The Role of Alternative Medicine in Reducing the Scourge of Addiction and Abuse in the US

The number one reason why people younger than 50 die in the US is opiate overdose. Number two is suicide; Number three is medical errors. Opiate drug abuse ravages the United States for many reasons, ranging from easy access to opiate medications and drugs compounded by depression, poor general health, hard physical work, and lack of social support networks. Chiropractors, acupuncturists, and other alternative medicine health practitioners need to work with the medical community to help reduce the use and misuse of opiates in our country to alleviate the suffering caused. Television shows like ‘The Pain’ strive to portray the problem that so many US citizens already recognize. Natural healing practitioners like Dr. Lisa Oskardmay hope to help as they reduce pain naturally. . Learn more about the role of alternative medicine in reducing the scourge of addiction and abuse in the US.

The Poppy Plant is the source of morphine, a substance that fits into the same receptor in our body as endorphins, the body’s natural opiate. Natural opiates, or endorphins, are created, as their name suggests, naturally in the human body in response to invigorating exercise, sexual release, laughter, or feeling happy. We naturally strive to feel good and engage in behaviors that result in the release of endorphins. ‘Runners high’, ‘orgasm’, Nonetheless, sometimes we obtain drugs or medications that simulate this ‘high’ good feeling to overcome pain; overuse of opiates can have devastating results.

People worldwide have used opiate drugs in some form or another for 60,000 years. They report that the pill makes them feel physically good, reduces anxiety, and helps them not to care about everyday problems. Nonetheless, the happiness and pain relief offered by opiates quickly turns into unhappiness and increased sensitivity to pain as the drug soon changes the opiate receptors and serotonin relaxation response. Bliss turns to hell.

The US is a leader in opiate use and abuse. The problem has worsened since the Covid pandemic for many reasons, but the causes are multifactorial. One speaker at a recent seminar on opiate abuse told how, at 15, he broke his arm and took opiates for pain. At first, the drug felt so good, but he quickly went from oxycontin to other pharmaceuticals on the streets. He stopped after eight years but shared a list of 13 names of friends and family who have died of an overdose. A female EMS provider discussed the mental health of first responders like herself who must see the effects of opiate addiction. She related that her 26-year-old sister, school teacher, and mother of 2 died of fentanyl use. A police officer discussed Crisis Intervention Training (CIT) programs the State of Florida uses to help reduce the overuse of opiates. Still, he feels his work is just a drop in the bucket in a growing problem.

On an average day in the US, 500,000 prescriptions are written for opiate drugs. An additional 4,000 people start opiates for non-medical use, and 600 start heroin, frequently because they are addicted to opiates but cannot obtain or afford the drugs anymore. There are more than 3,300 ER visits every day in our country due to reactions to opiates. Two thousand overdoses are reported, and two hundred people die of opiate overdose every day in the United States. One hundred deaths daily are related to Fentanyl. Ninety babies are born addicted every day in our country.

The CDC, FDA, and the alternative medicine community hope to help reduce the number of prescriptions written for opiates for back pain and other neuromuscular disorders. The number one reason for people to go to the hospital is their birth; then the second one is back pain. The number one reason medical doctors prescribe opiates is back pain.

Studies show that people with back pain who go to a chiropractor, acupuncturist, or physical therapist are much less likely to take opiates. One study showed that 1% of workers’ compensation claimants who utilized chiropractic care ended up with opiate prescriptions versus 10.3% of claimants who received medical care. At Acupractic Natural Healing Center, the chiropractic and acupuncture offices of Dr. Lisa Oskardmay, we hope to help people get well without addictive pain medication use.

From a CDC Study on Dependency, many do not realize how short it takes to become addicted to opioids. After one day of use, there is a 6% risk of using it one year later; 2.9% are still using it three years later. After 12 days of use, 24% were still using it a year later; after 21 days of use, that number jumps to 35%, and after 30 days of use, 43% were still using it a year later. The risk of opiate abuse rises with each day of prescription opiate drug use. The author of this post was prescribed a 30-day supply of opiates for an uncomplicated tooth extraction recently; getting rid of the unused pills was a problem in itself. One cannot just throw new drugs in the trash or flush them. Thieves break in to steal from the medicine cabinet, and easy access to opiates in a household is never a good thing.

