It started without injury. Tingling in your fingers wakes you. There’s a kind of numbing pain moving down your arm. What is going you ask yourself. You’ve experienced aching pain in your back. More specifically the area between the shoulder blades that’s when it dawns on you; your back pain is thoracic outlet syndrome. The pain and numbness are symptoms of TOS.
The Facts About Thoracic Outlet Syndrome Or TOS
Maybe you’ve not heard about thoracic outlet syndrome or TOS for short. Yet it affects approximately 8% of the population, with a female to male ratio of up to 4:1. Most people experience TOS in their 40’s. It doesn’t affect both sides of the body though it’s more common on the dominate side.
How can you deal with this? It’s not just the back pain. You can’t sleep without neck pain. There’s discoloration in your hand and you feel weak in your arm. The big deal is it’s affecting your life.
The computer, the piano, even driving are bothersome. Any time you have your arm up this nagging pain happens in your back with all these arm problems. It’s all thoracic outlet syndrome.
Using Acupuncture For TOS
Acupuncture is essential in your recovery. I know because it’s something I see weekly. Many times new patients come in saying they have carpel tunnel; it turns out they have TOS. Even doctors are confused when rendering a diagnosis. My discovery is your carpel tunnel improves when we do acupuncture on your mid to high back there’s some component of Thoracic outlet syndrome. One essential ingredient is having an accountability partner in your acupuncturist around thoracic outlet syndrome exercises. It is part of how I personally work with my patients.
Symptoms include neck, shoulder, and arm pain, numbness in the fingers, or impaired circulation and flushed sensations to the extremities (causing discoloration). The involved upper extremity can feel weak. Often symptoms worsen when you raise your arm above the shoulder or extended. You can have symptoms from mild and intermittent to severe and constant.
Now What Are You Going To Do To Stop The Pain?
Creating a plan of action can help you end or manage your TOS. Of course I would suggest acupuncture. Because I see patients recover from thoracic outlet syndrome at a rate of 96% it’s essential you try it and Wintergreen Essential oil at home nightly. I would also suggest you meet with a medical massage therapist. Acupuncture for pain relief is one of the best things you can do today for yourself. Most health insurance benefits will cover acupuncture as therapy please don’t live with pain and numbness due to thoracic outlet syndrome.
Some articles of interest for you. http://my.clevelandclinic.org/services/heart/disorders/hic_Thoracic_Outlet_Syndrome
 1. Watson LA, Pizzari T, Balster S. Thoracic outlet syndrome part 1: Clinical manifestations, differentiation and treatment pathways. Man Ther. 2009;14:586–95. [PubMed]
There’re a million reasons’ to have someone help you with health and lifestyle but figuring out what type of mentor can be rough. Last fall, a new client asked me why she should invest money and time in coaching at all! It’s a great question. Knowing the key ingredients of a good health coach can help you decide if you want a life coach, business coach, or a health coach.
First, these are not the same thing and often a health coach does lifestyle coaching while a life coach is not qualified to mentor on health and wellness. Having three coaches can be expensive, though trying to find one person who ‘does it all’ can be disastrous to your business, life, and health. Below is a list of traits and guidelines you want in an integrative health coach.
The Integrative Health Coach
An integrative health coach is someone who works with your health issues and has expertise in relationships, fitness, careers, and the big one – Spirituality often referred to as mindfulness or mindset. Food, home cooking, recipes, different dietary theories all play a part. Top on the list of key ingredients of a good integrative health coach is they understand what is happening in your life is just as important what you put inside your body.
Next – The Key Ingredients Of A Good Health Coach
What your integrative health coach is like:
- Is Happy to see you! They create a strong first impression. They’re friendly, create safety, and make you feel okay to be yourself.
- They’re okay with you being a little nervous. They help you build confidence and self-esteem.
- They want to hear what you have to say and actually encourage you to speak while they listen.
- They understand your primary health concerns and that life can be a factor. They help you invest in wellness approaches that you choose, not the other way around.
- An integrative health coach can empathize and support your journey and progress.
