Archive for the ‘Pain Management’ Category

The Aches & Pains of Tick-borne Illnesses

https://globallymealliance.org/the-aches-and-pains-of-tick-borne-illnesses/

The Aches and Pains of Tick-borne Illnesses

by Jennifer Crystal

The first time I saw the award-winning Lyme documentary Under Our Skin, I was seated in the theater. In the film, a doctor who doesn’t believe in chronic Lyme was asked what might otherwise be causing the symptoms of the more than 427,000 people afflicted by tick-borne illness every year. He suggested it could just be the normal aches and pains of getting older.

With that bit of ignorance so baldly stated, everyone in the theater let out a collective groan.

There is a big difference between the aches and pains that come with tick-borne illnesses and those associated with every day life.

To be fair, those who haven’t wrestled with tick-borne illnesses might be confused by the generic descriptor “aches and pains.” That’s because it’s like so many other nebulous descriptions,—like “fatigue”—that could be the result of any number of illnesses. Let me explain.

In my former athletic life, I was a hard-core skier. In college I skied almost every winter day, and after I graduated and moved to Colorado, I skied every Saturday and Sunday from November to April. Often my muscles were sore after these workouts. Sometimes I’d even wake up with an aching back, but only because I’d worked my arms too hard the day before. These aches and pains were akin to those anyone might feel after working out at the gym, going for a run, or weeding the garden. The muscles get overworked, and you feel residual soreness.

Unless this type of soreness is indicative of a larger injury, it usually can be alleviated with gentle stretching, rest, ice and ibuprofen. Generally, the soreness dissipates within a few days, and you can continue with daily life—sometimes even exercising moderately—while these aches and pains heal. They are a nuisance but they’re not debilitating.

The same is true for what I know of the aches and pains of getting older. Granted, I am only 41, so I can’t speak yet to the pain my older readers feel when their bones start to complain or they develop arthritis. For me, the aches and pains of getting older mean that my knees creak when I crouch down to talk to a child. My back twinges more than it used to when I pick up a heavy bag or box and I’m more susceptible to a pulled muscle. When I fall down skiing, the bruises hurt a little more, I’m having more soreness the next day than when I was younger, and I tend to need more ibuprofen.

These aches and pains are tolerable. I might complain about them to a friend, but then I go on with my day. These pains don’t have me bedridden for months or years.They aren’t all over my entire body, just at the stressed joints. They don’t make me feel like I have a perpetual flu.

The aches and pains of Lyme disease do cover the entire body. When you have Lyme, you feel like your whole body is weighed down with a thick coating of molasses. It takes a slow, exhausting effort to lift your limbs. Your joints ache not in a post-work-out way, but in a way that feels like that molasses is pooling in your elbows, knees and toes. I’ve often felt a pulling sensation in these areas, like someone was gripping and yanking at my joints.

And the pain was not only in my joints. Because Lyme is a systemic inflammatory infection, I felt aches and pains all over my body. Think about how your ankle swells when you twist it badly. That’s because of inflammation. Now imagine that type of inflammation all over your entire body. That’s Lyme disease.

Different Lyme patients feel pain in different areas, depending where the Lyme bacteria (spirochetes) are gathered, and depending on which areas the infection has spread to. Some have migraine headaches. Some Lyme sufferers have back and neck pain that makes it hard to move. My worst aches were in my forearms and shins. I felt a deep pain in those bones, which would bruise to the touch. Returning to the molasses analogy, sometimes my forearms felt so weighted down that I could not type. I could hand write one sentence and then had to lie down.

These aches and pains went on for months, until antibiotics and prescription anti-inflammatory medication killed enough Lyme bacteria that the molasses feeling blissfully dissipated. The pain could not have been alleviated with ibuprofen or ice, because it was the result of a bacterial infection that was deep in my body. It wasn’t just a nuisance; it made daily life impossible.

Now, when I get “normal” aches and pains—when I’m sore from skiing, or my calves hurt from walking around the city in bad shoes, I know it’s not Lyme-related, because it’s not as deep or painful. It goes away on its own in a few days. When I less frequently feel a pulling sensation in my joints, shins or forearms, or when I can actually feel the spirochetes buzzing under the skin in those areas,–when I put my hands on my skin, I can feel a buzzing underneath, like electricity–then I know it’s a Lyme-related problem.

If only Lyme patients could show others what’s inside—if only we could demonstrate our infection the way we see illustrations of a smoker’s lungs. Perhaps then people who don’t have Lyme would better understand. To reiterate, Lyme pain is not the same as the typical aches and pains of aging, and it needs to be treated seriously, by a Lyme Literate Medical Doctor (LLMD). You can find one here.


Opinions expressed by contributors are their own.

Jennifer Crystal is a writer and educator in Boston. She has written a memoir, One Tick Stopped the Clock, for which she is seeking representation. Contact her at: lymewarriorjennifercrystal@gmail.com

 

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For more:  https://madisonarealymesupportgroup.com/2019/06/18/somethings-wrong-im-in-pain-lyme-disease-sufferers-worry-doctors-lack-knowledge-of-disease/Excerpt:

“My diagnoses they came up with here was (that it was) just a pain syndrome,” she said. “I was put on Oxycodone and told to seek a psychologist. At this point I was using a cane. I was in so much pain even the Oxycodone wasn’t working.”

“I kept saying ‘Somethings wrong, I’m in pain,’ ” Fraser said. “Everyone’s telling you ‘You’re not in pain, it’s all in your head.’ ”

https://madisonarealymesupportgroup.com/2019/06/25/it-felt-like-the-flu-it-took-10-doctors-a-year-and-60000-to-get-an-answer/

https://madisonarealymesupportgroup.com/2019/01/10/fatigue-joint-pain-and-low-testosterone-had-lyme-podcast/

https://madisonarealymesupportgroup.com/2019/02/25/bystander-activation-of-t-cells-may-be-cause-of-persistent-arthritis-in-lyme-disease-why-this-study-is-incomplete/

https://madisonarealymesupportgroup.com/2019/06/19/breakthrough-paves-way-for-new-lyme-disease-treatment/

I recently read an extremely disheartening account of how stage three (terminal) cancer patients are now being told to take a Tylenol for their pain:  http://nationalpainreport.com/have-pain-take-a-tylenol-8840582.html

I’m not sure there’s as much of an opioid crisis as much as there is a fear of opioids crisis.

 

What You Need to Know About Neuralgia Caused by Lyme/MSIDS

Many Lyme/MSIDS patients suffer with neuralgia, a twenty dollar word for pain due to irritated or damaged nerves. The following articles do a great job explaining it. I was elated to see that the first article written this month attributes Lyme disease to causing it, along with other infections. My guess is Bartonella, Babesia, Mycoplasma, Brucella, and possibly other tick-borne illnesses, including viruses, could all play a part. Because the CDC/NIH/IDSA do not accept the fact this is often times a polymicrobial illness (infected with far more than just Lyme), and many of the coinfections are not reportable, authorities have absolutely no idea about prevalence.  

My guess is there are many diagnosed with neuralgia that have an undiagnosed Lyme/MSIDS infection.

https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/325331.php

What to know about neuralgia

Last reviewed
Neuralgia refers to severe, shooting pain that occurs due to a damaged or irritated nerve. Neuralgia can affect any part of the body, causing mild to severe pain. Certain medications and surgical procedures can effectively treat neuralgia.
Severe neuralgia can interfere with a person’s ability to perform everyday tasks and may impact their quality of life.
Neuralgia has many possible causes, including:
  • infections, such as shingles, Lyme disease, or HIV
  • pressure on nerves from bones, blood vessels, or tumors
  • other medical conditions, such as kidney disease or diabetes
  • aging

    Types of neuralgia

    Healthcare professionals divide neuralgia into categories depending on the areas of the body it affects. The following are some common types of neuralgia:

    Trigeminal neuralgia

    Woman experiencing headache and neuralgia in face holding glass of water in pain

Trigeminal neuralgia (TN) involves the trigeminal nerve in the head. It has three branches that send signals from the brain to the face, mouth, teeth, and nose.

TN falls into two subdivisions: type 1 and type 2.

Type 1 TN causes a painful burning or electric shock-like sensation in parts of the face. People with type 1 TN experience irregular episodes that come on suddenly.

The duration of these episodes varies among people but can last up to 2 minutes, according to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.

Type 2 TN produces a constant, dull aching sensation in the face.

The exact cause of TN remains unclear. However, pressure from an enlarged blood vessel can irritate or even damage the trigeminal nerve.

Multiple sclerosis (MS) can give rise to TN. MS is a neurological disorder that causes inflammation that damages the myelin sheath surrounding nerve fibers in the central nervous system.

Postherpetic neuralgia

Postherpetic neuralgia (PHN) is a painful condition that affects the nerves in the skin.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), PHN is the most common complication of shingles, affecting about 10–13% of people who develop it.

Shingles is a viral infection that causes blisters and a painful skin rash. The varicella-zoster virus, which causes chickenpox, remains dormant in the nervous system and reactivates later in life, causing shingles.

When the virus reactivates, it can cause inflammation in the nerve fibers. This inflammation can lead to permanent nerve damage that causes pain, even after the infection subsides.

Occipital neuralgia

This form of neuralgia affects the occipital nerves, which originate in the neck and send signals to the back of the head.

Occipital neuralgia causes a throbbing or shooting pain that starts near the base of the skull and radiates along the scalp. Occipital neuralgia pain can flow to the back of the eyes.

Occipital neuralgia has numerous potential causes, including:

  • sudden head movements
  • tense neck muscles
  • lesions or tumors in the neck
  • inflamed blood vessels
  • infections
  • gout
  • diabetes
  • neck injuries

Peripheral neuralgia

Difficulty eating or swallowing are potential symptoms of peripheral neuralgia.

 

Peripheral neuralgia, or peripheral neuropathy, refers to pain that occurs due to nerve damage in the peripheral nervous system. This includes all nerve fibers outside of the brain and spinal cord.

Peripheral neuralgia can affect a single nerve or entire nerve groups.

Sustaining damage to the peripheral nervous system can affect nerves that control muscle movements, transmit sensory information, and regulate internal organs.

Peripheral neuralgia can cause pain or numbnessin the hands, feet, arms, and legs. Other symptoms may include:

  • involuntary muscle twitching or cramping
  • loss of coordination
  • difficulty performing complex motor tasks, such as buttoning a shirt or tying shoelaces
  • hypersensitivity to touch or temperature
  • excess sweating
  • gastrointestinal problems
  • difficulty eating or swallowing
  • difficulty speaking

Intercostal neuralgia

Intercostal neuralgia affects the nerves that sit just below the ribs. Doctors call the muscles in this area the intercostal muscles.

