October is National Physical Therapy Month

Choose Physical Therapy for Safe Pain Management. #ChoosePT

No one wants to live in pain. But no one should put their health at risk in an effort to be pain free.

Doctor-prescribed opioids are appropriate in some cases, but they just mask the pain-and opioid risks include depression, overdose, and addiction, plus withdrawal symptoms when stopping use.

That's why the CDC recommends safer alternatives like physical therapy to manage pain.

Physical therapists treat pain through movement, hands-on care, and patient education-and by increasing physical activity you can also reduce your risk of other chronic diseases. Pain is personal, but treating pain takes teamwork.

When it comes to your health, you have a choice. Choose more movement and better health. Open enrollment is approaching. This is your opportunity to choose an insurance plan that lets you choose physical therapy!

6 Things You Should Know About Pain

1. Pain is output from the brain.

While we used to believe that pain originated within the tissues of our body, we now understand that pain does not exist until the brain determines it does. The brain uses a virtual "road map" to direct an output of pain to tissues that it suspects may be in danger. This process acts as a means of communication between the brain and the tissues of the body, to serve as a defense against possible injury or disease.

2. The degree of injury does not always equal the degree of pain.

Research has demonstrated that we all experience pain in individual ways. While some of us experience major injuries with little pain, others experience minor injuries with a lot of pain.

3. Despite what diagnostic imaging (MRIs, x-rays, CT scans) shows us, the finding(s) may not be the cause of your pain.

A study performed on individuals 60 years or older who had no symptoms of low back pain found that 36% had a herniated disc, 21% had spinal stenosis, and more than 90% had a degenerated or bulging disc, upon diagnostic imaging. (1)

4. Psychological factors, such as depression and anxiety, can make your pain worse.

Pain can be influenced by many different factors, such as psychological conditions. A recent study in the Journal of Pain showed that psychological variables that existed prior to a total knee replacement were related to a patient's experience of long-term pain following the operation. (2)

5. Your social environment may influence your perception of pain.

Many patients state their pain increases when they are at work or in a stressful situation. Pain messages can be generated when an individual is in an environment or situation that the brain interprets as unsafe. It is a fundamental form of self-protection.

6. The ability to determine left from right may be altered when you experience pain.

Networks within the brain that assist you in determining left from right can be affected when you experience severe pain. If you have been experiencing pain, and have noticed your sense of direction is a bit off, it may be because a "roadmap" within the brain that details a path to each part of the body may be a bit "smudged."

Article Courtesy of choosept.com

1. Allegri M, Montella S, Salici F, et al. Mechanisms of low back pain: a guide for diagnosis and therapy [revised]. F1000Res. 2016;5:F1000 Faculty Rev-1530. doi: 10.12688/f1000research.8105.2.
2. Carroll I, Wang J, Wang M, et al. Psychological impairment influences pain duration following surgical injury. J Pain. 2008;9 (Suppl 2):21. Courtesy of Joe Brence, PT, DPT, FAAOMPT, COMT Choose PT Website

Healing Autoimmune Disease through Diet and Lifestyle Modification

" Inflammation is a pathological condition underlying a number of diseases including cardiovascular diseases, cancer, and chronic inflammatory diseases". (1)

In recent years, the research has overwhelmingly supported the fact that inflammation is at the root of most autoimmune diseases including but not limited to Hashimoto's thyroiditis, fibromyalgia, Crohn's disease, multiple sclerosis, etc. By addressing the underlying inflammation through modifying one's diet, one can reverse autoimmune disease and its symptoms. (2)

A diet high in grains, dairy, starches, and sugars can be detrimental to human health because of how these foods and their constituents alter the microbiome in the gut. The human gut has over 100 trillion bacteria and yeasts living within it which help to digest food and ultimately fuel the function of nearly all of the cellular activity that takes place in our bodies. When we consume a diet high in sugar and starches, processed grains and toxins, this creates an imbalance of the "good" and "bad" bacteria in our gut, which can lead to inflammation and a wide range of health problems. (3)

Diet, gut health, and immunity are intertwined.

Leaky gut is a condition that takes place when little holes begin to form in our intestines, allowing food particles to leak into our bloodstream and further creating and adding to widespread inflammation in the body. This process happens over time through destruction of the integrity of the gut lining by way of toxins, chemicals, and antibiotics from the food that we eat, our environment, and the products we use on our skin and in our homes. (3) Along with diet being a key component of inflammation, mental and emotional stress play a major role as well. Chronic stress essentially makes us sick by feeding the bad bacteria in our gut and impairing the integrity of our intestinal lining. The fewer good bacteria you have in your gut, the fewer positive neurotransmitters you have which help to support our response to stress and elevate our mood.

On the path to healing from inflammation and autoimmune disease, it is imperative to decrease stress both emotionally and physically.

This can be done by calming down our nervous system through journaling, low impact exercise such as taking a walk, meditating, taking a day off of work to rest, watching a funny show, etc. The options are endless. By creating a positive environment for decreasing stress in our lives, we can directly strengthen our intestinal lining and feed the good bacteria in our gut, elevate our mood, and decrease inflammation. (4)

Introducing anti-inflammatory foods into our diet such as wild caught fish and high- quality meats, fermented foods, organic fruits and vegetables, as well as healthy fats (Omega 3's) found in nuts and seeds can ultimately regulate our immune system and decrease our negatively programmed inflammatory cascade. (1,2) At the same time, eliminating pro-inflammatory foods that are damaging to your health such as trans fats, hydrogenated oils, processed and refined carbohydrates, sugar, conventional dairy, and gluten can create a healing environment in our gut. (4) 

Lastly, it is absolutely crucial to include a routine of physical activity for a healthy body, mind, and spirit, in addition to decreased inflammation. Aim for 20-30 minutes of exercise per day of your choosing: strength training, walking, running, Pilates, or yoga. A combination of physical activity, stress relief, limiting pro-inflammatory foods, and nourishing your body with whole nutrient-dense foods will set you on a path towards freedom from chronic inflammation and disease. According to Dr. Josh Axe who is a leading expert today in gut health, "the first step to healing yourself is healing your gut". (4)

Danielle Postma, SPT

1. Watzl B. Anti-inflammatory Effects of Plant-based Foods and of their Constituents. International Journal for Vitamin and Nutrition Research. 2008;78(6):293-298. doi:10.1024/0300-9831.78.6.293.
2. Edwards R. 15 Foods that Fight Inflammation. Dr. Axe. draxe.com. Published May 27, 2018. Accessed September 8, 2019.
3. Wahls TL. The Wahls Protocol: a Radical New Way to Treat All Chronic Autoimmune Conditions Using Paleo Principles. London: Vermilion; 2017
4. Axe J. Eat Dirt: Why Leaky Gut May Be the Root Cause of Your Health Problems and 5 Surprising Steps to Cure It. New York (NY): Harper Wave, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers; 2017.
Vulvodynia Support Group
Saturday, October 12th from 10am - 12pm

Do you or someone you know: Suffer from chronic vulvar and/or vaginal pain? Have pain with intercourse? Been diagnosed with interstitial cystitis (IC)? Have pelvic floor dysfunction? If so, please join our support group! For more information, contact Cindy at  cindy@comprehensivetherapy.com or 858-457-8419.
Men's Pelvic Pain Support Group
Tuesday, October 15th at 6pm

1 in 12 men suffer from pelvic pain and most suffer in silence.

Let's gather together and share our experience and resources. Together we can heal & help others get on the road to recovery. For more information, contact Milan at  milan@comprehensivetherapy.com or 858-457-8419.