Challenging Social Disability Expectation

17 05 2015
Managing Back Pain As Natural as Possible is the Only Way for Me

Author: Marc Woodard on a 15 mile rural walk within/outside of hometown city limits

Updated: 17 May 2015

I know many out there are hurting with disabling mental, spiritual and physical pain thinking there is nothing more that can be done to improve the situation.

I do understand the feelings associated with loss of finances, immobility, productivity, loneliness, worth and dignity.  I’ve personally experienced these things during my own physical adversary and mobility challenge from 2003 to 2008 after injury.  And one thing I know for certain, physical loss almost always leads to mental depression.  And if not prepared with a plan to beat it, the mind and body begin to experience more illness and pain.

However, if you are able to mobilize your body for longer periods of time throughout the day, especially outdoors when possible, nature has a way of inspiring, providing solutions and purpose, while allowing the mind and body to heal. The encompassing being when connected to God’s universe have healing energy. Read: What is Pranic Healing and does it Work

Regardless of whether you’re recovering from injury, addiction, illness or disease and feel broke, you can be made whole again through self-healing effort. Even when temporarily or permanently confined to a wheelchair, dependent on crutches or cane(s); or have loss of limb(s). You’re capable of finding new and exciting purpose while enjoying life to the fullest.

Walking desolate dried up Northern California lakes and river beds for exercise

When the mind and body are stimulated, energized and challenged by changing environmental surroundings and activity; the brains cerebrum thinks, perceives and processes everything within and around it. Through transport of mind and body the processing of sight, sound, smell, sense and touch stimulation of environmental and spiritual elements has therapeutic and healing benefits.

However, if the mind actually believes the body cannot receive such a benefit through mobility activities then a disabled social expectation may likely result.

All too often we tend to lock ourselves away when we become mentally and physically ill or hurt. “Then ponder on all the whys.” Why did this happen to me, why won’t the pain stop, why can’t I continue the same lifestyle habits, why should I continue on to self-improve or help others, why bother?

When instead the focus should be on “the” who, what, where and how. Who are my real friends and family, what environment do I need to surround myself in to heal and get healthy, where do I find the best treatment and support group, how do I need to reinvent myself, contribute to community and find new purpose while living life to the fullest?

What is a social disability expectation?  I coined this term back in 2004 when I understood my injury was permanent causing lifelong pain that must be managed daily.

I believed for a short period of time my new purpose in life was to live as a disability casualty, or learn to live the way I believed society and medical doctors viewed and classified me. Especially as I struggled to walk correctly with mobility aids for many years while battling pain depression. It became apparent post op recovery; psychologist, orthopedic specialists and physiatrists’ recommendations were to live life as comfortable as possible and not stress over the “whys” but to move forward the best I could, as comfortable as possible. But I was discouraged from challenging my physical body more due to possible re-injury and neurological pain complications radiating throughout my body.

Marc after Second Hip Surgery

Nothing easy about a post op and recovery scenario

At that time I didn’t understand how to reinvent myself within a less mobile and pain ridden circumstance. This was my physical adversity challenge for many years and is chronicled throughout the “soon to be released” MirrorAthlete book chapters. It is also one of the integrated client stories and lessons learned. To learn more about my personal adversity challenge visit MirrorAthlete home site. Then click on Book Project link and read the narratives. Release of our first MirrorAthlete book publication will occur 1st quarter of 2016.

Make no mistake, it makes no difference if depression begins within your mind’s eye, caused by bodily pain, substantiated medical diagnosis, public perception, etc. Severe and chronic depression is a serious medical condition and without proper treatment and support may spell disaster for a patient on the mend. Read, L-Tryptophan, The Obesity, Depression & ADD Silver Bullet Solution?

In either case, the psychosomatic [brain and body] are connected through Neuro biochemical transmitter conduits [hormones, and feel good chemical pathways]. The point being, mental and physical illness, disorders and disease can all depress, stress and cause neurological pain through the same neuro transmitter conduits which can further sicken and disable the encompassing being.

I know many of you have woken up on certain days and felt bad, or under the weather and didn’t go to work. Imagine feeling that way every day. How would that affect your daily activities, mood, feelings and outlook on life? And what would you be willing to do to make yourself numb to those feeling? Begin a bad drug or drinking habit? Or fight your way back from the obis through self-healing activities.

When the mind is sickened and depressed then the body and spirit often follow suit. And when this goes on for too long mental fatigue transmits less of the healing feel good chemical energy (serotonin, dopamine and adrenalin, etc.) and begins to put more stress on bodily functions and cellular health. Then as internal and external environmental stressors continue, increased oxidative stress damage to cells occur. Then increase risk of illness and disease and more pain depression follow.

IMG_0277

So many ways to mobilize the body and experience life to the fullest.

I know from personal, medical consultation, client and educational experiences there is a universal energy capable of healing all that ails us [1/3 encompassing being is “spirit”]. Reversing ill-health can be accomplished through lifestyle change that connects our physical being to nature’s spiritual surroundings and energy. My healthy spiritual connection is made through daily walking activity on suburban and rural trail systems as a city dweller. Read: Learn to Embrace the Pain, Exercise and get fit.

To make sense of everything that proceeded to this point, let’s experience what it may be like to live the social disability expectation through another mind’s eye.

You now live a changed lifestyle due to injury or disease or mental disorder. You may/may not have limited mobility, take drugs of some form and receive disability checks monthly. People in general understand disability payments is a needed resource for those clinically diagnosed as disabled of the mind, or body, or both. What becomes bad about those payments are when recipients stop living life to the fullest when in fact capable of doing more.

For example, some believe their not capable of doing anything after disability rating and award of support. Other than living a sedentary lifestyle and stuck inside their home while partially or fully mobile. And others fear if they try to increase activity effort or become more productive, they may lose their disability finances. In either case this is wrong thinking.

Which life road will you choose? A path of adventure and purpose, or isolation.

One does not have to live a 100% disabled and sedentary lifestyle if on 100% disability benefits. There’s room to increase daily mobility activity and improve productivity, while managing pain without fear of losing financial support. Keep this in mind, once substantiated disabled by a medical doctor and awarded support, this will not stop unless you’re gaming the system [an entirely different scenario and discussion].

If you’re now suffering from a depressed state of mind, body and spirit, realize no matter the physical adversity challenge… you have greater purpose in life than meeting a 100% social disability expectation. For instance, does physical disability mean your brain or body is not capable to some capacity of increased productive function?

Does this not mean one can’t help others who now find themselves in the same situation and need a voice, guidance and advisement on how to move forward, heal and fine purpose in life?

Does this mean there’s no greater good one could aspire because of partial, or full immobility, disease, mental disorder and pain challenges?

Does this mean a broken body or mind can’t reason and mend itself out of depression and limited mobility with proper treatment and support resources?

