The Top 23 Things That Will Cause A Flare In What You Thought Was Endometriosis Adenomyosis Symptoms But Maybe Isnt 13 23 webpage

The Top 24 Things That Will Cause A Flare In What You Thought Was Endometriosis & Adenomyosis Symptoms, But Maybe Isn’t (13-24)

In the second part of my posts about the top 24 things that will cause a flare in what you thought was endometriosis and adenomyosis symptoms, but may isn’t, I continue with the next 12 causes of what you think is endometriosis, or adenomyosis symptoms, may just be caused by something else?

In this post I continue to bring awareness to the fact that sometimes it is not always Endometriosis, or Adenomyosis causing your current symptoms. It may be one of the following facts only, or in combination. What we need to remember is that many women with endometriosis, and adenomyosis, often have other issues that are flaring their current symptoms, and often present the same as endometriosis and adenomyosis, in their symptomology.

We also know that many other causes of flares of symptoms are often overlooked, and even dismissed, just as endometriosis and adenomyosis is often missed and dismissed.

Many women may have other issues going on at the same time as having endometriosis, or adenomyosis, and it is possible to have both endometriosis and adenomyosis combined and well as having other health issues in combination as well. Just remember that not all your symptoms may be endometriosis, or adenomyosis, and why it is so important to see and expert in these conditions.

If you do need and expert and need help with endometriosis and adenomyosis, please give my friendly staff a call and find out how I may be able to assist you.

 

Let’s have a look at the next 12 causes of “What You Thought Was Endometriosis and Adenomyosis Symptoms, But Maybe Isn’t”

 

Causes of a Flare of What You Thought Was Endometriosis and Adenomyosis Symptoms, But Maybe Isn’t ( 13-24)

13.Tight pelvic floor muscles – Pelvic floor hypertonus occurs when the muscles in the pelvic floor become too tight and are unable to relax. Many women with an overly tight and non-relaxing pelvic floor experience pelvic health issues such as constipation, painful sex, urinary urgency, bladder issues and pelvic pain. Women with pelvic floor hypertonus may also have musculoskeletal issues that cause tightness and tension in surrounding hip, sacrum and pelvic muscles. Have a read on my previous post about this. (Click here to read)

14.Interstitial cystitis– Interstitial cystitis (IC) is a chronic inflammatory bladder condition in which there is persisting chronic pelvic pain, urinary frequency and urgency, bladder pain or pressure, and it can also resemble the symptoms of a urinary tract infection, but there will be no infection present. The pain can range from being mild to severe. Women with interstitial cystitis may experience many of the same symptoms as those with endometriosis. Women can have both Interstitial Cystitis and endometriosis at the same time. Some people with IC may also have irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), Fibromyalgia and other pain syndromes. This is why proper differential diagnosis is very important as this can be missed very often, or completely overlooked. Have a read of my previous post about IC (Click here to read)

15.Pelvic Congestion Syndrome– Pelvic congestion syndrome (PCS) is a chronic condition that occurs in women when varicose veins form below the abdomen within the pelvic region. Pelvic congestion is just like the varicose veins that some women have in their legs, but it affects the veins of the pelvis. Blood backs up in the veins, making them become enlarged and engorged. Pelvic congestion can also cause chronic pelvic pain in some women. Pelvic congestion syndrome does share many of the same symptoms of endometriosis and adenomyosis and it important to have proper differential diagnosis and rule other causes of pelvic pain out first. Sometimes the varicose veins that cause pelvic congestion syndrome can be present alongside endometriosis and adenomyosis, or other pelvic issues. Have a read of my previous post about PCS (Click here to read)

16.Constipation and full bowel- A common cause of pelvic pain and abdominal pain and bloating and caused by constipation and a full bowel that is slowly backing up and starting to compact. In serious cases, the bowel can compact and even perforate if not addressed soon enough. When the bowel is not fully voided, it can lead to backing up of the bowel. Many people are still moving their bowel each day, but just do not realise, it is not being voided properly. This can lead to pain, gastrointestinal issues and also feeling unwell, due to not voiding waste from the body. It is a very commonly overlooked issue. This is why women need look at restoring the microbiome properly and also drinking enough water, eating enough fibre and also creating good bowel habits and not holding on too long at work.

17.Lack of sleep – Lack of quality sleep is a major issue for many women and is a common cause of their fatigue, increased pain, and exacerbation of symptoms, interference of moods, and a whole range of health issues physically and mentally. Sleep deprivation leads to reduction in hormones such as melatonin, which is a precursor to serotonin and then affect the moods etc. Lack of sleep also interferes with the other hormones in our body too. Lack of sleep also stops the body from repairing and can lead to increased inflammation within the body. We know that shift works do have a lot more disturbances with their menstrual cycles and also have lower fertility rates.

18.Over-exercising– Over-exercise can lead to tight pelvic floor muscles and hypertonus, but it can also lead to decrease body fats as well. Body fat plays a regulatory process with hormones and fertility. A significant decrease in body fact (10-15%) can lead to decreased hormone production and actually stop the menses and interfere with fertility. Over exercise can also cause stress and inflammation in the body and can also lead to adrenal exhaustion and fatigue. It is all about balance.

19.Lack of exercise– Lack of exercise if a big factor in a lot of people’s health issues. Lack of blood flow and lack of circulation to muscles and tissues, especially the uterus and vagina, can have some serious consequences for women’s health and gynaecological conditions. Without proper microcirculation into the uterus, and vagina and reproductive organs, these areas can become highly stressed, lack vital nutrients and then leads to inflammation, pain and other irregularities. It is a catch 22 situation. Too much exercise is not good, but similarly, not enough exercise is just as bad for us. While sometimes we may not feel like exercising, the fact is, research has shown that regular exercise can, and does help with pain, and other symptoms of endometriosis and adenomyosis.

20.Environmental Estrogens– According to a landmark US study published by the US department of environmental health, there are 87,000 plus environmental estrogens we are exposed to in all countries around the world, some being worse than others. These can be anything from plastics, detergents, petroleum products, chemicals and even the contraceptive pill ending up in our water ways. These endocrine disruptors (AKA as environmental estrogens) can interfere with hormones within our body and also lead to inflammation and many health issues. They have also been linked to the increase in lower fertility rates and the increase in expression of genetic mutations within the body. Endometriosis and adenomyosis is driven by estrogen and this may be a big factor in the increase in women with endometriosis and adenomyosis.

21.Lack of blood/increase of blood circulation– The microcirculation of the uterus, vagina and reproductive organs is a very important one and one of the reasons getting proper blood flow and improving microcirculation into these areas is important. I talked about this in the lack of exercise part. It is also important to check women for hereditary blood clotting and also bleeding disorders. All women with gynaecological and fertility issues should be screened for blood clotting disorders via prothrombotic studies and also bleeding disorders such as Von Willebrands Disease, when suspected.

22.Musculoskeletal issues– Women with postural issues, or their spine out of alignment can also experience referral pain, and pelvic pain due. It is important to have musculoskeletal causes of pain assessed by a qualified healthcare professional (physio/chiropractor/osteopath). When muscles are too tight, it can cause sublaxations, which can then impinge on nerves and also cause referral pain and other health issues within the body. Damage to nerves and tissue, such as pudendal nerve neuralgia can also cause pain and referral pain in the lower abdomen, pelvis and vagina.

23.Excess weight and body fat– At present up to 70% (or more) of Australians, and Americans, are either overweight, or obese, so we can no longer ignore what the consequences of these statistics mean. We know that excess weight and excess body fat is linked to serious health consequences. Excess body fat in men and women leads to higher levels of the hormone leptin. Excess body fat is also now referred to as obestrogens, as they cause the same health consequences as environmental estrogens (known as endocrine disruptors). These excess body fats and higher levels of leptin do impair production of sex hormones and also reduces fertility. It can also lead to poorer sperm quality, poorer egg quality and can also increase the risk of miscarriage. Excess body fat, especially excess abdominal fat, is also linked to insulin resistance, metabolic syndrome and other health issues. It also interferes with the regulation of sex hormones and sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG).  This can then increase the risk of irregular cycles, PCOS, endometriosis, adenomyosis, miscarriage and other factors affecting fertility. Excess body fat can also be a major driving factor of endometriosis and adenomyosis, due to the estrogenic effects it has. This is why reduction in body fat and a healthy diet and healthy lifestyle is imperative in the management of women’s health and fertility.

