When Pain Strikes

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When pain starts to interfere in your life, here are some suggestions for relief.  Not medically approved, just something to try when pain gets too intense.


These 20 tips to reduce inflammation can be really helpful when you face some of these situations, so make sure to save this post and use it when you need it later.



5 things introverts can teach people

Do you consider yourself to an introvert, an extrovert, or a mix of the two called an ambivert.  This article by Meghan Holohan explains that introverts can teach us all a lot about being more mindful and not over-sharing so much.

By Meghan Holohan and Today

When it comes to personality, there are endless articles about extroverts’ amazing qualities and how people can best emulate extroverts. In some ways, it makes sense. Research shows that extroverts are happier, have loads of friends and feel supported. A recent paper even found that when introverts act like extroverts it boosts their moods.

a woman holding her hand to her face: TODAY, product courtesy of merchant site© Getty Images TODAY, product courtesy of merchant site

Yet, introverts bristle at always being told to act like extroverts. That because introverts know that their lives are “rich and full and not the lack of something,” Laurie Helgoe, associate professor of behavioral sciences at the Ross School of Medicine, explained to TODAY.

People’s personalities exist on a continuum from introverted to extroverted with most being an ambivert — meaning their personalities fall somewhere between extroverted and introverted. Extroverts are outgoing, impulsive and bold, while introverts feel fulfilled through solitary activities and limited, meaningful social interactions.

Introverts have some distinct qualities that other people can learn from.

1. Introverts know when to say ‘no’.

There’s a misconception that introverts dislike being around others. In fact, they do enjoying spending time with friends and family, just not as much.

“It is not the case they never want to be with other people,” Soto said. Instead, “they need to do less … with their social life.”

This means that introverts are more likely to say “no” to joining the wine and painting girls’ night, attending the local music festival, party hopping or volunteering for every PTA event.

“Everybody can still be subjected to FOMO, but I think there is that advantage that introverts have that we find refuge in solitude,” said Helgoe, who wrote the book Introvert Power.

“There is so much outside social stimulation that tells us who we should be and how to spend our time. Introverts are better able to detract from those temptations and evaluate what I want and what works for me.”

2. Introverts don’t share everything.

Whether it’s at work, a party, a child’s soccer game or the grocery store, many have encountered that person who overshares.

“Extroverts are more at risk of doing that … just dumping things on people and disclosing too much information and not having a filter,” Christopher Soto, an associate professor of psychology at Colby College, told TODAY.

An introvert, on the other hand, provides relief.

3. Introverts won’t act recklessly.

It’s less likely that person in the ER after an e-scooter accident is an introvert, experts say. While some might think it’s lame, introverts aren’t into risky behaviors and that might mean they avoid accidental injuries — and unusual causes of death.

“Sky diving, fasting driving, risky leisure activities tend to be less appealing for introverts and that’s probably good for their health,” Soto said.

4. Introverts pause before speaking.

Extroverts love it when someone tells them they’re witty or smart or interesting, so they often jump into conversations as much as possible to get the high of the validation. Introverts don’t need that reinforcement as much and feel less compelled to speak to fill space. This means they’re less likely to say the wrong thing or offer knee-jerk response.

“That is a strength that introverts have. I will sit and think of what everyone is saying,” Hegloe said. “Extroverts could allow more time to consider their responses and polish them a little to be a little more mysterious or have a poker face and let people wonder what they are thinking.”

5. Introverts observe the world.

Being mindful can reduce stress and anxiety and improve health. Introverts often engage in reflection and observation, which feels similar to mindfulness, and allows them to experience the moment.

“A pastime that is underrated and misunderstood with extroverts is observation,” Helgoe said. “Observing like an artist observes, taking in images, noticing but that is from a position of solitude. Being in the world and not of the world.”

This attention helps introverts see the world in a different way, like “a work of art or story that enriches life.”



