Understanding Chronic Treatment-Resistant Pain – Psychosomatic Back Pain

Science has demonstrated that there is an incredibly powerful link between the mind and the body. In many instances, the underlying cause of neck pain, back pain and sciatica, also referred to as the back pain complex, may be psychological. Many times, when an individual is in pain and told that it may be psychological or psychosomatic, the patient immediately becomes defensive, often stating, “It is not in my mind, the pain is real!” The fact is, it is indeed very real, regardless of whether the pain is labeled as psychosomatic or not. When dealing with treatment-resistant, chronic pain the mind/body link must be explored, so it can be ruled out. In this article, we will discuss psychological pain, psychosomatic pain, and chronic psychological back pain. While discussed in a previous article, we will also address, once again but briefly, the link between chronic back pain and depression. Chronic pain, in any form, can be the most insidious, debilitating, and disabling of any medical complaint. In order to fully treat the condition, underlying causality must be explored and diagnosed thoroughly. It is true that most cases of neck pain, back pain, and sciatica are or have their basis in an actual pathology or other physiological condition. However, psychological back pain is quite common and in fact is one of the primary causes of treatment-resistant chronic pain.

Unfortunately, when an illness is labeled psychosomatic there is often an immediate stigma or negative perception associated with it. Very often, when an individual suffering from neck pain, back pain and/or sciatica hears the term psychosomatic, they immediately respond defensively. When a condition is labeled as psychosomatic the connotation attached is that the condition is “all in the mind” or somehow “imaginary.” There is even a mental illness stigma attached, with the patient protesting, “I am not crazy, this pain is real!” Even people close, at times members of the individual’s own family, will say unkind things like, “I knew he was faking it” or “I knew she was just trying to get attention, I felt sorry for her!” For these reasons and others, the resistance to a psychosomatic diagnosis is considerable, often socially and culturally based.

As discussed in a previous article, there is a powerful link between stress and psychosomatic illness, in this case neck pain, back pain, and/or sciatica; or treatment-resistant chronic back pain. Additionally, the link between depression and psychosomatic illness, particularly as we age, is often quite powerful. Individuals suffering from psychosomatic illness may experience incredible pain or other physical manifestations or symptoms, with no physical diagnosis. Paradoxically, there are a number of physical conditions, such as brain injuries and vitamin deficiencies just to name two, which may exhibit profound psychological symptoms. However, it is often the case that many individuals exhibiting treatment-resistant chronic pain, with no underlying medical diagnosis, may have a psychological or psychosomatic condition.

Contrary to commonly held beliefs, pain that is the result of a psychosomatic condition, of an emotional or psychological process, is actually quite real. Psychosomatic pain, in this case treatment-resistant chronic back pain, is not imaginary, it is not “in our heads,” it is not the result of a delusional or a sick mind, and it is not the consequence of mental illness. The fact is that anyone suffering from tension headaches, ulcers, colitis, tension backaches, and a myriad of other stress-related illnesses has a psychosomatic condition. Clearly, all of these individuals are not “crazy.” I suppose the best way for an individual to understand just how real psychosomatic pain can be is to have them think back to their last tension headache and ask a single, quite simple question: “Was the pain real?”

Psychological back pain is simply another name for psychosomatic back pain and is sometimes referred to as stress-induced back pain. Once again, pain associated with this condition is indeed very real. While the pain may ultimately be linked to the mind/body link, the physical expression of pain, whether the pain is neck pain, back pain or sciatica, may be debilitating and disabling. Consequently, dealing with psychosomatic, treatment-resistance chronic pain is often difficult, if not close to impossible, without effectively dealing with the underlying condition. As a noted evolutionary scientist once pointed out, psychosomatic pain may be considered an evolutionary anomaly but it is completely human and utterly normal. As our system, and that includes our mind, becomes overloaded, it seeks to alleviate or eliminate the problem as quickly and efficiently as possible. Unfortunately for the patient, it does this by shifting focus away from the actual cause, the real danger, expressing it in a very uncomfortable, often intense fashion; and, in this case through chronic treatment-resistant back pain.