24. Iron Deficiency– Iron deficiency can be a very serious issues, and many women do not realise the health risk associated with it, and how often it goes undiagnosed. It can lead to disruption of hormones, and can lead to fatigue and exacerbation of pain and emotionally generated symptoms. Let’s face it, without iron, you aren’t going to be transporting oxygen around your body and then your muscles, brain, hormones and circulation suffer as a result of this. Women with endometriosis and adenomyosis are nearly always iron deficient from the heavy blood losses they suffer, or the internal bleeds they get from flares of endometriosis lesions. Have a look at my previous past on the serious consequences of low iron and why managing iron levels is so important (Click here to read)

 

The Top 22 Things That Will Cause A Flare In Endometriosis Adenomyosis Symptoms 1 11 for webpage

The Top 24 Things That Will Cause A Flare In What You Thought Was Endometriosis & Adenomyosis Symptoms, But Maybe Isn’t (1-12)

Many people often talk about how they get flares of their endometriosis and adenomyosis symptoms often. While in some cases it may actually be the endometriosis, or adenomyosis causing their flare, in truth, many times it is other things actually causing their flare and it is so important to understand this. Maybe what you think is endometriosis, or adenomyosis symptoms, may just be caused by something else?

In this post I want to bring awareness to the fact that sometimes it is not always Endometriosis, or Adenomyosis causing your current symptoms. It may be one of the following facts only, or in combination. What we need to remember is that many women with endometriosis, and adenomyosis, often have other issues that are flaring their current symptoms, and often present the same as endometriosis and adenomyosis, in their symptomology.

We also know that many other causes of flares of symptoms are often overlooked, and even dismissed, just as endometriosis and adenomyosis is often missed and dismissed.

Many women may have other issues going on at the same time as having endometriosis, or adenomyosis, and it is possible to have both endometriosis and adenomyosis combined and well as having other health issues in combination as well. Just remember that not all your symptoms may be endometriosis, or adenomyosis, and why it is so important to see and expert in these conditions.

If you do need and expert and need help with endometriosis and adenomyosis, please give my friendly staff a call and find out how I may be able to assist you.

 

Let’s have a look at the first 12 cause of “What You Thought Was Endometriosis and Adenomyosis Symptoms, But Maybe Isn’t”

 

Causes of a Flare of What You Thought Was Endometriosis and Adenomyosis Symptoms, But Maybe Isn’t ( 1-12)

1.Stress – Stress is the one of the biggest causes of ill health, or in exacerbating current health issues and their symptoms. Stress also heightens pain pathways, it increases inflammation, interferes with moods, disrupts hormone pathways and also increases acidity in the body. This then leads to increase in symptoms such as pain, gastrointestinal issues, fatigue, and increase in emotionally generated symptoms. Have a read of my previous article of this (Click here to read)

2.Anxiety– Anxiety is also a big cause in aggravating and exacerbating symptoms of endometriosis/adenomyosis. When control issues are heightened, the body spirals out of control and anxiety kicks in and exacerbates symptoms. This also heightens pain pathways like stress does, and also disrupts hormone pathways as well. This then drives pain pathways, upsets the gastrointestinal system, disrupts sleep and also creates fatigue. I have done a previous post of anxiety and pain pathways previously (Click here to read)

3.Busyness– Busyness is one of the number one drivers of stress and anxiety issues. Lack of time out and on the go, pushes the body to exhaustion, and also activates adrenalin and cortisol levels, which in turn interfere with hormone pathways. Busyness is really stress under another name, and can produce all the same symptoms as stress does. Busyness can also be a big factor with fertility and pregnancy too. See previous post (Click here to read)

4.Alcohol– One of the number one things to flare endometriosis/adenomyosis symptoms and any gynaecological issue is alcohol, especially excess alcohol. Alcohol can also be a big factor in period pain and also irregular cycles. It can also exacerbate heavy bleeding, especially with adenomyosis. Alcohol is full of sugars and it really is a drug and a toxin, especially in higher doses. Alcohol is also inflammatory and will exacerbate inflammatory conditions in the body. Alcohol also adds to fluid retention and body fat, and can interfere with moods.

5.Smoking – Smoking not only adds to inflammation in the body, but it also increases the risk of certain cancers, including gynaecological The byproducts of cigarette smoke have been found in the cervical mucus of women and these toxins are literally leaching into your uterus, your vagina, and surrounding tissues and organs. Ewwwww. Smoking definitely increases inflammatory processes in the body and leads to increases symptoms.

6.Refined foods– Highly refined foods increase blood sugar levels, which then makes the body store fat, and stops the burning of fat.
Excess body fat also drives inflammation, and is also estrogenic. Estrogen drives endometriosis/adenomyosis.
Excess refined carbs also cause increase insulin, which in turn causes inflammation in the body too. This increase inflammation exacerbates pain pathways and other symptomatic responses in the body.
A lot of refined foods are from grains, which also contain gluten. Gluten causes gut irritation and inflammation – a lot of people won’t even realise that their problems are caused by gluten. Have a listen to my video blog about a proper diet (Click here to read)

7.Too much sugar– Excess sugars and things such as chocolate (big one) is a big driver of inflammation in the body. The excess sugars also make the body store fat, and they also increase pain and exacerbate pain pathways. The excess sugars also disrupt the gut microbiome and increase bad bacteria, which also drive inflammation and increase gastrointestinal issues such as bloating and abdominal pain. It can also affect bowel function. Have a read of my post about the toxic consequences of sugar ( Click here to read)

8.Legumes (chickpeas, lentils, soy etc)- Lentils, beans (i.e. kidney, pinto, broad etc),peanuts (they aren’t nuts, despite the name), soy beans, garbanzos and chickpeas are alllegumes. Like grains, legumes too contain harmful substances such as lectins and phytates, inhibiting nutrient absorption and causing inflammation. They also cause gas and bloating and many people do not realise the reactions they can cause in the body.
Raw legumes are toxic, so they need to be prepared (by soaking,rising, cooking, sprouting or fermenting) – however, preparation doesn’t entirely negate the harmful effects of the lectins. Despite soaking and activating, many people still react badly .
Soy is particularly bad, since the phytoestrogens content acts like the female sex hormone estrogen. This has been shown to have some damaging effects with healthy hormone functions. Endometriosis and adenomyosis is estrogen driven and women should stay away from soy and soy based products where possible.

9.Excess bad bacteria – Buildup of bad bacteria, called dysbiotic bacteria can cause inflammation and ill-health, physically and emotionally. A buildup of bad bacteria is a common cause of abdominal pain and bloating in women with endometriosis and adenomyosis. I have discussed dysbiotic bacteria is a previous post (Click here to read)

10.Acidic foods– Acidic foods may cause or aggravate certain digestive disorders, such as acid reflux gastroesophageal reflux disease, otherwise known as GERD. Acidic foods can also add to inflammatory processes in the body and why there is now mounting evidence to use a more alkaline diet for those with chronic inflammatory disease states. Common acidic foods are alcohol, certain citrus fruits, soft drinks, processed foods, refined foods, junk foods, and tomato based products.

11.Junk foods – Junk foods contain all sorts of nasty things, from trans fats(carcinogenic fats), additives, preservatives, saturated fats, acid, gluten, soy, refined grains, processed foods, environmental estrogens, high sugar and a whole lot of others things that can create inflammation in the body and add to exacerbating someone’s symptoms. This one goes without saying, yet some many people do not realise that just one serving of junk food could exacerbate symptoms for days, or longer.

