Archive for the 'Health & Medicine' Category

Surgery stress

I feel that there is a lot of stress that can come from going through surgery. There is the anxious feeling that you get the couple days before you go to surgery, and then there is the stress that is added to your body by not being able to eat from 12 at night until after your surgery. I find this to be very hard to do since I like to eat a lot which often occurs between the hours of 12 and 1 in the morning. I think that the most stressful part of surgery is the recovering part of it. I hate not being able to do things on my own which makes recovering from a surgery even harder for me. I also do not like sitting around and watching people work out. A feeling of worthlessness comes over me has I think about how much I wish I could be running and jumping around.

Then there is the physical therapy you have to go through which adds more stress. Many of the exercises that you have to do in PT involve getting your range of motion back and strengthening your muscles around the surgery. So if you had surgery on your knee let’s say, you have to start bending it after you have been on crutches for about a week. You also have to do strengthening exercises on muscles that you have completely neglected because you have crutching around campus unable to walk. For this reason I feel that surgery adds a lot of stress into a person’s life.

Depression: drugs, psychotherapy, or physical activity?

Depression, such an intriguing and puzzling subject since there are drugs that increase serotonin and some other drugs that decrease serotonin, both of which help patients feel better.  Not being able to do things due to loss of pleasure or life energy is something we all deal with during distressing times.  Being able to come back to “ourselves” and be happy or enjoy life again is what the center of the issue is; but people that have used antidepressants have said that these drugs put them in a “neutral state” per se, where they don’t feel that much sadness or excitement.  Then is that really solving the problem?  Do we, as a society, rather be walking around in a neutral state than expressing our emotions of sadness or happiness, which is part of what makes as humans?  Are we really allowing artificial intelligence express human emotions more than what we, humans, are expressing?

Since drugs are changing our chemistry, what about just using our resources, as people, to help us recover?  Psychotherapy is a great resource.  From personal experience, psychotherapy has greatly helped me in understanding my past, my present, and my future.  This has allowed me to see the world with “different eyes” and has provided me with tools to use in the future to overcome traumatic events.

Below is a video about: Evidence-Based Psychotherapy Treatment Planning for Depression

Also R-MC Professor’s Lambert’s book on Lifting Depression: A Neuroscientist’s Hands-On Approach to Activating Your Brain’s Healing Power is a remarkable resource to better understand this topic.

The book’s description mentions that: “Today’s young adults are up to ten times more likely to experience depression than their grandparents were. Could it be that in our increasingly automated world, the reduced physical effort needed to accomplish anything may somehow interfere with our level of happiness and subsequent responses to stress? Neuroscientist Kelly Lambert finds compelling evidence that having to work hard for rewards significantly improves mood and prevents depression… Whereas most therapies emphasize the importance of mental activity, Lambert reminds us of the importance of physical activity in establishing control in a fast-paced culture that is focused more on the prospect of immediate gratification than savoring the fruits of our labor.”

Let the Child in you RULE!

After hearing about movies like “Patch Adams” and reading about the therapeutic benefits of laughter, it sparked a thought inside me.

I can’t help but feel as though people who are relaxed, have a good sense of humor, and are not extremely serious are going to have lower stress levels than those who are “up tight”, always serious and can’t find humor in anything.

I didn’t watch Patch Adams the movie, but I read about Hunter Doherty “Patch” Adams the actual man who incorporated dressing as a clown to bring humor into hospitals. After reading about the benefits of laughter, it is quite understandable why and how that would help patients.

But then I started to think more and thought about a lot of people who are “goofy” but smart, and yet because of their “goofiness” people don’t take them seriously and don’t trust their judgement. Think about senators and congressmen dressed as clowns… Of course no one would take them seriously… But considering that this light hearted way is the best way in dealing with stress, I just found it a little ironic that we would take a goofy YET QUALIFIED person less seriously than a qualified person who was serious, “up tight” and cold. To be honest, I would be more trusting of the serious man with no sense of humor and a cold personality to do my life or death surgery than a Borat personality even if they have identical qualifications. Sad, but true.

Considering the benefits of humor, I hope that things can change…

How do you feel about this? Would you be just as trusting of a silly/goofy person dressed as a clown as you would a serious/humorless person?
patch OR doc

The guy on the left is the actual “Patch Adams” by the way!

