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Dr. Joshua Levitt on Actual Options for Musculoskeletal Ache

Dr. Joshua Levitt on Actual Options for Musculoskeletal Ache

Dr. Joshua Levitt on Real Solutions for Musculoskeletal Pain

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Katie: Hey, and welcome to the “Wellness Mama Podcast.” I’m Katie from and That’s wellness with an E on the tip. And this podcast is all about actual options for orthopedic and musculoskeletal ache. And I’m right here with Dr. Josh Levitt, who attracts on the science of each typical and pure medication, he’s a naturopathic physician that has a extremely advanced, distinctive method to coping with musculoskeletal ache and orthopedic ache. And he talks at the moment about his wide-ranging method to this and why it’s far more than simply addressing the acute ache. And he talks about how he obtained began as a naturopathic physician, the sufferers he works with and his method to care, the basis causes of ache, the mind-body connection that we are able to perceive by understanding issues like phantom limb ache, understanding irritation and the way it pertains to ache, and a lot extra. He’s additionally the founding father of, which is a brand new firm. I’ve been utilizing a few of their merchandise and actually having fun with them. And we contact rather a lot on ache on this one, however he has experience in a whole lot of totally different areas. I feel you’ll study rather a lot. So, let’s be part of Dr. Josh. Dr. Josh, welcome. Thanks for being right here.

Josh: It’s a actual deal with to be right here. Thanks for having me.

Katie: Properly, I’m tremendous excited to delve into your space of experience, however earlier than we get there, I’ve a observe in my present notes that you’re a surfer. And I’m presently in the course of a tropical storm, which is the one time now we have good waves in our space. So after this podcast, I will likely be taking a few of my youngsters to log on in a hurricane. However I’ve a observe that in case you had been gonna give a TED discuss, you’d discuss how browsing imitates life. So, I do know this could possibly be a subject of its personal, however are you able to simply give us a pair excessive factors there, to start out off?

Josh: Yeah, completely. Properly, keep protected on the market, and, sure, hurricane waves are one of the best waves. I do know it sounds loopy to folks, when everybody else is desirous to hunker down, surfers seize their boards and head exterior. I can completely relate to that. So have enjoyable and keep protected on the market. Yeah, completely. I imply, sooner or later, I’ll in all probability sort of develop an entire discuss round this topic, browsing imitating life. Oh, my gosh, there’s a lot to say, proper? Most likely probably the most widespread issues that comes up in my scientific follow is about steadiness, and browsing and surfers, I feel, are sort of just like the individuals who can be accused of getting actually good steadiness, proper? It’s a balance-intensive train, and so, you understand, we discuss rather a lot about steadiness. And I’m positive, you understand, it’s a topic that comes up, work-life steadiness, marital steadiness, you understand, all these kinds of issues in steadiness and well being and wellness and retaining your self collectively.

And so, you understand, a surfer looks as if a superb particular person to speak to about that, proper? Properly, it seems that in browsing, and I suppose it’s additionally true in life, there’s probably not something…there’s no static mounted level of steadiness, proper? Browsing is that this, like, ever motion, ever-fluid exercise that requires fixed form of evaluation of what’s taking place with the wave, along with your board, along with your physique, with the currents, and whatnot, after which readjusting. And so, the concept that a surfer is at any level balanced is actually not true. As a substitute of being good at balancing, what surfers are good at is the efficient administration of imbalance, and I feel that these are two actually various things, proper?

So, when an individual’s browsing on a wave, the wave pitches, and you progress, after which it pitches the opposite method, and you progress the opposite method. And I might argue that in life, this concept, there’s a pursuit that lots of people are on the lookout for, “I wanna discover steadiness in my marriage, steadiness in my parenting, steadiness in my work, steadiness in my life.” And I sort of wanna inform people who, like, take it from a surfer. There’s no such factor. There’s no mounted level. It’s not like one thing balancing on one thing. It’s not static. We’re speaking a few fluid factor right here that’s life and work and relationships. And so, take it from a surfer, simply learn to successfully handle the imbalance, and also you’ll be significantly better off, in order that’s sort of like simply one of many bullet factors of my browsing imitates life discuss. And, sure, we might go on and on.

Katie: I really like that. I hope you really do this as a chat sooner or later. And I agree with you. I’ve written about that too, that, like, steadiness is a shifting goal, and adaptableness is far more necessary than discovering that mounted level usually.

Josh: Completely.

Katie: And likewise I wanna be certain now we have a whole lot of time to delve into your space of experience, as a result of I feel that is one thing that impacts lots of people listening to some extent, and from what I’m seeing, it’s one thing that’s on the rise as properly. However, to start out broad and sort of perceive how you bought right here, I’ve a observe that you just went to UCLA on a pre-med monitor, and you then pivoted. So, are you able to stroll us by what brought about that change for you?

Josh: Yeah, completely. And, sure, we’ll spend the vast majority of our time on our content material, as a result of ache, I feel there’s only a few individuals who don’t learn about that, and who’ve an expertise in some kind or one other. Yeah. I used to be a type of youngsters who simply at all times wished to be a health care provider. So, it simply made sense. I studied neurophysiology at UCLA, and I had the great fortune to form of, like, change into pleasant with, due to parental relationships, with a whole lot of medical doctors at UCLA on the time, lots of whom, now, we’re speaking 25-plus years in the past, lots of whom discouraged me from medication, profession in medication that’s. They had been seeing the adjustments afoot. Lots of them have really come to move now, referring to insurance coverage corporations and massive pharma and all that form of stuff. Life as a health care provider, as they used to understand it, wasn’t nearly as good, and they also had been saying, you understand, “I don’t know in case you wanna do that. You understand, it’s gonna simply worsen.”

So I took that recommendation and took off, for a 12 months. That is sort of what lots of people name a niche 12 months. After I completed UCLA, as an alternative of occurring to a graduate medical schooling, I simply took off for a 12 months, and this was me hair rising, you understand, hitchhiking and touring around the globe with a backpack, sleeping in youth hostels, sleeping on seashores, all that form of stuff. Anyway, the origin story, if you’ll, was, on this fateful flight, I used to be leaving from Israel, really, the place I had been, and mountaineering round, and heading to Europe, Switzerland, the truth is, and I had a blister on the again of my foot simply from, you understand, a whole lot of strolling in sandals and never nice hygiene, I’ve to confess, on the time. Anyway, that blister obtained contaminated, and I knew sufficient to know that this was one thing severe. As I’m flying on this airplane, my leg is purple. I’m getting a fever. It’s creeping up my leg. I had cellulitis, which is a really severe medical drawback. And so, I had the great fortune to have the ability to name in my folks again house. I obtained a prescription for antibiotics, referred to as right into a pharmacy in Zurich, Switzerland, and I hobbled my method in there in a feverish state, and took antibiotics, which saved my life, or at very least, saved my leg.