Research ‘National Take Back Day’ to find out when you can get rid of household medications and opiates in your house. Better yet, promote natural drug-free healing methods first to reduce the need to use opiates and risk the addiction problem. Ignore or turn off pain medication advertisements when you see them- the US and Iceland are the only countries in the world that allow this type of drug advertising.

There are several reasons why the US has the highest rate of drug abuse globally. If we work together we can help to reduce the scourge of opiate addiction that hurts us all.

Call us today at (919) 929-1400, email us at or visit our website at to learn more about alternative medicine or schedule an appointment today.

How Dampness in the Body Affects Health and What to Do About It

Chinese medicine strives to balance all elements in the body to instill healing. Dampness is an element that refers to water retention. When the body holds on to too much water, this dampness is a source of illness. Patients with damp constitutions frequently feel tired and bloated and are at risk of developing other health problems. At the acupuncture office of Dr. Lisa Oskardmay, she may ask about issues related to water retention dampness to get to the root cause of the problem. Read more to learn about how dampness in the body affects health.

Dampness is the underlying cause of many painful conditions, including achy joints and limb pain, low energy, depression, skin problems, foggy-headedness, headaches, and even digestive problems. Over time, dampness contributes to issues such as high cholesterol and cancer. Dampness affects the flow of qi in every body channel, which is why it has far-reaching effects over time. Dr. Oskardmay reviews each person’s health history to understand how dampness and other factors affect you.

Both external as well as internal factors cause the problem of too much body water retention. Living in a damp climate, such as in certain parts of the US, or spending a lot of time in a wet area, such as a basement, will contribute to the problem. Swimming or otherwise getting wet and staying that way for too long contributes to dampness. While it may seem daunting to change where one lives or works, there are ways to make significant alterations to where one spends time to influence the effect of dampness.

People who do not exercise or move often suffer more from water retention. Their joints ache, and the lack of energy makes it difficult to move enough. Begin with awareness and the goal of more movement and go from there. While it may seem desirable to make changes rapidly, she generally finds that people who strive to take on too much too quickly burn out, suffer injury, and then have to start over. Dr. Oskardmay will make helpful suggestions to each person to enhance functional movement safely.

Additionally, she will review food and beverage intake over time to determine how nutrition influences body dampness. Drinking cold, iced beverages and eating greasy, heavy foods worsen dampness. Alternately, some foods she will discuss, such as certain teas, vegetables, proteins, and grains, help resolve too much water. Once a person knows what causes the problem, it is far easier to handle.

Additionally, Dr. Oskardmay employs acupuncture techniques to stimulate qi flow in the channels. Dampness particularly impedes energy flow of the central earth channels- spleen and stomach; Dr. Oskardmay assesses qi flow with pulse assessment and body palpation before rendering care that improves qi movement throughout the body.

Also, as part of any treatment, Dr. Oskardmay provides massage, which improves blood circulation, reduces swelling, and promotes detoxification. Sometimes she does cupping or gua sha scraping massage to offer additional benefits and balance yin and yang differently.

At Acupractic Natural Healing Center, Dr. Oskardmay aims to help each person achieve their best self by knowing the factors that affect them and using acupuncture and other natural healing methods. Call today at (919) 929-1400 to schedule an appointment or visit us online at 24 hours a day to learn more about how dampness in the body affects health and make an appointment. Serving the Triangle since 1995 with quality acupuncture and chiropractic natural healing, Dr. Lisa Oskardmay is here for you.


How to Relax Tight Muscles

At Acupractic Natural Healing, the chiropractic and acupuncture offices of Dr. Lisa Oskardmay in Chapel Hill,how to relax tight muscles we strive to educate each patient about their body. Knowing how a treatment works help people get and feel better faster and improves the odds a person will do the necessary things at home to assist the process. Read more to learn how to relax tight muscles.

