Should you wear a seatbelt while driving your car?
The answer seems obvious, right?
First, it’s the law and it’s an expensive fine if you don’t.
Second, you enjoy living, and seat belts save lives.
Honestly, do you know a person who would answer this question by saying seat belts don’t work no matter their education level nor economic status?
Well, here is my argument that you shouldn’t wear a seat belt, use a helmet, use a life jacket, use a parachute nor have health insurance….or at least pretend it’s not available.
If you have followed my blog the past few years and even read my book, you may have wondered what I do. My identity was blurred for a bit as folks tried to encourage me to leave the field of physical therapy and focus on health coaching. Although I understood why they suggested I do that, for ease and money, I simply couldn't do it.
See, even as I have expanded my knowledge base into nutrition, it hasn't changed the fact that in the world of pain, there are many causative factors. Optimizing nutrition alone may or may not reduce someone's pain if there is a mechanical component. Optimizing movement alone may or may not reduce someone's pain if they are in a physiological inflammatory state from lifestyle issues related to nutrition, sleep or stress.
This past week I attended our national combined sections meeting of the APTA. It was like a knowledge, passion, creativity, compassion and innovation explosion. My introverted nature struggled at times with 13,000 physical therapists there, but I now would like to reclaim my title of physical therapist and explain what physical therapy is in case you didn't know.
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.
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.
(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.
Upcoming Speaking Events:
September 26, 2015 5-7:00 PM
with Katie Coombs
107.3 FM local
Available to listen after at
October 7, 2015 7:00-7:15 PM
"Inflammation: Two Sides of a Coin"
Active Physical Therapy Clinic
3594 W Plumb Lane
December 1, 2015 5:30-7:30PM
Kaiser Health and Wellness Symposium
Webinar for rehabilitation physical therapy specialists
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.
As I embark on this journey to complete my Masters of Science in Holistic Nutrition, I am continually reminded of this. I recently worked on an assignment related to fluoride. I am not here to discuss health pros and cons of fluoride that is for you to discuss with your dentist but fluoride is a “BANDAID” for prevention and control of dental caries (aka cavities). The real source of the problem is SUGAR.
One of the studies I came across looked at the relationship between sugars, dental caries and fluoride use. To no surprise, they concluded that the current recommendation that sugar intake should be ≤ 10% of energy intake is no longer acceptable. Regardless of fluoride intake, ≤2-3% of energy intake is optimal for prevention of dental carries in children thru adulthood.1
Did you know that your gut microbiome can also impact inflammatory arthritis disorders?
Rheumatoid Arthritis, an inflammatory arthritis disorder, is a debilitating autoimmune disease where the body’s immune system attacks its own tissue, typically the small joints of the hands and feet. Traditional treatments include medications, physical therapy and surgery to control symptoms and prevent joint damage. Recent research is indicating that probiotic intervention holds promise to decrease disease activity score and inflammatory cytokines (TNF alpha, IL-6, IL-10).1
There are many lifestyle factors that interconnect for holistic health and recovery. The interplay of the eight personal lifestyle factors is critical. Imagine a wheel rolling smoothly along. Each section is balanced. If any section is damaged or ignored, then the wheel bumps along or stops rolling altogether. Getting balance is the difficult part, but it is wonderful when things are balanced together. Many things can disrupt the balance. When that happens, call on the other lifestyle factors to help support the wheel until it can be repaired.
Life is busy. Work. Family. Friends. Obligations. Grocery shopping. Paying bills. School activities. Eating. Exercise. Sleep. Repeat. You don’t feel your best, but you don’t know where to start. The pain in your knee makes it hard for you to exercise. You are working too much so you don’t have time to eat well. Sometimes acknowledging that you are not satisfied where you are is the first step to moving in a healthier direction.
It doesn’t matter which direction you choose to go, but go somewhere. You can always change directions if it isn’t the right way. But start somewhere. Begin anywhere.
Start committing to sleeping more, because adequate rest is critical to recovery. Pick a consistent bedtime and stick to it. Don’t worry about the rest until you are ready. Or if the knee pain keeps you from exercising, then let physical therapy help you understand the pain and improve it in order to be able exercise. If optimizing your health and well being is your goal, then begin somewhere…begin anywhere.
Special thanks to Grant Korgan, founder of Choose Positivity Now, and his book “Two Feet Back” for solidifying this idea for me.
Can what I eat really decrease my inflammation from osteoarthritis?
Yes, it can help! What you eat can have a positive effect on the inflammatory process associated with Osteoarthritis.
This graphic from an article published in the International Journal of Molecular Sciences in 2013 demonstrates where along the inflammatory pathway each nutritional component inhibits inflammation. The nutraceuticals or components of whole foods like, resveratrol, polyhenols (including epigallocatechin 3-gallate (EGCG)), curcumin, ginger, Glucosamine/Chondroitin sulfate, pomegranate, and rosehip can help to limit inflammation.
“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.