- They understand that YOU understand what’s going on with yourself and you just need a little help, accountability, or support.
- They care about your family, friends, children, and pets. They really do and know the names and events happening in your life.
- As great listeners, they use mirroring by repeating things you share creating clarity around your future.
- They catch subtle things that are important. The way you turn a nasty shade of green when asked if you like tomatoes or that you ball your hand into a fist when talking about your ex-mother-in-law.
- A great integrative coach introduces humor into conversations knowing that smiles are healing medicine for the mind and the body,
- They love you up. Simply they are non-judgmental and accept you just as you are. Guiding and helping you where you feel comfortable not forcing you or judging you.
- Finally, they help you breathe because they know life can make you feel overwhelmed and that we often forget to just slow down and breathe.
Integrative Health Coaches Mesh With Business Coaches
A good integrative health coach will hold you accountable for your commitments and they will offer ideas or suggestions that fit you; they don’t spend time ‘telling’ you what you should do better or differently.
In turn, they aren’t a business coach. I remember one of my business coaches a few years back. He wanted me to write a book every 3 months starting with taking my bestselling book, Unleashing Your Hidden Potential and ‘rewriting’ it into a book for women and then another ‘copy’ for men. His thinking was it gave me three books to market and grow my business. It didn’t matter to him that they would be technically the same book. It did matter to me. I found another business coach.
Health coaches aren’t business coaches nevertheless they mesh helping you have true success. A good business coach will have the same key ingredients of a good health coach. Both understand that the important component is you. Your happiness is essential to success in health, life, and business. Business coaches come and go a fully integrative health coach works with life and health.
Self-care is a growing in popularity across the globe. Health and self-care are becoming a priority in many lives. In China, lifestyle value is now no. 1. In France, 71% of the population says taking care of yourself is the key to happiness.
In the early 1900’s before canned goods, fast foods, and GMO’s getting enough fresh air, clean water, and medicine were important; but this isn’t a history lesson even so it’s fun to watch PBS shows like Downton Abbey to get a glance at the past. Today we must consciously focus on our health.
What Does Taking Care Of Yourself Mean To You?
Are you taking care of yourself? I only ask the question because I believe it can mean different things to different people. What does it mean to you? One client says that it means not eating fast food or drinking pop. Another client researched eating vegan and slowly moved in that direction. Today she has reached her goal in weight loss. Taking better care of oneself is individual to you. Taking care of yourself mentally also is important.
Our health is personal. We think about it more when we feel sick or have pain. Looking in the mirror unhappy at your image wishing you weigh twenty pounds less are both emotional and physical. Being an acupuncturist and certified health coach part of my job is talking about self care ideas with you if you want.
Einstein believed our health affected everything and that our mind or emotions controlled our health. Health coaches believe this too. You might be struggling to sleep knowing how to stop the endless runaway thoughts might help. If it’s hot flashes, back pain, or one of the other millions of things that interfere with weight, sleep, or happiness you’ll benefit from these home ideas.
Acupuncture Fits Into Wellness
- Whether it’s problems sleeping or weight, food really is medicine or poison. The question is which is it in your life? Knowing what kind of eating habits work for you and which foods enhance your wellness is the first place to begin feeling better.
One way to do this is to keep a food journal for 3 to 5 days. Eat normally. Watch which days after each meal you feel your best or worse. This includes pain. Here is how it works. Some foods increase inflammation and fluid retention. These symptoms in turn create pain. Others foods create gas, bloating, even sleepless nights. I am not talking only about caffeine. Many people have difficult nights if they eat too late.
- Are you exercising? Maybe it’s too late at night or too much or heavy. Perhaps you’re doing everything right; how do you know. Feeling overwhelmed yet?
Don’t be – walking daily or most days can help the pain, reduce weight, and help you sleep. It’s hard to get walking wrong. Start easy. Working out heavy within 2-3 hours of bedtime can keep you awake; even cause pain that wakes you in the middle of the night. It’s about muscle contraction if you don’t cool down and stretch correctly restless leg is a real possibility.