To tell you the truth I could go on and on with reasons why someone should not meet a social disability expectation based on any other opinion than a medical doctor(s) and the knowledge gained once you’ve connected and participated within a relative self-healing treatment program. MirrorAthlete soon to be released book provides all these connections you need to know, get well and live life to the fullest.

The point is, everyone has purpose on planet earth.   Your decision to make… will you accept your disability as a lifelong sentence without hope of better circumstances? Or will you fight for happiness, purpose and quality of life experiences for the sake of self, family and community.

Family Needs You…

To fight and die for a cause is a noble endeavor. To lie down without a fight serves no purpose, especially when capable of doing more. In my mind, only total incapacitation [hospice care] should relieve one of further service and purpose to self, family and community. For that life purpose has been served and will be judged and rewarded not of this earth.

I know many broken bodies have given up on themselves because of injury(s) or chronic medical condition(s) and dependent on disability services making life more comfortable and secure. But in knowing you’re provided for there’s opportunity to help others when capable. Stay mindful, the spirit is strong and when connected to universal energy can overcome many types of physical and mental adversity challenges.

Even if your diagnosis and health condition is classified as stationary permanent (means condition is stable, may/may not improve and “may” get worse with age) is certainly not a reason to throw in the towel. To age without challenging disability on a daily basis is to limit mobility and life purpose. And for many increase health risk. This is where depression begins its insidious course on the organic brain and body.

If lack of mobility causes body weight to climb, then cardio circulatory and disease often follow and may further complicate primary disability circumstances. And when you see no way out of this progressive negative you experience more mental and physical depression and pain than need be.

Don’t let disability and society dictate how to live your life. Don’t accept or fulfill a social disability expectation that’s less purposeful than needed to accomplish life goals and especially when capable.

Be a MirrorAthlete® Warrior and take back as much of your life as possible.

See the world and enjoy yourself in social gathering space and experience positive life interactions.

Live life to the fullest, with purpose and in a way that makes you feel good about your time here in these mortal bodies!  Then you may experience life to the fullest with no regrets. And find peace within your mind’s eye, heart and soul.

Author:  Marc T. Woodard, MBA, BS Exercise Science, USA Medical Services Officer, CPT, RET.  2015 Copyright.  All rights reserved, Mirror Athlete Publishing, http://www.mirrorathlete.com, Sign up for your Free eNewsletter.





Learn to Embrace the Pain, Exercise and Get Fit

23 09 2011

    The mindset change required to work around your pain is most important in order to meet your fitness goals; especially if your challenge is to manage acute and chronic pain.  The mind must learn to embrace and adapt to a specific ill-health pain condition(s) and/or physical-mental limitations in order to increase fitness levels.  And it is important to understand your medical condition and limitations before applying exercise.  Without this knowledge you may further injure yourself during activity.

    The only true way to understand your limitations brought about by pain is to work with your medical providers.  By working with medical pain specialists you can then better understand what triggers and aggravates your pain when working through Range-Of-Motion (ROM) activities.   By becoming knowledgeable about your body and ill-health pain condition, you “can” prevent further aggravation or injury and alleviate your pain with customized exercise programming.  A fitness goal of yours should be to “find a way” to continue some form of movement activity no matter the mobility status (bed ridden, wheel chair, walker, cane, or other ambulatory challenges, e.g., prosthetics).

     Exercise activities are important because body movement provides oxygenated-enriched blood, while strengthening and providing nutrients to muscles, tendons, ligaments and vital organs no matter how “limiting” the movement may seem to the patient.  Exercise movement activities also activate natural feel good pain reducing endorphins.  These hormones are necessary to provide a feeling of overall wellbeing and thwart depression.  Physical activity is also a metabolic booster:  Weight control, immune deficiency exciter, repairs tissue as a mending facilitator, tones muscle, improves cognitive brain function, realigns and strengthens posture, improves cardiovascular health and promotes good skin, hair, nails etc., with many more benefits too numerous to mention.

    It also must be understood that not all preexisting, or recent injuries to the body you experience may ever be 100% pain free.  This is because once there is internal-external, or injury breach to the bodies postural integrity, it is most likely this damage will be felt infrequently after the mend and throughout life.  And as you age, and if activity exercise is not continued this pain can become more problematic.

     Most first experience acute (infrequent) pain after injury, or surgery, and then with age, these infrequent (acute) trigger pain sights can become a chronic pain condition.  If movement is limited for too long because of pain, this can/does become more aggravating if ignored.  If you experience unacceptable pain after injury or surgery, ensure you follow up with your medical specialists.  Don’t just ignore the pain for years.  Learn to properly manage an ill-health and/or alleviate a painful condition by working with the right referred medical resources in a timely manner.

    My personal experience when managing pain, whether acute, or chronic; pain is less severe if exercise and activity are applied daily.  And when adequate movement is not applied, frequency and intensity of pain episodes at damaged tissue sites tend to increase. 

    This then translates from the mind to the body an unacceptable pain experience.  With unacceptable pain, the mind tells the body to “guard” the pain.  Guarding simply means the mind instructs the muscles to tense up and become rigid at the pain sight to prevent full ROM within a body segment to reduce the pain.  Another way to explain this is the body becomes less flexible and unwilling to use a full ROM to accomplish work.  And this guarding condition if allowed to continue “will” create more radiating pain while reducing your ability to accomplish work.  Guarding can also damage other tissue in the surrounding trigger pain site; because now other muscle tissue that creates the guarding effect is now under stress.

     When the mind tells the body to guard a segment of body, it becomes isolated to varying degrees when work (i.e., task, exercise, activity) needs to be done.  And since this body segment is guarded the circulatory system that provides oxygenated enriched blood to this area is also working metabolically less efficient.  And when chronic guarding occurs, this segment of body (muscles, nerves, tendons, ligaments, and organs) is now very prone to further ill-health aggravation and injury for lack of sufficient nutrients.  This is how more tissue damage and pain occur!

     Internal tissue damage requires a constant supply of oxygenated-enriched blood and nutrient lubrication through good circulation to heal optimally.  With movement activity, damaged tissues, i.e., nerves, muscle, and joints that create the stiffening and tightening effect can be relieved.  And this relief can prevent further damage to surrounding tissues while mending the trigger pain site and maintaining the neural connection integrity.

    Keeping pain within toleration requires one to be more in tune with the body’s trigger mechanisms.  In other words what movement causes your pain and how can you apply proper exercise technique to reduce the guarding effect?  While working with your physician and pain specialists, you must listen and apply their exercise instruction to improve overall muscular endurance, circulation and flexibility when customizing your fit-healthy pain management program.   And to do this will require you tolerate an “acceptable” amount of pain.

