Back Pain Relief Wisdom

24 01 2016
Don't let back pain prevent you from places you want to be.

Don’t let back pain prevent you from exploration and activities you enjoy.

Last Updated:  24 Jan 2016

The most common muscular skeletal weight bearing pain typically occur within the lower back for many.  Whereas soft tissue and bone, or musculoskeletal tissue becomes compromised.  Which include nerves, cartilage, disc, ligaments and tendons where localized swelling, soreness and aggravating and radiating pain occur.

Human studies and statistics have shown low back pain will account for more sick leave and disability time than any other single medical condition.  Nearly 80% of all adults will experience back pain some time in their lives.  It is for this reason it is important to understand how to take preventative and corrective measures to avoid, alleviate and timely treat weight bearing joint pain.  Also recognize the difference between common causes of back pain, severity of condition and treatment course options.

Weight bearing and repetitive physical work pain is often medically defined as an acute or chronic pain condition that may be caused by injury, postural imbalance, repeated physical activity and diagnosed as a strain or sprain, or compression injury, or Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI).  A Repetitive Strain Injury is also known as Cumulative Trauma Disorder (CTD).  Which has a compromised muscle-tendon relationship.  Some cause examples of these pain disorders may be a result of the following activities: administrative work, gardening, biking, walking, jogging, running, sports, commercial painting, plumbing, electrical and other laborious work etc.

“There are also chronic nerve compression injuries such as carpal tunnel syndrome, radial tunnel syndrome and cubital tunnel syndrome. In these cases, the spaces through which the nerves run are narrowed due to inflammation or fluids putting pressure on the nerves (Kriskarr 2012).”

Of course there are many pathological musculoskeletal compromise possibilities which could cause weight bearing or low back pain in vertebra joints.  Some of the more familiar diseases of the back are: degenerative discs [wear & tear on between vertebra space], herniated discs, [swollen, and irritated “overblown” discs], spinal stenosis [narrowing of vertebrae canal presenting sciatica radiating numbness and pain down the leg].

Off Road Trail Hiking Exercise.

Remove back pain and experience off road trail hikes, enjoy nature and get more daily exercise.

Regardless, our focus is not to play doctor or learn all the possible causes of back pain.  But instead to understand how to recognize and prevent unnecessary pain through prevention and seek corrective medical treatment when needed.

Poor ergonomic posture or laborious repetitive work or sedentary lifestyle combined with weight gain almost always put undue stress immediately on the low back.  And when poor work and activity posture, footwear and overweight conditions are not addressed, it’s just a matter of time before weight bearing joints begin to ache, strain and become painful.  If left uncorrected that pain will worsen, slow you down and increase risk of injury and put you out of commission.

The biggest difference between strains vs. “sprain” is the severity of injury and healing time.  For instance sprains are typically long-term injuries which may or may not require surgery and almost always require physical therapy and rest to alleviate the compromised soft tissue condition.

Most of us are familiar, or have experienced a strained [overstretched] or sprained tendon, ligament or muscle.  Sprains are often verified and substantiated using MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) equipment to determine exact locality, severity and corrective treatment for tissue damage.  The technology can see the degree of partial or full tear of soft tissue sprain often associated with significant swelling and bruising of injury site.  Whereas x-ray typically cannot and is mostly used to confirm broken and fractured bone and observe bone density health.

Many who experience weight bearing pain of the foot, ankle, knee, hip, back or neck don’t make the pain origin or cause connection.  That pain cause is often the result of musculoskeletal postural misalignment.  Whereas misalignment of musculoskeletal weighted posture starting at the feet cause imbalance and joint instability while walking, working and during exercise activity.  And this condition often results in multiple radiating joint pain areas up the body’s trunk and can cause a painful limp.

Like pain free body posture, A tree is only as healthy as the foundation.

Like pain free body posture without compromised food mechanics… a tree is only as healthy as the root foundation system.

The sole of the foot is like a tree root system.  For instance, when the soil erodes from one side of a soil bank, the tree may begin to lean due to a breach of ground foundation stability.  Then the roots on the opposite side grow and strengthen and absorb the stress to keep the tree growing upright.

Through time the trunk grows slightly offset to relieve stress on the compromised root system, but may cause the mid-line tree trunk to crack or snap during a heavy wind storm.  Similar to upright walking posture, if walking with a painful lower back caused by a compromised foot foundation, if left uncorrected this condition will have an effect on an number of distal weight bearing joints [foot-to-knee-hip-back pain].      Whereas poor foot mechanics like the compromised tree root system make it likely to cause multiple joint pain and injury possibilities.

However it is possible with corrective insoles and supportive footwear to realign and balance body posture and completely alleviate stress and pain of other affected joints, even the neck and shoulders.  In this case the corrective lift at the insole, or bottom of foot may realign the low back and neck vertebrae simultaneously while removing a painful limp caused by sciatica for example.

If any type of acute joint pain condition appears more frequent and severe…. “Pay Attention!”  It is important to remember weight bearing pain is often a result of unconditioned physical body, sedentary lifestyle, overweight condition and improper footwear, or disease.  The good news is it can be corrected if timely action is taken.  Like a tire realignment, corrected foot mechanics can achieve the pain free goal.