For example, take muscle tightness. Excessive muscle contraction is muscle fiber shortening at the wrong place and time we perceive as tightness, crampiness, and eventually pain. Muscles contract like a rachet shortens- actin and myosin filaments glide across one another like the teeth of the rachet, held in place with calcium cross-bridges. The compressed muscle fiber holds attached bones and ligaments in place to do work. Following contraction, muscles are supposed to relax and release tension as the actin and myosin filaments return to their precontracted state. Relaxation occurs when the nervous system sends signals to relax- both from the mind and the spinal cord in response to messages from opposing muscles. Magnesium stops calcium from holding the bound filaments, and the contraction stops.

The system generally works well. However, trouble ensues when muscles are tight for long periods, such as when they hold our bent heads up as we type. Also, muscle imbalance occurs when the body doesn’t have enough magnesium to relax the calcium cross-bridges. Also, the system’s trouble occurs when the mind doesn’t cooperate and allows the muscles to relax. When muscles don’t relax as needed, knots in the belly of the muscle crop up. Felt as hard nodules or spot tightness, areas of unrelenting muscle tightness hinder the muscle-ligament-bone system, resulting in weakness and pain. If left untreated, tight muscles, weakened ligaments, and altered bone movement can wreak havoc on the body and mind.

At Acupractic Natural Healing Center, Dr. Lisa Oskardmay helps patients identify which muscles need help. Going back to the source, she provides chiropractic adjustments to spinal segments supplying nerve input to injured areas. Additionally, using massage, gua sha, acupuncture including dry needle technique if needed, electrostimulation, and other therapies, Dr. Oskardmay helps resolve muscle tightness, cramping, and knots. She explains to patients ways they can support their musculoskeletal systems using nutrition and specific exercise and stretching programs. Many achieve relief from neck and back pain, headaches, and shoulder and hip pain following a treatment regimen at our office. They then come in for maintenance care to keep their spines, muscles, and ligaments in shape.

Call today to see how chiropractic, acupuncture, massage, and natural healthcare can help you feel better as we enter the new year. Accepting new patients, Acupracitc Natural Healing Center is one of Chapel Hill’s most established alternative medicine clinics serving the Triangle Since 1995. Contact us today to see how chiropractic and acupuncture can help you naturally live without pain. Call us at 919-929-1400 or visit us online at to learn more and schedule online 24 hours a day.

The Metal Channel in Acupuncture

Acupuncturist Chapel Hill, NC

Helen Keller wrote, ‘We bereaved are not alone. We belong to the largest company in the world- those who have known suffering.’ In Chinese Medicine, the fall season relates to grief because autumn corresponds to the metal element, the time of grieving and decline, of letting go and preparing for the next season of winter and its death, followed by its eventual spring and renewal. Each season relates to an element: wood, fire, earth, metal, and water. At Acupractic Natural Healing Center, Dr. Oskardmay helps people feel better with an understanding of their connection to the natural world around and within them using Chinese Medicine acupuncture. Read more about the metal channel in acupuncture.

What is the Metal Channel in Acupuncture?

The metal element relates to declining. We see it as the leaves fall in autumn, the days get shorter and cooler, and we may sleep more and feel sad. The metal element relates to the organs of elimination- the lung and large intestine. Our lungs release carbon dioxide to take in fresh oxygen. Our guts release digested food we don’t absorb and make way for fresh nutrients. When the metal channel energy isn’t moving well, patients experience symptoms such as bloating, stress from toxicity, poor sleep, asthma or other breathing problems, dryness, and signs along the metal channel such as shoulder and wrist aches, pain between the shoulder blades, or headaches.

Discernment- knowing what is valuable and what is not, is another virtue of metal yin, the lungs. This helps us hold onto things we genuinely need and let go of things we need to release. We do this every day physically and mentally, and while we may grieve the letting go of some things, it is crucial to our well-being to do this. Chinese Medicine acupuncture helps patients by supporting the flow of chi along all the channels in the body so that the essential metal channel flows freely.

People who experience skin irritations, nasal congestion, bowel problems, and heightened sensitivity, especially during the autumn but anytime, exhibit symptoms of metal imbalance. Often patients also have trouble sleeping during the early morning hours; lack of vital sleep worsens symptoms. Grief is the emotion associated with the metal element. When a person has a problem with the feeling of grief that disrupts their life- either excessive grieving or the inability to experience grief, this frequently points to an imbalance in the metal channel. Any imbalance makes them more prone to other imbalances in areas the metal channel controls.

