3 Questions People With Pain Really Need To Ask!

How have I been sleeping?

Ask yourself: Why are we full of excuses to miss out on sleep? Why is it that when we push ourselves or are pushed to the limit, where the first thing we do is skimp on the one simple, 100% free remedy that can help us most? As I’ve written about previously and always teach my patients: Sleep is your body’s most important, efficient and effective process to detox and replenish your energy stores, recover and restore your body’s health. However, somehow and very commonly, we seem to easily find many reasons to justify missing out. We don’t give ourselves permission to rest, recuperate, and revive our body, health & lives. Why would we give up this one free, beneficial and resourceful remedy?

Going through that check-list in your mind, finishing that report or that ironing at the expense of just two or three hours of sleep can trigger the release of pro-inflammatory chemicals called cytokines that increase pain-causing inflammation in your entire system and increase cortisol levels with an irregular sleep pattern, pushing your body into adrenal overdrive, causing fatigue, lethargy, poor memory and concentration and a negative feedback of chemicals being released into your body that cause chaos and are detrimental to your health.

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For example, losing this little sleep can increase your blood pressure and blood sugar, both of which can also heighten inflammation, and can increase your risk for metabolic syndrome, even if you show no signs of disease. Studies have shown that missing a few hours a night, a healthy young person’s fat cells are 30% less sensitive to insulin, meaning, you would technically become diabetic. Therefore, sleep is important to regulate your body’s internal systems!

Have you noticed poor sleep habits are making your looked aged? In short, here’s why: researchers summarised that subsequent to lack or poor quality of sleep, metabolically ages you 10 to 20 years. So instead of wasting money on chemical cosmetic products to reduce your fine lines or dark circles, simply look at improving your sleep pattern.

But don’t fear because luckily, this effect can be reversed with an equal number of solid nights of sleep. When it comes to sleep, quantity really is quality. Try to get at least 7 or 8 hours of sleep at night, avoid skimping and give yourself permission to truly rest and heal from your day; and take a 20 to 30 minute nap during the day, if at all possible. Studies have shown this to be beneficial for your organs including your brain, heart and liver!

 Have I been escaping with eating, drinking, drugs, shopping, TV, sex?

How do you spend your day? What are you focused on at work? Where is your attention at home? How much time and energy do spend on you, for you or by yourself? These are questions we should ask ourselves when we’ve spent the whole week catering to other people’s needs because as a result, we often resort to subconsciously escaping to avoid thinking about what’s really causing our physical and emotional pain.

The problem with depriving ourselves of feeling and being aware, is that, while trying to make ourselves feel better, we end up giving ourselves even worse problems with addiction, extra pounds, unsustainable debt, and many others problems that can spiral out of control and become harder to change. It’s these issues that can have a greater impact on your life including work, relationships, love, sex, fulfilment, true satisfaction and passion for life.

Instead, we wrap ourselves in the fogginess of our numbing “go-too” vices and forget that we need to nurture ourselves to move through our pain with love and attentive care, to really figure out what is the root cause of our pain and to compassionately work through this to a stronger and healthier us.

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A recommendation I suggest to my patients is to create a “me-space” at home, an undisturbed, safe and peaceful place, where you can go to be recharged and re-connect with yourself from a stressful or tiring day. I also suggest making a list of self-nurturing activities that you can turn to for support whenever you feel yourself reaching for a drink, a smoke, a chocolate, a meaningless fling or sexual encounter. I find that a 20-minute soak in a hot bath with 2 cups of Epsom salts or Lavender Sea salts, 4-6 drops of black pepper oil or lavender oil, and a cold flannel over the eyes usually works well for a relaxing and calming effect.

 What am I saying to myself?

Have you ever stopped to think about what conversations you’re having with yourself throughout the day? Most people will say no, which can work against us when we’re in physical and emotional overwhelm. Here’s why: When we’re on the go constantly, we sometimes don’t even stop to question the content of our own thoughts, let alone change them. And our self-conversations have tremendous power when it comes to soothing or intensifying our pain. Our thoughts create neurochemical waves in the brain that can directly halt our pain or make it worse. This effect is even more pronounced among those of us with chronic pain. Studies have shown evidence where patients experiencing chronic pain, swapped negative thoughts for positive ones, resulting in significant reduction in pain levels.