And in that pharmacy, I noticed, like you’ll nonetheless see at the moment in lots of European pharmacies and locations around the globe, all these different medicines, proper? Along with the antibiotics that I so desperately wanted on the time, I additionally noticed homeopathic medicines. I noticed natural teas, all this dietary stuff, nutritional vitamins, minerals, natural extracts and issues. And this was simply…possibly it’s as a result of I used to be sort of, like, you understand, in a febrile, hallucinating state or one thing, however this was actually, actually eye-opening to me. It’s like, wow, there’s this entire medication that’s not antibiotics and surgical procedure and all of the stuff that I knew of, and that was the start. Like, right here I’m now. It’s sort of humorous to consider it this manner. I’m, like, the naturopathic physician who obtained his begin in a pharmacy the place I used to be choosing up a prescription for antibiotics, you understand, which I’m very grateful for, however it opened my eyes to an entire world of medication that I didn’t know existed, and has since change into my ardour, my profession, my life.

Katie: What a cool story. And I’ve the same factor, like, I positively have a tendency towards the pure aspect of issues most frequently, however I additionally very firmly consider there’s a time and a spot for Western medication. And I’ve been very grateful for the few occasions that it’s saved my life as properly. I feel that’s an necessary caveat to recollect on this dialog. So, what sort of sufferers are you seeing now in your workplace whenever you’re working with folks?

Josh: I’m glad that you just phrased it that method, what sort of sufferers, as a result of I at all times like to consider this. Even in distinction to the mainstream or typical medication that we’re speaking about, sure, we are able to be thankful for issues which have saved our lives, saved our limbs, however there’s additionally rather a lot to be discovered from the pitfalls in Western medication. And so, I feel the kind of affected person that I see, that’s sort of like a basic query right here. So, for me, to start with, and most significantly, my sufferers are folks first, proper? I’ve by no means seen arthritis come strolling in my workplace, though I’ve seen a whole lot of circumstances of it. I’ve by no means seen most cancers or thyroid illness. It’s at all times been, up to now at the moment, 20-plus years and counting, an individual with arthritis, an individual with coronary heart illness, an individual with most cancers, which I feel is a extremely necessary distinction, and sadly usually will get misplaced in Western medication.

We’re gonna discuss orthopedics and musculoskeletal ache, and it’s so widespread. I imply, anyone who’s been in an enormous factory-like orthopedic workplace can know the sensation of, like, you’re “the knee in room six,” otherwise you’re the “hip in room seven.” And that’s actually irritating to folks as a result of they really feel like they’re simply their physique half, simply their illness, simply their gland, simply their sickness. And so, yeah, the primary a part of that reply is that they’re people. They’re sufferers. They’re individuals who have issues, in lots of circumstances, in my world, individuals who have ache. So, a whole lot of my follow was dedicated to the care of individuals with musculoskeletal ache, however definitely not completely. After which one other form of philosophical level there may be that if a health care provider like myself treats folks, then I deal with the issues that these folks have, which is, once more, very totally different than Western medical specialties. I stay in Connecticut, proper down the street from Yale. And at Yale, there’s hyper, hyper-focus on specialization, proper?

So, I’ve had, and I child you not, a affected person who had a really severe thumb drawback who went to see, not only a hand physician, however somebody who makes a speciality of thumbs, which is sort of superb you probably have a thumb drawback, however it’s fairly straightforward to really feel like that’s, the blinders are on, and all you’re being handled for is that drawback. So, my follow, despite the fact that I had a reasonably vital concentrate on orthopedics and musculoskeletal ache, was a follow that was just like the anti-specialty, or is a follow, it’s just like the anti-specialty. No matter you bought, you’re a human. I understand how to deal with people, let’s go. And if we have to sort of transfer on down the road to better specialization, then that’s wonderful. However principally folks with musculoskeletal ache, and every thing else, too, is my reply to that one.

Katie: I really like that reply as a result of, having been a affected person that I felt like was only a analysis when it got here to thyroid illness for a very long time, it’s actually superior to listen to a practitioner clarify it from that perspective. And it’s attention-grabbing in relation to ache as properly, as a result of I really feel like as purposeful and naturopathic medication have gotten extra well-known, persons are trying into extra root trigger approaches now. So, as an illustration, by the tip of my journey, I wasn’t only a thyroid affected person anymore. Most people I used to be working with understood the intestine connection, understood how the physique works as an entire. But it surely looks as if with ache, particularly with joints, there’s nonetheless possibly, such as you stated, some blinders there, that whereas we are able to take a look at the whole-body method in different areas, it’s usually a temptation to go, “Oh, you’ve got a knee drawback,” and never take a look at the entire remainder of the physique, or not take a look at ache as being the entire remainder of the physique. And I might guess that there’s nonetheless, after all, going to be whole-body connections there. So, how do you method somebody who is available in with a fancy case that possibly additionally has this musculoskeletal ache, or some sort of orthopedic challenge?

Josh: Yeah. And that’s a fantastic query. I imply, you’ll be able to completely relate. Sufferers with thyroid issues are form of generally form of simply siloed into endocrinology. And, yeah, ache is a extremely tough one, rather a lot to say right here. I imply, definitely, if somebody twists their knee and tears their ACL snowboarding, they do, they’ve a knee drawback, proper? That’s fairly clear. However additionally they have ache, this mysterious sensation that now we have. I’d wish to form of share one thing that everyone can relate to, and I can relate to this, not personally, however professionally, having had sufferers who’ve suffered with this. There’s this drawback that we’ve all heard of in all probability earlier than, it’s intriguing, referred to as phantom limb ache. That is in an individual who’s an amputee, who doesn’t have a limb. Perhaps they misplaced it in an accident or damage or regardless of the case could also be, they usually nonetheless have ache in that limb, or itching or different kinds of sensations. Actually tough to handle.

