Category Archives: Arthritis

How can trigger point injection helps with frozen shoulder?

Frozen shoulder (also known as adhesive capsulitis) is a condition when the shoulder’s motion becomes limited as if it was actually “frozen.” This loss of motion is due to the joint capsule, or the tissue around the joint, constricting down. This condition is caused by inflammation within the joint. This swelling makes the shoulder joint stiff and painful to move. Other reasons for frozen shoulder can be due to excess scar tissue and/or any shrinking or thickening of the joint itself. There are many sources of this condition such as:

  • Recent injury
  • Fracture
  • Lack of exercise or immobility
  • Diabetes
  • Recent surgery (immobilizing the shoulder for recovery)
  • Hyperthyroidism/hypothyroidism

Most symptoms of frozen shoulder are pain when moving the shoulder, increasing stiffness around the shoulder joint, and the inability to move or any limitation of motion of the shoulder. These symptoms can make it uncomfortable to complete daily tasks and some may experience trouble sleeping.

Treatments for frozen shoulder depending on the severity can range from physical therapy to injections. In fact, a trigger point injection (also known as TPI) is one type of treatment that can successfully relieve the pain that accompanies frozen shoulder and it also aids in releasing the stiffness. Trigger point injections are injections of lidocaine to an area, in this case the shoulder joint, which inactivates the trigger point, relieving the pain. With frozen shoulder, these injections will pause the nerve transmission of pain to the shoulder, and once it starts back up again the pain will have subsided. Ridding of the stiffness and inflammation, will in turn allow the shoulder joint to gain back its full range of motion.

If you are experiencing pain, stiffness, and/or a limitation in your shoulder’s motion or if you are interested in getting trigger point injections, please contact Dr. Diane Lee at Seattle Naturopathic and Acupuncture Center at (206) 319-5322.

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Filed under Arthritis, decrease pain, Inflammation, seattle naturopath, trigger point injections, trigger points

Why do trigger points lead to headaches?

A headache is a pain or ache in the head or neck. There are many factors that may be causing these aches such as stress, diet, anxiety, posture, neck injuries, or a combination of any of these. Based on these factors, one may be diagnosed with tension headaches or migraines. However, many of these headaches are due to trigger points and not just stress or poor diet. A trigger point is a traumatized area in the muscle that may feel like a tight band or knot. When pressed on, these trigger points will refer pain to other parts of the body. In this case, many trigger points refer pain to the head causing headaches. Since there are a variety of factors that play a role in causing headaches, eliminating a majority of those (stress, poor diet, etc.) may cause relief. However, trigger points may still be playing a part even though one may not be experiencing a headache.

Trigger points, if not treated, cause long-term effects. This means that when one is not experiencing a headache, trigger points will continue to sensitize the muscle. Once these trigger points are pressed on, they can refer pain causing a full-blown tension or migraine headache.

If one does not teat trigger points, one’s headaches will continue to worsen. One very effective treatment to headaches are trigger point injections. Trigger point injections (TPI) are injections of an anesthetic that numbs the area and blocks nerves from sending pain signals to the referred area. This injection halts the cycle, immediately giving relief. Continuation of TPIs will greatly reduce the intensity of the aches and the frequency of these painful headaches that trigger points cause.

If you are experiencing frequent and painful headaches and cannot seem to find a treatment that is working for you, call Dr. Diane Lee at (206) 319–5322 or visit Seattle Naturopathic and Acupuncture Center to learn more about trigger points and the success of trigger point injections with diagnostic ultrasound.

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Filed under Arthritis, decrease pain, headaches, Inflammation, migraines, trigger point injections, trigger points

Omega 3’s- why are they anti-inflammatory?

Omega-3’s are polyunsaturated fatty acids that the body derives from certain foods. They are considered essential because they are critical for good health and the body cannot make them on its own. There are two main types of omega-3 fatty acids: Long chain (EPA and DHA) and short-chain (ALA).

Although they have many vital effects on one’s health including anti-blood clotting effects, reducing blood pressure, and lowering cholesterol, they also play in important role in fighting inflammation and are considered anti-inflammatory.