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Believe it: We have the power and strength to relieve our pain simply by changing our thoughts and the conversations we have with ourselves.

I strongly advocate personalised positive affirmations to my patients who are struggling with physical, emotional or mindful blocks. A great way to start off the day is by giving thanks with gratitude before the day begins. Then look in the mirror and repeat 3 times: “I believe in myself. Every cell in my body is healthy. I am getting stronger every day. I feel more powerful, more positive, and pain free.” Although it may seem uncomfortable or awkward to begin with, remember that you’re creating new pathways in your brain to resist pain and to invite peace and reduced pain.

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You deserve to spend time nurturing yourself, and making yourself a priority, and you should start with your thoughts. This practice alone could be the most powerful shift you make toward a pain-free and positive life.

If you yourself or anyone you know have been wondering about these questions and experience pain in a way that has become frustrating and destructive to your body, your self-esteem and emotions, your relationships and your life, please contact me at info@mkdosteopathy.com.

I would love to hear from you and learn about your story and struggles; so I can support you to make changes in freeing yourself from pain to regain control and power of your body, and not let pain run you and your life.

I look forward to serving you!

Wishing you good health and all my best,

Manjot 🙂

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Pain – My Top FAQs From My Patients!

Pain is a signal, a warning from the body that something is not quite right. You might think you got that kink in your neck from the car accident from sleeping funny during the night; or the slow burn in your lower back from sitting all day in front of the computer. But when you look into that pain you slowly uncover something even bigger: The truth about your life, your relationships, your work, and your state of mind.

All pain, every single kind, is both physical and emotional. And all pain, when you learn how to face it, understand it, and let it go, can help clear your path to a better life.

Here are some common questions Manjot hears regarding pain management from her patients.

What role do emotions play in pain?

 All emotions are normal. They’re neither good nor bad—they simply are.

Problems don’t start because of emotions themselves. The trouble comes in when you don’t express them, release them or deal with them. Then layers of buried emotion or emotional traumas build up like scar tissue, causing adhesions in your fascia, the layer of tissue that envelops and stretches around all your muscles and organs. The function of fascia is for this fluid and flexible tissue to allow your body to move with pain-free natural freedom. These festering, unprocessed, unreleased emotions clog up your circulation, fluidity and generally create disharmony within your body. Once you actually really see and feel it, and can pinpoint where the pain is actually coming from, you can consciously begin to increase the flow of your body’s natural painkillers and anti-inflammatory chemicals to help you release the pain and start to heal.

We experience all of our feelings, thoughts, actions and reactions through connections between our nervous system and our muscular-skeletal system. Check out all the parts of the brain that intersect together with the musculoskeletal system when we experience strong emotions:

  • The limbic system: the site of our instinctual emotional reactions
  • The hypothalamus: which connects up with the endocrine system and the gut organs
  • The amygdala: where we process sensory information into memory and learning
  • The cortex: where we regulate emotion

Every emotion we experience leaves a trace throughout these areas of the brain. Those same exact feelings can be re-triggered by anything we experience, whether in the real world, through our senses, or purely in our own minds. When we experience the same thought patterns, they form neuropaths in our brains, so if the same route is always taken to deal with a negative emotion; this can be dysfunctional and lead to further problems in our mind, body and life.

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What role does sleep play in pain management?

Sleep is the most regenerative, restorative; automatic biological process humans have—so why on earth do we skimp? Many people pretend they can get by on 5 or 6 hours a night – but nothing could be further from the truth. We need at least 7 hours of solid sleep a night in order to stay out of sleep deficit. Chronic sleep deprivation leads to horrible consequences: memory loss (and eventually brain damage); excess pounds; increased insulin; increased hunger and stress hormone levels; increased blood pressure; and decreased immunity. Without enough high quality sleep, your body does not have time to rest and regenerate, and your tissues age, literally, overnight. But improving sleep may nudge you out of negative feedback all by itself. A study of patients with chronic sleep deficits found that just one month of improved sleep significantly reduced their levels of tumour necrosis factor and C-reactive protein, both markers for systemic inflammation in the body.