But it surely offers you this very attention-grabbing perspective whenever you simply give it some thought, proper? If an individual doesn’t have a foot, and their foot that they don’t have hurts, it’s fairly clear that the ache is just not within the foot, proper? It could’t be, as a result of there isn’t any foot, proper? So, right here now we have our skier that we simply talked about, who tore their ACL. Properly, they’ve a knee. It’s simply sort of broken proper now, they usually have this ache, not not like the ache that the phantom limb affected person has. Is the ache within the knee? Properly, it definitely was generated by constructions within the knee, however the ache is perceived within the mind, proper? It’s actually a mind drawback, and, yeah, it has its origins in a trauma within the knee. After which the mind grabs a maintain of those alerts which are coming from a traumatized space, after which tells the particular person a narrative about it, after which there’s all these biochemical issues that occur, like irritation and muscle pressure and fibrosis, and we are able to discuss all about that, in and round an space infiltrated with blood and cells to assist heal. And there’s this entire story, an emotional half.

So, ache, gosh, it’s actually one thing. And so, your query was how do I method a fancy affected person with a ache dysfunction? Once more, it goes again to that basic philosophical standpoint. It’s an individual, proper? We now have to grasp what tales they’ve round that ache, what it means to them, what they’re afraid of. A whole lot of occasions, there’s concern wrapped up in there. After which now we have to grasp vitamin, biomechanics, biochemistry, environmental medication, together with toxicity and all the kinds of issues that purposeful and naturopathic medical doctors discuss, occult infections, and all the opposite issues that would make one thing that’s traumatized or injured and in any other case painful much more painful. And I feel that’s really the important thing to debate right here is there’s so many individuals who’ve exaggerated reactions, be it irritation, or ache itself, past what their damage or trauma deserves, proper? And I feel there’s a lot room for serving to and therapeutic folks in that house, in that delta.

Katie: Yeah. So, let’s go deeper on that, as a result of having had a number of joint accidents all through my life, it looks as if the mainstream mannequin of care is simply ache reduction and let it get higher, until a affected person wants surgical procedure. But it surely feels like from what you’re saying, there’s a whole lot of issues that could possibly be accomplished in a different way and on totally different ranges that will actually change outcomes. So, let’s go deeper on that, and the way that could possibly be accomplished in a different way.

Josh: Yeah, completely. And also you’re proper. I imply, ache is taken into account now an important signal, and, you understand, that was sort of an concept that wound up sort of being an enormous drawback, as a result of it initiated or was a part of the initiation of the opioid disaster that now we have now, treating ache, managing ache, staying forward of ache, all that form of stuff. When the fact is the ache is a sign, proper? Ache is a sensation that we expertise, that our physique is telling us to alter our conduct. Essentially the most sort of primitive instance I can consider of that’s, like, in case your hand begins feeling actually, actually sizzling as a result of it’s near a hearth, the ache tells you that there’s one thing that should change, and that one thing is that you want to transfer your hand away from the hearth, proper? That’s nice. And that works very well. When you have a thorn in your foot, you’ll limp to not press extra on that thorn, these kinds of issues. It’s a really primitive sort of response. And but, like, there’s all these tales that get wrapped up in it, and in addition, it will get enhanced or elevated by all of those underlying baseline components like vitamin and whatnot.

So, the brief story of how…the genesis of any sort of ache syndrome, I like to think about, like, you get up in the course of the night time to go use the toilet or one thing and smash your toe towards the aspect of the tip desk there, toe will get crushed, proper? Some tissue will get broken within the space. Hopefully, you didn’t break a bone, however, you understand, there’s injury to the world. And it hurts. After which an entire bunch of issues begins to occur. Blood vessels opened up. Some tissue was broken. That tissue that was broken launched some chemical mediators from contained in the cells into the native bloodstream, after which the native bloodstream sort of obtained sense…has sensors for these sort of chemical compounds which are telling you that you just’ve been traumatized not directly. And that kicks off this superior, extraordinarily advanced cascade of interactions involving cytokines and leukotrienes, prostaglandins, and issues which are all these chemical alerts that inform your immune system, basically, your white blood cells and all these cleanup cells, to say, “Hey, there’s one thing occurring in that toe. Get on down there and begin to clear up the mess.”

So, that’s what occurs. The white blood cells infiltrate the world, and the cleanup crew begins. The purpose right here is that this inflammatory response, and we’ll get into irritation possibly even in additional element as we go alongside, is a mandatory a part of a therapeutic response. You have got a, I consider a matrix of occasions that occurs, tissue damage, after which some ache, after which irritation, after which muscular pressure across the space, some quantity of guarding, after which the therapeutic response. And irritation, which is a serious, main a part of the ache generator sort of cascade, is a serious goal, the place we see extreme response based mostly on the extent of the damage, proper? So, many individuals who don’t eat properly, who’re uncovered to environmental toxins, and many others., will smash that very same toe towards the tip desk and see a better inflammatory response. And so, the extent of ache, the extent of irritation in response to an damage is straight correlated with the underlying biochemical well being of the person. So, that’s how I take into consideration these musculoskeletal pains, whether or not they come from trauma, acute damage like a ski accident, or from an autoimmune illness or a degenerative course of like arthritis, it’s all the identical.

Katie: That is sensible. So, somebody with already the next diploma of irritation within the physique would have a heightened response to that acute irritation.

Josh: Completely. It doesn’t matter if it’s a mosquito chew or if it’s an ACL tear in a snowboarding damage. An individual who’s more healthy will reply in a more healthy method, with decreased ranges of irritation, a speedier therapeutic time, and many others. And that applies regardless of the trauma, whether or not it’s a degenerative arthropathy, whether or not it’s an autoimmune illness, or whether or not it’s an acute damage like a trauma.

Katie: And also you additionally stated, like, that inflammatory response I might guess really serves a vital goal within the physique, in an acute sense, as a result of it’s releasing all of these signaling mechanisms, similar to there’s an inflammatory response post-exercise, that results in muscle progress. So that is…basically, irritation isn’t categorically a nasty factor, however you’re speaking about when now we have this systemically persistent irritation that then makes all of those responses worse?