Inflammation is a critical mechanism your body possesses to help protect you from pathogens, irritants, and heal injuries by sending proteins and white blood cells to the affected area. While inflammation is very essential process, uncontrolled regulation can result in consequential tissue damage and contribute to many disease formations including cardiovascular disease and even cancer. That is why consuming anti-inflammatory foods, like Omega-3 essential fatty acids, is so imperative.

Omega-3 fatty acids can be found in several foods. These foods include:

• Grass fed beef

• Fresh deep water fish

• Raw flaxseeds, hemp seeds,

• Soybeans

• Shrimp

• Cauliflower

• Brussel sprouts

As you can see, there aren’t many foods that are rich in Omega-3 fatty acids and it is difficult to obtain the amount of Omega-3 that your body needs. Most people require a supplement to get this essential amount. Many health conditions require additional Omega-3. There are many types of supplements that are abundant in Omega-3’s. The most common and beneficial are:

• Fish oil

• Krill oil

• Cod liver oil

• Flax oil

• Hemp oil

Long-chain omega-3 fatty acids (EPA and DHA) are abundant in fish and shellfish, and short-chain omega-3 fatty acids (ALA) are typically found in plants, such as flax and hemp. It is possible for the body to synthesize DHA and EPA from ALA, but conversion of ALA to EPA and DHA is extremely limited. Therefore, fish oils are usually the most efficient source of Omega-3 fatty acids.

If you are experiencing signs of inflammation or are interested in having an analysis of your Omega-3 intake, please contact Dr. Lee at Seattle Naturopathic and Acupuncture Center or call 206-319-5322.

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Filed under Allergies, Antiaging, Arthritis, Digestion, Eczema, fatigue, IBD, Inflammation, Leaky gut syndrome

What are pro-inflammatory foods? Who should avoid them?

Inflammation occurs in response to many different stimuli including injuries, irritants and pathogens. It is a process where your body’s immune system responds by sending proteins and white blood cells to the irritated area in order to repair the damaged tissue. Blood vessels also dilate allowing an increase in blood flow to the area. This causes the symptoms of inflammation we usually see including pain, redness and swelling. Too much inflammation or inflammation of healthy tissue however can be unhealthy and cause numerous different diseases. Lack of exercise, stress, and smoking can all play a part in chronic inflammation. But one of the most important causes of inflammation is diet.

Pro-inflammatory foods are defined as any type of food that tends to cause inflammation. In general, there are about seven different food ingredients that can cause inflammation.

Sugars- soda, candy, deserts

Saturated fats- cheese, red meat, pizza

Trans fat- fast food, deep-fried foods, cookies, donuts

Omega 6 fatty acids- vegetable, corn, soy and peanut oil, mayonnaise

Refined carbs- rice, noodles, pasta, white rice and white flour products

Artificial sweeteners- aspartame, MSG (aspartame)

Alcohol- liquor, beer and wine


Who should avoid pro-inflammatory foods?

Although everyone should consider limiting their intake of pro-inflammatory foods, there are some who should avoid them more than others. Arthritis, eczema, Alzheimer’s, and acne are all conditions which inflammation can worsen symptoms. People who have high blood pressure, are obese, get frequent headaches, or is an athlete could also benefit from avoiding pro-inflammatory foods in their diet.

If you’re interested in having your diet assessed, please contact Dr. Lee at Seattle Naturopathic and Acupuncture Center or call 206-319-5322

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Filed under Arthritis, Digestion, Eczema, Food allergy, IBD, IBS, Inflammation

Importance of vitamin D in the Pacific Northwest

Vitamin D is important for good overall health with its wide range of benefits. Its primary role is to increase the movement of calcium into the bloodstream by promoting the absorption of calcium from food. This is why it is essential in bone growt

h. Some other health benefits of having a healthy level of vitamin D are: decreased inflammation, decreased risk of cancer, decreased dental cavities, prevention and treatment of depression, and reduced risk of diseases like multiple sclerosis, osteoporosis and heart disease.


What happens when vitamin D levels are low?

