Category Archives: Depression

Fibromyalgia Phantom Pain Diagnosis and Treatment

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An unexplained pain disorder is commonly labeled as fibromyalgia. The worse thing about unexplained physical pain is the depression that comes with it and not knowing the cause of it and how to effectively alleviate, or remove the pain. In many fibromyalgia cases, mental health prescription drugs are often the treatment course.

Fibromyalgia is not considered a mental illness disorder… however, it is considered a real disorder once medically substantiated through examination and lab protocol diagnosis. It has been medically determined a depressed and anxious mindset and lack of sleep can cause an autoimmune response leading to inflammatory pain-causing symptoms throughout the body. It has long been a practice for medical professionals to prescribe anti-depressants and sleep aid medications useful in treating acute and chronic phantom pain.

Many who suffer from “medically unsubstantiated and undiagnosed pain cause” are three times more likely to suffer from depression and/or anxiety. In the absence of pain causing illness and disease and physical injury, the central nervous system(s) neuro and hormonal chemicals are often found out-of- balance. Body chemical imbalances are found to trigger an inflammatory autoimmune response in many patients. This chemical imbalance and inflammatory response have a direct connection to mood and bodily pain.

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The populace who tends to be diagnosed with fibromyalgia is women between the ages of 35-55. This condition rarely takes a toll on men, the elderly, or children, although it does occur. Women with fibromyalgia in the U.S. represent over 80% of those diagnosed with this condition. The total populace affected by fibromyalgia in the US represents 2% of our population. Fibromyalgia was formally known as fibrositis (a group of disorders characterized by widespread body aches and pains in muscle, connective tissue, joints and bone). Other triggers that can activate the fibromyalgia condition include exposure to dampness, or cold and certain infections. Pain is usually worse in the morning.

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Understanding Fibromyalgia Basics: Fibromyalgia is a chronic condition that causes pain and stiffness in the muscles, tendons, and ligaments. Although an exact cause of this condition has not been directly identified, it is thought that a major player to this chronic condition resides within the brains serotonin levels which affects mood. Lower levels of serotonin are known to stimulate depression and with depression psychosomatic illness often occurs. If anyone becomes depressed for a long period of time, the body gets sick and real physical pain is experienced. There seems to be a direct correlation between depression, lack of sleep, restlessness, disturbances in bowel function and super sensitivity with touch, whereas key trigger pain receptors are transmitted via the neurochemical highways from the central nervous system (brain). Fatigue combined with depression can trigger autoimmune infection, and related disease and pain anywhere in the body.

When mental and physical pain episodes go undiagnosed too long and without intervention, unhealthy habits and behavior often ensue, i.e., self-medication, sedentary and addictive drinking habits, etc. Unhealthy lifestyle untreated for long duration will lead to more psychosomatic neuro and hormonal chemical imbalances and pain and illness which can lead to other disease manifestation and cancer.

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If you have unexplainable acute/chronic phantom pain in any muscle, joint, tendons and ligaments, seek a medical opinion and request referral to a physiatrist as soon as possible before symptoms worsen.

Recall, “Fibromyalgia is considered a real disorder once medically substantiated.” However, it remains a challenge for many physicians to diagnose an exact cause of pain and treat effectively in some cases. Why? Unlike rheumatoid arthritis or systemic lupus there is no swelling, external-internal tissue damage, or joint-muscle deformity. The patient is healthy otherwise but suffers from chronic muscular pain and stiffness without swelling, deformity or bruising.

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When diagnosing fibromyalgia, the most common symptoms doctors look for: headaches, tender point pain, irritable bowel syndrome, fatigue etc. Psychological symptoms: depression, sleep disturbances and mood changes. Referred lab findings may medically substantiate the disorder via Elevated levels of Substance P (Chemical Nerve Signal) and Nerve Growth Factor (Found in the spinal fluid) and lower levels of serotonin (Brain Nerve Chemical) from laboratory specimen fluid samples.

“The level of chemical in the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) called substance P, which transmits pain impulses to the brain, is three times higher in people with the disease than in those who do not have the condition. This likely causes someone with fibromyalgia to experience pain more intensely” [emedicinehealth WebMD 2021]

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If you experience phantom pain and have not been diagnosed with a substantiated fibromyalgia disorder, read the tips and recommendations below and seek a medical opinion and diagnosis to get the help you need and deserve now.