Psychosomatic pain is the most frequently diagnosed and least understood form of both acute and chronic back pain. Significantly, most treatment-resistant chronic back pain sufferers, those with unresolved back pain, meaning that there is no clear diagnosis, by definition suffer from an underlying and misdiagnosed psychological ailment or condition. While medical schools are beginning to address this very significant medical issue, psychosomatic illness has long been relegated to the back burner of medical education. Consequently, medical practitioners are simply not prepared for or able to understand, much less treat, this condition. As a result, many individuals are misdiagnosed with this “scapegoat condition,” leaving individuals with very real physiological, structural, and medical conditions undiagnosed.

Unfortunately, while solutions are available, they are still relatively unknown. As the medical community begins to educate itself, so they can be better prepared to deal with this condition, we are beginning to see the first steps towards a holistic approach to this problem. Psychosomatic medicine has been talked about for centuries, even Sigmund Freud was fascinated by it in his time, yet it is only in the last few years that we see a real movement to deal with this ongoing epidemic. Treatment-resistance chronic pain sufferers, particularly those individuals with an extended history of unresolved and undiagnosed pain, are most likely to exhibit a myriad of medical complaints to include ulcers, colitis, and depression, just to name a few. The combination of unresolved neck pain, back pain and/or sciatica and depression leads to profound consequences for the individual, the family, the community, and even the state. The impact of this poorly understood and often misdiagnosed condition or set of conditions ripples throughout the system with consequences far beyond those of a medical nature.

Ultimately, and until such time as the underlying condition has been diagnosed, treated, and eliminated, symptoms must be recognized and alleviated. For this reason, it is advisable for the individual to begin a wide-ranging, individualized, and medically supervised program to deal with both symptoms expressed and causality yet undetermined. Exercise, in and of itself, will have a remarkable and immediate impact on most individuals. Not only will an exercise program, properly administered and supervised, do wonders to alleviate stress, it will also serve to improve self-esteem and self-confidence. With exercise, particularly until the musculature adapts and adjusts to the new routine, certain other measures will need to be taken. The additional treatment strategies to be initiated, along with the exercise program, should include a stretching program, 2 to 3 times a day (see: “Simple and Easy Program of Exercise for Sciatica Relief… Part I & Part II”). Self-education, both individually and in a group setting, will also enhance understanding, self-knowledge, and self-esteem. Most importantly, either individual or group therapy should be initiated in order to comes to grips with the underlying issues contributing to the unresolved and/or misdiagnosed psychosomatic pain condition. The concert of bad back strategies will do wonders to alleviate symptoms, ultimately leading to a resolution when used along side of a solid therapy program to understand underlying stressors which resulted in the back pain complex of neck pain, back pain, and sciatica.

The Advantages and Disadvantages of Beauty in Love Relationships, Marriage, and Dating

Who wouldn’t want to be beautiful? What is beauty? Perhaps, we have all given these questions consideration at one time or another. I would opt to be beautiful if given the choice. Based upon some of my observations of standard beauty, I know it would give me a competitive edge as would youth. I have followed a beautiful woman around all day, many days, to see what it is like to be praised and admired by those people a beautiful woman meets. I have observed others in order to learn about the pros and cons of having an attractive appearance.

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Anyone could potentially be beautiful according to another person. Some people prefer blondes. Others prefer tanned skin. Even others prefer tall people. Everyone has his own preferences; yet, there are some people who have facial and body proportions that are considered beautiful by the majority. Those people who tend to fall into the category of standard beauty tend to get a lot of extra attention throughout the day.

The attention given to a beautiful woman is that of having all eyes on her and that of receiving many compliments. People will talk to her a lot, offer her free drinks, offer gifts, ask for her address, invite her out, and more. At least this is what I observed while following a beautiful woman around all day for many days. She received so many compliments that it became somewhat annoying even to her. People lavished her with much praise for about everything she did. As she conducted her job search, potential employers told her they were looking for someone who was beautiful. One employer said she wanted to hire someone with a “beautiful presence.” Naturally, the beautiful woman found a job with no difficulty.

If being beautiful means a person can have more friends, find more jobs, and influence others, then it is obviously convenient to be beautiful. To be unattractive means that an individual has some proportions that are less standardized and more unusual. There are some obvious reasons why a person considered less attractive by the majority might benefit from the struggle to attract others. She will benefit by having to do her job better or by having to study diligently.