At Acupupractic Natural Healing Center, the chiropractic and acupuncture offices of Dr. Lisa Oskardmay since 1995, we recognize that healthcare is more than just getting a person out of pain. Healthcare concerns reflect people’s need to feel healthy, empowered, and aware of how they can be their best. At our natural medicine offices in Chapel Hill, Dr. Oskardmay works to help people understand the cause of their symptoms so that they can work together to improve their well-being. Call us today at (919) 929-1400, email us at or schedule online at to see how alternative medicine, chiropractic, and acupuncture can help you. Open Monday to Friday, we accept new patients and bill your insurance for covered acupuncture and chiropractic services.

Alternative Supportive Therapies During Treatment for Mesothelioma

Acupuncturist Chapel Hill, NC

Malignant mesothelioma (me-zoe-thee-lee-O-muh) is a relatively rare type of cancer in the thin layer of tissue that covers most of the afflicted patient’s internal organs (mesothelium). Mesothelioma is an aggressive and deadly form of cancer. Nonetheless, treatment during the initial two stages of disease in which the cancer is localized can be effective. Early detection is key to starting therapy in the beginning stages. Complementary treatments including acupuncture, massage, yoga, meditation, and some herbal preparations can help to make treatment more tolerable. Visit to learn more about mesothelioma and other alternative treatments patients may use in conjunction with conventional medical care.

Symptoms of Pleural Mesothelioma

Common symptoms of pleural mesothelioma, which forms on the soft tissue lining the lungs, include:

  • Chest pain
  • Shortness of breath
  • Dry cough
  • Fatigue
  • Hoarseness
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Reduced chest expansion (difficulty breathing)
  • Unexplained weight loss

Over time, if cancer spreads, these symptoms exacerbate. In addition to standard medical care to treat cancer and reduce pain, many patients find that acupuncture, massage, and other supportive therapies can help to reduce some of the adverse side effects of treatment. Sticking with a treatment plan with the help of a licensed acupuncturist such as Dr.Lisa Oskardmay or other providers can help to improve the outcome.

Asbestos exposure is the leading cause of pleural mesothelioma. About 8 out of 10 people with mesothelioma have been exposed to asbestos. Asbestos is a naturally occurring fibrous silicate mineral. There are six types composed of long and thin fibrous crystals. Each fiber comprises many microscopic “fibrils” that can be released into the atmosphere by abrasion and other processes. Because of its fiber strength and heat resistance, asbestos has been used in various building construction materials for insulation and as a fire retardant. Asbestos has also been used in a wide range of manufactured goods, mostly in building materials (roofing shingles, ceiling, and floor tiles, paper products, and asbestos cement products), friction products (automobile clutch, brake, and transmission parts), heat-resistant fabrics, packaging, gaskets, and coatings.

When asbestos fibers are breathed in, they travel to the ends of small air passages and reach the pleura, where they can cause inflammation and scarring. Over time, this can turn into mesothelioma.

Treatment for Mesothelioma

The most common treatment for mesothelioma involves a combination of surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy. Supportive therapies can help relieve symptoms and improve the quality of life for many mesothelioma patients. While complementary therapies can help mitigate treatment symptoms, patients are advised against depending solely on nonmedical treatments—also, the earlier the diagnosis, the better the potential outcome.

Contact the offices of Dr. Lisa Oskardmay to learn more about how acupuncture in Chapel Hill can help you. Call (919) 929-1400 or visit us 24 hours a day at to learn more and schedule an appointment.

Alternative Medicine Treatment for Wrist Pain

Chiropractor and Acupuncturist Chapel Hill, NC

alternative medicine treatment wrist painWrist pain plagues many individuals and is a source of tremendous disability. At Acupractic Natural Healing Center, the chiropractic and acupuncture offices of Dr. Lisa Oskardmay in Chapel Hill, we strive to reduce wrist pain naturally by getting to the source of the problem. In business since 1995, we have helped thousands of people with wrist pain get back to their daily activities of work and leisure without drugs or surgery. Read more about alternative medicine treatment for wrist pain.

