18 Arthritis Symptoms and Treatments

Do you wonder if you have arthritis? Do you have pain, stiffness, fatigue? What can you do to determine whether it is arthritis or structural stress and pain and are there things you can do to treat it naturally? Find out more in this informative article. Continue reading

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Cancer: An Overview of the Diseases – Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

What is Cancer?
Cancer is a word used for more than 100 diseases. The subject of cancer is extremely vast. Each type of cancer is different and varies greatly to each other. This article will focus on cancer in general, and will not describe one kind of cancer in much detail. To fully comprehend the word, there needs to be some dissection of the human cell. Each cell contains deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) which is genetic material that makes up all humans.

Cancer Loss of Normal Growth

Normal cells divide to create new cells and eventually die when they are not needed anymore. Cancer cells do not die; they continue to grow, and form abnormal cells that invade other tissues in the body. The body doesn’t need these cancer cells. The DNA in these cancer cells are damaged due to an injury or the environment, thus any cells created onward from these cells will be flawed as well. A mass is formed from the cancer cells called a tumor.
Malignant VS Benign

Cancer cells can spread to other parts of the body through the blood stream. More tumors can grow as a result of this migration. Tumors can crowd normal tissues in the body. Tumors are not cancerous by definition. Some tumors are benign and some are malignant.  Benign tumors can grow and cause minor health issues; however they can’t invade other tissues. Malignant tumors are cancerous and invade other tissues. Doctors who specialize in cancer diagnosis and treatment are called oncologists. These physicians work with their patients on a one-on-one basis to create an appropriate plan for treatment (National Cancer Institute, 2014).

Categories of Cancer
The National Cancer Institute (2014) provides a description of the main categories of cancer in the following:

Types of Cancer

  • Carcinoma- cancer that begins in the skin or in tissues that line or cover internal organs. There are a number of subtypes of carcinoma, including adenocarcinoma, basil cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and transitional cell carcinoma.
  • Sarcoma- cancer that begins in bone, cartilage, fat, muscle, blood vessel, or other connective or supportive tissue.
  • Leukemia- cancer that starts in blood-forming tissue such as the bone marrow and causes large numbers of abnormal blood cells to be produced and enter the blood.
  • Lymphoma and myeloma- cancers that begin in the cells of the immune system.
  • Central nervous system cancers- cancers that begin in the tissues of the brain and spinal cord.


Statistics on Cancer
The American Cancer Society estimates that in 2014, the United States will have over a million new cases of cancer and over five hundred thousand deaths. Millions of people survive cancer each year. The number of survivors of cancer has been steadily increasing every year.

Cancer Survivors

Over 13 million people in the United States have been diagnosed with cancer, and lung cancer has been reported with the highest percentage of deaths among both men and women. There are many different types of cancer.  The risk of developing cancer increases with age. Some cancers are more prevalent among certain populations, and some are exclusive to one gender such is the case with Prostate Cancer and men.

Cancer Survivors
Breast Cancer afflicts more than 2 million women in the United States. If Breast Cancer is caught in the early stages, the chances for survival are over 95%. Cancer as a diagnosis doesn’t necessarily mean the person will die from the disease. Millions of people survive from cancer each year (American Cancer Society, 2014).


Causes of Cancer
Cancer can be caused by one or more factors. The American Cancer Society states that the causes of cancer are connected with genetics, tobacco, diet, physical activity, sun exposure, radiation exposure and other carcinogens.

Smoking WomanSome cancers are hereditary due to an abnormal gene mutation being passed down from parent to child. Up to one-tenth of all cancers are inherited. Smoking cigarettes/cigars are very dangerous and can be detrimental to a person’s health. Smoking cigarettes has been proven to cause different types of cancer such as lung, oral, and esophageal cancer.
Cancer and Exercise
There is a link between diet and physical activity and cancer. Poor diet and lack of regular physical activity increases the chances of developing the disease. Research studies show that aerobic exercise and weight training boosts the immune system in cancer survivors and lowers the risk of cancer.

20 Cancer Fighting Foods

Research has recently shown these foods to be effective in fighting cancer.

Over 33% of deaths from cancer are related to poor diet (American Cancer Society, 2014). Diets high in trans fats can increase the risk of cancer.  See our article “What is Good Fat?” and “20 Cancer-Fighting Foods.”   Recent studies have shown that increasing acidity and lowering cancer cell pH (increasing acidity) is effective against cancer cell mitosis in the laboratory studies.