Josh: Completely. It’s both systemically persistent or extreme in response to trauma or an infection or damage. And the way in which I like to consider it…and, sure, you’re proper. The inflammatory response is a basic a part of form of human immunological reactions. If we didn’t have it, it will be lights out. It’s completely mandatory. And I feel, you understand, that is actually attention-grabbing. Maybe you understand this, or possibly not, that irritation, it has a Latin root phrase, like so many medical phrases. Inflammo means to set ablaze. It means fireplace. Irritation is called after fireplace. And really very like fireplace, I imply, it’s a really aptly named course of. Hearth is… Properly, right here we’re, you understand, at a time when the world is burning up, particularly in California, you understand, these wildfires are so damaging. Hearth is a large human development and basic to our survival, proper? We use it to cook dinner. We use it to remain heat. Harnessing fireplace was one of many biggest achievements of humankind.

However fireplace can be extraordinarily damaging, maybe probably the most damaging forces on the planet, and so irritation could be very a lot the identical. Like, we love a candlelit dinner, but when the candle catches the curtains on fireplace, now we have an enormous drawback, proper? So, irritation is called after fireplace, and correctly so. It’s mandatory. It’s basic. It’s really important to our survival, however an excessive amount of is a nasty deal. And an excessive amount of may be, like, a low-lying persistent burn taking place on a regular basis, such as you talked about, a persistent inflammatory state, or it may be that the comb is so dry, there’s simply a lot tinder on the market, that when one thing occurs, a trauma, an damage, a mosquito chew, it flames up like that. And so, yeah, irritation is sweet, however an excessive amount of is just not good.

Katie: After which it looks as if a whole lot of the primary line of method to, like an damage particularly, or to ache, is a few kind of anti-inflammatory ache remedy. However I might guess since this isn’t addressing the basis reason behind the opposite irritation, and there are unintended effects to a whole lot of these medication, that may, in the long run, have a unfavourable impact, I might guess?

Josh: Completely. I imply, yeah, the concept of suppressing irritation, you understand, sort of an excellent achievement when it comes to medication, but additionally not with out danger, proper? It is a basic organic course of. I imply, you and I can each relate to this. When you have any organic course of that’s form of been…that’s a part of sort of our system and who we’re, and also you simply willy-nilly suppress that system, there’s gonna be penalties to that, proper? You’ll be able to’t simply get away with that without end. And, sure, after all, regardless of which method you determine to suppress irritation, whether or not or not it’s from prednisone or steroids like that, or from the extra widespread lessons of over-the-counter medicines, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medication, NSAIDs we name them, yeah, there’s gonna be a value to pay for that. So NSAIDs are, you understand, loaded with an entire host of unintended effects, and steroids are much more highly effective anti-inflammatories which have much more highly effective unintended effects.

So, the way in which that naturopathic medical doctors like to consider that is to assist the inflammatory course of, proper, fairly than suppress it. And, I feel, that’s a extremely enormous distinction between the way in which I follow medication and sort of purposeful integrative medical doctors’ practices, assist versus suppress. After all, there’s a time for suppression. When an individual’s life is in danger or limbs are in danger, you understand, suppression may be mandatory. But when we take into consideration this as a hierarchical sort of method, if there are methods to assist a degenerative sort of joint ache kind of syndrome, fairly than simply suppress, suppress, suppress irritation, the sufferers will virtually at all times be higher off in the long term.

Katie: That is sensible. And if ache is a messenger that’s telling us one thing in our mind, versus simply an acute response in a spot within the physique, it is sensible that simply suppressing that with out determining the basis of it could possibly be very counterproductive in the long run. And in my notes, you discuss a ache matrix, and sort of an alternate method to dealing with this, which I’m beginning to sort of be capable of pull some items based mostly on what you’ve stated, however can we go into element on this, particularly for anybody who has, like, a persistent ache like this that they’re attempting to work by?

Josh: Yeah, completely. And I feel that is form of basic to the method. It’s one thing that advanced for me over time, sort of like a stream chart or a course of, or perhaps a sample recognition, for me, within the workplace watching individuals who undergo, lots of them…and simply as a broad class, we’ll name it arthritis, proper? They’ve joints that damage. It is likely to be their neck or their shoulders or their again or their elbows, wrists, you understand, hips, knees, wherever the case could also be. They get lumped into this class referred to as arthritis, and after we look rigorously at these folks, there’s a form of a sample that emerges over years of caring for them on this form of naturopathic sort of method. First is, there’s one thing unsuitable, proper? There’s one thing unsuitable with the joint. It is likely to be that the cartilage is thinned out. It is likely to be that there’s bone spurring within the space. It is likely to be {that a} disc within the cervical or lumbar backbone is thinner than it’s alleged to be or is bulging out in a single place or one other.

So there’s some structural integrity. Normally of people that have these sorts of issues, there’s one thing that’s structurally compromised. Fairly often, and I’d like to get into this extra later, that structural compromise is seen on X-ray or on MRI, and could be very usually the one factor that the medical doctors will inform the affected person is unsuitable, proper? “Oh, we see this structural compromise. We see this bone spur. We see this disc factor. We see this joint house narrowing. There’s your drawback,” proper? So, I’m right here to let you know that that’s not at all times true. Actually, fairly often, it isn’t true. Structural drawback is simply part of the story, as a result of, from that structural drawback is that this entire matrix, this cascade of occasions that happens. The primary, and one we began to simply scratch the floor on a bit of bit, is when there may be structural issues, what does the physique do? Inflammatory response. Similar to we described earlier than, this inflow of white blood cells, and there’s an inflammatory response. A wholesome inflammatory response, it’ll be graded in accordance with the extent of structural trauma or structural integrity issues. But when an individual has these underlying components, the inflammatory response is likely to be extreme. In order that’s the primary a part of the ache matrix after the structural drawback.

Structural drawback results in an inflammatory response, which could possibly be wholesome and well-controlled, or it could possibly be uncontrolled like a wildfire. After which from there, that irritation is a set off for ache. It’s, you understand, sort of an excellent system. You have got a traumatized or structurally compromised space, you’ve got some irritation, you get a sign that it hurts. So that you begin limping, otherwise you begin doing different sort of conduct change…postural adjustments, fairly often involving muscle pressure. So, within the muscle mass adjoining to the disc, or within the muscle mass adjoining to the shoulder the place the rotator cuff is torn, or the knee or the hip or wherever the case could also be, it’s extraordinarily widespread for folks to have extreme quantities of muscular pressure within the space the place there’s a structural drawback and a few irritation. We name this splinting or guarding. We’ve all skilled it earlier than. When one thing hurts, you sort of maintain on to it. Like, you don’t wanna transfer it extra, and it’s a really clever physique response, proper? And when one thing’s torn or broken, you maintain on to it tighter.