12.Certain medications– Medications can be both friend and foe, depending on the length of time someone has taken them, and also the side effect profile of a certain medication. Certain medications can also cause withdrawal effects each day, and they can exacerbate symptoms of your health issue, including pain. This can also go for natural medicines taken wrongly, or taken for too long a period. This is why it is always important to be properly managed and monitored by a qualified healthcare professional. Have a read about this issue in a previous post (click here to read)

Your Health Condition 2

Why It Is Crucial Not To Buy Into Becoming Your Health Label 

One of the things I always talk about with my patients who have a chronic disease state, or women’s health issue, or any health issue, is that it is crucial not to buy into becoming your health label.

The more we focus on a disease state, the harder it is to manage, and the worse all our symptoms become. Then the vicious cycle, and merry go round begins and never seems to end. The more we feed something, the bigger it grows.

There are now lots of research to back this up and why when treating disease states, pain, and other associated symptoms there needs a multimodality approach. You cannot separate the physical and mental aspects of a disease, and the impact that the mind can also have on a disease and its symptoms.

As per usual, when we talk about a difficult subject, which will probably trigger some, I always ask everyone to try and take the personal out of things. This subject is being discussed with the intent to help people, because it is a very important topic that needs to be talked about. This is seen very often in practice, and is often hindering people in them getting better, so it needs to be discussed.

The difference between Research and a Google Search

When someone is first diagnosed with a disease state, it is often understandable that someone would want to try and find a way to help their health issue. This is actually something I encourage all my patients to do. Part of what I do is educating patients how they can best manage their disease and also the importance and difference between good research, compared to someone’s google search.

Research, and a google search, are two totally different things and many people get this confused. I have talked about this often in many of my articles, and also explained why Dr Google is not a good place to get your health information from. Despite that, any free to the public research papers that may be out there are many years old, and now out of date. The other things is, unless you have done study in how to quantify good research, you could be taking some very bad research data and believing it to be true, when in fact it is complete rubbish. Research data analysis and terminology takes years to understand fully, and no google search is going to help anyone learn that.

That does not mean that one should not be educated and stop trying to find out about their disease state. But, there is a point when someone is constantly looking for answers, or then becomes obsessed with their disease and symptoms, that this can become very unhealthy. It can also lead to exacerbation of symptoms, increased mental health issues, lack of quality treatments and management, and over analysing even the smallest of symptoms.

Finding the right support

I know I am a big advocate of people getting support, but often we see people getting their health advice from the wrong areas, such as social media groups, who say they are support groups. The hard thing with many of this groups is that they are often run by untrained people, have no qualified health professionals to give proper advice, and many times they are focussed on the negative aspects of a health issue. This then leads to more negative thoughts, and can actually be a source of toxicity and holding you back from real professional help. It is a catch 22 situation and why people need to be careful which groups they join.

This is why people should only join professional support groups facilitated and mediated by health professionals, and people trained in a certain health issues. These groups are also moderated properly, and are kept to factual discussion and centred around positive solutions, rather than negative talk that we see in a great deal of groups.

Focussing on health issue can intensify symptoms

There is so much credible research about how focussing on our symptoms can have the negative consequence of increasing the intensity of the symptoms and also pain. This, in turn, can create more worry about the symptoms, which brings on more anxiety sensations, and increases our desire to focus on our symptoms even more. This is why it is important to work with health professionals to explore ways that you can start to decrease the amount of time spent focussed on health symptoms and worries, reduce reliance on addictive medications, and thus start to break this vicious cycle.

People who experience health anxiety will often find themselves scanning their bodies for signs of ill health and then worrying about bodily sensations. This is not to take away from people actually having very real symptoms from their disease state and health issues. To a certain extent, it is normal to be aware of bodily sensations and changes, and to pay some attention to potential health problems.

Identifying things that can trigger flares

People will have flares of symptoms from time to time, and often there can be no reason for the flare. But in practice, healthcare professionals are trained to ask the right questions and will identify things that cause flares too. Most times, a flare is causes by blowouts in diet, increased alcohol intake (binges), increased stress and anxiety, lack of quality sleep, dehydration, and over doing it. People can also get flare from withdrawal and rebound effects of some medications too. Stress and anxiety are some of the biggest triggers for people and why it is some important to look at the mental and emotion aspects of healthcare management too.

There may be many things that cause a flare and it is important to get help to identify what these are, and to help avoid these triggers in the future.

Retraining your thoughts to be more positive

If you are spending too much time focussing on your symptoms, or you find it difficult to stop thinking about these symptoms, you may need to start working on retraining your thoughts and attentions onto more proactive and positive things. This is where seeing a psychologist as well can help with reduction of symptoms and pain management too.

Unfortunately when we focus on our disease state, or health issue and its associated symptoms, this can actually amplify the intensity of the symptoms, and thus bring on more worry and anxiety symptoms. It can also amplify pain levels and decrease someone’s ability to cope. Chronic pain clearly affects the body, but it also affects emotions, relationships, and the mind. It can cause anxiety and depression, which in turn, can make pain worse. It is that vicious cycle again that need to be broken.

Coping skills to help you have a normal life

When we are focussed on our symptoms, it can take our attention away from everyday activities and even from important tasks. It can also affect their job and also their intimate relationships. It also takes away from actually seeking proper help and management of a disease state, or health issue, from a qualified health professional.

For example, have you ever found it hard to focus on a household chore, or focus on your work, because your attention kept wandering back to a particular area of your body, back to health worries, or back to a particular symptom?

Learning to retrain your attention is therefore an important step in overcoming your health anxiety. It will not only reduce the amount you focus on your symptoms and your disease, but it will also free up your attention to focus on other activities and experiences. It is about helping you have the coping skills you need to have a normal and productive life, rather than constantly focussing on your health issue, and then creating the vicious cycles around that.

Changing behaviours to help manage your health

Once you work with healthcare professionals to help you with coping skills, to assist you in not focussing on symptoms, and your health issue, you will then be in a better position to decide if you would like to change that behaviour. You are also in a better position to be able to deal with flares if they happen and also look at things that can help you better manage your health issue and symptoms. It will also help you with the constant reliance on medications, and painkillers etc, and help you to use them when you really need to.

Never try to manage your health issue on your own

This is why it is so important not to try and manage a health issue on your own, and seek the help of professionals who can help you with multimodality approaches to health management, and look at all the aspects of a health issue. This includes the physical and emotional aspects too.

You are not your disease and not your health label

You are not your disease and your disease does not define who you are. This is why it is so important not to buy into the label of your particular health issue. You need to not let your health issue control you and with the proper help, you can live a normal life, like so many others who have sort the right help already do. You can get your life back with the right help and right health management. Once you do the work, and experience the benefits, you will know it can be done and how much it can change your way of life.

Final Word

If you need help with a women’s health issue, or a particular health issue, you can always contact my friendly staff about how I may be able to assist you. There are also practitioners that are part of The Experts Program, whom we can refer you to and work in with as well.

Regards

Andrew Orr

No Stone Left Unturned

Master of Women’s Health Medicine

The Experts Program

References

  1. Bushnell MC, Ceko M, Low LA. Cognitive and emotional control of pain and its disruption in chronic pain. Nat Rev Neurosci. 2013;14:502–11.[PMC free article] [PubMed] [Google Scholar]
  2. Blyth FM, Macfarlane GJ, Nicholas MK. The contribution of psychosocial factors to the development of chronic pain: the key to better outcomes for patients? Pain. 2007;129:8–11. [PubMed] [Google Scholar]
  3. Aschbacher K, Adam EK, Crofford LJ, et al. Linking disease symptoms and subtypes with personalized systems-based phenotypes: a proof of concept study. Brain Behavior Immunity. 2012;26:1047–56. [PMC free article][PubMed] [Google Scholar]
  4. Breivik H, Collett B, Ventafridda V, Cohen R, Gallacher D. Survey of chronic pain in Europe: prevalence, impact on daily life, and treatment. Eur J Pain. 2006;10(4):287–333. [PubMed] [Google Scholar]
  5. Scott KM, Bruffaerts R, Tsang A, et al. Depression-anxiety relationships with chronic physical conditions: results from the World Mental Health Surveys. J Affect Disord. 2007;103(1–3):113–120. [PubMed] [Google Scholar]
  6. Closs SJ, Staples V, Reid I, Bennett MI, Briggs M. The impact of neuropathic pain on relationships. J Adv Nurs. 2009;65(2):402–411. [PubMed
Opioid Crisis

Let’s Talk About The Current Opioid Crisis & Pain Prescription Crackdown

Recently there has been so much news about pandemics such as COVID 19, but nobody is talking about an epidemic that is causing more deaths than this global crisis. The Opioid Crisis is an epidemic is expanding on a global scale. In Australia, the rise in prescribing of pain medications, particularly opioids has increased signficantly. This is having has had devastating results, with the levels of harm and deaths due to opioid misuse rising exponentially.