10 Fibromyalgia Tips and Recommendations
1. See your doctor if you experience any combination of the symptoms listed above, or (a.) Experience chronic body pain for more than 3 months above and below the waist. (b.) Feel pain in at least 11-18 possible tender points when light pressure is applied. (c.) Experiencing depression and thoughts of suicide and/or high levels of anxiety.
2. Get help if a family member exhibits: Panic attacks, hostility, restlessness, hyperactivity, sleeplessness, and physical pain.
3. If prescribed anti-depressants, a family member should watch for adverse character changes that lead to self-medication and unhealthy lifestyle habits to control pain. A two- month watch is recommended when prescribed anti-depressants to combat fibromyalgia.
4. Adverse behavioral risk is more prominent within adults under 24 and children.

5. Apply hot showers-spray localized area, use heating pads, whirlpool, hot compresses, gentle message to alleviate phantom pain.
6. Stretching and relaxation will alleviate stress, and biofeedback (doctor advisement on this one) will help ease contracted muscles causing pain.
7. The following prescription may be provided to ease pain. Aspirin, acetaminophen, or ibuprofen. Cortisone and local anesthetic injections at pain trigger points.
8. Antidepressants per doctor recommendations, e.g., Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRI).
9. Avoid caffeine and alcohol as these interfere with sleep.
10. Get adequate sleep and general conditioning and exercise, proper nutrition.

Author: Marc T. Woodard, MBA, BS Exercise Science, USA Medical Services Officer, CPT, RET. 2009-21 Copyright. All rights reserved, Mirror Athlete Publishing @: www.mirrorathlete.org,  Sign up for your Free eNewsletter.

Choose One of Six Habit Changes to Lose Body Fat

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Below there are 6 healthy habit changes anyone can apply to begin losing excess body fat weight. Once aware of the unhealthy habits causing the excess body weight…, to reverse the course requires acknowledgement of the unhealthy habit and changing it. Thereafter the unhealthy body fat will come off naturally without increasing health risk.

Identify the Unhealthy Habit Keeping You Overweight and Unfit and then make change.

Last Year’s Resolution to Lose Weight Failed You know why you failed your weight loss program. You did not resolve or change the habit(s) and behavior(s) keeping you overweight. Consuming more than one needs is often caused by daily stress at work and/or within the home environment, and/or unhealthy relationship(s), and/or sedentary habits. Also caused by bad behavioral and addictive food selection. Once you target the cause of your stress, anxiety, addiction, obsession and/or depression… remove yourself from the unhealthy environment, or relationship, or situation or obsession.

Thereafter, personal goals like weight loss and healthy fitness levels become easier to achieve and sustain long-term.

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Pain Factor All pain is causally related to mental and physical illness, disease and/or injury. And with pain comes more sedentary activities and often increased food consumption and associated weight gain. It is for this reason, if you can not manage the pain, it is advised to see a pain specialist.

Request a referral to see a physiatrist [pain management specialist]. A physiatrist specializes in all pain modalities and treats the patient holistically. Don not let pain keep you in a sedentary and out-of-control weight gain hurt locker.

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Party on Some carry the end of year festivities into the New Year. This behavior can last for months, or the entire year. This perpetual party habit will not help you lose weight. First and foremost, you must understand this is occurring and break the habit. A referral to see a behavioral therapist can help target the cause of unhealthy eating and drinking habit or bad behavior(s) and help you change it if you do not have the will power to do it on your own.

Fast foods after the Holidays – Too many Americans consume fast foods especially during the Holidays and End of Sports Season. Here lies the crux for much of Americas diabetes and obesity problems. Processed foods, especially those you find in colorful and attractive packaging almost always contain chemical substances known to cause unhealthy weight gain. When looking at labels, it is those food ingredients you can not pronounce or recognize… they are food chemical additives, preservatives and taste intensifiers that are also known to cause illness and disease and out-of-control weight gain. Choose more whole foods and avoid processed foods as much as possible.