     Although your primary care physician will not provide customized exercise prescription information to manage pain for the encompassing being… Instead learn as much as you can about your medical condition(s) and limitations and apply information I provide to you to learn how to advocate for the “best” referred pain management services (Visit MirrorAthlete Free Articles Repository often to learn these best known fitness secret practices).  Learn to advocate and self-refer to a pain management specialist through your primary physician (i.e., immunologist, rheumatologist, generalist-holistic pain specialist, physical therapy, physiatrist, sports medicine, certified pain management fitness trainers, orthopedic specialists, etc.).

    By working closely with your primary care physician, you can activate many needed referred services to help you better manage your pain.  In this way, you begin to build a customized activity exercise program that will help to alleviate your pain and increase your overall fitness levels (Cardiovascular endurance, flexibility, strength, muscular endurance, improved posture, reduced body fat, encompassing being mending, neural conductivity repair etc.).

     You also may be taking a cocktail of pharmaceuticals, causing you to lose productivity and gaining weight only to find out years later, your pain disease has progressed to the point you need surgery!   Again, my point is to learn as much as possible about your medical pain condition “while in the early stages of development” and advocate through your primary physician to self refer to the medical pain specialist you need.  Don’t just accept years of pharmaceuticals to bandage your underlying pain problems.

    If your pain management program is just about pill management, this will likely create many other secondary risks that will complicate your pain story and make it more difficult to focus on exercise activity to alleviate your pain.  Why is this?  Because your body & mind can’t feel the natural healing effects (biofeedback mechanisms are broke due to the numbing effect of opiates) from exercise if overusing medications that also have mind altering qualities.  Therefore your brain messages body to quite the exercise and take more pills to offset the ever increasing pain.  Note:  I’m not saying to stop taking your prescribed medications.  I’m saying you may need help in “balancing” your prescription use with exercise activity.

     Fortunately, I now live a lifestyle with tolerable managed pain.  Although I must admit, to get to this point was not easy.   And I understand, my pain will always be with me and I do have to manage it daily.  Nobody else can mentally, physically or spiritually do this for me.  It would be easy to become depressed about daily pain, but pain and depression once managed can be very tolerable.  And the only way to do this is through medically managed pain therapy that incorporates a customized exercise and daily activity fitness program that is “always” unique to each pain patient.

     It is also understood one can have pain in a specific, or multiple areas throughout the body.  It is my experience after going through many medical consultations and conversations with other pain patients; most are not educated on how to work around pain and prioritize the pain therapy safely, especially if you suffer from multiple pain sites.  I believe this has mostly to do when a physiatrist, sports medicine, exercise physiology or physical therapist is not involved in a pain patient’s therapy. 

     The next thing you should think about when identifying your fitness goals while working around pain, what do you enjoy doing?  Do you enjoy exercising in a gym, walking, biking, swimming, gardening, shopping, arts and crafts, reading, computer work, etc?  Why do I ask?  Because without an identified patient activity goal of interest, it is hard to know what the right motivating movement and exercise activities should consist of for therapeutic pain alleviation success.

     When I list activities, it also should be understood that mental exercises that appear to be more sedentary then physically active do not “activate optimally” your body’s fit-healthy metabolism.  But any activity can improve the overall condition of the body whereby depression, anxiety and stress is minimized, hence an overall health benefit is gained.  For example, if bed ridden, a mental activity stimulus can transfer a portion of that benefit to the physical body.  This is due to the psycho-somatic neurological connection (mind-body).

     Once you identify your physical and mental limitations to include fitness goals that may interest you, pay close attention to the prescribed pharmaceutical(s) you ingest.  When you pursue fitness activity, as mentioned previously; medications can reduce pain sensation (numbing effect) with a false sense of security while increasing physical activity loads.  Also, there are many medications used that regulate blood pressure, balance hormones, cholesterol control, weight management, depression, the list goes on.

     I do not claim to be an expert in pharmaceuticals or their prescribed use.  However, it is well known your health risk(s) will increase when pursuing an exercise program while on certain medications.   Therefore you need to consult with your pain management specialist [seek referral to a physiatrist first before customizing an exercise program if you have chronic pain].  Also ask about safe usage of prescribed medications before participating in any exercise program!

     For those that are using more pharmaceuticals and moving less, you must find some way to become less dependent on pain killers.  If not, fitness levels and overall health issues tend to get worse through time.  I’m not advocating you quit using your medications!  I’m advocating increasing your daily activity levels while balancing pain medications to reduce your overall pain experience.  I know through fitness activity you’ll become less dependent on the opiates.  Of course, you need to work through this process with your pain management specialist to help you reach this balance.

     I believe if patients are armed with safe exercise fitness activity, pain management information and therapy options, they would enjoy a better quality of life, especially if they suffer with chronic pain.

     It is unfortunate our medical and health insurance institutions are not designed, or set up with a consistent therapeutic exercise protocol for pain patients.  It is for this reason I write these types of articles so you can learn how to live fit-healthy lifestyles even if you suffer with chronic pain.  Learn to advocate directly with your primary health provider and pain specialist(s) for referred medical services to improve upon your fitness levels while alleviating pain.  In this way you can achieve your fit-healthy goals, improve upon your ill-health condition and increase your quality of life experiences!

     By reading Mirror Athlete Articles you can learn how to customize a fitness-pain management program that works well for you (subscribe to our free monthly eNewsletter and be sure to stay up-to-date on all hard to find fitness secrets information).

 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.





Why a Physiatrist Offers the Best Rehabilitative Course

23 06 2011
Korean War Memorial Honors Korean Veterans

The practice of physiatry is approximately 50 years old.  So how is it many pain and immobility challenged patients have never heard of this medical specialty?

    Good question, I guess it’s possible this specialty could be considered the gold standard of rehabilitative medical treatment.  And available to pain and immobility suffers once other medical treatment has been exhausted.

    If you don’t already know about the discipline of physiatry, I will now fill you in on what this specialization can offer a chronic pain and immobility challenged patient that requires rehabilitative services.

   A physiatrist is a medical doctor that deals with muscular-skeletal, neurological, acute and chronic pain and rehabilitative therapy.  They are also referred to as a doctor of osteopathy who specializes in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (PM&R); using noninvasive diagnosis, treatment and management of disease through “physical” means (Physical therapy and medications).

    They can perform all types of specialized tests that range from nerve and spine imaging to determine severity of nerve damage (e.g. electromyography, nerve conduction) to evaluate various nerve disease/disorders, etc.  They also specialize and work with patients that have a history in degenerative back and neck disease problems.  To include, but not limited to:  Rehabilitative treatment with sports and work injuries; and those diagnosed with arthritis, tendonitis, osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, myofascial pain and spinal cord injuries.

    There are approximately 6000 physiatrists to date that specialize and focus on bad backs and the relationship to other parts of the body that also become affected.  For many patients that suffer from back pain and distal radiating pain to other body parts a direct connection to the pain origin can be substantiated and treated.  Radiating or distal pain from the origin pain source can take years to diagnose correctly and can be very challenging for many physicians.  In other words, so challenging primary physicians may take a subjective “shot in the dark” in referring a patient to a medical specialist that may, or may not be of immediate help.

