Did you know that one in four Americans suffer from pain per the National Center for Health Statistics? Pain is the primary reason for seeking health care services. In 2010, the annual cost of pain was greater than the annual cost of heart disease, cancer and diabetes COMBINED. This pain is often caused by chronic inflammatory conditions like arthritis.
Common treatments for painful and inflammatory conditions includes Non-steroidal Anti-Inflammatory (NSAID) medications like Advil or Motrin or Celebrex. The mechanism of action to decrease pain is in the NSAIDs ability to block the COX-1 or COX-2 pathway which is why it reduces inflammation and pain. A common side effect of NSAIDs is gastrointestinal disruption especially with chronic use. More recently there was a study published demonstrating an increased risk of cardiac arrest with the use of NSAIDs.
Pain : (noun)
1. Physical discomfort caused by illness or injury
2. Careful effort, great care or trouble
I am on the top of Copper Mountain ski resort above the tree line at 12,000 ft.
It's 1 o C with a wind-chill factor of -6 o C.
I take my gloves off to capture a panoramic view with my phone. In moments, my hand begins to hurt from the cold. The pain is severe.
What would you do in that situation?
This is a topic near and dear to my heart. I have been hesitant to share this condition because it honestly scared me to death when I first learned about it. In time, not only have I healed, but the more I understand the condition the more empowered I become to prevent it from coming back.
This is a lengthy research report, so bear with me as the details are important. I will describe the condition leaky gut (or increased intestinal permeability), how it is linked to your immune system, why it matters, causes and solutions.
***You have been warned***
Leaky gut is more specifically described as increased intestinal permeability. It is a descriptive term related to the small intestines having a reduced barrier function. This condition is not a diagnosis alone, but has been linked to many illness and symptomology.
Have you gone Gluten-free/Paleo and are frustrated that you still have pain?
In my integrative physical therapy and holistic health coaching practice I often get the clients who have failed other treatments to alleviate their painful symptoms. Yet, sometimes I also get those who have already gone “Gluten-free” and still have pain. Although, I will be the first to press the nutrition issue, it isn’t always the answer. Here are some common mistakes people make in going “Gluten-Free” which may be limiting your recovery of your painful condition.
It could be one of these or many of these occurring at the same time limiting recovery.
“To (eat gluten) or not to (eat gluten)? That is the question”
Celiac Disease and Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity
The gluten protein has gotten a lot of press lately. The question is how to decide if gluten is a problem for you or not. Gluten containing grains are widely consumed and provide an estimated 50% of caloric intake worldwide. 1 Gluten is a family of toxic proteins found in wheat, barley, rye, and grains such as oats, barley, spelt, kamut and triticale. 1 Given the widespread use of gluten containing foods, it is of no surprise that in the past 20 years there is an increase in not only celiac disease, but other gluten related disorders. Although this was once thought to be a rare illness and mostly ignored, it is now becoming more widespread worldwide especially as other countries adopt the Standard American Diet.
Life requires movement.
What Is Movement?
Movement is defined as an act of changing physical location or position. For me as a physical therapist, the movement you do throughout the day must include full range of motion of the joints. Our standard American life tends toward spine flexion in the form of sitting in front of a computer, in a car, on a couch watching TV, and lifting, which is all flexion. It is not that sitting alone is a problem as much as chronic sitting means you are not moving your joints through their full range of motion.
A healthy joint is a flexible joint. When you stop moving joints, the tendency is for them to get stiff, soft tissue shortens, and you lose range of motion. Once the motion is lost, the strength of the muscle supporting that joint begins to weaken. It is a vicious cycle.
Cooking (from scratch) is the single most important thing we could do as a
family to improve our health and general well being.
What Is Real Food?
To put it simply, to eat well, you must eat real food, not something that only looks like food. Most of the food you eat must be in its natural or whole form, free of contamination, in order to maximize nutrient-richness and absorption. However, in today’s world, understanding what real food is has become a bit confusing.
Real food is as close to its natural state as possible. It is simple. It is in its whole form and merely needs to be eaten or cooked for consumption and for the nutrients to be absorbed by the body. An example of real food would be broccoli. Broccoli can be safely eaten raw, or it can be gently cooked. An apple can also be eaten raw or cooked. The bioavailability of nutrients in a whole food is optimal for natural absorption.
"When I first met Carolyn I was struggling with a lower back injury. I was devastated that I might not be able to be as active as I wanted to be. Carolyn first gave me hope. She assessed my situation and helped me work through my injury, strengthen weak muscles and helped me develop my own awareness to heal my back. I also consulted with her on diet and healthy nutrition. Based on many of her recommendations and constant support I have lost 25 pounds, maintain and enjoy a healthy lifestyle and I now know how to listen to my body. I am so lucky to have her helping me stay strong and healthy."
"Carolyn came to my home immediately following a debilitating injury I sustained to my back. During our first visit she did a thorough examination to help determine the cause and extent of my injury. After making a diagnosis she worked with me to realign my back which too a few weeks of weekly to bi-weekly visits as well as stretches and exercises I did on my own to resolve my issue. I so appreciate the time Carolyn took to help me understand the way my lifestyle and activities were affecting my back and the tools she gave me to help prevent future injury." - Ceira D
As a physical therapist, many of my patients have arthritic disease of the joints. During my traditional education I received minimal education related to the importance of vitamin D and calcium except that they are important for bone strength, and deficits are in part what lead to osteoporosis (thinning of the bones). However, I am interested in what role vitamin D and calcium play in arthritic conditions, and if there is a link to joint health and vitamin D and calcium.
"After having hip surgery in January of 2014 to remove bones spurs, a bone cyst and a severe calcium build up, I thought the pain would be over. Yes, the pain from the hip was over but I found I was still struggling with lower back pain. That is when I met with Carolyn Dolan.
I didn't want medication nor was I looking for a quick fix. I wanted to figure out how I could strengthen my back and at least find a place where I could manage whatever back pain I might have. Carolyn gave me exactly that and more.
We met weekly for about 6 months. We tested different exercises and back stretches. But it was the daily exercises that Carolyn prescribed for me that allowed me to control my back pain. Simply by starting my day with these basic exercises, I was experiencing a tremendous difference in my pain. She also gave me other tools including lifestyle nutritional recommendations to improve my recovery. She empowered me to care for myself. Through my exercises, Carolyn showed me how to recognize my bodies response to certain activities and movements. I was able to make adjustments myself, not relying on her to "fix" me. By making these changes I have been able to return to the active lifestyle I had enjoyed before my hip injury. Today I am cycling, hiking and doing yoga without pain. Thank you so much Carolyn for giving me the tools to heal MYSELF!!"
“Knowledge empowers you to shape the situation. Ignorance empowers the situation to shape you.”
- Ibhubesi The Great
The more you understand a problem, the better you are able to handle it. Pain is a great teacher because it is scary. When we understand why the pain is there, then we can work on ways to reduce the pain and allow it to heal. If we ignore it, then it will continue to limit you.
Dr Carolyn Dolan DPT, Cert MDT, MSHN
Where physical therapy, nutrition and lifestyle meet, because how you live your life determines whether or not you soar. Inspiring action with information so you can reduce pain, optimize healing and improve function naturally during recovery from injury, surgery or painful condition. This is a website for the open-minded; obstinate need not apply.