Gain (health) without the pain
Some say "no pain, no gain."
I say: if it hurts, you're probably not doing it right.
If you're exercising and it hurts, that can mean serious trouble.
If you're experiencing emotional pain in you're life, that can also mean serious trouble.
You may know some of these common effects of stress building up in your body and in your life:
These are good to know. They are some of the more apparent results of a stressed out life.
But here are some you may not associate with stress:
Now, am I saying that just about everything is caused by stress? Nope.
But living a high stress life with little outlet and ability to positively deal with stressful situations sets us up for failure.
Our health is compromised, our relationships are strained and our general outlook on life is worse.
Many of the above symptoms can be caused by a variety of factors, whether or not stress is present, so be sure to get a full check up and discuss any lab work that would be helpful for you and your doctor to best understand your health issues.
A lot can be learned from simple blood tests and saliva tests (yep, pretty much just spitting in a test tube)- it's important to not overlook any potentially serious medical condition when working on balancing your physical and emotional health.
I am here to answer any questions you have about this topic- you can comment on this article or email me directly.
To your good health,
More articles on stress and you:
Stress: what is it good for?
From overwhelmed to overjoyed
Stress vs. Well-Being: how do you measure up?
The Good News About Cancer
Lung cancer and smoking- got it. But did you know cervical cancer is linked to smoking?
Ninety percent (90%!) of cancers have preventable causes.
Here's a quick "What are my chances of getting cancer" quiz. Count up your points for these health factors. Do you:
More than 2 a day=2
Get checked for STIs?
Yes I have=0
No or "What is that?" =1
Eat fast food?
Have exposure to any of these known carcinogens (means cancer-causers).
One point for each: radiation exposure (occupational or many, many X-rays), polluted water, chemical or industrial toxin exposure (such as from your occupation or living nearby a chemical plant) and a history of bad (blistering) sunburns.
Now, if you didn't notice the pattern above, this is not the SATs. More points is not better- it's worse off for your cancer risk. And since 95-98% of all cancers are not genetic (inherited and perhaps inevitable), then that means there's ample time and resources for cancer prevention. Take a look at this engaging infographic from Rock Your Cause and see your nearest preventive medicine doc and cultivate your health for now and decades to come. Contact me for more, or feel free to email me day or night at email@example.com.
Be healthy, well and happy. And remember, "prevention is the best cure."
Chronic pain is a wide-spread issue. Addressing pain management issues are complex and often ongoing and many times fraught with continued patient discomfort and dissatisfaction. For example, Vicodin is the #1 most prescribed medication in our country, but this doesn't do anything to treat or help heal the reasons for one's pain. So the more therapies available to treat chronic pain, the better!
Chronic pain is defined as pain experienced three months after the original injury is considered healed. Here are the top therapies for chronic pain (both in terms of amount accessed and evidence-based effectiveness):
* Anodyne pharmaceuticals (painkillers): Vicodin, Oxycontin, muscle relaxers, etc.
* Biofeedback: by observing a bodily rhythm or signaling via computer imaging, the patient impacts their experience. A simple type of this is breathing patterns adjusted by looking at a monitor displaying one's blood pressure.
* Meditation: Mindfulness meditation has in particular been shown to decrease one's perception of pain.
* Hypnosis: Many methods and styles are available to change one's psychological responses.
* Tai chi: Chinese meditative energy movement styles which are often found to help with many chronic disease concerns (such as its effect on patients living with heart failure) .
* Awareness, concentration and expectation: patients perceived less pain if told the pain would end soon, were concentrating on a mental task or while concentrating on a picture of a loved one.
There are many therapies to address the acute pain one feels after a trauma or surgery. And they work quite well to dull your brain's perception of that pain. But when dealing with chronic, debilitating pain lasting months or years and affecting one's quality of life, there just isn't one "magic bullet" for everyone. The best approach will most likely comprise one or more of the above treatment options, while incorporating one or more healthcare practitioners who deal with pain management and find efficacy in dealing with underlying causes (a few examples might be massage therapy, Chiropractic care, acupuncture, Naturopathy, physical therapy or orthopedics).
Thank you for reading, please email me any time!
Take time to stop & smell the flowers.
Most people have more inflammation (what we may call "pro-inflammation reactions") happening than their body really needs. Too much inflammation increases the severity of all those diseases and medical conditions we discussed in Part 1 (few diseases are really free from inflammation's influence), as well as leading some seemingly minor health complaint (such as occasional achy joints or a mild skin rash) into more severe disease categories all together (developing Rheumatoid Arthritis or Ezcema).
High levels of inflammation also lead to other diseases or conditions hopping on for the ride and serve to worsen your overall health (high blood pressure, then coronary artery disease then heart attack). To combat this, one must identify what actions and circumstances lead to more vs. less inflammation.
Inflammatory causes are a lot farther reaching than simple traumas. Most of your body's inflammation actually comes from all those factors in your day to day life that stress you out and make you less healthy overall. These include dietary and exercise choices, as well as pretty much any thing you surround yourself with that exhausts you and makes you irritable and on edge (work? relationships? daily commute?).
And anti-inflammatory helpers include a much larger list than just that Aspirin or Aleve in your medicine cabinet. Every choice you make to lessen stress and strengthen your health are working on your side to decrease inflammation in your body. Calm, nutritious, leisurely dinner with loved ones? Put that in the anti-inflammatory column. Cramming down a burger and cola while fuming about the rush hour traffic you're trapped in? That is upping the inflammatory responses in your body.
So continue to make choices to support your health and lessen your stress.
Lastly, feel free to contact me any time to continue this discussion further. I'm also open to topic suggestions, particularly related to health in the news. Send me an article link, or other topics that have come to your attention, and I look into writing a piece about them here.
Thanks for reading!
Inflammation- you've all heard of it, but few understand what's really going on. It's a lot more than just the swelling that happens after you twist your ankle or slam your finger in the car door. It's a very complex and dynamic interplay of many immunologic compounds interacting with each other in your body- on an almost constant basis.
It all starts with some type of trauma- an injury like listed above, or something a lot more subtle like blood vessels getting stressed out by too much tension (high blood pressure), or areas of the body becoming hypersensitive to invisible particles in the air (allergic reactions like hay fever). What happens then is a directed cascade of immune reactions where some guard molecules alert others to make reaction, and the message keeps getting passed along to more and more immune cells until you start the visible signs of inflammation like swelling or getting itchy eyes.
So is it all bad? Not really. There's a certain low amount of inflammation that is helpful when you really do injure yourself, to prevent overuse or strain of the recently injured area. But as for the rest of the inflammatory reactions we experience day in and day out, it's really better to decrease these as much as possible.
So how do you know if you have more inflammation than your body needs? Well, there's some well established medical conditions that will always be associated with high levels of inflammation. Some listed above are allergies (hay fever, allergic skin reactions/ ezcema, etc), high blood pressure (or having a strong family history of high blood pressure) and all other forms of Coronary Artery Disease signal high levels of inflammation as well as some other common conditions like asthma, migraines/ tension headaches, rheumatoid arthritis, PMS, problems with proper bowel function such as colitis and Irritable Bowel Syndrome- the list goes on and on.
In Part 2, we will talk more about inflammation, what it leads to and what can increase and decrease your body's amounts.
Please leave any comments or questions below, or see the Contact section to write me a note.