The Empowered Patient

The Empowered Patient

The patient that is highly in tune with the subtle energies of the body is an empowered patient.

We tend to wait until our symptoms are overt and overwhelming before we seek assistance.

By this time we are deep in the throws of ‘need of care’ and recovery can seem overwhelming and often impossible.

By teaching people how to tune in to the physical and emotional side of the human body, we can often address issues well before they turn into full blown emergency states.

Knowing the body and taking account of your daily, weekly, monthly ‘body status’ not only helps us nip issues in the bud, it helps our care givers have a more accurate starting point for diagnosis and treatment.

The result of which can be multi-fold….

  1. Reduced need for unnecessary testing.
  2. Reduced misdiagnosis
  3. Reduced unnecessary treatment modalities.
  4. Reduced ineffective treatment modalities.
  5. Increased efficacy of treatment
  6. Reduced overall costs of treatment
  7. Increased speed of recovery.

Don’t worry…tuning into the subtle energies of the body won’t make you ‘Psychic’. You won’t quit your job and become a Medical Medium.  You’ll simply know your body better and find a strength in empowerment that can lead to faster healing and more effective personal change.

Knowing your own body, your own biological needs is something that everyone has within them, we just tend to ignore this process and defer to experts. No wonder why we hate going to the doctor so much…intuitively we know they are often looking for a needle in a haystack.

But what if we could help them pinpoint a specific area that the needle was located? What if we could eliminate a significant amount of guesswork in the diagnosis process?  What if we could see ourselves as an energy system and determine at least, which areas of that system seem stagnant or simply not functioning at full capacity?  We’d be empowered and two steps ahead of the standard process…which as mentioned, can result in many benefits.

So how do we do this? Do we need to take classes on spiritual development or train with some sort of guru? Do we need to go to medical school? NO. All you need to do is slow down, tune in, pay attention and learn to become aware of your body’s rhythms, norms, standards and make note of anything that is not in your definition of 100% healthy and effective.

This process will give your care giver a much more detailed portrait of you to start with. We like to blame doctors for not knowing what’s wrong with us by just glancing at us or running a few tests, but the truth is, we are so complex that giving them a leg up with detailed information on our energy (no matter how subtle) can only yield more effective results.

So let’s get to it! Let’s start with very simple processes of ‘tuning in’ to ourselves.

Simple processes include….

Daily observation and attention.

Logging and charting.

Learning to describe subtle body differences and simple ‘body scanning’.

You should keep a journal of your observations.

Each person’s health goals will help determine what they should be paying attention to and what they should be logging.

The empowered patient isn’t just empowered because they know what’s ailing before the doctors do, they are empowered because they are paying attention to, and keeping a log of all things that are effecting their health, from stress levels, to nutrition, to environmental exposures, to simple every day things like the way we sit in our vehicle or carry our handbag.

The Empowered Patient Series is presented by Dr. Cynthia Seebacher, D.C. and Samantha Hall, psychic medium and women’s empowerment coach.

Please feel free to invite guests.
Snacks and Wine will be provided.
This is the first of the Women, Wine & Wellness on Wednesday series.
R.S.V.P. is appreciated.  Simply text your name and how many people you are bringing to
Dr. Cynthia @ 404-838-8985.

 

Psoriatic Arthritis

arthritis/fusion-chiro/drcynthiaseebacher/marietta-chiropractor

There are different types of arthrits: OsteoArthritis vs Inflammatory Arthritis

Psoriatic (Sor-ee-at-tic) Arthritis is an autoimmune inflammatory arthritis, similar to Rheumatoid Arthritis, but with a negative RA factor.  When we talk about ARTHRITIS, most people think of the good old fashioned wear and tear arthritis where the joint has lost it’s cartilage or lubricating factor, so that it’s bone on bone grinding.  This kind of arthritis is known as OSTEO Arthritis.