Nerves from the lower cervical spine innervate the wrist, hand, forearm, elbow, arm, and shoulder. Paying attention to these delicate areas, Dr. Oskardmay determines if lack of total neural input is the cause of wrist pain. Following diagnostic testing, including history, posture evaluation, orthopedic evaluation, and motion palpation of the spinous region, she may apply chiropractic adjustments to subluxated vertebrae.

How Alternative Medicine Treatment Can Help Wrist Pain

A licensed chiropractic physician. Dr. Oskardmay skillfully uses hands-on or Activator adjustments to mobilize fixated spine vertebrae. A subluxation exists when two or more spine segments do not move properly due to muscle or ligamentous tightness; over time, this lack of movement may result in spinal degeneration and even fusion, contributing to a lack of overall flexibility and nerve transmission.

Additionally, testing may show that the cause of pain stems from other regions such as arm shoulder tension or even upper back muscle tightness. She applies massage and physical therapy modalities, including electrostimulation, ultrasound, hot and cold, and even dry needling technique if needed to reduce muscle tightness in problematic areas to improve pain-free range of motion in structures related to the wrist where required.

Acupuncture treatment to the wrist at our office helps improve qi flow along impacted meridians. The metal channel, comprised of the lung and large intestine lines, relates to the radial or thumb side of the wrist and hand, whereas the fire channels relate to the middle finger and ulnar or pinky side of the wrist and hand. Pain in these areas and other factors suggest that treatment-oriented along these channels will help. Dr. Oskardmay evaluates each patient individually to determine the correct course of treatment; she may use acupuncture to further the healing process if warranted.

Additionally, Dr. Oskardmay prescribes specific exercises to each person to aid in their overall healing and to reduce further injury. Be sure to tell her about your daily activities and even sleep position and other habits so that she can provide the best therapy.

Wrist pain need not linger and incapacitate. Call (919) 929-1400, email us at or visit our website at today to get more information and schedule an appointment. Located just off I-40 in Chapel Hill, Dr. Oskardmay provides healing chiropractic and acupuncture treatment for wrist pain and other health concerns. We look forward to helping you.


Weight Loss Using an Online App – My Experience

Chiropractor and Acupuncturist Chapel Hill, NC

At Acupractic Natural Healing Center chiropractic and acupuncture health clinic in Chapel Hill, we strive to help people learn ways to be healthier. Virtual and online programs offer a new and exciting means to obtain information and motivation and occasionally foster a healing community. I recently signed up for a new online program called Noom for weight loss and better eating habits. This blog post aims to describe my experience and offer an additional healthy eating tool others may also find helpful.

Healthful eating is one of the best ways to ward off weight gain, inflammation, and certain illnesses. Our society provides a vast array of eating choices, and sometimes it isn’t straightforward to choose healthy foods. Additionally, each person is different regarding their access to specific foods, exercise regimen, metabolism, genetics, and sleep. Having a readily available app on the cell phone or other device to keep track of these variables seems helpful. Additionally, the new app promises to provide online coaching to support health goals. Sounds good.

My experience with the app started with inputting personal data- height, weight, gender, date of birth, etc. Next, the system inquired about my weight loss goals and reasons for losing weight. Periodic ‘messages’ appeared to remind me to read particular articles related to my goals. The articles and messages appear to be autogenerated, but someone did rapidly respond to my one question about how to log walking/step taken each day. It turns out the app connects automatically to FitBit, which I wear on my wrist to get a proper step sound each day.

Helpful lessons from app psychiatrists guided me along the journey as I progressed each day. Topics such as motivation plan creation, breathwork, learning to love the scale, and identifying low-calorie foods support knowledge and understanding. Each day I dedicated 5-10″ listening to or reading articles provided. I found the information well presented and intriguing.

While weight loss is a fundamental goal of app participants, the psychiatrists point out that weight may fluctuate from day to day, so daily weighing in is, in their eyes, key to success. They point out that a person should weigh themself in the mornings before eating to keep fluctuations to a minimum. Other measurable attributes scalable on this app include blood pressure, blood sugar, amount and type of exercise, and water consumed. One can request reminder notifications to input each of these pieces of data each day. I chose to keep track of water, exercise, and food. Inputting other data just felt unnecessary and invasive.

