Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Feeling the Stress? Want to Take Better Care of Yourself?

I've been dealing with this topic for quite some time now with many of my female patients. Not to say that men don't deal with the same stress, but they don't, not this way. As a woman I understand and know that we are "multitasking." Maybe it's that "motherly instinct in us" (even though I do not have children of my own), I know that we try to "do it all." I see it everyday in the women that come into my office, both young and mature. Whether it's getting up early to hit the gym (do we do it for ourselves or others?), take the kids to school, and their "extra curricular activities," put in long hours at work, even at the home with endless housework, help a friend or family member by supporting them through their "current dilemma," get everyone to the doctor's office on time, cook the meal (or buy the meals), make sure the bills are paid on time, and try to look "presentable" in public, (when it would be so easy to throw on sweats), no wonder I see so many women who are just on "burn-out" and seem to "emotionally lose it" when I ask how things are going.

It's often termed "Adrenal Stress Syndrome" or "Adrenal Fatigue" maybe even "High Blood Pressure." Regardless, in my experience and knowledge, stress is at the root of it all. Stress on many levels is affecting health and it's starting at a much
younger age. Whether it's physical in nature, chemical, emotional, financial, or toxic stress, it affects us on so many levels. Stress produces a biological "upset" in our body, within the very nerves and cardiac, and organ systems that make us tick. It "upsets" our body's ability to function at an optimal level and takes it to a "fight or flight" level which we term "sympathetic." This in turn affects our blood pressure, increasing our heart rate, stressing our digestive system, drives our endocrine system to release high stress hormones, like cortisol, which in turn place a burden (over time) on our brain! The most important organ of our entire being. Ever wonder why you can't remember anything over a period of time? Can't get the words out to what you want to say? You don't have Alzheimer's....you have what's called "Brain Fog" because stress has caused your nervous system; your body's natural rhythm to go "off track" in laymen terms and the result is often fatigue, short term memory loss, chronic issues with body aches, difficulty sleeping, and carbohydrate binging. This is all a sign of poor health, and your body screaming S.O.S!

So here is some advice, you have got to take care of you or there will be no one to take care of the people you love if you're not around, period. You need to be wise about your health choices daily. So take "baby steps" by doing the following over the next two weeks, you have everything to gain.

1. Upon waking up, lying in bed take 5 deep breaths and focus on just that, while repeating (out loud preferably) "Everything is working out to my higher good today."
2. Drink water, first thing upon waking up, one full 12oz glass (yes, before the coffee).
3. Eat breakfast! 6oz. of lean protein and piece of fruit, protein shake, something other than coffee and a breakfast bar!
4. Do some physical activity for at least 10 minutes, stretching, walking, running,
5. Buy yourself and take them, these high quality (pharmaceutical grade)supplements:
a) Omega 3's Cod Liver Oil,(talk with your doctor if on blood thinners) b)Vitamin D, c) a Multivitamin.
6. If you smoke stop. You have no excuse good enough to continue.
7. Turn the t.v. off a half hour before bed and read something inspiring, (a gossip magazine doesn't count).
8. Practice saying no in the mirror out loud and learn to say it at least once a week.
9. As they say "Don't Sweat the Small Stuff." Before getting angry over "spilled milk" ask yourself, "Is this really worth my time and energy to get upset?" and then move on.
10. Go to bed early.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Your Blood Sugar and Your Pain

Ever notice that when you feel bad you don't necessarily eat the good foods? You may find yourself craving chocolate, ice cream, sweet foods, or even fast foods....the comfort foods. That's because your brain needs fuel to fight the pain, inflammation, or fatigue your body is dealing with. But, what it needs and what we give it are two different things. When we don't feel good, we want something to comfort us and that tends to be the "bad foods" that actually promote more inflammation in the body and provoke more of your symptoms.

Eating foods such as dairy, foods with high preservatives, high in sugar, are all essentially like pouring gasoline on a fire. These are all "inflammatory" promoting foods. So the correct thing to do is to eat foods that are more in their natural state like fruits, vegetables, lean meats, especially wild caught fish, which is an omega 3 source that is an "anti-inflammatory" food.

Drinking plenty of water also helps to flush the body of toxins that accumulate with inflammation. But the key is, sip throughout the day, don't chug water all at once.

