Natural Pain Relief - Feeling Better Faster

If you google “natural pain relief”, you will be inundated with a countless number of commercial products, supplements, herbs, etc. You could have your own small pharmacopeia of over-the-counter remedies. 

The question is do any of these products actually work?

Besides natural pain relief options, you have the option of prescription medications. With the rise in opioid use and abuse, many physicians are a bit more stingy with prescribing pain medication and many patients are shying away from wanting to even start them. Unfortunately, there are still too many people dependent on both prescription and over-the counter medications to mask their pain - whether it be physical, psychological, or emotional pain that grips them.

What happens when the prescription medications no longer work or the physician stops prescribing them?

Many people turn to alcohol and/or illegal substances to self-medicate. What starts out as one drink turns into another and another and another....

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How Do I Get Rid Of A “Kink In My Neck”?

As I write this blog, I am reminded that September 6th is National Read A Book Day.

Have you held a book in your lap and after reading it for awhile, tried to look up but felt a “kink in your neck”?

Or, maybe your son or daughter stayed up late cramming for an exam and then complained about a “kink in their neck” the next morning?

In my own personal experience, I have awakened with a “kink in my neck”.

Why does this happen?

One of the most common reasons the “kink in the neck” occurs is because of muscle imbalances. 

What’s out of balance?

Stand up wherever you are right now.

Stand and move your chin to your chest to look down at your feet. Do you feel a pull in the back of your neck?

Imagine standing or sitting in this position for 1 hour. The muscles in the back of your neck would get nice and stretched but the muscles in the front of the neck would get nice and tight. 

When someone is reading for awhile and...

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Why Those Gray Hairs Should Encourage You!

I recently requested my hair stylist to cut my hair shorter into a pixie cut. Of course, when she did that, all the sun-kissed summer blonde hair quickly floated to the floor. My kids kindly pointed out that my hair was grayer than before.

At this point, some of you might be thinking their truthful words might hurt my feelings.

No Way!

My graying hair is symbolic; it means I’ve been through stuff! I am seasoned!

At 45 years young, I feel great! I exercise. I eat healthy 80% of the time. I have better relationships with my friends because we’ve been through the highs and lows together.

When you look in the mirror, I hope the face looking back at you shows joy and contentment.

If not, why not?

It’s not too late. I’ve seen 30 somethings in worse shape than 70 somethings.

Perhaps the gray hairs that reflect in the light are a bother to you. Maybe you dye your hair so you can ignore them until your next coloring appointment.

Age is a number and it is also a...

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Why Holding Your Breath During Resistance Training Can Hurt Your Back

Ever seen someone at the gym with a red face grimacing as they try to push a weighted bar into the air during the bench press? 

Have you ever strained to lift just a few more reps during the bicep curl and find yourself holding your breath to get that last little bit of motion?

Myth: Holding your breath helps you lift more weight

Truth: Breathing correctly helps you lift more weight

When physical exertion increases, it is natural for people to hold their breath. This is known as the valsalva maneuver. Your body wants to do this.

The problem is that it is not efficient and can increase your risk of back pain.

When you are doing strength training or resistance training, you will be more efficient if you inhale as you lower the weight and exhale as you lift the weight.

 

For the bench press:

  • Exhale as you push the weighted bar into the air
  • Inhale as you lower the weighted bar towards your chest

For a bicep curl:

  • Exhale as your lift up the weight
  • Inhale as you lower the...
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Does Going To The Waterpark Count As Exercise?

My family and I have spent A LOT of time at the waterpark this summer. We have the sun tans to prove it. And, yes, we used sunscreen!

Our girls love climbing up the steps to slide down some really big water slides. The inflatables they carry up of those steps are bigger than they are but they don’t seem to care as they laugh going through massive water chutes and tunnels.

As soon as they come out of one slide, they are on to the next.

Or, they want to go to the pool wearing their goggles and swim, do underwater flips, and underwater handstands.

Next, they are jumping up against the waves in the wave pool! Talk about a core workout - try standing your ground when the next wave comes. It takes a lot of strength to not move!

Sure, they rest a little in the lazy river but then they get bored, they start running through it!

All this time, guess who is chasing after them, supervising, and laughing right there with them?

Me!

Sometimes we go for just a couple of hours. Other days we...