Extensive lifetime exposure to UV rays in sunlight can lead to Skin Cancers such as basil cell and melanoma cell cancers. Radiation exposure agents include x-rays and gamma rays. The Radiation Emergency Assistance Center/Training Site (2014) describes the characteristics of x-rays and gammas rays as “electromagnetic radiation like visible light, radio waves, and ultraviolet light”. High and frequent exposure to these agents causes cancer. People who work in nuclear power plants have a greater risk of developing cancer cells than those working in regular office buildings. Small amounts of these agents can be found in medical imaging tests and other sources. Carcinogens or environmental factors leading to cancer provided by the American Cancer Society include:

  • Lifestyle factors (nutrition, tobacco use, physical activity, etc.)
  • Naturally occurring exposures (ultraviolet light, radon gas, infectious agents, etc.)
  • Medical treatments (chemotherapy, radiation, immune system-suppressing drugs, etc.)
  • Workplace exposures
  • Household exposures
  • Pollution

Symptoms of Cancer
The symptoms of cancer depend on the type of cancer you may have. Mayo Clinic (2014) provides a list of the general symptoms people may exhibit from the diseases.

Cancer SymptomsThe symptoms include, but are not limited to the following:

  • Fatigue
  • Lump or area of thickening that can be felt under the skin
  • Weight changes, including unintended loss or gain
  • Skin changes, such as yellowing, darkening or redness of the skin, sores that won’t heal, or changes to existing moles
  • Changes to bowel or bladder habits
  • Persistent cough
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Hoarseness
  • Persistent indigestion or discomfort after eating
  • Persistent, unexplained muscle or joint pain
  • Persistent, unexplained fevers or night sweats


Diagnosis of Cancer
Physical self-examinations are important preventative measures to diagnosing cancer. If you display one or more of the symptoms expressed in the previous passage, it’s recommended to seek out a physician for a professional opinion. The physician will perform a physical examination of the area in question and take a complete medical history.

Doctor and patient
A biopsy is usually performed by taking a sample of the lump and examining the cells under a microscope. The American Cancer Society (2014) states that other tests that may be performed include: “x-rays, computed tomography (CT), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), ultrasound, and fiber-optic endoscopy examinations”. If the tests come back positive for cancer cells, more tests need to be performed to determine exactly what kind of cancer is present and in what stage the cancer is in which is process called staging. The National Cancer Institute has created a chart to show how oncologists categories the stage of their patient’s cancer. The Cancer Staging Chart is provided below.

Stage

Definition

Stage 0 Carcinoma in situ (abnormal cells are present only in the layer of cells in which they developed)
Stage I, Stage II, and Stage III Higher numbers indicate more extensive disease: Larger tumor size and/or spread of the cancer beyond the organ in which it first developed to nearby lymph nodes and/or tissues or organs adjacent to the location of the primary tumor
Stage IV The cancer has spread to distant tissues or organs

Chart A: Cancer Staging Chart

 

Treatment of Cancer
Cancer can be treated in many different ways. The traditional methods to treating cancer are surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy. New treatments are targeted therapy, immunotherapy, hyperthermia, stem cell transplant, photodynamic therapy, and laser in cancer treatment. Surgery is most often used to get rid of cancer growing inside the body.

Chemo

Chemotherapy is the use of certain Food and Drug Administration Approved or FDA drugs and medicines to combat the cancer. With radiation therapy, a high-energy beam targeted at the site of the cancer is used. In some cases, a combination of these treatments has been proven to be very effective in getting rid of cancer cells (National Cancer Institute, 2014).

 

Complementary/Alternative Treatments of Cancer
Complementary/Alternative treatments have not been proven to cure cancer; however they play an active role in reliving the side-effects of cancer treatments. People who are diagnosed with cancer sometimes choose other methods for a variety of reasons.

Cancer Patient ExerciseThe National Cancer Institute (2014) describes some of these reasons below:

  • They would like to relieve the side effects of mainstream cancer treatment without having to take more medicine.
  • They are seeking a less unpleasant treatment approach that might have fewer side effects.
  • They want to take an active role in improving their own health and wellness.
  • They prefer alternative theories of health and disease, as well as alternative treatments.

Eating healthy food

In addition to making changes in nutrition, diet and physical exercise, other types of complementary/alternative treatments can help in relieving the side-effects of cancer treatments and in lowering the risk of cancer.   The complementary/alternative treatments are specific to the side-effects that manifest.

