Medical Musings, Health Hypotheses & Therapeutic Thoughts
Have you ever had a thought that was a bit weird? What about an urge to do something you totally do not want to do? Or perhaps the unwanted image of something horrifying or disgusting?
Here are some common examples:
So does having these types of thoughts mean we are crazy? or dangerous? or bad? Are these thoughts are sign of who we are or what we could do?
The resounding answer from the psychological research is very confident NO. In fact, if you have these sorts of thoughts then you are not alone. The truth is that vast majority of people (around 94%) have many different types of these unwanted thoughts, images and urges. In fact, the list above is from a sample of healthy individuals without any mental disorder, and the list could be much longer because in reality, there is no end to the amount of craziness that our minds can come up with.
Although these types of thoughts resemble those of more serious conditions, such as Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), the difference is in what we make of these thoughts. Treating them as silly but unimportant is helpful because they lose their power and they can drift away so you can move onto thinking about other things. People with OCD, however, tend to interpret these thoughts as "evidence" that they are bad/mad/irresponsible, and so they feel compelled to perform behaviours (e.g., washing, checking) or mental acts (e.g., counting) to prevent bad things from happening. These behaviours unfortunately only make the thoughts more powerful, noticeable, frequent and repetitive.
So if you catch yourself a bit upset the next time you have one of these odd little thoughts, you may want to change the way you talk to yourself about it. Perhaps try something like "this is just one of the fantastically random odd thoughts that my mind can come up with, it's ok, that's what minds do"
The sourced picture is from a blog which beautifully illustrates various types of odd thoughts and fears... you may recognise a few that you have, or be comforted to know that there others out there just like you. For me, I enjoyed reading the some of the amazingly creative ways that our brains can conjur up odd things!
Some potential causes
Shoulder pain can be debilitating - you don't realise how much you use your arms until you can't any more!
What's more, shoulder pain can be due to any one of a number of structures within the shoulder itself (it's a complicated area!), or it can come from the neck, thorax (upper and mid-back), or ribs - commonly, several of these at once. It is also possible for various problems with the internal organs (or 'viscera') to refer pain to the shoulder, such as the heart, lungs, liver or gallbladder, or stomach (among others).
For this reason, your osteopath will ask you lots of questions that might not seem relevant to the pain you are feeling, but please bear with us - there is method in our madness! They will also perform a number of examinations and assessments of these different areas before coming up with a treatment plan.
This will often involve a stretching and strengthening regime for the affected areas. While this is important for many areas of the body, it can be even more crucial for shoulder issues. Not many people realise that your arm is only connected to the rest of the skeleton through your collarbone (or 'clavicle'). This is not a very strong bony connection, obviously, so the body relies on heaps of different muscles to help control and stabilise the area. Many of these are shared, and help with movement and control of the neck, or breathing, or the torso, or all of the above! If some of these are too tight, or too weak, this leads to problems. Elbow and wrist function is also very important - any issues in these areas will track 'further up the chain', so this will also need to be checked.
In the next few weeks, we will consider some of the more common reasons for shoulder pain, and suggest a few things you can do to help them.
Obviously, a blog post is no substitute for professional assessment and treatment of an area, so be careful when and if you follow any advice contained in one, and contact your health professional if you have any questions or concerns.
New research on acupuncture in helping pain
New research being conducted by Melbourne hospitals has found that acupuncture is as effective as medication in the treatment of lower back pain, migraines and acute ankle injuries.
In the randomised controlled trial, participants who went to the Emergency Departments with these ailments were randomised to receive either a) acupuncture alone, b) pharmacotherapy alone (medication including Endone, Panadeine Forte, Voltaren and Valium) or c) a combination of acupuncture + pharmacotherapy.
According the an interview with one of the lead researchers published in The Age, the results suggest that acupuncture is a safe and effective in improving pain management; after one hour of treatment, the level of pain relief was the same for each of the three groups. Also, those patients who had acupuncture tended to have a shorter stay in hospital. These findings may be helpful for patients who do not want to take medications (e.g., pregnant), or would like alternative pain management choices. The results also help inform the impact that acupuncture treatment may have upon health resource utilisation in Emergency Departments.
The final results are still being prepared for publication, but you can view the study protocol for the trial by clicking here.
Acupuncture & Dry Needling
Acupuncture is based on an Eastern conception of how the body, health and disease works, where energy, or 'qi', flows along channels called meridians. Imbalances in this energy flow are thought to cause 'dis-ease'. Traditional acupuncture involves the placement of needles into acupuncture points (or 'acu-points'), which are specific points along these meridians that help to balance this flow, and hence restore health.
Dry needling is a specific form of acupuncture in which the needles are inserted into 'trigger points', which are dysfunctional areas of muscle, which form discrete, tender nodules or bands which a skilled therapist can identify using their sense of touch, or palpation (and the fact that when they touch them, you say 'ow'!!). Dry needling helps to resolve these trigger points, which are so-called because they often 'trigger' pain or sensations in other parts of the body.
Dry needling has been shown to be effective in the treatment of myofascial (muscle and connective tissue) pain and acute injuries.
The Wikipedia page on trigger points is not bad, if you want some more information.
Speak with your osteopath if you think this may be relevant to your condition...
One my clients recommended I read this post. I like this blog anyway, but this particular post resonated with me for its beautifully explanation and illustration what it can be like to have depression.
From a psychological perspective, we often talk about depression being not only the presence of negative feelings, but more importantly, the inability to experience positive feelings.
If you haven't felt this way before, it can be difficult to understand, and even more difficult to describe, but this blog does it really well.
For those of you that have been there, you may relate to the story. For those of you who haven't experienced depression - you probably know someone who has. You may appreciate gaining some insight into what is happening, and how to support, those loved ones around you.
Click here to read the post.
This post is related to the one I did yesterday.
We can often feel a bit lost with how to help our loved ones going through a difficult time. What is the right thing to say? How can you help?
For youth week (4-13th April 2014), the NSW government has published a webpage on how to help youths with mental health. It may be designed for young people, but the strategies apply to all. Click here to visit the page.