tv Bay Area Focus With Susan Sikora CW December 4, 2011 8:00am-8:30am PST
welcome to the show. i'm susan sikora. most of us who are pain-free cannot imagine living a flief constant pain. but consider this, chronic pain afflicts over 50 million americans and there is a good chance at least one member of every family will fall prey to it. so says dr. peter, medical director and cofounder of the bay area pain and wellness center in los gatos. how do you manage chronic pain? a diet of painkillers your only relief what are the causes?
for answers we welcome the doctor. good to have you here. >> thank you. >> let's talk about chronic pain and aassume and in my intro i wrote it that way is that chronic pain is constant and never leaves. >> is it true. it's by definition chronic and very different than acute pain which is what we experience we experience when we first get injured like we break a bone or tear a ligament and inflammation and swelling and we know that hurts a lot. as the injuries starts to heal and the pain goes away. very different than chronic pain where the acute injury has no longer there and maybe it's healed itself but the pain persists and that becomes the disease itself. and it becomes much more than a ligment or a bone. it becomes something that affects the whole person. >> in other words the cause of the pain can go away but the pain is still there. >> that's what i'm saying. >> all right. i would think when you think of chronic pain you think of people who have constant back pain or my mother has osteoarthritis so her knee is
constantly hurting her unless she takes painkillers. migraine headaches. other parts of the body or mostly bone stuff from headaches? >> certainly in my experience back problems is the biggest source of chronic pain i think in our society. that's definitely probably number one on the list. low back and next problems. it can affect any part of the body. it-- you can have chronic pain in your little pinky finger and that can be in some places debilitating. wherever it is in the body or whatever the source is, it becomes a whole person problem for most people. >> i assume if the pain is hanging on and lingering and not receding or going away like the acute pain then that's the time see a doctor. i would assume that most people make a trip to the drugstore first and get over the counter. either ask for an ibuprofen or something like that to relieve the pain. how long will that work with chronic pain? >> well, unfortunately there is no magic medication that works
really well in treating chronic pain and it's not a simple go to the drugstore, find the right pill or right medication that's going to make you feel a whole lot better for many folks who are struggling with chronic pain. they don't find a solution in the drugstore. >> and you are talking are you talking over the counter or also prescription. actually boat. both. as you said people start with over the counter and we know that we spend a couple billion dollars every year on over the counter painkillers and we spend another $13 billion a year on prescription painkillers and we know that despite all the meds we take and all of the money we spend on them they leave us feeling worse, not better. >> so let's say people will try the over the counter stuff probably and maybe they realize then that doesn't work. so now it's time to go to the doctor. do you go to your primary physician or find a specialist? >> i think most folks start with their primary care doctor and complaints of pain is actually the number one reason why a patient goes and sees
their doctor. and usually the primary care doctor is going to try to problem solve or work with the patient and see if they can come up with what they think the causes or the problems are and then guide them or direct them into the right pathways that they think will help. >> what are the causes be -- if over the counter medications don't work and prescription drugs don't work. the painkillers can't take the pain away. sitting and talking to you and we find out and let's say i slipped and fell on my beck and so -- deck. when i did that i started to get some back pain and now it's chronic. would that be -- i can't undo the fall. what do i do here? >> you can't go back in time. what makes chronic pain so complicated is it's no longer just landing on your tailbone where you fall and you bad bruise becomes a problem affects one muscle connected to the next bone and then everything gets affected by that slowly and surely the next thing you know you
overcompensating leaning off to one side and that side starts to hurt and the knee starts to hurt and maybe you're tenzing your back muscles and maybe starting to hurt in your shoulders and before you know it you are not sleeping well at night and you start to become irritable and fatigued and energy levels goes down. >> life is a ball of cherries. >> and everything is out of whack and that makes it a challenging problem to work with. >> you say -- you wrote a book called take charge of your chronic pain. and at any rate in your book you discuss three important truths. you say it's truth and think and dare. let's talk about the first. don't depend on the medical system. i'm assuming because it sounds to me that it's a problem for you to figure out my pain as well as it is for me no do it. and if we figure it out we still don't know exactly what to do? >> my first part is called truth because what i try to do there is bring up what i think are real life real statistic real scientific proven facts
about treating chronic pain and understanding chronic pain that i don't think the public gets access to that type of information. and one of the reasons why i wrote this book is our health care system is broken. and it's broken when we are trying to help people work through chronic pain issues and i felt like i can sit at my office every day and complain about how poorly the system is working for so many people that i see every day or i can try to do something about it. and give the public more access to information that really are not getting. >> what about tests like mris and cat scans and all of that? we had this nuclear medicine you can go under a machine and look at you and shouldn't one of those pictures tell you as a doctor what's wrong with my back or head or whatever is hurting? >> yes and no. sometimes the tests like mris give us very valuable information. and sometimes they can be a little misleading. for example if you took mris of ten people with no low back pain, six of them will have