How do I locate where my pain is really coming from?

Consider these common areas of pain, and their potential physical and emotional sources:

Site of Pain Possible Physical Cause Possible Emotional Cause
Low back pain (in women) Ovaries, pelvic disorder,

kidney stones,

adrenal fatigue, post-pregnancy recovery, endometriosis,

Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome,

muscular-skeletal involvement

Loss of power; buried emotions,

lack of emotional support, feeling unloved,

holding back love, guilt, stuck in the past,

“get off my back”, fear of money,

lack of financial support

Low back pain (in men) Sciatica, prostate or

kidney stones, colon conditions

Anger issues; stress of unsatisfying job/home life
Acute mid-back pain/shoulder level Poor circulation,

liver condition, anemia,

low blood pressure,

lung conditions

Feeling anxious; palpitations; difficulty sleeping;

fear of the future

Hip pain Arthritis, infection, hernia,

low-back-pain

Fear of going forward in major decision,

Nothing to move forward to

Knee pain Joint involvement, cyst,

deep vein thrombosis

(poor circulation), arthritis

Stubborn pride and ego,

Inability to bend, fear, inflexibility,

won’t give in

Ankle & Foot pain Ligament sprain, arthritis, gout Inflexibility and guilt.

Ankles represent the ability to receive pleasure,

Lack of joy in meeting new experiences

(bunions)

Stiffness Arthritis,

neurological conditions,

poor nutrition

Rigid, stiff thinking, inflexibility in life

 

Our body movement is reflective of our inner world. It’s important to understand how live inside your body, to keep your body aligned and work towards living pain-free. This allows you to become conscious in your body while instinctively bringing awareness to your life. This is when your body and mind connect. In my experience I see this automatically benefit the lives of my patients by helping them make decisions that are in their best interest of their health, from choosing better foods to choosing a career that suits them better because a clearer mind helps you to expend less energy everyday and sue that energy to towards a body and life that you love!

What are some common ways that people hide from their pain?

Consider the ways you might be hiding from your pain:

Do you eat your emotions?

Do you drink them?

Do you spend all day working, working, working – never taking time to take care of yourself or your body, to rest and replenish?

Do you spend the night awake, staring at the ceiling—and then use caffeine to get through the next day?

Do you use your phone as a shield from the world—constantly checking email, Facebook, Twitter? Does it feel like a crutch? An addiction? A lifeline?

Do you stay away from the gym or the yoga class, blaming your bad back or your injured shoulder—when you know that movement and exercise is actually exactly what you need?

Do you feel shame about your body and hide yourself inside, away from the sun and the fresh air?

Do you deny yourself the joy and the pleasure of being alive—and you’re not even sure why?

If you yourself or anyone you know experiences pain in a way that has become frustrating and destructive to your body, your self-esteem and emotions, your relationships and your life, please contact me at info@mkdosteopathy.com.

I would love to hear from you and learn about your story and struggles; so I can support you to make changes in freeing yourself from pain to regain control and power of your body, and not let pain run you and your life.

I look forward to serving you!

Wishing you good health and all my best,

Manjot 🙂

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How To Get The Best Sleep…zzz

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I always ask my patients about their sleep; how many hours a night? Do they wake often? Is their bed/pillow comfortable? And most importantly, do they feel well rested when they wake up in the morning?

Sleep is vital in encouraging and maintaining good functioning of your body, muscles and organs. According to the National Sleep Foundation (NSF) at least 40 million people suffer from over 70 different sleep disorders and 60% report having sleep problems a few nights a week (that’s a lot!). Your rest period is so important in ensuring optimal health and wellbeing so please take care of this.

For women especially, simply being female makes us more likely to suffer from insomnia. The main factors contributing being; anxiety & worrying, hormonal fluctuations of our menstrual cycle, pregnancy and menopause can also affect sleep, which in turn affects the quality of our health and wellbeing. Which is why it’s super important to get your beauty sleep.

So let me help you out with my tried & tested top 10 tips on how to get the most relaxed and sweetest sleep!