A person who is less attractive will be attractive to someone somewhere. He or she will have to work harder to prove himself in some areas or studies. In order to compete with the so-called “beautiful” person, the “average” person will have to go the extra mile. He or she might seek to be more courteous or creative. She might develop a special talent like art, singing, or a sport. Perhaps the less attractive individual will decide to read more books in order to be appreciated for her knowledge. She might become a learned person to prove herself. Those people who are not considered extremely beautiful will know what it feels to work hard to achieve something without relying upon their looks. The same could be said of older people who have to try harder to find a job than younger people.

The notion of beauty is in the mind so, to some extent, there is truth in saying people are as beautiful as they feel. It is important not to became vain or to envision oneself as being better than others no matter how beautiful one feels.

One risk that beautiful people face is that of becoming lazy if they should become narcissistic, believing that everyone else should praise them and give them free gifts. Everyone needs to retain some humility. If parents and the world give a man too much constant praise, he will run the risk of believing himself to be too important. If he becomes narcissistic, he will sit around expecting others to be his servant. One beautiful woman said she was “too beautiful for her husband.” She told him “no one other than her would have him because he was not very good-looking.” Another beautiful man refused to work for nine years and continuously reminded others of how he was so handsome. Thus, he said his wife’s DNA was inferior and that she should be his servant for that reason. Such are the results of having an over-inflated ego due to believing oneself to be the “epitome” of beauty. Not every beautiful woman or man becomes self-absorbed. Many beautiful people do not have big egos and are considerate of others.

Self-absorption results from having received so many compliments that a man believes himself extremely handsome. Such people might miss out on studying at the university or developing their minds in other ways when they feel they can get by on beauty alone. Unfortunately, no one will be beautiful for eternity, and it does pay to dedicate some time to learning a skill or about the arts and humanities no matter how attractive he might be. No one is so perfect that he or she would not benefit from learning for learning’s sake.

Perhaps the real beauty is one’s ability to see inner beauty in the heart of a kind person regardless of the exterior person. Sometimes the happiest relationships are those in which one individual is prettier than the other but in which the love is more about the inner values that are shared between two individuals. Who would not admire the person who has enough beauty within to be able to see inner beauty in others? True, lasting relationships grow from kindness within two individuals despite issues of beauty.

The advantages of beauty include being afforded many opportunities to work, to date, to marry, and to be loved by others. Most people would enjoy those opportunities and the state of being beautiful, but one must never forget that in some cases, having too much beauty and receiving too many compliments leads to becoming arrogant, narcissistic, and selfish. Thinking that they can rely upon their beauty alone, many women and men never reach their intellectual and spiritual potential. Therefore, the author of this article believes that each of us should seek to live humbly, to nourish our minds, and to open our minds to the possibility that true beauty comes from within. Once we embrace the beauty within the person, not the exterior appearances, we become more adept in relationships as well as dating, love, and marriage.

5 Simple Exercises to Build Muscle Mass Fast

Getting ripped involves a number of activities, most importantly, eating a muscle building diet, maintaining a healthy lifestyle and engaging in intense muscle building exercise. There are a number of exercises that are specially designed to build muscle mass fast. In this article I will introduce five of the most basic exercises to build muscle mass fast and take a look at how you can incorporate them into your workout routine.

Pushups

Pushups are one of the best ways to build muscles and get ripped and have been used for many years by body builders. Pushups are an endurance, body weight exercise that is often recommended to people who wish to gain muscle mass without the assistance of weights. This simple exercise requires you to lift and lower about 60% of your bodyweight off the floor against gravity using your arms and upper body muscles. This leads to quick development of the muscles in your chest, shoulders and triceps.

Varying the push up position or adding resistance to push ups also helps in achieving fuller, well trimmed and stronger muscles faster. For example, if you wish to focus on your pectoral muscles, placing your hands farther apart is the ideal position while if your focus is on your triceps, your hands should be place closer together in a triangle formation. If you wish to improve the muscles of your shoulders, raising your feet in an elevated position such as on a workout bench will help.