Recommendations to treat weight bearing pain before it becomes chronic

  1. If experiencing acute weight bearing pain:  a) “Apply Ice right away.  Ice reduces inflammation and pain.  Be careful not to use ice for more than 15-20 minutes, every 2 hours.  Even though heat is used to ease tension & soreness, heat might cause more swelling in the first 2-3 days.  b) “Place the ice on the painful area in a fanny pack while you are up and moving around.  Apply ice consistently as long as you have swelling and pain.”  c) “If you have diabetes or circulatory problems, limit applying ice and heat to 8-10 minutes.”  d) “Take medication as directed.  Common medications are acetaminophen (such as Tylenol) and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, such as ibuprofen (such as Motrin) and naproxen sodium (such as Aleve).  In some cases, prescription pain medications may help.  It may take 10 to 14 days of taking it as prescribed to be fully effective.” 

Reference:  (Kaiser Permanente Brochure Recommendations, Items 1, a-d) 

Note: If you experience any abnormal pain seek medical advisement, diagnosis and treatment from your doctor immediately.

  1. Maintain Ideal Body Weight.  Simply enter into any Internet search engine, BMI (Body Mass Index) use free calculator, enter your height and weight.  This will give you an ideal of whether or not you’re underweight, normal or overweight for your current body mass stature.  If too heavy over normal body weight for height, you’re at increased risk for weight bearing pain.  Most specifically:  foot, ankle, knee, hip, back.

    IMG_1061

    Exercise comes in all fun forms and exciting playtime activities.

  2. Perform daily aerobic exercise to burn fat (e.g., bike, walk, aerobic dance exercise not less than 3/week @ 20-30min/day).  When heart rate is increased for extended periods of exercise, the body’s metabolism during aerobic activity burns more of the preferred fuel source from body fat.
  3. Balanced nutrition:  consume more fiber, drink more water and decrease total calorie intake daily.  Remove high processed fat and sugar foods and drinks.  Focus more on shopping and consuming fresh whole foods more in line with Mediterranean diet which contains plenty of fish, fruits and vegetables.  Avoid fried foods if possible.

    Catch it yourself it does a body good.

  4. If your feet are in pain, the likelihood of sustaining daily aerobic exercise activity is greatly reduced.  Seek a referral from your Primary Physician to get a diagnosis and treatment from podiatrist (foot specialist).  See if your foot posture is the cause of your weight bearing pain.
  5. Realize:  a) In order to perform daily aerobic exercise activity will likely require good insoles and footwear to offset pain and lose weight.  b) Don’t pay $300-$1500/year for custom molded insoles out-of-pocket from your podiatrist if you don’t have to.  First try inexpensive insoles at a local pharmacy center if your health care situation is limited in services, deductions and co-pays are high.  Simply stand on a free foot analysis machine and receive corrective insole inventory selection based on the postural hot spot(s) imbalance foot imprint.  And if the insoles remove pain it is well worth the effort and cost.  However, do see your doctor to positively determine pain cause and origin.  If you do get a referral to podiatrist, decide if you want to try the inexpensive insoles before paying the cost of customized insoles, especially if you have to pay over $50.00.
  6. Do you need surgery or other treatment? Ask your doctor about Spinal Cord Stimulation (SCS).  “Electrical nerve stimulation is a procedure that uses an electrical current to treat chronic pain. Peripheral nerve stimulation (PNS) and spinal cord stimulation (SCS) are two types of electrical nerve stimulation. In either case a small pulse generator sends electrical stimuli that interfere nerve impulses to alleviate the pain (WebMD 2014). Reports show SCS use results in: 84% reported that their quality of life was improved or greatly improved, 77% had good or excellent pain relief, and 82% decreased their use of pain medications (St. Jude Medical 2016).

    Seek adventure, explore, get excited about life and move the body.

    Seek adventure, explore, get excited about life while moving and exercising the body.

  7. “Tens Therapy” electro muscular-stimulation can provide significant relief.  Ask your doctor about obtaining a Tens unit through health care coverage, or if covered to receive electro muscular-stimulation physical therapy sessions.  “Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) is a therapy sometimes used to treat localized or regional pain. During TENS therapy, electrodes deliver electrical impulses to nearby nerve pathways — which can help control or relieve some types of pain. TENS is often used to treat osteoarthritis and chronic and postoperative pain (Thompson 2014).”
  8. Tens units can also be purchased on-line, or provided by HMO.
  9. Acupuncture – “May also reduce chances of chronic back pain from occurring.  “One of the largest studies to date on acupuncture and chronic pain — a meta-analysis of 29 well-conducted studies involving nearly 18,000 patients and published in October 2012 in the Archives of Internal Medicine — found that acupuncture is effective for treating chronic pain and therefore is a reasonable referral option (Palermo 2015).”

If acute back, or any joint pain seems abnormal or Intolerable, or you’ve recently experienced an injury consult your physician immediately for diagnosis and treatment.

Citations:

Kriskarr. “What Is a Compression Injury?” VACUPRACTOR. Vacupractor, 23 Oct. 2012. Web. 22 Jan. 2016.

Thompson, Jeffrey, M.D. “TENS Therapy: An Option for Fibromyalgia Treatment?” – Mayo Clinic. Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, n.d. Web. 22 Jan. 2016.

Palermo, By Elizabeth. “What Is Acupuncture?” LiveScience. TechMedia Network, 05 Mar. 2015. Web. 22 Jan. 2016.

St. Jude Medical. “Power Over Your Pain.” Spinal Cord Stimulation: A Proven Therapy for Pain. St. Jude Medical, Inc., 2016. Web. 22 Jan. 2016.