Several potential factors may contribute to intercostal neuralgia, such as:

  • injuries or surgical procedures that involve the chest
  • pressure on the nerves
  • shingles or other viral infections

Intercostal neuralgia causes a sharp, burning pain that affects the chest wall, upper abdomen, and upper back. Certain physical movements, such as breathing, coughing, or laughing, can worsen the pain.

Additional symptoms may include:

  • tightness or pressure that wraps around the chest
  • tingling or numbness in the upper chest or upper back
  • muscle twitching
  • loss of appetite

Diabetic neuropathy

Diabetic neuropathy is the most common complication of diabetes. Because diabetes affects so many people, rates of peripheral neuropathy are now beginning to rise.

Symptoms include loss of balance and numbness, tingling, and pain. The best way to prevent diabetic neuropathy is to bring blood sugar levels within a suitable range.

 

Symptoms

In general, neuralgia causes intense and distinct symptoms, including:

  • sudden episodes of extreme shooting or stabbing pain that follows the path of a damaged or irritated nerve
  • persistent aching or burning pain
  • tingling or numbness
  • muscle weakness
  • loss of muscle mass, or atrophy
  • involuntary muscle twitching or cramping

 

Treatments

Treatment options for neuralgia vary depending on the type and severity of the condition.

Topical ointments, local nerve block, and steroid injections may offer temporary pain relief for mild neuralgia.

Treating severe neuralgia pain may require prescription medications, surgical procedures, or both.

Medications

A doctor may prescribe medication to treat neuralgia.

  • anticonvulsants, such as carbamazepine, topiramate, and lamotrigine
  • antidepressants, such as amitriptyline
  • muscle relaxants, such as baclofen
  • membrane-stabilizing medications, such as gabapentin

Surgery

Some surgical procedures can help relieve neuralgia pain when the condition does not respond to medication.

Examples of surgical procedures that can help treat neuralgia include:

  • Microvascular decompression: This helps remove an enlarged blood vessel pressing on a nerve. The procedure involves placing a soft pad between the blood vessel and the affected nerve.
  • Stereotactic surgery: This is a noninvasive procedure that delivers highly concentrated radiation beams to the root of a damaged nerve. The radiation disrupts the transmission of pain signals to the brain.
  • Balloon compression: This involves inserting a small balloon into the affected nerve. The balloon inflates, resulting in controlled, intentional nerve damage. This procedure prevents the affected nerve from sending pain signals to the brain. However, the effects of the procedure usually wear off after 1–2 years.

 

Outlook and takeaway

Neuralgia causes painful symptoms that vary in duration and severity. As well as pain, neuralgia can cause numbness, muscle weakness, and hypersensitivity.

If a person does not receive treatment, neuralgia can interfere with their ability to perform daily tasks.

People can work with a healthcare provider to establish the best course of treatment for their specific symptoms. If the condition does not respond to initial treatments, a healthcare provider may refer the person to a pain management specialist.

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**Comment**

They don’t list antimicrobial treatment as a treatment for this, but it is. Again, if Lyme/MSIDS is behind it, the only thing that’s going to squash this pain at the root is to eradicate the pathogens behind it.  Nothing touched this pain for me but long-term antimicrobials.  While some of the listed treatments may help, they are bandaids. I talk more about this further down.  Keep reading….

https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/320143.php

What you need to know about occipital neuralgia

Last reviewed
Occipital neuralgia is the term for a headache that starts in the upper neck or back of the head and spreads or radiates behind the eyes, forehead, and up to the scalp.

 

Headaches are one the world’s most common health problems, with 80-90 percent of Americans experiencing a “tension headache” at some point in their lives.

More painful migraine, cluster, and other headaches are a leading cause of doctor or emergency room visits.

Although headaches are a common health problem, occipital neuralgia is a specific type of headache. According to the American Migraine Foundation, it is also rare, affecting only 3.2 people out of every 100,000 a year.

Fast facts on occipital neuralgia:
  • It is called occipital because it affects the area around the occipital bone.
  • Pain associated with occipital neuralgia is often sudden and severe.
  • Symptoms can be alarming, but they are not usually associated with any life-threatening health conditions.

How is it different from other headaches?

man holding the back of his neck

 

Headaches due to occipital neuralgia are frequently quite painful, starting with a sharp, stabbing pain, but most people with this condition respond well to treatment and most recover.

Occipital neuralgia is different from other types of headaches in two ways:

  1. The cause of the condition.
  2. The specific places where individuals feel pain.

Other headaches have more general causes, which can range from sinus infections to high blood pressure to medications and many other potential triggers.

But occipital neuralgia only develops when the occipital nerves are irritated or injured. These nerves are found at the second and third vertebrae of the neck.

Occipital neuralgia pain will only develop in areas touched by the greater, lesser, and third occipital nerves.

With one on each side of the head, the occipital nerves run from the spine to the scalp, and sensitivity can develop anywhere along this route.

What are the main symptoms?

lady touching side of face whilst lying in bed

 

For most people, the pain strikes on only one side of the head. It also tends to spread, usually from where the skull meets the neck, and then traveling up the back of the head and to the sides or behind the eyes.

In many individuals, the scalp can be affected, especially where the occipital nerves connect.

It can feel sore or extremely sensitive.

Light may also irritate the eyes.

Occipital neuralgia is described as coming in bursts of pain that come and go, lasting for a few seconds or minutes. At times, individuals may experience a lingering ache between more extreme bouts of pain.

Small movements can trigger an outburst of pain from occipital neuralgia. These movements include:

  • turning the head to the side
  • putting the head down on a pillow
  • brushing or washing the hair

The pain can be quite intense, which can prompt some individuals with the condition to say it is like a migraine or a cluster headache, even though these are different types and require different treatments.

What causes it?

Different conditions and circumstances can irritate the occipital nerves, which then give rise to occipital neuralgia.

Injury

Injuries to the neck area, such as whiplash from a car accident or some other sort of trauma, can damage the occipital nerves and lead to this condition.

Muscular problems

Tight muscles in the neck and the back of the head can put the squeeze on occipital nerves and pinch or entrap them, which can also lead to occipital neuralgia.

Back issues

Problems with the spine, such as arthritis, degenerating discs, or spondylosis, are possible sources of pressure on the occipital nerves, as are tumors.

Other causes

Other conditions that can play a role in developing occipital neuralgia include:

In many cases, it is not possible for someone to identify a single factor that damaged or irritated the occipital nerves.

How is it diagnosed?

doctor examining women's head and neck

 

A doctor taking a medical history and conducting a physical exam diagnoses occipital neuralgia.

This condition causes extreme tenderness along the occipital nerves. So, during a physical exam, the doctor may press on these areas to see if the pressure generates pain.

It is not always easy to diagnose occipital neuralgia because it has similar characteristics to many other kinds of headaches.

After initial exams, a doctor may order more involved tests.

One way to diagnose occipital neuralgia can also provide relief.

If a nerve block injected between the C2 and C3 vertebrae makes the symptoms go away, it is a strong indication of occipital neuralgia.

Deadening the nerves with anesthetics and corticosteroids helps individuals feel better, although the effects are temporary, only lasting about 12 weeks. However, injections into the vertebrae and numbing nerves are involved procedures, so a doctor will often pursue less invasive treatments first.

Can it be prevented?

For some people, antiepileptic medications and tricyclic antidepressants can prevent bouts of pain due to occipital neuralgia.

Treatments

Doctors will usually recommend straightforward treatments when individuals are first diagnosed with occipital neuralgia. These include:

The aim is to provide many people with relief by relaxing and releasing the muscles that are putting pressure on the occipital nerves.

Other medications, such as muscle relaxants and anticonvulsants, can help offset symptoms.

Nerve blockers

Nerve-blocking injections, which are used to diagnose the condition, can also be used to prevent pain.

Pulsed radiofrequency

Pulsed radiofrequency may be employed to stimulate the occipital nerves to keep them from sending pain signals. Although this procedure is more invasive than massage and medication, it does not damage any nerves or nearby tissue.

Surgery

Surgery is reserved for the most painful and difficult cases. Through a process called microvascular decompression, doctors eliminate pressure on the nerves by moving encroaching blood vessels out of the way.

Home remedies

Home remedies can do a lot to relieve the pain when tight muscles, injury, and stress cause occipital neuralgia.

Rest, massage, and warm compresses can help individuals work out the kinks that are creating pressure in their necks.

Physical therapy can help individuals work through the crisis phase of their occipital neuralgia and provide them with exercises they can do to prevent a recurrence of this painful condition.

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**Comment**

Again, they don’t state that proper antimicrobials addressing the systemic infection causing this as a treatment, but it is.  And for Lyme/MSIDS patients, it’s an extremely important treatment because as I stated before, all the others are mere bandaids.

This occipital neuralgia was my Achilles Heel and thorn in my side for years due to Lyme/MSIDS. I even had a MRI to rule out Chiari, which can be the result of a systemic infection.  I met 3 people in the same week with a Lyme/MSIDS diagnosis who also had Chiari:  https://madisonarealymesupportgroup.com/2016/04/02/chiari/

One of the best drugs for me was minocycline, due to its ability to cross the blood, brain barrier:  https://madisonarealymesupportgroup.com/2017/06/04/minocycline-for-ms-and-much-more/

I’m certain there are plenty more patients with this symptom who have an undiagnosed Lyme/MSIDS infection.

Home remedies wouldn’t touch this pain with a 10 foot pole, much less NSAIDS.  I would caution the use of corticosteroids as these will suppress your immune system. The caveat would be if you are on an antimicrobial regimen and your practitioner is monitoring you.  I also caution the use of NSAIDS as taking massive doses of Ibuprofen about shut my husband’s liver down.

This pain may be the person’s first acknowledged symptom of Lyme/MSIDS.  Often men will suffer and self medicate and deny a real problem.  This is where spouses, friends, and family need to be educated about the possibility of a tick borne illness so they can mention it to the suffering person. If you are popping NSIDS like candy, something’s wrong.  Getting them to an open-minded, trained practitioner who will consider tick borne illness is your next job.  Contact your local support group for a list of ILADS-trained doctors.

