Have you ever wondered which was a better tool for successful strength training?
I want to share with you what my staff and I have learned to maximize your health and wellness and to keep you up-to-date on the happenings at OrthoWell. So read on and let’s keep you on track.
A CURE for CANCER?
I previously did a post on cancer cures after I read a book called Outsmart Your Cancer. You can read the post HERE. For this month’s newsletter, I wanted to highlight a patient of mine who has an incredible story to tell. A story that may empower you to take charge and do all that you can do to prevent cancer – for you or for a loved one. Read on…
My introduction to Essiac Tea began almost 20 years ago. At that time, my fiancée (who owns a restaurant and is in the public eye) ran across Mr. Smith in his restaurant. “Mr. Smith!”, he exclaimed, “So great to see you again, sir! I heard you had cancer, and not having seen you for so many months…well, I feared the worst.” Mr. Smith replied with wry smile,”well son, I am 89 and I know I will die eventually of this cancer…but I’m here now!”. He went on to explain that his doctor had diagnosed him with stage 4 liver cancer and sent him home to put his life in order; expecting him to live only 6 months. He wanted to spend as much time as possible at home, so he hired a nurse to care for him. This nurse came with a tea called “Essiac Tea” that she brewed herself at his home and administered to him 3 times a day – which he credited for extending his life by years instead of months as the doctors had told him. “I just wish I had known of this sooner”, he sighed as he finished his story. “This tea can help your body cure itself of many different diseases. Wouldn’t you like to PREVENT disease instead of treating it after the fact?”.
This story really hit home with my husband-to-be, as he thought of a few problems his doctor had found – bad prostate numbers and stomach ulcers from his time in the Navy. He asked me to look up the information that Mr. Smith had given him regarding the Essiac Tea, and I starting brewing it and using it within a few weeks. By the time we were married less than a year later, my husband’s stomach ulcers were gone entirely and his prostate numbers were back down in the low range! A miracle cure, or something to really think about??
My husband and I have faithfully taken the tea since that encounter with Mr. Smith, but jump forward 10 years and my story continues. My sister-in-law went through some hard medical situations, and as a result wanted to get away from prescription pills and try a more natural & organic lifestyle. She learned Reiki and opened a natural healing clinic in NH; it was a perfect fit to share with her my story of Essiac tea. She embraced it into their routine and starting brewing it for clients. She has many, many stories of the people who have benefited from Essiac tea, but none so dramatic as her best friend who was diagnosed with an inoperable brain cancer and was told she has less than 6 months to live. She loves to punctuate this story with “and we still have brunch every Sunday now 10 years later!!”
I have brewed tea for others as well over the years. My own success stories include breast cancer survivors, my own father-in-law with throat cancer who claims without the tea he’d be dead by now, people who have beat diabetes, many more prostate stories, high cholesterol numbers brought down, gall bladder stone issues, gout, sleep disorders, and truly the list goes on.
Essiac Tea consists of 4 herbs: the root of the burdock plant, Sheep Sorrel, inner bark of the Slippery Elm, and the roots of Turkey Rhubarb. Combined, these 4 herbs work together in a synergistic fashion to clean the body of toxins and impurities that significantly boosts your own immune system. Your immune system is the #1 defense against all diseases, including cancer – but when the body is compromised the cancer can gain a foothold. Not to mention all kinds of other diseases. So ask yourself the same question as Mr. Smith: wouldn’t you like to do something to PREVENT disease instead of treating it? You can! Brewing tea is not that hard; it just takes some time, commitment, and the right knowledge.
A great website for buying the bulk tea is www.herbalhealer.com. They only sell organic, grown in North America dried herbs. I also like the fact the herbs are separate and combined upon brewing. When the 4 herbs from some other sites are sold they are combined together already, some will settle to the bottom and the dosage will not be as exact as the formula from Herbal Healer. Just sharing from my own knowledge and experiences!!
A great website to start if looking for more information is www.essiacfacts.com. They can be found on Facebook as well. You can also contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we can put you in direct contact with the author of this story who may be able to Brew for You.
