Self-Help and Other Treatments for Specific Health Conditions

Note: The information contained in this article is for educational purposes and is not medical advice.

Below is a list of specific health conditions with some options for self-care and professionally-assisted therapies that may help. This guide is not meant to be exhaustive or complete, but to offer suggestions that might not be mentioned elsewhere, especially self-help methods. If you are seeking health, further learning and study about your condition is recommended as there may be other effective treatments besides the ones mentioned below.

To start working with a chronic problem that is not life threatening nor quickly getting worse, it is usually a good idea to begin with inexpensive, non-invasive methods. However, it is never a mistake to consult with a physician before beginning self-help or other treatments in order to rule out the possibility that you have a life-threatening condition. If pain is severe or your condition is obviously worsening, consult a physician or knowledgeable practitioner.

Most chronic conditions have multiple causes, therefore it may take a combination of treatments, remedies, or lifestyle changes to reverse the illness. When trying to resolve a health condition, it is ultimately important to understand why you get recurrent problems and to work on the causes (not just the symptoms). For more information about your specific condition and further treatment options, see also Dr. Walt Stoll's website at www.askwaltstollmd.com.

I have written a short article about the difference between healing and curing to help you understand more about how to resolve all kinds of health problems. I suggest that you read the article first before clicking down to read about your specific condition.

Healing vs. Curing

Generally people consult a health care professional or try different healing techniques because they want to be free of an illness or set of symptoms, or resolve pain. When selecting a health care professional to work with, or when choosing a method or technique to use, it is often helpful to consider whether the focus of that practitioner or method is upon healing or curing.

Curing involves concentration upon eliminating symptoms and sometimes focuses on abnormal pathological tests. The emphasis of curing is upon removing symptoms and seeking to return you to the state you were in before you became aware of an illness or were injured. Curing techniques can be very beneficial and invaluable for temporary relief of symptoms, in emergency situations, for injuries, and for individuals whose lives do not permit healing to occur.

Healing addresses symptoms in a manner that delves to their cause or root. These causes may include such things as lifestyle, environmental influences, current or past emotions, traumatic experiences, or beliefs. Healing may explore what a symptom may be telling you about yourself. Healing uses inner power and mind/body resources to restore or create a unique balance and harmony resulting in health, vitality and joy. Thus, inner balance and overall well-being may be improved with or without a specific problem being present.

Both curing and healing play an important role in health care. They can complement each other. Curing may be an important part of healing. Curing often works on the physical level. Healing may also work on the physical level, and then explore other influences upon the health problem, such as the mental-emotional connection. This connection between the body and mind is being addressed more and more by different realms of medicine and science.

Sometimes healing can be like putting together a puzzle. A person on a healing journey may need to use several self-help methods plus consult with several practitioners of different healing modalities in order to accomplish both healing and curing. Each method and practitioner might provide a different piece to the puzzle, and harmonize in working together toward the resolution of a chronic or complex issue. Using different methods at the same time can sometimes create a kind of healing "synergy" in which the whole is more than the sum of the parts. Each individual is different, so typically one protocol will not be right for all individuals with the same condition. Thus each person must individually seek exactly what is needed for oneself.

Some therapies can often both cure and heal. Massage is one example. Massage can cure by alleviating symptoms and pain on the physical level, often producing dramatic results in one session or in a series of sessions over time. Massage can also heal, because of its holistic nature. (Holistic means addressing the wholeness of a person.) Massage touches all levels of a person's being, so a person may come into a massage session with tight muscles, but leave with a whole different state of mind and emotions. Massage has a preventive role in health care as well, by helping increase your awareness to avoid future problems.

Before you select modalities and methods to use for self-healing, be an informed health-care consumer. Learn as much as you can about your own condition and about whatever healing method you wish to try. There is a wealth of information available on the web, and my    ^ Index

Specific Health Conditions

Allergies (hypersensitivities)


Hypersensitivities or allergies are an abnormal response to a food, drug, or something in our environment that usually does not cause symptoms in most people. If you have food allergies, an elimination diet (avoiding specific foods) may help to find out which foods are causing problems and alleviate symptoms. However, since food allergies are generally related to leaky gut syndrome, healing of the intestinal lining is needed to reverse the tendency to produce the allergic response.


Self-Help Professional Assistance

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Back pain (recurrent or chronic)


A variety of problems in the muscles, tendons, bones, ligaments, or in an underlying organ, such as kidneys or colon, may cause back pain. The leading cause of back pain is now believed to be simple muscle strain or hypertension. Even if symptoms come on suddenly and are acutely painful, back pain is usually a problem that develops over a long period of time. Improper footwear, ill-fitting furniture, improper lifting, injury, and emotional or stress-related problems may all be contributors. If you have recurrent back pain, consider trying massage and self-care before using irreversable options like surgery.