WebMD. “Electrical Nerve Stimulation for Chronic Pain.” WebMD. WebMD, 12 Mar. 2014. Web. 22 Jan. 2016.

Author: Marc T. Woodard, MBA, BS Exercise Science, ARNG, CPT, RET. 2016 Copyright. All rights reserved, Mirror Athlete Inc., http://www.mirrorathlete.com, Sign up for your Free eNewsletter.

 





Acupuncture How Does it Work?

21 12 2011

Explore and Live in a World Without Pain

About 5 years ago I sought acupuncture for severe low back pain.

And I only did so after all other Western medicines had failed to significantly alleviate my daily back pain.  For me, it is true that combinations of physical therapy, diet, body weight maintenance, pharmaceuticals and exercise do help.  But when you have substantial physical and physiological damage in bone and soft tissue which includes tendons, ligaments and muscle, you’ll always feel a certain amount of acute to varying chronic pain.  For those that go under the knife to correct and alleviate pain, you are also at risk of creating more pain.  Each one of us must weigh the benefit to risk ratio of surgery vs. quality living and pain management.  And in the best case surgical scenarios, significant pain relief can be experienced but not guaranteed.

Because of my unique pain story, I prefer to work around the pain trigger points through daily exercise while trying different types of therapeutic pain management programs as opposed to more surgery.  As I stated, there is no guarantee that surgery will provide a pain free experience.  With that being said, I ventured into acupuncture.  At that point in my life I would have tried any type of therapeutic pain modality to relieve my pain whether I believed in it or not.  And at that time acupuncture was something I didn’t have a lot of faith in, but I was running short of options to relieve my low back pain.  Also, at the time, surgery was too risky for me because the probability of a worst case scenario was great.

My thoughts on acupuncture and to this day, I’m not sure how it really works, but I’ve mentally focused on electrical energy flowing throughout my body to assist in the healing power.  I do know our bodies have this “Chi” energy force that travels throughout our neurological highways where energy flow becomes blocked through illness, disease and injury which creates pain.  And when acupuncture needles are inserted at various points along these energy Chi meridian pathways: energy flow that was once blocked can become unblocked.  And if these highways become unblocked your pain can be substantially alleviated.  In various cultures this energy is not only called, or known as Chi, this life energy is also known as Prana, life force, Spirit, subtle and vital energy to name a few.

For me personally, acupuncture provides pain alleviation.  I can only explain it like this, I think of my body as an electrical circuit that has shorted somewhere and is giving me pain.  I know if I can remove the shorted circuit through another parallel neurological highway I can turn off much of the pain that would otherwise be signaled back to my brain.  If you’ve had injury, the damage is still there, however, the pain signal can be turned off.

This is easy for me to visualize through my mind’s eye.  Since I have an electrical background and physiological knowledge of the body these two things appear to allow my mind to accept this healing process; regardless of whether medical science has figured out a way to prove this in trial studies.  Which to date, they have not.

Many scientists consider acupuncture a pseudoscience because it cannot be proven through Western medical scientific trial the benefit of the needles, preparatory relaxation-meditation vs. variations of protocol needle insert techniques etc.   Also under what conditions it works, or what causes it to work for some but not others.  I can completely understand the difficulty of creating a blind study where test patients wouldn’t know whether a needle was sticking them for example, while others in the study were actually stuck in order to understand the significance of the skin penetration vs. no penetration and pain alleviation benefit.

I believe if you believe something is possible, through the psychosomatic (mind/body) healing relationship, the portion of the brain that allows healing through belief and visualization also allows healing of the body through the many electrical meridian circuits throughout the body.   Understanding this relationship allows those like I to channel acupuncture needle point connections to flow energy one way while diverting it from signaling pain back to the brain.

I will tell you there are different techniques used by acupuncturists when getting stuck with these tiny micro-thin needles.  Five years ago, I experienced two different aggressive styles of Chinese acupuncture that when these needles were manipulated into my low back caused great pain when setting the needles.  Thereafter, electrical current was added through wire leads with electrical source equipment sending pulsating electrical stimulation.  Although low voltage electricity is added within some therapy sessions, this is not always the case or necessary for acupuncture to work.

When I first experienced acupuncture, the hard manipulative needle insertion technique although painful seemed to turn-off a lot of the severe pain at the time.  After 10 sessions I called it good.  And because of the tenth session where a needle hit a sensitive nerve in my low back causing me to jolt, which was followed by a back spasm.  I didn’t go back after that.  This is because I hyper extended my low back while lying face down on the table.  Man, did that hurt; I was sweating bullets while that needle was manipulated into place.  I did finish that therapy session.

Thereafter and rightfully so, I had fear of going back to an acupuncturist and didn’t ask for another referral.  However, years later with a bit more education under my belt, I sought out a soft Chinese style acupuncturist that focused on various modalities prior to needle insertion.  Sensitive areas of the body to touch do much better with a soft style preparation acupuncturist prior to needle insertion.  Very light massage, relaxation and suction cup appearing devices to increase blood circulation allow for easy insertion without needle manipulation in hyper-sensitive painful areas using a shallow needle insertion technique.  Thereafter electro stimulation to the needles is applied in some sessions while not others.  This technique works well for me to remove the severe pain.