Ultimately the best thing about push ups is that, they can be done anywhere thereby eliminating the need for an expensive gym membership or free weights. If you are new to this exercise performing 3 sets of 12-15 pushups, 3 times a week is a good way to start to build muscle mass fast with pushups.

Pullups

Pullups are considered to be one of the best muscle building exercises because you support your entire bodyweight with your arms as you lift yourself up into the air. In fact aside from strengthening your arms significantly, this exercise to build muscle mass helps to develop the latissimus dorsi muscle in the back and well trimmed biceps quickly. Pullups are also an excellent endurance and muscle building exercise.

Depending on your upper body strength and your weight, a typical pull up workout routine to build muscle mass fast should last for 5 – 10 minutes in total, incorporating 3 – 4 sets, with a rest of 45 seconds – 1 minute between sets. When starting out with pullups it is a great idea to perform assisted pullups by using an object to support your bodyweight, such as a chair. This does decrease the resistance on your muscles but will allow for your muscle to strengthen and adapt to accommodate your total body weight.

Aim to perform 5-8 repetitions per set to stimulate bicep, shoulder and back muscle development. Once you have built up sufficient muscle strength increase this to 10-12 reps of pullups per set.

Bench Press

The bench press is one of the most popular exercises to build chest muscles fast. Basically, you lower a weight to chest level then push it upward until your arms straighten, repeating this a set number of time. This weight training and bodybuilding exercise is specially designed to increase the strength of your deltoids, triceps and pectorals.

However many individuals love to perform this exercise in the gym but do not achieve rapid muscle gain because they see this basic exercise as simply throwing as much weight as you can upwards above your chest. The most important thing about the bench press is your form….explosive on the positive upward phase and slow on the negative lowering phase, leads to the quickest muscle gain. With proper execution of the bench press exercise, your pectoralis major and minor muscles will develop in a very short period of time.

Shoulder Press

Performing a shoulder press is one of the most common exercises to increase shoulder strength and muscle mass quickly. Depending on your fitness level, using dumbbells of 60 – 70% of your maximum load capacity (i.e. the maximum of what you can lift without losing correct form) will drastically accelerate shoulder muscle growth.

The shoulder press is performed by holding dumbbells at a resting position at shoulder level with your palms facing forward, then simple lifting the dumbbells straight upward above your shoulders and gradually lowering them back to the resting position. It is crucial to tighten your abs and exhale when raising the weights and inhale when lowering them to maintain form and promote muscle growth.

Biceps Curls

The final exercise to build muscle mass fast is the bicep curls. These are considered to be the most effective exercise to build muscle mass quickly in your arms and helps a great deal with developing the biceps, triceps, shoulders and forearms. They can also help in strengthening the stabilizer muscles of the upper arms.

Biceps curls are performed by placing dumbbells in the palm of each hand, then curling the weights up against gravity towards your biceps while keeping your palms facing forward. The weights are then slowly lowered to the starting position. It is important not to swing your arms, shrug your shoulders or arch your back. If you find yourself doing any of these then you need to reduce the amount of weight you are trying to lift. 8-10 repetitions of bicep curls with weight of 60%-70% of your maximum load capacity is a good way to get started with bicep curls.

Boiling Childhood Obesity Prevention Down Into One Simple, Actionable Solution

At the Risk of Pointing Out the Obvious…

1. Show me 10 boys who can do pull ups and I’ll show you 10 boys who are not obese. *

2. Show me 10 girls who can do pull ups and I’ll show you 10 girls who are not obese.

3. Show me 10 families full of members who can do pull ups and I’ll show you ten families who don’t worry about obesity and all the related problems.

4. Show me an elementary or a high school full of students who can do pull ups and I’ll show you an elementary and a high school who’ve won the war on obesity.

5. Show me a school teacher, administrator, or a school board member who can do pull ups and I’ll show you a school teacher, an administrator, and a school board member who are all setting great examples for the kids in their schools to follow.

6. Show me a company (say McDonald’s) full of employees who can do pull ups and I’ll show you a company that’s healthy, energetic, productive, and inexpensive to insure.

7. Show me a police department whose members can do pull ups and I’ll show you a police department who doesn’t worry about the relationship between cops and donuts.

