Medical Conditions Treated
Millions of people are affected by fibromyalgia, cancer or lymphedema. We offer a variety of complementary and alternative therapies to help manage these conditions. The following information provides some statistics and resources.
Fibromyalgia is diagnosed by ruling out other causes. In addition, 11 out of 18 tender points in different quadrants of the body are identified as being actively painful. The cause of fibromyalgia is under debate. However, it does seem to run in families or be triggered by a stressful event.
Treatments for fibromyalgia include medications, adequate sleep, proper nutrition, hands-on therapies and complementary therapies. Massage, reflexology, cranial sacral therapy, energy work, gentle stretching, and acupuncture all help to reduce pain. Fibromyalgia is managed, not cured.
Resources for Fibromyalgia:
- National Fibromyalgia Association (http://www.fmaware.org/)
- Fibromyalgia Network (www.fmnetnews.com)
- National Institute of Arthritis & Musculoskeletal & Skin Diseases (http://www.niams.nih.gov/Health_Info/Fibromyalgia/default.asp)
- Fibromyalgia Coalition International (www.fibrocoalition.org)
- American Fibromyalgia Syndrome Association (www.afsafund.org)
- National Fibromyalgia Partnership (http://www.fmpartnership.org)
- Fibromyalgia and Chronic Myofascial Pain Syndrome: A Survival Manual. Written by Devin Starlanyl MD and Mary Ellen Copeland MS, MA, this book explains how fibromyalgia and chronic myofascial pain affect many aspects of the sufferer’s life and gives suggestions on how to make life more comfortable. This book, written by people diagnosed with FMS and MPS, is a must-have for all afflicted with these diagnoses.
The World Health Organization estimates that worldwide there are 5.4 million smoking-related deaths each year. Smoking is linked to 30% of cancer deaths and 87% of lung cancer deaths. Smoking increases the risk of developing 15 types of cancers. In addition, smoking can lead to higher risk of heart disease, stroke, lung issues, and gastric ulcers.
The American Cancer Society estimates that in 2009, over 192,000 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer. The American Cancer Society recommends that women age 40 and older should have a mammogram every year. Women in their 20′s and 30′s should have a clinical breast exam by a health expert. Women in their 20′s should start breast self exams and report any changes to a health professional as soon as possible.
Some changes include, but are not limited to: lump or swelling, skin irritation or dimpling, nipple pain or the nipple turning inward, redness or scaliness of the nipple or breast skin, or a discharge other than breast milk.
Women with a higher risk of breast cancer (over 50, breast abnormalities, race, high fat diet, radiation exposure, environmental pollutants) should talk with their doctor about the best approach for them.
Even though mammograms are recommended, thermography detects breast cancer at an earlier stage when there are fewer cancer cells. Mammography is about 70%-80% effective in diagnosing breast cancer. Inflammatory breast disease, one of the fastest growing cancers, cannot be detected by mammography. Thermography is a non-invasive procedure approved by the FDA in 1982. No contact is made with your body and no radiation is used. Thermography uses Digital Infrared Thermal Imaging. Thermography is usually not covered by insurance. Thermography is an adjunct to mammograms and does not replace mammograms. The Cometa Wellness Center in Lutherville offers Thermography.
“Phluffing your girls” is an excellent way to keep your lymph flowing in your breasts. http://www.cherylchapman.com/pdf/phluff.pdf
Inflammatory Breast Disease (most aggressive)
Inflammatory Breast Disease is the most aggressive of all breast cancers. Inflammatory breast disease cannot be detected by mammography and is most commonly seen in younger women. Cancer cells block lymph vessels in the skin of the breast. Diagnosis is based on biopsy and the doctor’s judgment. The prognosis is always poor. Early detection provides the best hope of survival. Some symptoms include:
- Red, purple, or pink coloration or bruising
- Tenderness, firmness, enlargment
- Warm feeling
- Ridged or textured skin, like an orange
- Thickened areas of the skin
- Enlarged lymph nodes under the arm or collarbone area
- Flattening/retraction of nipple
- Swollen/crusted nipple
- Change in color of skin around nipple
Inflammatory Breast Cancer Association (http://www.ibchelp.org)
The American Cancer Society estimates that in 2009, over 192,000 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer. Prostate cancer is usually a slow growing cancer. A prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test and a digital rectal exam aid the doctor in detecting prostate cancer.
Lymphedema occurs when one or more lymph nodes have been removed. Lymphedema can occur when only one lymph node is removed and can happen 10-20 years after lymph node removal. Measuring the extremities and ankle, knee, wrist, and elbow joints can provide an indication if the limbs are starting to swell. Contact your doctor right away if you suspect lymphedema. The earlier you get treatment, the more successful you’ll be at reducing the severity of lymphedema.
Precautions After Lymph Node Removal:
- Do keep the affected limb clean and moist. This routine keeps the skin from cracking and from possible infection.
- Do notify your doctor if you notice swelling, redness, or increased pain in the affected limb.
- Do avoid injury or trauma to the affected limb.
- Do avoid insect bites.
- Do avoid cutting your cuticles.
- Do use a thimble when sewing.
- Do wear rubber gloves when doing the dishes or yardwork.
- Do use an electric razor when shaving.
- Do avoid sunburns.
- Do wear closed-toe shoes.
- Do wear a medical tag indicating that nothing is to be done on affected limb.
- Do check with your doctor before traveling to see if you need to wear a compression garment.
- Do get up and walk if sitting for long periods of time.
- Do eat a healthy diet and drink lots of water.
- Do NOT have new tattoes.
- Do NOT use sauna, hot tub, or hot packs on affected limb.
- Do NOT restrict lymphatic flow with tight clothing, jewelry, or watches.
- Do NOT do weight or resistance exercises using the affected limb.
- Do NOT lift more than five pounds with the affected limb.
- Do NOT have acupuncture on affected limb.
- Do NOT have blood pressure checked on affected limb.
- Do NOT have blood drawn from affected limb.
- Do NOT give injections on the affected limb.
- Do NOT accept IV’s in the affected limb.
- Do NOT do finger sticks on the affected limb.
Remember…these precautions are for the rest of your life!