You ask why I went back after a jolt that hurt my back 5 years ago.  Because, even after that experience, I knew I received a pain relief benefit, before and after the jolt.  The years following that session, I knew I received significant pain relief.  To this day, my back is more pain free than had I not received any acupuncture.  Yet when you look at my x-rays and MRI’s, the injury sites throughout my back continue to worsen.  I don’t want the surgery if I can continue to manage the pain with various pain relief techniques.  So I figured, why not give it another shot.  Life must continue on, so I look for therapy that works in order to avoid surgery, so I can stay productive.

As of recent, I’ve gone through another series of acupuncture using the shallow needle penetration with suction cups, and electrical stimulation to increase blood flow after the needles are set to include meditation prior to and during the session.  The sharp unbearable radiating pain in my neck is gone.  However, the chronic achy dull arthritic pain is always present throughout my back which I can manage.  For me this is significant pain relief for which I’m thankful my health insurance pays.

I’ve read a few blogger sites on the benefits/to no benefits of using acupuncture.  The feelings on acupuncture are mixed throughout the medical and general community.  It’s considered by many that believe in Eastern medicine modalities as a valued natural science that can heal and alleviate pain and cure disease.  To Western medicine practitioners, many professionals and lay persons believe at best acupuncture is a pseudoscience that’s falls into categories more like magic and faith healing.

Instead of trying to convince you that acupuncture works, I think it is best to leave you with the following insight.  Like Pranic healing (link listed below), there is much our modern medical science does not understand and has no way to prove through clinical trials how life “Chi” energy actually heals and alleviates pain.  But to make a comparison of the misunderstood not too long ago, one must simply recall the thought process, “it was impossible for man to fly, let alone sore through space and land on the moon.”  Or, until Penicillin as an effective antibiotic was discovered; many with serious disease through infection were doomed to die with no hope of a cure.  During the times, these beliefs could think no other way with any solution that would ever change the outcome until science proved otherwise many years later.

I believe there is much in the world science does not understand about the human mind and body.  Let me give you one more relevant example.  It has long been said people on earth only use 10% of their brains capacity.   This too is controversial due to the “natural selection” concept.  Since the brain tissue has metabolically evolved throughout time, and to lose 90% of capacity would have catastrophic consequences on the human regulation of the body is the controversy in dispelling the 10% brain capacity use.

So maybe we are using a 100% of metabolic brain function, but maybe not 100% healing function within another part of the brain.  Is this line of reasoning possible?  Of course it is.  But then again, how do you prove this scientifically?  As of to date, science can’t.  So in relating this line of reasoning to the naysayer’s; acupuncture is just as valid for those that believe it works, so it works!  Just because a scientific relative blind study to prove it works has not been accomplished to date, does not mean it doesn’t work.  Science to date does not have the knowledge to empirically prove it.

Let’s assume our brains have room to evolve to make use of our Chi energy, even though science cannot tell you how it works for sure.  So if we dare to think there is room for evolving of the brain-body connection, we could think the following:  if science does not know how the healing Chi energy works using needles, there is no way to test each of our healing brain-body connections.  Each one of us that experiences a pain relief benefit may use a different part of the brain, brain function, or cognitive skill connection to the body when the needles are inserted, which activate the healing life force connection.  This would explain why it works for some and not others.  Others may be more or less in touch with this part of the healing brain-body connection.  I’m not sure how science would test these variables in a blind study.  Here lies the empirical sample test dilemma in proving the healing benefits connection using acupuncture.

So I’d say to you, if you have severe pain and have exhausted Western medicine resources, regardless of the negative opinion about acupuncture, what have you got to lose?  What doesn’t work for others may work for you?  You may have the ability to unlock a Chi force that is hidden within 90% of an untapped brain function that others like I are able to unlock.  And consider this, there must be some validity to it because many HMO practitioners refer pain patients to acupuncturists whether they completely believe in it or not.  And many health insurers cover the cost!  So there must be something to it.

I know surgery and/or chiropractics is not the answer for “my” pain relief without causing further damage to my weight bearing structure.  I’ve been able to avoid much of the pain pitfalls that these two practices, had I accepted the referrals and treatments may have worsened my pain story.  The key is, get more than one, or two opinions before you do something radical if you have a choice.  You cannot reverse damage caused through over manipulation of bone, tendon and ligaments, and a surgery that went bad.

I believe one day science will prove through relative and valid empirical trials how and why acupuncture works for many patients.  But like Einstein’s Theory of Relativity “Time was no longer uniform and absolute.” Physics could no longer be understood as space by itself, hence space and time was also dependant on velocity.  Until this time Isaac Newton’s physics and astronomy stood as a 200-year-old theory of mechanics.  So you see through time man evolves in many different depths of knowledge and understanding within the world we live, as well as the bodies we live in.

Listed below, I’ve left some links that further explain how acupuncture and Pranic healing may help you to alleviate your pain by activating a part of your brain that to date is unexplained scientifically, but for many this healing practice works.

If you want to try acupuncture and your primary physician does not believe in it, and won’t refer you, or it’s not covered in your health insurance program, there are 3 things you can do.  During your employer annual health insurance selections pick a provider or policy that covers acupuncture within its listed services.  Or, if you have coverage for this service, but your referring physician does not believe in acupuncture and won’t refer you, request a new primary care physician.  Or request from your current primary care physician to be referred to a physiatrist.  Physiatrists are pain management specialists with an arsenal of pain modality resources for which one, if covered by your HMO will refer you to an acupuncturist if you’re willing to give it a try.