    Sometimes these “shot in the dark” referrals may not pan out.  For me this was the case.  And I suspect there are many of you like me that had the same experience of visiting a lot of specialists and the end result was temporary physical therapy sessions, shots and more pills.  And only until a significant amount of time passed while working through a medical “status quo” policy driven health maintenance organization, did I finally get the treatment I needed.  And this occurred after I learned how to properly advocate and self refer to specialists that could treat me relative to my unique pain issues.

    It is my personal experience many of my medical referrals throughout the years to determine my pain origins were a waste of resources and time that lacked relative treatment.  I believe in my case, I should have been first referred to a physiatrist to determine the best rehabilitative course.  And it is also my belief that if this would have been the case, much of my pain and suffering would have been alleviated five years ago.  And to be honest, I’m not sure what the long-term impact will be on my health as a result of untimely and irrelevant treatment.

    Let’s now take a look at what the physiatrist’s educational requirements are so you can better understand their specialty background and how they as a “direct” referral source to other specialists may help you.

    Physiatrists go through 4 years of medical school and 4 years of residency training (1st year – internal medicine/general practice; next 3 years emphasize specialty training; fellowships for additional specialization in sports medicine, brain injury (stroke), spinal cord, pain management and pediatric medicine.

    Their patient goal is also to treat the whole person’s physical, emotional, psychosocial and vocational goals.  This discipline also falls in line with Mirror Athlete’s principled fit-healthy concepts.  Mirror Athlete is about “ill-health prevention for the encompassing being (mind, body and “soul-spirit”) and is our principled fitness life philosophy.

    For many pain sufferers with chronic pain that have not responded to previous pain management and rehabilitative treatments, access to highly trained physiatrist resources can make a significant difference in increasing mobility and/or alleviating pain. 

    It is true; most of us have access to highly trained medical specialists through our referring physicians.  And it is also true a primary care physician will “usually” not refer you first to a physiatrist “for pain and mobility challenges. 

    You ask why this is.  My answer to you, I honestly don’t know.  The only thing I can think… Maybe it has to do with higher costs of services.  And maybe if you are stabilized and appear to be tolerating your disability, and/or don’t understand, or know you can self refer to see a physiatrist, the HMO policy advices primary physicians to follow a cost effective services protocol otherwise.

    However, I can share with you, if you can get a referral to a neurologist; you’re really in line to get a referral to see a physiatrist from that point if your pain is substantiated and will help with your disability rehabilitative objectives.

    It is surprising to me in the last 7 years; I’ve been referred to at least a half dozen neurologists, none of which led me to a physiatrist for my chronic back/leg pain until recent.  And what is most perplexing, my pain-medical story had not changed significantly through the years.  If I had known about physiatry resources 5 years ago, I would have known to self-refer from a neurologist to a physiatrist knowing what I now know.  Why not 7 years ago?  In my case, I understand now it took two years to determine and substantiate my pain origins.  And I now realize I could have self referred to a physiatrist after I had my second neurologist visit.

    My lesson learned and now passed onto you:  The medical policy and practice “status quo” when dealing with “substantiated” pain and/or immobility, coupled with depression will include pharmaceuticals and other treatment until (a) you reach a certain age.  (b) The pills are now creating other medical health issues.  (c) The risk of other complications is high if continuing the same pain and/or depression management course.  (d) Something substantiated and significant has changed, or has been found through CAT, MRI, x-Ray results and/or lab work and is complicating your pain, or mobility story.  (e) You self refer to see a neurologist from your physician, and then ask for a referral to see a physiatrist from your neurologist.   The later sequence is the best course toward rehabilitative pain alleviation of chronic pain, including range-of-motion and rehabilitative, limited mobility challenges [My experience].

    To treat a patient without considering the entire being is to allow a part of the component being to become ill.  When relative and timely treatment is not balanced, part of our “being” becomes depressed.  And it is also a fact as one will age; without relative and timely treatment, quality living experiences are negatively impacted.

    With the assistance of a physiatrist the patient has access to a team of specialists to assist in customizing a rehabilitative treatment program that incorporates healing for the encompassing being.

    The team of specialist the physiatrist may access to assist your ill-health conditions are: Speech-language pathologists, social workers, nurses, and psychologists, neurologic (brain injury, stroke, and spinal cord injury), physical therapy, occupational and recreation therapists etc.  Other disabling conditions include amputations, complicated multiple trauma and pain, including burns rehabilitative therapy.

    Physiatrists also work with a whole team of specialists to restore independence in mobility, eating, dressing, and hygiene. The physiatrist also provides long-term continuity of care for functional problems that often persist after stroke.  Note: This is not simply a physical therapy program.

     In my opinion, a physiatrist is an encompassing-being, rehabilitative care provider.  And if you have not seen a physiatrist and if you’ve been suffering from chronic pain and/or are mobility challenged, also you have reached the end of your referral solutions; be sure to ask your primary care physician, or neurologist to see a physiatrist.

     A physiatrist referral sooner than later will provide most chronic pain and immobility sufferers pain relief and better quality care and living activity experiences.

 Internet Reference

http://www.spine-health.com/glossary/p/physiatrist

http://www.physiatry.org/Field_Section.cfm

http://www.umassmemorial.org/medicalcenterIP.cfm?id=3081

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.





This Year’s Goal is Weight Loss

22 12 2010

Wild Turkeys in California on Rural Walk

So your New Year’s resolution is to improve your fitness levels.  What will your fitness goals look like and how will you achieve them?

And really, what is a fitness goal anyway?  A fitness goal is a desired physical outcome that can be programmed by a planned strategy or objectives to to achieve it.

The most common and desired fitness goals are:  weight loss, reduced body fat, muscle strength, increased cardiovascular and muscular endurance and flexibility.

One must also recognize will power to change habits and behaviors is a driving factor toward meeting long-term fitness goals.  Will power is enforced to sustain the course when  positive results are realized.

So what will be your fit-healthy strategy to succeed in your New Years fitness resolution?  First you must know what it is you’d like to change about your current fitness-health-relational situation, or lack thereof and make a plan that is relative and right for you.

What fitness goal will you be working on?  The most typical New Year’s Resolution after the Holidays is weight loss and to become more fit.

Most don’t know the body can remove short-term weight gain hiccups and get more fit rather quickly once you get back into a low-intensity activity exercise program.

It stands to good reason that weight loss is a number one New Year’s resolution after eating so many rich foods during the Holiday season.

Since I’m targeting weight loss as a fitness goal how will you set a realistic weight loss program that fits your unique lifestyle and one in which you will not lose enthusiasm?   Do you need support to achieve the goal and will you have the will power and motivation to do this on your own?