Also, this pain for me radiated to the right side of my head from the occipital area to the right temple. There were times my right shoulder was involved with pain and numbness going all the way down my arm into my right pinkie finger.  The finger would also move on its own.  This can happen anywhere in the body.

https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/321513.php

The following neurological conditions may be responsible for headaches on one side:

  • Occipital neuralgia: This occurs when nerves running from the top of the spinal cord to the scalp (occipital nerves) become damaged or inflamed. Symptoms include sharp pain in the back of the head and neck, pain behind the eye, and sensitivity to light.
  • Temporal arteritis: Arteries in the head and neck become inflamed with temporal arteritis. Along with muscle pain, it causes a severe headache on the side of the head. Other symptoms include fatigue, jaw pain, and tender temples.
  • Trigeminal neuralgia: This causes intense pain in the face and head. The pain usually affects only one side at a time. It is caused by disruption to the trigeminal nerve at the base of the brain.
Lyme/MSIDS infections can be behind all of this.  Spread the word.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What To Do When You Hit a Plateau In Treatment

https://globallymealliance.org/hit-plateau-treatment/?

By Kerry Heckman

My numbers won’t budge. Every month I go in for a blood test and every month I get an email from my doctor stating that my inflammatory markers are the same. The numbers are not so high to cause a panic, but they’re not low enough to signal any real improvement either. I’ve tried everything from meditation to medication, but nothing seems to work. Each month I pray the numbers will drop and I’m devastated when month after month they stay the same.

I’ve put in all the work; there’s been no stinting. I’ve been in treatment for three years. I’ve changed my lifestyle, my diet, and most difficult of all, my mindset. But I keep coming up short. There’s no doubt I’m better. My bedridden days are mostly in the past, and the pain that keeps me up at night (painsomnia, I call it) happens once or twice week instead of every day. Another marker of my improvement is after treatment my herxheimer reactions are greatly diminished. These are positive trends, but still I am not where I want to be. I want clinical proof that my recovery is real. I want to know unequivocally that I’m heading toward remission. I’ve  been at this dreaded plateau for months waiting to break free. I anxiously await the day when my inflammatory markers take a dramatic drop.

Your plateau may be different than mine. Maybe you, too, made big improvements in the beginning and now it’s tapering off, or maybe you’re stuck waiting for any minuscule improvement at all. Either way the lack of progress may be the hardest thing to bear.

All this was weighing heavily on me. Then one day I started thinking about actual plateaus in nature. Consider for a moment you are climbing up a mountain and reach a plateau. You’ve done the grueling work of going up the mountain and now you are walking on level ground. You are still moving forward, that hasn’t changed, but you’re not increasing your elevation. Maybe that’s what plateaus are in treatment—a leveling off that doesn’t feel like progress, because you aren’t climbing anymore. But you have achieved an incremental improvement in your recovery.

This bit of visualization changed the way I thought about my lack of headway, though  there were still some questions I needed to ask myself— questions you may need to  ask yourself as well:

Q: Have I really plateaued or is my progress just going slowly?

A: With Lyme disease the improvement can be slow . . . very slow. As they say, any progress is good progress. If you feel comfortable with your treatment protocol, you may need to practice patience and remember you are getting better. However, sometimes the progress is too slow and even if there is incremental improvement you may want talk to your doctor about exploring ways to speed up your treatment plan.

Q: Have you hit a plateau before? What helped jumpstart my healing?

A: If this has happened before, what was it that made the difference? Maybe it’s a new supplement or an increased dose of medication. Maybe your thyroid or adrenals are out of balance and need attention. Try to remember back to what helped you before and try it again. It may help to keep a journal about what you think is and isn’t working for you.

Q: Do I need to change my treatment or ride it out?

A: As I said, with Lyme getting better takes time. Ask yourself if you think your current treatment plan is sufficient to to get you better. This is a good place to use your intuition. If you feel skeptical every time you meet with your doctor that might be your body telling you something.

Q: If I plan to stay the course when will I know it’s time to adjust?

A: Give yourself a timeline—six months, nine months—for when you want to reevaluate. Verbalize your timeline to your doctor, so she or he knows what you’re thinking. Ask if there is a test that can be run at that time to compare where you were before to where you are now.

Q: Am I testing too often?

A: If you’re like me and your numbers aren’t budging, maybe it’s time to put more space between tests. This depends naturally on what is medically advisable. But I I did realize that the constant testing was causing me frequent disappointments, which weren’t good for my healing. I have since decided to go from once a month to once every other month for my bloodwork and focus on other things in the meantime.

Q: Is there something else I could do to move forward?

A: A plateau is the perfect time to reevaluate your habits. Perhaps it’s time to add more nutrients to your diet or increase detox. Have you always wanted to try a complementary therapy? Now may be the time. Or are there other options?

Q: Is this a good time for a healing pause?

A: Have no doubts, recovery from Lyme treatment is a full-time job. It seems like there’s always something else you can try, but is that the best thing for your body? This could be an indication that it’s time to take a break from all the intensity and let your body rest at the top of the mountain.

Take some time and ask yourself these questions. Get quiet and let your intuition speak. There are few doctors, medications, or therapies that can give us as much insight as our own common sense. Remember the image of the mountain and keep walking forward on the level ground of the plateau—the uphill slope may be only a few steps ahead.


kerry heckman

Opinions expressed by contributors are their own.

Kerry J. Heckman is a licensed therapist and author of the healing and wellness blog Words Heal. She was diagnosed with chronic Lyme disease in 2016.

 

 

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**Comment**

Great article to begin meaningful dialogue.

  1.  Not sure what tests she keeps having done but I’ve heard mixed opinions about the CD-57 test which some docs swear by and others like my own say it’s a general, very basic indicator of immunity and unless you have the number before you were sick and then taken at regular intervals throughout treatment, it’s just a number. https://www.tiredoflyme.com/cd57.html
  2. Inflammation is a definite bad-boy.  One thing I discovered to eventually help me was MSM; however, I didn’t notice the help taking it while in treatment, only after treatment did it seem to really crush pain and inflammation:  https://madisonarealymesupportgroup.com/2018/03/02/dmso-msm-for-lyme-msids/.  This article also shows it’s good for the gut:  https://madisonarealymesupportgroup.com/2018/01/03/the-invisible-universe-of-the-human-microbiome-msm/
  3. Another thing that helped this inflammation/pain for me was systemic enzymes: https://madisonarealymesupportgroup.com/2016/04/22/systemic-enzymes/  There are many brands out there.  You might have to try a few to find one that works. I’ve tried different variations of Wobenzym as well as a brand my doctor sells. (I’m not affiliated with any companies)
  4. LDN was also a game changer:  https://madisonarealymesupportgroup.com/2016/12/18/ldn/ I use a compounded form with only olive oil as an additive.
  5. For many, Lyme/MSIDS causes imbalances and deficiencies in the body. Finding out what those are and supplementing can make all the difference.  For instance, most patients struggle with thyroid dysfunction (as well as other hormones) and magnesium deficiency (magnesium can help depression and 1,000 other things):  https://madisonarealymesupportgroup.com/2018/01/16/magnesium-an-invisible-deficiency/ (In the comment section I give the kind my LLMD sells in his office and it’s been particularly successful. Again – no monies are exchanging hands)  https://madisonarealymesupportgroup.com/2018/03/12/the-importance-of-vitamin-d-k-and-magnesium-for-lyme-msids-patients/ Most of us Northerners are deficient in vitamin D.
  6. I’ll never forget the ranger in the documentary, “Under Our Skin,” state that he never could have imagined that his greatest improvement would come AFTER three years of treatment.  This has been my experience and my husband’s as well.  I must add that after 4.5 years of treatment for us, and two relapses requiring 2-3 month stints of treatment, we got better EACH TIME we treated. This very well could be the “cycling” approached discussed by Dr. Burrascano here:  https://madisonarealymesupportgroup.com/2018/12/28/the-history-of-lyme-disease-dr-burrascano/  In brief:  he found that cycling 3-4 times typically worked for most patients. Ironically, the 3rd cycle yielded the worst herx.  Pam Weintraub wrote about this in, “Cure Unknown:  Inside the Lyme Disease Epidemic,” way back in the 90’s, yet few doctors do this. Cycling just means that after you are symptom-free for 2-3 months you quit ALL treatment.  If and when symptoms return, you hit hard with antibiotics until symptoms leave again. You do this 3-4 times.  Burrascano states his symptoms never returned and many of his patients had the same experience.
  7. Sometimes diet has made all the difference for some patients – like cutting out gluten or dairy or both. For some, herbs or treatments for inflammation made all the difference or help with sleep.  I’ve also known patients who got better only after they treated for worms/parasites: https://madisonarealymesupportgroup.com/2017/10/03/removing-parasites-to-fix-lyme-chronic-illnesses-dr-jay-davidson/
  8. When I hit a plateau after years of treatment yet still had symptoms, I called another LLMD I knew and asked if he’d be willing to do a phone consultation with me, not as a treating physician, but as a second ear to hear what I’ve done to give me ideas for any omissions he saw. That phone call was worth every penny as he carefully listened to what I’d done and gave me ideas for things to try.  Very helpful. I then took that knowledge to my LLMD and he was smart enough to implement them at my request based on another experienced practitioner’s wisdom.
  9. Lastly, I’ve found surrounding myself with experienced patients and doctors to be extremely helpful. You learn a lot by sharing your experiences and always come away with something you haven’t tried before.  Don’t let this information bog you down. Only try 1 thing at a time so you can track any changes. Support Group is a great place to do this.  Always run things by your practitioner as there might be drug interactions or things you need to consider or can’t try at all based on your specific issues/drug interactions.
I’ve learned the most from patients who are on the same journey. Don’t isolate yourself.

CBD Has Unique Ability to Cross Blood-Brain Barrier

https://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2019/04/29/cbd-ability-to-cross-blood-brain-barrier.aspx?

CBD Has Unique Ability to Cross Blood-Brain Barrier

Written by Dr. Joseph MercolaFact Checked
cbd ability to cross blood brain barrier

STORY AT-A-GLANCE

  • Your body has a barrier to keep foreign chemicals from accessing your brain and spinal cord. Researchers have discovered by coating nanocapsules with CBD oil, they could carry particles into the brain of mice
  • CBD is the nonpsychoactive component of cannabis, which has strong anti-anxiety effects. Its ability to cross the blood-brain barrier suggests your brain has cannabinoid receptors used to maintain health
  • Although it’s normal to be concerned, too much stress and anxiety steals your time, energy and health; according to the World Health Organization, by 2030 global costs of anxiety treatment are expected to reach $147 billion annually
  • Low levels of endocannabinoids impact your risk of migraines, fibroids, irritable bowel syndrome and neurological conditions, but using CBD alone is not the answer to support your endocannabinoid system (ECS)
  • Natural ways to boost your ECS include avoiding pesticides, optimizing omega-3 intake, fasting, exercise and reducing stress

The cannabis plant has over 400 chemicals and at least 60 different cannabinoids1 — chemical compounds the human body is uniquely equipped to respond to. Of the two primary chemicals, cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), only THC has psychoactive properties.