In Australia, over three million people were prescribed 15.4 million opioid scripts in 2016–17. What is most concerning is that opioids now account for 62% of drug-induced deaths, with pharmaceutical opioids now more likely than heroin to be involved in opioid deaths and hospitalisations. In 2016–17 there were 5,112 emergency department presentations and 9,636 hospitalisations due to opioid poisoning, with three deaths per day attributed to opioid harm – higher than the road toll.(2)

The global crisis of opioid crisis is increasing and is very concerning. About 275 million people worldwide (5.6 per cent of the global population aged 15–64 years) used drugs at least once during 2016. There were an estimated 27 million people who suffered from opioid use disorders in 2016. Roughly 450,000 people died as a result of drug use in 2015. Of those deaths, about 118 thousands with opioid use disorders.

Overdose deaths contribute to between roughly a third and a half of all drug-related deaths, which are attributable in most cases to opioids. Lifetime prevalence of witnessed overdose among drug users is about 70%. There are effective treatments for opioid dependence yet less than 10% of people who need such treatment are receiving it. The inexpensive medication naloxone can completely reverse the effects of opioid overdose and prevent deaths due to opioid overdose.

Due to their pharmacological effects, opioids in high doses can cause respiratory depression and death.

In Australia today, unrelieved pain is a major issue. Up to 80 percent of people living with chronic pain are missing out on treatment that could improve their health and quality of life. Some of these people are dismissed and feel isolated and suffer constant pain, anxiety, depression and even attempt suicide. It is big issues that needs to be address.

Opioids and pain medications should never be regarded as the sole approach to people with chronic pain. They should be regarded as one component of a multimodality approach and management plan, and should only be used on a limited basis and monitored regularly so as not to develop and addiction.

A well-defined and well-structured multimodality management pain plan, set out be a qualified healthcare professional, is essential in improving pain outcomes, improving overall health and helping with the complications of withdrawal of pain medications and opioids.

In this video I talk about the current reforms here in Australia and the ongoing opioid crisis that needs urgent attention and people do need to be managed better on all levels.

Regards

Andrew Orr

-No Stone Left Unturned

-Master of Women’s Health Medicine

-Men and Women’s Health Advocate

-The Headache, Migraine and Pain Experts

 

References

  1. Deloitte Access Economics (2019), The cost of pain in Australia.
  2. Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (2018). Australian overdose deaths are increasing – and the demographics are changing. News GP. Access online here.
  3. WHO- Information sheet on opioid overdose (click here to access)
  4. Pain Australia (fact sheets)

 

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Do you sometimes have a good day?

Do you sometimes have a good day?

Sounds like an odd thing to ask someone but the reality is that many people actually wake up each day with the reality that today may not be a good day, or that they only have a good day every now and again. If that is you, you are probably one of the millions of people in this country suffering depression.

More than one million people in Australia suffer depression each year and of those about 160,000 of those are teenagers. Australia has the highest per capita anti-depressants use in the world and seeing we are supposed to be the lucky country, many of us are not so lucky it seems.

Many people wake each day to find themselves not wanting to face the day, but rather stay in bed and hide beneath the doona to escape the day that confronts them. Life can seem dark, gloomy and almost not existent. The thought of facing the day, let alone people, can seems like a day in the dark fires of hell. One minute you can be having a laugh and the next minute someone could say the minutest thing and have you in tears.

While you feel so exhausted, sleep can be very erratic. The exhausting takes over, the negative thoughts set in and everything just seems so damn hard and overwhelming. The back dog takes its huge bite and the spiral into the dark realms of a typical day with depression sets in like ground hog day once again. The feels like there is no end in sight, no help and life seems almost pointless.

For millions of people this is how the day starts and the day ends. If this is you, you most likely have depression. But the good news is that there is help out there and there is a way to end the internal fight within.

Multimodality approach

Before I go into what can help, let me be 100% clear about treating depression. It requires a multi-modality approach to treat it, not just a pill. So many people come to see me for help with depression and just want a pill to help it. While there are treatment (medical and complementary medicine) that help with treating depression, there is no one pill to fix it. Because the medical treatment involves a pill, people get so used to wanting a quick fix of a pill, but the honest truth is that anti-depressants, or a pill of any kind, do not fix depression.

Yes, they help with serotonin levels, but they do not treat the root cause of depression. Worse still, long term use of anti-depressants (while beneficial short term) can lead to cardiovascular disease, dementia, Alzheimer’s and other cognitive conditions.

Alcohol and other stimulants

Secondly, alcohol and other stimulants only make depression worse. They not only interfere and affect medications and are contraindicated while taking medications (SSRI’s), but they also interfere with the chemicals in your brain, making depression worse.

Withdrawal effects of medications

The next thing I need people to know is that when it is time to come off any medications (SSRI’s), you will have side effects, even when tapered down slowly. Medications should never be stopped suddenly and always tapered down slowly.  Like any drug, you will have withdrawal effect and this is the cause of many people getting scared and go back to the safety net of medications again. Withdrawal is a normal process that you are going to go through and if done properly and in conjunction with natural medicines to ease this process, this transition process will take about two weeks and should be much easier.

The only way to assist with helping depression properly and effectively is a combination of counselling, medications, complementary medicines, diet, exercise and lifestyle modifications. If you miss out one of those components then you aren’t going to treat depression properly and the reason so many people do not get their depression sorted out.

Complementary medicines

Research has shown that Acupuncture on its own, by a series of treatments, may be as effective as antidepressants, without all of the side effects. Research has also shown that Acupuncture may be equivalent to talk therapy (counselling) when used in a series of treatment. Chinese herbal medicines may assist depression and you will need to see a qualified Chinese Medicine practitioner to have individualized care, treatments and medicines just for you.

Omega oils have also been shown to help with depression as have many complementary medicines and supplements.

Diet and lifestyle modifications, especially low GI anti-inflammatory based diet will definitely been shown to be of benefit with depression too. As I said before it is about a multimodality approach alongside counselling that is needed to treat depression effectively and properly.

Restoring the microbiome with beneficial good bacteria has also been shown to assist depression and mood disorders. This is due to the gut/brain interconnection. But as mentioned previously,there is no magic pill to make depression go away on its own.

Become creative, dynamic and effective

As one of my old lecturers used to say, the best way to treat depression is making someone creative, dynamic and effective. By that we mean get them into something they love to do (Creative). Get the passion for life back. Get them exercising (Dynamic) to get those natural endorphins, dopamine’s, melatonin and serotonin levels working. Give them the right diet, the right supplements and lifestyle adjustments and they will then be on their way to feeling better all over (Effective).

Nobody needs to suffer with having a good day sometimes. There is help out there and it does require a multimodality approach to assist with better moods and a better life.

If you do need help with having more better days, contact my friendly staff and find out how I may be able to assist you.

If you are in crisis, please call lifeline on (131114). You can also attend your nearest emergency center.

You can also see your general practitioner for a referral to a counsellor, psychologist, or psychiatrist. Beyond blue also have some great resources too.

