What is an eating disorder? Can too much exercise become an addiction? Where does chronic pain and dietary control come into play? Dr. Kessler shares her story of chronic pain and how she used distinct methods to pull herself out of the physical pain but also the emotional pain she suffered during her eating disorder journey.
Do not miss these highlights:
03:44 Dr. Kessler’s journey on eating disorder and how it affected her life
09:35 What is an eating disorder
11:29 The behaviors are the consequence of what is going on in our heads
13:00 The certain things that Dr. Kessler found to be really helpful in her journey
15:34 One of the biggest problems is – Eating disorder is so secretive
20:01 How your mind plays a huge role when it comes to pain
20:32 How Dr. Kessler treated her back pain and managed it both physically and mentally
23:15 The power of the nervous system on your own healing abilities
25:44 For many people who suffer from chronic pain, there are a lot of trust issues in their own body as well as externally
28:26 How does medication play a role in blocking Sympathetic and Parasympathetic Nervous System from being effective
30:55 The connection between eating disorders and chronic pain
Whether you are recovering from an illness or just looking to maintain your current overall health, schedule a consult with us at Serenity Health Care by calling (262)522-8640 or visit https://www.serenityhealthcarecenter.com
About our Guest:
Dr. Kelly Kessler is a licensed physical therapist, wellness coach, and the founder of Optimal You Health and Wellness, LLC. Kelly teaches women who have a history of an eating disorder how to regulate their nervous system to achieve relief from chronic pain. Inspired by her own journey of recovering from an eating disorder and chronic back pain, Kelly has helped many women harness their profound ability to shift from survival mode to thriving. Kelly uses an integrative approach to healing including a personalized audit, education, community support, and actionable steps to create long-lasting results
Tik Tok: kelly_kessler
Transcription for episode: #157:
Welcome to Let’s Talk Wellness Now, I’m your host, Dr. Deb. This is where we talk about everything wellness, and learn to defy aging, and live our lives on our own terms. You’re listening to Let’s Talk wellness. Now I’m your host, Dr. Deb, today is February 4 2022. And my guest is Dr. Kelly Kessler, licensed physical therapist, wellness coach and founder of optimal you health and wellness, Kelly and I are going to have a conversation about eating disorders and chronic pain and we’re gonna talk about how the two are similar and how they can be linked together. And not only that, she’s going to give us some tips on how to live our lives in a chronic pain state.
I’ve talked about this before on this show, and I have suffered for many years from an eating disorder myself. I was diagnosed at age 16, with bulimia and really struggled a lot throughout my life with an eating disorder kind of coming and going. And most of the time, it was surrounded by stressful events in my life. And finally, the last time that I actively had a eating disorder episode, I would say was about age 38. And from there, I’ve been pretty good at not reverting back to my old patterns. Although during really stressful times, I see those patterns coming forward again, and reaching for the chocolate or reaching for the things that make you feel good in a really stressful time of your life. And that can be a really big challenge for people. So I’m glad we’re having this conversation today with Kelly, I’m excited to hear some of her tips and tricks that she uses to help people navigate this world of eating conditions because they are very prevalent many times we don’t recognize them as eating disorders and it is a bigger problem than we all want to admit too many times. So we’ll give you a word from our sponsor, and then we’re going to talk with Kelly and dive right into this juicy topic.
Have you seen 20+ medical doctors only to be told your symptoms are in your head? Or you need an antidepressant? We understand your frustrations? Are you tired of feeling sick and tired? Tired of not getting the answers you need to regain your health. Tired of not feeling listened to by your doctor at Serenity Health Care Center, we understand and we will help you find the cause of your symptoms. Together we will create a path to health. We specialize in combining the best of conventional and natural medicine to get you back to doing what you love. We have worked with the most complex chronic diseases such as chronic Lyme COVID, long haulers autoimmune disease, mold toxicity, and hormonal imbalances. But if you’re not sick, that’s fantastic. We will work with you to maintain your help so that you can prevent illness. give our office a call to see how we can help you regain your health and vitality at 262-522-8640. Or check us out at our website at serenityhealthcarecenter.com.
Welcome back. I’m with Dr. Kessler today. And we are talking all about chronic pain and eating disorders. So Dr. Kessler, welcome to the show.
Thank you very much.
