Dr. Aristotle Economou on Changing the Way You Heal

October 20, 2014

Dr.ArisPicHiResDr. Aristotle Economou, a leading practitioner of alternative medicine in Beverly Hills, understands first-hand the difficulties that patients go through when dealing with a personal health challenge. In 2006, an event occurred that turned his life upside down and put his years of clinical experience in functional medicine to the ultimate test. Over a short period, the muscles in Aristotle’s body unexpectedly became paralyzed with only the ability to slightly move his hands at the wrists and blink his eyes.

Aristotle ended up in an intensive care unit (ICU), followed by a 72-day stay in a local hospital. He was told he may never walk again. Throughout the year, his healing journey continued while confined to an electric wheelchair and requiring around-the-clock care.

With determination, he implemented specific and unique healing techniques in the arena of alternative and functional medicine. He was able to rebuild his body mind and spirit, which resulted in his recovery and the ability to walk again.

Following his miraculous recovery, he wrote the book, Change the Way You Heal: 7 Steps To Highly Effective Healing. No matter how big or small your health problem, this inspirational book shows you how to maximize your healing abilities and resources using the same methods he implemented in his own recovery.  Salonpas interviewed Dr. Economou about his unique advice on pain management:

How do you use a laser in your acupuncture treatment for pain?  What types of pain sufferers benefit from this practice?

Consider this fact:  the number one reason people avoid seeing an acupuncturist for pain relief is because they are afraid of pain!  Fortunately, the soft laser used in acupuncture works in a similar way as needles by stimulating the release of the body’s natural painkiller chemicals called endorphins released at times of stress or pain. Also, by stimulating the acupuncture meridian points the body is able to achieve improved balance of the meridian system. Many of these meridian points have been used for centuries and are historical in their use for pain reduction.

Laser acupuncture is used to help relieve pain associated with: sport injuries, arthritis, back pain, bursitis, tendonitis, joint injuries, sprains, and many others.

Laser acupuncture is becoming popular because it does not carry a risk of infection and is more acceptable to patients who have a ­phobia of needles.

Do steroid shots pose any dangers to pain suffering patients?

Many are concerned about the side effects of steroid for temporary pain control and now the FDA is stepping up.  Steroid shots can be dangerous and may cause paralysis and death.  In New Zealand, there are strict limits on the use of steroids.  Many patient advocates and researchers have been persistent in their stance with the FDA to take action.  In 2007, a survey of doctors in a medical journal (Spine) uncovered just under 80 cases of patients that received steroid injections and suffered serious injuries including 13 deaths.  Other cases were associated with a loss of vision or paralysis.

A statement by an FDA spokeswoman said the warning is the result of an ongoing effort to understand the causes of “serious neurologic events” with the injections and identify ways to minimize them.  Here is a list of concerns with an epidural injection:

  • Not FDA-approved.
  • Risk of death increase.
  • Danger of paralysis.
  • If injected improperly, there is a chance a fatal stroke.
  • Doctors often do not disclose risks unless asked.
  • Medications most often used Depo-Medrol and Kenalog, are not recommended for epidural use by the manufacturers, but are regularly used anyway.
  • Many are often poorly trained in the procedure.

In the meantime, remember that the FDA is continuing their investigation and safety of steroid injections and has only issued a warning at the time of this writing.

With the advent of smart phones and mobile computing, more and more people suffer from neck pain.  What do you recommend as a low tech solution to neck pain?

According to a recent article published in the Journal of Occupational Safety and Ergonomics, 53 percent of smart phone users suffered from neck pain. Not a day goes by without someone suffering from neck pain. Of course there are a variety of causes but if the pain is a result of improper posture while using a smart phone or other mobile device, there is a very simple solution.

There is a term that has been coined “texter’s neck; the result of continued position of bending the head forward that accompanies smart phone use while texting. It’s also common to see individuals holding their cell phones against their ear while bending their neck. While this may allow them to use their hands, this posture undoubtedly creates problems including headaches, neck and shoulder pain.

Solution: Switch to a headset while on the phone and be aware of your neck position while using your device. Both of these easy tips will help decrease the strain on your neck and surprise you how much more productive your day will be without pain!

Do you think that OTC pain medication including Ibuprofen and acetaminophen pose any hazards to patients when not taken according to directions?  i.e., if they take more dosage than recommended?

Millions of Americans rely on OTC pain medication to help them through the day. What they are beginning to understand is the dangerous side effects with over use. It is so simple to just pop a few OTC pain relief capsules for pain. However, these “common” meds can be toxic to your liver and digestive tract. Symptoms of abdominal pain, nausea or vomiting can be a clue that something is dangerously wrong especially if the dosage exceeded the recommended amount.

What is your recommendation concerning the use of OTC topical analgesic medication in the form of patches, gel, spray and foam?

Using topicals has many advantages; topical use avoids the side effects that occur with oral use.

The speed of absorption with topical application is improved because it does not have to travel through the digestive system for absorption.

The convenience of applying topicals are focused on the targeted area of pain (right where it hurts) as opposed to a systemic approach with taking a pain reliever orally.

For those that have been taking too many oral pain relievers and concerned about the gastrointestinal side effects, topical application offers a different approach when taken separately.

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