Are you a runner?
Check this out TODAY!
The more that I read about running, study running technique, and learn from my own mistakes, the more emboldened I’ve become as a runner. Who we consult to determine the proper path in accomplishing our goals can be THE determining factor in success or failure. It certainly was for me. Every running coach has a different level of experience. Every physical therapist has a different level of experience. It is up to you to become the educated consumer, the informed runner, and to advocate for
your own health and wellness. What I would like to do is to share my “education”.
I have read the running literature extensively and wish to
consolidate a wealth of information and reference as much as possible. I will present current thought and research behind the evolution of running, the evolution of running shoes, and the controversy and merits behind different running techniques. I will summarize the findings of my research by highlighting key points and strategies for unlocking your potential as a runner.
CLICK HERE to get your FREE COPY.
Prevent Your Pain from EVER coming back
Click the link to read about
this new option at OrthoWell
Our wellness maintenance program is for those of you who want consistency of care after being discharged from physical therapy in order to prevent any reccurence of pain. We have three different plans the we offer that you can read about by clicking the link above.
SUCCESS STARTS HERE!
I came to OrthoWell with severe foot pain as well as knee pain from a running injury. The staff was wonderful, so supportive and professional. Within a few weeks my foot pain was 100% gone, with therapy and the use of orthotics. My knee is so much better as well. I look forward to being able to start running again. They gave me the tools and exercises to continue at home which has made a world of difference. I feel great!
WALL OF FAME
We have started a Wall of Fame at each of our clinics. We are proud of our patients and the success that they have had. If you have previously provided us with a testimonial, we would love to take your picture with your therapist and hang it with your testimonial for display it in our clinic! Seeing is believing! Here is NBPT so far…..
We offer another specialized service at OrthoWell called Cupping Therapy. Cupping has been used in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) for thousands of years. It is used in TCM to stimulate specific points on the skin which correspond to acupuncture points that lie on energy meridians, or pathways. Through manipulation of the points on the skin, the TCM practitioner can influence or change a specific organ’s blood or energy called Qi (chi).
In our clinic, we use cupping in a different way. We are not TCM practitioners. We are western practitioners with a great respect for eastern treatment philosophy. There are many types of cupping methods. We use Dynamic Cupping in our clinic. I can personally say that I have had incredible results with dynamic cupping. One day I asked myself “if I have such great results, why not use cupping on my patients?”
Our method for using dynamic cupping is to lightly lubricate the skin. We place gel, polymer cups onto a region that we are treating by squeezing the cups and placing them directly onto the skin. When we release the”squeeze”, it creates a negative pressure within the cup which “sucks” the skin up into the cup. The intensity of the negative pressure depends on the tolerance of the patient. Our goal is to pre-stretch the skin and underlying fascia and then to have you slowly move through controlled range of motion exercises in order to increase the effectiveness of the stretch. This is the “dynamic” part of our cupping method. Cupping therapy should NOT be painful! You should experience a warm, pulling sensation during the treatment which lasts around 5-6 minutes. Cupping therapy can improve blood flow and lymphatic drainage. TCM practitioners talk about the release of energy “stagnation” via cupping therapy.
Yes, you will have cupping marks on your skin for several days after a treatment. The color and response to the cupping is dependent on the extent of stiffness or the extent of “stagnation” at the treatment site as well as the amount of time that the cups are in place. TCM practitioners believe that the skin is a mirror of our health. All skinmarks that appear as a result of cupping therapy are usually not painful. The discoloration is a result in a change of blood flow through the area. It is not traumatic “bruising”. There is no external or internal damage inflicted to the skin and the capillaries do not leak as a result of injury due to trauma. The “bruised” areas will turn yellow green before totally fading away.
So, we typically perform cupping therapy after we have completed other manual techniques such as pump massage, Active Release Technique and Graston Technique. It is a good way to mobilize the tissue after the other manual therapy techniques. It is just another treatment technique that we offer at OrthoWell to get you better…faster! Check out the video below for a demonstration.