So tell us a little bit about who you are and how you got started on this journey.
Sure. So it actually started in very much as a personal journey. So I struggled with an eating disorder for probably about six years of my life. It started basically my late teens and went through my early 20s, where it kind of progressively got worse. So I would, you know, just per summary on what calories I was taking in. And then basically it was just using exercise to combat any calories. So gradually, I would you know, exercise more and more and more to the point where, you know, I was exercising three, four times a day, you know, for at least like two hours at about, you know, each bout, and then it just again continued to escalate to a point where I couldn’t manage my calories with exercise alone. And so I started purging in other ways and part of that was vomiting. So that that was kind of more towards the later years of that eating disorder. So it really got to a point where you know, it just was kind of spiraling out of control. It was consuming my entire life. It was everything I thought about everything centered around my eating order. So I was withdrawing from people I was missing out on a lot of stuff. opportunities, and I’m just in a very dark place in my life. And basically, I can remember a time where, you know, it really got very much out of control. And I kind of, you know, say that’s more of like my turning point where I, you know, was in a really bad place, I had vomited twice, I was shaking, you know, I just was, I was just sitting on the floor, just crying. And I think at that point, I’m like, I can’t live like this anymore. And kind of from that point on, it took me obviously was not a linear journey, but took me many years to kind of get out of that spot, and to a place where I was in a little bit better spot mentally. But unfortunately, after that, I started experiencing chronic back pain. And that then became my next battle that I had to tackle. So again, it was it was kind of like that, you know, led into the chronic back pain. And then again, I had that for many years. And it took me many routes, a lot of dead ends. And again, same thing, not a linear journey, but finally found something that gave me relief and things that gave me relief. And I am now you know, years later, and much better place, mentally, physically, emotionally, and really have feel like I’ve come out of it and can live a great life again. And so that’s really what has inspired me to help other people who may be in the same shoes that I was in at that time.
That I’m so glad that you’re sharing this story, because I think there’s a lot of different levels of eating disorder, right. And just before you and I were talking, I was doing our intro, I had shared the same type of thing. I had an eating disorder at age 16. My story is very similar to yours. It started with just obsessive about what I put in my mouth, and then Exercise Exercise, exercise four or five hours a day, and then purging and it just kind of spiraled. And still today, I’m 50 I won’t tell you exactly how many years I have 50 plus. And I still track my calories every day, I’m still tracking my exercise every day. And I’m not obsessive, like I was about it back in the day. But there are those moments where when you feel like you’re losing control in your life, you pull back to those habits, because that is something you have control over. So it can be a real significant challenge for a lot of us.
Absolutely, yeah. 100%. Yeah, just like you just- speak on it, it’s like becomes that coping mechanism of like a place of comfort, you know, where you know, this, this is something that’s within your control. And, yeah, it is one of the things that you keep resorting back to that’s why it’s so hard to kind of be free from that entirely.
Right. And it’s so easy, you know, exercise is healthy, right? So it’s so easy for us to say, Well, I’m doing the healthy thing, until something that’s healthy is no longer healthy, and it becomes an unhealthy habit. Do we know approximately how many people in the country suffer from eating disorders?
Um, I don’t know the statistics. But I’m sure whatever numbers that are out there are probably very, a lot less than what are actually out there. Because I knew a lot of like, for myself, I was very, very secretive. Did not share that with anyone. And I’m sure there’s a lot of people out there too, are struggling with something maybe don’t even recognize that it’s an actual eating disorder or just not seeking out the help with it. So I’m sure whatever. I don’t know the stats offhand, but I’m sure whatever they are, they’re probably very-
-underreported. Yeah. I mean, if we think about the people that just are obsessed about diet, right, or obsessed about what they eat, and it’s starting to take over their life in a certain way that can be classified as needing disorder, and oftentimes, we don’t seek help for those things. Because we just don’t think they’re a problem. Right, you know, so I think you’re right, and sure the number is significantly under reported. Whatever that number actually is.
Yeah, absolutely. Yeah. Even for myself, it took me you know, I was always an athlete. So I felt like, Okay, I’m just exercising, you know, and kept going or more, and I was obviously I like, praising myself for being so determined and, and whatnot. So I think it actually took me years to realize like, Oh, this is a problem, you know? Yeah. It’s not just me being such a great athlete, you know?
