Trauma Induces Mental Health Issues

In the recent tragic event during the widely telecast and viewed final game of the 2022-2023 football season, when Damar Hamlin collapsed on the field, what the players witnessed was traumatic and holds the potential to cause PTSD. The potential for PTSD exists not only among those closest to the event but also among other viewers on and off the field.

Trauma is the base cause for almost all mental health issues we see in our country and around the world. Most of the research on trauma in the field was done with children in what is known as the ACE study (Adverse Childhood Experiences). Trauma can occur and accrue at all ages and depending on the severity of the witnessed or experienced event, the negative results will vary but will also remain ever present. 

Reality Is More Intense Than TV Show Recreations

The collapse which required the administering of CPR, which is not what it’s like when recreated on TV shows. CPR is a violent push to essentially bring someone back to life. So, yes, the spectators saw the moment of death, and everyone experienced the moment viscerally. The shock and trauma of the event spread to each layer of the onion. From the coaches, staff, and players to the fans in the stadium, to the commentators who found it very difficult to speak of the possible outcome of what they witnessed, and finally the people at home who did not have the support of all the on-site people. We are still an emotionally raw and vulnerable population with all the societal issues we’ve experienced in the past few years, so the timing of this high-level trauma was felt more deeply. I am so grateful that Damar has survived this event, but the trauma of it will live on in him as well as thousands of others. The potential for subsequent mental health issues for Damar as well as those who witnessed the event is high.

Mental Health Specialists Needed Sooner Rather Than Later

I was recently a guest on the We’re All A little “Crazy” #SameHere podcast with my friend, Super Bowl Champion, CBS College Football Analyst, Aaron Taylor (I’ve included the link to the podcast below.) Aaron made a profound statement about how he thought it would be great to learn from the tragedy and have a mental health specialist on hand for immediate conversation on air and not days later for those who were frozen in shock, unable to move away from their TVs.

While the trauma Damar experienced was terrible, it happened and that can’t be changed. So how do we look for the teaching moments or, for lack of better words, a silver lining? What I saw in a rally cry and signs of respect gave me hope that our country is still united and has a moral compass. We saw grown men cry for their brother. We saw players, coaches and a nation moved to prayer. We saw a massive corporate machine make the right decision to stop the game. Very few videos were shared on social media out of respect which today is miraculous and unheard of. Several thousand people thought it better not to share the suffering of others. We saw hundreds of thousands of people donating money to the Go Fund Me campaign that Damar set up years ago to raise money for children in his hometown. We saw the best of what this nation can be, and I hope that we all look for and hang on for dear life to the positive aspects that come out of this very traumatic event. 

SameHere Podcast Link

To read further about the psychological effects resulting from traumatic sporting events similar to the Damar Hamlin collapse, click here:

It’s Highly Unlikely That The $26 Billion Opioid Settlement Will Prevent Future Drug Use

Thousands of U.S. communities have received opioid recovery funds from the $26 billion global settlements involving the “Big Three” drug distributors AmerisourceBergen, Cardinal Health, and McKesson, along with opioid manufacturer Johnson & Johnson. Whether or not individual families who have been hard hit will see any of this money remains to be seen. But the legal arrangement specifies that states must spend “at least 70% of the money for opioid-related expenses in the coming years and includes a list of qualifying expenses like expanding access to treatment and buying the overdose reversal medication naloxone. Fifteen percent of the funds can be used for administrative expenses or for governments to reimburse past opioid-related expenses.”

My concern with the “arrangement” is that with billions in lawsuits money non or little of it will be used on the prevention of drug use. There are many states putting most or all of the monies received into the “general fund” to make up for money spent on combating the crisis. With that mentality this crisis will never end. We can’t keep putting money into naloxone and treatment centers alone because that says to me that as long as we can reverse an overdose and treat those addicted, we can continue to get more and more people addicted.

There are still as many as 200 American dying each day from drug overdose. The real issue seems to be how to prevent drug use. How do we keep unethical doctors from overprescribing, and how do we educate children to avoid becoming accidentally addicted. Many drugs now come in the form of colorful candy. To read more about how the funds may be used, read the article below.