There is another kind of arthritis, at the other end of the spectrum, called INFLAMMATORY ARTHRITIS.  These are the AUTO-IMMUNE types of arthritis where your body attacks it’s own tissue, thinking your own tissue is a foreign invader.  The immune system goes in to over-drive as it attempts to fight what it thinks is a bacteria or virus.  White blood cells flood the area, in this case the joint, and this creates inflammation, which causes swelling, redness, heat and pain.  In this realm of inflammatory arthritis, there is a further separation into two categories.  On the one side is the Rheumatoid Factor, RF or RA positive, which includes Rheumatoid Arthritis, Systemic Lupus, Scleroderma, etc.  On the other side is the “Negative RA Factor” side, meaning there is no RF antibodies present and is called SPONDYLO-ARTHRITIS (spon-de-low).  The blood test that indicates this side of inflammatory arthritis is called HLA-B27 (Human Leukocyte Antibody) and includes the inflammatory arthritis categories as Psoriatic Arthritis, Ankylosing Spondylitis, Enteropathic Arthritis, and Reactive Arthritis.

I was first diagnosed with Psoriatic Arthritis in 2003.  I was fortunate enough that my Primary Care Physician listened to psoriatic-arthritis/fusion-chiro.com/DrCynthiaSeebachermy complaints and referred me to a Rheumatologist – a doctor who specializes in musculo-skeletal disease and systemic (whole body) auto-immune conditions.  Having psoriasis (red patches with silver scales) does not necessarily mean you will have Psoriatic Arthritis.  Psoriasis itself is an auto-immune condition caused by inflammation, and usually indicative of liver congestion according to the nutrition specialists and functional medicine specialists.  When I was diagnosed, I had psoriasis on my elbows and there was a 5-10% chance of developing into Psoriatic Arthritis (PsA).  Today, that number has increased to 30%.  This is a clinical diagnosis, which means its a careful collection of symptoms, including a positive HLA-B27 genetic marker, joint pain – usually in the hands, feet and along the spine, particularly the Sacro-Iliac joints (SI joints) and the neck. The GOLD STANDARD for diagnosis is the SAUSAGE DIGIT, where one of your fingers or toes along the entire length of the digit becomes hot, swollen, purple or red and very painful – looking like a sausage.

PsA is a long term condition that waxes and wanes, but essentially becomes progressively worse by damaging the joints.  My Rheumatologist (affectionately written as *Rheumy from time to time) explained to me at the time that any time there is pain and inflammation present in the joint, there is damage being done.  Of course, I had to have this conversation because I am, or at least I was, the kind of patient who did not like to take medication no matter what… until he explained it to me as damage.  The pharmaceutical options include anti-inflammatory medication (NSAIDs or steroids), a DMARD – disease modifying anti-rheumatic drug, and finally a Biologic – injections or infusion of medicine that targets a specific cell called TNF alpha – Tumor Necrosing Factor alpha.

The non-pharmaceutical prevention and care plan is where the magic happens, which I share about on my website, blogs and Facebook Live.  You can follow an anti-inflammatory diet, get adequate sleep, exercise on a regular basis, and my all time favorites: chiropractic and massage.  For me, my maintenance care plan is to get adjusted once per week and get a therapeutic massage every two weeks.  I had to change my sleeping habits, which is challenging enough as it is, and I was in chiropractic school when I had to make my change.  Basically, the more hours of sleep you can get before the midnight hour, the better your sleep hygiene.  I had to learn how to pace myself, balancing high energy days with days of recuperation and rest.  I had to become aware of the ebb and flow of the disease, also known as FLARE UPs and take extra self-care measures when I would have a flare up.  Most people with these types of chronic pain illnesses (this includes Fibromyalgia) will notice a rather big flare up around January when the weather changes to cold and damp, and the stress of the holidays is over.  A flare up always seems to rear it’s ugly head AFTER the stress has subsided.  It’s just the nature of the beast.