Properly, similar to irritation, there are circumstances that may lead folks to carry tighter and maintain longer than they need to with that muscular pressure, and if that muscular pressure persists, you wind up having muscular pressure as a brand new ache generator, proper? So, right here now we have a structurally compromised disc, some irritation within the space of the disc, now muscle pressure within the muscle mass throughout that disc, and now issues are actually beginning to damage, proper? After which, this persists, and right here we go, the final part of the matrix, is when this persists lengthy sufficient, the muscle pressure cuts off blood provide, and as that blood provide is minimize off, the tissue turns into, oh, gosh, extra gristly, like, much less tender. You understand, in case you consider a bit of meat, in case you eat meat, you understand, there’s tender, and we sort of normally like that. After which there’s, like, powerful, and we don’t like that an excessive amount of, no less than most individuals don’t.

And in case your muscle mass are contracted and underneath pressure, since you’re guarding them and holding for such a very long time, they will change into powerful, and that toughness is the results of the buildup of fibrin, like a scar tissue within the space, that makes the musculature much less tender, much less juicy, if you’ll. And so, that, that I simply described, from structural compromise to irritation to muscle pressure to fibrosis, that package deal is what hurts. And fairly often, whenever you deal with all of these different accent issues, particularly the irritation, muscle pressure, and fibrosis, the structural drawback, it doesn’t matter a lot anymore. It’s not as massive of a deal.

Katie: That is sensible. And you’ll appropriate me if I’m unsuitable on this, however I’ve heard that the structural factor doesn’t at all times essentially line up with the ache response in somebody who’s in any other case wholesome as properly. Like, as an illustration, I’ve heard of circumstances, folks having a bulging disc or ruptured disc and never experiencing any ache. Whereas conversely, they’ve a minor challenge and be experiencing an incredible quantity of ache.

Josh: You’re 100% proper. It’s simply superb to me, Katie, that extra medical doctors don’t perceive this, or don’t even ask themselves that quite simple query that you just simply raised. Take a working example. Right here’s an individual. I simply had a case like this final week. He has again ache. You understand, it didn’t go away. He went to a health care provider. He obtained an MRI. And the MRI confirmed that he had a bulging disc, disc herniation in between L5 and S1 in his case. After which, he did some stuff. He did some PT. You understand, possibly he took some remedy, no matter it was. It’s irrelevant. He did some stuff for a number of weeks, and he obtained higher. So now his again doesn’t damage anymore. So, if…we’ll do a theoretical right here…we had been to shoot the MRI once more, he nonetheless has a disc herniation. So, you understand, he simply doesn’t have the ache anymore. And that is extraordinarily widespread. So, this has been properly studied. Your level is well-taken, and also you’re completely spot-on on this one.

The presence of imaging abnormalities, like arthritic adjustments, joint house narrowing, disc bulges, degenerative adjustments of any type, don’t correlate with a degree of ache. There’s numerous folks on the market who’ve every kind of badness and yucky-looking stuff on MRIs, they usually really feel wonderful. And there’s every kind of people that have horrible ache whose MRIs and X-rays look regular. So we can not correlate imaging findings, X-ray, MRI, CT scan, to a scientific syndrome. It simply doesn’t work, and the explanation why is the ache matrix that I simply described. It’s not at all times…I don’t wanna say that the structural factor is irrelevant, as a result of it’s there. It’s an actual factor. There’s not alleged to be a disc herniation. However, if there’s extreme irritation, muscle pressure, fibrosis in and round that space, that’s the distinction between that disc herniation hurting and never hurting. And that’s probably the most progressive ache management sort of protocol on the market proper now, is to disregard the imaging findings. They don’t matter as a lot as most individuals assume they do.

Katie: So, with that extra complete understanding of ache, what’s your method to treating that in a sort of a whole-person method, versus simply that acute trauma of the ache?

Josh: Yeah. So, and I feel speaking in regards to the persistent stuff is extra related. And I’ll begin really by going again to one thing that we stated earlier than, which was in regards to the expertise of the ache itself and the tales that we inform ourselves. You understand, we had been simply speaking about how poorly imaging findings, X-rays and MRIs, correlate with ache, proper? However there are heaps and plenty of people that get advised by their radiologist or their orthopedist, and even proven these pictures, proper? They are saying, “Hey, look right here. You’ll be able to see. See the way it’s bulging out proper there. That’s an issue. See how that is asymmetrical, and there’s a narrowing over right here.” And sufferers fairly often have this picture. They’re not radiologists, they don’t know what they’re taking a look at, however they’ve a picture seared into their mind by a health care provider, you understand, an authority determine, telling them that they’re damaged. That’s what that story actually is telling them.

Actually, the affected person I simply advised you about was proven an image of an MRI with a bulging disc, and in his thoughts, he’s listening to this story from a radiologist, “Oh, your disc is bulging.” What he’s listening to and internalizing is that, “I’m damaged, that my again is degenerated, that I’m a large number,” proper? “I’m falling aside.” And that could be a very unlucky casualty of that dialog. So, one of many first issues that I begin with is by telling folks, “Look, you’re not damaged. There’s heaps of people that have disc herniations like that, they usually really feel completely wonderful. Actually, you’re gonna really feel completely wonderful in only a couple weeks, and also you’re nonetheless gonna have that disc herniation. So, you’re not damaged. You’re simply hurting. So let’s begin there,” proper? And that comes, you understand, as a fantastic reduction to lots of people who actually really feel now that they’re damaged, so that they need to be cautious, they will’t run anymore, they will’t bike anymore, they will’t elevate up their youngsters or one thing like that, for concern that their damaged again is gonna actually change into, you understand, a much bigger drawback. I feel Western medication, mainstream medication does an enormous disservice to sufferers sort of by chance, by telling them or implying that they’re broken, and it’s unlucky that that occurs. So, we begin there, attempt to, you understand, reverse that story, to alter the channel, so to talk.

After which, there’s this entire world of choices that change into out there to folks, relying on the uniquenesses and the specifics of their very own case, that may, one, assist the well being of the broken connective tissues. So, these are issues that you understand about, Katie. These are issues that, like, are collagen, you understand, a whole lot of these connective tissues like cartilage have collagen at their base, and are shaped of compounds that you just’ve heard of earlier than, like glucosamine sulfate and chondroitin sulfate and methylsulfonylmethane, all these sulfur-containing amino acids which are a part of the matrix, the fairly literal matrix of what we’re constructed out of. So, we use issues within the pure medication world or within the dietary world to assist enhance the integrity of connective tissue, as a result of virtually at all times, whether or not it’s a disc or a bone or a muscle or a ligament or a tendon with connective tissue integrity issues, we attempt to assist that integrity. In order that’s primary.