8. Show me a group of childhood obesity prevention experts who can do pull ups and I’ll show you a group of childhood obesity prevention experts who walk the walk.

9. Show me a town/city, a county, a state, or a nation whose citizens can do pull ups and I’ll show you a town/city, a county, a state, and a nation who’s won the war against obesity.

10. Show me a group of people who understand what you’ve just read here and I’ll show you a group of people who are unconfused and ready to rally around “A simple, easily implemented, easily documented, and affordable solution to childhood obesity.”

And Then, With a Straight Face…

1. Tell me why obesity prevention is so complicated and confusing that we’re unable stop it from growing like a California forest fire raging out of control?

2. Tell me why every gym teacher in America agrees with the claim that kids who can do pull ups are never obese, yet so few take the time to teach their kids to do pull ups and to become obesity beating heroes in their own local communities at the same time?

3. Tell me why America’s Surgeon General has named childhood obesity prevention his TOP PRIORITY yet to date has provided no actionable answers to the problem?

4. Tell me why the future and life quality of millions of boys and girls will be undermined and sacrificed by low self esteems due to ongoing battles with obesity?

5. Tell me why a charitable organization like the Robert Woods Johnson foundation has dedicated $500 million dollars over the next five years to defeating childhood obesity, yet after year one (one hundred million spent) they have so little to show for it?

6. Tell me why we’re spending countless billions as a nation on obesity related illnesses?

7. Tell me why people in high positions simply fail to act, even when the obvious is pointed out to them?

8. Tell me why common sense is so uncommon, and why the obvious is so hard to see?

9. Tell me why we continue to think that the emperors are wearing beautiful and stylish new clothes when they’re obviously standing stark naked in front of everyone, for anyone – with open eyes – to see?

10. And if this is true of an issue like childhood obesity prevention, doesn’t it make you wonder how many other blatantly obvious solutions to crucial problems are being completely and totally overlooked and ignored by our so called authorities, our so called experts, our so called leaders?

*Substitute any sufficiently challenging functional acid test (i.e. dips, rope climbing, rock climbing, hand stand push ups, superman push ups) in place of pull ups and the results will inevitably be the same.

What Are the Side Effects of Contraceptive Birth Control Methods?

Some contraceptive methods have more adverse reactions than others. Birth control side effects are thus a major issue with hormonal pills in particular, although some downsides have been reported for all kinds of birth control. It is of paramount importance for women to understand the risks they are exposing themselves to when choosing the pill. Hormonal birth control used for years on end in order to prevent unwanted pregnancies could have tremendous health implications.

In order to make your final decision, you should always weigh the pros against the cons. For the pill, there are normally two types of pregnancy control side effects you need to pay attention too.

Temporary birth control side effects

During the first month of treatment, the body adjusts to higher levels of estrogen and progesterone, and once the body gets used to these, the adverse reactions go away. Among the more common symptoms, let me mention:

-nausea (you can reduce it by taking the pill in the evening before going to bed);
-morning sickness;
-palpitations;
-tender breast;
-bloating and loose stool;
-irregular period;
-spotting (dark-red vaginal discharges);
-hair and follicular changes;
-increased fluid retention etc.

Talk to your doctor to find out ways to reduce these pregnancy control side effects, and have your condition monitored until the symptoms go away.

Long term birth control side effects

Hormonal contraceptives have long term adverse reactions that may require a discontinuation of the pregnancy control method, and its replacement with a better tolerated one. The more common are:

-increased number of gallstones;
-susceptibility to developing cataract;
-depression;
-lower immune function;
-higher risk of ectopic pregnancies when the woman tries to conceive;
-higher susceptibility towards cervical and endometrial cancers due to lack of hormonal balance.

Most birth control side effects cannot be really anticipated because it’s difficult to determine the woman’s response to treatment. Nobody can tell you how you’re going to react during the use of hormonal pills. Condoms are the birth control methods with almost no side effects. Intolerance to latex has been the only health-related issue; however, these thin barriers could break, and that’s what makes them risky for pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases.

No matter what type of birth control you turn to, make sure you use it correctly and consistently for the optimal protection that you want. Sometimes a combination between more methods seems like the best idea. Talk to your family doctor and find out more.