First of all, “you know you better than anyone.”  Am I right?  Of course I am.  If you’ve been telling yourself for the last 2-3 years your New Year’s resolution is to lose weight and you’ve still had no success or lack will power to change old habits you’ll surely be able  to make use of this insight .

I know many of you are conflicted with many daily issues that seem to sabotage your fit-healthy plan each year.  Let me name a few, I’m sure you can identify with them:  job stress, kids, significant other, too tired, not enough time in the day, addicted to bad habits that take away motivation-energy-will power (drinking, smoking, drugs, etc.); lack of sleep, lack of enthusiasm, extended family influence, general environment, etc.  I could go on and on, but I’ll stop here.  You get the picture.

If any of these issues resonate within your inability to succeed at your fitness goal you must find a solution to change it if you expect the desired results.  If you cannot make positive change in your life by modifying your lifestyle, you will forever struggle to enjoy life to the fullest.

And when you fail repeatedly, you tell yourself you can’t do it, what’s the point.  The point is repeated failure and feeling miserable for too long is a recipe for “depression,” and other ill-health problems throughout time.

Also, if you begin a restrictive and dangerous weight loss plan as a short cut to lose weight fast through diet pills and restrictive diets in general; you will have short-term weight loss results.  But when the body’s metabolism discovers it’s been deceived, it will pack on weight with a vengeance after the cheating practices stop.  After years of yo-yo dieting abuse, “these short-cut methods will stop producing results all together and you will, if this course does not change, get sick!””

When this happens, this newly formed weight gain and poor health reinforces the defeated mindset, “I can’t lose weight, therefore I’ll accept my obesity and other health problems.  The mind then accepts an unhealthy lifestyle which than has an impact on the physical body.   I’m here today to tell you, you don’t have to accept unhealthy short-cut practices to fix your weight gain problems temporarily!

There are 7 common practices that can support healthy weight loss.  These practices coupled with years of personal client experience tell me optimum weight loss success can be achieved with slight modifications of daily habit and behaviors.

1)     If you have “repeated” failures at losing weight or your health is at risk, you must change the habits, or behaviors that are causing your weight problems.   See your primary care physician and/or seek referral to a behavioral, nutritional, life coach or fitness consulting service to help target your weight gain nemesis and develop an action plan to resolve the problem that is sustainable.  If you are grossly obese and/or your health is at risk seek medical attention!

2)   It is my belief you must exercise to have effective long-lasting weight loss and sustaining results.  However, for those that have not participated in a fitness exercise and now overweight a walking program will be your best course to burn body fat and lose body weight with minimum risk of weight bearing injury.

Exercise comes in many forms: resistive weight training, walking, hiking, biking, jogging… Basically anything that moves the body consistently for a period of time provides a fitness benefit.  Walking at a brisk pace (3-5 days/wk for 15-60mins) is the best metabolic fat burning, low-stress exercise that results in weight loss and cardiovascular benefits.  However, if you are just starting a walk program, “do not start out walking at a brisk pace,” you must work your way to higher intensity walking exercise over a longer period of time if you’ve been sedentary for some time.

3)   There are certain habits that will sabotage any weight loss fitness goal:  Bad eating habits, smoking, drinking and legal/illegal drugs.  Behavior therapy or in combination with cessation treatment and group therapy may be required in order for you to be successful in your weight loss program.

4)   As we age our bodies require anti-oxidant and whole food quality nutrients to boost metabolism, increase energy, mood; maintain weight and overall health.  So balanced diet in the form of healthy macro and micronutrients become more important especially if one expects to optimize weight loss results.  If you can’t get fresh whole foods in your diet, I highly recommend you supplement your food source with a super food high-quality vitamin-mineral product.  Food is energy and certain foods have more or less nutrient concentrates that don’t always find their way into the daily diets for whatever reason.

5)    When you incorporate exercise into a weight loss program you reap other benefits, such as:  Increased metabolism, muscle development, fat loss, body toning, mood enhancement, strength, flexibility.  Decreased:  Cholesterol levels, blood pressure, mood swings, depression, stress and illness/disease risk.

6)   It is also true, in the short-term a weight loss program that incorporates exercise may add weight.  You say what?  That’s right, depending on body type, exercise will typically increase muscle mass (muscle cells are more dense and heavier than fat cells).  When you exercise the muscle fiber increases in mass and weight.  So as you lose body fat “at first,” muscle mass increase will keep your weight consistent and may even show a slight increase of weight on the scale.  The trick here is to understand this is normal and eventually, the more muscle developed means greater fat burning.  This equates to greater weight loss in the long run.  Eventually, the weight on the scale begins to drop after the body becomes better conditioned.  Read [Science Proves Exercise Alone May Promote Weight Gain, Woodard, Oct 2009]

7)   There are simple weight loss measurements to measure success.  If this is not done, “out-of-sight/mind” will not help to keep you  focused on your goal.  The simplest and quick form of weight loss measurement for me is a scale and the way my pants feel around my waste.  If my weight increases and waist band feels loose, I equate this to muscle mass weight increase.  If my weight decreases and waist band feels tight, I equate this to body fat increase and muscle mass loss.  If my weight decreases and waist band feels loose while aerobics walking activity continues; I equate this to lean muscle mass toning and body fat loss.  “For me,” this represents an easy way to measure my weight loss success.

So what is the perfect weight loss program for you?  The answer lies within customizing daily habits and behaviors that are relative to your needs and wants and a plan that you can sustain.

When daily activities are changed to accommodate healthy habits then will power also  increases to stay the course because it craves these addictive healthy changes!”  This also occurs because of released addictive brain chemicals that occur during exercise activity.  Read article (New Year’s Resolution, Activate Addictive Healthy Chemicals, January 2009, Woodard).

In understanding these concepts and principles you will experience more productivity, feel happier, healthier, have more energy, feel more fit and experience more quality living experiences.  You will also boost your Mirror Athlete image on a mega-success scale that will definitely alter your ego and lead you towards other successes in life!

Author:  Marc T. Woodard, MBA, BS Exercise Science, USA Medical Services Officer, CPT, RET.  2010 Copyright, All rights reserved.  MirrorAthlete Corp., Publishing @: www.mirrorathlete.com, Sign up for your free eNewsletter.





This Year’s Fitness Weight Loss Goals

22 12 2010
Wild Turkeys in California on Rural Walk

    So your New Year’s resolution is to improve your fitness levels.  What will your fitness goals look like and how will you achieve them?  It is easy to make testament and claim to improve your overall fitness levels.  But to say it and make an effective plan are two different things.  And really, what is a fitness goal anyway?  Let’s start by defining what a fitness goal is, or should be.  A fitness goal is achieved by modifying behavior resulting in an intended fitness outcome and is measurable.       Measureable fitness goals are:  Lose weight, reduce body fat, gain muscle or increase cardiovascular endurance, reduce blood pressure or cholesterol etc.  In order to accomplish any of these goals behavior must be modified to achieve the desired outcome.  One must also recognize will power to change behavior is a driving factor toward meeting long-term fitness goals.  Will power is enforced with a deep desire to make a change in life style habits and behaviors that may require months, or even years to achieve the desired outcome results.  (Also Read, “Will Power to Control Compensation Weight Gain Effect, Woodard, Nov 2009).