References:

Woodard, Marc.  Why a Physiatrist Offers the Best Rehabilitative Course.  Mirror Athlete’s Fitness Secrets!  June 23, 2011. http://mirrorathlete.com/blog/2011/06/23/why-a-physiatrist-offers-the-best-rehabilitative-course/

Craig, Gary.  Acupuncture Meridians Pathways of Chi Energy.  Healing with EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques.  Website: http://www.healing-with-eft.com/acupuncture-meridians.html

Woodard, Marc.  What is Pranic Healing and Does it Work?  Mirror Athlete’s Fitness Secrets! July 23, 2010. http://mirrorathlete.com/blog/2010/07/23/what-is-pranic-healing-and-does-it-work/

Novella, Steven.  Does Acupuncture Work or Not?  Neurologica blog.  Sep 25, 2007.http://theness.com/neurologicablog/index.php/does-acupuncture-work-or-not/

Woodamarc.  “Pain Depression Origins.” HubPages.  http://woodamarc.hubpages.com/hub/Pain-Depression-Origins

Physiotherapy Adelaide Site.  How Does Acupuncture Work?  Copyright 2011. http://www.howdoesacupuncturework.com/

Do We Use all of our Brain Power?  Google answer site. http://answers.google.com/answers/threadview/id/751682.html

Marc T. Woodard, MBA, BS Exercise Science, USA Medical Services Officer, CPT, RET. 2011 Copyright, All rights reserved, Mirror Athlete Publishing @: http://www.mirrorathlete.com,  Sign up for your Free eNewsletter.

 





"How Healthy Feet Equate to Healthy Mind-Body-Spirit"

24 05 2010

Let’s first look at the fitness and health connection problems from misaligned feet unattended for many years through my personal example and experience (also read preceding article, Uncorrected Posture Alignment was Important, What Happened?”   Mirror Athlete Blog Article, 25 April 2010).

        When I went into the military; during my physical examination the examining physician said, “You have another 5miles left on those feet,” he laughed a little with me [I had no idea what he meant-only to be enlightened 30 years later by a number of orthopedic surgeons] and sent me on my way to the next exam station.  The doc’s diagnosis: I was flat-footed with a little arch left in both feet.

    I sailed through the physical exams and off to basic I went.  Of course, being a young male with plenty of testosterone, I paid no heed to this diagnosis until years later when foot aggravation caused much pain throughout my body at various stages of my life.   I did note during Army field training exercises my feet were always grossly blistered and in pain like many other soldiers.  So this just seemed to be a normal physical result of the training.  After years of hard physical military training and poorly supported military boot ware, this took a toll on my feet, ankles, hips, back and neck.  Today I interchange 3 different insoles into various foot ware dependent on what activities I’m doing.  These custom support insoles make a big difference in my ability to alleviate pain during movement activity.  My overall health is good because my pain tolerance is acceptable to get work done (aerobic walking, hiking, yard work, etc.) while keeping my body conditioned through this corrective ware.

    Now let’s look at my potential fitness and health future had I not figured out what was going on and the impact that may have had on my overall health.  Like many, I could have continued doing work daily while sucking up pain for years due to uncorrected foot problems while slowly becoming a pain prescription junky.  In time, the misalignment of musculoskeletal tissue would cause permanent nerve and soft tissue damage with more radiating pain.  This pain disorder would then cause pain depression, possibly affecting my mental health diagnosed as clinical depression.  If pain becomes chronic, less motivation to take care of overall fitness health often occurs.  For many, this means weight gain and other associated health problems can get out of control in a very short period of time if not corrected.

    I don’t have to tell you that obesity in itself impacts blood pressure, heart, lung, kidney, liver health function… The list goes on.  At the same time excess weight on otherwise healthy weight bearing joints can and does cause potentially irreversible damage to the integrity of the soft tissues surrounding these areas.  It’s never too late to correct misaligned posture, which at a minimum will alleviate pain.  And in many cases damaged tissues corrected through foot posture alignment may forgo unnecessary surgical correction.  Although I have structural damage throughout my spine, correction of my foot ware has alleviated enough pain that back surgery is now off the table.

    There should be greater importance impressed upon postural alignment and pain prevention programs in all educational institutions.  When I was a kid, there was minimal information on this matter.  As an adult, even during my undergraduate work in Exercise Science, there was postural alignment education, but “not” emphasizing the foot relationship to overall effect on “healthy posture-healthy mind-body.”  These relationships were implied with no extensive focus on any scientific model of the time between foot alignment impacts on wellness.  I believe at the time of my undergraduate work wellness and alternative health science was experiencing a renaissance of encompassing being (mind, body and spirit).  Now there are literally thousands of such books available.

    In the military, there was no emphasis on the postural alignment system at all, except PT (Physical Training) form to standards.  In our school systems, your children may/may not receive corrective information with regard to sitting up straight during the early grade school years; and less, if any emphasis on proper foot ware.  It appears our shoe manufacturing industry has incorporated better designs for proper foot alignment per activities (sport, walk, running, etc.).

So will our foot ware industry take care of our feet and body alignment needs?

    There are a few problems with this line of thought.  If the foot to total body health is not prioritized in our schools and community at large, priority to postural health will not be emphasized starting at the feet.  This means one will give less priority to good shoe design when purchased.  And also, less priority on replacing shoes that are badly worn.  Wearing shoes badly worn and also shoes with bad design can cause much pain to weight bearing joints.  If this practice continues on without correction, irreversible soft tissue damage and pain can and does occur throughout the postural system.