7 Tips to Winter Camping

Wow, what a site.  I know more people would do this if they had some knowledge of what to expect.  Well the folks at Columbia Clothing have some spot-on advice for those who love the outdoors, but are hesitant to try winter camping.  Read on:

Camping or backpacking in the dead of winter can be cold business, but you will be rewarded with pristine, snowy wilderness, and very few people. And while cold-weather camping might frighten most people, it doesn’t have to be miserable. Here are a few tips to making your time in the wild during the deep days of winter more enjoyable.

Winter Camping in Alaska

  1. Eat. If you wake up cold in the middle of the night, your body most likely ran out of fuel to keep you warm. Keep a small snack next to your sleeping bag to munch on if you wake up shivering.
  2. Fill one of your water bottles with hot water and throw it in your sleeping bag. Not only will the hot water bottle help to keep your feet warm at night but it will also speed up the drying process for any of your gear that might have gotten wet.
  3. If duty calls in the middle of the night, get up and get it over with. The longer you wait, the colder you will get.
  4. Don’t go to bed cold. Drink some hot tea, run laps around your tent, or do a few squats and burpees before hopping into your sleeping bag for the night.
  5. Stuff all your clothes for the next day in the bottom of your sleeping bag and even fill in the spaces around you. This will cut down on the amount of air in your sleeping bag that your body needs to heat up, and because your body heat will warm the clothing, that also means you can put on nicely heated clothes the next morning.
  6. Wear a hat and dry, warm socks to bed to add some extra warmth.
  7. Sleep with both a closed cell foam pad and an air mattress beneath you. The closed cell foam pad will insulate you from the ground, which can suck away most of your body heat, while the air mattress will provide comfort.

Northern Lights

Incredible !


Should You Be Really Worried That Hormonal Birth Control Will Give You Breast Cancer?


According to research published in The New England Journal of Medicine, women who take hormonal birth control pills or use hormonal IUDs for years experience a small yet significant increase in their risk of breast cancer compared to those who don’t.

The study followed 1.8 million Danish women for more than 10 years and found that, for every 100,000 women, hormonal birth control caused an extra 13 cases of breast cancer a year. Specifically, there were 55 breast cancer cases each year among the 100,000 women who didn’t use hormonal birth control, and 68 cases of breast cancer among those who did.

The study didn’t find any big distinctions between the hormonal method women used—those who used combined oral contraceptives (which use estrogen and progestin) and those who used progestin-only methods each had a higher risk. Ditto for whether women used a hormonal IUD or took a pill. A woman’s risk went up the longer she used hormonal birth control, the study found. So, obviously, hormones are to blame for the increased risk, but the exact mechanisms aren’t yet known.

But before you panic, know this: The birth control-breast cancer link actually isn’t news to your doctor. Previous research has found a link between ongoing hormonal contraceptive use and breast cancer, points out Jack Jacoub, M.D., a medical oncologist and medical director of MemorialCare Cancer Institute at Orange Coast Medical Center in Fountain Valley, California. For instance, a large-scale 2010 study found that birth control pills came with a “marginally significant higher risk” of breast cancer.

However, older versions of hormonal birth control had more estrogen than current versions, and many medical professionals have assumed that the risk has been lowered with the newer versions. Still, “we’ve known this for a long time,” Jacoub says.

Jacoub says that women “definitely should not freak out about this,” but notes that it’s good to be aware of the risks. Given that being on hormonal birth control for a long period of time raises your risk, he says it’s a good idea to try to cut back on how long you use it or, at least, try to swap in some non-hormonal methods after you’ve been on a hormonal method for years. If you have a strong family history of breast cancer, Jacoub says it’s a good idea to talk to your doctor about potentially switching to a non-hormonal birth control method. So, for example, you might switch from a hormonal IUD to the copper version. (And it’s always a good idea to keep condoms on hand—these LELO Hex condoms from the Women’s Health Boutique ship in discreet packaging.)

Ultimately, though, you shouldn’t stress about this. Just be aware and informed about the pros and cons of any birth control method you use. Breast cancer development depends on a whole slew of factors, Jacoub says, and taking hormonal birth control alone is unlikely to cause you to develop breast cancer.