THC is the compound in cannabis triggering a “high,” whereas CBD has no psychoactive effects. Both compounds, and other phytochemicals found in medical marijuana plants, have a long list of beneficial effects on health.

Medical marijuana is a term used for the use of the whole, unprocessed plant or its chemicals to treat a medical condition.2,3 With the exception of four cannabis-containing or cannabis-related products for specific conditions with a prescription, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has not approved any “marketing application for cannabis for the treatment of any disease or condition.”4 On the other hand, some states have gone ahead and approved it themselves for certain medical conditions.5

The number of states that have decriminalized, legalized or allowed medical marijuana sales continues to grow. In some states, cannabis is fully legal or illegal, but in others the laws are mixed, allowing medicinal use but not recreational.6

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse,7 notable scientific study results led to the creation of two FDA-approved medications containing cannabinoid chemicals in pill form, but not the use of the whole plant. Recently scientists proved CBD can carry other chemicals across the blood brain barrier, opening up its medicinal potential even further.

The Blood-Brain Barrier Is Designed to Protect Your Brain

More than 100 years ago, scientists discovered not everything injected into the bloodstream would reach the brain or spinal cord.8 Through research, scientists discovered the blood-brain barrier is semi permeable; in other words, it allows some materials to cross into your neurological system, but prevents others.

The importance of the blood-brain barrier to the health of your neurological system cannot be overstated. One portion of the system is formed by endothelial cells lining the microvasculature, which feeds your brain. This protects it from circulating agents and substances capable of disturbing your neurological functioning.9

The endothelial tissue in other capillaries in your body have small spaces allowing substances to move between the inside and outside of the vessel. In the brain, these cells fit together so tightly that many substances cannot leave the bloodstream and enter the brain.10

Additionally, glial cells — astrocytes — form another layer around the blood vessels and are involved in a two-way communication affecting physiology and pathology.11 This barrier mechanism is vital for normal functioning and providing a stable internal environment. One compound known to normally pass the blood-brain barrier is CBD.

Pharmaceutical Industry Finds Way to Use CBD as a Trojan Horse

In Greek mythology, the Trojan War was fought between the Greeks and the city of Troy.12 To gain access, the Greeks used a massive wooden horse constructed to hide a select force of men. It was presented as a gift, thereby allowing the Greek warriors to enter and destroy the city. Researchers believe CBD can act as a Trojan horse, helping move restricted chemicals across the blood-brain barrier.13

Researchers were interested in using CBD as a means to an end. They attached CBD, resembling endocannabinoids made by both mice and humans, to the outside of nanocapsules loaded with fluorescent molecules.

The fluorescence enabled the researchers to track the particles with the hope the experiment would mimic what occurs in the blood-brain barrier of humans. They demonstrated the CBD nanocarriers could transport fluorescent molecules across the blood-brain barrier in mice.14

When added in vitro to human cells mimicking the blood-brain barrier, the nanocarriers with CBD were more successful in passing through the cells than those without the CBD. Researchers also found when CBD nanocapsules were injected into healthy mice, 2.5 times more of them entered the animals’ brains than nanocarriers of equal size lacking the CBD coating.

Cannabidiol — Nonpsychoactive Component Has Anti-Anxiety Effects

The ability of CBD to naturally move across the blood-brain barrier indicates there are endocannabinoid receptors in the brain, which your neurological system uses to maintain optimal health. One of the benefits of CBD on your neurological system is reducing anxiety.

A meta-analysis15 evaluated the potential for CBD as a treatment for anxiety-related disorders. They found preclinical evidence strongly supported it for the treatment for panic disorder, social anxiety disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

A second large retrospective study16 looked at cases in psychiatric clinics involving the application of CBD for anxiety and sleep complaints. It too found the data supported the use of CBD for anxiety-related disorders.

In a small study17 involving 24 patients with generalized social anxiety disorder who, while diagnosed, had never been treated, half received CBD while the other half received a placebo. Another 12 healthy control subjects performed the test without receiving either medication or a placebo.

Each volunteer participated in a double-blind procedure. The researchers compared the effects of a simulation of public speaking on the 36 individuals, finding CBD pretreatment significantly affected cognitive impairment, anxiety and discomfort in speech performance.

The participants in the placebo group experienced higher anxiety, cognitive impairment and alert levels than the control group. No significant differences were observed between those taking CBD and the healthy control subjects who took nothing.18

These results piqued the interest of Dr. Esther Blessing, psychiatrist and researcher at New York University. She obtained funding from the National Institutes of Health, and along with collaborators are beginning a clinical trial to test if CBD helps those with PTSD and moderate or severe alcohol use disorder.19

The researchers plan to use pharmaceutical grade CBD or a placebo daily on 50 participants with the goal of evaluating alcohol intake in those who take CBD.

A second study20 now in Phase II is exploring whether CBD may help prevent relapse in opioid addicts. As explained by Blessing, CBD is different from cannabis. Although it’s extracted from cannabis, it does not lead to altered perception or cognition.21 She commented:22

“Drugs can be non-psychoactive and still have an effect on the brain. CBD does have an effect on the brain, but it seems to affect the brain in possibly medicinal ways.”

Anxiety Steals Time, Energy and Lives

Although it’s normal to be concerned about aspects of your life, too much stress and worry may devastate your health. A rise in stress levels and anxiety may trigger physical, mental or emotion changes, an indicator of anxiety disorders.23 Anxiety disorders are among the most common mental illnesses in the U.S., affecting an estimated 40 million adults.

Those suffering are three to five times more likely to see their physician and six times more likely to be hospitalized. It’s not uncommon for someone with anxiety to also suffer depression.24 Anxiety disorders carry a significant financial burden to individuals, families and communities.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), by 2030, the global annual cost of anxiety will reach $147 billion.25 Researchers in one study concluded:26

“The cost burden of depression, anxiety, and emotional disorders is among the greatest of any disease conditions in the workforce. It is worth considering methods for quantifying direct and indirect costs that use administrative data sources given their utility.”

The cost of anxiety is measured in more than finances, as it takes an enormous emotional and physical toll. Long-term negative health effects may include digestive issues, insomnia, substance abuse disorders and depression,27 each of which come with a laundry list of physical symptoms, emotional disruption and financial burden.

Differences Between Recreational and Medicinal Use

The healing properties of medical cannabis come primarily from high levels of CBD and critical levels of other medicinal terpenes and flavonoids. However, THC, responsible for the psychoactive effects of cannabis, also has medicinal benefits.28,29 Growers are able to use selective breeding techniques to increase CBD and lower levels of THC for medicinal use.

While CBD has gained the most attention, CBD alone cannot fully support your body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS). Cannabinoid receptors in the human body were discovered in the 1990s,30 which in turn led to the realization our body makes endogenous cannabinoids that influence these receptors.

It was also discovered the ECS orchestrates communication between other bodily systems, such as your respiratory, digestive, immune and cardiovascular systems. The ECS does this via receptors found in every organ, including your skin. The use of medicinal CBD is aimed at the health benefits derived from providing your ECS with sufficient support.

However, if you choose to use exogenous CBD, it’s important to choose the right product as some do not meet the claims made on the label.31 Since CBD oil became a focus of popular holistic medicine almost overnight, the rapid innovations in the market have been impressive. However, while products quickly enter the market, effective control has not caught up yet.

Despite CBD being sold as a food supplement, it is often used for significant health problems. The WHO analyzed available scientific data and concluded CBD does not require drug scheduling. Nevertheless, CBD manufacturing may benefit from a preparation analysis to reduce contaminants and ensure the product in the bottle is what’s on the label.32

Researchers believe the methodology to achieve this goal already exists and the approach would hold the producer accountable for quality and safety. Until a system is in place, if you live in a state that has legalized CBD, it is important you purchase any products from a trusted source.

Single Magic Bullet Is Not the Answer to Support Your Endocannabinoid System

In this video clip from an interview with Carl Germano, board-certified nutritionist and phytocannabiniods expert, he discusses the need to move away from the single magic bullet idea of separating one nutritional compound from a plant and expecting miraculous results.

It’s important in many cases to consume the whole plant. The cannabis plant contains at least 60 other cannabinoids and 400 other chemicals, and many of these other phytocannabinoids and terpenes are needed to fully support your ECS.

However, the vilification of cannabis continues to negatively impact the ability to use the compounds medicinally.33 CBD oil has demonstrated use in the treatment of pain,34 which represents a significant threat to the sale of opioids responsible for a large piece of the financial growth of Big Pharma in the past decade.35

Purdue Pharma went even further, trying to position the company as an “end-to-end provider” of opioids and the treatment for addiction.36 The cannabis plant also poses economic threats37 to the lumber, energy, food and other industries as the fiber may be used to make paper, biofuel, building materials, food products and oil, clothing, shoes and even jewelry.

Cannabinoids Necessary for Optimal Health

Low levels of endocannabinoids in your system result in ill health. As you age, your body becomes less efficient in creating endocannabinoids needed for optimal health. According to Germano, cannabinoids may be used as biological markers for specific conditions and illnesses.

Endocannabinoid deficiency has been identified in those with migraines, fibromyalgia, irritable bowel syndrome and neurological conditions, for example. Research has also discovered an intimate relationship between ECS and your omega-3 status, as omega-3 fat improves your cannabinoid receptors.

Other conditions associated with low levels include stress, anxiety, insomnia and eye health. For a long list of health benefits you’ll receive from supporting your ECS system, see my previous article, “The Many Medicinal Benefits of Cannabis and Cannabidiol (CBD).”