Throwing a baseball is the fastest known human movement. The speed of the throw from a professional baseball pitcher can be upwards of 7000 degrees per second. Now that’s fast! In addition to that, the shoulder is the most mobile joint in the human body. So what does this mean?
EXCESSIVE SPEED + EXCESSIVE MOBILITY = POTENTIAL PROBLEMS
Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net
For those of you that “feel a need for speed”, you need to beware of the risks. In an article from the Journal of Sports Medicine, twenty-three professional pitchers were followed over three seasons. Those pitchers who were throwing at the highest maximum velocity suffered the highest incidence of elbow injuries. So how does that effect you? It is vitally important for the throwing athlete to understand the stresses that repetitive throwing places on young as well as mature joints. In the words of baseball trainer phenom Eric Cressey, “injuries occur when you ignore the things that need to be addressed, plain and simple.” In one of my previous blog posts, I talk about how it has been scientifically proven that strength training enhances athletic performance. Shoulders and elbows become problematic not only because of muscular weakness, but also from poor flexibility, poor tissue quality ie scar tissue and, of course, faulty mechanics.
For example, consider the dreaded inverted or upside down “W” exhibited by the Yankees’ Joba Chamberlain or the National’s Stephen Strasburg.
Guess what happened to them? Yup….Tommy John surgery to fix a torn ligament in their elbows. So then…
EXCESSIVE SPEED + EXCESSIVE MOBILTY + BAD TECHNIQUE = DEFINITE PROBLEMS
Just because a joint is flexible does NOT mean that it is stable. Consider the six phases of throwing and all the potential areas of instability when throwing at maximum velocity. Our objective should be to achieve dynamic stability during ALL phases. Yes, if you are stiff we are going to stretch you and if you are loose we are going to stabilize you…but what about the gray areas? Every major league pitcher suffers from a loss of shoulder internal rotation for at least 3 days after an outing. This is a situation when you do NOT stretch. The resulting loss of motion is due to the micro-trauma of eccentric load during deceleration and needs time to heal. It has been shown that the posterior aspect (the back part) of the shoulder joint capsule actually thins out after repetitive throwing. So let me ask you, should we ever stretch the posterior aspect of the shoulder joint? Or should treatment focus more on the scar tissue that results in the decelerators?
So what are the most common upper extremity baseball throwing injuries? These injuries include the problems associated with overuse or improper training such as:
• Impingement syndrome
• Rotator cuff tendonitis
• Biceps tendonitis
• Medial elbow pain from flexor-pronator tendonitis
These overuse injuries can lead to more serious conditions such as:
• Rotator cuff tears
• Labral tears
• Ulnar collateral ligament (UCL) tears
We have many manual tests that we can perform in the clinic to differentiate and determine what structures may be involved in YOUR specific case. In the case of impingement syndrome, I have previously posted a BLOG article on the different types of impingement syndrome as well as a VIDEO demonstrating the tests that we use to differentiate rotator cuff versus labral dysfunction. It should be noted that a condition called scapular dyskinesis can lead to impingement syndrome. This condition is characterized by an imbalance of scapular motion relative to shoulder motion. It is the result of weakness in the muscles that stabilize the scapula during the throwing motion. I have also listed some of the best, evidence-based exercises in a previous post for specific shoulder and scapular retraining.
It is very important for your therapist to differentiate between what we call active restraint or passive restraint structures. Active restraint structures are those things that contract and relax like your muscles and tendons. Passive restraint structures are things like ligaments ie UCL, cartilage ie labrum and meniscus, and discs ie intervertebral discs. I would like to highlight the UCL of the elbow as one example of this. For many pitchers, the first sign of impending trouble with the UCL is pain or stiffness in the flexors of the forearm. The flexors and pronators of the forearm are the active restraints and the UCL is the primary passive restraint to the extreme valgus forces that occur at the elbow during terminal cocking phase and early acceleration. Did you know that when the UCL is tested in isolation during cadaver studies that it only takes 32 newton/meters of force to rupture it? Guess how much valgus stress is on the inside part of the elbow during terminal cocking phase….64 newton/meters!! It has been shown that the UCL takes on 35 newton/meters of that force. Yikes!! So why doesn’t it rupture? It doesn’t rupture because the rest of that stress is controlled by the active restraints…your muscles in the forearm. You can probably guess what happens when you ignore your forearm muscles?