Korin Miller is a freelance writer specializing in general wellness, sexual health and relationships, and lifestyle trends, with work appearing in Men’s Health, Women’s Health, Self, Glamour, and more.
NOTE:  This web site has a video on how to do a thorough breast exam.  It is graphic so if you are embarrassed at the site of a bare breast, don’t watch.  However, this self-exam is something that can save your life or the life of a loved-one.  Please watch it and then apply what you’ve learned on a routine basis.  I just want to thank Women’s Health Magazine for showing this most important video.


Everything You Need to Know About Going to a Weight Loss Clinic

Johnnie Mae holding a guitar: The term "weight loss clinic" can mean almost anything. Here's what obesity experts say to look for to lose weight safely, and avoid getting scammed.

© Jose Luis Pelaez Inc The term “weight loss clinic” can mean almost anything. Here’s what obesity experts say to look for to lose weight safely, and avoid getting scammed.

Losing weight is easy for no one, and there is zero shame in deciding you need help.

The problem is, between commercial plans, storefront medi-spas, fad diets, wellness influencers hawking unproven supplements, and other kinds of get-thin-quick schemes (some with doctors associated with them), it’s hard to know where to begin.

And for a country as populous as ours—with more than 70% of U.S. adults considered overweight or obese, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention—there are relatively few stand-alone, one-stop shopping clinics that allow you to get the multi-disciplinary approach to healthy weight loss that works the best, says Rehka Kumar, M.D., medical director of the American Board of Obesity Medicine (ABOM) and an assistant professor at Weill Cornell Medical College in New York City.

Why do you want a team? Because carrying too much body weight can lead to or worsen other health issues, so depending on your complicating factors, your pit crew might include a cardiologist, a gastroenterologist, a nutritionist, an exercise physiologist and a behavioral therapist, she says. “If we are all working on different things related to a patient’s weight together, that’s a more comprehensive approach,” says Dr. Kumar, who is also an endocrinologist at the Comprehensive Weight Control Center, part of Weill Cornell Medicine.

Major universities like Cornell often have full-service weight loss programs—Boston University, New York University, and UCLA are just a few—so a university-affiliated research hospital in the nearby city is a good place to start. Geisinger Weight Loss and Bariatric Surgery in Danville, Pa., was mentioned by a few of Prevention’s experts, as was The UT Center for Obesity Medicine and Metabolic Performance in Austin; The Vanderbilt Weight Loss Center in Nashville; The Emory Bariatric Center in Atlanta, and others. The Obesity Medicine Fellowship Council also has a list of universities around the country that offer fellowship programs, which indicates the institution has physicians experienced enough in treating obesity that they are training others.

But if you don’t live close to one of those, you may need to piece it together on your own. Here’s how to get started:

Look for a board-certified obesity medicine specialist.

Your primary care physician is a great person to ask, says Dr. Kumar. Your doc may be certified already (there are currently around 3,000 diplomates in obesity medicine) or able to refer you to someone who is. You can also try the provider locator at the Obesity Medicine Association. “This site will specifically mention doctors that are board-certified in obesity medicine, which means they passed an example and have some minimal competency in this field,” she says.

Obesity Action, an advocacy group that raises awareness about and improves access to the prevention and treatment of obesity, also has a locator for screened providers, and includes input from ABOM and other professional organizations such as the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery and the Obesity Society, says James Zervios, the group’s VP of marketing and communications. While only physicians can be board-certified, this listing features nurse practitioners, dietitians, and mental health pros as well.

If a certified doctor does not have a team in her practice, she will likely have other providers to refer you to, say, an endocrinologist or physical therapist if your weight has caused arthritis or if your hormones are out of balance. They can then communicate to make sure you’re getting a personalized approach.

Pop by for a free consultation.