Still Alive To Tell The Terrible Tale Of Opioid Addiction

Matthew Perry, the actor who is most notably recognized as the character Chandler Bing that he played in the long-running Friends sitcom, has published a book entitled, Friends, Lovers, and the Big Terrible Thing. The “big terrible thing” in Mr. Perry’s life is his addiction to opioids.

Perry’s addiction to opioids began, like most people’s do, after being injured in a jet ski accident after which he was prescribed Vicodin by his doctor. In fact, research shows that “people are 240% more likely to become persistent users of opioids after suffering an injury than those prescribed opioids who did not have an injury.”

According to an article published on the Alternative Pain Treatment website, “It didn’t take long for Perry to become addicted to Vicodin. Within 18 months, he was taking as many as 55 pills a day (the maximum daily dose is 6 pills). He went to great lengths to get opioids, faking injuries, and scheduling MRIs with different doctors. Perry became so desperate for drugs that he would go to real estate open houses so he could search through people’s medicine cabinets.”

Addiction Can Occur After 5 Days Of Regular Opioid Use

As some experts point out in the same article, opioid addiction can occur after just 5 days of regular use. So, as you can see, it doesn’t take long at all. When you consider that 2.5 million young adults reported misusing opioids in the past year, it’s easy to see how out of control opioids are.

As he points out in his book, Perry’s many years of drug abuse took a terrible toll on his body. In 2018, Perry’s colon ruptured due to his overuse of OxyContin. He went into a coma for two weeks before spending the next five months in the hospital. Although given just a 2 percent chance of survival, Perry recovered. It is also noted that, “He has had 14 surgeries and used a colostomy bag for nearly a year. Perry has attended 6,000 AA meetings, gone to rehab 15 times, been in detox 65 times, and spent as much as $9 million to get sober.”

Perry’s Battle Isn’t Over

While I wish him well, and based on his history, even though Perry has survived despite the odds being against him, there’s no assurances that he will stay clean. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, there is a 40 to 60 percent relapse rate among those who seek substance abuse treatment.  

Perry is able to tell his tale because he has the luxury of resources most people do not have access to. According to the National Center for Drug Abuse Statistics, the cost of the “cheapest” medical detoxification programs is $1,750.  The “cheapest” inpatient rehabilitation programs cost a staggering $6,000 a month. A 3-month outpatient rehabilitation programs costs about $5,000. 

American Addiction Centers estimate that only one in ten people suffering from a substance use disorder get the appropriate treatment they need. Unfortunately, payment issues and lack of insurance are among the reasons for this disparity.

Although the Affordable Care Act mandates that all health insurance plans provide some type of coverage for substance abuse treatment, the amount that is covered varies based on individual plans. Families often go bankrupt trying to help their loved ones recover.

And still, doctors and other health care providers still prescribe highly addictive pain medications at rates considered unsafe.

I do hope Mr. Perry will do some greater good with his life and the proceeds his book garners. Perhaps he can donate to some families who were not so lucky and went bankrupt trying to help their loved ones who died from opioid overdose. I pray he stays clean and works tirelessly to get involved in helping the powers that be see the need for greater access to the appropriate care for those addicted to opioids.

Mr. Perry is without question, lucky. Other celebrities that weren’t as fortunate include Prince, Seymour Phillip Hoffman, and Tom Petty among so many others. And let’s not forget the millions of other Americans who are not rich and famous. No one is excluded from the deadly consequences that come with opioid addiction.


• #overdosefreeamerica
• #samehere
• #5in5

Conventionally Trained Physicians Get Less Than 2-Hours Of Education On Pain

Anyone and everyone who is living with chronic pain must fully grasp and deeply digest the following sentence: “When it comes to relieving pain, there are widespread knowledge gaps on the part of conventionally-trained physicians, who on average receive less than two hours of education on pain in medical school.” Posted at in an article entitled, Trying Everything for Chronic Pain, this sentence could provide a sense of relief and perhaps greater hopefulness for those who do suffer from chronic pain. The fact of the matter is that treated correctly and consistently, most chronic pain – which only means that some pain lasts longer than most pain – can be cured or substantially reduced.