Quantity two is we attempt to assist that inflammatory course of, lower the quantity of extreme irritation, with out suppressing irritation, however simply supporting it. So meaning dietary adjustments. We are able to get deeper on that if we…you understand, there’s a lot. It’s mainly every thing, actually, vitamin and way of life, that’s the distinction between a wholesome inflammatory response and an extreme one. So we go down that street with vitamin and dietary adjustments, and natural medicines as acceptable. After which if there may be muscle pressure concerned, I wish to work on that as properly. And that may be labored on additionally nutritionally and biomechanically, postural re-education, bodily remedy, power, stretching, strengthening, set off level launch work, all these handbook issues that may be accomplished, lots of them with my very own arms. After which relying on the chronicity, like how lengthy the issue has been occurring, and whether or not or not there’s proof of this scarification, you understand, particularly in outdated accidents, we attempt to do what we are able to to interrupt up that fibrosis that’s sort of the scar tissue, that toughness in a muscle or tender tissues round an affected joint. And that’s the package deal.

Katie: And, yeah, it looks as if a way more complete method that will have optimistic ripples. I imply, the concept of irritation and out-of-control irritation being a root of many issues has come up on this podcast fairly a bit. It makes full sense that it will have a tie-over into ache, and the plus aspect right here being addressing all of these components, even in case you’re simply motivated initially by this acute ache, is gonna have such optimistic spillover into so many different areas of life. Like, I really feel like altering that inflammatory response and getting it in a wholesome vary is gonna assist sleep, it’s gonna assist stress, it’s gonna assist digestion. Like, after all, we all know the entire physique is related.

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There’s lots of people on the market, particularly in relation to ache, I’m seeing lots of people utilizing several types of biohacking and entering into a few of these, like, extra obscure, or simply sort of fringe concepts that I feel… My take is at all times there’s a time and a spot for lots of these issues, however I at all times like to inform folks, too, I feel 80% of it’s the stuff you’re doing each day, small habits, issues which are free, your sleep, your stress, your meals, your motion. However I do additionally assume there is usually a time and a spot for these. However I’m curious your tackle that, as a result of a whole lot of these do appear to line up with musculoskeletal or bodily efficiency. So, do you utilize any of these therapies, and in that case, how?

Josh: Yeah. I respect this query, and it’s a fantastic one. And it’s virtually controversial a bit of bit. I do know that world very properly, like, the well being and wellness world, you understand, and the attraction to the brand new…you utilize the phrase fringe. You understand, the “progressive” is likely to be…you understand, we love shiny new objects on this nation, and that’s definitely no totally different on the earth of orthopedics and musculoskeletal ache. We additionally need to keep in mind that ache is a large motivator. Like, folks hate ache. They don’t wanna be in ache, they usually’ll do something. They’ll spend some huge cash, they’ll do every kind of loopy stuff to attempt to get out of ache. I feel it’s true that…you utilize the phrase “biohacker,” which is variety of a complete group, an entire universe, actually, progressive medical stuff, could be very seductive, as a result of it makes these wild guarantees about this new science of injecting this or that.

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Mark smiles mid-stride in front of a grove of trees.

And I utterly agree with you. I imply, I consider…and I’m gonna use a bit of allegory right here for a minute. If there’s a fly buzzing round in our kitchen, there’s a whole lot of totally different choices that now we have for that. And me, and I think you is likely to be comparable, I wish to attempt to, like, open up the window and see if I can get him out. You understand, I don’t just like the fly being in there. It’s an issue that I’ve, however I’m gonna attempt to use, like, a peaceable answer. And it generally works. There’s some dangers to it. It is likely to be a bit of more durable. After which, I’d step it as much as, like, the rolled-up newspaper or the fly swatter, after which I’d step it up, though I in all probability wouldn’t, only for the sake of my metaphor right here, to, like, a chemical spray, like Raid or one thing. You can spray that across the kitchen and kill it. After which, if it’s nonetheless not going away, we might pull out, like, a flamethrower, proper?

And the concept right here is that, like, there’s rising ranges of power that could possibly be used to deal with an issue, on this case, the fly drawback. I just like the least power. That’s the way in which I love to do it. And if that doesn’t work, we step it up. And with every rising degree of power, there may be rising ranges of toxicity or trauma to the kitchen, proper? Like, you pull out the flamethrower, there’s gonna be an enormous mess. You’ll kill the fly actually successfully. And in orthopedics, now we have this on a regular basis, proper? We love surgical procedure. We love injections. We love prolotherapy, PRP, Lipogems, all of latest fancy stuff. And people may be nice, however they’re sort of up in that increased class, nearer to a flamethrower. So, if the case permits for it, there’s time, it’s not that extreme, then we begin with the mild stuff, the dietary adjustments, the approach to life adjustments, posture, biomechanics, therapeutic massage, dietary remedy, natural remedy. That’s the opening the door or the window. After which we go up from there. And, yeah, there is likely to be a time the place we want remedy or an injection of some type, and that is the place that biohacking universe begins up.

We had prolotherapy was one of many early introductions, which was the injection of sugar molecules to assist spur or improve the expansion of cartilage cells. After which that advanced, and lots of people now are doing PRP, platelet-rich plasma injections, the place we extract the platelets, which have progress components in there, sort of a one-up to the outdated prolotherapy. After which up from there, now we have a bunch of fancy new peptides which are out there, or the extraction of fats, and injecting that into joints.

And also you requested am I into that. Yeah. I’m into all of that. I feel that stuff is superb, and it’s superior, particularly if it comes earlier than the subsequent big-ticket intervention, like, for instance, a joint substitute. However in case you’re asking am I into that, like, proper out the gates? Completely not. I share your ideas. I wanna work with the open the door for the fly method first, dietary, natural, dietary, and sort of work my method up that ladder, up that hierarchy. And so long as remedies are protected, and protected is each protected to the affected person, after all, and in addition protected to their pocketbook… I feel there’s some huge cash to be made in a whole lot of these fancy interventions, too. So, “protected,” I’d use the time period very broadly. But when it’s affordable intervention, and it’s protected for the particular person, and is likely to be efficient earlier than pulling out the flamethrower, then yeah, let’s go, you understand. In order that’s the place I’m at with biohacking and novel progressive therapies.

