Category Archives: Mental Health

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.

Ageless MirrorAthlete Pacific Book Review by Allison Walker

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Updated: 8 March 2020, Marc Woodard

Learn More About Ageless MirrorAthlete book and the author by clicking on the book link and reading the free preview.

Title: Ageless Mirror Athlete: Overweight and Unfit No More Author: Marc T. Woodard Publisher: iUniverse ISBN: 978-1-5320-5373-3 Genre: Health and Fitness Pages: 367. Book can be ordered on Amazon, B&N and iUniverse: Hard and soft book cover and digital copy.

To view Ageless MirrorAthlete original pacific book review listed at their website [click here]

Pacific Book Review, by Allison Walker, June 2019

“The weight loss industry should be ashamed, opines lifestyle consultant and author Marc Woodard. Fad diets, the inundation of weight loss pills, and fitness equipment that sits in the corner gathering dust sells people gimmicks instead of solutions. Woodard’s book, Ageless Mirror Athlete, promises to expose the industry’s cheap secrets and offer readers a healthier way to live.”

“As a person looking to make a healthy lifestyle change, to lose weight or gain strength, maybe even to manage a disease, you are entrusting your lifestyle coach with not only your well-being, but with your life. Woodard knows this, is passionate about his job and it’s clear he holds equally high standards for others in his industry. This is why Woodard scorns the half-truths of weight loss products, and favors a more wholesome diet, regular exercise and good old fashioned calorie counting along with self-awareness. “

“Calorie counting, or at least awareness of caloric intake, is a key component of Woodard’s fitness plan. Understanding your body’s basal, resting and exercise metabolic rates is how Woodard’s clients lose weight safely, without sacrificing the foods they love. The book becomes technical, explaining the differences between carbohydrates, fats and protein; how the body utilizes each nutrient; and how to calculate how much of each you need. Thankfully, Woodard follows up with, You don’t have to finish reading to begin losing weight and feeling well right now. Instead, Woodard says, make a commitment to daily walking and minimizing processed foods. Ageless Mirror Athlete scorns fad diets in favor of this holistic, educated approach. As an example, Woodard points to high protein, high fat diets like Atkins and KETO. These diets work by throwing the body into a metabolic state of ketosis, wherein you lose weight very quickly but may suffer health complications with continued use. Woodard notes an extended state of ketosis may result in gout, kidney stones and kidney failure.”

“The Ageless Mirror Athlete plan focuses on habitual adjustment to daily routine, since unless you can maintain your lifestyle long-term, no diet or exercise plan is going to work for you. Instead of limiting the types of foods you eat, people learn a better awareness of the food being consumed, the quantity and their nutrient value. Exercise plans favor daily walks or bicycle rides. By making healthier lifestyle choices, clients have greater sustainable energy to get through their day. Woodard offers the example of a client, Sally, who was placed on a popular diet plan by a previous lifestyle coach. Sally was eating a high carbohydrate, low fat, low protein diet. At first she was able to meet her exercise goals, but eventually found she barely had energy to get through her work day, never mind spending energy working out. Under Woodard’s tutelage, they developed a more balanced diet plan to give Sally more energy, and an exercise program she was more easily able to commit to. Several months later, Sally lost weight and still practiced her healthy lifestyle.”

“Just as he promises, Woodard is the real deal. He promises to expose the truth behind the weight loss and body building industries, and he does. Ageless Mirror Athlete is a no-gimmicks call-out to all the diet plans, weight loss pills, and exercise equipment founded of false promises made by commercial interests.”

L-Tryptophan the Obesity, Depression & ADD Silver Bullet Solution?

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Updated by Marc Woodard, 2/27/20

What is dietary Tryptophan and how can it help you lose weight and reduce anxiety?

It is one of the 8 essential amino acids our bodies require to function correctly. It is found naturally in varying degrees within food we eat, such as red meat, milk, eggs, turkey, bananas and chocolate, etc.

How does IMG_20130405_174848Tryptophan work to produce benefits for our bodies that could promote natural weight loss, reduce anxiety, increase happiness, remove depression, and promote good sleep? Could it be possible this essential amino acid supplemented within a diet and known as L-Tryptophan could also help with ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder) for you and your children?

The answers will surprise, anger and shock many of you about the health benefits our pharmaceutical industries don’t want you to fully realize. This is because the prescription industry is a billion (s) dollar industries that do not want to give up its prescription turf!

Ageless MirrorAthlete has all the consumer information you need and want now – live life to the fullest today!

Let’s first cover a bit of history. Back in 1991 the US government banned the dietary supplement L-Tryptophan because it was linked to a large outbreak of a deadly disease that killed 38 people in a 1989 study. After 10 years had passed without incident of use in Europe, the US loosened its marketing restriction on the substance in 2001. Like anything else, if misused any product may cause ill-health conditions. Like many competitive industries, and most specifically our pharmaceutical industries back in 1989, they took full advantage of this disaster and profited in the market place by denouncing L-Tryptophan supplementation and created a whole slew of potentially dangerous pharmaceuticals to mimic the benefits of this essential amino acid.

As you will read below, there are still risks of using L-Tryptophan if not used correctly. But I believe the pharmaceutical cocktail mixes our doctors now prescribe to you and your children have greater risk to health than this natural occurring supplement found in a balanced diet. So instead of this industry improving a safe version of this supplement, it appears it was more profitable to create a whole lot of other products to achieve the same result at greater expense with increased health risk.

