Saturday, June 27, 2009


Exercising Your Mind

In my last blog post we talked about the complexity of human beings regarding how health care must be approached in order to be effective. We also talked a bit about physical exercise as a component of health maintenance. Nutritional support in pain reduction was the subject of an earlier post. Today, the topic is the mental aspects of people.

Very little has as much affect on your overall well-being as mental acuity and attitude. This is, as with your health in general, not just the absence of a diagnosable condition. It is more the presence of a number of positive characteristics. The goal is to have a balance between all as
pects of your life; work, rest, recreation, exercise, etc. This takes recognition that good mental health is a result of as many different factors as good physical health. There are quite a number of good books on the subject for both professionals and lay-people.

Staying mentally active means different things to different people. For some, watching cable news stimulates thinking. For others, it may be visiting your favorite museum. I know people who can tell you baseball statistics for a given day. Any mental activity that stimulates your interest is probably helpful in maintaining mental fitness. Several web sites that I have found interestin
g are AddictingGames and Kongregate. They offer a large number of online activities that stimulate the mind. One of particular interest is called 6 Differences. To play this game through AddictingGames, follow "A-G 6 Differences". For the same game through Kongregate, click "K-6 Differences". The object, as the name suggests, is to find 6 differences between two, seemingly identical, scenes. Some differences are easy to find and others are very difficult. Most players, though, seem to enjoy the music and this stimulating activity.

Computer games are another enjoyable way to stay alert. There are a variety of genres under the computer game umbrella such as action, ro
le-playing, battle/war and others. I personally don't feel the need to challenge my reflexes any longer so I avoid those games that involve kill or be killed scenarios. My favorite games are in the problem solving genre. One series of games that has been around for many years is Myst. There are at least five games in the series. All require puzzle solving and integrative skills that help maintain mental acuity.

Whatever you find interesting, it is to your benefit to fi
nd things to do that entertain and stimulate your mind. Myofascial Pain Syndromes and Fibromyalgia are more likely to respond to the multi-faceted treatment plan than to any “take a pill” approach. Next time we’ll briefly discuss the interrelatedness of emotional-social-spiritual aspects of healing.

Sunday, June 7, 2009


The Patient as a Holistic Entity

Successful treatment of Myofascial Pain Syndromes must include all aspect of the holistic health care approach. Holistic health is an approach that recognizes that people are not vessels bringing isolated complaints to the doctor but are a complex of the physical, mental, emotional, social and spiritual components inextricably woven together. Any attempt at healing must take all these aspects into consideration. People are not one of these things or another; but all of these.

Nutrition, as discussed in the previous post, is part of your physical aspect. Another part of your physical life is exercise. Early in most treatment protocols, a mild level of physical activity seems helpful for most patients. Depending on your fitness level; gentle, controlled stretching might be a good place to start. If this is not a challenge, then mild aerobic activity, concentrating on the large muscle groups, is good. Keep in mind that the typical “American” aerobic activity is really anaerobic. Work into more strenuous exercise as your body tells you.

Here is a valuable rule: If, in the middle of your workout, someone says “Hi, how are you?”, you should be able to respond without having to take a
series of deep breaths. If you have to “catch your breath” before responding then you have gone beyond aerobic exercise into anaerobic. This is not your goal. It is uncomfortable and non-productive. Over-exercise isn’t fun and it increases the chance that you’ll burn out and quit exercising. Exercise should be fun!

Beware! You are about to enter a muscle physiology paragraph. I will avoid the bioelectrical chemistry involved in how this happens, but it is important to recognize several facts. One major component of your overall energy
level and THE source of energy for your muscles is a component within each muscle cell called mitochondria. These are microscopic power plants that create the molecules your body uses for energy. The more aerobically fit we are, the more mitochondria are found in each cell. Picture this: A marathon runner has so many mitochondria in each muscle cell that they burn more calories and create more energy while sleeping than most of us do when we’re exercising!

Your body will create as many mitochondria as it thinks it needs. This does not happen overnight and does not happen with anaerobic exercise. Slowly increasing your aerobic fitness over a 3 to 6 month period will change your energy levels and, as a pleasant side-effect, will help you convert body fat to lean muscle mass. For more information on this subject in an easy to read book, look for “Fit or Fat” by Covert Bailey.

As I mentioned at the beginning of this article, the human being is made up of a number of components. Treating the physical aspect alone will make you feel somewhat better but will not completely solve the problem. Mental, emotional, social and spiritual considerations have to come into play. I will continue to discuss these in the next post, “Exercising Your Mind”.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009


Some Things That Seem To Help

Some patients over the years have responded well to some or all of the following components. I cannot say the patients achieved complete recovery from MPS because remaining pain-free requires a lifestyle change rather than a treatment protocol. A number of patients have maintained this change and enjoy relatively “normal” lives. Others found it too difficult to make the necessary shift in realities. Everyone is different and what works for some doesn’t necessarily work for all.

The first consideration in any comprehensive approach is nutrition. A balanced diet rich in high quality foods is a necessary starting point. Avoid Fast Foods! Become a familiar face at your local farmer’s market. Try to eat whate
ver is in season in your region. But even in the best circumstances, foods grown in our nutrient depleted soils will not supply you with everything necessary to confront MPS. Supplementation with high-quality nutritionals in bio-available forms is crucial. Start with a multi-vitamin/mineral and add in further supplementation as needed.

Helpful nutrients include malic acid, magnesium, manganese and the B vitamins. Malic acid seems to help as a transport molecule to move other nutrients to where they are needed. It also helps facilitate the use of oxygen in energy production.

m, in a chelated form, helps reduce pain and feeds the energy production cycle. It also helps with absorption of other nutrients. Since magnesium can also act as a laxative (like “Milk of Magnesia”), it is important to use chelated or double bond forms rather than oxides or sulfates.

Manganese, in an amino acid chelated form, assists in transporting vital amino acids into your body for use in rebuilding injured soft tissue with less fibrosis. It also has a beneficial affect on brain function. Manganese is a component of SOD (superoxide dismutase); an important enzyme that acts as an anti-oxidant that helps prevent free radical damage to muscles. Keep in mind, though, that while it is essential for human life, too much manganese can cause toxicity with significant symptoms up to and including death.

The B Vitamins, particularly thiamin (B1) and pyridoxine (B6), are useful in neurologic balance and muscular relaxation. They are also critical factors in energy production. In the absence of B Vitamin metabolism, energy levels are depressed. This is one cause of lethargy and muscle fatigue.

I recommend using supplements that are of pharmaceutical grade. These are frequently available through your chiropractor or other non-allopathic health care provider. Avoid supermarket and drug store supplements. These tend to be inferior. Brands I have grown to trust include Metagenics, Anabolic Laboratories and Standard Process. At first glance, these supplements appear to cost more but when you factor in the amount you actually absorb and use, they are the least expensive on the market.

The treatment of Myofascial Pain Syndromes requires a holistic approach. Holism is an ancient health care tradition that was largely forgotten in the last century. It recognizes the patient as an entity comprised of physical, mental, emotional and spiritual components. Without encompassing all these, successful treatment is unlikely. In my next post I will address some of these features.