As mentioned earlier, imbalances in flexibility, tissue quality, biomechanics, or weakness can lead to stress on both active and passive restraints during the throwing motion. Invariably, the process of repetitive throwing leads to the development of scar tissue. There is a constant state of break-down and build-up that occurs during sport specific activity. I have blogged on problems with scar tissue and the debate on whether pain arises from tendonitis or not. I have also explained the benefits of the Graston Technique as a way to ensure that scar tissue does NOT inhibit your ability to throw.
Now, what blog post is complete without a little twist. After listing the most common injuries that we see in the throwing athlete, I would like to share a list of conditions that have been confirmed via MRI in athletes that have NO pain:
* 79% of overhead throwing athletes have labral tears
* 34% of athletes have rotator cuff tears
* 82% of athletes have disc herniations
Does this mean that you may ALREADY have a tear and that you are currently asymptomatic like the athletes in the previous studies? Yes, you may. Does this mean that your future hall of fame career is over? No, it doesn’t. Some practitioners are of the opinion that you may very well need a labral lesion to throw hard in the first place. The biggest challenge with this is ensuring that the throwing athlete develops all the things that we have talked about in this post:
• Dynamic stability
• Proper flexibility
• Maximum strength
• Proper tissue quality
• Proper throwing mechanics
It is ALL these reasons that make it vitally important to be as educated as you can about your shoulder mechanics and to be aware of the important role that training and physical therapy play in keeping you healthy. It is our role as your physical therapist and performance specialist to guide you with you in this process. Here is an example of an effective warm up program for baseball players by the former trainer for the Boston Red Sox, Mike Reinold,PT. CLICK HERE.
Understanding throwing biomechanics in combination with a thorough knowledge of the anatomy and function of the shoulder and elbow is imperative to properly diagnose and treat the throwing athlete. Your prognosis for a healthy return to competition after arthroscopic surgery or ligament reconstruction has dramatically improved especially when you are in the right hands during recovery. My job as a physical therapist is not only to effectively rehabilitate your body after surgery but, more importantly, to help PREVENT the need for surgery in the first place. Of course, this is a two way street. I can only be your coach if you are a willing and motivated player.
I have treated a lot of foot pain over 22 years as a physical therapist. Because I make custom foot orthotics, I am exposed to foot ailments much more than other PT’s. Geoff and I treat a lot of these problems in the clinic every day. One of my patients even went so far as to nickname us the “foot whisperers” and another patient coined OrthoWell as the “doctors of knotology”. Can you feel the love? I have spent a lot of time researching the BEST strategies to treat foot pain. This has culminated in the release of my Ebook entitled “Physical Therapist Discovers the Truth about Plantar Fasciitis“ as well as my self-help DVD on the treatment of Foot Pain & Plantar Fasciitis. Both of these are now available and are on my HOMEPAGE.
The Ebook includes a complete review of the literature on the treatment of plantar fasciitis as well as a description of the the most effective treatment strategies. This book is not a re-tellling of on-line information about plantar fasciitis. It is the missing link! You can read more by clicking HERE.
The DVD is a collection of videos that will “take you by the hand” and teach you specific methods and exercises to resolve your foot pain. It is designed for those people suffering from foot pain who cannot come to see us or who have not responded to other practitioners. It is a great way for our SUCCESS STORY patients to help friends and family members who have foot pain but cannot come to see us directly. You can read more HERE. Watch the intro video below. Talk to you soon!!