How does this amino acid work in our bodies to promote health benefits?

Our bodies need serotonin and melatonin neurotransmitters which are bio-brain chemicals that allow proper function of our physiology. Our bodies do not manufacture these neurotransmitters without this amino acid in the diet. IMG_20130405_174935That’s what essential means… our body can’t produce this amino acid on its own, and it has to be obtained through the diet.

This is important why? Because without enough of this essential amino acid – any one of us stand a good chance of suffering from one, or any combination of ill-health condition of varying degree… such as, migraines, low energy, sleepless nights, improper weight regulation, obesity, depression, anxiety and hyperactivity.

If your diet is predominately low protein-high carbohydrate, you are at greater risk of ill-health. When dietary balance is one of high sugar-fat and low protein you reduce the uptake of essential nutrients needed to sustain balanced body chemicals and good health.IMG_20130405_175411

Fortunately, more consumers today are educated on proper use and benefits of L-Tryptophan. It is making a big comeback in the mainstream weight loss, anti-anxiety/depression and ADD marketplace.

As you can imagine there is big opposition to this movement from the pharmaceutical industry because there is much profit to be lost once consumers wean off unnecessary pharmaceuticals.

I’m not saying all man-made products are without merit. However, all too often, our physicians and psychiatrists are too quick to prescribe a pill when the answer to the problem could be very simple – a poor diet, or need to simply supplement the diet with an essential amino acid to stimulate the production of the necessary neurotransmitter chemical.

Can supplementing the diet with L-Tryptophan help us regulate and reduce weight?

Science shows this supplement can greatly reduce our cravings for sweets and carbohydrates.

When dieting our serotonin levels appear to decrease which creates a carbohydrate binging and cravings effect.

When our serotonin levels remain low there is a direct correlation with weight gain and obesity. We know this binging and craving effect as the Yo-Yo effect.

There are known side effects of taking L-Tryptophan if proper dosages and impure quality grade are not considered. Unlike Tryptophan extracted from the foods in our diet, there appears to be no health risk. But like anything else we put in our bodies, if you consume too much with frequency, a negative to no benefit effect can result making the body ill.

Here is a list of possible side effects when misusing, or using L-Tryptophan: Eosinophilia-Myalgia Syndrome (EMS), or serotonin syndrome.  

Symptoms include severe muscle pain, fatigue, and nerve pain, hair loss, rash, dry thickened skin, or skin changes. High eosinophil levels are found in the blood when supplementation has gone wrong. Also when recommended dosages are disregarded, excess toxic waste in the body can impact the brain bringing on psychotic symptoms. This may include confusion, seeing, or hearing things, fast heartbeat, fever, sweating, diarrhea, difficulty walking. Allergic reactions may include: Rash, hives, itching, swelling of mouth/throat, wheezing, or breathing difficulty. Science still cannot tell us if EMS is the result of impure or specific brand L-tryptophan that had contaminants. But for best results, it’s best to ensure a quality pharmaceutical grade for safe use.

If L-Tryptophan is supplemented within the right dosages, the scientific data shows the brain will manufacture balanced serotonin and melatonin neurotransmitters promoting a cheerful mood, assist in weight reduction, relieve anxiety, reduce migraine, reduce hyperactivity, reduce depression and promote healthy sleep patterns. Sounds like the same benefits you’d receive from a doctor’s prescription, does it not? Because this supplement also has many potential risks like prescriptions; it would be prudent to work with your primary care physician if interested in supplementing the diet with L-Tryptophan.

This essential acid is also responsible for manufacturing the neurotransmitter Melatonin  [resulting in healthy sleep patterns]. Melatonin can be purchased over-the-counter in many retail stores.

I’ve used melatonin after working grave yard shifts and can tell you it works very well to induce sleep. But if you’re getting enough tryptophan from a balanced diet – sleepless nights may become less frequent. DSC00297Of course, bodies are all different in ability to process Tryptophan and manufacture serotonin and melatonin, so these dietary  truths and resulting effects will vary and affect each individual differently.

If you’d been advised to reduce the cholesterol in your diet, this may likely lead to a reduction of this essential amino acid. I have not supplemented my diet with L-Tryptophan, but would do so If I felt I couldn’t get this essential amino acid from the foods I eat daily.

Recommendations:

If you or your child suffer from ADD, obesity, anxiety, depression and insomnia, consider balanced diet and/or supplement with natural Trpytophan, or a high quality L-Trpytophan prescribed by a physician.

Understand there are literally thousands of Internet links and library resources on this topic. There is much to be interpreted and derived from the data I found outside of the two links listed below. I see the positive benefits of balanced diet and supplementation if needed. The pharmaceutical and psychiatric community does not share a similar enthusiasm over the benefits of supplementation.

Research the Internet and read up on diet Tryptophan versus supplement L-Tryptophan and how it may be your silver bullet to weaning off of pharmaceuticals and promoting a good health to meet your fit healthy and well-being goals.

Good health to you and your family!

Research Links:

http://www.weight-loss-center.net/L-tryptophan.html

http://mental-health.emedtv.com/l-tryptophan/l-tryptophan-side-effects.html

Author:  Marc T. Woodard, MBA, BS Exercise Science, USA Medical Services Officer, CPT, RET. 2010-20 Copyright. All rights reserved, Mirror Athlete Publishing @: www.mirrorathlete.org, Sign up for your Free eNewsletter.