The Mayo Clinic (2014) provides a chart to show the most appropriate treatment to try for each side-effect from traditional cancer treatments.

 

If you’re experiencing

Then consider trying

Anxiety Hypnosis, massage, meditation, relaxation techniques
Fatigue Exercise, massage, relaxation techniquesn, yoga
Nausea and vomiting Acupuncture, aromatherapy,hypnosis, music therapy
Pain Acupuncture, aromatherapy,hypnosis,  biofeedback, massage music therapy
Sleep problems Exercise relaxation techniquesn, yoga
Stress Aromatherapyhypnosis, massage, meditation,exercise, tai chi, yoga

Chart B: Alternative Treatment Chart

 

 

References
American Cancer Society. (2014). Understanding Cancer. Cancer Basics. Retrieved October 16, 2014, from http://www.cancer.org/cancer/cancerbasics/index

Guidance for Radiation Accident Management. (2014). Characteristics of Gamma Radiation and X-Rays. Basics of Radiation. Retrieved October 17, 2014, from https://orise.orau.gov/reacts/guide/gamma.htm

Mayo Clinic. (2014). Definition. Cancer. Retrieved October 18, 2014, from http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/cancer/basics/definition/con-20032378

National Cancer Institute. (2014). Defining Cancer. What is Cancer?. Retrieved October 18, 2014, from http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/cancerlibrary/what-is-cancer

 

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This articleHang Pham, MBHA Health Educator is written by Hang Pham. Hang Pham is a Monterey Bay Holistic Alliance Health and Wellness Educator. Hang Pham was born in Hoc Mon, Vietnam. She came to America in 1994, becoming a U.S. citizen in 2011. Hang graduated from Seaside High School with diploma and received her AA in General Studies from Monterey Peninsula College in 2011. She received her BA in Collaborative Health and Human Services from California State University Monterey Bay (CSUMB) in 2012. In addition to working as a volunteer staff with the Monterey Bay Holistic Alliance, she currently works as a Clerical Aid in the Human Resources Department of Salinas City Hall. The Monterey Bay Holistic Alliance is a registered 501 (c) 3 nonprofit health and wellness education organization. For more information about the Monterey Bay Holistic Alliance contact us or visit our website at www.montereybayholistic.com.


Disclaimer:  
The Monterey Bay Holistic Alliance is a charitable, independent registered nonprofit 501(c)3 organization and does not endorse any particular products or practices. We exist as an educational organization dedicated to providing free access to health education resources, products and services. Claims and statements herein are for informational purposes only and have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. The statements about organizations, practitioners, methods of treatment, and products listed on this website are not meant to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. This information is intended for educational purposes only. The MBHA strongly recommends that you seek out your trusted medical doctor or practitioner for diagnosis and treatment of any existing health condition.

Back Pain: Causes and Alternative and Natural Treatments

What Is the Anatomy of the Human Back?

Muscular System of the Human Back

The human back is made up of bones, muscles, tendons and ligaments. These parts make up the spinal column. The spinal column consists of 30 bones called the vertebrae. The spinal column helps hold up the upper part of the body. The back is an integral part of the human body (National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases [NIAMS], 2013.


Why Do We Experience Back Pain?

back pain personBack pain can affect people of all ages and ethnicities. Back pain can be acute or chronic. Acute back pain usually lasts a couple of days and is generally treated by orthodox practitioners by Ibuprophen or other over-the-counter pain medications or  prescription drugs.  However, people can becoming addicted to pain medications especially with chronic pain. Chronic back pain normally occurs for more than three months. Older people are more susceptible to back pain because as they age, their bone strength decreases and muscles become less elastic and flexible. People who are overweight have more back pain due to the excess amount of weight the back has to support. Children who carry heavy backpacks for hours during the school day may experience back pain. Back pain can also affect people who live sedentary lifestyles, smoke often and have unhealthy diets (NIAMS, 2013).


Spine Disorders

What are the Primary Causes of Back Pain?

back pain- woman

Mayo Clinic (2014) provides a list of possible reasons for the cause or causes of back pain:

  1. Ankylosing spondylitis
  2. Fibromyalgia
  3. Herniated Disk
  4. Kidney Infection
  5. Obesity
  6. Osteoarthritis
  7. Osteomyelitis
  8. Osteoporosis
  9. Paget’s Disease of Bones
  10. Poor Posture
  11. Pregnancy
  12. Sacroiliitis
  13. Sciatica
  14. Scoliosis
  15. Spinal Fractures
  16. Spinal Stenosis
  17. Sprains and strains

How are Back Problems Diagnosed?