Lastly, low blood sugar often follow eating fast food, high sugar foods like sweets. These drops in blood sugar leave you feeling fatigued and your body deficient in the ability to repair on a cellular level, neurological level, and soft tissue level. So I often recommend for people to not skip breakfast and to eat some combination of carbohydrates and protein every 2.5 hours. Protein builds muscle, and helps fuel the body longer than just eating carbohydrates alone (for example, yogurt, bread, cereal, etc.) are not enough to sustain you.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

High Stress? Fatigue? Want Pain Relief? Then Listen Up...

Right now in our economy, more individuals and families are directly affected by job layoffs, financial deficits, unstable markets, graduates not being able to find jobs, and I could go on... We know this is a trying time for many and no one is quite sure what to do. I see frustration everyday in my patients and individuals in general. Every time I go to Starbucks, or the grocery store, it is inevitable to not hear a conversation about the state of our economy or of our local communities and the families and friends that we all know who may be struggling right now. Maybe it's even you.

I am here to offer you something for free. Nothing attached, no gimmicks, but because I see the frustration everyday, in and out of my office I want to offer some practical information to help relieve perhaps some of your physical, mental, and emotional stress. The fact is that if you let this stress get the best of you it will get the best of your health. If you are someone who might already be suffering with chronic aches and pains, stress will make you worse. Stress physiologically will induce anxiety,inflammation and thereby result in more pain and it will reduce your body's ability to perform the functions it needs to do to help you heal.

So here are 5 easy steps you can begin to do today to help get you back on track to better health with less stress, anxiety, and offer you perhaps some pain relief.

4 Steps To Better Health:

1. Take 10; that's take 10 minutes to walk outside, get out of the office and walk around the block or the neighborhood. Get in the sunshine, even if it's cloudy fresh air and a little time in the sun will increase the chemical release of Serotonin in the brain (that "feel good" naturally occurring neurotransmitter). The higher levels of this chemical in the brain the less fatigue and depression you experience. Things that rob your body of serotonin are smoking, not enough sleep, and poor eating habits (lay off the fast food).

2. Drink your H2O (water). O.k. I'm getting specific here. It's not drink 8 glasses or 12 glasses anymore. It's take your body weight, divide that in half and drink that in ounces. So, if you weigh 160 pounds, you need to drink throughout the day 80 ounces of water. 90% of the population walk around dehydrated. Dehydration sets you up for injury, even when carrying out daily activities at work or at home. Muscle sprains and ligament strains, headaches, bodily pains may all be a direct result of dehydration, so the best thing you can do is to drink water through out the day to prevent pain and injury.

3. Be forgiving and giving in all that you do. If you go around in a negative manner or feel things are unjust in life and you feel lousy, you will continue to perpetuate this cycle. You need to do something different and it doesn't have to be big, but do something for someone else and put effort into it. Buy someone a cup of coffee in line at Starbucks, help a friend out or a neighbor. Life is a revolving door and if you only keep eyes on "yourself" and "your situation" and how "you" feel, you are finding excuses to be the way you are. Trust me on this, you will experience great results emotionally, physically, and mentally by acting in kindness to someone else.

4. Chronic pain, inflammation, and feeling of fatigue are results of nutrient deficiencies as well. When you are stressed or anxious or worried, do you eat the best foods? You probably go for sweets, colas, fast foods, anything to make you feel better. These things may feel the void for awhile, but I betcha within a few hours you're back feeling miserable and tired. Make a conscious choice to eat "clean foods," the less tampered with or processed the better. Try it for 4 days and I guarantee you will feel more energy, less discomfort, and you will save money in the long run. Go to the grocery store and stock up on organic lean meats like chicken, fish, and beef. Go for vegetables, choose three different ones. Buy some brown rice, eggs, sweet potatoes, and don't skip a nutritious breakfast! To promote healing and prevent pain and injuries, the body needs nutritious fuel, if you deny yourself it, you will suffer. No excuses!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Dr. Rabo's Blog On Improving Your Life Living with Fibromyalgia

Welcome to the New Year 2009!

This is the time of year to start anew, fresh, make some goals and new requisitions for yourself!