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Learn how to differentiate between healthy and processed foods through food label ingredient awareness. Organic, or mostly organic products on the other hand such as meat from the butcher, fruits and vegetables and desserts from a store baker who displays those consumables ready to eat within days is often a better food selection. This is not to say, those products are not free of unhealthy weight gaining food ingredients and chemicals. But one thing is almost sure, those foods have not been chemically processed to sit on a shelf for 6-12 months. Buy fresh whole foods as often as possible and stay away from highly processed foods to reduce total body fat weight and sustain good health.

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Love of Baking I know the kids love your homemade cookies, cakes and pies. Remember moderation with deserts. Too much sugar, fat and salt is not good for anyone, even children with fast metabolisms. Try serving healthier desserts, i.e., fresh fruits, jello, pudding and peanut, oatmeal and pumpkin treats, etc.

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Once you make healthier lifestyle choices – your fitness levels and health and well-being will also improve as you achieve ideal body weight. Learn how author Marc Woodard’s Ageless MirrorAthlete book, “Overweight and Unfit No More” and how it can help you achieve your weight loss goals naturally and live the lifestyle you need, want and deserve now!

Learn how to live the lifestyle you need, want and deserve now!

Good health to you and your family!

Author: Marc T. Woodard, MBA, BS Exercise Science, ARNG, CPT, RET2019-21 Copyright.  All rights reserved, Mirror Athlete Publishing @: www.mirrorathlete.org,  Sign up for your Free eNewsletter.

Body Fat Be Gone

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Many who want to remove excess body fat and reduce overall body weight will choose a product, service, program or process to achieve the objective.

I assure you, Its not enough to say “Body Fat Be Gone.” Hoping some magic potion or pill will be the answer to an overweight or obese condition. There are mental, physical and environmental realities that must be considered when choosing a weight loss program that will work for you.

Although I do not personally use weight loss supplements, I’ve know many who have decided to give them a try. if you are going to use a weight loss product, I believe the two I’ve posted within this article may be worth consideration. However, sustainable weight loss is highly dependent on healthy lifestyle change habits… which include balanced diet and daily exercise activities.

There are many possible reasons for an overweight condition. However, it has a lot to do with lifestyle choices and a combination of other things out of our control, i.e., genetic and environmental and ill-health factors. In this article, our focus will be on lifestyle choice.

Targeting unhealthy habits and behavior that cause one to become overweight and obese is not an easy task. And when you do target the culprit – it is a challenge to change – because change is hard. Bad habits and behaviors and mental health disorders [obsession, anxiety and depression] often lead to excess weight gain. But can be managed or reversed when you know how. First you must target the weight gain nemisis. Once you do this, it is much easier to build a lifestyle change program to help you lose the weight and keep it off.

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When I speak of weight loss program(s), I am not just talking about diet. I am also talking about daily exercise and recreational activities and interests that keep you motivated to stay the fit healthy lifestyle change course.

Exercising routinely does not mean you have to spend every day in a gym. Why not mix in walking exercise and consider other hobbies of interest that incorporate low impact aerobic activity… i.e., a recreational hobbies that motivate you to walk more often.

For example, gold metal detecting is an exercise activity that burns more fat calories/day. Any low impact aerobics activities like swimming and walking and biking will burn more body fat weight/hour. This is why recreational hobbies are excellent activities to help with overall fitness levels and keeping excess weight off. Metal detecting, like walking along a rivers bank to fish, or kayaking is motivational enough to increase the will power to repeat that aerobic activity of interest. And you just might strike it rich or hook that trophy fish in the process!

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The point is, to be successful in weight loss and sustain healthy body weight, you really need to choose daily and seasonal and annual recreational and body toning exercise activities that incorporate more whole body mobility more often… and slowly decrease an unhealthy food habit. For many, exercising in a gym or at home will not motivate them to stay an exercise routine long term. That is why I emphasis finding a recreational hobby of interest one can get passionate about. Once the mind-body is physically engaged, other exercise interests often ensue.

Too many people now depend on the marketplace for quick weight loss solutions that may/may not include healthy diet and exercise… And many of the manmade products and services also contribute greatly to our national obesity problem. You heard me right, many weight loss products make us fatter in the long run! You ask, how could this be? 

 Shortcuts to weight loss can make you permanently fat!

Too many overweight individuals fall prey to one of hundreds of quick weight loss gimmicks. And to become dependent on unhealthy gimmicks… in time and almost always – breaks the fat burning metabolism. This is because the bad habits and behavior did not change. And deceiving the metabolism to lose weight unnaturally also changes the way the body processes fat to remove or store it and taxes and overworks the system unnaturally. These unnatural chemicals can lead to a premature breakdown in the fat burning metabolism.