Acute back pain can be traced back to an injury or trauma. Chronic back pain is usually a symptom of an underlying disorder or illness. To receive an accurate diagnosis for the back pain, visiting a family physician may be the wisest decision.

Back Xray
The physician may take a look at your medical history along with your family history to rule out any genetic predispositions to back disorders. A thorough physical exam will be conducted. In addition, a few other tests may be performed. These tests include, but are not limited, to the following (NIAMS, 2013):

  1. Ultrasound imaging
  2. Bone Scans
  3. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
  4. Computerized tomography (CT) scan
  5. X-ray


What is the Traditional  Treatment?

Cancer Exercise Treadmill To relieve acute and chronic back pain, traditional methods used by orthodox medical doctors or practitioners usually include:

  1. Hot and cold compresses to decrease swelling and pain.
  2. Medications such as Advil, Ibuprofen and muscle relaxants or prescription drugs to eliminate or reduce pain.
  3. Low impact exercises such as walking, climbing and swimming have been proven to increase muscle tone and decrease tension in the back.

Prescription drugs can be addictive and harmful to the body with long-term use.

Prescription Drugs Dilemma
What are Alternative Treatments?

Other non-traditional ways to ease back pain include the following:

  1. Chiropractic care. Back pain is one of the most common reasons that people see a chiropractor.
  2. Acupuncture. A practitioner of acupuncture inserts sterilized stainless steel needles into the skin at specific points on the body. Some people with low back pain report that acupuncture helps relieve their symptoms.Back Massage
  3. Therapeutic Massage.  If your back is caused by tense or overworked muscles, massage therapy may help. Massage can help stretch tight muscles and circulate the blood, relieving pain
  4. Yoga. There are several types of yoga, a board discipline that involves practicing specific postures or poses, breathing exercises and relaxation techniques. Yoga has been found to relieve stress and be effective in eliminating pain.
  5. Naturopathy  The use of natural methods and non-toxic remedies to improve or restore health is known as naturopathy. It includes herbal remedies, homeopathic remedies, change in diet, etc.
  6. Physical therapy and exercise are considered alternative and natural treatments. Exercise can be very effective in treating back pain. Research studies confirm that those with osteoarthritis or sciatica back pain are greatly relieved by a daily practice of physical therapy and exercises. Be sure to consult with your trusted health practitioner before starting new exercises.

References

National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skins Diseases. (2013). Handout on Health: Back Pain. Back Pain. Retrieved September 21, 2014, from http://www.niams.nih.gov/Health_Info/Back_Pain/default.asp#3

Mayo Clinic. (2014). Definition. Back Pain: Symptom. Retrieved September 21, 2014, from http://www.mayoclinic.org/symptoms/back-pain/basics/definition/sym-20050878

 

 

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This articleHang Pham, MBHA Health Educator is written by Hang Pham. Hang Pham is a Monterey Bay Holistic Alliance Health and Wellness Educator. Hang Pham was born in Hoc Mon, Vietnam. She came to America in 1994, becoming a U.S. citizen in 2011. Hang graduated from Seaside High School with diploma and received her AA in General Studies from Monterey Peninsula College in 2011. She received her BA in Collaborative Health and Human Services from California State University Monterey Bay (CSUMB) in 2012. In addition to working as a volunteer staff with the Monterey Bay Holistic Alliance, she currently works as a Clerical Aid in the Human Resources Department of Salinas City Hall. The Monterey Bay Holistic Alliance is a registered 501 (c) 3 nonprofit health and wellness education organization. For more information about the Monterey Bay Holistic Alliance contact us or visit our website at www.montereybayholistic.com.


Disclaimer:  
The Monterey Bay Holistic Alliance is a charitable, independent registered nonprofit 501(c)3 organization and does not endorse any particular products or practices. We exist as an educational organization dedicated to providing free access to health education resources, products and services. Claims and statements herein are for informational purposes only and have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. The statements about organizations, practitioners, methods of treatment, and products listed on this website are not meant to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. This information is intended for educational purposes only. The MBHA strongly recommends that you seek out your trusted medical doctor or practitioner for diagnosis and treatment of any existing health condition.