1. Are you one of these people? “I’ll just check my Facebook / Twitter / Instagram / email before bed…”

Rule number 1: Step AWAY from the iPhone/i-Pad/laptop. Avoid the use of any electrical devices 1hr before your bedtime (and definitely not in bed). Light is a powerful guide for your body and being exposed to light from the screen will influence chemistry and waking hormonal behavior, as your brain connects it to the sunlight. So this will only keep you wired to stay awake.

2. Try to go to bed at roughly the same time every night, and get up at the same time each morning.

The body produces melatonin, which is important in controlling your body clock so your sleep-wake cycle is regulated. Your body craves routine so by doing this, you’ll maintain a healthy sleep cycle for your body, it’s natural rhythms, the correct hormonal releases and you will definitely feel a difference by getting the same amount of sleep each night.  Try it for a week.

3. Keep your room quiet, dark, cool & uncluttered.

You bedroom is your sanctuary, the space for you to disconnect from the world; and it should be treated and kept that way.

So use dim lighting towards your bedtime, keep the curtains tightly drawn and open the window a smidge to regulate temperature. I recently discovered the magic behind crisp & cool bedding…Egyptian cotton percale sheets, luxuriously soothing.

4. Relaxing scents have been proven to have a calming effect.

I absolutely love Molton Brown’s “Relaxing Yuan Zhi Ambiente Room Spray”. Made with yuan zhi, vanilla and ylang ylang, it’s perfect to not only de-stress but 2 spritzes in your room or from a height above your bed will calmy sooth you into a restful sleep. Alternatively, unless you’re sensitive to scents, a lightly scented lavender spritz or candle as you get ready for bed is perfect to aid a good night’s sleep.

5. Quit the caffeine.

That’s right, that quick mid-afternoon coffee may have helped you get through the rest of your day, but it definitely won’t do you any favors in getting through the night peacefully, especially when your mind is still racing into over-drive at 1am with restless thoughts and to-do lists. So you may want to reconsider? Obviously you will probably already know your own sensitivity to caffeine, but there’s no harm in switching to a herbal or caffeine-free brew from the mid-afternoon (there’s not much difference in the taste, and you’ll be less agitated and more calm!)

6. And the booze (you knew this was coming!)

It’s the TGIF high; time to celebrate with a glass or two of vino, white wine spritzer or a cocktail right? With a standard drink (one unit) it takes at least 2 hrs to metabolize, so keep your eye on the clock because if you body is still focusing on this when you go to bed, it isn’t focusing on sending you to sleep. Plus, if you’re already achy and tired from your long week and work, with alcohol being an inflammatory product, you’re only increasing the amount of inflammation in your body, with less recovery period, which equals a worse state in the morning. Be drink aware!

7. Make sure that your bed & pillow is comfortable.

Many of my patients come in to see me having “slept funny”…We spend a third of our lives in bed, so a new mattress could be a worthwhile investment. People spend thousands on a new car, which on average gives them a good 5 years; but a mattress is something you will be sleeping on for decades, so it needs to be comfortable, firm, supportive and keep your body well balanced throughout the night; so invest in a good one. Flipping and rotating your current one may work, but my absolute favorite and top recommendation to my patients is a firm latex foam mattress (the ones by Dunlapillo are fab!)

8. The snooze button (every 5mins)…

To all those having to wake at the crack of dawn, we’ve all been there! But whilst snoozing in the morning might feel like an indulgence, you’ll actually wake up feeling groggier and more tired. Just treat yourself to setting the alarm 15-20 minutes later instead. It’ll make such a difference in your mood, so you won’t wake up on the wrong side of the bed.

9. Remember that we are all different.

I treat so many girls and women, including work or sport-focused women, new mums, working mums & business-mums. So whilst research shows that 7-8 hours is the average for most people, anything between 6-10 is normal. It’s important to have a routine that best works for you and your body, so it stays functioning at its best! As long as you feel well rested and refreshed the next day, it’s absolutely fine.