Does this sound a little daunting? To many yes, only to be discouraged in a few months or weeks by realizing you slowly start to fall into your old habits again and then slowly give up. Well, I'm hear to help keep us inspired! Yes, I too have set some goals to achieve for myself and I'm right in there with you when it comes to dicipline and follow through despite challenges that arise on a daily basis. So keep reading because we're in this together and if you want to feel better about yourself, your life, and make this year to truely better than 2008, I've got some free advice and tactics to stick by.

First of all make your goals realistic. Do set yourself up for success and not failure by making a goal attainable for you and your situation. For example, if you haven't been exercising than commit to starting with "I'm going to begin walking, or jogging for 10 minutes 3 days a week, and build up to 20 minutes within three weeks." Baby steps. Crawl before walking as they say.

Second, have an accountability person. Encourage a friend, loved one, perhaps your spouse to support you and even encourage them to get out and participate for their benefit as well. Having accountability encourages us to not let the other person down, you have to show up.

Third, write down what the benefits are to your new goals. If you're going to exercise or learn to cook more at home for your family versus eating out all of the time, or your going to set a budget for yourself, how is that going to benefit you or others? For instance, if you are going to begin exercising how is that going to affect how you feel? Your energy? More confidence? Less bodily aches and pains (after the initial muscle soreness subsides). See yourself experiencing the positive benefits of achieving your goals because what you visualize will come to pass.

Lastly, you should always write your goals down and laminate them on a sheet of paper (take it to Kinko's) and put it somewhere where you can read it daily. This keeps a constant presence in your mind of what you intend to follow through with, again it's accountability.

Remember, your New Year's Goals (I like to use this versus resolutions) can be anything you desire. It's about living 2009 better than the last year. It may be to take better care of your health, to spend more time with family, or be smart with your money in this economy. There is no limit to how you can make positive changes in your life beginning today. It doesn't have to be a long list, just commit to even one thing and if you can stick to it, you can add to your accomplishments later in the year.

Be bold, be brave this year, and remember each day is a gift, and if you have one bad day, the next day you get to start over. Many of us can be too hard on ourselves for our mistakes or lack of followthrough. The word I like to use is "go next," and keep on doing, the past is the past, but the present is here, so make the most of it.

Have a Happy and Healthy New Year!

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Fibromyalgia..... Is It Really In Your Head?

I just returned from supporting a friend who rode on her bike from San Francisco to Santa Monica to benefit the Arthritis Foundation as part of the Amgen Tour. To see the faces of many cyclists of all ages who rode over 545 miles in one week! What an accomplishment! Many of you reading this with fibromyalgia probably are thinking "I wish I even had the energy to get out of bed, let alone ride a bike! But, guess what?...I listened to three women get on stage afterwards and tell "their story" of living with arthritis. One was 30 years of age and had suffered with juvenile arthritis since she was seven years old! She said she never would have thought even a year ago that she would have done this ride! She had been through numerous doctors and medications and was determined to enter and complete this ride and.... she did it!

Why do I bring this up? Because fibromyalgia is another debilitating condition, often diagnosed by a Rheumatologist because of "arthritic-like" aches and pains. Commonly referred to as a musculoskeletal disease, fibromyalgia affects 6 million Americans and most are women. As a doctor who treats individuals with fibromyalgia, most patients are women and most have difficulty facing every day with body aches and pains, fatigue, headaches, digestive disorders, insomnia (difficulty sleeping), and depression. There is not one drug or therapy alone that works any wonder for long term help with fibromyalgia.

Many frustrated women come to my office telling me through their frustration that at one time or another that they were told their problem was "all in their head." Well, in some respect that is true (before you get upset at me, wait... listen to me as a woman doctor). Functional MRI scans have shown that people with fibromyalgia have increased activity in areas of the brain dealing with where it hurts and how much it hurts (U.S. News & World Report 2007). A look at how the brain and body communicate together is the key to finding out where there is a "brain imbalance," and how to correct it without more medication. I refer to this cause of fibromyalgia as a "brain imbalance" often caused by STRESS on a physical, chemical, and/or emotional level. Once you help balance the brain and body communication, the symptoms of fibromyalgia are greatly reduced, even gone!

We have helped hundreds of people get their life back from fibromyalgia. If you would like help with our Brain Based Therapy we have only 10 openings right now for new patients to see if you may be a good candidate for our care. This is for a limited time only! Call (619) 393-6642 to make your Free No Obligation Consult with me today and also receive a Free Surface EMG Evaluation of your spine.