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Month: July 2015

Cancer Related Fatigue

By Carrie Newsom, RN.

Cancer-related fatigue (CRF) is one of the most upsetting and difficult to treat symptoms in cancer patients. CRF is often described as a deep-seated tiredness that cannot be relieved by resting, napping or sleeping. The official definition from the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) is “an unusual, persistent, and subjective sense of tiredness that is not proportional to recent activity and interferes with usual functioning”.

Who suffers from cancer-related fatigue?

A majority of cancer patients will suffer from CRF during treatment. Additionally, for many patients, this tiredness will continue even after treatment is completed. Below are several types of patients who are most at risk for CRF:

Leukemia: People with cancer of the blood and bone marrow (i.e. leukemias) are especially likely to suffer from CRF. In fact, an early symptom of leukemia is feeling run down with no explanation. Leukemia produces a prolonged inflammatory state via increased cytokines, which cause fatigue. These are the same molecules that make you feel tired and achy when you have the flu. These patients can also feel fatigued as a result of anemia (low red blood cell counts) resulting from their disease or treatment. A patient who is anemic has less oxygen getting to all the tissues in their body. This can make them feel tired and out of breath with minimal exertion.

Causes of cancer-related fatigue

A prolonged inflammatory state and decreased lung function are some of the ways cancer itself may cause fatigue. Treatments, especially combination therapy, may also cause increased tiredness. Other causes of fatigue may include increased stress, depression and anxiety associated with cancer diagnosis and treatment, pain associated with cancer, medications (e.g. antihistamines, anti-depressants, narcotic pain medications, anti-nausea medications), sleep issues, and other medical issues (e.g. hypothyroidism).

All patients should speak with their medical team about their fatigue. The medical team will assess for other causes of tiredness beyond their disease or treatment. The medical team may be able to fix some of these issues and lessen the patient’s fatigue level. (e.g. patients with anemia may need red blood cell transfusion, patients with hypothyroidism may need medication).

How to treat cancer-related fatigue?

The top intervention recommended for managing CRF is to exercise and increase physical activity. The Oncology Nursing Society says “exercise/physical activity has been confirmed as effective in the management of CRF in more than 40 meta-analyses or systematic reviews of randomized controlled trials”. The type of exercise studied varied from walking to cycling to weight training. The exact type, duration, and intensity of exercise most beneficial to patients at various stages in their disease and treatment has not yet been determined.

The Oncology Nursing Society specifically mentioned yoga as likely to be effective in treating CRF. Two randomized controlled trials in breast cancer patients (one in patients undergoing radiation and one in breast cancer survivors) showed yoga practice significantly improved fatigue, however, the effectiveness of yoga as a treatment for fatigue in all types of cancers has not yet been established.

The Oncology Nursing Society also considers relaxation breathing, meditation,mindfulness-based stress reduction, the plant American ginseng (Panax quinquefolius), cognitive-behavioural therapy, and managing the symptoms a patient may be experiencing (e.g. depression, pain, shortness of breath, insomnia) to be effective in treating cancer-related fatigue

How to Feel Better in a Few Simple Steps

Learn how to feel better in a few simple steps. Tiffany Cruikshank of YogaMedicine.com shares tips to improve sleep, reduce stress, and ease pain.

 Yoga can be a terrific adjunct to balance intense weight training programs, as well as a useful aid for stress and sleep problems. While more advanced yoga poses are popular on social media, there’s also a huge movement around its more medicinal uses. Yoga has been practiced for thousands of years and its therapeutic applications have a wide range. Let’s look at the three common areas in which yoga has shown significant benefit: sleep, headaches, and low-back pain. 

To read the full article, click here.

Article snippet about how to feel better with Yoga

Mindstream – Featured Yogi – Lindsay Roselle

Happy July to all our yoga friends worldwide!

This month’s featured yogi is Lindsay Roselle from Fort Collins, Co. Lindsay used yoga as a way to heal her body after a traumatic horse accident left her severely injured. Her recovery process was an inspiration for her. She completed Yoga Medicine’s 200hr teacher training and opened her very own yoga studio, Mindstream Yoga. Lindsay is currently completing her 500hr teacher training with us and is using yoga as medicine in her community. Read Lindsay’s remarkable story below and share your own personal story with us at www.yogamedicine.com

Lindsay Roselle, strategy coach and speaker.

Mindstream

My yoga practice has been a part of my life since I was a teenager, but its medicinal benefit really became clear to me after a terrible accident I had with my horse in 2010. As I was leading him back to his pen one evening, he spooked and trampled me, which severely broke the middle and ring fingers on my left hand and caused a traumatic head injury and small brain-bleed that left me in the Neuro ICU unit. Luckily the brain-bleed resolved without surgery, but the injury to my hand turned out to be more severe than I expected. As the fingers healed, the connective tissue and new scar tissue over the broken joints contracted, leaving the fingers in a bent position at the middle knuckle and me unable to bend or straighten them at all.

My yoga practice completely changed as I adjusted to not being able to support weight effectively on my left hand. I no longer felt comfortable in arm balances that required supporting weight on the hands, and even simple postures like Down Dog were a challenge. Adding to this, my entire body felt different from the trauma of the accident, and my confidence in its ability to move and support itself was low.

Rebuilding from the Ground Up

I had been a Division 1 college athlete and had a regular yoga practice for years, so needless to say I was completely humbled (and somewhat frustrated) by how the body changes as it processes injury and trauma. After months of physical therapy and modified yoga, I ended up having surgery on the fingers and began the long journey of rebuilding strength and flexibility in my fingers, hand, and arm. Shortly after my surgery in early 2011, I began my 200 Hour Teacher Training program as a way to hold myself accountable to a mindful healing process and the reintegration of yoga into my life post-surgery. As I progressed through training, my fingers began to move again, and my confidence in my body and practice slowly came back.

I was so inspired by what was happening in my body. I started to write the business plan for the studio that I went on to open in early 2012. When Mindstream Yoga, Inc opened I was incredibly excited to share the power of yoga as medicine. I have been humbled and honored to see it help transform so many people’s lives since. I attended my first 500 Hour retreat with Tiffany in September of 2012. Now, I am completing the final case studies for my 500 Hour certification in Yoga Medicine. I expect to finish this fall. The inspiration to start Mindstream is 100% a result of the transformative process of healing with yoga.

Today I can truly say that I am grateful for the accident. Not only because it inspired me to create Mindstream, but also because it led me to this amazing YM community 🙂

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