Yeah, it’s controlling you now.
Tell us a little bit for people who are listening in there. They’re kind of their little bit of raising of their head going, hmm, what they’re talking about, maybe I have something like that. Can you explain to people that are listening? What does an eating disorder? What’s that classified as? What kind of behaviors do we do? What kinds of things are we looking for?
Yeah, I think, um, there’s a very much a spectrum with eating disorders. It’s not so cut and dry. And I think a lot of times, like when you look at the textbook, it’s like, oh, you have bulimia or anorexia. You know, like, it classifies you in these little boxes. And I think it’s very wrong to kind of, you know, put people on these boxes, because it can be a large spectrum, but um, you know, my particular behaviors that I was engaging in were that excessive exercise where the, you’re purging through exercise, purging through, you know, vomiting and taking diuretics and you know, obsessing over calories. So for me, like, you know, the behaviors are more of like, what was my mindset during that time? And I think that’s the real key here is like, it’s not so much like, exactly just the behaviors, but what is your reasoning for doing that? And, you know, for me, it was just like that desire to kind of reach that unobtainable perfect ideal image of myself and, you know, something that at the time, you know, I just felt like, if I could just get to this, this goal of looking like this, I would finally feel happy, you know, I feel fulfilled. And I think that it was just like shooting for something, and going about it the wrong way. Now, I realized that, but at the time, I was just like, you know, I’ll finally feel happy, I feel free. If I can just look like this, everything would be perfect. And so I think it’s the the mindset with the eating behavior, eating disorders is like, you know, what, why are you doing it? You know, if it is, you know, it’s more about the mindset, not just the behaviors, because there are a lot of people who exercise long periods of times, you know, but then they go and eat and don’t, you know, feel guilty about it, they go look in the mirror, they’re not shameful of what they see, you know. So, you know, so I think it’s important, just that always right now, I recognize, like, what is your mentality behind it? But you know, what is it triggering as far as behaviors because really, the behaviors are the consequence of what is going on in our heads?
Yeah, it’s such a good point, because there’s so much body shaming, and so much body image disorder that, you know, we expect ourselves to look a certain way, the airbrushed babe on this screen, that’s what we’re trying to become, which will never become because people they’re airbrushed, let me tell you that it’s not their real body. The only way we can have that perfect body is if we’re on picture, and we airbrush ourselves, then we can have it however we want. But I think that’s a big part of it. For a lot of us. That’s where it starts, right? Is that shaming of who we are. Other people shame us. Other people make us conscious about a certain aspect of our bodies, either. We’re too big on one side, too little on the other thing, you know, there’s so many places where this can start. And then it has snowballs into that effect where we’re out of control with it.
Yeah. Oh, absolutely. Yeah. And I think it does, it starts from that one thing where you’re like, Well, I don’t really like this about myself. And then you try to change it and change it and change it. And then you become obsessed with it. And then your whole everything flips from being you know, just everything is just you’re not good enough. You don’t you don’t meet the criteria to be good enough, you know, the very hollow place to feel. And I think a lot of behaviors kind of try to fill that void. But unfortunately, no matter how much you do those, it’ll never make you feel whole.
Yeah, exactly. When you are going through your journey, Were there certain things that you found to be really helpful for you to break some of those habits.
Yeah, I journaled a lot. So I journaled through it, and I’m actually very thankful I have some of those journal entries that I look back and I’m like, wow, I have come so far, you know, from where my mindset was there. So I did journal because I feel like that was like a release of like, where my head was at, um, I read a lot. So I did like a lot of self help book reading, and just trying to change my mindset on things. So, you know, just, I read a lot. I started, you know, with exercise, I was just like, Okay, if I just do five minutes less, okay, that’s a success. And I, I think that’s kind of what helped me kind of, like, claw my way out of that hole was like, Alright, I need to just, like focus on I did something good today. You know, like, for me that good was like, Okay, I did five minutes of exercise, you know. So it was kind of like baby stepping it and, and trying not to be hard on myself because that that is like my personality. I’m very hard on myself. I’m in a very, like, high achiever. So, um, I think it was just like, recognizing, okay, like, you’re, you’re doing good, you know, so yeah. And I did disclose to one friend at that time, and she was very, very supportive. So that was very helpful just to have someone I could speak to who was just open and understanding.