Regards

Andrew Orr

-No Stone Left Unturned

-Women’s and Men’s Health Advocate

 

References

  1. Acupuncture and Counselling for Depression in Primary Care: A Randomised Controlled Trial – https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1001518
  2. Hugh MacPherson, Andrew Vickers, Martin Bland, David Torgerson, Mark Corbett, Eldon Spackman, Pedro Saramago, Beth Woods, Helen Weatherly, Mark Sculpher, Andrea Manca, Stewart Richmond, Ann Hopton, Janet Eldred, Ian Watt. Acupuncture for chronic pain and depression in primary care: a programme of researchProgramme Grants for Applied Research, 2017; 5 (3): 1 DOI: 10.3310/pgfar05030
  3. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1551714417306353
  4. The role of inflammation and the gut microbiome in depression and anxiety-https://doi.org/10.1002/jnr.24476

Non medical Pain care

Non-Medical Ways to Manage Pain

In my recent post Getting a Handle on Pain with Proper Pain Management, I talked about the need for getting help with pain and how important it is to manage pain properly. But most of that was focussing on the medical side of things. But we also know that even with the best medical care, people are still in pain. So what is the answer is this approach is not working?

This is where we need to look at the Non-Medical ways to manage pain and look at an individualised and multimodality care approach to give people the best care and clinical management of pain possible.

Let’s have a look at what some of the Non-Medical options are first.

Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine

One modality that may assist in managing long-term pain is Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM). This medicine has been around much longer than modern medicine and it is very effective. There is now research to show that Acupuncture and TCM is not only assist with treatments for  pain and pain management, but it may be equivalent to the effects of some of our strong pain medications, when it is administered properly by a trained healthcare provider and with a series of treatments. It is also being used in mainstream hospitals for pain management too. While acupuncture may be effective for pain, there is no such thing as a one off treatment for any medicine and we all need to remember that.

Biomesotherapy (Biopuncture)

There is also an amazing therapy called Biomesotherapy, also known as biopuncture. It combines the use of acupuncture and also uses injectable saline and anti-inflammatories into the acupuncture points. Local anaesthetics and pharmaceutical injectable pain killers can also be injected into the acupuncture points and this is how it has been used in parts of Europe for over 50 years by main stream medicine. It may be affective for acute pain.

Chinese Herbal Medicines

There are also Chinese herbal formulas that may assist with pain and pain management and they may also help with the root cause of your pain as well. Again these aren’t a one off treatment and require a course of treatment to get the true benefits. You don’t just take one antibiotic, or one pain medicine and it fixes your issue and the same goes for herbal medicines. What we also need to remember is that up to 50% of our pharmaceuticals are actually derived from herbal compounds.

Chiropractic & Osteopathy

There are also some other great complementary therapies that may help pain. Chiropractic and Osteopathy may help with skeletal pain and may also help with realigning sublaxations that are impinging on nerves and may be causing pain. Both modalities may assist in helping balance the body as a whole.

Yoga & Pilates

Yoga and Pilates may help with pain by rebalancing the body, working on the core and also by assisting the body to relax. There is a bit more to it than that, but they can help. There is now some good research out there to support the use of these modalities.

Massage & Complementary Medicines

Massage may also help with pain and pain management.  There are also other herbal medicines that can help too. You need to see a qualified massage therapist and qualified complementary medicine practitioner to get the best care and advice with either of these modalities.

Your healthcare provider, or herbalist, can assist you by consulting with you and helping manage your condition. Just like medical interventions and pharmaceuticals, you should never self-prescribe and always consult with someone who is qualified in their particular profession. They can also administer you practitioner only medicines that are far stronger and more clinically efficient that over the counter products. It is the same in modern medicine too.

Physiotherapy

Physiotherapy can help with pain management and rehabilitation and women with pelvic pain may need a physiotherapist that can help with pelvic floor physiotherapy and that can do work internally. This is a specialist area though. Physiotherapy also fits into the medical model of pain management too.

Pulse Magnetic Therapy & TENS

Pulse magnetic therapy and TENS (Transcutaneous Electro Neuro Stimulator) may help with pain and ongoing pain management. While many people have heard of TENS, not many have heard of Pulse Magnetic Therapy and this is something that may assist with chronic pain and also pelvic floor instability and incontinence. There is such good research to support this as well. Many urodynamic specialists are now using pulse magnetic therapy in their clinics.

Diet

Let’s not forget the power of a healthy diet, when it comes to pain. Diets high in processed foods and sugars and refined grains, alcohol etc promote inflammation. Then inflammation causes pain and may make conditions causing pain worse. I always assess people’s diets, when they have pain, or health issues.

Exercise

Exercise may also assist with pain by helping with stress levels and helping with increasing blood flow into the muscles and brain and also helping with endorphins into the body. Again exercise can be a catch 22 situation. Some people are in so much people that they cannot even contemplate exercise. But, with starting out slowly and a step by step approach, little by little, exercise can help with controlling pain and getting the body back to optimum health again.

Counselling and Mindfulness

Lastly, talk therapy and counselling and mindfulness training is probably some of the most underrated therapies for the ongoing management of pain. I can’t say this enough. Our brain is what controls all our senses and unless we learn to control stress and quieting our mind, then managing pain is so much harder. I also know it can be a catch 22 situation too, but it is needed. While support groups and talking with friends is great, it cannot compare to the help from a trained professional, who has the appropriate years of training and is specialised in their particular field, or profession.

Important Things To Remember

Oh, and please don’t get your medical advice from people on support groups either. I see this so often and it really scares me what I see and hear.  I know they are well meaning and their support is great for you, but they are not a trained professional and this could be very dangerous. Let’s not forget that everyone has different needs according to their condition.

What medication, or therapy, one person is on, or taking, may make another ill, or actually make someone else worse. Please do not Dr Google either. A degree in Dr Google, doesn’t make one a healthcare expert and much of the medical advice on Dr Google is not right. Sure, be educated and be informed, but be careful too. Always consult with a healthcare professional for any health advice, or before trying to do something to manage your health.

Pain is something that we have all experienced, but it is not something that should be endured either. Of course there are individual cases that are just off the charts and require a whole different level of management. These people I feel sorry for the most. While some of these cases may never have their pain gone completely, with the right treatment most of them can be managed to some form of normalcy.

For the rest of the population, most pain can be treated if intervention is administered early enough and there is good ongoing management moving forward. The problem for many is that they aren’t being managed properly and many are trying to just do it themselves. That isn’t going to work. Some people just leave it too long too. The longer you leave pain not managed, the harder it is to treat.

You may also need that multimodality (team approach) for some conditions such as endometriosis and gynaecological conditions. Some other causes of pain will need this too. For others, they just need to see the right people and once they do, their pain can be treated, or managed really well. In many cases, it can be fixed completely.

There is no magic pill

Always remember that there is no such thing as a one off magic treatment for pain, or any health issues, and that there is no miracle one off magic pill to fix pain either.

Even though pain needs to be managed with medications sometimes, it isn’t always the answer either. People need look at treating the cause of their pain and also looking at other therapies outside of modern medicine too. This is where individualised treatments and treatment/management plans are the best, because everyone is different in what they are experiencing and what their particular issue is.

I have seen the amazing effects of a combination of therapies, or stand-alone therapies, in the treatment of pain and its ongoing management. If you aren’t getting the answers you need, with who you are seeing, or what you are currently doing, then you need to look outside the box, think outside the box and start finding treatments and healthcare people that can help you and your particular health issue.

Never underestimate the body’s power to heal itself with proper care and never underestimate the power of a second, or tenth opinion.

Getting proper help and care

If you aren’t getting the help you need, then book in a consult with me and I will do my best to get you the help and care you deserve and should be getting. I also have a great network of trusted professionals I work with if it is outside something that I do, or if you need that team approach for your condition. I have my trusted team and that is what you may need too.

One more things, for anyone, pain is the sign that something is wrong in the body and means it needs to be addressed. Oh and always remember, period pain is not normal either.

Take care

Regards

Dr Andrew Orr

-No Stone Left Unturned

-Women’s and Men’s Health Advocate

– The Headache, Migraine and Pain Experts

Dr Andrew Orr Logo Retina 20 07 2016

Living With Pain.

There are lots of people who suffer with pain daily and the one thing I do know for sure, as do many professionals I work with, is that many people who are in pain, or have inflammatory pain conditions, are not being managed really well.