Another bit of information for those who suffer chronic pain and seek treatment from mainstream medical professionals is that “Most of their post-graduate information comes from drug company reps, drug company-sponsored conferences and medical journals that stay afloat with drug company advertising.” The article continues with, “If you’re depending on a conventionally trained physician to guide you in managing your pain, you will not learn about the many non-pharmaceutical, non-surgical options that are available for pain relief. These alternative options are often more effective and much safer.”

Drugs, Surgeries, Injections, And Limited Physical Therapy Do Not Work

Most people suffering with chronic pain have tried everything that health insurance covers. They’ve tried drugs, many of which are opioids and highly addictive, but which insurance companies cover the costs of indefinitely. They’ve tried surgeries, which often create more problems than they solve. They’ve tried any number of epidural steroid injections, which usually work for short periods of time and carry risks.

People Need Insurance Coverage For Safer More Effective Pain Treatments

The sad and seemingly criminal truth is that people in pain are being denied insurance coverage for safer, more effective treatments including physical therapy, massage, chiropractic, biofeedback, acupuncture, marijuana, low level laser therapy, psychotherapy, nutritional and herbal interventions and more. In some cases, such as with chiropractic and physical therapy, some insurance covers limited treatment. But far too often the coverage isn’t appropriate for the correct term of treatment.

We need a law that requires health insurance companies to cover all proven effective treatments for pain to the same degree that they cover pharmaceuticals. We also need a law that requires physicians to be educated about the other alternative therapies.  

Research Studies Reveal The Most Effective Treatment For Chronic Pain

The article I’ve cited throughout also states, “According to research studies, the most effective treatment for chronic pain is an interdisciplinary one, where health care providers from different disciplines all evaluate a patient and collectively come up with a comprehensive treatment plan that includes body-based and mind-based treatments and emphasizes self-management skills. Insurance companies in the U.S. used to provide coverage for interdisciplinary pain treatment programs, but with the advent of opioids, which they saw as a cheaper alternative, stopped paying for them. There used to be about 1000 interdisciplinary pain clinics in the U.S., now there are only about 50.” This is unacceptable. We must push for changes that will bring relief to the suffering. The author of the article has started a petition for a “Pain Treatment Parity Act.” I’ve included the link where you can sign to demand access insurance coverage for safer and more effective therapies.

Sign my petition on for a Pain Treatment Parity Act

• #overdosefreeamerica
• #samehere
• #5in5

New CDC Guidelines For Pain Management Emphasize Nonpharmacologic Therapies

We still have a long way to go, but the good news is that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently released an updated Clinical Practice Guidelines for Prescribing Opioids for Pain. In this 2022 revision, there is a very strong emphasis on the use of nonopioid and noninvasive, nonpharmacologic approaches. In fact, the CDC recommends that, “Clinicians should maximize use of nonpharmacologic and nonopioid pharmacologic therapies as appropriate for the specific condition and patient and only consider opioid therapy if benefits are anticipated to outweigh risks.” I’m not certain how that decision is going to be made and if it is left up to the clinician, one can only hope that there are ways to determine if the benefits will outweigh the risks.

Additionally, the CDC acknowledges the barriers to prescribing nonpharmacologic approaches due to the lack of coverage by insurance companies for these services. The CDC notes that, “Public and private payers can support a broader array of nonpharmacologic interventions such as exercise, multidisciplinary rehabilitation, mind-body interventions, cognitive behavioral therapy, and certain complementary and integrative medicine therapies (e.g., acupuncture and spinal manipulation) that increasingly are known to be effective.” There needs to be acknowledgement and support for these services by the health insurers and health systems to allow greater access to noninvasive, effective therapies.

We are certainly moving in the right direction. I suppose that’s the most those of us who know the long-term benefits of nonopioid nonpharmacologic therapies can expect. One big plus is that there are no side effects and no danger of addiction that could lead to overdose with chiropractic, massage, acupuncture, yoga or any of the other therapies used to manage pain. I’m including the link to the updated CDC Guidelines to help bolster your position when asking for prescriptions for nonopioid treatments for your pain management.