With PsA, when it affects the fingers and toes, it’s usually the most distal joint, closest to the finger/toenail.  PsA attackes the ENTHESIS (en-the-sis), which is where the tendon meets the bone.  When this becomes inflamed, it’s called ENTHESOPATHY (En-thes-o-path-ee).  This, to me, is such an intense, sharp, stabbing, electric-like pain in the edge of the finger when it is barely brushed against something.  PsA also attacks the SI joints on either one side or both sides.  It also loves to attack the neck.

The disease progresses either rapidly or slowly, depending on your environment, stress levels, self-care and how well you can manage inflammation.  The first 10 years of my diagnosis, I rode horses, taught yoga and Pilates and worked as a massage therapist.  I am often asked how can I do all of that without my hands hurting or my body hurting.  For me, staying physically active, especially with giving massages, always made me feel better.  When I give massage, it’s not just my hands, but my entire body goes in to my work.  The other major contributor to managing this disease is to get regular chiropractic care and regular massages myself.

There are several more symptoms that go along with an inflammatory arthritis, which is why these are called systemic auto-immune diseases. There can be inflammation of the iris of the eye, called UVEITIS (you-vee-eye-tis) or IRITIS (eye-ry-tis), which is quite painful causing your eye to turn red and vision is blurry.  There is definitely the factor of sleep disturbance where some people may not be able to get fully in to REM sleep, tossing and turning all night, or having pain that wakes you up at night.  Fatigue is also a problem, mostly during a flare up, but also associated with chronic pain.  There are also a lot of gastro-intestinal problems such as diarrhea, bloating, constipation, or all of the above.

If you have a family history of an inflammatory arthritis, or psoriasis, and you are experiencing joint pain, please don’t hesitate to contact me to discuss how chiropractic care and therapeutic massage can help you.  At Fusion Chiropractic, we discover together what positive coping skills will keep you managing a functional lifestyle with pain relief.

 

 

Happy Sunlight!

Happy Summer! Happy Sunlight!

When I was kid, way back in the 1970’s and 80’s, I used to lay out in the sun covered in Baby Oil with lemon juice in my hair.  I was a sun goddess.  When I got older, I was a lifeguard and a swim team coach.  When it came time to work indoors during the summer months, I thought I’d die without my sun exposure.  Fast forward a decade or two and this whole skin cancer scare came about.  We started covering ourselves up with the highest SPF we could find, only to learn that all that SPF wasn’t good for us either.  As the pendulum swings and returns back to center, we now know that there has to be a decent balance of getting sunlight to create Vitamin D, but not too much that it causes skin cancer.

I’m sure everyone has seen the 100’s of uses or benefits of coconut oil floating around on your Facebook feed or on the internet.  I use pure coconut oil for everything from giving massages to cooking.  My favorite use of coconut oil is to use it as a sunscreen.  About 10 years ago, I slathered myself up with coconut oil and laid out in the sun, much like I had done as a kid, and hoped I would I have a nice tan after several hours.  NOPE!  Not one shade of golden beauty came through because of how effective the coconut oil was at blocking the sun.  Now, when I make my annual trip to the beach, I slather on the coconut oil before leaving the hotel room, while the rest of my family chooses to use a commercial sunscreen product.  Guess who doesn’t have that painful burn after day one at the beach?  You guessed it, ME.  I still had the tan shine through simply because I spend the majority of my time in the water.  The key, however, is to RE-APPLY every time you come out of the water.  If you don’t re-apply, you can still burn.  This is true of your favorite sunscreen products as well.

So, for a natural sun protectant, consider using coconut oil.  Don’t forget to re-apply.  Allow yourself at least 15 minutes per day of the morning sun to stimulate your body’s natural Vitamin D.  Most importantly, enjoy your summer vacation!

Sprain, Strain, Pelvic Pain

Doc! I can’t move.  I can’t get out of bed. I can’t even get in the car!”  When the pain is so bad that it hurts to turn over in bed, or changing positions from sitting to stand, or even laying down to sitting up, it’s time to seek professional help.