Seattle is at a latitude of 47° north of the equator, which sets up the population for widespread vitamin D insufficiency. Without vitamin D, bones become thin and brittle. Being vitamin D deficient also increases risk of cancer, diabetes, and osteoporosis. Low blood levels of vitamin D also relate to cardiovascular disease and high blood pressure. Multiple Sclerosis, which causes progressive nerve damage, has been linked to low vitamin D levels. Washington State has one of the highest multiple sclerosis rates in the nation, and it has been theorized that the low levels of sunlight in the winter contribute to this statistic.

How can you get vitamin D?

Vitamin D is often called “the sunshine vitamin” because our bodies synthesize it naturally through direct exposure to sunlight. This is the most natural way to get vitamin D and can happen very quickly, especially in the summer. How much vitamin D is produced from sunlight depends on time of day and where you live. You can also get vitamin D by taking supplements. This is a good way to get vitamin D if you can’t get enough sunlight or don’t want to expose your skin.

There are very few foods that naturally contain vitamin D. Some of these foods include fish with high fat content such as salmon, catfish and tuna. Milk and some cereals are usually fortified with vitamin D. Vitamin D deficiency is extremely common especially in northern populations like the Pacific Northwest, where solar radiation in the autumn and winter is much too small to maintain healthy levels.

Your vitamin D level can be easily assessed with a simple blood test. Feel free to contact Seattle Naturopathic Center if you are interested in finding out your vitamin D level.

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Filed under Allergies, Antiaging, Arthritis, fatigue, Inflammation, Vitamin D

Where you get your food allergy testing matters!

The problem with the standard food allergy tests, run by most doctors, allergists, and dermatologists is that they missing out very important food allergy reactions in the testing methods. Most clinics tests for IgE reactions only, which is only found in a small population. Most food allergies are not IgE mediated but are rather IgG reactions or sometimes IgA reactions, such as in celiac disease.

 

IgE hypersensitivity immune response is commonly known as a food allergy.  This reaction typically occurs very quickly (minutes to hours) after eating an offending food and symptoms are generally severe.  Many are aware of food allergies causing anaphylaxis (the most common example being peanuts and kids) but they may also experience itchy lips/tongue/throat, stuffy nose, headaches, belly ache, diarrhea, gas, bloating, skin reactions, and sudden fatigue.  This test is typically done through the blood or a skin prick test. However most adults have their ‘trigger food’ figured out because the reaction is so quick.  If ice cream causes immediate diarrhea, or strawberries create lip swelling, and peanuts close your throat – one does not easily forget. It’s usually fairly obvious because the symptoms occur so quickly to the offending food.

 

IgG and IgA food allergy response is different from an immediate IgE food allergy response in that symptoms may not show up for hours or days after ingested offending food allergens. This makes it very difficult to pinpoint exactly what foods are causing what reaction in the body especially as people tend to eat the same foods over and over.  Symptoms of an IgG and IgA response include: sore throat, stuffy nose, congestion, headaches, belly aches, constipation, diarrhea, gas, bloating, hormone issues, foggy head, headaches, weight gain, fatigue, joint pain, depression, behavior changes, anxiety, and skin issues (particularly acne, eczema, psoriasis).  How do you know if dairy products cause your mental fogginess or gluten causes fatigue or almonds increase your acne if you eat them everyday?


Testing for IgG and IgA food allergies is confusing for many healthcare providers as they are not typically trained on these types of reactions as they are neither obvious nor life-threatening. However food allergies, intolerances and sensitivities are gaining public awareness as people are removing offending food groups in order to help support autism/spectrum disorder treatment plans, chronic diseases, and reduce inflammation in the body with success.

 

For more information about food allergies, intolerances and sensitivities, please contact Dr. Lee at Seattle Naturopathic and Acupuncture Center or call 206-319-5322

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Filed under Allergies, Arthritis, Digestion, Eczema, fatigue, Food allergy, IBD, IBS, Inflammation, Leaky gut syndrome, Skin Conditions, Weight Loss

Are You Vitamin B12 Deficient? Take a Self-Awareness Survey

What are the symptoms of Vitamin B12 deficiency?

Weakness and fatigue, brain fog, light-headedness, loss of balance, rapid heartbeat and breathing, pale skin, sore tongue, easy bruising or bleeding, including bleeding gums, stomach upset and weight loss and diarrhea or constipation are all symptoms of Vitamin B12 deficiency.