• #overdosefreeamerica
• #samehere
• #5in5

How Smart Is Our Addiction To Smart Phones

October is just one of the months throughout each year that many organizations work to raise awareness about mental health issues. Whether your focus is on National Depression and Health Screening or World Mental Health, Mental Illness Awareness, as far as I’m concerned, the topic of mental health cannot be overstated, nor can it be talked about too much. And it turns out that our addiction to smart phones is not so smart.

According to a recent study, “Mental health issues in our world populations have been steadily escalating for the last three decades. Most recently it became a primary public health concern as the COVID-19 pandemic brought the issue to the forefront. The World Health Organization (WHO) released a scientific brief in March 2022 stating that the already existing global prevalence of anxiety and depression increased by yet another 25% in 2020 as populations struggled with the fear and social isolation that accompanied the stress of quarantines and shutdowns.”

It is my intention to continue to write and speak about this issue to bring more and more people into the discussion. Because the addiction is so widespread, it’s often more difficult to penetrate the awareness of those who are addicted. The same thing is true of drug addicts – it’s difficult to acknowledge to themselves that they have a problem. How do we raise awareness about this global addiction that is on one hand giving us access to information we could never have imagined 30 years ago, while simultaneously destroying our peace of mind and our health? Once again, the topic cannot be overstated.

The Upsurge Of Mental Health Issues Aligns With The Mass Use Of Technology

Scientific correlations are linking the mass use of technology in the last 30 years with the upsurge of anxiety and depression that we are seeing across the globe. Specifically, the associations relate back to the unnatural stimulation of dopamine and how it is affecting our biochemistry.

Addiction to smartphones is widespread. In the world today, 6.64 billion people utilize one. That translates to 84% of the world population. As recounted on CNN, a 2016 poll from Common Sense Media stated that 50% of teens self-reported that they felt addicted to their mobile devices. A 2018 Pew Research Report showed that 45% of teens said that they use the Internet ‘almost all the time.’ Yet other polls show the overwhelming number of times people check their phones every day, slaves to every notification, even sleeping next to the devices.

Thoughts, Trauma, And Toxins Drive Behavior

The chiropractic profession has long recognized the role of thoughts, trauma, and toxins (the 3T’s) in the realm of health and disease. Technology in this sense has become a toxin that also affects our thoughts and drives behaviors. Particularly relevant in chiropractic clinics, symptoms of back, joint and limb pain that can accompany depression are highly common. Within primary care settings, a difficulty is that a high percentage of patients with depression present exclusively with physical symptoms, which may be interpreted as symptoms of a somatic illness, which can result in undiagnosed depression.

Help Raise Awareness

I hope you will read and share the entire report provided in the link below entitled Depression, Dopamine, and Drug-free Interventions. As far as I am concerned Mental Health Awareness Month is every month. Please join me in helping to bring greater awareness to this global issue.

If you have a loved one who has suffered with substance abuse and mental health issues, please check out the following organizations. They are here to help.
• #overdosefreeamerica
• #samehere
• #5in5


Pain Relief That Doesn’t Come In A Bottle: Part Two – Touch

Back in August, I wrote about forest bathing as a wonderful way to relieve pain without a prescription. This is the second piece in which I focus on another way of relieving pain without a pill. This time the topic is that of touch.

The information I’m offering here is from Alternative Pain Treatment Directory, which I highly recommend you subscribe to if you live with chronic pain and prefer to manage your pain without pills. We humans are sensitive to the healing power of touch. In fact, if newborn babies are never touched, they can fail to thrive, lose weight, and even die. It is also known that babies and young children who do not get touched have lower levels of growth hormone. A lack of touch can stunt a child’s growth.

When it comes to treating chronic pain, the power of touch is often underestimated. Any kind of touch therapy can be very pleasurable while also relieving pain.

According to the article in Alternative Pain Directory, “The results of a randomized clinical trial showed that therapeutic touch had a positive impact on the positive management of pain-related parameters in cancer patients.” 

The article continues: “A clinical trial conducted in Brazil, concluded that Therapeutic Touch was effective to decrease pain intensity and depressive attitudes and symptoms, as well as to improve sleep quality.”