By the way, too little exercise does mean problems. The solution take a walk daily or as often as you can.
- Acupuncture helps, it does. For centuries people considered acupuncture a solo therapy along with herbal medicine along with diet and fitness. They improved quickly without physical therapy. We overdo it sometimes with modern medicine.
Not all acupuncture though is equal. Using emotional style acupuncture helps with insomnia, stress, and anxiety. We couple that with muscle meridian acupuncture for pain, tight muscles, and other physical problems. Being skilled in multiple styles means better care for you period.
As an acupuncturist, one of the most exciting and challenging therapies is using acupuncture for weight loss or fertility. It is also very rewarding. When you help someone fit into a smaller size outfit and feel more confidence, and happier it’s a great day. When a patient calls you sharing that they’re pregnant, it’s a day to celebrate.
When Acupuncture Doesn’t Fit Into Self Care
I don’t believe acupuncture fits every health problem. Some people can’t get to an acupuncturist so we make do with what we have locally.
I had a patient in North Carolina who the nearest acupuncturist was 3 hours away. We used the first two steps. Most important for Jerry was his mindset and determination to succeed. His problems centered on a recent divorce. Weighing nearly 25 pounds more than healthy, having pain, not able to sleep he added in virtual health coaching instead of acupuncture.
Taking care of yourself takes is personal. Start with small steps. Seek help when you can and know every change toward a healthier you is a step in the right direction.
Nielsen study, 2014
Images purchased: DreamsTime
Creating a Healthy Mindset
To live totally in the present is a moment-by-moment thing. Because there is no such thing as time living in the past is similar to being in a dream or fog. There simply is the moment or now. Each cell in our bodies’ continually renews this is health. Every thought moves forward if we allow it.
Our thoughts move into a new dimension. The question we have to ask ourselves is, ‘does thought exist in the past?’
My answer, “only when it’s a cancer of sorts.’ When a cell in our bodies’ stagnates and doesn’t renew this becomes cancer. Why is living in our past story much different?
It took me a full year to change a mindset I held, looking back personally I do feel that my brain was feeding a situation in my life. Once I formed a new mindset I was able to move forward having success in that area of my life within days. Today I can change unhappy moments within hours because of the new brain I possess – a healthy thinking brain.
Health coaching clients often tell me they experience the same thing using the tools from my health coaching. So what is Cancer of the mind?
Cancer Of the Mind – The Importance of Living Totally In the Present
Experiencing pain in our lives is inevitable. Often though we choose to suffer along with this experience. We continue the story in our lives and in our mind. It literally imprints on our human cells. This is the scientific fact  our brains can remember events that are emotionally easier than a daily activity that is rote.
Do you remember what you wore the second Tuesday of last month or last Tuesday for that matter? Unless something eventful happened, you might not. If you met a new love interest, I bet you do. When I pose this question to acupuncture clients they always remember when they met their significant other.
According to Robert Sanders, at UC Berkeley News Center [http://newscenter.berkeley.edu/2011/06/14/new-neurons-help-to-remember-fear/] Berkeley neuroscientists recent research studies show that fear burns memories into our brain.
These memories often are unpleasant and tend to become life-stories of hard times. We wear a badge of honor into the ‘me too’ club of pain and suffering.
We all have these times you don’t have to join this metaphoric club. Health coaching focuses on helping you escape this group and move into a happier life.
Living totally in the present reduces physical pain too and end suffering. This allows us to focus on what we want in our life. This cancer of the mind affects our body too by sending pain signals setting up patterns that are hard to break without tools like acupuncture.
Living Totally In The Present – Leaving The Past Where It Belongs
They also believe other highly emotional experiences lead to incredibly strong memories too. This can be the birth of your child or the day your spouse proposes.
This is one reason we love rituals around important events in our lives. It helps us to remember vividly a feeling of happiness that counter-balances the times we felt fear.
Nature knows most women fear the birth process so it sends chemicals soaring through our bodies as our newborn enters the world changing our mindset.
Science knows that neurons form based on our thoughts. If we continue to think in a negative pattern, our brainpower will give us resolutions that always have a negative effect on our thinking.