How to Boost Your Natural Endocannabinoid Levels

In my previous article, “The Endocannabinoid System and the Important Role It Plays in Human Health,” I discussed the importance of activating your ECS. There are several natural ways you may activate the system to improve your health without using external cannabinoids:

Avoid pesticides and phthalates — Start by avoiding chemicals blocking the receptivity of your endogenous system by reducing your exposure to neonicotinoid pesticides and phthalates. Find more information about phthalates in my previous article, “Phthalate Exposure Threatens Human Survival.”
Optimize your omega-3 intake — There’s an intimate relationship between your ECS and your omega-3 status. Omega-3 fats make your cannabinoid receptors more active, and are used as backbone structures to produce cannabinoids in your body.
Expose yourself to cold temperatures — In past articles I’ve written about some of the surprising benefits of extreme temperatures. One of those benefits is the regulation of endocannabinoid in white and brown adipose tissue.
Fasting — Intermittent fasting may improve your health using yet another mechanism in your body — by increasing your endocannabinoid levels, and regulating your ECS.
Caffeine — Regular caffeine consumption regulates and enhances the activation of cannabinoid receptors. Remember the added caffeine may also disrupt quality sleep, so it’s important to forgo any caffeinated substances after 2 p.m.
Reduce stress — High levels of emotional stress have been shown to downregulate endocannabinoid levels in your body. High levels of cortisol also reduce binding to your endocannabinoid receptors. I recommend my previous article, “How Stress Affects Your Body, and Simple Techniques to Reduce Stress and Develop Greater Resilience,” to help you find methods that work for you.
Exercise — Although exercise is an excellent stress reducer, research also finds the much talked about “runner’s high” may be a function of the release of endocannabinoids in your brain and not just endorphins. If you are new to exercise, you’ll find suggestions and links in my previous article, “Exercise to Improve Your Body and Your Brain.”

______________________

For more:  https://madisonarealymesupportgroup.com/2019/01/16/ldn-cbd/

https://madisonarealymesupportgroup.com/2019/02/10/the-endocannabinoid-system-and-the-important-role-it-plays-in-human-health/

 

Six Benefits of Massage Therapy

https://fitness.mercola.com/sites/fitness/archive/2019/04/19/benefits-of-massage-therapy.aspx?

Six Benefits of Massage Therapy

Written by Dr. Joseph Mercola
benefits of massage therapy

STORY AT-A-GLANCE

  • Six areas where massage has been shown to produce beneficial results include pain, mental health, inflammation, immune function, muscle spasms and flexibility
  • Specialized receptors in your dermis, the second layer of skin, react to external stimuli such as pressure by sending messages through your nervous system to your brain to stimulate the release of endorphins
  • In the treatment of pain, including muscle and bone pain, headaches, deep internal pain, fibromyalgia and spinal cord pain, massage therapy relieves pain better than getting no treatment at all, and when compared to other pain treatments such as acupuncture and physical therapy, massage therapy still proved beneficial
  • Massage therapy can be helpful for relieving side effects associated with conventional cancer treatment, including pain, fatigue, nausea, anxiety and depression
  • If you try massage therapy and find you’re not getting relief, you may want to try increasing the dose and frequency. There are other variables that impact massage effectiveness as well, such as the technique used and the skill level of the massage therapist

Massage is one of the oldest and simplest forms of medical care used to promote general well-being and ease pain and anxiety. Your skin is your largest sensory organ and specialized receptors in the dermis, the second layer of skin, react to external stimuli such as heat, cold and pressure by sending messages through your nervous system to your brain that stimulate the release of endorphins.

Endorphins promote relaxation and a sense of well-being, relieve pain and reduce levels of stress chemicals such as cortisol and noradrenaline, thereby slowing your heart rate, respiration and metabolism, and lowering your blood pressure.

Deeper, more vigorous massage stimulates blood circulation to improve the supply of oxygen and nutrients to body tissues and helps your lymphatic system flush away waste products. It eases tense and knotted muscles and stiff joints, improving mobility and flexibility.

Massage is also said to increase activity of the vagus nerve, one of 10 cranial nerves that affects the secretion of food absorption hormones, heart rate and respiration.

It has proven to be an effective therapy for a variety of health conditions — particularly stress-related tension, which can play a significant role in the development of both psychological and physical health problems. Here, I review six areas where massage has been shown to produce beneficial results: pain, mental health, inflammation, immune function, muscle spasms and flexibility.

Massage Therapy for Pain Relief

Pain is an extremely common problem — so much so, deaths from opioid addiction are at an all-time high, killing an estimated 47,600 Americans in 2017 alone.1 As of June 2017, opioids became the leading cause of death among Americans under the age of 50. Massage is just one of many alternative pain treatments that can be helpful.

A systematic review and meta-analysis2 published in 2016 included 60 high-quality and seven low-quality studies that looked into the use of massage for various types of pain, including muscle and bone pain, headaches, deep internal pain, fibromyalgia and spinal cord pain.

The review revealed massage therapy relieves pain better than getting no treatment at all, and when compared to other pain treatments such as acupuncture and physical therapy, massage therapy still proved beneficial.

More specifically, studies have shown massage therapy can relieve pain associated with:

Tension headaches and migraines3,4 In one study,5 participants who received two 30-minute traditional massages for five weeks reported a decrease in the frequency of migraine attacks compared to controls who did not receive massage therapy. They also had fewer sleep disturbances and testing revealed an increase in serotonin.

In another,6 the effect of Thai massage — which focuses on compression, stretching, pulling and rocking motions7 — was assessed on patients with either chronic tension headaches or migraines.

Participants received either ultrasound treatment or three Thai massage sessions per week for three weeks. Those receiving Thai massage reported an increase in pain pressure threshold, while those in the ultrasound group experienced a decrease. Both groups had a significant reduction in migraine intensity.

Labor pain — According to Rebecca Dekker, who has a Ph.D. in nursing and founded Evidence Based Birth, one hypothesis for how massage works to reduce pain is the gate control theory.8“Gentle, or nonpainful massage, can act on the Gate Control Method by flooding the body with pleasant sensations so that the brain does not perceive the painful sensations as much,” she says.

Intense, deep massage, on the other hand, is thought to act via diffuse noxious inhibitory control. “The idea is that the stimulation from painful massage is so intense that it stimulates the brain to release its own natural pain-relieving hormones called endorphins.

Your body is then flooded with endorphins that help you perceive less pain from contractions,” Dekker says, adding, “Researchers also think that massage might work by decreasing cortisol, or stress hormones and increasing levels of serotonin and dopamine in your brain.”

Fibromyalgia — The National Fibromyalgia and Chronic Pain Association recommends massage for fibromyalgia pain, noting it can ease symptoms.9

A systematic review and meta-analysis10 of nine randomized controlled trials involving 404 patients looking at the effects of massage therapy for fibromyalgia concluded “Massage therapy with duration ≥5 weeks had beneficial immediate effects on improving pain, anxiety and depression in patients with FM [fibromyalgia]. Massage therapy should be one of the viable complementary and alternative treatments for FM.”

Cancer pain — According to the Australian Cancer Council,11 massage therapy can be helpful for relieving side effects associated with conventional cancer treatment, citing evidence showing massage can reduce pain, fatigue, nausea, anxiety and depression in cancer patients.

The Council notes that while some worry cancer may spread through massage, such fears are unfounded, and light massage “can safely be given to people at all stages of cancer,” as “the circulation of lymph — from massage or other movement — does not cause cancer to spread.”

A scientific paper12 discussing massage therapy for cancer patients published in Current Oncology in 2007 also noted that massage is “very safe” and that “complications are rare … Adverse effects were associated mainly with massage delivered by laypeople and with techniques other than Swedish massage.”

One of the largest observational studies13 on massage and cancer was done at the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York City, which evaluated symptom scores for pain, fatigue, stress and anxiety, nausea and depression among 1,290 cancer patients. Patients had the option of three styles of massage: Swedish, light touch and foot massage. Findings revealed “Symptom scores declined in severity by approximately 50%. Swedish and light touch massage were found to be superior to foot massage.”

Back pain A number of studies also support the use of massage for back pain. Among them:

A 2017 study reported that 49.4% of patients with persistent lower back pain who received 10 massage sessions over a 12-week period were clinically improved at 12 weeks, and of those, 75% were still clinically improved at 24 weeks.14

A 2011 study15 concluded massage therapy (one hour of weekly sessions for 10 weeks) “may be effective for treatment of chronic back pain, with benefits lasting at least six months.” Both relaxation and structural massage were helpful, providing about the same amount of benefit.

A 2016 study16 evaluating the effect of Thai massage on patients with upper back pain lasting at least three months found the treatment significantly decreased muscle tension and pain intensity at the end of the treatment session.

A 2016 meta-analysis by the Cochrane Library looking at 25 trials, a majority of which were funded by nonprofit organizations, concluded massage was better than inactive controls for acute, sub-acute and chronic low back pain. When it came to function, massage was effective for sub-acute and chronic pain but not acute cases.

A 2007 study17 found patients who had low back pain for at least six months who received 30-minute massages twice a week for five weeks reported less pain, depression, anxiety and sleep disturbance than controls who received relaxation therapy instead.

Frequency and Dosage Matter for Certain Types of Pain

Some people experience immense relief from massage, anecdotally speaking, while others do not. The difference might come down to the dose. Researchers from the Group Health Research Institute in Seattle looked into the optimal massage dose for people with chronic neck pain.18

Study participants received 30-minute massages two or three times a week, or 60-minute massages one, two or three times weekly. A control group received no massages.

Compared with the no-massage group, those who got massages three times a week were nearly five times more likely to report a significant improvement in function and more than twice as likely to report a significant decrease in pain.

The best pain-relief results were obtained by those who received 60-minute massages two or three times a week. It appears that longer massages worked best for neck pain, as did multiple treatments a week, especially during the first four weeks.

If you try massage therapy and find you’re not getting relief, you may want to try increasing the dose and frequency. There are other variables that impact massage effectiveness as well, such as the technique used and the skill level of the massage therapist.

When choosing a massage therapist, ask your holistic health care provider to recommend a certified massage therapist who is experienced in the type of pain relief you’re seeking.

Massage Therapy for Mental Health

Another area where massage therapy can be helpful is in the treatment of stress, anxiety and depression, including stress experienced by dementia patients. As mentioned, massage affects your nervous system through the nerve endings in your skin, which stimulates the release of “feel good” endorphins that help induce a sense of relaxation and well-being.

A 2015 study19 found Thai massage significantly reduces a stress marker called salivary alpha-amylase (sAA), suggesting it “may have a modest effect on stress reduction.” The American Massage Therapy Association also cites a number of studies20 showing massage helps ease stress, lowering heart rate, blood pressure21 and cortisol levels.

Studies22,23 looking at psychological states specifically have also demonstrated massage results in lower scores on the perceived stress scale, the POMS depression scale and the anxiety state scale.

A meta-analysis24 looking at massage therapy in depressed patients concluded “Massage therapy is significantly associated with alleviated depressive symptoms.” Similarly, a proof-of-concept randomized controlled study25 assessing the effects of Swedish massage on patients with generalized anxiety disorder found two weekly sessions for six weeks to be an effective treatment.

