More often than not, some important personal health questions never get asked. Shying away from talking about certain subjects has become more and more common, especially in a world where technology has made it very easy to virtually find answers, from the privacy of your own home. Visits to your Medical Doctor (MD) typically do not go into great detail on certain natural functions such as stress and anxiety. Here are some important topics you should always bring up to your MD or should not hesitate to answer if your Acupuncturist asks:
How high is your stress and/or anxiety level?
Every day people are bombarded with loads of stress – emotional, mental, and physical. A lot of times stress can act as a trigger for illness, aches and pains, hypertension, poor sleep, poor digestion etc. It can be a catalyst for many problems and can make conditions even worse when not taken care of properly. Having a constant high stress level lead to more Doctor visits and disease.
How do stress and/or anxiety affect you?
Stress affects everybody differently. Some people report that during high levels of stress they start to notice changes such as menstrual cycle irregularities, bowel movement disruption, poor appetite and the list goes on and on. In most cases these secondary symptoms of stress become additional topics that are infrequently discussed during visits to the Doctor.
How do you manage your stress and/or anxiety?
There are many ways people deal with stress. It is always important to focus on a healthy outlet to alleviate it. An activity such as exercising is a great example of a healthy and ideal way to reduce stress. Identifying your stress triggers are necessary in order to not only know more about yourself but to then see if some stressors are avoidable. For example, if your stress stems from trying to get to places on time – make it a point to always leave early. Seeing an acupuncturist is a great way to not only address stress but increase your overall well-being. Dr. Oz reports that Acupuncture is the alternative medical trend for 2012 for overall health management.
According to the Archives of Internal Medicine, only 3% of Doctor appointments include a discussion on how to reduce anxiety or stress even though 60-80% of people report levels of high stress. Other topics such as nutritional advice occurred 17% of the time, physical activity suggestions happened in 12% of visits, and weight management happened in 6% of visits. Out of 1,263 Doctors between 2006-2009 showed that only 1,000 out of 34,000 visits involved stress management counseling. With people reporting such high levels of stress it is very shocking that stress and anxiety levels are not more commonly addressed in consultation with physicians.
It was found that America’s primary care physicians do not ask about stress because it is a time issue. The average Doctor visit is 10-15 minutes in duration. For the Doctors who did consult for stress and/or anxiety management reported longer office consultations, according to the Archives of Internal Medicine study. It was also noted that the low rate of stress counseling by MD’s has not been incorporated into primary care to the extent of other types, such as acupuncture. Acupuncture office visits typically last anywhere from 1-1.5 hours in duration. During each visit, every person gets a whole body assessment, discussing anything from stress/anxiety, digestion, bowel movements, headaches, night sweats, etc. Each treatment is tailored specifically to what each patient is going through. It is for this reason that acupuncture is also considered preventative medicine.
No matter where your stress is stemming from, it is always important to have open communication with your MD or Acupuncturist. If you have any questions and would like to know more about how to reduce stress and anxiety, please visit Texas Acupuncture Clinic or visit us at our Facebook page at Tiffany Chiu at Texas Acupuncture Clinic.
Nerurkar, A. (2012). When physicians counsel about stress: Results of a national study. Archives of internal medicine, doi: 10.1001/2013.jamainternmed.480
Oz, M. Acupuncture 101. Retrieved from http://www.oprah.com/health/Acupuncture-101