10. Lastly, do absolutely nothing!

Worrying only pumps up your adrenals, and defeats the purpose of a restful sleep. So, try not to think about about not sleeping, or focus too much on ways & techniques to get yourself to sleep, or you’ll just stay awake. If you haven’t done already, look through my previous blog post on my top tips to de-stress (https://healthwealthandforeverhappiness.wordpress.com/2014/06/02/magical-top-4-stress-relievers-immediate-soothing-effective/) because the art of practicing mindfulness through self-meditation is very powerful and if you’re struggling, is an effective way to address your thoughts, anxiety and emotions to help you drift into a relaxing sleep…zzz

If you found these tips helpful, please post below. Yours in good health xoxo 🙂

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My Magical Top 4 Stress Relievers – Immediate, Soothing & Effective

Nearly 90% of my patients deal with high levels of stress in their lives, and eventually it stores in their body. One of the main factors I work in a lot of depth with my patients is STRESS! Beginning as a fight-or-flight response, stress manifests in your body in many ways, originating from the adrenals, the stress hormones produced essentially go on over-drive, causing a response in your body that not only disrupts your balance, but when put on re-play, it causes upheaval in all of your internal systems including your muscular-skeletal system!

When the first thing my patient says is: “I’m not sleeping well”, “I feel overwhelmed” or “I don’t know where to begin” alongside the moment I place my hands on an incredibly tight upper back, neck, scalp or diaphragm; I know my patients are in need of support, relaxation and personalized advice– all of which contributes to the ultimate magical treatment.

So here are my top 4 stress-relieving tips: The first 3 provide a basic rule to apply and number 4 is full of wonderful goodness!

1.   The love-hate relationship most people have is with breathing exercises! Nice, slow deep breaths in the morning and throughout the day is an easy stress reliever that not only relaxes you but will allow you to inhale more oxygen so your body including muscles will feel better! So with patience, calmly count to 3 before inhaling through your nose down from your diaphragm and slowly exhaling from your mouth. Try this every morning and evening for a week and you’ll notice a difference.

2.   In an age of zero-patience and noise everywhere it’s difficult to find that alone time to truly zone out of the check-list constantly being edited in your mind and hone in on your mind’s silence. That’s why I go through specific guided meditation sessions with my lovely patients, promoting healthy benefits! But fear not, here’s a good tip to try self-meditation in your life. Trying to think of nothing is easier said than done so a simple basic tip is to sit quietly in a comfortable position, wearing loose clothing and close your eyes. Allow your thoughts to float through your mind, but don’t focus on them, let them pass by not engaging…then…let them go. Remember, magic is created from your thoughts.

3.  Your physical condition is vital to the way stress is produced and manifests in your body. A massive stress-reliever is physical exercise! A simple stroll or jog outside can not only distract you from the check-list of worries, it acts as an outlet and a “pick-me-up” releasing a burst of happy hormones such as endorphins! Psychologists also confirm that taking a walk acts as a form of self-therapy, mimicking some forms of therapy, as it activates both sides of the brain, relaxing and rationalizing thoughts. So indulge yourself in a magical brisk walk in the open air, inhaling deep breaths and exhaling so-long to your stress.

4.  The magical and ultimate combined self-stress-relieving treatment: start by to lighting a calming scented candle or spritz your favourite perfume. Smell trigger memories, so pick your favourite scent! Continue with a good piece of dark chocolate, this has been shown to decrease stress and anxiety. I always recommend Green & Black’s 70% dark chocolate and go onto having a nice warm bath with relaxing music, scented bath oil or epsom salts to increase lymphatic drainage for relaxing tired, tight and achy muscles. Whilst indulging in the bubbles, let your mind drift away from the thoughts crowding your mind. Progressing past this, pop on the kettle and make a nice hot brew of herbal tea, chamomile and lavender is my favourite and follow through by the much researched cuddle therapy! That’s right, snuggle up to a cosy cuddle with your partner, child or even a friend! Not only does this measurably reduce stress, but it sends calming messages throughout your body. Most importantly, switch off all electronic goods (yes that means your phone, ipad or laptop), calm your mind with some gentle deep breathing to prepare your body for an early & good night’s sleep…ZZzzz

And there you have it! My top 4 magical methods and tips to start the de-stressing and creating time to become more mindful of your thoughts, habits, actions and life to lead you towards a calmer you! Try them out and post below to let me know how you got on with them 🙂

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