Aquatic Therapy or Hydrotherapy for Pets – The Miracle of Water!

Water therapy dogWhat is aquatic therapy or hydrotherapy?
How can aquatic therapy help dogs and other pets? Aquatic therapy (water therapy) is widely used in rehabilitation programs for humans since the 1700’s.  Its use with animals is fairly recent. There are several research studies that have documented the benefits for dogs that primarily demonstrate significant improvements in joint range of motion. Studies show that dogs benefit from physical therapy and aquatic therapy as a form of rehabilitation for arthritis, injury, or following surgery. The benefits are many for muscle mass, circulation or movement.  A few studies have also been conducted on hydrotherapy with horses.

Origin and History of Aquatic Therapy or Hydrotherapy
Early writings on the medical uses of water with humans were published in the 18th century. Sir John Floyer, a physician of Lichfield,  published a book on the history of cold bathing There were six editions including a German translation, which inspired Dr. J. S. Hahn of Silesia to write On the Healing Virtues of Cold Water, Inwardly and Outwardly Applied, as Proved by Experience in 1738.  Captain R. T. Claridge is considered to be responsible for popularizing hydropathy first in London in 1842. The Turkish bath was introduced by David Urquhart into England on his return from the East in the 1850s, and later adopted by Richard Barter. Joel Shew and R.T Trall established the first water therapy facilities in the United States in the 1840s, followed by Dr Charles Munde in the 1850s. Trall co-edited the Water Cure Journal. John Harvey Kellogg popularized hydrotherapy at the Battle Creek Sanitarium in 1866.


Water therapy dogWhat Research Has Been Conducted on Canine Hydrotherapy?
In a study by Gregory S. Marsolais and other researchers, published in the March 15, 2003 Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association,  13 healthy dogs and 7 dogs with ruptured cranial cruciate ligament were filmed while swimming in a pool and while walking at a fast (1.3 m/s) or slow (0.9 m/s) pace on a treadmill. Results suggested that following surgical management of a ruptured corrected cranial cruciate ligament (CCL) in dogs, swimming resulted in greater range of motion (ROM) of the stifle and tarsal joints than did treadmill walking.

A similar canine hydrotherapy study, “Effects of postoperative rehabilitation on limb function after cranial cruciate ligament repair in dogs” conducted  by Marsolais G., Dvorak G., Conzemius M., showed that after hydrotherapy pelvic limb abilities improved, with no difference in peak vertical force or vertical impulse.  This was measured by a force platform analysis and a comparison between the repaired limb and the contralateral limb at a six-month follow up evaluation.

Hydrotherapy dog

In a study by Jackson and other researchers in 2002, entitled, “Joint kinematics during underwater treadmill activity,” researchers kinematic analysis of dogs walking in an underwater treadmill showed that joint flexion was maximized when the depth of the water is kept above the joint.

Monk, Preston and McGown, concluded in their 2006 research study, “Effects of early intensive postoperative physiotherapy on limb function after tibial plateau leveling osteotomy in dogs with deficiency of the cranial cruciate ligament,” that underwater treadmill exercise improved joint range of motion and increased thigh circumference, compared to the two other control groups of cage rest and controlled walking. Six weeks after surgery, there was no difference in thigh circumference and joint range of motion between the affected and unaffected limbs in the aquatic therapy group. However, the dogs who had received cage rest and the dogs in the controlled walking group demonstrated continued progression in joint stiffness and muscle atrophy.

An incredible video story about Cyrus, a paralyzed dog recovering with dog hydrotherapy. Witness the amazing results of his complete recovery!


Conclusions
Multiple research studies have shown hydrotherapy to be an effective means of rehabilitation for dogs. Physical therapists working with Cyrus, the paralyzed dog in the video above, demonstrated the amazing effects of hydrotherapy on paralysis and complete loss of use. A limited number of studies have also been conducted using aquatic therapy with other animals such as horses. Canine aquatic therapy or  hydrotherapy has been shown to be highly successful for improving ambulation after surgery, or after injury or as a remedy for arthritis stiffness and pain. 

Resources
Marsolais G., McLean S., Derrick T., et al. Kinematic analysis of the hindlimb during swimming and walking in healthy dogs and dogs with surgically corrected cranial cruciate ligament rupture. J Am Vet Med Assoc 2003;222:739-743

 Marsolais G., Dvorak G., Conzemius M. Effects of postoperative rehabilitation on limb function after cranial cruciate ligament repair in dogs. J Am Vet Med Assoc 2002;220:1325-1330.