bulging disk in their low back but they have no symptoms. we overdepend on technology and tests like that to understand what's going on with the whole person, the big picture, sometimes we miss the boat and sometimes it becomes misleading. so we have to be very careful how we use the technology. >> we will take a break. when we come back we will talk about the second part which is think, the brown. how the brain deals with this. and also what do you do if you go to the doctor and the doctor says look, this is all in your head. and you say, no, it's in my back. what do you do about that when we return. how you doing? my name is steve. my family's lived in this neighborhood for years. recently, things got so tight we had to go to our local food bank for help. i lost a lot of sleep worrying about what the neighbors might think. that is, until i saw them there, too. how'd i do, steve? a little stiff. you could have done a little better.
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care club. >> shipping is free, and so is the call. [♪...] >> i'm glad i did! welcome back. my guest is dr. peter abchy and a cr who deals with chronic pain. he has written a book called take charge of your chronic pain. if i get your book i know you want know read it and be informed but can i do it myself? a do it yourself project for chronic pain? >> is it but the book will help you find the right resources that you can tap into to help you so you don't have to do this all by your shf. >> is that easily done by most people who are stressed because they don't have a job right now or trying to keep heart and home together or by people who do have jobs and don't have time to go out and do research on their medical issues once they get home and are exhausted. >> balance is key to overcoming
chronic pain and having a balanced life. in you are overworked or overtaxed or overstressed it makes it hard to manage your pain well. >> you talk about in that book you talk about three different areas. we just talked about truth. the second one ewith will take on is think. how the brain deals with pain. this also involves stress. inactivity and the mind, body, spirit and connection. hello, deepak chopra. rts not in my head. it's connected to my spirit. if my mind is not going well emotionally if i have a broken relationship? if i have some other issues that are worrying me constantly am i destined to have chronic pain? >> well, the answer is i think pain chronic pain encompasses everything that goes on in our life and the mind/body connection is huge. and what's going on in the body directly impacts what's going on in the mine and how we feel inside and how we process that information inside and in our brains directly impacts how our body feels. how we function, how we walk or
-- our posture. what kind of mood we are in. it's so connected and you can't just separate the pieces and just focus on just the mood or just the aching back or just the broken knee or whatever it is. you have to bring it all together. >> how often do you recommend surgery. someone has a bulging disk they may or may not elect to have surgery and may or may not fix the problem. it's an answer or an option that is appropriate, i would think in that case. is surgery often an option? if i have chronic headaches or chronic pain in my head, you aren't going to have surgery for that unless i have something going on with my brain. >> that's correct. one of the biggest reasons why people come to our practice is because they had surgery or tried maybe sometimes many surgery. >> and everything hurts. >> so we know that trying to fix things as if we were a car and we can take a part out and put a new part in doesn't always work so well with human beings and human beings that are dealing with the complexities that go on when we are struggling with pain or
when we are suffering. we know that's not always the stand alone answer anywhere. the only solution to the problem and sometimes we have to come up with a more integrated approach to managing our pain. >> and in your book you also recommend and you talk about eastern and western -- western medicine i assume is what, the prescriptions, surgeries, when those things are appropriate or can do something to relieve some of this pain. >> exactly. >> let's go to some of the eastern ones, you talk about yoga, tai chi. hypnotherapy? >> keep in mind i come from the traditional western model. i'm an md. i went through all of the medical school, all of the training, all of the typical stuff and was trained how to use all of the powerful things that we have like strong medications, procedures, injections, surgeries. i come from that background. i'm not specially trained in eastern medicine. but what i come to learn over time is that there is some really valuable tools and philosophies within these
ancient sort of health practices that work really well for people who are struggling with chronic pain. basically the differences in western medicine we focus on just the specific source or disease problems so we are only looking at a disk in the back or a ligament in the knee or a cartilage or something like. that where as in eastern medicine the way they view health is when we are osick or ill everything is out of balance, the whole person is not well. and i think that applies really well to people who are trying to overcome their chronic pain challenges and trying to get well again. so that's why i like to bring those practices in because they do use the sort of mind/body connection. in my book i do talk about my own experiences. what i went through. some of my own chronic pain problems and i really did find a lot of value in some of those approaches like yoga and it's now something that i like to do every week to stay well.