When it came to logging food for each meal and snacks and beverages, the app provides space to ask for the type of food and serving size. The app lists a huge variety of ready-made foods and packaged entrees, making it easy to keep track of foods if you eat that kind of meal, highlighting calories, fat, protein, carbohydrate, and fiber content of each meal and snack. There is means to homemade input meals, as well, and to save items for future reference. I could see exactly how many calories I consumed and whether or not I had gone over or under my caloric burn that day. Incidentally, caloric burn is determined by a baseline calorie burn plus any other burn from exercise and walking.

I found the app helpful and enlightening in many ways, and a motivated individual will find many opportunities to learn more about themselves through this app and others like it. I liked the ease of data entry, except for the home-cooked meals aspect and the motivational conversations related to weight loss, sleep, exercise, and other elements. For the right person, this and other apps can provide a means to increase the personal awareness needed to navigate nutrition in our country.

Call 919- 929-1400 at the chiropractic and acupuncture offices of Dr. Lisa Oskardmay to discuss weight loss and healthy eating goals. Accepting new patients, we look forward to helping you learn more about how alternative medicine can help you. Schedule online 24 hours a day.


Telemedicine and Low-Contact EarSeed Acupuncture for Stress and Pain

Acupuncturist Chapel Hill, NC

Ear acupuncture is a beneficial health service used by millions worldwide. During stressful times when patients need to avoid in-office visits, auriculotherapy paired with online care can help. As a licensed acupuncturist with additional training in ear seeds for ear acupuncture, Dr. Oskardmay is well prepared to help you get well and feel better without the hands-on care you already know.

Telemedicine is healthcare for patients who prefer the comfort and safety of their homes in place of an office visit. This type of visual and audio enabled virtual meeting enables practitioners and patients to meet in a safe, HIPAA compliant manner to discuss health concerns. Doctors such as chiropractors, acupuncturists, neurologists, and physical therapists provide this type of care for clients. Doctors and therapists can talk with one another, ask questions, receive advice, and other information. Practitioners can see patients, and patients can see practitioners.

Chiropractic physicians can assess posture and movement limitations and make further diagnostic suggestions if needed. Well-trained in exercise and physical therapy prescription, they can also suggest other modalities to perform at home to support and enhance spinal health that impacts the whole body. Licensed acupuncturists are well versed at inquiry and diagnosis using Chinese medicine methods, much of which is possible using Telemedicine. Patients can learn future steps they need to take to improve their health, learn new exercises or nutrition protocols, and determine how and where to obtain further required help safely.

Additionally, EarSeed acupuncture is a technique some acupuncturists provide either by patient instruction or in the patient’s vehicle to enhance a telemedicine visit. EarSeeds can be applied using low/no-contact. Also known as auriculotherapy or ear acupuncture, EarSeed acupuncture uses small seeds or magnets attached to a dermal tape, which one applies to a specific portion of the outer ear to enhance healing. EarSeeds can stay in for several days to a week or more. The outer ear contains regions related to nearly every body part, even mental conditions such as stress. Gently applying a painless ear seed or magnet can impact mental and physical health and take a telemedicine appointment to the next level. Some practitioners utilize EarSeed `bling`- Swarovski crystal-embellished ear seeds over gold that look great.

Telemedicine and Low-Contact EarSeed Acupuncture for Stress and Pain

Don’t let your health suffer when you can’t come to the healthcare facility. Schedule a telemedicine appointment today and get the results you need. Many insurance plans cover telemedicine appointments during a pandemic or other health concerns, and some do not even charge the standard co-pay to support participant’s good health. You’ll be surprised how a telemedicine virtual meeting can help, and EarSeeds ear acupuncture might be an added benefit. For more information on Telemedicine and auriculotherapy, contact Dr. Lisa Oskardmay, DC, LAc an acupuncturist in Chapel Hill, NC. Call us at Acupractic to schedule a consultation.

