Thursday, September 20, 2012

Posture - It hurts when I.....

References courtesy of CDI

1. Bohns, V. K., & Wiltermuth, S. S. (2011). It hurts when I do this (or you do that): Posture and pain tolerance. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology.

2. Carney, D. R., Cuddy, A. J. C., & Yap, A. J. (2010). Power Posing: Brief Nonverbal Displays Affect Neuroendocrine Levels and Risk Tolerance. Psychological Science. 21(10), 1363–1368.

The people we see typically display crooked postures both when viewed from the back and side and it is common for these postures to change along with reported discomfort (ie people typically feel better the straighter they stand and the more freely they move).

What's going on?  There are two sides to the issue.  The force of gravity on poorly aligned and controlled structures (posture is dynamic and constantly changing) makes them fail and hurt but posture also influences both our state of mind and our ability to feel pain.

In short improving ones posture and movement can increase our tolerance to pain and our feelings of control over pain.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Migraine - A brain disorder

Our view of migraine needs to change.  It's now established that it is a condition whereby the brain can't easily control (INHIBIT) the many sensations which constantly flood into it from all areas of the body.

Headache is only ONE symptom of migraine and often it is not even the most bothersome.  Fatigue, cognitive problems and other body sensitivities commonly overshadow any head pain.  The headache itself can change over time leading people to believe that they grew out of migraine.  They will remark "I don't get migraines any more, just tension headaches (which may become chronic).  Tension 'Type' Headache is even seen by some researchers as being a form of chronic migraine type headache (there has never been any scientific evidence of muscle 'tension' in the scalp)

Head pain can actually be a major distraction because if the actual problem (a brain regulation issue) is not addressed the disorder will be poorly managed.  Many migraineur's go through life thinking they are just unlucky because there appear to be so many different things wrong with them when in fact they are all symptoms of the one condition.

So these days Migraine = headache is like saying Earth = Flat.  It certainly appears that way but the reality is entirely different.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Migraine - It's an elephant

Migraine affects 10% of the population and it's believed about 20-30% of the individuals who consult chiropractors. 

This is an old Hindu/Buddhist story.  5 blind men examine the same elephant.  When asked what is it they give very different answers.  What's more their answers confuse the other 4 men.  Eventually they take off their blindfolds and realise they had different ends of the same beast not different things in themselves.

Migraine is like the elephant.  Headache is the trunk, IBS the tail, restless legs the foot, fatigue, 'stress' and again the symptoms can be diverse and APPEAR unrelated.

Research now reveals that migraine is a brain problem.  More specifically the brain has trouble controlling sensations.

There is so much information about migraine these days that it's awfully confusing.  Essentially the migraineurs brain is low in serotonin (which has multiple duties - pain and mood control) and other materials ('substrates') such as Vit D and magnesium which nerves use to function.

Because the brain cells can't 'run' themselves properly they can miss fire - the result is disordered brain activity in particular parts of the brain.

So one approach is to provide the brain with these materials.  One material that has been researched well is Co enzyme Q10.  Another is Vit D although it's a specific type of D and a blood test is required to check it's level.  There are also other genetic tests.

The goal here is to make the brain cells more robust and efficient; stronger if you will.

The other side is to identify and reduce triggers or irritants.  Some triggers are foods or bright light.  Many triggers don't 'work' all the time.  It depends on the individuals general neurological robustness.  For example you might 'get away' with a red wine today but add some fatigue, lack of sleep (a well known progenitor of migraine) and hey presto - symptoms.

Spinal 'derrangement' adds another 'somatic' component in some individuals.  In normal situations a 'stiff' neck might result in nothing more than local discomfort.  In a migraineur it can trigger a host of symptoms and effectively end a persons day.  Furthermore migraineurs display more scoliosis and postural issues than the norm and we know now that these things are largely brain issues as well.

The glass here represents the brain.  The water is the constant but variable inflow of sensations from the body.  We can identify and control potentially noxious or overloading input and we can supplement the brains mineral and chemical substrates.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Migraine - When normal sensations become gate crashers!

gate·crash·er (gtkrshr)
n. Slang
One who gains admittance, as to a party or concert, without being invited or without paying.

gatecrash v.

Underastanding migraine first requires a change of perspective because it's still seen as being 1. A headache and 2. Episodic (ie it comes and goes).

Well migraine is not a headache and because it's genetically linked it never 'goes away'.  What's more over time the symptom of headache can become secondary to the other more diffuse and challenging aspects of migraine itself.

One big function of the brain is to STOP feelings or sensations.  It's called INHIBITION.  But the disorder of migraine results in a brain which has trouble stopping normal sensations (from the head or guts or anywhere else) getting through.

As a result a migraine sufferer typically gets head, gut, leg, body discomfort/sensitivity and is prone to extreme fatigue, anxiety/depression and is more likely to suffer from a whole host of so called co-morbid conditions many of which are likely manifestations of the disease itself.