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Why are my hands tingling and numb - what should I do to make it stop?

If you have ever awakened with your arm asleep, you know the weirdness of not feeling your hand and arm. You see your arm but you can’t feel it - it’s like it’s not even there.

Gradually, you feel the numbness fade as it is replaced by tingling. Within seconds to minutes, your full sensation returns and you can use your arm again.

Imagine if the numbness and tingling came and went, or worse - it never went away.

I had a patient (let’s call her Nancy) come into my office complaining about numbness and tingling in her forearm, wrist, and hand. It was so bad that “I can’t grip anything anymore and I keep dropping little things like paperclips at work. It’s so bad in the morning too because I wake up with my fists clenched - my hands are tingling so bad I could scream.”

Nancy was an office worker who spent 6 hours per day at her computer. She had been doing this type of work for over 20 years.

As I evaluated her, I discovered that she had...

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What my roller coaster injury taught me about the pain in my butt that radiated down my leg

If you have ever experienced knife-like pain that stabs you in your back and butt then sends a lightning bolt down your leg, then you know that this pain can cause facial distortions with every step you take! 

And you don’t care how people are looking at you because the pain is just that bad!

When you have pain like that, your main goal is just to be able to make it to the bathroom on time without creating further embarrassment.

I’ve experienced pain like that. I’ve experienced pain where the very touch of my clothes felt like a hot iron burning my skin or like a nasty sunburn that no amount of aloe will cool.

When I suffered whiplash, a mild concussion, and sacroiliac dysfunction after riding a roller coaster in 2004, I quickly realized what my patients must be experiencing when they come to see me for physical therapy. 

Sure, I had ankle sprains and back pain before but NOTHING compared to this. Initially, I didn’t even realize my back pain and...

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How a girl with half a skull saved my future self on a bike ride

I’ll never forget seeing the image of half her skull missing. The pictures on the wall showed a beautiful teenage girl yet when I looked at her I saw the incision on her head, a young girl not able to speak or feed herself, and an indentation on the right side of her head that I could put my fist into if I wanted to.

I did not want to and it would have been very inappropriate to do so. 

The visual image of her head has never left me and I have never rode my bike without a helmet since. You see, that girl was riding her bike WITHOUT a helmet and she got hit by a car. Changed her life forever. Changed the lives of her parents, siblings, friends, teachers… FOREVER.

I’m not saying the helmet would have completely prevented a head injury or any of the other injuries she sustained but at least she might have had a fighting chance at an opportunity to recover.

When I was a kid riding my bike up and down hills, I never wore a helmet. I biked for miles. I would be...

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Timing is Everything

Have you ever asked someone to meet for lunch and they say, “Oh, uh, yeah, whenever”

 

What does that actually mean?

Do they want to meet for lunch?

Do they care about meeting you for lunch?

 

Contrast that with asking someone to meet for lunch and they say, “Sure, what about Friday at noon?”

 

How did that response make you feel?

Did you feel more certain that they wanted to go to lunch with you?

 

I have more confidence in the lunch meeting actually taking place with the second response.

 

Why am I more confident?

Because the person gave me a day and a time.

They told me when they could meet me.

 

Timing is everything.

 

If you don’t put a time on something, you probably won’t do it.

 

 “Let’s paint the room a different color” means nothing until you decide which weekend that’s going to happen.

 

“Let’s get out of debt” won’t happen unless you put a...

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Reality Check

Let’s keep it REAL today!

We’ve been talking about being S.M.A.R.T. - this is part 4 of a 5-part series on setting S.M.A.R.T. goals and today we are going to look at being REALISTIC.

In my last blog, Attainable Stainable, I used the example of someone wanting to lose 100 pounds in 30 days.

Not only is this unattainable but it also not realistic.

I also showed the example of a person who has never run before and wants to participate in a 50-mile ultra-marathon next week.

Again, this not being realistic.

Setting an attainable and realistic goal often go together but they are a little different.

An attainable goal is a goal that is challenging yet not outrageous.

  • Running a 50-mile ultra-marathon with no running experience is outrageous!

 

A realistic goal is a goal that someone thinks that they can actually achieve, is physically able to achieve it,  AND is willing to do the work to achieve it. 

  • Running a 50-mile ultra-marathon with the experience of 5...
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