Low back pain and pelvic pain tend to go together.  A strain is what happens to the muscles or tendons when they are pulled or stretched to extreme measures.  A sprain is what happens to ligaments when they have been stretched beyond their limit.  Pain happens with both.  The muscles in your hips and low back contract so hard in an attempt to stabilize the hurt area, whether it’s in your lumbar/low back region or your pelvic region and hips.  Your core muscles (pelvic floor muscles, rectus abdominus, transverse abdominus) suddenly go offline and become weak in order to protect you from doing further harm.  The brain and your nervous system find many different ways to do the same job that your core muscles were supposed to be doing.

Now, simple tasks such as turning over in bed or going from sitting to standing become much more difficult. Pain is your body’s way of saying something is wrong.  You don’t have to figure out what is wrong, but your chiropractor, massage therapist or doctor will figure that out for you.

Remember, the type of professional from whom you seek treatment will always suggest the treatment based on their profession.  So, if you go to a medical doctor, you will likely be prescribed pain medicine or a muscle relaxer.  If you go to an orthopedist, you may be told you need surgery.  If you go to the chiropractor, we will suggest adjustments, massage therapy, physiotherapy and therapeutic exercises.

In the case mentioned above, you may be given a Trochanter Belt to wear for a few days.  This special kind of belt is worn below the waist and just at the level of where the femur attaches to the pelvis.    You will wear this for approximately five days, 24/7, except when bathing or bathroom time.  The belt acts as a support so the surrounding muscles don’t have to overwork into spasm.  Depending on the injury, your chiropractor may lessen or extend your time in the belt.

Once your low back or pelvic injury is healed, keep the trochanter belt around for times when you know you’ll be pulling a heavy load or doing a lot of walking. Be sure you re-learn how to activate those muscles that neurologically went off-line and learn how to move with proper bio-mechanics to avoid further injury or relapse.

If you would like a consultation for your back pain, you can text, call or email Dr. Seebacher.  Crawl-ins are welcome too.  Dr. Seebacher has created a FUSION of chiropractic, therapeutic massage and therapeutic exercise to help reduce pain and restore function to your life.

Drive Time Therapy

Traffic in Atlanta is one thing we all tolerate to the best of our abilities.  Why not make the most of your time while at a standstill?

My favorite is to use the headrest, situated to the middle of your head. Press your head back and in to the headrest, slightly tucking your chin under as you press and hold for a count of 5.  This gives a nice stretch to the suboccipital muscles at the base of your skull and it activates the deep flexor muscles in the front of the neck.  This will also release some tension in the back of your neck and maybe even in your shoulders.  Next you can turn your head as far as comfortable and press your head back and in to the headrest.  Be sure to do both sides equally.

Need some shoulder therapy?  Try pressing your shoulder back, one at a time, holding for a count of 5, just as you’ve been doing.  Be sure to do both sides equally.  Now you’re working the muscles between the shoulder blades, squeeze those shoulder blades together behind you and make sure the back of your head is touching the headrest. Don’t allow your head and neck to creep forward.  You can also work on those external rotator muscles of the shoulder by squeezing your elbows towards your rib cage, elbows bent at 90 degrees, now open your arm out away from your body, attempting to touch the back of your wrist to either the door or towards the passenger seat.  Let’s not forget shoulder shrugs and shoulder rolls as well.

Again, make sure you are safe while in your car.  These are quick and easy to do at a red light.  While the car is moving, see if you can keep your head touching the headrest.  We have this bad habit of thrusting our neck forward as if we could actually see things better from that position.

 

 

 

 

Human Barometer

Are you a human barometer?  Have you ever wondered why you have a unique talent for knowing when a storm is coming?   Do your joints ache when it’s cold and rainy outside?  You may be a human barometer.

