Dear PCP Community,

1) Happy Mother’s Day to all you mothers! 

Spring seems to be in the air, and Mother’s Day 2021 is a different vibe than early-pandemic era Mother’s Day 2020.  Having said that, as with any or all holidays, it’s not all rosy for everyone.  Some of us experienced loving and happy childhoods with our mothers, while others of us had a strained or aggravating upbringing.  Some of us experience our current relationships with our mothers as rich, supportive, or fulfilling, while others of us experience burden, guilt, conflict or regret.  Whatever may be your current situation with your mother, we wish you peace.  And of course, for those who are mothers, we honor you today for all your hard work with your children, especially those of you who are first time mothers this year!  Furthermore, we particularly honor those of you who are single mothers.  Parenthood is a very challenging responsibility in life, one without instructions or a manual, and fraught to change at any time.  Single parenthood is just that much more challenging.  Thanks for the work that all you mothers put forth for the sake of your children.  Your time and efforts are priceless.

2) It’s tick season…

Our clinicians have experienced a “spike” in patients reaching out to us about tick bites.  In response, we want to take this moment to encourage you to both prevent tick bites as much as possible, and do “tick checks” after having been in more heavily wooded or simply spent a longer amount of time outdoors, in order to do our best in preventing Lyme disease and its “co-infections”.  While ticks are not exclusively found in more heavily wooded areas, the concentration of ticks are predictably greater in such areas (vs., say, in more paved or heavier people-traffic areas of a given town/community), and as the winter season is lifting, the ticks are now more present in number as well as active.  Please consider rolling socks up over pant leg ends (yes, super fashionable!), wearing longer sleeved/legged clothing (when feasible, temperature dependent), wearing hats, and considering bug repellent.  Some clothes are even made with embedded such repellent compounds.  Upon returning home, we advocate putting the worn clothing in the wash as soon as possible, washed in hot water, as ticks are often residual on clothing brought into the home, and find themselves migrating around within the house, waiting until the opportunity avails it self to feed on us.  And, of course, a skin and hair/scalp check for ticks is very prudent, as finding and removing ticks before they “bite” or embed themselves is the best form of prevention. 

If you experience an embedded tick, we encourage you to talk with your practitioner here at PCP.  Unfortunately, a seemingly simple tick bite warrants a much more extensive discussion about the various factors of consideration, all leading to an individualistic case decision about an action point.  As we know that ticks can “transmit” pathogens to our body within 24hrs, and some ticks even within a few hours, national guidelines exist to take action regarding any given tick bite, but an individual’s health history will heavily factor into just what how simple or not-so-simple that intervention may be.  

3)  Some impressive feedback to report…

Pain is never wanted.  Unfortunately, it’s a common problem.  NSAIDs (Non-Steroidal Ant-Inflammatory Drugs) are commonly used for chronic or recurrent pain, whether it be headaches, arthritis, fibromyalgia, chronic pain from trauma, or otherwise.  Unfortunately, the use of NSAIDs is also known to weaken our immune system, and especially more so if used recurrently over time.  So, we’re stuck between a rock and a hard place.   

Recently, our clinicians shared among each other the really impressive observational benefits we’ve seen over time, collectively, with the use of Hemp Advantage Plus, and SPM Active – two supplements that coincidentally are made by the same manufacturer, Metagenics.  While Hemp Advantage Plus may be attractive to many because of it’s name, referencing CBD, it’s really about the primary ingredient, PEA (palmitoylethanolamide), which is effective in reducing nerve pains (the hemp serves to enhance the effects of the PEA).  Having been told by the Metagenics folks that studies suggest about a 65% improvement in pain among legitimately diagnosed sciatica patients with nerve pain, it sounded too good to be true.  But Dr. Mark now can say that he doesn’t even recall a single patient with nerve pain he’s treated with Hemp Advantage Plus who hasn’t benefited from this to date, and even those with very intense such pain, who he held low expectations for, still benefited- and with greater pain relief than his expectations…  SPM Active is, on paper, arguably the “ultimate anti-inflammatory”, as reflected by it’s role in the body.  SPM’s are essentially “bioidentical therapy”, as they are chemically manufactured identical compounds to what we make in our body – we just typically make much, much less than what we need or could ideally use (esp. when dealing with inflammation, esp. the chronic type).  Upon first being introduced to this therapy by the Metagenics folks, we were validated about it’s potential when we immediately discovered that Dr. Mark’s wife, a PhD researcher at Harvard, in fact has indeed been part of a research group focusing specifically on SPMs.  And similar to the Hemp Advantage Plus, we’ve been really impressed with the outcomes – some patients were considering knee replacements but found they no longer needed to, given their pain control with SPMs; a few who were able to stave off gout attacks; others found it beneficial for nerve pains; and some found a meaningfully better quality of life despite fibromyalgia or other similar challenging conditions…. While the cost for these two products is more than a typical nutraceutical (supplement), when it comes to chronic or meaningful pain, and having an alternative to protect/”save” our immune systems from further weakening and detriment (accelerating our “biologic clocks” and the “inflamaging” process), we’re really thrilled to have these options and excited to have observed the benefits in our patients! – so much so that we wanted to be sure others knew about these options, as no doubt many of us take ibuprofen (or Alleve, etc) on a regular basis without us as the practitioners being fully aware of such.

Mark Su and the Personal Care Physicians team