Massage May Help Quell Inflammation

The benefits of massage therapy for pain relief are established enough that it’s commonly used during physical therapy and rehabilitation from injury.

In one study,26 researchers took muscle biopsies from study participants who had received massage therapy or no treatment for exercise-induced muscle damage. According to the authors, massage therapy reduced inflammation and promoted mitochondrial biogenesis in the skeletal muscle.

The study is not without detractors,27 however, who have pointed out its flaws. Still, there’s reason to suspect that massage does have a beneficial impact on inflammation, as pain and inflammation tend to go hand in hand.28 By lowering one, you lower the other, and as discussed above, there’s plenty of evidence supporting the claim that massage can ease pain.

Other research29 from Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, which I’ll discuss again further below, has also found Swedish massage decreased levels of several interleukins, which play a role in inflammation. According to the authors:

“Preliminary data suggest that a single session of Swedish Massage Therapy produces measurable biologic effects. If replicated, these findings may have implications for managing inflammatory and autoimmune conditions.”

Timing of Massage Therapy May Affect Pain Relief and Inflammation

Timing of treatment may be of the essence here. As noted by licensed massage therapist Amy Bradley Radford in an article in Massage Magazine:30

If pain is a signal for inflammation to start, then you must limit how much pain you give someone in higher levels of inflammation, or you just feed the fire … There are two ways massage therapists can approach inflammation: directly and indirectly, and which way we choose depends on each client’s ability to heal …

Some clients’ bodies … can heal from pain well through deeper work, stretching or trigger-point therapy.Then there are others … in which that same treatment completely backfires, with the person having to go through days of pain and recovery after the treatment. What is the difference? … The answer is that Client B has more pain and inflammation …

This can present a difficult paradox for the therapist, as the client in more pain typically wants you to ‘work out those knots’ so that he can feel better … If a client has to recover from bodywork instead of feeling immediately better from that appointment, then whatever work was applied put her body into more pain and inflammation, and she did not have the energy to meet the new, additional demand created by the massage …

If your client comes in at a pain level of eight and after the session he is at a three, what does that tell you? That whatever treatment you offered actually gave energy back to the body by reducing pain and therefore inflammation. The energy to heal was offered and received.

This process has a basis in Chinese medicine, which seeks to balance the body by shifting energy, or chi. The important part is that pain decreased and energy demand went down, creating a surplus of energy to fight inflammation or to be given to the area in greatest need of healing.”

This appears to be sensible advice worth keeping in mind by patients and massage therapists alike. If your pain is worse immediately after your session, you may need either a lighter form of massage, or you may need to wait a bit before you get another treatment. As a general rule, the effects of massage therapy tend to be rather rapid, so if you feel pain relief at the end of the session, chances are your inflammation level has been positively impacted.

Massage Therapy Boosts Immune Function

Lymphatic massage31 is characterized by long, gentle, rhythmic strokes performed with light pressure to increase the flow of lymph through your body, thereby aiding the removal of toxins.

By increasing circulating lymphocytes, a form of white blood cells that are especially prevalent in the lymphatic system and fight off infections and disease, lymphatic massage also helps boost your immune function.

Research32 confirming this was published by scientists at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. According to the authors:

“Compared to light touch, Swedish Massage Therapy caused a large effect size decrease in AVP [arginine-vasopressin], and a small effect size decrease in CORT [cortisol] … Massage increased the number of circulating lymphocytes … Swedish Massage Therapy decreased IL-4, IL-5, IL-10, and IL-13 levels relative to baseline measures.”

As mentioned earlier, this study concluded that, if findings are able to be replicated, Swedish massage may turn out to be a valuable adjunct in the management of inflammatory and autoimmune conditions.

Two Additional Areas Where Massage Therapy Is Useful

Last but not least, two other areas where massage therapy is useful is in the treatment of spasms or cramps, and to improve flexibility. Injured and overworked muscles have a tendency to spasm and cramp, causing pain and discomfort.

Massage therapy, in this case neuromuscular massage, which involves deeper pressure, can help relax and soften these muscles to prevent spasms and cramping.33

Similarly, by easing stiff muscles and joints, massage therapy can help improve flexibility and range of motion.34 This may be especially beneficial for those who suffer from arthritis or muscle injuries. As noted in one systematic review and meta-analysis35 on the effectiveness of massage on the range of motion of the shoulder:

“Massage therapy is one of the complementary and alternative intervention for improving the functional status for patients who had impaired shoulder function in physical therapy clinics.

It relieves the muscle hardness by applying mechanical pressure on the affected area using the hands, and improves the range of motion of the joints.

In addition, it improves the excitability of the nerves in the muscle fiber and inhibits muscle pain. Massage therapy is also known to improve edema by promoting blood circulation within the muscle, and helps remove fatigue substances.”

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**Comment**

Lyme/MSIDS patients would stick a needle in their eye if they thought it would help relieve their pain.  Please consider massage therapy.

Besides having to determine what kind of patient you are (one that does better after intense deep tissue massage or one that needs light touch due to high inflammation & pain), you also need to make sure the massage lotions & creams being used are toxin-free:  http://www.greenmedinfo.com/blog/your-massage-harming-you?

The Powerful Aspirin Alternative Your Doctor Never Told You About

http://www.greenmedinfo.com/blog/powerful-aspirin-alternative-grows-trees-1?

The Powerful Aspirin Alternative Your Doctor Never Told You About

“© [Originally published: 2017-07-23, Article updated: 2019-04-11] GreenMedInfo LLC. This work is reproduced and distributed with the permission of GreenMedInfo LLC. Want to learn more from GreenMedInfo? Sign up for the newsletter here http://www.greenmedinfo.com/greenmed/newsletter.”
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Given the newly released cardiovascular disease prevention guidelines recommending against daily low-dose aspirin use, natural, safe and effective alternatives are needed now more than ever. Thankfully, one particularly therapeutic alternative has been known about by the biomedical research community for decades…

In a previous article titled “The Evidence Against Aspirin and For Natural Alternatives,” we discussed the clear and present danger linked with the use of aspirin as well as several clinically proven alternatives that feature significant side benefits as opposed to aspirin’s many known side effects.

Since writing this article, even more evidence has accumulated indicating that aspirin’s risks outweigh its benefits. Most notably, a 15-year Dutch study published in the journal Heart found that among 27,939 healthy female health professionals (average age 54) randomized to receive either 100 mg of aspirin every day or a placebo the risk of gastrointestinal bleeding outweighed the benefit of the intervention for colorectal cancer and cardiovascular disease prevention in those under 65 years of age. Most recently, last month, new cardiovascular disease prevention guidelines submitted jointly by the American College of Cardiology and the American Heart Associated and published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, earlier this year, contradict decades of routine medical advice by explicitly advising against the daily use of low-dose or baby aspirin (75-100 mg) as a preventive health strategy against stroke or heart attack, in most cases.

Of course, aspirin is not alone as far as dangerous side effects are concerned. The entire non-steroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAID) category of prescription and over-the-counter drugs is fraught with serious danger. Ibuprofen, for instance, is known to kill thousands each year, and is believed no less dangerous than Merck’s COX-2 inhibitor NSAID drug Vioxx which caused between 88,000-140,000 cases of serious heart disease in the five years it was on the market (1999-2004). Tylenol is so profoundly toxic to the liver that contributing writer Dr. Michael Murray recently asked in his Op-Ed piece, “Is it Time for the FDA to Remove Tylenol From the Market?” Just as serious are tylenol’s empathy destroying properties that were only identified four years ago.

Given the dire state of affairs associated with pharmaceutical intervention for chronic pain issues, what can folks do who don’t want to kill themselves along with their pain?

Pine Bark Extract (Pycnogenol) Puts Aspirin To Shame

When it comes to aspirin alternatives, one promising contender is pycnogenol, a powerful antioxidant extracted from French maritime pine bark, backed by over 40 years of research, the most compelling of which we have aggregated on GreenMedInfo.com here: Pycnogenol Research. Amazingly, you will find research indexed there showing it may have value for over 80 health conditions.

In 1999, a remarkable study published in the journal Thrombotic Research found that pycnogenol was superior (i.e. effective at a lower dosage) to aspirin at inhibiting smoking-induced clotting, without the significant (and potentially life-threatening) increase in bleeding time associated with aspirin use. The abstract is well worth reading in its entirety:

“The effects of a bioflavonoid mixture, Pycnogenol, were assessed on platelet function in humans. Cigarette smoking increased heart rate and blood pressure. These increases were not influenced by oral consumption of Pycnogenol or Aspirin just before smoking. However, increased platelet reactivity yielding aggregation 2 hours after smoking was prevented by 500 mg Aspirin or 100 mg Pycnogenol in 22 German heavy smokers. In a group of 16 American smokers, blood pressure increased after smoking. It was unchanged after intake of 500 mg Aspirin or 125 mg Pycnogenol. In another group of 19 American smokers, increased platelet aggregation was more significantly reduced by 200 than either 150 mg or 100 mg Pycnogenol supplementation. This study showed that a single, high dose, 200 mg Pycnogenol, remained effective for over 6 days against smoking-induced platelet aggregation. Smoking increased platelet aggregation that was prevented after administration of 500 mg Aspirin and 125 mg Pycnogenol. Thus, smoking-induced enhanced platelet aggregation was inhibited by 500 mg Aspirin as well as by a lower range of 100-125 mg Pycnogenol. Aspirin significantly (p<0.001) increased bleeding time from 167 to 236 seconds while Pycnogenol did not. These observations suggest an advantageous risk-benefit ratio for Pycnogenol.” [emphasis added]

As emphasized in bold above, pycnogenol unlike aspirin did not significantly increase bleeding time. This has profound implications, as aspirin’s potent anti-platelet/’blood thinning’ properties can also cause life-threatening hemorrhagic events. If this study is accurate and pycnogenol is more effective at decreasing pathologic platelet aggregation at a lower dose without causing the increased bleeding linked to aspirin, then it is clearly a superior natural alternative worthy of far more attention by the conventional medical establishment and research community than it presently receives.

