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.
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.
Metabolic Syndrome (Met S) affects nearly 47 million Americans. 1 The prevalence of arthritis is 52.5 million US adults between 2010-2012. This is estimated to rise to 78 million for Americans aged 18 years or older by 2040 per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 2 These numbers are staggering in so much as it would seem lucky for you not to get either Met S or some form of arthritis. The question becomes whether or not having Met S may increase your risk of developing arthritis and how to avoid both problems.
It is a common experience that a problem difficult at night is resolved in
the morning after the committee of sleep has worked on it.
Rest and Recovery
I remember in college when my husband and I were dating, after basketball practice and dinner at the dining commons, we would ride our bikes to the library to study. He was a premed double major in history and human physiology, and I was majoring in bioengineering. We would often start strong in our studying, and then we’d literally take a nap—at the table. At the time, I thought it was weird. Now it makes more sense. As we were challenging our brains with different problems, not to mention after a hard practice and high-glycemic food, we would just need some recovery time. After a nap lasting less than thirty minutes usually, we would feel rejuvenated, restored, and ready for more studying until closing time. As I mentioned before, we have been boring for a long time.
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.
(This was a previous guest blog I wrote for my friend Dr. Kristin Prentiss Ott, MD on www.kristinprentissott.com October 2015)
My past work experience has included years working in the hospital including the surgical wards. Now, I specialize in outpatient orthopedic physical therapy. I see mostly patients who want to avoid surgery. I am a proponent of keeping the body intact whenever possible. However, there are times when accidents happen or it is necessary to have surgery in order to get back to living life.
Sometimes it happens.
You take good care of yourself and exercise regularly, but then you fall skiing and tear your ACL. Often, to keep up that same level of activity, the ACL will need to be surgically repaired.
Or you may have been a college athlete that played football and now have severe hip arthritis in your 60s that requires a total hip replacement.
Like I said, sometimes it happens. And if you are going to have surgery planned or not, here are a few tips to help you to optimize recovery, not faster, but optimally.
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.
Osteoarthritis (OA) is one of the more challenging diagnoses to successfully treat as a physical therapist. In trying to find a more effective way to educate and treat patients, I went to Pub Med to find complimentary approaches to OA.
Guest Blog from Grant Glass, PT, CIMT, OCS, CAFS, GPS
"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!!"
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.