 Jackson A., Millis D., Stevens M., et al. Joint kinematics during underwater treadmill activity. Second International Symposium on Rehabilitation and Physical Therapy in Veterinary Medicine 2002;1:191.

Monk M., Preston C., McGowan C. Effects of early intensive postoperative physiotherapy on limb function after tibial plateau leveling osteotomy in dogs with deficiency of the cranial cruciate ligament. Am J Vet Res 2006;67:529-536.

Underwater treadmill therapy in veterinary practice: Benefits and considerations

The Canine Hydrotherapy Association

_______________________________________
Jean E. Dart
This article is written by Jean Voice Dart,  M.S. Special Education from Illinois State University.
 Jean is a published author and has written hundreds of health articles as well as hosting a local television program, “Making Miracles Happen.”  She is a Registered Music Therapist, Sound Therapist, and Master Level Energetic Teacher, and is the Executive Director, founder and Health and Wellness Educator of the Monterey Bay Holistic Alliance.  The Monterey Bay Holistic Alliance is a registered 501 (c) 3  nonprofit health and wellness education organization.  For more information about  the Monterey Bay Holistic Alliance contact us or visit our website at www.montereybayholistic.com.

 Disclaimer:The Monterey Bay Holistic Alliance is a charitable, independent registered nonprofit 501(c)3 organization and does not endorse any particular products or practices. We exist as an educational organization dedicated to providing free access to health education resources, products and services. Claims and statements herein are for informational purposes only and have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. The statements about organizations, practitioners, methods of treatment, and products listed on this website are not meant to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. This information is intended for educational purposes only. The MBHA strongly recommends that you seek out your trusted medical doctor or practitioner for diagnosis and treatment of any existing health condition.

20 Alternative Approaches to Stress

Causes of StressWhat causes stress and how can we prevent it? Are there effective alternative, holistic, and complementary practices to treating stress besides prescription drugs?


What Does Current Research Say About Treatment for Stress?
Current studies show that Americans are not satisfied with healthcare programs addressing stress.

Stress statisticsA recent study entitled, “Stress in America™: Missing the Health Care Connection,”  was conducted online by Harris Interactive on behalf of the American Psychological Association, among 2,020 U.S. adults in August of 2012.   The results of the study suggest that people are not receiving what they need from their health care providers to effectively manage stress and help them with necessary lifestyle and behavior changes needed to improve their health.

Stress in America

Stress in America – 42% reported that the leading stress symptom they experienced was anger or irritability.

A little more than half (53%) of Americans said they receive little or no support for stress management from their providers.  Thirty-nine percent (39%) said that they have little or no behavior management support.  Thirty-five percent (35%) of Americans said that their stress increased this past year.

Stress effects on body

The effects of stress on the body

What are Stress Symptoms?
Stress symptoms can be emotional, physical, behavioral and mental or psychological.  A person under stress might have the following symptoms:

  • easily irritated
  • frustrated
  • mood swings
  • hopeless
  • not able to relax
  • low self-esteem
  • paranoia
  • trouble focusing
  • lonely
  • avoiding people and projects
  • headache
  • upset stomach
  • diarrhea
  • constipation
  • muscle pain
  • fatigue
  • sleepiness
  • insomnia
  • sweating
  • chills

    Stress Symptom Nail Biting

  • biting nails
  • grinding teeth
  • frightened
  • panic attack
  • trouble swallowing
  • cold or flu symptoms
  • shaking or shivering
  • pacing
  • drug use
  • negativity (criticism or gossip)


How is Stress Diagnosed and Treated?
There is no specific medical test for stress but your trusted healthcare provider or family physician should do a thorough medical and psychological exam and evaluation.  He or she will ask you about your family history, your work, your daily routine, and personal life to help determine “stress triggers”  and discuss a plan of treatment. It might be helpful for you to keep a stress diary for a few weeks to determine causes of stress.

EEG TestThe doctor might also order blood and urine lab tests, EEG, EMG, MRI, or other tests to rule out other illnesses that might be triggering stress symptoms. Basic tests will include measuring your blood pressure and completing a questionnaire to test for depression. After making diagnostic or psychological tests have been completed, your trusted healthcare practitioner may recommend treatment.