Katie: Yeah. It looks as if an necessary sort of development of the depth of therapies there. That was a fantastic analogy. And I’ve at all times heard it stated that folks solely change when the ache of staying the identical turns into better than the ache of adjusting, and on this case, speaking about precise ache, it’s an exquisite trainer, to your level. And so, I might guess for lots of people, you get to see them in an attention-grabbing level the place they’re hitting that threshold of it’s now extra painful to remain the identical, they’re keen to alter, and also you’re capable of then educate about the entire methods by which they will do this, that even when they find yourself needing sooner or later a type of extra superior issues like surgical procedure, hopefully not, however their physique is gonna in all probability be in a significantly better state to deal with surgical procedure, or deal with no matter they want sooner or later, than if that they had not addressed these issues. As a result of as you had been speaking about this, I’m imagining, you understand, if somebody’s having…we’ve talked in regards to the inflammatory connection right here and all of the layers of this. If somebody is in that state, going by surgical procedure is one other stress on the physique, is creating extra irritation and tissue injury within the physique, so their restoration from that is also fairly tough in the event that they haven’t addressed these different components.

Josh: Yeah, completely. It was so eloquent the way in which you simply described that, Katie. It’s so true. That’s the place persons are, proper? That’s the precipice that they’re on, “This drawback that I’ve is not acceptable to me.” They usually’re keen to do one thing about it, proper? And I feel the aim of the doctor, I imply, definitely, it’s not a method I’ve ever actually thought of my job, however it’s, to form of assess, like, “All proper. Like, how problematic is that this? What are you keen to do? What adjustments are you keen to make?” It’s definitely a dialogue that we at all times have, like, how a lot do you want your present weight loss program? How a lot do you want your present inactive way of life? Or, in some circumstances, how a lot do you want that operating that you just do, that’s simply messing up your knee? And I’ve had numerous people who I’ve needed to say, you understand, “I feel it is likely to be time to modify to a bicycle.” And it’s brutal. It’s a brutal actuality test for them to need to assess, like, “Yeah. I’m on a precipice proper right here. I can not cope with this hip scenario anymore. I’ve to make a change.”

And, yeah, for some folks, meaning I’m able to have a surgeon minimize me open and take my outdated hip out and put a brand new one in. However there’s many…I might say not…I don’t know if I wanna say most. In my follow, I’d say, you understand, a big majority of individuals can enhance their ache state, musculoskeletal ache, fairly dramatically with out resorting to the flamethrowers of the world. And that’s been…gosh, I imply, how far more gratifying might a profession be, to have the ability to assist folks keep away from these sort of costly, scary interventions, and as an alternative use pure therapies? And, yeah, it’s unlucky that now we have to… It’s. It’s very arduous to get folks to alter till there’s some cause that nearly forces them. And, yeah, really, in a whole lot of methods, makes my job simpler, proper? Right here they’re. They’re able to go, you understand. So I simply assist usher them alongside that path.

Katie: And I’m positive it’s refreshing for them to work with somebody who is just not attempting to push them into the high-ticket, costly, and considerably drastic choices, but additionally handle these root causes first. And I additionally assume, if we are able to shift…since you talked about the mindset a few occasions. I feel if we shift our mindset, we are able to have excessive gratitude when there’s ache, as a result of it’s an unimaginable trainer, and it will get our consideration, and we are able to study a lesson, and hopefully, we do, in a method that has optimistic results. Going ahead, I do know for me, I’ll, like, get susceptible for a second. A couple of months in the past, I ended up, by a mix of unusual and strange components, getting rhabdo. Which isn’t a factor that will usually have occurred to me, however I had had blood loss after which a sequence of issues that sort of compounded, and I obtained rhabdo. And the ache of that was sufficient to get my consideration. And positively, I used to be capable of handle some issues by that have and study classes about not pushing myself too arduous in sure areas, which had been necessary to study.

However I feel if we reframe it, like, any sort of ache, even emotional ache, there’s a whole lot of metaphors there, turns into a fantastic trainer if we let it. And if we don’t resist it, if we let it educate us, after which combine these habits and transfer ahead, and even for somebody who possibly doesn’t have a bulging disc or an ACL tear, and isn’t in acute ache, all of those stuff you’ve talked about, I might guess, additionally improve our resilience if we’re injured or if we encounter ache, as a result of if we handle all these items beforehand, it will appear to be we are able to deal with these issues higher in the event that they happen. Is that your expertise as properly?

Josh: Yeah, completely. I imply, first, to your factor, and we gained’t spend any extra time on it apart from me to say I hope it was a speedy and full restoration for you. It looks as if you’re doing simply wonderful. So I hope that’s true. Yeah. The expertise of ache is a superb trainer certainly, and I feel that we stay in a world, society, definitely within the healthcare universe, the place we wanna simply suppress it. We wish nothing to do with it, proper? We wanna keep forward of it so to talk, medicate it away, and we’re dropping rather a lot after we do this. Now, after all, the ache is uncomfortable, proper? It’s uncomfortable for a cause, and when an individual is ready to form of take a pair deep breaths and sort of go lean into that ache, that is what a whole lot of the mindfulness work spearheaded by Jon Kabat-Zinn and so many others, you understand, about utilizing cognitive conduct remedy and mindfulness as pertains to ache, may be superb, highly effective instruments that don’t contain any change, you understand, in vitamin, however have radical influence on the biochemistry and the entire form of neurochemistry of ache.

And completely, I feel, we have to take it for what it’s price. You understand, completely, if it’s disabling or incapacitating, there’s instruments that now we have and we must always be thankful for to assist handle that. However, sure, it’s certainly a lesson, a trainer, and there’s at all times, and I might say at all times, I imply, we don’t get to say that too usually in medication, tales that now we have which are borne of our personal experiences, that inform what our expertise is of that ache. And so, if, you understand, your life historical past tells a sure story, and you then come up towards some sort of ache, you’ll take that ache expertise, and it’ll change into a part of your story. And which may make it damage roughly, relying on what your background is and what tales you’re telling your self about it. And so, I feel that as a part of a complete form of naturopathic administration to a ache syndrome, whether or not it’s a persistent drawback or an acute drawback, is that the evaluation of that story, and attempting to assist folks discover methods to reframe it in a method that makes it a optimistic expertise for them finally.

