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MINDBODY MEDICINE – LIVING PROOF STORIES OF HOPE…

My Osteopath send me this brilliant video link on Mindbody Medicine – Living Proof Stories of Hope which has been put together by some patients to help to better educate the general public but in particular the medical profession about how these conditions often need a different approach.

He was sure that I would find it interesting.

I found it quite mind blowing and I just wished I had shared it during Pain Awareness Month in September. Check out Mindbody Medicine- Living Proof Stories of Hope after you have read some information about it below.

The introduction is from Charli, a 24-year-old biochemistry student from London, who shares her moving story of recovery from over two years of chronic pain.  She describes the science behind the ‘mindbody’ approach to calming her nervous system, and her hopes that medical practitioners will start to bring the vital link between emotions and physical symptoms more into their practice.

It is their first in an anticipated series of short films which will profile a range of different chronic conditions and medically unexplained symptoms, primarily to help the medical profession better understand this approach to health.

Their aim is to illustrate how so often the root of these conditions actually lies in the brain, and that once this is understood and accepted by the patient, a resolution can be found through working on our emotions and thought patterns. 

Their website supports GPs and other medical professionals in the UK in their treatment of patients with persistent chronic pain or other chronic symptoms, including ‘Medically Unexplained Symptoms’ (MUS). It aims to increase medical professionals’ understanding of the role of the brain and the mind in these chronic conditions, and to introduce a range of low cost, easy-to-access, scientifically-evidenced educational and treatment resources.

The NHS UK website itself recognises that ‘medically unexplained symptoms are common, accounting for up to 45% of all GP appointments and half of all new visits to hospital clinics in the UK’. Such patients can often be a great source of frustration for GPs as the real cause is not yet widely understood and effective treatments are not taught within mainstream medicine.

The mindbody approach is easily integrated into day-to-day practice with patients, with the goal being to alleviate chronic symptoms, rather than just helping the patient manage them. Practitioners who are already incorporating this approach report that including an inquiry into possible psychosocial causes of chronic pain and MUS at the start of the diagnostic process is usually well accepted by patients as part of a “whole person” approach to their care.

They recognise that there are already a lot of high quality resources out there for individual patients to learn from, particularly in relation to pain-based conditions, and see no point in reinventing the wheel. It is our hope that by helping to educate and inform the health practitioners who are seeing these patients on a daily basis we will over time leverage a broader impact. Their long-term aim is to reduce the number of NHS patient visits relating to chronic pain and MUS in the UK, in turn freeing up time for our medical professionals to focus on those with acute needs.

The information in this website has been checked for accuracy by their medical advisory teamcomprised of health professionals operating in the UK and in the US.  

I will write further about the mindbody experience in another post as I think you need to see the video first to understand the technique.

Source: Mind Body Medicine

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DYSTONIA – PAIN IN YOUR HANDS OR WHEN WRITING?…

Do you experience pain in your hands or when writing? Dystonia is a condition whereby sometimes it becomes painful to write or play an instrument due to cramps in the hand or arm.

The Dystonia Society is the only national charity providing support, advocacy and information for anyone affected by the neurological movement condition known as dystonia.

If the doctor is not able to explain what is causing the cramps, one possible cause is a hand dystonia (otherwise known as Writer’s or Musician’s Cramp). The symptoms vary and may be one or more of the following:

  1. Twisting or curling up of the hands while writing or playing an instrument.
  2. Fingers move of their own accord to unusual positions while writing or playing an instrument.
  3. Writing or playing an instrument becomes painful.
  4. Symptoms usually disappear when the above activities stop.

Hand dystonia commonly appears in people between the ages of 30 and 50. It is one form of dystonia – a condition that causes uncontrollable and often painful muscle contractions believed to be as a result of incorrect messages from the brain to the muscles.

Dystonia is a neurological movement disorder and, if the symptoms listed above are severe or damaging to quality of life, the correct course of action is for a GP to make a referral to a neurologist specialising in movement disorders. There are treatments for hand dystonia that can significantly reduce the symptoms in many cases.  Only a specialist neurologist has the knowledge and skill to diagnose and treat dystonia.  If the patient and their GP agree that the symptoms might possibly indicate dystonia then the GP should refer the patient to such a specialist.

Dystonia can mimic PD in various and assorted ways and diagnosis can be difficult depending on how the disease manifests its symptoms, which are quite similar to not only PD, but other neurological disorders as well. 

Focal dystonias are the most common types of dystonia. Cervical dystonia affects the neck muscles, whereas blepharospasm is known to affect the muscles around the eyes. When the jaw and tongue muscles are affected, it is known as oromandibular dystonia. The voice can be affected, causing a ‘crackling’ sound and known as spasmodic dysphonia. 

There are three primary types of dystonia: basal ganglionic, mesolimbic, and dystonia from the cerebellum. All three types are from the brain or brainstem, but presentation can be clinically different with symptoms.

 

There are also other conditions that can cause similar symptoms, one of which is carpel or cubital tunnel syndrome. The carpal tunnel is a narrow space in the wrist that contains the median nerve. It is surrounded by the bones of the wrist (carpals) and a thick tendon sheath. Friction will cause the tendon sheath to swell and enlarge limiting the space within the carpal tunnel. As a result, the median nerve becomes compressed leading to numbness and tingling within the wrist and hand. Symptoms can be treated conservatively, with night splinting, medications, and cortisone injections. However, carpal tunnel syndrome does not resolve on its own and worsens over time.

Cubital tunnel syndrome is caused by compression of your ulnar nerve at the elbow.  The ulnar nerve travels from neck down your arm through a tunnel at your elbow called the “cubital tunnel.” The nerve is especially vulnerable to compression because the cubital tunnel is very narrow and has very little soft tissue to protect it. This compression causes numbness and/or tingling pain in your elbow, hand, wrist, or fingers. This is commonly caused by leaning on your elbow for long periods of time or swelling caused by friction of your ulnar nerve rubbing along structures of the cubital tunnel.

Carpal Tunnel

Carpal tunnel and cubital tunnel syndrome are treated at first with conservative treatments like rest, changes in patterns of use, immobilizing the affected area with devices like splints or braces, physical therapy, medication and injections. If the symptoms do not improve after some time, your doctor may suggest a surgical procedure to relieve compression.

As you know I had cubital tunnel release surgery last year and my nerve conduction tests showed I also have carpal tunnel both of which are giving me a lot of pain at the moment. However, on the NHS list of symptoms of Fibromyalgia they do include tingling, numbness, prickling or burning sensations in your hands and feet (pins and needles, also known as paraesthesia)

The best way forward if you are suffering from any of these types of pain is to go and see your GP for him/her to decide your next move to finding out what the problem is.

Living Well with Dystonia is a great book on the subject written by by Daniel Truong;Mayank Pathak;Karen Frei (Author)  A Patient Guide provides comprehensive information on a wide array of Dystonias. It is intended for individuals with various forms of Dystonia who want to adjust lifestyle activities to accommodate this chronic condition, but do not want the disorder to define them. It is a resource and tool for both individuals with the disorder and their families to become better educated about the options available to them.

Source : Ezine Dystonia UK NHS Back Pain Blog UK