The point is, preventative illness and disease education is up to each and every parent and educator.  Hopefully in the near future our education systems will teach our children early on in matters of this importance.   Take a preventative course of action now.  See our icon links (skeleton, posture chart, or foot icon on Chronic Pain page at the home site), click,  read up and learn about Posture Control Insoles if you, or your children are in sports are experiencing any pain in the following weight bearing points of the body:  Foot, ankle, knees, hips, back, neck and read up on how posture correction starting at the feet can help to promote greater activity, fitness and health benefits for life.  Words of wisdom, “if you have little arch in the feet and go into the military, walk and run a lot, or sports professions, ensure you invest in some good insole shoe support, “even if your feet are in good shape!” This will preserve the integrity of the foot anatomy and body health for a lifetime.

 Author:  Marc T. Woodard, MBA, BS Exercise Science, USA Medical Services Officer, CPT, RET2010 Copyright.  All rights reserved, Mirror Athlete Publishing @: http://www.mirrorathlete.com,  Sign up for your Free eNewsletter.





Ill-Health Prevention Starts with Healthy Feet

24 05 2010

Let’s first look at the fitness and health connection problems from misaligned feet unattended for many years through my personal example and experience (also read preceding article, Good Posture Alignment was Important, What Happened?”   Mirror Athlete Blog Article, 25 April 2010).

        When I went into the military; during my physical examination the examining physician said, “You have another 5miles left on those feet,” he laughed a little with me [I had no idea what he meant-only to be enlightened 30 years later by a number of orthopedic surgeons] and sent me on my way to the next exam station.  The doc’s diagnosis: I was flat-footed with a little arch left in both feet.

    I sailed through the physical exams and off to basic I went.  Of course, being a young male with plenty of testosterone, I paid no heed to this diagnosis until years later when foot aggravation caused much pain throughout my body at various stages of my life.   I did note during Army field training exercises my feet were always grossly blistered and in pain like many other soldiers.  So this just seemed to be a normal physical result of the training.  After years of hard physical military training and poorly supported military boot ware, this took a toll on my feet, ankles, hips, back and neck.  Today I interchange 3 different insoles into various foot ware dependent on what activities I’m doing.  These custom support insoles make a big difference in my ability to alleviate pain during movement activity.  My overall health is good because my pain tolerance is acceptable to get work done (aerobic walking, hiking, yard work, etc.) while keeping my body conditioned through this corrective ware.

    Now let’s look at my potential fitness and health future had I not figured out what was going on and the impact that may have had on my overall health.  Like many, I could have continued doing work daily while sucking up pain for years due to uncorrected foot problems while slowly becoming a pain prescription junky.  In time, the misalignment of musculoskeletal tissue would cause permanent nerve and soft tissue damage with more radiating pain.  This pain disorder would then cause pain depression, possibly affecting my mental health diagnosed as clinical depression.  If pain becomes chronic, less motivation to take care of overall fitness health often occurs.  For many, this means weight gain and other associated health problems can get out of control in a very short period of time if not corrected.

    I don’t have to tell you that obesity in itself impacts blood pressure, heart, lung, kidney, liver health function… The list goes on.  At the same time excess weight on otherwise healthy weight bearing joints can and does cause potentially irreversible damage to the integrity of the soft tissues surrounding these areas.  It’s never too late to correct misaligned posture, which at a minimum will alleviate pain.  And in many cases damaged tissues corrected through foot posture alignment may forgo unnecessary surgical correction.  Although I have structural damage throughout my spine, correction of my foot ware has alleviated enough pain that back surgery is now off the table.

    There should be greater importance impressed upon postural alignment and pain prevention programs in all educational institutions.  When I was a kid, there was minimal information on this matter.  As an adult, even during my undergraduate work in Exercise Science, there was postural alignment education, but “not” emphasizing the foot relationship to overall effect on “healthy posture-healthy mind-body.”  These relationships were implied with no extensive focus on any scientific model of the time between foot alignment impacts on wellness.  I believe at the time of my undergraduate work wellness and alternative health science was experiencing a renaissance of encompassing being (mind, body and spirit).  Now there are literally thousands of such books available.

    In the military, there was no emphasis on the postural alignment system at all, except PT (Physical Training) form to standards.  In our school systems, your children may/may not receive corrective information with regard to sitting up straight during the early grade school years; and less, if any emphasis on proper foot ware.  It appears our shoe manufacturing industry has incorporated better designs for proper foot alignment per activities (sport, walk, running, etc.).

So will our foot ware industry take care of our feet and body alignment needs?

    There are a few problems with this line of thought.  If the foot to total body health is not prioritized in our schools and community at large, priority to postural health will not be emphasized starting at the feet.  This means one will give less priority to good shoe design when purchased.  And also, less priority on replacing shoes that are badly worn.  Wearing shoes badly worn and also shoes with bad design can cause much pain to weight bearing joints.  If this practice continues on without correction, irreversible soft tissue damage and pain can and does occur throughout the postural system.

The point is, preventative illness and disease education is up to each and every parent and educator.  Hopefully in the near future our education systems will teach our children early on in matters of this importance.   Take a preventative course of action now.  See our icon links (skeleton, posture chart, or foot icon on Chronic Pain page at the home site), click,  read up and learn about Posture Control Insoles if you, or your children are in sports are experiencing any pain in the following weight bearing points of the body:  Foot, ankle, knees, hips, back, neck and read up on how posture correction starting at the feet can help to promote greater activity, fitness and health benefits for life.  Words of wisdom, “if you have little arch in the feet and go into the military, walk and run a lot, or sports professions, ensure you invest in some good insole shoe support, “even if your feet are in good shape!” This will preserve the integrity of the foot anatomy and body health for a lifetime.