Katie: I really like that. And as we get near the tip of our time, a number of questions I like to ask, the primary being if there’s a e book or plenty of books which have had a profound influence in your life, and in that case, what they’re and why?

Josh: Yeah. I do know your type with this query, and I really like this query. And my reply is a e book referred to as “Ferdinand the Bull.” And that could be a child’s e book that I’ve a number of copies of. It was my favourite e book as a baby, and it stays my favourite e book as an grownup. It’s the story of Ferdinand the bull, who obtained stung by a bee. Speak about ache. And it was proper at a time when all of the bullfight crew was coming in from Madrid to evaluate the bulls within the pasture, who was the most important, fiercest bull. He will get stung by a bee. He jumps up, he runs round loopy, they usually say, “Oh, we discovered our bull.” They usually deliver Ferdinand the bull to go battle within the bullfights in Madrid, and all he ever needs to do is simply sit down in the course of the ring like he at all times did out within the pasture, and odor the flowers. He’s a peaceable, variety bull. He doesn’t wanna battle. And that’s at all times been my favourite e book, and it stays my favourite e book to today. It’s nearly, I don’t know, peace, smelling flowers, and non-violence. I simply love “Ferdinand the Bull.” So I respect the query and the reminiscences it evokes.

Katie: I really like that. That’s a brand new suggestion. I’ll put a hyperlink within the present notes for anybody who isn’t acquainted. And the place can folks discover you to continue learning about your method and/or work with you in case you are taking new sufferers?

Josh: Thanks. Yeah. So, my follow, and proper now my follow is…I’m a busy particular person, so my follow is full to new sufferers in the meanwhile. That may at all times change, relying on all kinds of various skilled and private life issues. My follow is right here in Hamden, Connecticut, and now we have 5 different medical doctors there as properly. That’s a follow referred to as Complete Well being in Hamden, Connecticut. And the web site for our follow is You’ll see me there. I’m nonetheless there. I simply am at this precise second not accepting new sufferers proper now. I additionally am the medical director of an organization referred to as UpWellness, which is discovered at,, UpWellness. And the brand of UpWellness is a wave. I advised you at first I’m a surfer, and upwelling… That is an attention-grabbing little aspect observe for you. UpWellness is the identify of our firm, and our tagline is known as “Nutrient-Wealthy Residing.”

So, any surfer can relate to this, or anybody who’s swum within the ocean or a big physique of water. There’s this phenomena the place you hit a chilly patch, and a chilly patch is an upwelling, the place there’s this upwelling of chilly, nutrient-dense water from under, that replaces the nutrient-depleted water above, the place all of the organic exercise is, from the solar and the fish and whatnot. And so, that higher layer of water will get depleted, after which currents and whatnot will trigger this infusion from under of chilly water, and we expertise that as a chilly patch. But it surely’s additionally a nutrient-rich infusion, so therefore the identify of our firm, UpWellness, “Nutrient-Wealthy Residing,” and is the place folks will discover all of the merchandise that we create that assist folks with musculoskeletal ache and all method of different totally different issues, natural, dietary merchandise that me and my spouse Amanda Levitt, who’s additionally a naturopathic physician, formulated ourselves. So, that’s at

Katie: I really like that. I’ll put that hyperlink as properly. I had a few of your merchandise in my espresso this morning. It was scrumptious.

Josh: Nice.

Katie: I’ll be certain folks can discover these. And any parting recommendation to depart with the viewers at the moment?

Josh: Oh, gosh, you understand, we’re…I feel, sort of my tagline that I educate to my youngsters that I attempt to, you understand, in all probability educate to myself as a lot as anyone, is simply to be variety to one another. We’re in a extremely difficult time, you understand, and I don’t wanna get into it, all of the division that’s on the market. However I feel that there’s just a few basic guidelines, and kindness might be on the high of that listing that would assist a whole lot of us, you understand, get alongside higher and remedy a number of the nice world issues if we simply saved kindness on the entrance of our minds. And past that, there’s one different factor, and I’ll share this with you, too, is that I might encourage folks to search for methods to seek out awe, A-W-E, you understand, once more, a surfer phrase. We use the phrase superior, proper, after which surfers possibly co-opted that phrase to explain waves, or maneuvers on waves.

However superior is one thing that, you understand, makes us really feel small, makes us really feel humble, makes us notice that the world is that this greater place that we’re part of. It’s the oneness. And it seems, closing notes right here, that scientists have studied all these totally different optimistic feelings, and it seems that awe is an anti-inflammatory. If you happen to expertise awe, it reduces ranges of IL-6 within the bloodstream greater than different optimistic feelings, together with issues like pleasure and contentment and different optimistic feelings. Awe is probably the most highly effective optimistic emotion when it comes to anti-inflammatory results. So, be variety, and be superior.

Katie: I really like that tidbit. That’s actually nice to learn about awe, and I might guess others like gratitude and pleasure are nonetheless useful. However that’s actually cool that they’ve really studied that.

Josh: Yeah. They’ve. They studied that at Berkeley. Yeah. They usually’re all useful, for positive, like gratitude, love, pleasure, all clearly useful, however whenever you take a look at IL-6 ranges, that is what they determined to evaluate, awe works one of the best. So go discover one thing superior.

Katie: And that brings us full circle to our start line with browsing, and I positively discovered rather a lot at the moment. I’m grateful for the work that you just do. I do know we didn’t even get to essentially delve into your merchandise that a lot, however I’ll put a hyperlink within the present notes. I’m an enormous fan, so I’ll put a hyperlink, folks can discover these. Every thing we talked about will likely be at And Dr. Josh, thanks a lot on your time at the moment.

Josh: It was an actual pleasure, Katie. Thanks.

Katie: And thanks as at all times to you guys for listening and sharing your most beneficial assets, your time, vitality, and a focus with us at the moment. We’re each so grateful that you just did, and I hope that you’ll be part of me once more on the subsequent episode of the “Wellness Mama Podcast.”

If you happen to’re having fun with these interviews, would you please take two minutes to depart a ranking or evaluate on iTunes for me? Doing this helps extra folks to seek out the podcast, which implies much more mothers and households may gain advantage from the knowledge. I actually respect your time, and thanks as at all times for listening.

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