     So what will be your fit-healthy criterion to gain a wellness benefit for the New Year?  First you must know what it is you’d like to change about your current fitness health, or lack thereof.  You must make sure your goals are realistic and you have a specific plan to reach them.  Also you most likely are aware there will be days that you will lack enthusiasm as fitness goals will appear “through time” to get further and further away.  This fact alone is enough to knock the best intended New Year’s fitness resolution right off the table.

     What fitness goal will you be working on?  The most typical New Year’s Resolution for many is to lose weight, quit smoking-drinking and/or get into better shape, etc. 

     For me, weight management is the toughest.  This is because I can flex in weight by 5 lbs on any given day.  And I can hold these higher end weights for days.  But I understand my physiologies metabolism based on a bunch of factors.  And I will tell you, my weight is in decline during my weight loss program even though I see these hiccups in weight gain sporadically.  I also understand the body’s ability to hang onto liquids and fats and that these things are temporary when I slip off my weight management program.

     Most don’t know the body can remove these short-term weight gain hiccups rather quickly once you get back on target.  My point is, regardless of your fitness activity program, you must not give up if you have a few bad days.  Stay focused and keep chipping away at your fitness goal(s).  Your net result will be a new look, which will motivate you to stay the course for the long duration.

     It stands to good reason that weight loss is a number one New Year’s focus due to our abundance of fast foods and access to food in general causing a great percentage of our obesity problems and lack of activity.  Since I’m targeting weight loss as a fitness goal for you how will you set a realistic weight loss program that fits into your lifestyle and one in which you will not lose enthusiasm?  Will you set a short-term or long-term goal strategy that will take weeks, months or years to complete?  Do you need support to accomplish the fitness goals, or do you have the will power and motivation to do this on your own?

     First of all, “you know you better than anyone.”  Am I right?  Of course I am.  If you’ve been telling yourself for the last 3 years your New Year’s resolution is to lose weight and you’ve still had no success and/or lack will power to change habits; you may need some help.  I know many of you are conflicted with many daily issues that seem to sabotage your fit-healthy plan each year.  Let me name a few conflictions that interfere for many that I’m sure you can identify with:  Lack of funds to purchase fitness membership, clothing and/or specialized diet, or supplements; job stress, kids, significant other, too tired, not enough time in the day, addicted to bad habits that take away motivation, energy, will power (drinking, smoking, drugs, etc.); lack of sleep, lack of enthusiasm-motivation, extended family influence, cooking is a big part of your family culture, etc.  I could go on and on, but I’ll stop here.  You get the picture.

     Have I hit on one, or numerous conflicts you’ve experienced in attempting to lose weight, or to get more activity, or exercise as a fitness goal?  If any of these conflictions resonate within your decision making process you must find a solution to remove it in order to get the desired fitness result.  If you cannot make positive change to your lifestyle by modifying behavior, or removing the bad habits you will forever struggle to achieve your goal.  And when this happens, you tell yourself you can’t do it and what’s the point.  The point is for many “depression,” and letting your body go will lead to other ill-health problems through time.

     I’ve stated the obvious for many now leading into the meat of the topic.  The not so obvious weight loss secret our industries don’t reveal to the consumer.  Many quick result weight loss diet programs are designed to result in short-term weight loss results.”  Read how this occurs by clicking on the link, [Lose Weight, Through Behavioral Change Not Fad Dieting, Woodard, Oct 2007].

     Recall, you get as much out of something as you put into it.  Literally, if you exert little energy to achieve a fitness goal such as losing weight by swallowing pills, or consuming a specialized diet; a majority of consumers will often experience a short-term weight loss result.  But little effort to achieve short-term results doesn’t appear to last long.  And quick results also tend to provide the consumer with a short lived euphoria of weight loss success.  This is because most fad diets don’t change behaviors, especially if you have addictions.  Instead the weight loss results are based on tricking the body’s metabolism into reducing weight.  But when the body’s metabolism discovers it’s been deceived, it will pack on weight with a vengeance after the cheating practices stop.  After years of abuse, if repeating yo-yo diets, “they stop producing short-term results all together!”

     And when this happens, this newly formed weight gain reinforces a defeating aspect within the conscious mindset.  The mind then accepts an unhealthy fitness lifestyle “once again.”   Why?  It is easier for one to accept their lot in life.  By embracing behavior that is incapable of changing bad habits, insidious ill-health conditions “through time” build within the mind and body.  And I’m here today to tell you, you don’t have to accept an unhealthy lifestyle!

     So what are the answers to achieving healthy long-lasting fitness goals for a new you?  This is a very tough question to put into summarized print.  But I’ll do my best.

     I believe there are 8 principle givens in understanding “how to” apply long-lasting weight loss and increased fitness results that will stick; when applied, “with commitment!”  These scientifically proven givens coupled with personal experience tell me optimum weight loss success is based on a combination of these givens.

 1)     If you have “repeated” failures at losing weight or health is at risk, you must change the behavior, or habit that is causing your weight problems.  Get professional medical advice if you have not done so.  See your primary care physician and ask for a referral to behavioral and/or nutritional counseling and target the stimulus triggers that are the cause of your weight loss failure.  If you are obese and/or your health is at risk seek medical attention!

 2)   It is my belief you must exercise to have effective long-lasting weight loss and sustaining results.  However, for many that have not participated in a fitness exercise program, see your medical care provider to see what type of exercise/activity you should start with.  Exercise comes in many forms: Within a fitness center, walking, hiking, biking, jogging… Basically anything that moves the body consistently for a period of time provides a fitness benefit.  Walking at a brisk pace (3-5 days/wk for 15-60mins) is the best metabolic fat burning, low-stress exercise that results in weight loss fitness benefits.  However, if you are just starting a walking program, “do not start out walking at a brisk pace,” you must work your way to higher intensity walking exercise if you’ve been sedentary.  Read [Improve Fitness after Rehabilitation, Woodard, March 2010].

 3)   There are certain habits that will sabotage any weight loss fitness goal:  Bad eating habits, smoking, drinking and legal/illegal drugs.  Behavior therapy or in combination with a cessation prescription treatment may be required by a prescribing physician in order for you to be successful in your New Year’s Resolution weight loss program.  Read [Defeat Anxiety and Panic Attacks, Woodard, November 2010].