 Author:  Marc T. Woodard, MBA, BS Exercise Science, USA Medical Services Officer, CPT, RET2010 Copyright.  All rights reserved, Mirror Athlete Publishing @: http://www.mirrorathlete.com,  Sign up for your Free eNewsletter.





"Uncorrected Posture Alignment was Important, What Happened?"

23 04 2010

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“Good Posture Alignment was Important, What Happened?”

23 04 2010

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Medical Marijuana & Pain Relief, Scientific Support Data

19 05 2009

    Below are citations with appropriate references to give credit to those that have provided medical marijuana research data information with unique supporting and correlated data.  It appears obvious, or apparent within these controlled studies and citations, cannabis shows a unique medicinal composition with unique pain blocking properties that could replace in part, or whole other pain management prescriptions without the additional pharmaceutical health risks.  Standard prescription medications or outpatient services that ease pain, spasms and inflammation may be accomplished through medical marijuana use at a fraction of the cost.  The Compassionate Use Act, 1996 was established to provide physicians the ability to recommend chronic pain patients medical marijuana at first for cancer patients.  Through years of research science is seeing a whole range of potential use for cannabis as an alternative treatment for many types of chronic pain disease.

“Persistent and disabling pain can have numerous and sometimes multiple causes, including cancer; AIDS; sickle cell anemia; glaucoma, cancer, shingles, multiple sclerosis; defects or injuries to the back, neck and spinal cord; arthritis and other rheumatic and degenerative hip, joint and connective tissue disorders; and severe burns.  Pain is not a primary condition or injury, but rather a severe, frequently intolerable symptom that varies in frequency, duration, and severity according to the individual (Chronic Pain and Medical Marijuana, ASA PDF Brochure# 888-929-436.  See end of article for brochure details).

“A recent study conducted at University of California at Davis, 17 April 2008, 38 patients experiencing neuropathic pain from varying diseases; diabetes, spinal cord injuries, multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, chronic pain, HIV/AIDS-related neuropathy, etc., were given marijuana cigarettes, some patients with zero% THC, 3.5% and 7%.  Students through each session took the same number of puffs to ensure uniformity.  Thereafter, it was determined marijuana reduced pain intensity significantly over a 5 hour period/per trial.  It should also be noted, memory tests and cognitive skills appeared to decline, but not more, or less significantly than narcotic pain killers (Complete Study, Contact MPP “Marijuana Policy Project Director of communications Bruce Mirken, 202-215-4205, or visit http://MarijuanaPolicy.org).”

“The smoking of cannabis, even long term, is not harmful to health….”  So began a 1995 editorial statement of Great Britain’s leading medical journal, The Lancet.  The long history of human use of cannabis also attests to its safety—nearly 5,000 years of documented use without a single death.”

“Substances similar to or derived from marijuana could benefit more than 97 million Americans who experience some form of pain each year (U.S. Society for Neuroscience, 1997).”

“The role that cannabis can play in treating chronic pain.  After nausea and vomiting, chronic pain was the condition cited most often to the IOM (Institute of Medicine) study team as a medicinal use for marijuana.”The study found that “basic biology indicates a role for cannabinoids [a group of compounds found in cannabis] in pain and control of movement, which is consistent with a possible therapeutic role in these areas. The evidence is relatively strong for the treatment of pain and intriguingly, although less well established, for movement disorder (Commissioned Study by the White House, by the Institute of Medicine, 1999).”

“Inhaled cannabis provides almost immediate relief with significantly fewer adverse effects than orally ingested Marinol (the only legal THC hemp extract pharmaceutical, DEA Class III authorized drug schedule prescription).  Inhalation allows the active compounds in cannabis to be absorbed into the blood stream with greater speed and efficiency. It is for this reason that inhalation is an increasingly common, and often preferable, route of administration for many medications.

“One problem with cannabinoids is that they are very fat-soluble, so that makes them very difficult to formulate the drugs into pills or injections.  One way that’s being looked at by some pharmaceutical companies is using the kind of inhaler that asthma sufferers use.” Smoking is obviously a big health hazard and scientists are looking at ways of delivering the drug to the body (ASA Americans for Safe Access, www.AmericansForSafeAccess.org).”

“Cannabis may also be more effective than Marinol because it contains many more cannabinoids than just the THC that is Marinol’s active ingredient. The additional cannabinoids may well have additional and complementary antiemetic (effective against vomiting and nausea) qualities. They have been conclusively shown to have better pain-control properties when taken in combination than THC alone (U.S. Society for Neuroscience Conclusion).”

    “The Compassionate Use Act passed in 1996 expressly provides that “chronic pain” is a condition for which physicians are authorized to recommend marijuana without threat or fear of punishment for providing a full range of treatment modalities to care for patients in pain.  However, Federal policy on medical cannabis is filled with contradictions.  Cannabis is a Schedule I drug, classified as having no medicinal value and a high potential for abuse, yet its most psychoactive component, THC, is legally available as Marinol and is listed in DEA Drug Schedule III Classification for physician prescriptions.  For those that don’t know, Class III prescriptions fall under the same legal prescribed DEA classification, such as Tylenol.  To add insult to injury an average month supply of Marinol will cost you ~$500.00.  A medical marijuana script-license provides you the right to produce and self medicate without the outrageous cost to alleviate chronic pain but has a double jeopardy possibility of imprisonment at the federal government’s discretion!  Is the government trying to figure out a way to make money by controlling a multi-billion dollar industry at the expense of suffering people in pain?  How much lower could we stoop as a nation?