Treatment may include lifestyle changes such as changes in diet, physical activity or exercise, meditation, or prescription medications. If you don’t feel comfortable with the doctor’s evaluation or plan of treatment, it is important that you trust yourself and your own body wisdom when making a decision.  Make sure that you are working with a doctor as a member on your team, and that your healthcare professionals are working closely with you.

Which Types of Alternative Approaches Have Been Effective?

Alternative Stress Treatment

What holistic, alternative approaches are effective in treating stress?

There are many types of alternative approaches that have been shown to be effective in relieving stress, however, most approaches take time and training for the person to be skilled enough to use it successfully, or for the hands-on practitioner to be successful in working cooperatively with the client to achieve success.

Research studies show that alternative approaches can ]reduce or eliminate stress symptoms. Exercise has been well-documented as a stress-reducer, as has prayer, deep breathing, and meditation. Hypnosis and massage are also highly effective alternative treatments to prescription drugs.

Massage

Therapeutic massage is a well-documented  alternative treatment for alleviating stress.

Some of the natural approaches to relieving stress are:

  • Massage
  • Yoga
  • Tai Chi
  • Qigong
  • Deep Breathing
  • Biofeedback
  • Meditation
  • Prayer
  • Music therapy
  • Art therapy
  • Dance therapy
  • Drama therapy
  • Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT)
  • Flower Essences
  • Essential Oils
  • Homeopathic remedies
  • Light therapy
  • Crystals or gemstones
  • Guided imagery or visualization

    Acupuncture

    Acupuncture can be a successful alternative treatment to reducing stress related symptoms

  • Acupuncture
  • Self-hypnosis
  • Psychic healing
  • Energetic healing/Reiki
  • Counseling or Psychiatric
  • Physical therapy
  • Physical Exercise
  • Sex
  • Chiropractic

For more information about which alternative or complimentary therapies or approaches are best for your needs in treating anxiety or stress, consult with your trusted health-care practitioner, or check out the resources below.

Resources
The American Institute on Stress
The Stress Resource Center – Harvard
Healthfinder.gov – Stress Management
Holistic Stress Management for Nurses
American Psychological Association
Huffington Post -Reduce Stress Now
Mayo Clinic – Stress Management

Research
Keil, R.M.K. (2004) Coping and stress: a conceptual analysis Journal of Advanced Nursing, 45(6), 659–665


Viner, R. (1999) Putting Stress in Life: Hans Selye and the Making of Stress Theory. Social Studies of Science, Vol. 29, No. 3 (June 1999), pp. 391–410

O’Connor, T. M.; O’Halloran, D. J.; Shanahan, F. (2000). “The stress response and the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis: From molecule to melancholia”. QJM : monthly journal of the Association of Physicians 93 (6): 323–333.

LE Walker Post-traumatic stress disorder in women: Diagnosis and treatment of battered woman syndrome.
– Psychotherapy: Theory, Research, Practice, Training, 1991

Hayes, Steven C.; Wilson, Kelly G.; Gifford, Elizabeth V.; Follette, Victoria M.; Strosahl, Kirk. Experiential avoidance and behavioral disorders: A functional dimensional approach to diagnosis and treatment. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, Vol 64(6), Dec 1996, 1152-1168. doi: 10.1037/0022-006X.64.6.1152, Special Section: Development of Theoretically Coherent Alternatives to the DSM-IV.

_______________________________________


Jean E. DartThis article is written by Jean Voice Dart,  M.S. Special Education from Illinois State University.
 Jean is a published author and has written hundreds of health articles as well as hosting a local television program, “Making Miracles Happen.”  She is a Registered Music Therapist, Sound Therapist, and Master Level Energetic Teacher, and is the Executive Director, founder and Health and Wellness Educator of the Monterey Bay Holistic Alliance.  The Monterey Bay Holistic Alliance is a registered 501 (c) 3  nonprofit health and wellness education organization.  For more information about  the Monterey Bay Holistic Alliance contact us or visit our website at www.montereybayholistic.com.

 Disclaimer:The Monterey Bay Holistic Alliance is a charitable, independent registered nonprofit 501(c)3 organization and does not endorse any particular products or practices. We exist as an educational organization dedicated to providing free access to health education resources, products and services. Claims and statements herein are for informational purposes only and have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. The statements about organizations, practitioners, methods of treatment, and products listed on this website are not meant to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. This information is intended for educational purposes only. The MBHA strongly recommends that you seek out your trusted medical doctor or practitioner for diagnosis and treatment of any existing health condition.