Archive for January 2012

Is Pain Stopping You? Learn about Pain Management

One of the most common goals for the new year is a decision to be more active. I started day one of January first with an invigorating Polar Bear swim! One of the most common blocks to being more active is pain. Pain management is where I can help.

Acupuncture can be very effective to treat pain from many causes, from injury and surgery recovery, to arthritis, to menstrual cramps, to headaches, to migraines, to digestive disorder pain, and more. Check out my website for more specific information for each of these types of pain: http://www.activetcm.com/pain_management/

There are a multitude of supplements both online and in stores with claims to cure your pain, but which ones are right for you? First of all, that depends on your type of pain. Is it from muscle injury? Joint degeneration? Nerve impingement? Internal organ disease? Immune system imbalance? Hormonal imbalance? All of the above? None of the above?

Because there are so many causes for pain and because pain is such a subjective experience, it is important to get a proper assessment. That usually starts with a complete and thorough consultation determining when/how the pain started; what aggravates the pain; what alleviates the pain; what concurrent medical issues there might be; what the health history indicates; whether lifestyle, emotional, mental, or spiritual aspects are big contributors (they always contribute something!); and more.

Some common supplements that may crossover treatment for several different kinds of pain include magnesium, fish oils, and coenzyme Q10.

Magnesium

Though magnesium is found in a lot of foods, including dark leafy green veggies, legumes, and nuts, rates of deficiency are high in North America. In fact, approximately 68% of the US population consumes less than the RDA (recommended dietary allowance) of magnesium and 19% of the population consumes less than 50% of the RDA!

Magnesium deficiency can contribute to muscle cramps and tightness, migraines, fatigue, poor sleep, weak bones, menstrual cramps, and anxiety.

Supplementing magnesium is easy. Look for magnesium glycinate, bisglycinate, or citrate, avoiding magnesium oxide, which draws water into the bowels to act as a laxative (thus poorly absorbed). I most often recommend magnesium glycinate capsules or magnesium citrate powder.

Fish oils

It almost impossible not to have heard about omega 3 essential fatty acids. These “good fats” are often in the news because of their many health benefits, including reducing inflammation, improving heart health, decreasing joint pain, supporting healthy skin, and easing depression.

My mom also told me years ago to eat more fish so I could be smart. I admit I hated fish. Though I’ve now learned to like it, I still take fish oil capsules as I know that I cannot eat enough fish to match my busy and active lifestyle and supply me enough DHA and EPA (main components of the omega 3s from fish).

When choosing a fish oil, quality is key. Poor quality fish oil capsules may taste fishy because the oils are rancid. Inappropriately processed fish oils may not be as health beneficial because heat and light can destroy these delicate fats.

If you want to know more about which fish oils I prefer, feel free to ask me.

Coenzyme Q10

This powerful antioxidant can be your buddy and you can call him by his nickname CoQ10. He will help protect you; he can be your body guard. As an antioxidant, he assists in decreasing cellular damage. CoQ10 is also involved in making a key energy molecule called ATP. Thus, if your body doesn’t get or make enough CoQ10, you may feel fatigued and/or depressed and many of your body’s processes will not function properly.

Your body makes CoQ10 and we also consume it via oily fish, organ meats, and whole grains.

So, how do you know if you have enough? If you have high cholesterol, high blood pressure, or heart disease, you may benefit from taking CoQ10. Statin drugs so commonly used to treat high cholesterol contribute to lower CoQ10 levels, so if you are taking these drugs, talk to your health provider to determine if supplementing will benefit you.

CoQ10 has also shown great promise for treating migraines at dosages of 150mg-300mg daily. Once again, quality matters.

Questions?

As always, feel free to ask me. Contact me here.

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Stressed OUT???!

It’s rare that in response to my questions about stress that patients answer that stress is not an issue for them. It’s more more common that they nod emphatically when I ask if stress is affecting their lives and possibly their health.

One of the challenging things about stress is that it can be so pervasive. Stress can infiltrate our work lives, our personal lives and our relationships. Stress is not really the villian, however. Just as time can sometimes fly by and sometimes drag, it’s our perception of time and of stress that changes how it affects us. So, one key to reducing the negative impact of stress is to work on our perception of it and learn how to manage it.

I will be lecturing about how to manage stress at Connect Health on February 9th from 7-8:30 p.m. If you want to learn how stress can affect your health and what you can do to help make it less damaging and, well…less stressful, then join us. Contact cs@connecthealthcare.ca or 604-733-4400 to sign up. I imagine that this is going to fill quickly as it’s my most popular lecture–goes to show how stressed people are! Or contact me if you have any questions or if you have other lecture topics you’d like me to cover in future talks.

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