    Currently, laws that effectively remove state-level criminal penalties for growing and/or possessing medical cannabis are in place in Alaska, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Maine, Maryland, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington.  Thirty-six states have symbolic medical cannabis laws (laws that support medical cannabis but do not provide patients with legal protection under state law).  Reference,  Compassionate Use Act, 1996 – Key organizations; Drug Enforcement Administration, (DEA) Federal Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Americans For Safe Access (ASA).

“By comparison, the side effects associated with cannabis are typically mild and are classified as “low risk.” Euphoric mood changes are among the most frequent side effects. Cannabinoids can exacerbate schizophrenic psychosis in predisposed persons. Cannabinoids impede cognitive and psychomotor performance, resulting in temporary impairment. Chronic use can lead to the development of tolerance. Tachycardia and hypotension are frequently documented as adverse events in the cardiovascular system. A few cases of myocardial ischemia have been reported in young and previously healthy patients. Inhaling the smoke of cannabis cigarettes induces side effects on the respiratory system. Cannabinoids are contraindicated for patients with a history of Cardiac ischemia.  In summary, a low risk profile is evident from the literature available. Serious complications are very rare and are not usually reported during the use of cannabinoids for medical indications (Chronic Pain and Medical Marijuana, ASA PDF Brochure# 888-929-4367).”

“Institute of Medicine, “Nausea, appetite loss, pain and anxiety… All can be mitigated by marijuana… For patients, such as those with AIDS or undergoing chemotherapy, who suffer simultaneously from severe pain, nausea, and appetite loss, cannabinoid drugs might offer broad spectrum relief not found in any other single medication (Marijuana and Medicine; Assessing the Science Base, 1999).”

“Where morphine fails, marijuana may work. That’s the major finding of British research into the pain caused by nerve injuries, a pain known to be somewhat resistant to morphine and similar drugs that are the gold standard for treating just about any other kind of serious pain.  It’s known that if you injure a nerve, the morphine receptors in the spinal cord disappear and that’s probably why morphine isn’t a very effective pain killer for such conditions as shingles, people who have had an amputation or perhaps if cancer has invaded the spinal cord (Molecular and Cellular Neuroscience Report & London’s Imperial College, Andrew Rice).”

“One of marijuana’s greatest advantages as a medicine is its remarkable safety. It has little effect on major physiological functions.  There is no known case of a lethal overdose; on the basis of Animal models, the ratio of lethal to effective dose is estimated as 40,000 to 1. By comparison, the ratio is between 3 and 50 to 1 for Secobarbital and between 4 and 10 to 1 for ethanol. Marijuana is also far less addictive and far less subject to abuse than many drugs now used as muscle relaxants, hypnotics, and analgesics.

The Chief legitimate concern is the effect of smoking on the lungs. Cannabis smoke carries even more tars and other particulate matter than tobacco smoke. But the amount smoked is much less, especially in medical use.  The technology Dr. Grinspoon imagined in 1995 now exists in the form of “vaporizers,” which are widely available through stores and by mail order.   (Journal of the American Medical Association, Lancet editorial, Dr. Lester Grinspoon, 1995).”

“There is indeed great concern in the medical community about the need to find better pain relief for damaged nerves, but that progress is being made (Dr. Kenneth Mackie, an associate professor in anesthesiology and physiology at the University of Washington in Seattle).”

“The use of medical cannabis has been endorsed by numerous professional organizations, including the American Academy of Family Physicians, the American Public Health Association, and the American Nurses Association. Its use is supported by such leading medical publications as The New England Journal of Medicine and the Lancet.”

    Although I’ve cited main points on pain relief through cannabis use, there is much more information with regard to the legality, use, risk and benefits of such use.  I found this brochure (referenced below) very informative where I decided it and other scientific references would be best to highlight cannabis information in a citation format.  I highly recommend you read this report in its entirety if you believe cannabis use would benefit your chronic pain problem.  Below I’ve left references for you to further your research on the topic.

Most of the citations I listed above can be found in (Chronic Pain and Medical Marijuana Brochure#888-929-4367) put out by ASA (Americans for Safe Access), Free PDF report file: http://www.safeaccessnow.org/downloads/pain_brochure.pdf.  Brochure# 888-929-4367, ASA).

You can also make inquiries by mail to: Americans for Safe Access (ASA), 1322 Webster Street, Suite 402, Oakland, California 94612.  Visit their home page for much more information on current medical marijuana use, advocacy, dispensaries, legislation, etc., at www.AmericansForSafeAccess.org, or call ASA @ 1-888-929-4367.

    Be sure to check with your state public health division laws to find out more about medical marijuana use, grow site & use rights… e.g., possible zoning grow site, use, geography restrictions, limitations, etc.   State reciprocity, card issue and federal- state law use conflicts, etc.

 Author:  Marc T. Woodard, MBA, BS Exercise Science, USA Medical Services Officer, CPT, RET.  2009 Copyright, All rights reserved.  Mirror Athlete Enterprises Publishing @: www.mirrorathlete.com, Sign up for your free eNewsletter.