“Massage therapy has also been proven to be very effective in treating various types of pain. A meta-analysis of 67 randomized control studies found that “There is evidence to suggest that massage therapy may be beneficial for improving various patient-reported functional outcomes

Massage therapy, reiki, chiropractic, acupuncture, and even the field called therapeutic touch can bring pain relief for those suffering with chronic pain. You can read about Forest Bathing as well as other non-prescription methods to relieve pain at the link provided below.


September is “Drug-Free Pain Management Awareness Month”

We didn’t see it coming, but we are feeling the full effect of its brute force: the collision of mental health and physical pain. The healthcare community has been aware of the relationship between the two for quite some time. However, COVID-19 has broadened the public’s understanding of this association. What is becoming more apparent is that it is counterproductive to treat one condition without treating the other. Unfortunately, there has been far too great an emphasis on the treatment of physical pain without considering the emotional/mental aspect of pain. This has resulted in the epidemic of opioid use and abuse that we find ourselves faced with as a society today.

We Can Live Pain-Free And Drug-Free

During the month of September, I would like to turn your attention to the benefits of drug-free pain management. This more holistic and healthy approach to pain management and relief is finally coming to the forefront as we are witnessing the devastating consequences of trying to solve our pain issues with pills and surgeries.

In a very recent Harris Poll the results of which were released on July 26, 2022, it was discovered that, “Nearly half of U.S. adults (44%) report that they have experienced physical pain that they believe was worsened due to mental or emotional pain.” Additional findings show that women report worse physical pain than men do.”48% of women reported worse physical pain due to mental or emotional pain compared to only 39% of men. Women ages 35 to 44 most often reported the link (69%) while men ages 65 and older least often reported greater physical pain due to mental or emotional pain (17%).” The Harris Poll was conducted on behalf of the Foundation for Chiropractic Progress (F4CP), a nonprofit dedicated to informing and educating the general public about the value of drug-free chiropractic care.

Of even greater concern is the findings among the younger generations. The Harris Poll shows that more than half of 18-34-year-old poll participants (53%) and 35-to-44-year-old participants (61%) reported experiencing physical pain they believe was worsened by mental or emotional pain. This brings up the subject of technology since younger adults spend much more time on their devices.

The point is that Chiropractors have always recognized the association of physical and mental pain.  We strive to manage every neuromusculoskeletal condition effectively. If a patient’s condition is outside of our scope, we are happy to refer and collaborate with other healthcare providers to help our patients achieve all of their physical and mental health goals.

The Miraculous Human Body Responds To Care

The human body is a miraculous, self-healing creation. When given the proper care, which means wholistic care, that works in cooperation with the body’s innate healing capacity, the body will respond and will continuously strive for its natural state of homeostasis. So many different methods exist and are easily accessible for caring for the body without drugs. These include Chiropractic care, massage therapy, acupuncture, aromatherapy, EFT, music therapy, art therapy, forest bathing, integrative doctors, yoga, and more. 

Many exercises for mental health, which aid in positive physical outcomes can be found on the nonprofit SameHere Global website. I am the Chair of The Board of this extraordinary alliance of celebrities, everyday heros, and world experts in STARR Exercises (Stress & Trauma, Active Release & Rewiring). These Exercises enable those who suffer to begin, and then continue to build on, active exercises that help one heal from mental health complications. You can learn more about the exercises and find those that might work best for you at

Let’s Commit To Drug-Free Healing Modalities

Let’s turn our attention to the drug-free methods that exist that will return us to pain-free living. I invite you to find the vitality and the joy in living again through cooperating with the body’s natural healthy capacity. It’s a great month to start your journey during Drug-Free Pain Management Awareness Month.


Look To Chiropractic Care To Lead The Way Out Of Addiction And Mental Illness

Anxiety, depression, addiction: All of these mental health issues have skyrocketed since 1990. According to one source, “In 2020, The Journal of Psychiatric Research outlined unprecedented changes in the global burden of depression, stating that from 1990 to 2017 the incident cases worldwide amplified from 172 million to 258 million, representing an increase of 49.8%. The American Psychological Association published that the rate of depression in U.S. adolescents aged 12-17 increased 52% just between the years 2005 to 2017 and between 2009 to 2017, there was a 63% increase in depression seen in young adults aged 18-25.” 