Not Just A Drug Alternative

Pycnogenol, like so many other natural interventions, has a wide range of side benefits that may confer significant advantage when it comes to reducing cardiovascular disease risk. For instance, pycnogenol is also:

  • Blood Pressure Reducing/Endothelial Function Enhancer: A number of clinical studies indicate that pycnogenol is therapeutic for those suffering with hypertension. Pycnogenol actually addresses a root cause of hypertension and cardiovascular disease in general, namely, endothelial dysfunction (the inability of the inner lining of the blood vessels to function correctly, e.g. fully dilate).[1] It has been shown to prevent damage in microcirculation in hypertensive patients, as well as reducing the dose of blood pressure drugs in hypertensive patients,[2] including hypertensive diabetic patients.[3] It has even been found to reduce intraocular hypertension found in glaucoma patients.[4]
  • Anti-Inflammatory Effects: There is a growing appreciation among the medical community that inflammation contributes to cardiovascular disease. Several markers, including C-reactive protein are now being fore grounded as being at least as important in determining cardiovascular disease risk as various blood lipids and/or their ratios, such as low-density lipoprotein (LDL). Pycnogenol has been found to reduce C-reactive protein in hypertensive patients.[5] Pycnogenol has been found to rapidly modulate downward (inhibit) both Cox-1 and Cox-2 enzyme activity in human subjects, resulting in reduced expression of these inflammation-promoting enzymes within 30 minutes post-ingestion.[6]Another observed anti-inflammatory effect of pycnogenol is its ability to down-regulate the class of inflammatory enzymes known as matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs).[7]Pycnogenol has also been found to significantly inhibit NF-kappaB activation, a key body-wide regulator of inflammation levels whose overexpression and/or dysregulation may result in pathologic cardiovascular manifestations.[8] Finally, pycnogenol has been found to reduce fibrinogen levels, a glycoprotein that contributes to the formation of blood clots; fibrinogen has been identified as an independent risk factor for cardiovascular disease.[9]
  • The Ideal Air Travel Companion: In a previous article entitled, “How Pine Bark Extract Could Save Air Travelers Lives,” we delve into a compelling body of research that indicates pycnogenol may be the perfect preventive remedy for preventing flight-associated thrombosis, edema, and concerns related to radiotoxicity and immune suppression.

Given the evidence for pycnogenol’s pleotrophic cardioprotective properties, we hope that pycnogenol will become more commonly recommended by health care practitioners as the medical paradigm continues to evolve past its reliance on synthetic chemicals, eventually (we hope) returning to natural, increasingly evidence-based interventions. However, it is important that we don’t fall prey to the one-disease-one-pill model, convincing ourselves to focus on popping pills – this time natural ones – as simply countermeasures or ‘insurance’ against the well-known harms associated with the standard American diet, lack of exercise and uncontrolled stress. The ultimate goal is to remove the need for pills altogether, focusing on preventing cardiovascular disease from the ground up and inside out, e.g. letting high quality food, clean water and air, and a healthy attitude nourish and sustain your health and well-being.


References

[1] Ximing Liu, Junping Wei, Fengsen Tan, Shengming Zhou, Gudrun Würthwein, Peter Rohdewald. Pycnogenol, French maritime pine bark extract, improves endothelial function of hypertensive patients. Life Sci. 2004 Jan 2;74(7):855-62. PMID: 14659974

[2] Gianni Belcaro, Maria Rosaria Cesarone, Andrea Ricci, Umberto Cornelli, Peter Rodhewald, Andrea Ledda, Andrea Di Renzo, Stefano Stuard, Marisa Cacchio, Giulia Vinciguerra, Giuseppe Gizzi, Luciano Pellegrini, Mark Dugall, Filiberto Fano. Control of edema in hypertensive subjects treated with calcium antagonist (nifedipine) or angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors with Pycnogenol. Clin Appl Thromb Hemost. 2006 Oct;12(4):440-4. PMID: 17000888

[3] Sherma Zibadi, Peter J Rohdewald, Danna Park, Ronald Ross Watson. Reduction of cardiovascular risk factors in subjects with type 2 diabetes by Pycnogenol supplementation. Nutr Res. 2008 May;28(5):315-20. PMID: 19083426

[4] Robert D Steigerwalt, Belcaro Gianni, Morazzoni Paolo, Ezio Bombardelli, Carolina Burki, Frank Schönlau. Effects of Mirtogenol on ocular blood flow and intraocular hypertension in asymptomatic subjects. Mol Vis. 2008;14:1288-92. Epub 2008 Jul 10. PMID: 18618008

[5] Maria Rosaria Cesarone, Gianni Belcaro, Stefano Stuard, Frank Schönlau, Andrea Di Renzo, Maria Giovanna Grossi, Mark Dugall, Umberto Cornelli, Marisa Cacchio, Giuseppe Gizzi, Luciano Pellegrini. Kidney flow and function in hypertension: protective effects of pycnogenol in hypertensive participants–a controlled study. J Cardiovasc Pharmacol Ther. 2010 Mar;15(1):41-6. Epub 2010 Jan 22. PMID: 20097689

[6] Angelika Schäfer, Zuzana Chovanová, Jana Muchová, Katarína Sumegová, Anna Liptáková, Zdenka Duracková, Petra Högger. Inhibition of COX-1 and COX-2 activity by plasma of human volunteers after ingestion of French maritime pine bark extract (Pycnogenol). Biomed Pharmacother. 2006 Jan;60(1):5-9. Epub 2005 Oct 26. PMID: 16330178

[7] Tanja Grimm, Angelika Schäfer, Petra Högger. Antioxidant activity and inhibition of matrix metalloproteinases by metabolites of maritime pine bark extract (pycnogenol). Wei Sheng Yan Jiu. 2011 Jan;40(1):103-6. PMID: 14990359

[8] Tanja Grimm, Zuzana Chovanová, Jana Muchová, Katarína Sumegová, Anna Liptáková, Zdenka Duracková, Petra Högger. Inhibition of NF-kappaB activation and MMP-9 secretion by plasma of human volunteers after ingestion of maritime pine bark extract (Pycnogenol). J Inflamm (Lond). 2006;3:1. Epub 2006 Jan 27. PMID: 16441890

[9] G Belcaro, M R Cesarone, S Errichi, C Zulli, B M Errichi, G Vinciguerra, A Ledda, A Di Renzo, S Stuard, M Dugall, L Pellegrini, G Gizzi, E Ippolito, A Ricci, M Cacchio, G Cipollone, I Ruffini, F Fano, M Hosoi, P Rohdewald. Variations in C-reactive protein, plasma free radicals and fibrinogen values in patients with osteoarthritis treated with Pycnogenol. Redox Rep. 2008;13(6):271-6. PMID: 19017467

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For more:  https://madisonarealymesupportgroup.com/2019/04/08/three-alternative-strategies-that-can-address-severe-chronic-pain/

https://madisonarealymesupportgroup.com/2018/12/09/live-webinar-the-pain-solution-with-dr-bill-rawls/

https://madisonarealymesupportgroup.com/2019/01/10/fatigue-joint-pain-and-low-testosterone-had-lyme-podcast/

 

Three Alternative Strategies That Can Address Severe Chronic Pain

https://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2019/04/07/essential-oils-for-chronic-pain.aspx?

Three Alternative Strategies That Can Address Severe Chronic Pain

 Approx. 1 Hour

Written by Dr. Joseph Mercola

STORY AT-A-GLANCE

  • Dr. Mark DeBrincat, a chiropractor also known as the “Good News Doctor,” recovered from severe injuries that kept him in severe chronic pain for 15 years using neurofeedback, essential oils and pulsed electromagnetic field (PEMF) treatments
  • With the use of eight essential oils, DeBrincat was able to remodel the tissue in his spine, reducing his pain from a 10 to a 5, and then to zero
  • The neurofeedback device consists of a cap with 19 leads hooked to a computer that register neural activity, giving you a three-dimensional map of your neurology
  • Once dysregulated areas of your brain have been identified, they can be targeted to increase neuroplasticity. Once neuroplasticity kicks in, you start growing new tissue
  • Essential oils are volatile compounds found in grasses, trees, roots, bark, leaves and flowers. Essential oils in general are about 50 to 70 times more powerful than herbs, and should be used sparingly

Dr. Mark DeBrincat, a chiropractor and natural health physician also known as “The Good News Doctor,” has a most amazing story of recovery from one of the worst chronic debilitating pain syndromes that I’ve ever heard of, so I asked him to share his journey with you, in the hopes it may motivate you to seek natural approaches to pain.

Many see opiates as the only option for severe pain, which can have severe health consequences. Opioids are extremely addictive and 130 Americans die from opioid overdoses each and every day.1The death toll from opioids is so great it has actually contributed to lowered life expectancy in the U.S.

A Terrible Accident

Twenty-one years ago, traveling from Georgia to Florida to attend a chiropractic conference, DeBrincat and his wife were in a terrible car accident. That they both survived was a miracle in itself. His wife ended up with whiplash and fractured C3 through 5.

“I remember laying in the hospital and threatening her doctor that if he didn’t put a perfect curve into her neck or if he fused all her bones together, he’d never hear the end of my name,” DeBrincat says.

“He literally took the titanium plate home and pounded in a nice curve for me. Here, 21 years later, she’s got a beautiful cervical lateral curve and she still has her joint below a fusion, which is just amazing.

She healed in just a few months and then took care of me for years. I was a hot mess. Bracing my legs on the dashboard on impact saved my life, but also literally split my pelvis in half. The pubic bone snapped in the front, and my sacrum cracked top to bottom in the back.

I ripped the muscles off most of my legs [on] both sides … Then I lost my sigmoid and descending colon in all of that, amongst many other injuries. I spent months confined to a hospital bed. It took me several years to be able to go back to work again as a chiropractor. I had to become my own patient …

By 2010, I was permanently disabled and confined to a wheelchair. I had stabbing pain from my neck, all the way to my tailbone. I had no feeling in my arms or legs, but my hands and feet felt like burning broken glass all the time. I was trying everything.”

Remembering the Body’s Self-Healing Capacity

Raised by holistic parents, DeBrincat was determined to heal from his injuries without drugs, but after seven back surgeries and years of pain, he succumbed to Oxy, Soma and Xanax.

“I let them just throw any medication at me that would take my pain level from a 10 down,” he says. “We found the combination of narcotics, muscle relaxers and anti-anxiety pills that would take me from a 10 to an 8. That was survivable; 10 was just — you cannot live in that environment for the rest of your life.”

Eventually, he also had a computer implanted in his spinal cord at T10, which when turned on would numb his entire spine. “It was basically radar-jamming the pain so that I could move my limbs and actually start to be a little bit independent. That was a big breakthrough,” he says. Still, even this device was not enough to get him off the narcotics. It signified a turning point though. Fifteen years after the accident, he had an epiphany.

“I remembered back in school we talked about healing, getting better and overcoming anything. It’s always innate. We heal from the inside out. We get harmed from the outside in. I really started studying more epigenetics.

