I decided to experiment with a conversation with myself. I asked a simple and basic question and worked my way to complex and confusing:
What is depression?
The DSM-5, psychiatry’s diagnostic bible, refers to various conditions that involve feeling sad, inability to experience pleasure, lack of self-worth, inability to concentrate, and suicidal thinking, not to mention dysregulated sleep and appetite and movement, though you don’t have to experience all these at once.
But everyone gets depressed, right?
True. We all have our bad days. Also, all of us experience grief and loss and major challenges in coping with life. But all this is considered within the “normal” realm of human behavior.
Things change when we lose the ability to function, whether at work or in our relationships or in our own sense of well-being. We are more than just “depressed.” We are not ourselves. Our brains are not cooperating with us. L...
I never much cared for anatomy class. Dead bodies, the cold, and the smell were just not the way I liked to spend an afternoon. Every first year medical student spends hours in the anatomy room because learning the parts is important, but even more important is knowing what those parts do and how they work—functional anatomy. Thankfully, studying functional anatomy requires warm, live people who don’t usually smell. Let’s learn some parts without the smell because if you understand the parts, then you will understand the treatment. Getting down to the framework of your body is the skeleton which holds you upright, otherwise you would be a blob of gooey mush. As part of the skeleton, the spine is your backbone that bridges the span between your head and your butt. Because it is a bridge, the spine has passive, stationary structures (bones, ligaments, and discs) which don’t “do” anything except provide support for the whole body. However, these parts o...
If you walk into any drug store, mega-box store or sporting goods store, you’ll be sure to find a variety of lumbar supports, back braces and alike. Because these devices are readily accessible, many users grab one off the self before seeking professional advice. That’s not necessarily a good idea because back braces offer a mixed bag of benefits and risks.
Now, strapping on an elastic lumbar support is tempting as a means to relieve pain and keep on going. And for the most part, these medical devices can help to accomplish that goal. The wrap-around support mimics the internal support that supposed to be provided by the abdominal muscles. Because many people have weak core muscles , the extra bracing does help sometimes. It’s probably most helpful in someone with disc degeneration as opposed to someone with lumbar stenosis . And it’s probably most helpful in average-weight individuals that don’t carry a lot of belly fat. Even if you don’t get ...
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