I am excited to announce a new program being offered at OrthoWell Physical Therapy. It’s called our Friends and Family Appreciation Program. We’ve been really fortunate to have received much praise and appreciation for the quality of our physical therapy services. You can see for yourself at our website on the Patient Testimonials and the Patient Satisfaction Survey pages. We are truly grateful for all the kind words that our patients have shared with us and have shared with their families. Truly, the best way that our patients can say thank you is to refer a friend or family member to OrthoWell for physical therapy or to WalkWell for custom foot orthotics. A very important part of our mission statement is to “establish lifelong partnerships with our patients and with the community in optimizing health and wellness.”
It is only fair that we show OUR appreciation for your referrals by offering YOU a referral discount that can be applied to a maintenance physical therapy session or to your next pair of custom foot orthotics. We are offering a 20 dollar appreciation discount on each and every friend or family member that you refer to us who either starts physical therapy services or purchases a pair of custom foot orthotics. All you have to do is make sure your friend or family member mentions YOUR name and we will keep the running tally of all of your referrals. It’s that easy!
So why should you refer to us? Hopefully, you refer because you want your friend or family member to receive the same quality of service that you did. I would like to share with you two recent patient stories as further reason WHY you should refer to us.
This patient received physical therapy at two different clinics within the past 6 months for a diagnosis of low back pain. She came to OrthoWell because her symptoms were unresolved. Upon evaluation, it was determined that she presented with a 1 cm undiagnosed leg length discrepancy which was contributing to her lumbar scoliosis. She was issued a heel lift. She also was not thoroughly reeducated in lifestyle and work modifications in order to control the biomechanical stresses that were being placed on her lumbar discs as a result of her gardening. She responded extremely well to a McKenzie extension program in combination with manual traction and spinal stabilization exercises. Her pain was completely resolved after 7 visits! Lesson #1: don’t assume that you tried physical therapy and it didn’t work! It is all about the RIGHT physical therapy!
This patient was a graduating physical therapy student who came to us for treatment. She acknowledged that upon completion of her PT program she did “not feel confident with her training in outpatient orthopedics.” She reported that her orthopedic physical therapy teacher in PT school “hadn’t been in the clinic for years.” Unfortunately, this lack of experience is the result of inadequate training with some of our PT training programs. Lesson #2: don’t assume that your physical therapist is adequately trained. Know it…by coming and referring to OrthoWell!!
The other part of our mission statement is to “maximize your results in minimal time using the BEST in evidence based care, comprehensive evaluations and patient education.” At OrthoWell and WalkWell, you don’t have to worry whether you are receiving a comprehensive evaluation or whether your therapist is properly trained. So, please, refer your friends and family members so they can experience the same quality results that you did.
It may sound like a strange question but “do you breathe properly?” Breathing pattern disorders (BPD) are surprisingly common in the general population. They remain commonly under-recognized by health care professionals and can contribute to pain, fatigue, and dysfunctions in the lumbopelvic region i.e. your CORE!
Core activation remains a hot topic in physical therapy. The problem is that there is not a universally accepted strategy to achieve optimal stability. A decade ago, we started using the “abdominal hallowing” technique which I have talked about before. The abdominal hallowing was an attempt to isolate a key core muscle called the transversus abdominis in which you would “pull your navel in and hallow out your abdoman”. The original work done by Hodges and colleagues on the transversus abdominis also demonstrated simultaneous activation of the diaphragm muscle. The diaphragm, however, took a back seat and has often been ignored during core training. So how do we correct your BPD and “wake up” your diaphragm?
Your diaphragm is attached to your lower ribcage, thoracic wall, and lumbar vertebrae. When you breathe, the diaphragm contracts and pushes DOWN into the abdominal cavity. This movement causes a pressure change which draws air into the lungs. As a result of the contraction, intra-abdominal pressure increases and lumbar spine stiffness, hence stability, also increases. The diaphragm acts in coordination with the abdominal muscles, spinal muscles, and pelvic floor to create lumbar stability in all directions. This is what some refer to as “360 degree of stiffness.” The contraction of the diaphragm creates core stability from the inside-out. When you perform an abdominal hallowing or abdominal bracing you create stability from the outside-in. Professor Kolar and colleages performed two MRI studies of the diaphragm and showed that the diaphragm can perform dual functions of inspiration and stabilization simultaneously! The activation of the diaphragm was shown to vary greatly among individuals. This variability may be the reason why one person can resolve low back pain and another cannot.
