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Home / Ask the Doctor – When to Do More?

Ask the Doctor – When to Do More?

The Question:

Dr. Larson,

My name is Linda.  I’m 65 years young and in great health.  In February of this year I started to experience some pain in my left shoulder.  I think it was because I was completing my 3rd level as a Bach Flower Practitioner and studied way too long, typing for two months studying and over did it.   I went to my Chiropractor and he said I probably had a pinched nerve in my neck and that the pain was radiating down my arm in three areas (what he called hot spots) at the time I had no numbness or tingling.

The Chiropractor said sitting as long as I did in front of the computer for all those hours put a lot of pressure on my spine and neck.  He would not adjust my neck due to the level of inflammation he thought I was experiencing.  I iced it like he recommended and it felt somewhat better, but now it hurts all the time.  It tingles and feels very tight when the spasms come (like when I’m typing to you). 

I have just started to increase my fish oil and it seems to be helping some, not enough time to be more optimistic.   I am someone who believes in “Prevention” and follows that type of lifestyle.  I believe our body can rejuvenate itself given enough time.  I practice being positive, have a spiritual to God (knowing that God is our great healer and that we need to understand the power of our mind in regards to the quality of life we can achieve and health of our body).

I eat well 95% of the time.   Are there any exercises that might help or any foods that I might add to my lifestyle?  I drink a smoothie every morning which consists of lots of Kale, ½ an avocado, one apple, a scoop of Juice Plus complete meal, teaspoon or maca, some tumeric, teaspoon of collagen and about 1 cup of hemp or almond milk and 1 cup of water.    

I’m open to suggestions.  Would traction or physical therapy be of help?

Thank you in advance for you suggestions and help.  I think it is wonderful how you and Ivy work together to help the universe.

Keep up the good work, God is blessing both of you everyday as you work on His behalf.

PS  I didn’t think I would ever have to write a letter like this until I was 90!

Blessings.  Your partner in health,

Linda D.


 Dr. Larson’s Response:

Congratulations on your enthusiasm for enjoying great health.  Some of the foods you are already eating like turmeric and hemp milk, and, of course, the fish oil are likely helping alleviate the symptoms, in particular any of your pains that might be related to inflammation.  The nerve pain you are experiencing probably doesn’t respond quite as well, though because it is not purely inflammatory in nature.  Capsaicin eaten in hot peppers and, better yet, purchased at the drug store as a cream to rub on your skin from the neck to the shoulder and down the arm, if necessary, might help.  What is most important, I think, is seeking an accurate medical diagnosis, however.

It is reasonable to see if the body will take care of minor aches and pains on its own for a short while, no need to get paranoid, but after about two months it’s time to investigate.  I’m not talking about invasive procedures; I am talking about seeing the right doctor and getting an exam and XRays to make sure the symptoms aren’t due to something more serious than a “typing” injury.  I would see a physiatrist (a doctor specializing in rehabilitative medicine) or perhaps a “sports medicine” doctor.  The neck is indeed a prime suspect so an MRI test targeted to the neck (cervical spine) would be a good idea.  Sometimes the physiatrist will order a nerve conduction test (non-invasive) to further investigate the problem.  If there is disease in your neck that corresponds to your physical exam signs and the symptoms then invasive therapies could be considered, though you are correct that with time even mechanical bone and disc disease will often get better on its own.  If you develop motor symptoms like dropping objects or muscle weakness then invasive therapy or even surgery has to be considered.

The important thing to understand is you have to seek medical diagnoses for symptoms that are lasting as long as yours.  Not to be alarmist but curable cancers might be discovered with a simple XRay and many musculoskeletal disorders can be treated with therapy alone if they are addressed sooner before permanent damage is done.  Once you know what you are dealing with then it is very reasonable to let your body heal itself with the help of diet and targeted exercise but get a diagnosis first!

Andrew Larson, MD

Ivy Larson

In 2010, Clean Cuisine was launched because Ivy Larson wanted to share her anti-inflammatory lifestyle and delicious recipes using ingredients in their most natural and nutrient-rich state. In 2020, Ivy passed the website to Aimee and Madison. Since then, they have been adding new recipes and nutrition posts while updating old recipes and articles. Thanks for visiting Clean Cuisine!

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