Barometric pressure is the effect of air on the environment.  Think of this as a heavy blanket exerting downward pressure on everything when the barometric pressure is low, or dropping.  We like to say that a cold, rainy day is “good sleeping weather”, to just stay in bed and hibernate.  It is true that lower barometric pressure causes us to seek sleep mode.  Strangely enough, as the barometric pressure drops, the air we breathe drops the level of Oxygen, so less O2 in our blood and going to the brain makes us feel sleepy.  The pressure on our bodies causes fluid in the joints and blood vessels to expand.  Remember back to elementary school that hot air rises, cold air is denser and pressure gradients always shift from high to low in order to create balance.  This is why we have so many aches and pains when the barometric pressure is dropping.  Any old injury you have may express itself with a vengeance, particularly if you have arthritis or have had surgery to a joint.  Everything inside expands.

On the other end of the spectrum from achy joints is the awful storm approaching migraine.  If you’ve ever noticed when weather patterns collide and create massive thunder storms or possible tornado activity, the human barometer can sense that rapid drop in pressure.  There is some speculation that the electrical charge in the air is what effects the body’s chemistry.  Other weather related activity that can spark a migraine or pressure headache include: changes in temperature, high humidity, high winds, extremely dry conditions (causing dehydration), sun glare.

What can be done about this?  The primary goal of the nervous system is to adapt to the environment, both inside the body and outside pressures on the body.  It is perfectly okay to crawl back in to bed on those cold and rainy days when you are able to do so.  For the migraine sufferer, you may need some extra assistance to help you adapt.  Getting a regular chiropractic adjustment helps the nervous system function at it’s optimal level so that these swings in pressure don’t effect us as dramatically.  The sooner you can come in at the onset of a migraine, the better chance of stopping or at least significantly reducing your symptoms.

Here are some of my “go to” relief remedies I have in my tool box:

Migra-Eeze – This came highly recommended from my neurologist to take as a preventive measure.  I can attest that this works very well when taken on a daily basis and it significantly reduced the severity of my migraines.

Intensity 10 TENS unit – using a TENS unit on those muscles that are in spasm is an excellent way to relieve pain associated with migraines and barometric pressure changes.  Dr. Seebacher can help you find the right fit for you, as well as ordering the TENS unit with insurance approval.

Migracap – I will admit that I have not used this yet.  In the midst of a migraine, cold temperature works best due to the rapid expansion of blood vessels.  This cap covers the eyes and provides that extra comforting pressure when you feel like your head is about to explode.

Hydrate – A good rule of thumb is to drink 1 oz of water for every 2 pounds of body weight.  As an example, if you weigh 180 pounds, you need 90 oz of water daily.  You’ll need more if you’re physically active.  When the environment is dry and drought conditions persist, the human body needs more water. You can add a pinch of salt to the water to provide extra minerals and to retain some of the water needed by your body.  I prefer Pink Himalayan Salt as it has more mineral content to help balance the electrolytes in your body.

Epsom Salt Bath – You can find epsom salts at any grocery store.  I recommend to my Fibromyalgia patients the Fibro Detox Bath: 1 package (2-3pounds) of epsom salt in the hottest water you can safely handle; add 1 box of Baking Soda (8oz), 1 tbs of ground ginger. Warning, ginger makes this a stimulating bath, but it reduces pain significantly.  Soak as long as you possibly can.  For relaxation, try adding lavender essential oil or any soothing blend to replace the ginger.

Chiropractic + Therapeutic Massage: Chiropractic adjustments are designed to help the nervous system restore balance in the body.  Therapeutic Massage helps to release trigger points so that your body does not hold patterns of spasm.  Combining the two together gives you the best of both worlds.  Keep in mind, neither one is intended to be a one time cure-all.  It took a long time for your body to build up the stress and toxic environment that is created by barometric sensitivities.  Dr. Seebacher provides the chiropractic adjustment and the therapeutic massage all in one visit.  Click here to schedule your chiro+massage appointment.