>> and you also say inactivity is something you really you tell people get up and get moving. and a lot of people are going to say to you, my mother sitting here with her osteoarthritis. i hurt. i can't and people with a bad back will say i'm not going to exercise class because i'm in pain. you saying if you are in pain because you are not active but being active hurts. i feel like this is a vicious circle. how is the activity going to help. >> taste vicious circle and if we don't turn it around and start to get moving again it just gets worse and worse and the pain gets worse and worse. i think inactivity is probably one of the biggest health problems that we have in our society today and you look at the way we changed and evolved over the last 50 years. we used to be as a civilization so active. and we used to -- we were farmers. we were builders. we led a very physical lifestyle and things started to become less and less so. in the last ten years we rely on our computers, we can sit in
a chair all day and do our jobs and talk to people and communicate and do everything we need to do. >> and don't get up and move. >> think about look at somebody who is using a computer all day and look at their mostier and hunching their shoulders. >> let me get -- because our time is brief here. do you foresee generation of younger people having these issues earlier in life because they are practically sitting at the computer when they are two years old. >> that's a great point. the childhood obesity rates are going up and up and up because kids are playing less. going outside less. they return moving any more. >> if you have somebody again back to someone like my mother or someone with chronic back pain and say move, is she or are they going to feel better because of moving? >> it might take a little time. >> the pain will -- >> eventually it should get better. muscles get very tightened up when we don't use them. if we sit in a chair all day some of the muscles around my lower back or my legs and pelvis might start to get
really tensed up and shortened. it takes time to start to loosen things up and to get the body parts moving again. but if we can do that we will start to feel better. >> one final quick question, people will say, look, this is inevitable part of aging. we are living longer so we have these problems and you say to that? >> let's make the best of it. >> okay. all right. yeah, all right. the book is called take charge of your chronic pain. and the doctor actually has a website. and it is take charge of your chronic pain.com. that's take charge of your chronic pain.com. there is more information on your screen. dr.peter, thank you for being here. let's hope we all stay out of pain. if you are out of pain it might make you happy. if you aren't very happy we will tell you how to get that way or start to get that way in the next segment. don't go away.
welcome back. meet mark juarez. he is out to make you happy. his claim to fame is a massager and a book about a small mouse named charley. i know what you are thinking. one is a adult toy and the other a child store each here to explain is mark juarez, ceo and founder of the happy company and one happy guy. >> i am. >> okay, all right. i have to tell you when i was reading my notes and you talked about a massager did they know -- this dis they talk to this guy for a long time? started with a massager and that makes you happy.