“A good facility should sit you down for free in a low-pressure setting and explain their approach,” says Craig Primack, M.D., ABOM’s board president and co-founder of the Scottsdale Weight Loss Center in Scottsdale, Ariz.. That conversation should cover what kinds of diets they put together for patients, what sort of exercise counseling they offer, behavior modification (classes or individual nutritional counseling), and what medications they have seen success with. You should expect to be charged for a medical consultation, says Dr. Primack, but not to walk in the door. If you feel like you’re being given a hard sales pitch, you’re likely in the wrong place.

Try telemedicine.

If you don’t live near an academic center or a comprehensive facility, making an initial visit to one, and then doing your follow-up remotely with a doctor near you is an option. “There are parts of the Midwest where you may not have people within 100 to 200 miles,” says Dr. Kumar. Telemedicine uses computer and video technology to allow access to specialists when none are nearby.

Make sure they’re practicing evidence-based medicine.

“Just because the sign says ‘medical weight loss’ doesn’t mean they’re practicing medicine,” says Dr. Primack. Dr. Kumar advises asking if what you’re getting is an FDA-approved treatment or medication. Another sign of a reputable place: they accept and bill insurance. Some doctors, of course, are out of network, but insurance tends to cover therapies that are approved for the treatment of obesity.

Consider your own comfort.

Does the waiting room have furniture that’s designed for bigger people? Is the staff sensitive and nonjudgmental? Is this a place where you feel safe talking about your body? “You might have a very attractive weight loss clinic, but it might not actually be comfortable for patients of a certain size,” says Dr. Kumar.

Check out the equipment.

All weight loss facilities are for people who want to lose a weight, but they’re not all equipped to treat major obesity. Dr. Primack says some of his patients are there to lose a relatively little weight, and some a lot more. “Do they have a scale that goes up to at least 600 pounds?” he asks. And they should have the current technology to measure body fat composition, not a simple scale.

Ask for stats.

“You want to know what the odds are you’re going to benefit from a program,” says Steve Heymsfield, M.D., president of the Obesity Society and a professor at the Pennington Biomedical Research Center in New Orleans. ”Good programs offer real information.” That’s not the same as promising a specific amount of weight loss, he emphasizes. “Be wary of promises, like a guarantee to lose 30 pounds in a month,” says Dr. Kumar. “Not everyone responds the same way to treatment.”

Make sure there’s a solid follow-up plan.

Even if you’re doing well on your program, you want to be in regular touch with your doctors, says Dr. Primack. “Are they continuing to monitor your body fat composition, and are they doing blood work to make sure what you’re doing isn’t harming you?” he asks. Some of his patients come in every month or two, whereas some longer-term patients come in every six months. “Obesity is not cured—it’s treated,” he says. “It’s better to know you have a place that you can go back to.”

Heed these red flags:

  • HCG injections or pills: If a facility offers HCG for weight loss (it stands for human chorionic gonadotropin, a hormone women produce when they’re pregnant), walk out the door, say Drs. Kumar and Primack. The HCG Diet, a very low-calorie plan that involves taking HCG supplements, was all the rage a few crazes ago. But there is no FDA-approved over-the-counter HCG drug for weight loss, and the prescription form is meant for fertility issues, and is not effective for weight loss.
  • Claims of miracle results: If anyone says, “I’m going to cure you of your weight problem—that’s a deal breaker,” says. Dr. Primack.
  • Mandatory supplements. “That could be a way some of these borderline places make money, by offering various weeds that you’re going to eat,” says Dr. Heymsfield. “None of them have any efficacy to speak of.” Dr. Kumar agrees. “I’m not saying that there’s no good medicine being practiced there, but it’s important to make sure what they’re doing is evidence-based.”
  • A heavy emphasis on appearance. Of course we all want to look good, and if you feel losing weight will help, that may be one of your motivations. But the focus in a quality facility will be on your health, not on the aesthetic, says Dr. Kumar. “If there’s an emphasis on the cosmetic, that’s a different kind of practice,” she says.

By Stephanie Dolgoff and Prevention Magazine