Let’s talk about Epigenetics! The field of Epigenetics studies the different changes in organisms caused by the modification of gene expression rather than alteration in the genetic code itself. Now, you may be wondering how is this field relevant to you, your health and your everyday life style choices? Environmental factors such as your daily diet, smoking patterns and stress levels have been shown to impact gene expression through epigenetic mechanisms. In other words, research studies suggest that your lifestyle habits directly impact your organism and the way your genes are expressed.
Let’s take a look at one particular study that focused on testing this idea! A recent experiment performed by BMC Physiology scientists on mice, had the purpose of determining how their immune system responded to a typical Western diet. When mice were fed a Western diet, systemic inflammation occurred which was entirely expected. However, what was particularly interesting was that the Western diet fundamentally changed their immune system. After eating a high calories, low nutrient food, not only did the mice exhibit more systemic inflammation, but their white blood cells became programmed to remain hyper-sensitive to inflammatory triggers. In other words, their diet caused a drastic change tot their cellular “memory”, making their cells more vulnerable to inflammatory responses. These results may help explain why chronic inflammation is behind so many lifestyle-related diseases such as heart disease, obesity and diabetes. Studies like this one and many others conducted recently, show significant evidence that demonstrate the impact that your environment and life style choices have on your body. They also suggest that making healthier choices lower the chances of detrimental gene expression changes.
If you’d like to learn more about ways to improve your diet or get tested for food
allergies, give Seattle Naturopathic and Acupuncture Center a call and we’d be happy to schedule an appointment for you!
With the rainy weather approaching us, unfortunately the risk of being in a car accident rises. Traumas from car accidents can range from whiplash to life threatening conditions. After being involved in a car accident, one’s body is put in a very vulnerable state. This means that the care one puts into their body after this kind of trauma predicts not only the speed of recovery, but also the possibility to fully recover.
Typically, one is in a great deal of pain after an accident and therefore resides to pain medications to take care of the pain. However, there is a misconception when it comes to pain medication. Many believe that these medications will heal their body from the trauma that he or she endured when involved in the car accident because their pain will magically “go away.” However, these medications are actually not contributing to the healing process. What these medications truly do, is mask the pain that one is feeling. Taking pain medications can actually be detrimental to one’s recovery. When someone is experiencing pain, it is the body’s way of communicating that something is wrong and precautions need to be made in order for it to heal. With the addition of pain medications, the pain is masked and therefore one proceeds with daily activities that one normally would not be able to conduct due to the existing pain. This disrupts the healing process and therefore, recovery time is lengthening and the ability to properly recover is diminishing.
Recovering from a car accident using natural care adds to the body’s healing process. Natural care ensures that every aspect of pain is made aware of and is being treated in a correct and natural way. Nature treatments may include but not limited to acupuncture, cranioscaral therapy, trigger point injections, spinal adjustments, rehab exercises, and supplements. These treatments will not mask any of the symptoms, but it will actually treat them so that the body can fully heal and recover. If you have recently been involved in a car accident and want to be treated, please call Dr. Lee at (206) 319 – 5322 or visit Seattle Naturopathic and Acupuncture Center.
Lidocaine injections are effective in reducing pain especially in the upper back and the shoulder areas by targeting the trigger point within the muscle. Trigger points of the pain are nodules within the muscle that are the source of muscle spasms, musculoskeletal disorders such as myofascial pain syndrome, fibromyalgia, neck pain, tension headaches, and lower back pain. Trigger points can trap and irritate surrounding nerves and can radiate to various other locations in the body and extremities. Some general causes of trigger points originate from injuries, other acute traumas, and or the repetition of the same injury often found in individuals with office jobs or students due to slouching over in same position for hours at a time.
Trigger point injections break the trigger point in two ways. First, the needle itself from the injection manually stimulates a muscular release. Second, the lidocaine stops the pain cycle which allows the muscle to relax. Lidocaine is a numbing medication that has a short half-life so the body is able to metabolize the compound quickly and safely. Many patients find that Lidocaine injections are an effective alternative to surgery due to its noninvasive nature and fast results.
For more information about trigger point injections or if you are interested scheduling appointment, please contact Dr. Lee at 206-319-5322 or visit Seattle Naturopathic and Acupuncture Center for more information.
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
- Lack of exercise or immobility
- Recent surgery (immobilizing the shoulder for recovery)
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.
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.
Anyone who has been in a car accident is familiar with the negative effects it can have on a person’s body. Not only can a car accident cause chronic physical stress, but emotional and cognitive stress as well. People sometimes take medication that may mask the symptoms for temporary relief not knowing that there are several natural ways to help the recovery process of the mind and body after a car accident.
Common chronic physical symptoms after a car accident include insomnia, lower back pain, whiplash, increased heart rate, headaches, and muscle pain. A common treatment for muscle pains, soreness and swelling is one called Arnica. Arnica is a plant that can be compressed to a cream, gel or ointment and applied directly to the affected area on the body. Arnica is an effective natural remedy for pain relief that doesn’t involve the side effects or dependency of prescription painkillers.
A more common natural approach to post auto accident recovery is acupuncture. Acupuncture helps to relieve pain and discomfort by stimulating the body’s self-healing capability. It is an extremely safe form of treatment without the risk of side effects of over the counter medication. It also helps treat more than just your physical pain after a car accident. Acupuncture is considered a holistic form of medicine, which means that it treats the mind and body. Therefore, acupuncture can also help relieve stress, depression and insomnia, which are some of the most common symptoms that occur.
Another natural remedy that is extremely powerful in inducing relaxation is Magnesium. Magnesium is a mineral that is proven to help you relax, distress and improve your sleep. In fact, it is often referred to as the “Relaxation Mineral”. Magnesium helps you sleep by regulating the secretion of melatonin, which is the sleep-regulating hormone. It also helps balance stress hormones, which are usually a cause of insomnia. Consuming magnesium also helps you relax because it regulates and activates the release of serotonin which helps calm the nervous system.
There is a wide range of mental and physical reactions following a traumatic event such as a car accident. If you’re interested in a more natural path to recovery or would like to talk about different treatment plans, please contact Dr. Lee at Seattle Naturopathic and Acupuncture Center or call 206-319-5322.