Repeated Stress causing Injury

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Whether we play sports or sit at a computer all day typing, stress puts us at risk of injury. One type of injury, known as a Repetative Stress Injury or RSI, is actually a result of the stress that we put on our bodies. Athletes who run track and people who work in a office can both get these injuries, eventhough the daily activities that they participate in are completely different. Repetitive stress injuries are injuries that occur when too much stress is placed on a particular part of the body, which results in pain and swelling, muscle strain, or tissue damage. This stress generally occurs from repeating the same movements over and over again, such as spending a lot of time using a keyboard, playing instruments, or repetative motions (Tennis swings or running with shoes that have bad support). Shin splints, stress fractures, bursitis, and carpal tunnel syndrome are prime examples of RSI’s. There are many simple ways to avoid these injuries. I have posted a link that has more information about RSI’s if you are interested.

http://kidshealth.org/teen/food_fitness/sports/rsi.html#

Knocked Silly

hitI don’t know if any of you have had a concussion but they suck. I have suffered from three concussions. My last concussion would have to be the worst of them all. My freshman year, I was playing in the game against Hampden Sydney, and on one play I took two hits to the head from two different players. After the play I went to the sidelines and felt a little dazed. I just shrugged it off as a football hit. My injury was much more serious than I thought. To this day I can’t tell you anything about that game other than what I have seen and been told. I didn’t know the score of the game until the next day. I finally went to the trainer and told her what I was feeling. After doing a test she told me I was in the red for a concussion. For almost two weeks I couldn’t do anything physical, and going to classes was probably the hardest thing. I could focus in class. I found myself staring off into space all the time. The concussion has effected my life even to this day. I find that I have to try even harder to focus in class. Before the concussion I could study fairly easy, but now I have to study longer to make sure I have the information. I don’t think I have a learning dissability from the concussion, but I think it has effected my memory to a certain extent.

Stress & Pregnancy

For those of you future Mother’s and Father’s to be….it is important to learn and understand how stress can play a tole on your pregnancy.

I read an interesting article on what stress can do to a pregnant Mommy-to-be.

Being pregnant is an exciting time in a Mother’s life. Although I don’t have any experience quite yet- I can only imagine what it feels like to be carrying your very own (smaller) version of you and your husband. The months of being pregnant are vital – in that your baby is constantly growing. If you stress – so might your baby! Studies show that stress during a pregnancy can have detrimental effects on your offspring. Children have been born with developmental issues, struggle with learning and paying attention, and even show signs of having anxiety or depression early on.

Small stresses – like what is going on at work, might not have a great effect on your child. It is certain types of severe, long-term stressors that can cause negative outcomes on your pregnancy. A long-lasting divorce, death in the family, etc…are the types of things that may cause your baby to be premature, or even have a lower birthweight.  Some studies have said that when you’re extremely stressed during pregnancy – certain hormones are released that can even cause you to miscarriage.

Here are a  few tips that I read about to ease your stress during your pregnancy:

1. Be in control of your life. Balance out the day-to-day activities.

2. Stay busy and active – but make time to relax!

3. Know what YOUR needs are – and don’t be afraid to tell people

4. Communicate with your loved ones. It is likely that they WANT to help

5. Read a few books/articles/and talk to friends who have been pregnant – the more informed you are…the better you will feel about having a baby.

It is also important to consider the genetics. If your mother, grandfather, and great-grand father were known to have stress and anxiety – chances are, you might too. Talk to your family and see if stress runs in your family. This is a good thing to know!

This interesting article shows fascinating statistics. Read – and hopefully when that special time comes you will be prepared and better informed!

http://www.marchofdimes.com/pregnancy/lifechanges_indepth.html

We Are What We Eat

So we spent a lot of time discussing digestive disorders and how stress can affect the way our bodies process food. We have even talked about why we get such interesting cravings during times of stress. But what about how what we eat can influence how stressed we feel? Some studies suggest that foods containing high levels of B vitamins, vitamin C, magnesium, potassium and folic acid can actually reduce stress, not to mention provide the body with other healthy benefits. Magnesium can have tranquilizing effects that include relaxing muscles and the gastrointestinal tract, in addition magnesium can also play a role in boosting seratonin, helping you relax. B vitamins including B6 and B12 may also play a role in boosting seratonin while Vitamin C provides a healty boost to the immune system. Folic acid has been proven to reduce stress, anxiety and depression. Some of the super foods containing these vitamins and minerals include fish, blueberries, cantaloupe, yogurt, almonds, broccoli and bananas (the link contains a much more extensive list). So next time you are feeling really stressed think about snacking on one of these super foods, it might just help.

http://www.laurelonhealthfood.com/2007/11/eating-for-stress-reduction/


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