The key to keeping off unhealthy body fat weight permanently is learning “How to make healthy lifestyle change and committing to it.” For instance, try using the “How to Make Working Out a Habit” chart below to support long term exercise habits. Ultimately, it is the changing of bad habits into good ones that can be sustained long term, especially activity changes of interest that motivate and challenge the mind-body to stay the course.

How to determine if you are overweight.

If your clothing choice has become a variety of stretch type pants, shirts and/or dresses which cover body fat layers… OR you notice body weight increasing out of control… My recommendation is to purchase a digital bathroom scale that can analyze body fat % and track your weight loss progress while measuring body fat weight. And/or invest in a smart watch with apps that track, analyze and measure your fitness, sleep patterns and vitals progress and fitness level gains.

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Just because you gain weight does not necessarily mean it is unhealthy body weight. E.g., when you begin an exercise program, muscle mass will increase as body fat% decreases. The key here… pay attention to the body fat% increase/decrease. Muscle weighs more than body fat weight. You must make this part of your weight loss calculation. The benefits of increased muscle mass weight… it burns more body fat throughout the day. And as you get more toned, your clothes fit and you feel better. As this muscle to fat ratio change occurs, you may not lose weight immediately. Consider using technology to motivate your weight loss and exercise activities programs and monitor fitness results to achieve your ideal body weight.

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You Won’t Change Your Habits and Have Decided to Use a Fat Burning Product

As stated earlier, many of you will try all types of weight loss pills and potions to reduce body fat weight. You may chose this revolving path throughout your life… mostly because you do not want to make a change, or want to exercise, or increase daily activity for whatever reason.

If this is the case, you are set on using a product to cut body fat unnaturally… The Hydroxycut product appears to provide decent results with thousands of satisfied bodybuilders and fitness enthusiasts… It is a product I’ve considered trying just to see what type of results I could achieve. This is a product I believe would work well for those in good health, not adversly affected by caffiene and already engaged in daily exercise and want to remove, or reduce additional body fat weight.

Then after a 3 month period for example, I’d go off of it for the same period of time and re-evaluate the need to use it again. Why? Because I know through long term repeated use, it would likely harm my fat burning metabolism. Although I can not validate this statement about this particular product, I inherently know from all my studies on man-made products, it is not good to go an unnatural weight loss course for long periods of time. I recommend, if you want to try something, use it short term and do not become dependent on it. Instead, develop natural and sustainable healthy habits known to decrease and remove unhealthy body weight.

If I do decide to try this product, I’ll write an article on it. For now, I’m not considering the use of any weight loss supplements.

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RECALL, Almost all weight loss products mention exercise and balanced diet to optimize weight loss results.

Change Unhealthy Food Cravings to Feel Better and Lose Weight Naturally

Be mindful of food cravings that lead to supersizing food portions and ordering extra appetizers and desserts when dining out… When you do reduce food calories in general and if you do have the following symptoms after eating – may reduce or illiminate upset stomach, heartburn and possibly acid reflux. This change may also resolve a feeling of bloat and irritable bowel-like symptoms: constipation or diarrhea and the need to take medications to relieve symptoms. This in no way suggests you stop taking prescriptions prescribed by your doctor. Always consult with a physician before stopping any prescribed medication.

If you have specific types of unhealthy food cravings, try fortifying your diet with healthy food nutrients to lesson these cravings. If you do this, your total calorie intake and body fat uptake will decrease.

It is far better to be honest about your weight gain and associated health risk and do something about it before illness and disease and pain ensues as a result of an overweight condition.

The sooner you make healthy lifestyle change – the sooner you will be free of excess body fat weight and begin living the lifestyle you need, want and deserve now!

Marc Woodard, MBA, BS Exercise Science, ARNG, CPT, RET., is a Fit Healthy Lifestyle Consultant with MirrorAthlete Corp., and Former Tigard City Councilor. A strong proponent of City involvement in providing recreational opportunities for its residents. 2021 Copy right. All rights reserved, Mirror Athlete Inc., “To learn more about MirrorAthlete and free monthly newsletter, visit: www.mirrorathlete.org.