There are so many aspects to pain and so many drivers that make it worse. Everything we do and are exposed to daily can drive, or exacerbate pain. Diet, lifestyle, alcohol, stress, drugs, medications, our environment, chemicals, additives, bad bacteria, disease states, moods and the way we think etc, can all drive and exacerbate pain.

In previous blogs and articles I have explained about how pain works, how long term medications can actually make it worse and also some of the alternatives to some of the hard-core pain medications.

  1. Alternative ways to assist pain and help with pain management
  2. Lets’s talk about pain, pain medications, dependency, detox and withdrawal symptoms

Again in this video I talk about pain and want to let everyone know there is help out there to help you better manage pain.

Please know you do not have to do this alone and that there are professionals out there who can help you better manage your pain levels and get your quality of life back.

If you do need help and assistance in dealing with pain, please give my clinic a call and book in a consultation.

Take care

Regards

Dr Andrew Orr

-No Stone Left Unturned

-Women’s and Men’s Health Expert

01 Dr Andrew Orr 1

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Are we really doing enough for women with Endometriosis?

I often myself “Are we really doing enough for women with Endometriosis?”

That is a hard question to answer in one way, but easy to answer in others. But, the bottom line is that we really aren’t doing enough for women with this terrible disease.

Now, before I continue and start with what I am about to stay and before anyone takes this the wrong way and gets upset (which isn’t my intent), let’s look at the positives around endometriosis.

There has been more awareness of the disease than ever before and awareness brings about change. But unfortunately that change can also be slow. But, it is a step forward in the right direction. At least there is now some government recognition is some countries like Australia. It is about time though and we need all countries to step up on this front. Governments also need to do more, including ours here.

Yes, we have surgical interventions, pain killers and hormones to help those who suffer the disease. All of these things, either in isolation, or in combination can help women with the disease. Some women even become asymptomatic (meaning no symptoms), after certain interventions, or a combination of all interventions combined. That is what we would like for all women with endometriosis.

Surgical intervention can control active lesions and the inflammation and symptoms they cause. Pain meds can help control pain, but after a while women will need stronger pain meds to control the pain. The body will get used to the level of pain meds and there are also high side effect profiles. Hormones such as progestins and GnRH agonists can help with the control of symptoms, help with pain and inflammation and also help with the suppression of microscopic and active lesions. But, again it isn’t enough.

We know that despite the current medical model of treatment that women are still being missed and dismissed, women are still in pain, women are still having numerous symptoms, women are having high levels of anxiety, basic bodily functions are being denied or hard to achieve, and women are being offered multiple surgeries, because that is all that the medical model can provide for them. That is the pinnacle and once that is reached, then this leaves very little options left.

Women are then offered radicle treatments and removal of body parts and that is not the answer to their often horrible daily journey either. Hysterectomy does not cure endometriosis, not at all. But it is still being offered as such by the ignorant, ego driven and uneducated out there still. Sure, it can stop you having a menstrual cycle. Sure it can help with symptoms associated with the menses.

The trouble is that many women that get relief from hysterectomy actually have adenomyosis as well, or in isolation (usually missed diagnosed or missed completely), which a hysterectomy will help, and these symptoms are then controlled permanently by this procedure. But, the problem then is that these women think that their endometriosis is gone and cured. Not so.

If endometriosis has been diagnosed, it will still be there and it can still cause inflammation, and flares, and gastrointestinal symptoms, destabilise moods, causes endo belly, still spread throughout the body, still wreak havoc on bodily functions and most likely still need interventions of some sort.

Many women with the disease are at the point on suicide some days; let alone asking them to undergo reproductive suicide. I am sorry to put it so bluntly, but that is what it is. I have seen young women who have being told that the only way to cure their endometriosis is to undergo reproductive suicide and permanently halt their chance at having a family, all due to ignorance and being told BS, heartless, unethical statements like that.

Just go and chop out your uterus and you will feel better they say. No woman should ever be faced with that option because there are ways to manage this disease that many have not even been told about, or even begun to explore.

I want every woman to know that hysterectomy does not cure endometriosis and that is a fact. I also want women to know there are options for a normal life, outside the current medical model, or to be used in conjunction with the medical model.

The other issue is that like the fashion industry and their assault of women through marketing, we also have pharmaceutical companies trying to mislead women to believe they have the latest and greatest “fix all” pill for their endometriosis. Again, much of that is just over marketed hype and remarketing of medications and hormones that we already have and are just being sold under another patent and another name.

Many women work out very quickly that the benefits being marketed are not forthcoming and are again left with the feeling of despair. I would love to see a new medication to help women. I would love to see the cure all pill appear on the market, but unfortunately there is no such thing, it does not exist and probably will not exist in the near future either.

We also now have women basically addicted to pain medication, because without them, they cannot function in a day to day life. This then leads to judgment by many and we are now seeing women being viewed as ‘druggies’ so to speak. Many women are also being questioned at pharmacies, even when they have a doctor’s script.

We also have medical centre GP’s refusing women pain medication because they just have not listened to the women and her symptoms and that she in fact has endometriosis. All they hear is “Here is another addict trying to get pain meds”.

No, this woman is in pain and you are not listening to her, or even able to understand the level of distress and pain she is in daily. Sure, pain meds are addictive and they have side effects, but what other options do we have for these poor women? Until someone comes up with a better solution, on a medical level, then this is what women with endometriosis have to do in order to survive their day.

So, yes, while we have come far in awareness and recognition etc, which we desperately need, but we are still stuck in the dark ages as far as medical diagnosis, disease classification, interventions and true clinical and overall health management of the disease.

What women with endometriosis need is an individualised, case by case, individualised, multidisciplinary approach to fully treat and manage the disease but this is not happening.  Much of this is due to ego, certain marketing, suppression of research by pharmaceutical interests, lack of funding, lack of education, lack of awareness and people not willing to research or explore new ideas around this disease that don’t fit the model they want to explore, or believe.

There are ways to treat this disease effectively and it requires a multi-modality approach to do so. It requires the team approach that I always talk about. There is good research and evidence out there to suggest that there are some great treatments and management options outside the medical model, which can also be used alongside medical options to enhance treatments and overall health for those with endometriosis.

We just need more education, more research, more funding, more open mindedness, less suppression of research and education by those with monetary interests in certain areas of medicine, more subsidisation for affordable treatment options and certain people letting go of old belief systems and ego so that new thought processes and education can occur.

While awareness is great and it brings recognition to those with the disease, we also need to then give those same people ways to manage and treat the disease as well and stop viewing these women and druggies, or hypochondriacs, just because the medical system hasn’t caught up with what these women actually go through and what they need to live on a day to day basis.

I’ll talk about some other options for the treatment and management of endometriosis in some upcoming posts. In the meantime please know there are better ways to manage this disease and while I would love for there to be a “one pill” or “one treatment fix all’ approach, I am sorry but that does not exist and we will probably not see that exist either. We can hope, but please don’t hold your breath waiting. Sorry for the rant, but it need to be said and more needs to be done.

Regards

Andrew Orr

-Women’s and Men’s Health Advocate

-No Stone Left Unturned

-The Endometriosis Experts

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But what do I do and who is going to help me?

Many years ago I was asking this same question, “But what do I do?” and “Who is going to help me?”

Like so many others, I know all too well about having a chronic health condition and living with that daily.

Yes, I too have a chronic disease state and I also know what it is like to live in that chronic disease state. That is why I understand what many of you go through daily. I may not know what it is like to live with your disease state, but I know what it feels like to live in chronic disease state and have to live with the consequences of that disease.

I also know what it is like sitting there thinking that nobody seems to be able to help me and one seems to be getting nowhere with this. Then the vicious cycle of then doing nothing, because one believes that nothing works and nobody can help, and then nothing gets done and the symptoms continue and then you get even more and more frustrated.

Yes, I have been there too. This is why I do what I do now and why I want to help others get out of their rut, and help them overcome their disease and learn to manage their disease better to then have a better life.

