Friday, July 30, 2010
AUGUST - Pain Awareness Month at NFC
Pain is something we are all very familiar with, some obviously much more than others, but pain is a daily reality for far too many of you and your loved ones. Pain is also major symptom in many medical conditions, and can significantly interfere with a person's quality of life and general daily functioning.
Naturopathic Family Care and our physicians provide several options for pain relief and management ranging from nutritional support, massage, acupuncture and prolotherapy. This is not to say that traditional pain relievers are not utilized however, just as with any other Naturopathic approach to health care, the goal is to help the body heal itself so that surgical options and medications are not necessary.
If you would like to learn more about natural options to pain management please join us for a FREE informational discussion on The Natural Approach to Freedom from Pain hosted by Dr. Marie August 19th at NFC.
Problems in Pain Management
Dr. Marie Niechwiadowicz
My biggest problem in my experience in treating injuries, chronic pain, acute pain, headaches, fibromyalgia through a variety of modalities, is that I rarely see my patients more than 3 times. Maybe 6 visits on the outside. Sigh. I like my patients. I miss them. . .
The 30 yo boxer with a medial meniscus tear that recovered after three prolotherapy injections.
The 70 yo laborer who can now get his arms above his head after three prolotherapy treatments.
The 42 yo martial artist with heel pain that improved after platlet rich prolotherapy.
The 75yo woman who got to cancel her hip replacement surgery after a progenitor cell injection.
The 24 yo fibromyalgia patient who no longer needs her handicap plates after acupuncture treatments.
The 45 yo classical guitarist that no longer has rheumatoid Arthritis after IV therapy and low dose naltrexone.
The list goes on. The list is long. I fear the front desk staff no longer likes me because there is constant new patient paper work and more and more charts to file. Follow up phone calls are something like this: “Is this (insert patient name)? No? She doing a triathalon? Well if she has any new concerns please have her call the office.” Maybe I could have a prolotherapy reunion. But who goes to the doctor when they are well? Maybe I should go back to treating professional athletes as they are prone to injure themselves multiple times.
And it is not placebo effect – I’ve seen pre and post treatment MRI’s that show regrowth of articular cartilage of the knee, healed rotator cuff tendons and repaired ACL tears.
The “prolo” in prolotherapy means proliferation. This injection therapy helps structures regrow becoming stronger and pain free. Even after the last treatment the healing effects of prolotherapy continue.
In some cases platelet rich prolotherapy is a better choice. New technology has made this more affordable and accessible to patients. Your blood is drawn and spun down to the platelets to concentrate your growth factors. This is particularly helpful for structures with very little blood supply (like a meniscus) or more severe injuries. This is similar to surgeries where a blood clot is sewn into a meniscus or labrum to create the regrowth.
I am very excited to be able to offer progenitor cells injections for more severe degenerative conditions. Progenitor cells are cells grown in a lab and differentiated to regrow bone, nerve, connective tissue etc. Orthopedic surgeons frequently paint the tibial plateau and patella after knee surgery with progenitor cells differentiated to regrow bone.
Maybe I should call my treatments “Non-surgical orthopedics?”
What you can expect in your treatment plan is an initial evaluation of your pain including any imaging. It is always helpful to bring any imaging you have. If you are a candidate, you will receive 3 treatments in two weeks. Usually the first treatment is on the first visit. The treatment is an injection of a customized prolotherapy solution into the affected area. After the third we will take two weeks off and you will be re-evaluated. You may need a second round of injections if the injury is more severe.
Then your pain is gone and you never call, you never write. At least wave as you are blowing past me up Camelback Mountain.
Dr. Marie Niechwiadowicz
Frequency Specific Microcurrent
Marianne Marchese, ND
Microcurrent is a physical therapy modality that has been in use for over 16 years. Microcurrent is measured in millionths of an amp so you do not feel the current. By comparison, a TENS unit and most other electrotherapies produce milliamps, 1000 times greater. Your body seems to use the Microcurrent energy to increase its own energy production. Microcurrent increases the production of ATP, your own chemical energy, by up to 500%. It also increases protein synthesis and waste product removal.
Microcurrent applied to tissues supports the natural current flow in the tissue, allowing cells in the area to regain their capacitance. Trauma, injury, and illness affects the electrical potential of the damaged tissue.
Microcurrent is used for?
Myofacial pain (fibromyalgia)
Inflammation and Spasms
Muscle and joint pain
Neuropathy, numbness, tingling
A Holistic Approach from a Naturopath with the Disorder
Dr. Phranq Tamburri, NMD
Although my focus is primarily prostate cancer assessments, on occasion I receive a patient with Tourette Syndrome due to my lifelong experience with it. Tourette's is a syndrome. A syndrome, by definition, means that the defined condition (Tourette's, carpal tunnel, adrenal fatigue, ADHD, etc.) is defined by having a specified number of qualifying symptoms. There may be numerous signs or symptoms associated with a particular syndrome however a patient need only to present with a set number to receive the diagnosis. Tourette's has many but most notably include vocal and / or motor tics, ADHD, hyperactivity, obsessive compulsive disorder, and in more acute forms, coprolalia (uncontrollable swearing). It presents in childhood, worsens during puberty, then often calms down in later life. For adult patients with mild to moderate forms, they tend to accommodate to it fine. The problem however is first diagnosed when a child. Without prior experience to the syndrome, it is typically a very unsuspecting shock by parents to suddenly see their child act in such abnormal ways. In addition, the child is unaware of these suddenly developing impulses and inexperienced with methods of handling the situation, especially in public.