Self-Help Professional Assistance

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Carpal Tunnel syndrome


Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is a repetitive stress injury, the result of repetitious movement of one or more parts of the shoulder, arm, hand, or wrist resulting in muscular, structural, or fascial (connective tissue) pain. Common symptoms include weakness, aching, burning, limited range of motion, numbness, and tingling. Repetitive movements, in and of themselves, are not always the cause of carpal tunnel syndrome. It may be related to previous injury histories, postural habits, structural factors, or traumas. This is why in a workplace some people are affected and others are not. If you have carpal tunnel syndrome, consider massage before pursuing surgery or other more invasive or irreversable options. Massage is helpful for some but not all types of carpal tunnel syndrome. If pain persists, consult a physician. Permanent damage may result if carpal tunnel syndrome is not treated in a timely manner.


Self-Help Professional Assistance


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Chronic fatigue syndrome


Symptoms associated with CFS include aching muscles and joints, anxiety, depression, difficulty concentrating, fever, headaches, intestinal problems, irritability, jaundice, loss of appetite, mood swings, muscle spasms, recurrent upper respiratory tract infections, sensitivity to light and heat, sleep disturbances, sore throat, swollen glands, temporary memory loss -- and most of all, extreme and often disabling fatigue. There are usually a combination of different factors that combine to cause chronic fatigue in susceptible individuals.


Self-Help Professional Assistance


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Costochondritis


Costochondritis is inflammation of the rib joints and attachments of intercostal muscles to the ribs, due to chronic muscle tension. This is perceived as chest pain with tenderness to one or both sides of the sternum (breast bone) that are often worse when taking a deep breath or when moving the chest wall. Other areas of the chest or ribs may be painful as well.


Self-Help Professional Assistance


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Dysautonomia


Dysautonomia is an imbalance of autonomic and endocrinological systems function due to a homeodynamic resetting, caused by stress. An effective way to help dysautonomia is to reset the hypothalamus through the practice of Skilled Relaxation and the 3LS Wellness Program.


Self-Help Professional Assistance


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Environmental illness (multiple chemical sensitivity)


Environmental illness or multiple chemical sensitivity is a disorder characterized by muscle pain, stiffness, and easy fatigability. People who are susceptible to reactions to environmental substances may become sensitive to more and more of them. There are now more chemicals in our environment that never existed on this planet before, and each of these is a burden to the immune system and each additional one magnifies the body's burden of all the rest.


Self-Help Professional Assistance


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Fibromyalgia (fibromyositis)


A disorder characterized by aching muscles and joints, anxiety, depression, difficulty concentrating, irritability, muscle spasms, sleep disturbances, and fatigue. There are usually a combination of different factors causing fibromyalgia in susceptible individuals.


Self-Help Professional Assistance




Headache (recurrent or chronic)


Headache experts extimate that about 90% of all headaches are tension headaches (experienced by muscular tension) and 6% are migraines (experienced from constriction of blood vessels). Common triggers are emotional stress (anxiety, anger, depression, etc.), tension, eyestrain (i.e. from computer use), allergies (including foods like wheat, dairy, or chocolate), constipation, using or withdrawal from coffee or alcohol, sinus pressure, hormonal imbalance, TMJ syndrome, poor posture, trauma to the head, nutritional deficiencies, drugs or tobacco, fever or other illness, and exposure to irritants. Headaches may take various forms. They may manifest as a throbbing pain, a dull pain in one area, or general pain all over the head. Neck and shoulder stiffness often occur. Reliance on painkillers can make chronic (recurrent) headaches worse by interfering with the brain's natural ability to fight headaches.


Self-Help Professional Assistance




Hypertension (high blood pressure)


A condition whereby the heart must work harder to pump an adequate amount of blood to all the tissues of the body. There are usually no symptoms until complications develop. Hypertension is not a single disease, but a syndrome with multiple causes. Hypertension is generally defined as an arterial pressure of greater than 140/90 mmHg for an extended period of time.


Self-Help Professional Assistance




Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar)


Hypoglycemia is a condition in which there is an abnormally low level of glucose (sugar) in the blood. Symptoms of hypoglycemia include nausea, sweating, weakness, faintness, confusion, hallucinations, headache, cold sweat, erection of the hair, hypothermia, irritability, bizarre behavior and fainting. Any or all of these symptoms (or others) may occur a few hours after eating sweets or fats. The onset and severity of symptoms are directly related to the length of time since the last meal was eaten and the type of foods that meal contained. Most often it is precipitated by an inadequate diet.


Self-Help Professional Assistance
  • Check for nutritional deficiencies




Insomnia


Insomnia is habitual sleeplessness. There are different kinds of insomnia, including difficulty falling asleep, or early awakening with inability to return to sleep. Insomnia can be short-term (one night) or chronic (occurring over a long period of time). Insomnia may have multiple causes, including nutritional, lifestyle, emotional, or other factors. In many cases, resolving insomnia requires changes in lifestyle to stop overstimulating the nevous system. Following healthy habits consistently will establish a healthy sleep cycle.