But unlike many others, I do know the power of positivity and know that once I put my mind to something and commit to it, then I’ll do as best I can and it also helps get the process going.  I also know that in order for something to change, that I also had to be proactive and make things change. It is that old saying “If you don’t change anything, then nothing changes”

So one day I sat down and said “Right, let’s just forget about whom I have been seeing, forget the blame game etc and let’s just really look at this objectively. What do (I) need to do to create a change?” and “Can I do all these changes on my own?”

Sometimes asking these sorts of questions about yourself can be quite confronting and when you do, you also need to be completely honest with yourself and have those around you be honest with you also.

Then you have to take that advice, listen to what people are saying and then go about finding someone to help you and then actually make the necessary changes that are needed. But, finding someone to help can be really hard too.

Like every other profession, or industry, or workplace etc, there are good and bad people in what they do. Unfortunately finding the good people to help can often be hard, but it doesn’t mean they are not out there.

There are good people out there, and people who are excellent at what they do, but it also means not being sceptical and also having an open mind, otherwise you will just give up and not do anything again. Then you end up being in the vicious ‘poor me’ cycle again and that isn’t going to help anyone. This is where a good counsellor or psychologist can help and be impartial and be objective in what you need to do to move forward.

Then I also learnt that I had to stop the blame game and had to learn to stop making excuses. I know all too well that it was much as it is easy to blame others and blame things for not working, but at the end of the day we are all in charge of our own health, our own lives and what happens to our body too.

Well, to a point anyway. I do know that sometimes you just can’t help genetics and hereditary disease, but at the same time, these disease states can be managed “If” you get proper care.

I remember a good friend sitting me down and talking to me about what I should do and also some of the questions this friend asked me. Some of the things he said to me and insights he shared with me were things like these.

  1. “Are the people you are seeing good at what they do?”
  2. “Have you noticed any changes after the treatments they have prescribed?”
  3. “How long have you been seeing these people for?”
  4. “What are your expectations around the treatments they have prescribed for you?”
  5. “Have you actually been doing the treatments they have prescribed”
  6. “Have you been taking the prescribed treatments and advice seriously and doing it properly?”

This friend of mine said to sit there for a minute or so and really reflect on what he was asking and be completely honest with myself.

He said to me “You know how some people come to see you and then they go away and then don’t take on any of the recommended changes and don’t do the treatments and then expect for things to miraculously changes and you to somehow just fix them without them having to do anything….. are you one of those people too?”

Not something I wanted to hear, but I did appreciate the honesty. I could relate to what he was saying because if one doesn’t do the necessary recommendation, or do the treatment, then one isn’t going to get better and then you can’t blame the person you are seeing if it all goes pear shaped.

Then he said to me “You can’t keep doing the same thing over and over again. If it isn’t working, you can’t then expect a different outcome each time, or just hope that all of a sudden it works.”

He then went on to say “I’ll put it to you this way. If you keep running into a brick wall and then it hurts and you fall over and then get back up again and try to do it again thinking it might not hurt this time, and expect a different outcome, when you know it is going to hurt, then you need to start asking yourself some serious questions”

Then he said to me “Let’s really look at expectation versus reality. You have had this disease state for a really long time, but in your own mind you want it fixed straight away, or after a few days, or after a few weeks.  The thing is… it isn’t going to happen.”

He then continued “You know all too well that if you have had a disease state for years it isn’t going to fix overnight and that it is going to take months, or may even take a year or more to fully get on top of it, depending on the severity and what is going on”

This friend also said to me “Sometimes pain levels and symptom and all a matter of expectation versus reality too. Sometimes you think you aren’t getting better, when in fact you actually are. If someone where monitoring you properly you may have started out at 10/10 pain and may now be 5/10, which is an improvement. But, because you are still in pain, you won’t see it as such until someone points out the difference. It is all relative to what you believe versus what is actually happening ”

Lastly he then put it rather bluntly to me “Who the bloody hell have you been seeing and are they any good?” then he added “Because we all know there are people out there you wouldn’t send your dog to and the good ones are few and far between. Btw, who sent you there in the first place?”

He then added one more thing in “You can’t try and do this yourself, or try and treat yourself because that isn’t going to work and this is not your area of expertise. Go and see someone for advice and help and don’t be like many others and try and (Dr Google), or try and self-manage your own disease. That will end in tears”

So, after my brutally honest, but helpful, conversation with my friend, I did have a big conversation with myself and realised some things. These same things I now share with my own patients.

  1. Not everyone you see is good at what they do and if someone isn’t helping you, then you need to find someone that will. This is why now I always say to people that never underestimate the power of a second, or tenth opinion. Never give up until you find someone who will listen and then really help you.
  2. When you get a referral to someone, do your research and make sure the person you are seeing is well qualified to be helping you and your condition. You need to ask them the big questions and don’t be scared in asking the big questions. If they don’t seem qualified to help you, then find someone else. Also make sure your surgeon is advanced trained, if one is needed and also specialises in your disease state.
  3. Look at who is referring you. Look at what their knowledge of the area you need help with. It is your friend referring that may have no idea? Is it mum, or dad referring? Make sure the person referring you has a good knowledge base of the person they are referring to and also has a good understanding of your disease. Sometimes the people referring you have no idea and then refer you to someone mediocre. It is all about perception and sometimes perception of who is good and who isn’t might be a little distorted.
  4. Look at how long you have had a disease for and look at what your expectations are around how long it may take to see some changes? Then ask the person you are seeing for an honest opinion about how long they would expect to see some changes happening. No long term health issues fixes overnight and the longer you have a disease for, the longer it is going to take to help it and see some real changes.
  5. If you are asking to make changes and do a certain treatment and management plan, then make sure you do it 100%. For changes to happen you have to follow the advice given and stick to it.Forget what Dr Google says. If a professional with years of training tells you to follow their advice, then make sure you give it a chance and actually do it.

    You also need regular follow-up consultations and regular management to oversee those changes and also talk about any concerns and also talk about changes as they happen. You need to document changes and actually be managed properly.

    If a treatment isn’t helping, or you perceive it isn’t helping, then have a chat with your healthcare practitioner about this.

    If something really isn’t working, then you need to change something, or change the person you are seeing until you find someone who can help you.

  6. Pain levels and symptoms and healing times can sometimes be distorted when you are in pain. When you are in pain, or have bad symptoms sometimes you don’t always realise you have had changes, because you are still in pain and have symptoms.As my friend mentioned to me, sometimes you may have started at 10/10 pain, or symptoms, but now you may actually be 5/10 pain and symptoms. That is actually a big change and means you are getting better, but because you are still in pain, or have symptoms, you may not be able to see this until it is pointed out.

    As long as you are progressing and moving forward then this is good and something to give you hope that your treatment is working.

  7. You are always going to have bad days. Even with the best treatments and best management, everyone will have bad days and these are the days you need to be careful about and not get negative about.Shit happens. Bad days happen for everyone and we all have to be aware that while the bad days will happen, as long as you are moving forward, even if it is step by step, then this is a good thing. Like they say “Two steps forward, one step back”, which still means you are one step ahead of where you were.
  8. Don’t try and treat yourself. It is good to be educated and good to be informed etc, but relying on Dr Google, or friends advice etc, can be a bad thing too.We don’t try and cut our own hair, or fix our own car, or make our own medicines etc, so we shouldn’t try and fix ourselves either. We need someone who can be objective and someone who is actually qualified in the area that we need help with to get the best results.
  9. Many disease states need a ‘team’ or multimodality approach to give you the best results possible. We know that despite the best medical treatments, that many people are still in pain etc and it isn’t until they incorporate other therapies, that they then start getting positive results. Be open to trying new therapies and new things that may help you.
  10. If you do ever need to go to the emergency department for your disease, just remember that the emergency department isn’t there to fix your chronic disease. They are there to stabilise your pain and stabilise your symptoms and once that is done, they are more than likely to send you home, if you aren’t in any medical danger. If so they will admit you. But part of critical care should be making sure you are referred to someone who can manage you clinically moving forward. The reality is that sometimes this doesn’t always happen.
  11. Never ever let the disease own you. You are not the disease and it does not own you and we need to be careful of not buying into the label and then letting the disease and the label consume us. Take back your power and be positive and use that to help you overcome the disease and being owned by the label.
  12. Be kind to yourself. That means eating good foods, exercise, lifestyle changes and getting out into the sunshine daily. Many foods that we eat are inflammatory and only add to the inflammatory disease process you are dealing with already. Create good gut health to build up your reserves of health gut bacteria to help your body and help your immune system. Get the body moving and get the circulation and blood flow moving to nourish the body too.
  13. Last but not least, never underestimate the power of the mind, or how emotions can be a big part of a disease state and some of those disease states symptoms.We check in our tax to the accountant, we check in our health with the GP, we check in our hair to the hair dresser, but when do we actually check in our emotions and our thought processes.