If the deficiency is not corrected, it can damage the nerve cells. If this happens, vitamin B12 deficiency effects may include: tingling or numbness in arms, legs, fingers and toes, difficulty walking, mood changes or depression, memory loss, disorientation, and dementia.

What Diseases are Linked to Vitamin B12 Deficiency?

  • Alzheimer’s, dementia, cognitive decline and memory loss, (collectively referred to as “aging”)
  • Multiple sclerosis (MS) and other neurological disorders
  • Mental illness (depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, psychosis)
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Learning or developmental disorders in kids
  • Autism spectrum disorder
  • Autoimmune disease and other immune system dysfunction
  • Cancer
  • Male and female infertility
  • Asthma
  • Arthritis
  • Anemia
  • Inflammatory bowel disease 

Who is at risk for Vitamin B12 deficiency?

Many people over age 50 lose the ability to absorb vitamin B12 from foods.  This happens as specialized stomach cells slowly lose their ability to release an enzyme called intrinsic factor that helps break down dietary B12. 

Strict vegans (people who don’t eat any animal products, including meat, eggs, or milk) are at greatest risk. Vegetarians who eat eggs and milk products are also at risk, because, on average, they consume less than half the adult Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) of vitamin B12.  Studies consistently demonstrate that up to 50 percent of long-term vegetarians and 80 percent of vegans are deficient in B12.

A common myth amongst vegetarians and vegans is that it’s possible to get B12 from plant sources like seaweed, fermented soy, spirulina and brewers yeast. But plant foods said to contain B12 actually contain B12 analogs called cobamides that block B12 absorption and increase the need for metabolically useful B12.  See the following study for explanation: (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10552882)

Others who may be low in Vitamin B12 are those who have had gastrointestinal surgery, such as weight loss surgery and people who have digestive disorders, such as celiac disease or Crohn’s disease.

What are the Functions of Vitamin B12?

Vitamin B12 works together with folate in the synthesis of DNA and red blood cells. It’s also involved in the production of the myelin sheath around the nerves, and the conduction of nerve impulses. Vitamin B12 is also needed for building proteins in the body and helps keep levels of the amino acid homocysteine in check, which may help decrease heart disease risk.

Where can I get Vitamin B12 From my diet?

The body absorbs animal sources of vitamin B12 much better than plant sources. As mentioned above, non-animal sources of vitamin B12 are not reliable sources of the vitamin. 

Can you benefit from vitamin B12?

Take the survey in the next section to see if you can benefit from vitamin B12. If you have a score of 10 or higher, you will likely benefit from vitamin B12 injection. 

Are You Vitamin B12 Deficient?   Take a Self-Awareness Survey  

* * *

On a scale of 0 to 4, with zero being “experience not at all” and four being “experience greatly,” rate yourself on these symptoms and keep a running point total:

  • Depression (double your score)
  • Fatigue  (double your score)
  • Brain fog  (double your score)
  • Numbness or tingling in hands and feet  (double your score)
  • Dandruff
  • Bleed or bruise easily
  • Slow reflexes
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Memory problems
  • Menstrual problems
  • Nervousness/Anxiety
  • Pale, chalky skin
  • Pale nail beds
  • Pale tongue
  • Sore tongue
  • Feeling of weakness
  • Lightheadedness
  • Difficulties with balance
  • Bleeding gums
  • Weight loss
  • Shortness of breath
  • Tremors
  • Palpitations
  • Frequent colds and flus
  • Tender calves

Scoring:  When adding up your total score, double the values for the first four symptoms (Depression, Fatigue, Brain fog and Numbness or tingling in hands and feet).  All other symptoms are 0 to 4.

  • Under 10 points — most likely not Vitamin B12 deficient
  • 10 to 15 points — probable to benefit from Vitamin B12
  • 15+ ponts — likely to benefit from Vitamin B12

From more information about Vitamin B12 injection and if you would like to schedule a 15 minute appointment for your B12 injection, please call 206-319-5322 or visit Seattle Naturopathic and Acupuncture Center.

 

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Filed under Allergies, Antiaging, Arthritis, B 12 injection, Digestion, fatigue, vitamin injection, Weight Loss