In studying the health of our cells, something clicked one day and I thought to myself, ‘You know, every cell has a turnover rate. If I can just simply make the next version of my cells be better than this one, I think I might actually be able to overcome this problem …

Our eyes only take two days. Our gums take two weeks. All the cells are replaced. Our throat takes two months. The lining in our lungs takes eight days. I started having hope, [thinking] ‘I can start doing more things now to impact the health of the cell. The new versions of these cells are going to be better than the last.’”

Step 1: Aggressive Neurofeedback Training

One of the strategies he used was neurofeedback, which is also recommended for people recovering from traumatic brain injuries. For years, he’d been doing quantitative electroencephalography (qEEGs) and neurofeedback training, but only for 30 minutes, two to three times a week. “We were told that you could never do more than that because your brain can’t handle it. You’ll fatigue and it’ll cause more problems,” he says.

During the time he was wheelchair bound, his brain map indicated neural overactivity, and the neurofeedback training wasn’t correcting that. He then heard a lecture in which it was stated that patients addicted to narcotics for pain need very aggressive neurofeedback training. DeBrincat immediately began doing hours of neurofeedback each day.

“In a few short months, my ability to feel more in my legs, to do more for myself and get myself dressed, was amazing. It was like I’d had the answer all along. I didn’t know I could be tapping into that. With my newfound freedom of, ‘I’m growing new cells, now I can grow new cells in my brain and spine where I have all this damage,’ that was super exciting.”

Discovering Essential Oils

Shortly after that, he met a woman who gave him a bottle of an essential oil. “She says, ‘Honey, just put this wherever it hurts and all your pain is going to go away’ … I remember putting it in my bag and rolling away thinking, ‘Come on. I’ve got the best doctors in the world who get me the best, strongest medications. And your little oil, it’s kind of a joke to me,’” DeBrincat says.

He admits he knew nothing about essential oils, and the oil sat in his bag, untouched, for five weeks. During a vacation, his wife ended up using it while giving him a massage one day. Remarkably, it eased his pain. That was five years ago, and for the first time, he felt no pain anywhere.

“I just sat bawling and crying,” he says. He’d been in pain for so long, he’d forgotten what it felt like to be pain free. With the computer in his spine, he could normally walk 20 to 30 steps max at a time. If he pushed further, he’d be bedridden for days.

That day, he set the pedometer on his watch and started walking. “I walked 5,700 steps,” he says. “I could not believe it.” The next morning, he was still pain free. From there, he went on to study essential oils.

“I found eight different oils that remodeled all the tissue in my spine. I put them on and it would bring me to a pain level 5 from a 10,” he says. “Then somebody who knew a whole lot more about oils looked at my list and goes, ‘You know what? Just turn your list upside down and do it in the other order. When you do it that way, it’s going to have a much greater effect on you.’

I did that and, oh my goodness, it went to pain level zero. Now, I could be pain-free completely for literally 12 hours before any pain came back. I would do it twice a day …

The body is remodeling itself. The oils that are helping remodel tissue are literally getting in there with the DNA when it makes 3 billion copies of itself before it finds the cleanest one to go into the new cell. It helps take out debris, damage, toxins, scars … so that you can give back to your root cell, which is the purest form before you had all your problems …

I did this back protocol for 90 days, then stopped. Within 24 hours, I was right back in this horrible pain again … I went another 90 days and then stopped, and made it four days before any pain came back. Now, this was a second epiphany, because now I really, honest to God, believed I was getting better … [I did] another 90 days and then stopped. That was August 2014. I’ve never had to do that protocol for my back since.”

He used peppermint, Siberian fir, and cypress for his essential oils, Remarkably, the stenosis in his neck and low back is now gone, herniations throughout his spine are gone, as is his arthritis. Even the scars on his back have radically improved.

“I got my life back. I was so passionate. I could teach again. Anybody who saw me walking was like, ‘This is an absolute true miracle. I can’t believe what I’m seeing. Are you a twin brother?’ I taught continuing education in a wheelchair for a lot of years. For them to see me walking was astonishing.”

PEMF — Another Breakthrough

He still had limitations though. He couldn’t exercise, lift weights or stretch, for example, and his feet would go numb when walking. His next breakthrough came when he discovered pulsed electromagnetic field (PEMF) therapy. After five weeks of PEMF treatments, his blood circulation dramatically improved, resolving the remaining limitations.

“My kids grew up with me in a wheelchair most of the years, especially during all their middle school years, and that was so crucial. To be able to have this amazing abundant life with them now and to be able to mountain bike, snow ski, dirt bike, snowmobile, hike and all the wonderful fun things we love doing, it’s just a dream come true.

We’re always looking for products and things that impact us, that give us hope again. That’s why I’ve been known as the ‘Good News Doctor.’ People say, ‘You know what? I always get bad news from my doctor. You’re the first one who’s given me hope again.’

When you’ve been through any major health crisis and you come out the other end, your purpose kind of changes. It evolves into, I guess, how God wants to use you to help people. From being in a wheelchair for so many years and coming out, our main passion is helping people with neurofeedback.

We do the brain mapping … in the privacy of their own home … We can literally give [patients] two years of care in one month, aggressively, and then make those breakthroughs happen over and over again. That’s so exciting.”

While DeBrincat’s story may sound too good to be true, it’s important to realize he did a lot of work on himself throughout. He juiced every day, ate whole food, avoided toxins, and would do his own physical therapy for three to four hours a day for all those years. Still, his recovery is astounding, considering the extent of his injuries and the time spent in disability.

Neurofeedback Explained

The neurofeedback device basically consists of a cap with 19 leads that hook to a computer. The leads can be likened to very sensitive microphones that register neural activity. Placed around the head, you end up with a three-dimensional image or map of your neurology.

Once the dysregulated areas of your brain have been identified, those areas can be targeted to increase neuroplasticity in that region. Once neuroplasticity kicks in, you start growing new tissue.

“This is inspiring for those who are stuck in pain, because you have what’s called a pain network. When that network is not functioning right, you are experiencing pain through your nervous system and you can’t just turn it off …

Knowing there’s technology that can pinpoint a specific network and grow tissue to help that network, this has given us so much hope to help people who are needlessly suffering in pain, because honestly, there’s no drug that’s going to heal them …

I think doctors who don’t either refer out to this or don’t have [neurofeedback] in their practice have a big black hole in trying to help people, because there’s so much information that we’re getting from the brain …

It really should be the foundation, and part of the initial examination … We need to see how well your brain’s functioning, because that’s controlling everything … A great starting point is to get everything back online, then everything else you’re doing after that will work better.”

Essential Oil Benefits

Essential oils are volatile compounds found in grasses, trees, roots, bark, leaves and flowers. Essential oils in general are about 50 to 70 times more powerful than herbs, so must be used sparingly. Quality and purity are of the utmost importance when seeking medicinal benefits, so it’s important to do your homework.

“Some of them help wake you up, like peppermint oil. One drop of peppermint on your hand, rub your hands together, hold it in front of your nose; in 15 seconds, you’re going to have about 20 percent more oxygen in your brain.

Some of these oils are so small they can go right through your blood-brain barrier and actually enhance your mood and change the way you’re feeling. That’s phenomenal as far as people who are depressed and have anxiety and so forth.”

DeBrincat found there’s a definite synergy between the brain mapping and the oils. Using qEEG, he could see the effect of an essential oil on the brain, often in as little as 30 seconds, either calming down an overexcited area or waking up a low-functioning region.

Essential oils also work as adaptogens. For example, the same oil that works to calm anxiety will work to ease depression, which are two poles on the spectrum. Helichrysum is a blood adaptogen. “I put that over my heart every day,” DeBrincat says.

“If my blood’s too thick, it’s going to thin it. If my blood’s too thin, it’s going to help thicken it. Oils are very intuitive in nature to know what properties you need. The way it does that is by using different vibrations on both sides of the active ingredient to be able to illicit different responses with the same oil.”

More Information

You can get more information about DeBrincat and his practice on TheGoodNewsDr.com. He takes care of patients all across the U.S. In closing, he stresses the importance of neurofeedback for getting more rapid results when you’re trying to address severe pain. You have a number of options for that. You can try doing an online search for local doctors that provide the service. Some will offer home units for rent, which is the most ideal option if you’re going to use it daily.

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For more on pain relief:

CBD: https://madisonarealymesupportgroup.com/2018/10/08/thc-vs-cbd-for-pain-the-differences-interactions/

Medical marijuana: https://madisonarealymesupportgroup.com/2018/01/24/medical-marijuana-for-lyme-a-doctors-perspective/

https://madisonarealymesupportgroup.com/2018/11/30/medical-cannabis-superior-to-opioids-for-chronic-pain-study-finds/

DMSO/MSM: https://madisonarealymesupportgroup.com/2018/03/02/dmso-msm-for-lyme-msids/

LDN: https://madisonarealymesupportgroup.com/2016/12/18/ldn/, https://madisonarealymesupportgroup.com/2017/06/12/ldn-reduced-pro-inflammatory-cytokines-in-fm-after-eight-weeks/

Magnetic Fields:https://madisonarealymesupportgroup.com/2018/08/15/treating-pain-with-magnetic-fields/

Laser Therapy: https://madisonarealymesupportgroup.com/2018/02/27/march-2018-support-group-laser-therapy/, https://madisonarealymesupportgroup.com/2018/04/08/class-iv-laser-therapy/

Heat: https://madisonarealymesupportgroup.com/2018/09/28/hotter-bodies-better-at-fighting-disease/

Enzymes:  https://madisonarealymesupportgroup.com/2018/03/05/how-proteolytic-enzymes-may-help-lyme-msids/

 Acupuncture:  https://madisonarealymesupportgroup.com/2018/11/06/acupuncture-beats-injected-morphine-for-pain-groundbreaking-study/

Essential Oils:  https://www.healthyandnaturalworld.com/essential-oils-to-relieve-pain/  Studies are given for the following oils helping pain: chamomile, lavender, sweet marjoram, eucalyptus, peppermint, rosemary, thyme, clary sage, sandalwood, juniper, ginger, frankincense, yarrow, wintergreen, vetiver, helichrysum, black pepper oil, lemongrass, rose geranium, bergamot.  Directions are given for making massage oils, bath soaks, compresses, & inhalation techniques.

PEMF:  https://pulsedenergytech.com/pemf/

https://blog.bulletproof.com/pemf-therapy/

https://www.drpawluk.com

https://www.drpawluk.com/category/education/pemf-information/