    Never underestimate the power of talk therapy and seeing a counsellor etc. The body mind connection is a big part of many diseases. Never underestimate the power of stillness and mindfulness and bringing the body to rest and being mindful of your life and what may be needed to help your health. There are people who can help you with mindfulness and meditation and creating that positivity in your life

Having lived with a chronic disease state for most of my life, I do know how challenging it can be for people and to find that strength and courage to actually get up and do something about your health.

It can also be disheartening when the people you have seen have missed and dismissed your disease too. It all just compounds and adds to the daily burden of what you are going through.

But, never let those things stop you from finding someone who can help, or finding the strength to get up and make the necessary changes you need to make a better life for you.

I think that having a disease is sometimes like learning to ride a horse. You may fall off many times, but you need to just get straight back on again until you master the art of staying on and being a good rider and being in control. But even the best rider is going to fall of every now and again, and that is ok too.

Just remember that there is always help out there and there are people who will listen and who do specialise in the area you need help with.

Lastly, for you to get better, it also needs for you to be a big part of the driving force behind that and actually do the work needed. Don’t just sit there in ‘poor me’ mode. Get up and get yourself out there and do what you need to do for you.

If something isn’t working then change it. Just remember that in order for a change to take place, something has to change. Something that means you changing your belief and your thinking too. It might also mean changing the healthcare provider you are seeing too.

As someone who has been there, I hope this helps you all get the help you so desperately deserve. Just remember that if you don’t know what to do, or where to get help, please know I am here to help you as well. You can always book in a consult (in person, or via online) and I can help assist you with your health, and also point you in the right direction too.

Regards

Andrew Orr

-No Stone Left Unturned

-Women’s and Men’s Health Advocate

Banishing Headaches and Migraines

A multi-modality approach was one of the best ways I found to help Headaches & Migraines

Many years ago I used to suffer lot of debilitating migraines and headaches. Actually if I did get a headache, I was thankful because that was never as bad as a migraine, that could make you bed ridden with a head feeling like ten hangovers accompanied with the vomiting and light sensitivity.

Even when the migraine had subsided I still felt washed out and like a train had run over me. Thankfully I haven’t had a migraine for many years and all thanks to a multimodality treatment approach that made my life much better.

Like many migraine and headache sufferers, mine were most likely caused by a neck injury, or whip lash, along with blocked sinuses. Current research shows that most headaches and migraines have a neck injury or neck complaint as a predisposing factor. Some neck injuries could go back to childhood or even a traumatic birth and you might not even know about it.

While neck related issues seem to be a major cause, there are many other contributing factors such as poor diet and lifestyle habits. Too many high GI carbohydrate foods and highly refined foods that interfere with blood sugars, can also cause headaches and migraine. Certain chemicals and additives in foods can also exacerbate headaches and migraines too. Let’s not forget how alcohol can be a big factor in headaches and migraines too.

Lack of fluids and inadequate hydration can also be a big cause of headaches and migraines too. While water is important to hydrate us, water alone is not enough. We need to make sure we get electrolytes into us as well. These need to be proper electrolytes, not lolly water such as sports drinks such as gatorade and powerade.

An imbalance of hormones, or hormonal surges, can also cause headaches and migraines and can be a big problem for women around the time of their menstrual cycle.

One other area that is overlooked is that the sinuses are inflamed or blocked and the associated inflammation and blockage is causing pressure and pain and causing headaches and migraines. This is a big one for many people and sadly, all too often, it is overlooked. A simple CT scan of the paranasal sinuses can see if the sinus cavity is blocked. If the sinus cavity is blocked by polypoid disease, or obstruction, it may require surgical intervention.

Lastly the one of the biggest headache producer of all….STRESS!

Stress will tighten up those shoulder and neck muscles and then constrict all the blood flow to the head and the next thing you know it is headache and migraine city.

Whichever way you look at it, headaches are caused from an imbalance in the body and need to be rectified. Unfortunately too many people use the band aid treatment of painkillers to try and deal with the mighty headache or migraine.

Nobody can argue with the painkilling properties of a dose of panadeine forte or a pethidine injection. I’d had many a trip to the doctor to get a shot in the behind. It was either that, or my head felt like it was about to explode. Worse still the pain often gets that bad that dying would be a relief. Well, that’s how it seemed anyway. I’m sure anyone who has suffered a really bad migraine wouldn’t have minded ending it all to get out of pain.

The only problem with painkillers, is they really don’t look at fixing the cause of the problem. Not only that, all painkillers have long term side effects that can be very bad for your health and some medication can be very addictive.

Like any health problem you have to look at treating the cause and not just the symptoms. A headache or migraine is actually the symptom of a much bigger cause. The problem for most people is that they only treat this problem symptomatically or seek help when they get a migraine or headache. It is the good old band aid approach to health care.

So how do you treat headaches and migraines and try and prevent them from coming back?

The answer as I’ve said is using a multimodality approach, alongside medical interventions.

I used Korean Advanced Trigger Point needling, the more modern practices of Osteopractic care and addressing dietary and lifestyle changes, alongside medical interventions. Treatment and management of migraines and headaches needs to be an individualized approach, not a one treatment fix all approach for the masses. Everyone cause of their migraines and headaches is different. What worked for me, is not a claim, or recommendation, and is purely what assisted me and may assist someone else.

Of course any other medically related issues need to be ruled out too. Like any health related condition, the management of headaches and migraines require a series of treatments to fix this problem, not a one off when you are experiencing a headache or migraine.

Unfortunately I used to be one of those people who only do something about my headaches and migraines when I was suffering one. This was until I learnt that if I had regular treatments while I didn’t have a headache, then the practitioners could get to the bottom of the cause of my problems and prevent a migraine from happening. I wish I’d learnt that lesson sooner.

You will also need to address any dietary, hormonal and lifestyle issues that may be also exacerbating, or causing your headaches and migraines too.

You also need to rule out any medically related issues as well and this can be done alongside other treatment modalities at the same time.  This is how I now treat people and why I use a multimodality approach to assist people and give them the best results.

You just need to find good practitioners who can help you and who can accurately and precisely pin point the exact cause of your particular problem. Just like with any healthcare professional, a series of questions is asked to get precise evaluation of the overall cause of your particular issue.

Only after a solid treatment plan is formulated, can the patient actually be treated and have a management plan moving forward. It is about looking at the cause of the issue and treating that, rather than just treating the symptoms. You need to treat cause and then the symptoms get treated anyway.

When I finally did get my headaches and migraines sorted, I found that it was a combination of Korean advanced trigger point acupuncture, Osteopractic, diet and lifestyle changes that gave me the best results.

This is why to this day that I firmly believe that with any health condition, headaches and migraines included, that a multimodality treatment approach is the only way to go.

All of this can be done alongside medical treatment options as well. Of course the cause of migraines and headaches are different for each individual and this is why individual assessment and management protocols are needed for each person. This is why people need to see an appropriate healthcare professional and not try to manage headaches and migraines on their own.

If you need help with headaches and migraines, give our clinic a call and find out how I can assist you in helping you with these conditions. You can call my friendly staff and they will explain everything to you.

Regards

Andrew Orr

-Women’s & Men’s Health Advocate

-No Stone Left Unturned

– The Headache, Migraine and Pain Experts