Lets take a look at HOW you can activate your diaphragm while breathing and HOW you can enhance the benefit of your core stability exercises. Check out the video below.
First of all, I would like to apologize to everyone who is reading this article. I apologize for the fact that you have pain, whether chronic or acute, that may be as a result of unfortunate circumstances or the result of an inadequate health care system. Pain is very misunderstood even in the medical community. Chronic pain sufferers can be stigmatized because of this lack of understanding. Currently, one in four Americans have chronic pain. That’s 75 million people! I want to reassure you that there is an answer. There is a physiological reason WHY you have pain. I want to convince you that the pain you feel may not be coming from where you think and feel it is. You WILL get better. Let me explain your pain!
Anatomically, we are essentially all the same. Each of us has approximately 206 bones, 640 muscles, and 400 nerves in our bodies. Our spine consists of 24 vertebra which are attached via ligaments and muscles to our head at the top and to our sacrum and pelvis at the bottom. Each vertebra is separated from the next via our discs. At each vertebral level, there is a spinal nerve that exits a small hole called a foramen. This nerve is the connection between your spinal cord and the rest of your body. Each spinal nerve sends branches to specific locations in your body. They connect the muscles adjacent to your spine to the small nerves at the ends of your fingers and toes. Think about your spine as the tree and the nerves as all of the branches.
Your nerves respond to any and all types of stimulation such as touch, temperature, pressure, pain and relay a message thru the spinal nerve to your spinal cord and then up to your brain. Impulses and/or commands from your brain are then transmitted back down the spinal cord to the spinal nerve and out to the targeted area. This communication system is active ALL the time. Our brain determines whether we are consciously aware of it or not. For example, if you are running from a lion attack and step on a tack do you think your brain will tell you “Ouch! Stop. You stepped on a tack?” Hopefully not or else “Dinner is Served!” So what happens if something goes wrong with this system? What happens if this system becomes over-sensitive?
As mentioned above, we have 400 nerves in our bodies. That amounts to 45 MILES of nerves! So how does a nerve “talk” to the brain? At rest, a nerve is always “listening”. Every nerve has a certain threshold that, once surpassed, will generate an electrical signal (called an action potential) that will be sent thru the spinal nerve to the spinal cord and up to the brain. If the threshold isn’t reached, then the nerve just continues to “listen”. For example, how long does it take for you to shift your weight while sitting in the movie theater? The threshold of your “buttock nerves” has been surpassed when your brain tells you to shift your weight. This threshold is different for everyone. In the diagram below, you can see that that the resting state of the nerve is at a certain level while it is “listening”. After the action potential occurs, the nerve returns to its previous resting state. However, in certain circumstances, the nerve does NOT return to the previous resting state and the nerve remains in a heightened state. It is essentially MORE sensitive, or hypersensitive, and will fire an impulse much more easily.
After an injury, 1 in 4 people experience this heightened nerve state. Why? The answer has a lot to do with the individual’s response to stress. For example, people that get injured in a stressful environment such as a car accident, playing competitive sports, or a stressful job are 7-8x more likely to develop a chronic pain syndrome. In addition, emotional responses to the injury such as worry, fear, and anxiety perpetuates this stress cycle. To use the lion example above, this fear is like an ongoing emotional lion attack to the nerves of a chronic pain sufferer. The Kendall study found that the biggest predictor of developing chronic pain is FEAR! Fear that your pain will not go away. Fear that your life will never return to normal. All of these responses have one thing in common physiologically, they release both inflammatory chemicals and several stress hormones including one that I am sure you have heard of called ADRENALINE.