>> i know. i get this all the time. it was -- i was doing -- my knees went out and i got a massage as alternative to surgery and a lot of other things. >> the over the counter stuff. >> yeah. >> and i didn't want to do. this working and getting massage and i started learn being it and then i became a massage teacher. my gosh i want to share this with the world. it's amazing. i couldn't believe. it. my hands went out so i developed a massage tool. and what i found is it is very simple looking but it's actually what i discovered when you push ackpressure points there is a synergy and usually six or eight. >> and your hands. >> for the whole body. >> use that on my hand. >> i can. this is really where you want to massage. but if i massage your back it would be incredible. >> what i discovered too is that, you know, we call it the app massager and we are the happy company and i came back
from my travels around the world with no money and started the company. what's worse than bad credit is no credit. and so what i discovered is when people -- you put into a product what how you feel. >> wait a minute. you got this massager. it works. got the happy face on there and it's cute and you come back and you at least figure out your needs and come back with this and you will start a company and call it the happy company and you have no credit and it works. >> became the second fastest growing company in 1996. >> listen here. i'm trying to connect the dots and missing a point here. >> the point is, happy -- when you create an amazing environment, people, they want to work when they put -- this product, we got so many letters every week how it changed people's lives and we are like, wow. >> not the only massager out
there. >> we were. when we started -- when we started there were some other massage tools but we completely changed the industry. we went into places where -- and my vision was our vision as a company was to spread the importance of caring touch. i saw how powerful that was. one incident when i started the company i was volunteering a man with aids. lesions all over his skin. my gosh, what do i do? and he was really sad. no, no. i want to do something. i put my hands on his shoulders and he started crying. and he said, you know, i felt horrible before. and you're touching me made me feel like i was worth something. that's the power of caring touch. >> a lot of people are alone and not touched even to shake a hand during the day. some people go entire days without touching another person. that certainly going to add to your happiness if you have people in your life who care about you who touch you who are
there in caring ways. what about -- are there people who are chronically unhappy no matter how many friends and how much hugging and hand holding and all of that they are going to find something wrong. >> optimum health to feel really good you have to have a lot of things in your life. obviously exercise and diet are important. but it's community. it's being with people. it's having a job, having a purpose in your life -- >> a lot of people don't have jobs right now. this is a tough time to be happy. isn't it harder sell for you these days. >> absolutely. that's why i wrote this book. have i this idea that the true happiness comes from finding your purpose in life. >> this little book is called charlie's thinking cheeses. gi me one or two lineber it. cute little story. i started it last night a little bit. in a nutshell. >> i will tell you about the book why it's called charlie thinking cheese because to some people. have i this belief that all is possible. that the smallest acts -- that
believing in something that is unbelievable but what it's really about is that the smallest acts of kindness can change the world. and what i discovered, you know, how do you make people happy? and it starts with kindness. it starts with doing good things for others. it's having a purpose in life. it's in the box it comes with a book and also comes with appreciation cards. >> we don't have time to get into that. i'm sorry, but the story, the story of the thinking cheese, what is it? if you had to summarize it. >> it's about doing kindness for others. it's about all is possible. it's about it's a story. it's counterintuitive to think that if you are out of work, you are focused on survival. turn to help others. >> here is the challenge, in this day and age somebody may be out of work or somebody -- i
know people who are facing foreclosure. they are leaving. they don't know where they are going to go. they have to find someplace. their credit is shot because they couldn't do the mortgage and now can't even get an apartment. when things get overwhelming maybe get a really life- threatening illness perhaps diagnosis and all of a sudden or maybe all of these things are happening at once. you don't necessarily get one now and one two years from now. you might have everything happening at the same time. what do you tell people? it's nice to do something nice for somebody but you will still have all of these problems. >> i just discovered something amazing. i was told by a doctor -- and i thought, my gosh, i might die. this is really scary. prostate cancer. >> how long ago? >> two years ago. that in san diego where they have amazing results. people go there thinking they are going to die in three weeks. in three weeks i watched people
walk away feeling better than they ever had. >> what did they do? >> first thing they ask when you go there is it's okay to talk about your disease as long as you talk about it as an opportunity. and that may seem crazy. i'm dying and the opportunity? >> an opportunity to do what? >> an opportunity -- that's it. to talk about it as an opportunity. you to fill in the rest of the blanks. there is no way. when you turn to look at it was like there is an opportunity. i got to learn and meet new people and re-evaluate my life and the when we is there and i went for a week because i was busy at work. one week i was there it was unbelievable. gi back to work and i can get the test and turns out that after the test and being there and i visualize the whole time i was there when i went to get the test they will say i don't know what happened but you're amazing. your prostate is fine. >> cancer was gone? >> they didn't know it was cancer. but what they said is you prostate of a 20-year-old.
you are in amazing health. >> i'm out of time. some cynical folks will find this hokey but it's worth a shot. anybody, mark believes anybody can get happy. so if you want more information about mark juarez and his happy company visit their website, at the happy company.com. we will leave you now with the sounds of the recording artist from nigeria. i'm susan sikora. thank you for watching. ♪[ music ]