The Connection Between Pain, Inflammation and Depression

Acupuncture Chapel Hill, NC

Stress from pain or mental distress creates inflammation which exacerbates pain and depression- a link recognized by Chinese for millennia but only recently acknowledged by western medicine. The stress-pain-inflammation connection is real; but, diagnosis and treatment frequently do not reflect this critical fact. People who have high levels of stress or pain or inflammation can get confused and have trouble thinking clearly or sleeping well or coping with life. Acknowledging that stress and physical pain can cause depression is an essential first step to get patients the help they need.

From a Chinese medicine 5 Element perspective, injury or mental stress consumes water channel yin resulting in excess fire consuming heart yin. Increased pain and inflammation extinguish joy. Recent medical research shows that body inflammation crosses the blood-brain barrier causing brain inflammation resulting in a neuronal conflagration, confusion, and withdrawal, all hallmarks of depression. Some people with higher levels of chronic pain withdraw into alcohol or pain medications or other drugs in an attempt to reduce their symptoms. These can create a downward spiral as they increase inflammation and decrease the person’s ability to deal with problems, sleep soundly or make good choices.

This new understanding of the broader cause of depression from stress and injury can help practitioners and family and friends improve their patients, and loved ones recover more fully. Recognize that sleep and rest are necessary to heal. Reliance on pain medications that mask pain may be helpful to allow sleep, but long term use causes dependence can result as well as increased risk of injury to already destabilized body regions.

Some anti-inflammatory medications have demonstrated effectiveness in reducing both pain and depression. Inflammation lowering products can reduce heat volatility in the body as well as in the brain, affecting the cause of both anxiety and depression in those people. For instance, NSAIDs have been shown to reduce pain and improve the antidepression effects of medications in some people who have pain and are also taking antidepressive medications. So-called COX2 inhibitor drugs have been shown to reduce both — anxiety and depression in certain types of patients. The connection between anti-inflammatory usage is increasingly recognized.

Unfortunately, not every prescribed remedy has this beneficial dual effect, and some anti-inflammatory products have their side effects and can’t be used continuously. For instance, corticosteroids are used primarily to reduce inflammation, but they also inhibit the immune system, negatively affect calcium absorption, and can increase blood sugar. NSAIDS and COX2 inhibitors increase the risk of infections and cardiovascular events.  One needs to assess the risk-benefit of any treatment at all times.

Dietary and lifestyle steps to reduce inflammation can work to reduce pain and depression and should be used whenever possible benefit the patient without side effects. Patients are advised to take all steps possible to get restorative sleep and eat a regular healthy diet to reduce stress. Other measures to consider include: walk in nature, eat small meals, soak in lavender scented Epsom salts, avoid confrontations and other stressful life events including loud noise and distressing television; and take time to meditate, read supportive literature or reflect on life. Herbal concoctions such as ashwagandha or rosemary have been clinically shown to reduce the stress hormone cortisol.

It is possible to reduce pain and inflammation and stress causing depression. If you aren’t able to achieve these goals on your own, contact a professional for help.

Contact Acupractic Natural Healing Center for more information on how to reduce pain, inflammation, and depression.

Tips for Snow Shoveling to Avoid Injury

Shoveling snow can result in back injuries or worse. We all need to get out of the house eventually following a huge snowfall like the one we just experienced here in Durham, NC. Keep a few things in mind, however, prior to going outside to shovel that snow. Back injuries and heart attacks due to snow shoveling are all too common and can be avoided. When shoveling snow, take a moment to assess the situation and realize the job may take more time than you think. Don’t rush the process—hurrying will add to the possibility of falling as well as increase the stress of the situation. Get your warm high traction boots on, suit up, grab your shovel, and head outside once you’ve taken a few moments to consider how to best approach the task. Wet snow is going to be very heavy. When you dig your shovel down into the snow, assess how heavy each shovel full is before trying to lift it, especially if you plan to twist around and pile that shovel full to the side.Twisting with the added weight of snow can injure your back quickly; doing that repetitively can cause spinal joint irritation or even a herniated disc. You may not feel the effects of injury immediately due to the numbing effects of cold so be sure to take breaks periodically. Be aware of the amount of cardiac exercise involved in moving snow, as well. Crouching, digging, lifting and twisting heavy loads repeatedly in the cold puts a lot of strain on your heart, especially if you are stressed in a hurry. Stay safe out there!