 4)   As we age our bodies require super food quality nutrients to boost metabolism, increase energy, mood; maintain weight and influences will power.  So balanced diet in the form of healthy nutrients become more important especially if one expects to optimize fitness results.  If you can’t get super food quality foods in your diet, I highly recommend you supplement your food source with a super food high-quality vitamin mineral product.  Food is energy and certain foods have more or less heavier nutrient concentrates that don’t always find their way into our daily diets for whatever reason.  Think of vitamin-mineral supplementation as metabolism optimization insurance to assist in body-mind fitness efficiency results.  Read [Lose Weight with Super Foods, Woodard, January 2009].

 5)    When you incorporate exercise into a weight loss program you reap other benefits, such as:  Increased metabolism, muscle mass, body toning, mood enhancement, bad-to-good habit changes, increased will power, strength, flexibility.  Decreased:  Cholesterol levels, blood pressure, mood swings, depression, stress and illness/disease risk.

 6)   It is also true, in the short-term a weight loss program that incorporates exercise may add weight.  You say what?  That’s right, depending on body type, exercise will typically build muscle (muscle cells are more dense and heavier than fat cells) dependent on the exercise.  When you exercise the muscle fiber increases in mass and weight.  Your body for some period will attempt to hang onto the fat, cause you to want to eat more; hence you gain weight (Excess Calorie Storage + Increased Muscle Mass).  So as you lose body fat “at first,” muscle mass increase will keep your weight consistent and may even show as an increase of weight on the scale.  The trick here is to understand this is normal and eventually, the more muscle developed means greater fat burning.  This equates to greater weight loss.  Eventually, the weight on the scale begins to drop after the body becomes better conditioned.  Read [Science Proves Exercise Alone May Promote Weight Gain, Woodard, Oct 2009]

 7)    There are conflictions within daily life that sabotage our New Year’s Resolution weight loss goals.  See conflictions above and find solutions to resolve these road blocks to your fitness goals.

 8)   There are simple weight loss measurements to measure success that must be performed daily and tallied on a daily calendar.  If this is not done, “out-of-sight/mind” will not help to keep you on track.  The simplest and quick form of weight loss measurement for me is a scale and the way my pants feel around my waste.  If my weight increases and waist band feels loose, I equate this to muscle mass weight increase.  If my weight decreases and waist band feels tight, I equate this to body fat increase and muscle mass loss.  If my weight decreases and waist band feels loose and fitness aerobics in the gym increases; I equate this to lean muscle mass toning and body fat loss.  “For me,” this represents a successful long-term weight loss and sustaining weight management program.

   So what is the perfect weight loss program for you?  The answer lies within the 8 principles and customizing these concepts in a way that works for you.  And one you can stick with long enough to receive a fit-healthy result.  That’s right, once you understand these principles; you can customize a weight loss fitness program that will become a long-lasting habit that modifies behavior for life.  “And when behavior and activity is changed to accommodate healthy habits then will power is optimized because it craves the healthy addictive changes!”  This also occurs because of stimulating and releasing addictive brain chemicals that occur during exercise and activity.  Read article (New Year’s Resolution, Activate Addictive Healthy Chemicals, January 2009, Woodard).

   In understanding these principles you will experience more productivity, activity, feel happier, healthier, have more energy, feel more fit and experience better living quality experiences.  You will also boost your Mirror Athlete image on a mega-success scale; that will definitely alter your image ego to accomplish bigger goals in life!

 Author:  Marc T. Woodard, MBA, BS Exercise Science, USA Medical Services Officer, CPT, RET.  2010 Copyright, All rights reserved.  Mirror Athlete Enterprises Publishing @: www.mirrorathlete.com, Sign up for your free eNewsletter.





Epidemiology Provides Ill-Health Prevention & Centurion Wisdom

23 06 2010

    In a nut shell, epidemiology is the study of illness and disease affecting a population’s health.  It is also an applied science specific to the incidence of disease in populations as opposed to the individual.  I believe basic knowledge of this highly specialized job can provide individuals with a better understanding in prevention of disease and relative-timely medical referrals for ill-health conditions.  My point is if we could learn how to use specific data to our advantage in seeking to identify and treat our ill-health, we would be much more successful at alleviating pain-illness and maintaining better overall health and happiness.  This does not mean you need a degree in epidemiology to apply a common sense approach to find resolve to a specific ill-health problem.  What it does mean, by understanding how science identifies and treats epidemics in populations; the basic principles of this knowledge can provide the individual a better ill-health troubleshooting skill set that many centurions use to improve upon quality living experiences as they age!

     The work of epidemiologists includes researching risk factors in environment that cause illness and disease, clinical identification/study of illness agent, data collection, etc., of infected people and treatment of environmental out breaks on population.  What most don’t understand, epidemiologists rely on a vast array of disciplines in order to “best” identify an ill-health outbreak.  In order to understand how ill-health is disseminated on a population requires an understanding and mastery by these experts; and those specialized in the fields of biology, sociology, mathematics, statistics, anthropology, psychology and policy (research policy and bureaucracy impact data results and interpretation).  So the “one cause-one effect” to illness and death rarely is a single contributor of ill-health on a population.   Instead, multiple factors, circumstances and opportunity within environment typically lead to an epidemic that would create the lethal agent outbreak impacting an entire population.  If pain alleviation and ill-health prevention wisdom is the result of knowing how to apply some of this basic knowledge; than living to be a healthy centurion is a “more likely than not” goal scenario, is it not?

     With a broad range of potential bio-agents and psychosocial cause factors, ill-health agents can attack the physical mind-body from many internal and external cause fronts.  Understand that each one of us is a 3-part being that requires a healthy environment which caters to the mind, body and spirit.  Also recall, the internal biological neural highways, mind-body (psychosomatic) connection can depress the body’s physical biology and spirit.  The same is true of body-spirit pain which can depress the bio-mind making any part of being sick through the psychosomatic connection.  We are a 360 degree feedback “being” mechanism.  In other words, to make it simple, we all have the ability to think ourselves into ill-health conditions when our internal and external environments depress us through infection worsening a condition for example.  We do not become ill due to only biological external environmental agents!  And when our “being” is depressed, we are more susceptible to illness and disease agents from multiple environmental cause agents!

     Now let’s look at one example where epidemiologists have used their specialized data collection techniques to determine agent cause, treat and save lives in populations, than use this as a model to apply to self. 

     Before water and food sanitation practices evolved many people got extremely sick from the cholera bacteria.  This bacterium dispersed within a population from feces, or other effluents (vomit, diarrhea, etc.) that contaminated their living space; water and food sources, etc.    Cholera would not only be in the water source but would then spread to coastal water ways for example and attach itself to shellfish contaminating those whose diet in part was dependent on them.  Through consumption of shellfish the bacteria would continue its assault on distant coastal populations.   This chain of events could then infect local and distant water/food supplies, dwellings, etc., which infected the body, mind and spirit of individuals, also families in multiple communities.