Self-Help Professional Assistance




Leaky gut syndrome (gastrointestinal impermeability)


LGS occurs when the lining of the intestinal tract (from the lips to the anus) is no longer perfectly protecting the inner body from the foreign substances in the outside world. It has become permeable. Conditions related to leaky gut syndrome include allergies, candida, colon problems, dysbiosis, eczema, Crohn's, irritable bowel syndrome, GERD, gastritis, hiatal hernia, celiac disease, ulcers, parasites, psoriasis, scabies, seborrhea, thrush, and yeast infections. Healing of the gastrointestinal lining is needed to prevent the passage of peptides into the blood stream, which is accomplished by learning to relax the body and abdomen. Skilled relaxation is very effective for learning this deep relaxation.


Self-Help Professional Assistance




Mental-emotional distress


Conditions like anxiety, nervousness, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, etc. may be caused by a combination of chemistry imbalance and psychosocial stress.


Self-Help Professional Assistance




Neck and shoulder pain (recurrent or chronic)



Self-Help Professional Assistance



Plantar fascitis


Pain and inflammation caused by injury to the plantar fascia of the feet, and/or by tight calf muscles. Plantar fascitis is acutely painful after prolonged immobility. Then the pain recedes but comes back with extended use. The pain feels sharp and bruise-like deep in the arch or on the heel.


Self-Help Professional Assistance





Poor health in general



Self-Help Professional Assistance

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Sciatica


Inflammation or irritation of the sciatic nerve in the back or hip causing shooting pain in the hip, leg, or feet. Sciatica may originate in the spine, or be caused by tight muscles or ligaments entrapping or impinging the sciatic nerve. If caused by tight muscles, which is common, massage and stretching are a great combination for relief.


Self-Help Professional Assistance





Shin splints


Shin splints are any generalized pain in the front of the lower leg. Shin splint is an umbrella term which covers problems such as muscular strains and hairline fractures of the bone of the leg (tibia). It is often experienced following an increased amount of exercise or use of the feet and legs. Pain may be superficial or deep, mild or severe. Shin splints are caused by pressure to the bone (tibia) and muscles of the lower leg (usually tibialis anterior). For example, if there is inadequate shock absorpotion to the feet, from flat feet, misalignment of the ankle, bad shoes, bad surfaces to walk, run, or jump on, or a combination, the tibia and muscles in the lower leg absorb a disproportionate amount of the shock. This can create excessive stretching or contracting of the muscles and jarring of the bone. Continued over time, irritation, inflammation and microtears in bone and muscles may occur. If shin splints are not resolved at this point, more serious damage may occur, such as the muscle pulling away from the bone.


Self-Help Professional Assistance





Spasms and cramps (charlie horse)



An involuntary contraction of a muscle. Spasms are considered to be low-grade, long-lasting contractions that are achy and cause inefficient movement. Cramps are short-lived and extremely painful. Causes may include factors like dehydration, nutritional deficiencies, stress, or prolonged use of a muscle.


Self-Help Professional Assistance





Sprains and strains


Any injury (tear) to a muscle or tendon.


Self-Help Professional Assistance
  • Consult a sports medicine specialist or physician if severe.





Sports injuries


Use self-care methods for minor sports injuries. For severe injuries, see a physican or sports medicine specialist. Prevent sports injuries by keeping muscles sufficiently flexible (stretching), receiving regular massages, sufficient rest and nutrition, proper body mechanics, etc.

Self-Help Professional Assistance





Thoracic outlet syndrome


Thoracic outlet syndrome is a repetitive stress injury, the result of repetitious movement of one or more parts of the shoulder or arm resulting in muscular, structural, or fascial (connective tissue) pain. Common symptoms include weakness, aching, burning, limited range of motion, tingling, shooting pain, or numbness in the arms, wrists or hands. Repetitive movements, in and of themselves, are not always the cause of thoracic outlet syndrome. The nerves or the blood vessels running to or from the arm are impinged or impaired in some way. It may be related to previous injury histories, postural habits, structural factors, or traumas.


Self-Help Professional Assistance





TMJ (tempero-mandibular joint problems)


A multitude of problems in and around the jaw including or related to neck, head, and shoulder, pain, ear pain, mouth pain, clicking or locking in the jaw, teeth grinding, and mal-occlusion (dysfunctional bite). It may be a complex problem with multiple causes including misalignment of the pelvis and spine and chronically holding tension in the body.


Self-Help Professional Assistance





Vertigo (dizziness)


True vertigo is the sensation of moving around in space or having objects move about the person and is a result of a disturbance of equilibratory apparatus. It is also called dizziness, lightheadedness, and giddiness.


Self-Help Professional Assistance
  • Assisted stretching
  • Chiropractic
  • Massage
  • Check for hypoglycemia, nutritional deficiencies, or food allergies
  • Check with a physician





Weird or unusual symptoms


Some symptoms that cannot be easy described or diagnosed as part of a specific condition may be reversed, reduced, or eliminated by increasing one's overall health condition. The 3LS Wellness Program is particularly effective at helping such symptoms, as it enhances the body's own natural healing ability and provides resources for the body to heal itself.

Self-Help Professional Assistance

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Whiplash


An umbrella term referring to a series of injuries which may occur with rapid movement of the neck. Symptoms vary according to the nature of the injury. Pain at the neck referring into the shoulders and arms and headaches are the primary symptoms.


Self-Help Professional Assistance



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