Approaching the Condition:
I have yet to find a cure for this condition. The TSA (Tourette Syndrome Association) has spent decades with research however the medical 'smoking gun' is still elusive. There seems overall to be a hardwired dysfunction in brain chemistry (likely linked to dopamine) that cannot be changed. However it may be modified and affected in various ways. Some have suggested that a virus or a bad streptococcus infection as a baby may have caused permanent damage to this specific region of the brain. There are numerous neurological medications that can be tried, from Haldol (an anti-psychotic), SSRI's like Prozac, to even nicotine patches, yet they each carry significant side effect profiles and seriously question their use when the Tourrete Syndrome eventually becomes part of ones 'normal' life.
The most difficult time is at early diagnosis disorder. Concerned parents are often startled and wish the best for their child to rid them of this condition that they almost always wade into the realm of neurological drugs. It has been my personal and clinical experience that every case of such drug usage concluded with the parents eventually succumbing and removing these drugs, often with regret due to the significant negative behavior changes or low immunity in their child. Despite the presentation of the disorder with children (physical tics, grunting, etc.,), my best overall advice is that, unless the child is deeply affected, you really only need to treat the parents! Tics can look quite serious and alarming... and embarrassing. This however is mostly from the point of view of the average person, again especially the parents. Believe it or not, aside from the Syndrome being occasionally annoying, many to most Tourrette individuals are just fine as I stated before.
Years ago I had the pleasure to have met Dr. Bill Mitchel, a highly respected national naturopath. We discussed Tourrette Syndrome over dinner once where he personally noted from his own practice how Tourettes patients tended to be overly quick thinking, deeply knowledgeable (great mental retention) and creative. He thought it was from the brain constantly racing for their entire lifetime, where it is hard to 'shut off'.
Although I cannot objectively comment on the former observation, I can personally attest to the latter. My mind seemed to constantly race compared to my peers growing up. If I did not consistently have some form of intelligent mental stimulation to concentrate and divert my attention then my tics would worsen. There is a feeling of 'tripping over ones mind' that seems to lead to tics. As a result growing up, starting even at age 7, I would constantly read newspapers, listen to talk radio, ask (too) many questions of teachers, listen to adults talk over dinner, and stay up late to watch evening news programs. Video games, 'studying' complex music on headphones, art, acting, and numerous other creative endeavors were common not only incessantly pursued by myself but observed in other children wrestling with coping mechanisms for the disorder. So I believe what physicians like Dr. Mitchell eventually observed in older Tourette patients was the cumulative result of a lifelong pattern of tic diversion through ongoing mental stimulation.
Some negative side effects of this mental activity can be irregular speech patterns, quick talking, and switching topics quickly. It also can manifests in insomnia if one does not calm the mind nightly. However it is advised to focus upon the positive side effects not only for their self esteem but to keep the child (and parents) attitude of the Syndrome from being 'learning disabled' but instead to be empowered by it.
Join an intense sport like track, biking, rock climbing, or swimming that saps the tic energy and allows amelioration during such exercise. Martial arts or boxing are personal favorites since it further boosts ones self confidence that they will need through life, especially going through puberty. Other good focused activities that are non-athletic include playing musical instruments, painting, Internet surfing and especially video games.
Some doctors have had some success with the amino acid L-Glycine that cuts down anxiety pressured tics. Some have experimented with the powerful herb Rauwolfia since along with dropping blood pressure it reduces dopamine levels (one hypothesized culprit for these tics). Neurotransmitter testing (available at this office) is a great place to start when either newly diagnosed or after long term treatment from conventional neuropathic drugs. Overall diet is important. Ensure the patient is off stimulants and caffeine. As incredible as it sounds, one teenager saw me for worsening tics when his neurologist couldn't help. After a long intake I found he drank 3-4 Red Bulls/ day! His MD never asked him nor told him the effects of caffeine. Some patients have found allergy testing helpful. If the tics are very physical and hard on the muscles then consider massage, especially for headaches after long days of tic outbursts or even from 'holding them in'. If there are strong vocal outbursts then consider meditation and/ or hypnosis techniques to help control them. Vocal tics are the hardest to control but tend to lessen after the hormonal storm of puberty. Remember however that the MORE pressure society, and especially parents, put onto the individual to be 'normal', the greater the anxiety and hence the tics. Don't allow that pattern.
Phranq D. Tamburri, NMD
(Dr. Tamburri is available by special appointment to consult or present on Tourette Syndrome. Please contact the office manager for details.)