Robert Sapolsky’s lab at Stanford University is conducting studies on Gage’s theory that new neurons are especially sensitive to input two weeks after they form.
Their data shows that new neurons forming in the brain can develop ‘active’ connections, leading to happy thoughts, peace of mind, and the ability to bounce back from emotions of fear or stress.
While they are doing this chemically [through the use of drugs], other natural methods abound! Brain Gym is proof of mental retraining.
Laying New Pathways For Living Totally In The Present
Neuropathways connect inside our brain in patterns. These neurons store information or stimuli. If tall, dark men remind you of your loving father, you’ll feel a sense of peace. On the other hand, if your father was abusive, you’ll have a sense of fear even though you may not be conscious of this effect.
Muscle tense and irritability may increase all because of an unconscious response.
This held true with a distant family member for me. They always found ways to make me feel unwanted and small. Changing my own feelings about this person helped me recover.
When we are faced with a negative emotion, to reprogram the brain – literally, we must lay down new pathways so we can live totally in the present. Acupuncture can help stimulate the process while you use gratitude and forgiveness at home.
It sounds silly, but I and many clients have proven this theory many times. In my case, I started seeing the degrading behavior as a way to grow and be better. It taught me kindness, love, and finding joy in the faces of my small children at the time.
I also had to move past the anger and forgive this person. The surprise came when I forgave myself. I’ve found that we all feel we allowed these things to happen to us or we deserved the treatment in some way. I call these esteem-breakers. Also, we aren’t ourselves during these times and lash out at innocent people who don’t deserve our anger.
Using Affirmations And Meditation Really
If you’ve followed my articles long, you know I believe in using daily meditation and affirmations. In my own life, the initial change began right away but took months to feel it. Reprogramming your thinking is taught at Harvard, Stanford, and many other prestigious universities known for their research in medicine.
Health coaching methods help us use these tools to move you out of living in the past and totally in the present. It starts the first time you do it though you might not notice a change in yourself yet. Remember from a scientific point of view, you’re laying down new pathways.
It doesn’t matter if you do this once daily or multiple times. It’s consistency that matters. Set the same time daily aside. I do this first thing in the morning. You can start with one, two, five minutes. Today I enjoy being in a state of bliss and peace for 30 minutes each morning. You do not need to do this. It is part of my career it may not be your calling so don’t worry about how long you spend, just do it daily
Set a mantra for yourself. Are you working on being happy and feeling joy? Then use that as your affirmation. ‘I am happy and full of joy.” With health coaching we may work with other affirmations around weight loss, or insomnia, even careers.
I felt so silly saying this in my own mind at first. Silently I added ‘thank goodness no one can hear me.’ Don’t worry only you and whatever you believe in can hear you. Often we don’t feel we deserve to feel joy and be happy. This is where forgiving ourselves comes into the mantra.
Let Yourself Off The Hook
For any of this to work, you have to do it. Once I began forgiving myself and others, things moved fast. Clients share it’s like lightning going off in their lives. They aren’t angry, they laugh more, and love more fully.
When we start living in the now, we begin to see a future creating a mental equivalent of what we desire to create in our lives. Seeing a better future is only possible when we have a mindset that supports us.
Shawn Achor is an expert in positive psychology with a dozen distinguished teaching awards at Harvard University, where he delivered lectures in Dr. Tal Ben-Shahar’s class “Positive Psychology,” the most popular class at Harvard, confirms that growing new neuro-pathways in our brains is possible by using repetition.
The principle is simple. Right now, you repeat your story daily to someone or in your mind. Just change your story by using this tool. Do the meditation; repeat your mantra with breathing once daily then say it to yourself as often as you can. If you do this, every time your negative story pops in your mind you’ll replace it with new neuron connections in your body, especially your brain.
While it doesn’t change the past, it allows living totally in the present to be your way of life. Enjoying the things that now are free to come your way will appear when you’re open to receiving.
All photos Dreamstime Copyright.
Science articles into cell reprogramming is not new you can read more about it here, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3150836/.