaction was almost always a sign of the care and compassion to come. I suggest the patient or caretaker come up with some brief summary of activities and interests prior to the pain and see what kind of reaction you elicit.”
Alice offers further perspective on the changing relationship of chronic pain patients and their caregiver companions. “My husband went through not only a huge physical adjustment to dealing with chronic pain, but an equally large psychological adjustment. Without work or exercise or the ability to live an active lifestyle, he just didn’t know who he was anymore. I went through a similar adjustment, I’m sure.
“Acknowledging this transition, and how hard it must be, was very important for both of us. Be patient during this time, because your loved one really needs to feel vital and normal. Strongly suggest to your loved one they go see a therapist or psychologist to work through these issues. It can be a huge help to you both.”
“Of all the things I have done in my life,” says Alice, “taking care of or being in a relationship with someone you love who is in chronic pain is by far the most difficult. In the beginning I felt like my good days were completely dependent on his good days. That’s no way to live.
“You do need to provide love, compassion, sometimes some physical and mental support. But you also have to realize that you CANNOT fix or change the situation. You can’t make the person take meds or not take meds. You can’t do physical therapy for them. You can’t take the pain away so you just have to let it go. “I developed a sense of normalcy around all of this. I have a career that I love-- it keeps me very busy. I go shopping and traveling some with girlfriends. I exercise on my own, and do things just for me. This new ‘normal’ life really helps provide Alan with a sense of ‘normal’ as well. I strongly encourage you not to forget about you in this process.”
This article is summary and companion article to Taboo Talk's April 6th (2011) radio show/podcast.
Every day at work you execute thousands of precise, frenetic keystrokes while hunched painfully over a monitor. You text and type and staple and file until the stroke of five, performing a daily marathon with your forearms and fingers. And like a marathoner, your tireless performance comes at the cost of physical pain. If left unchecked, your low-impact daily tasks may be putting you at risk for a repetitive stress injury.
Repetitive stress injuries, or RSIs, are caused by repeated everyday actions. The two most common RSIs are tendonitis, the inflammation of a tendon; and bursitis, the inflammation of a bursa sac. Some well-known examples include carpal tunnel syndrome and tennis elbow. Though repetitive stress injuries often start as an inconvenient ache, the symptoms can become far more severe if they are ignored.
People sometimes assume that their risk of RSI depends on the amount of time spent on a certain action. The time spent is actually less important than the number of repetitions. For example, if you spent two hours typing only one hundred words, your risk is far lower than a friend who typed an epic two thousand words in only twenty minutes. Furthermore, if your friend repeated her typing binge several times daily over weeks and months, she might start to accumulate orthopedic damage if she didn’t rest prudently. This repetition of a task over time is what leads to RSI symptoms, even if the task is only done for a few hours every day.
The most severe RSIs require physical therapy and medication. Yet the majority of RSIs are easily reversible. Paying attention to your posture and switching to more ergonomic products can help to prevent or alleviate the painful symptoms of repetitive stress.
About 10 years ago, the South San Francisco resident was coping with mobility issues and chronic pain after retiring as a firefighter due to a disability.
He went through years of physical therapy until, in recent years, his doctor recommended a treatment known as myofascial release, which decreased his pain and made him more mobile again.
Wanting to help others coping with chronic pain, Fitzpatrick and his doctor recently discussed his successful treatments on an episode of ABC7 TV's "Beyond the Headlines."
Read more at Mercury News: From roller derby to art gallery
The San Francisco Chronicle recently interviewed one of my patients and myself to gain a perspective on how many doctors are "scared to death to prescribe [medicine] stronger than ibuprofen 800mg", given concerns about drug misuse. The article discusses the balancing act between the lack of access to pain physicians and the way most patients can be functional despite pain medication. Here is an excerpt of one of my quotes:
"I have colleagues who are board certified in pain who will not write significant pain medication for treatment. Many of them are feeling overwhelmed and scared," said Dr. Moshe Lewis, a pain management specialist with California Pacific Medical Center who has treated Reia. "Most of the patients I see, probably 90 percent, have legitimate pain. The challenge is figuring out who's who."
This article validates our patients on-going struggles with chronic pain.
Coping with chronic pain can affect every aspect of a person's life and cause conflict between what their mind wants to achieve and what their body allows them to do, according to research in the December issue of the Journal of Nursing and Healthcare of Chronic Illness. Swedish researchers carried out in-depth interviews with ten people who had experienced chronic pain for between four and 32 years and were taking part in an outpatient rehabilitation programme. Nine of the patients, who ranged from 22 to 50 with an average age of 38, were unable to work because of their pain.
Danny McLarty has written a great article in his favorite strategies for having a successful diet and healthy lifestyle. I recommend everyone read it; I hope it helps.
Whether you’re just starting out on the fitness lifestyle, looking for a way to get inspired, or a way to bust through a plateau, incorporating these simple tips will set you up for success.
Yeah, of course it’d be great if that happened, but how are you going to get to these goals? This is where focusing your goals around behaviors comes in!
“I want to lose 15 pounds in 12 weeks.” Or,
“I want to be ‘bikini ready’ for my upcoming trip to Hawaii.”