     By “collecting data points” from various near and distant infected social-cultural environments, people, animals, soil samples, water, food, etc., scientist where able to find the common contributing denominator(s) to an epidemic that wiped out huge populations in the past before the Cholera bacteria agent was identified.  Once this agent was identified, preventative sanitation and treatment practices were put into effect and outbreaks in civilized populations became nonexistent.  Today these specialists collect data and provide consumers and other interest groups risk data and advisement on poor diet, smoking (second hand smoke), sewage-sanitation systems/practices, food preparation/storage, various environmental impact studies, toxic product identification, pandemic containment advisement etc., and the list goes on.

     So what can you as an individual take away from this wisdom to apply to self?  After all most of us aren’t statistical analysts that have participated in illness and disease epidemic studies.  Regardless, there are lessons to be learned and tools that can be used on self, much like the epidemiologist approach in discovery to rid a population of ill-health environmental conditions.  So the basic skill set you can improve upon when seeking relative and timely treatment to ill-health signs and symptoms will require you to provide historical and daily data to a treating physician, or specialist.    Regardless of whether an illness is acute (infrequent occurrence), or chronic (frequent-consistent occurrence), you must learn to track specific data much like the epidemiologist seeks the cause and effect in finding an ill-health agent afflicting a population.  By learning how to target the cause agent a likely solution can be applied to the internal/external threat before it causes further damage to being.  What kind of data you ask?

     You must begin collecting data on your daily habits, time/day of pain, and frequency of event, duration, signs-symptoms, products/food you consume; identify risky behaviors-habits and things that cause stress in your life.  Now you are collecting data that can be shared with those of specific medical knowledge disciplines.  Remember a “one cause-one effect” that creates illness in a population is seldom the case.  That is, the Cholera a bacterium was born and spread from multiple cause agent carriers; starting through poor sanitation practices.  This infected people, food, rodents and water; impacted social activities, wellbeing (quarantined/death) which impacted social/family dynamics in local and distant communities for years thereafter.   So where did science start looking first for this culprit?  Good question, a process of elimination through data collection and other scientific means of the times.  The same is basically true when any patient has complex illness and pain symptoms.  By collecting data on your daily habits, signs and symptoms you are providing biological, psychological, diet, physical, statistical and social environmental information that will provide a more likely inference on the cause agent(s) origin to your discomfort and ill-health.

     Below are 12 data points of interest you can track for self to share with a physician before consultations; much like an epidemiologist would collect to increase probability of targeting harmful agents by sharing collected data with other specialists to rid a population of a likely cause agent.  You too must also do some homework by providing suspected cause agent data to your physician for the best treatment outcome. 

     Information and Data Cause Agent Source Example/Ideals for the individual:  1) Use the Internet to research your symptoms/treatment solutions and visit chat rooms-forums to learn more about suspected illness and disease.  2)  If diagnosed with substantiated illness-disease buy self-help books from experts, or visit your local library for successful treatment solutions/ideals.  3) Talk to parents, siblings and blood relatives to see if there is a genetic ill-health connection, cause and what was the treatment… Did the illness worsen, or improve with treatment?  4) Are your symptoms caused from poor diet?  5) Do you engage in unhealthy habits, i.e., smoking, drinking, poor diet?  6) Are you active, or do you live a sedentary lifestyle?  7)  Do you socialize, practice spiritualism, or are you a recluse?  8)  Do you encounter daily environmental/product toxins at work/home hobbies, living area etc.?  9)  Are you involved in a stressful relationship, job and/or family?   10)  Do you take prescription medications, if so what kind & how long?  11) Are you generally depressed?  If so, do you understand why?  12) Have you had a past injury, allergy, infection that remains problematic, untreated, causes pain and/or depression?

     A process of environmental cause agent elimination can benefit your ill-health quest by collecting these daily data points and plotting them on a graph for example.  Simply list your data point suspicions horizontally.  Next list each column by the day with a 3 category code in bold: Worse, No Change, or Better.  This way you begin to plot data where status change of condition can easily be noted and shared with your treating physician(s).

     By becoming knowledgeable of symptoms caused per unique environment, one can begin the process of removing potential cause agent sources out of the equation that may be impacting, or depressing the mind, body and spirit.  For example, if you suspect something in your diet is the source of your problem; remove the potential suspect source agent for a couple of weeks to see if this improves your condition(s) plot and code the data points daily.  This can easily be done in between consultations which can be shared with treating physician(s).  Note: Do not put off seeing a physician before you start this process.  Instead, seek medical attention as soon as possible if you feel you have a serious medical condition and chart your medical condition suspicion study simultaneously.

     There are many other ways an ill-health cause agent can catch you off guard.  But this data collection insight will provide a starting point of suspected agent(s) data when consulting with physicians and specialists.  Then again, this is important why?  Because all too often we seek medical attention without providing valuable historical, recent signs/symptoms data during the physician consult.  This my friend’s leads all too often to untimely and non relative treatment!

     You don’t have to have the expertise of an epidemiologist, but only understand the importance of data collection to share with your physicians to better analyze your ill-health conditions.  Because in too many cases, we the patient depend too heavily on our doctors to fix, or treat us with a prescription and follow up based on if our signs and symptoms have not improved.  This all-too-often quick results treatment removes signs and symptoms temporarily.  But it does not address the underlying environmental and habitual cause agents of our ill-health.  As you’ve seen, we are much more complicated beings that require a multidiscipline approach to treat and keep us healthy.  And in order to determine ill health causal relationships, requires us to also be honest with ourselves by identifying our bad habits, risky behaviors and environmental stressors while taking preventative action to keep our 3-part being healthy.  To do otherwise not only risk your good health but also can impact a whole lot of other people.

     And through preventative knowledge and timely self advocacy action much pain and suffering in one’s life and family can be mitigated.  Many centurion benefits are possible through understanding the epidemiologist’s wisdom of data collection in sharing with various disciplines to rule out the “one cause, one effect” causing illness.  If a one cause, one effect is substantiated through medical exam than one knows what one must do to get well.  But for a good majority of patients, medical exams “do not” substantiate symptom(s), nor do they correlate well with conventional medical treatment.  Often non-substantiated cases of illness, pain, or just feeling bad are treated subjectively as opposed to objectively for lack of medical findings and then prescribed pharmaceuticals.  Here lies the problem for many that accept the conventional outpatient consultation protocol.  Without self advocacy for relative and timely treatment, data collection-sharing skill sets during physician consultation; insidious illness and disease agents can go unchecked for years.

     If you want to experience healthy life benefits, such as quality living conditions, personal comfort, happiness and other quality life experiences with family as you age, there is much to be learned and applied from an epidemiologist wisdom.  For the individual and centurion this skill set wisdom is invaluable as a prevention and problem solving tool that you can put to use immediately.  This wisdom teaches us to take accountability in keeping our 3-part being healthy by collecting, sharing data, while identifying-advocating for timely and relative treatment when working with our physicians for the “best possible health outcome!”

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.





"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.