Throughout the length of our nerves, there are channels or pores that open or close in response to physical or chemical stimulation. They are called ion channels. The amount and type of ion channels are based on our genetic coding as well as what our brain THINKS we need to survive. Ion channels live for only 48 hours so the amount and type is always changing. When the channel is closed the nerve is “listening”. When it is open the nerve is “reacting”. During cold weather we produce more temperature sensitive channels. During times of stress or fear we produce more adrenaline sensitive channels. The more that we focus on the pain, the more that our brains perceive a threat and continue to send inflammatory chemicals and adrenaline into the area. This response is like a constant “knock on the door” of the ion channels. Regular ion channels stay open for milliseconds. Certain adrenaline channels can stay open for up to 5 minutes! As a result, the nervous system up-regulates and becomes much more sensitive. Can you see the physiological link now between your emotions and your nerves? The initial trauma or injury caused your pain, but it is your BRAIN that perpetuates the pain.
Logically, your next question would be “Is that what’s wrong with me” and “How do we know this?” The explanations are based on what we know about nerve science. We know that you have a pain syndrome based on your physical examination and what you have told us about your pain.
Your next question may be “Why did this happen to ME?” As I mentioned earlier, 1 in 4 people after a traumatic event develop chronic pain. The greatest predictor of chronic pain is uncontrolled acute pain from the injury. Medications, icing, rest, bracing are important strategies in the beginning. Our brain determines our pain tolerance and everyone is different in this regard. Having high levels of stress chemicals in our system not only perpetuates the pain cycle, it also leads to chronic fatigue, depression, mood swings, and sleep disorders to name a few.
So then, “What can we do to treat it?” Our objective is to determine what we can physically as well as mentally do to control your pain. The more that you understand your pain, the more control you have over your brain. Studies have been done that demonstrate a significant reduction in perceived pain just by understanding the physiological process. So re-read this article several times until you REALLY get it. Doing this means you are already moving in the right direction! Choosing the right medications is an important part of the healing process as well. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAID’s) such as ibuprofen and Aleve may help. Medications such as Cymbalta, Lyrica, and Neurontin(Gabapentin) function by plugging the openings in your ion channels. Narcotics such as morphine can actually make nerve pain worse! As a side note, your brain can produce pain relieving chemicals that are 50x more powerful than any drug that your doctor can prescribe.
So how do we turn on our brains? As I mentioned earlier, education is the key. The more you know, the more you control. Secondly, choose your foods wisely. Tryptophan is an amino acid that cannot be produced by our bodies. It is a powerful precursor to the “happy” hormone our bodies produce called serotonin. High levels of serotonin can also aid in plugging holes in ion channels. Serotonin is also a precursor to melatonin which plays an important role in mood and sleep disorders. Foods with high levels of tryptophan are turkey, bananas, soy products, tofu, almonds, sesame seeds and walnuts. Lastly, the right type of physical activity is key to controlling your pain and normalizing your nervous system. “Move it or lose it!” certainly applies in this case. There is Gold Level evidence in the literature that aerobic activity performed daily for 10 minutes at 50% max effort can reduce chronic pain. Aerobic exercise cleanses our system of inflammatory chemicals and stress hormones. The most important things that our nerves need to heal are proper movement, adequate space to move, and lots of blood! Our nerves constitute 2-3% of our body weight and use 25% of our blood. The circulation to a nerve will be cut off if the nerve is stretched more than 7-8%. It is very important to determine what kind of movement and/or irritability is occurring in the nervous system. We call this nerve movement “neural dynamics”. Stretching a nerve is NOT something that you want to do. A qualified physical therapist will perform a thorough assessment of your neural dynamics and establish an appropriate plan of care to restore proper and painfree nerve mobility. Manual techniques such as soft tissue and joint mobilizations, Primal Reflex Release Techniques and spinal manual traction can also be beneficial. Hands-on techniques can help to retrain your brain and to desensitize the system. Proper diaphragmatic breathing is also key. If you don’t get enough oxygen, how will you feed your healing nerves?
Once again, I apologize to everyone who has read this article. I know that having pain every day must be very difficult and challenging. I want you to know that there is HOPE. Reading my article is only the beginning. Please let me know if we can help you further.