Mental Health Issues Are Not Just in Your Head

So, you may wonder, how can chiropractic care help with mental/psychological issues?  For starters, the issues of anxiety, depression, and addiction, while considered by many as purely psychological, have very real physical pains associated with them. For many opioid dependent people, their dependency came about because of a physical issue, typically, an accident or back pain. Anxiety and depression, both can manifest as physical pain. 

As mentioned in the same article cited above, “Chiropractic care influences the neuromusculoskeletal system to optimize function and reduce joint pain that may accompany depression. A 2020 literature search outlined in Acta Biomedica, concluded that chiropractic and spinal manipulative therapies along with vagal nerve stimulation may be regarded as care options for depression. Several scientific studies have concluded that chiropractic adjustments can increase hormones like oxytocin which aid in feelings of connectedness while also modulating pain.”

It is becoming more widely known and accepted that through chiropractic care, “Maximizing joint function can also affect other physical symptoms such as headaches, muscle pain, balance issues or dizziness. Physiotherapy to relax musculature is available in most chiropractors’ offices to reduce muscle spasm and promote relaxation.”

Technology Is Contributing To Increasing Addictive Behavior And Pain

So, we have the COVID-19 pandemic that pushed anxiety and depression to unprecedented levels. Yet, we haven’t acknowledged what our devices, our smartphones, pads, and computers are doing to add to the problem. The article I am referencing throughout this piece states, “Scientific correlations are linking the mass use of technology in the last 30 years with the upsurge of anxiety and depression that we are seeing across the globe. Specifically, the associations relate back to the unnatural stimulation of dopamine and how it is affecting our biochemistry.” In terms of how chiropractic plays into this aspect of the dilemma, the article states, “The chiropractic profession has long recognized the role of thoughts, trauma, and toxins (the 3T’s) in the realm of health and disease. Technology in this sense has become a toxin that also affects our thoughts and drives behaviors.”

Addiction to smartphones is widespread. In the world today, 6.64 billion people utilize one. That translates to 84% of the world population. As recounted on CNN, a 2016 poll from Common Sense Media stated that 50% of teens self-reported that they felt addicted to their mobile devices. A 2018 Pew Research Report showed that 45% of teens said that they use the Internet ‘almost all the time.’ Yet other polls show the overwhelming number of times people check their phones every day, slaves to every notification, even sleeping next to the devices.”

More To Come

Next month I will continue with even more alarming statistics that point to how technology and the ongoing pandemic are adversely affecting our children and the population at large. To read the entire report you can go to the link below.


Pain Relief That Doesn’t Come In A Bottle: Part One – Forest Bathing

People the world over have long known about the benefits of safe sunbathing and how exposing our skin to the sun for short periods of time creates essential Vitamin D. Spending time out of doors in nature has always been recognized as healthy. What many people may not know –especially those who suffer from chronic pain – is that immersing yourself in nature may help to relieve chronic pain.

While many people enjoy the benefits of sunbathing, the Japanese have long enjoyed forest bathing. It’s called “shinrin-yoku.” This is the very simple act of spending time in the forest connecting with the environment. 

The Japanese attribute the sounds of the forest, the scent of the trees, the sunlight playing through the leaves, the fresh, clean air with providing a sense of comfort. These sensations ease stress and worry, help us humans to relax and to think more clearly. Being in nature can restore our mood, give us back our energy and vitality, refresh and rejuvenate us. Of course, if you don’t have access to an actual forest, any green space and natural environment will do.

In 2009, Forest-therapy expert Yoshifumi Miyazaki published a paper that reviewed previous research on the physiological effects of shinrin-yoku. After analyzing evidence from field experiments conducted in 24 forests in Japan, he concluded that when compared to city settings, spending time in forest environments could:

•lower concentrations of cortisol

•lower pulse rate, lower blood pressure

•increase parasympathetic nerve activity (the relaxation response)

•lower sympathetic nerve activity (the fight-or-flight aka stress response)

Each of the results listed above directly contribute to the lessening of pain. Stay tuned for more pleasurable and pain-relieving activities that are free and can set you free from the life-draining habit of popping yet another pill.