Yeah, somebody who was a support for you. Did you have that that person help hold you accountable to your goals? Or was was it just somebody that you could kind of rebound things off of?
Yeah, more like a rebounder? Yeah, I am. Yeah, I didn’t really like have her hold me accountable. Because I felt like just with how my personality is, like, I just, I feel like that would have probably just not jive well with me. So like, it was more just like, can I just tell you what I’m doing today. You know, let me just tell you what’s going on. And I think just being able because, like I said, I was very secretive at the time like, you know, nobody knew what was going on and Really, people kind of just praise me for being such a great athlete. You know, like, that’s really what they saw. So, so, you know, I felt like I was trying to hold this image of, you know, this kind of like, what I thought was like, you know, what I should be versus what I truly knew I was going through. So there was a big discrepancy there. So for me to be very vulnerable and open about who I actually was to her. It just kind of was like that release, like, okay, it’s okay to be myself, you know, like, yeah, you know, feel accepted for like, you know, this is beyond just me being a good athlete, you know?
Yeah, I think that’s one of the biggest problems is needy disorder is so secretive. Many people never know someone has an eating disorder, you wouldn’t recognize the person, you wouldn’t think that that would be what’s going on for them. And so, you know, I would encourage people that if you know, somebody who’s struggling with this, be supportive, let a hand out, talk to them, give them that lifeline, because an eating disorder is an addiction, just like any other. It’s just a different type of addiction for us. So, absolutely. So Dr. Kessler, tell us what happened when you hurt your back what happened during that process?
Yeah, so if it was more of like I chronically overusing it, and from my eating disorder, but also, you know, in hindsight, now, I recognize that all the stress and anxiety that was going on at that time, also contributed to the back pain. So it was I think I was 25 at the time where my back was so bad, I couldn’t get out of bed, I was like, pushing myself, I like couldn’t do anything. I was just like, in so much back pain. So I actually went to a practitioner at the time, they took an x ray, and, you know, they’re like, Oh, your L4-L5, there’s only about a quarter of your disc height there and young 25. And they’re, you know, it was it was kind of like that doom and gloom, like, things don’t get better, this is not going to regenerate. And, and that’s kind of how I was sent off. And I was like, you know, mentally that was just like, damning to me, because I’m like, Oh my gosh, like, I enjoy being active. I like having an active lifestyle. And if I’m 25 and I have back pain like this, and my pain is like this, what is my future? Like? Well, you know, Will I ever be able to have kids? Well, I, you know, like, everything has kind of snowballs, because you’re like, you’re 25 like, you’re way too young to be experiencing them. So that kind of knocked me down hard for a while, and I didn’t really know what to do from there. So, um, you know, I just kind of, it was just like, you know, my back pain would ebb and flow flare up, get better to where I could, like, kind of manage, but it never really got better, where I was, like, functioning fully. And then I went to physical therapy school, and, you know, you learn all the mechanical stuff, and what you can do for your back, and I’m trying to, like self evaluate and self treat. And again, it just kind of never really got better from that. And so I’m like, what, you know, it’s like, you start losing hope after a while, because you’re like, you’re I have all this education, I can’t help myself, you know, but um, I think really what turned the corner is the I started learning about the nervous system, and how, you know, powerful that is for healing and everything we can do, and I just changed everything I was doing, as far as, you know, not pushing myself past the point of pain and recognizing my boundaries and, and, you know, going easy on myself and recognizing tools that can help to calm myself down. And that really was like the gateway to getting myself to a better place long term. Gotcha. So that so it was again, a journey of learning over four years. And how to do that.
Absolutely. Absolutely. When you injured your back did you find yourself wanting to go back to the control of the eating disorder? Yeah,
yeah, yeah, absolutely. Because I’m again, I felt like you know, I felt hopeless, I’m out of, you know, like, I my back is now another thing and it’s like, yeah, there were moments where I did start to go back and saw some of those behaviors and then and then it was like that snowball effect again, like I was doing so good. Now I’m doing this again. And you know, it’s like again, like I’m being secretive about doing this and I know this is like wrong in my head and it was it was just like, but I don’t know what to do because you know, it was a bad place you know, so it trigger again some of those end eating disorder behaviors and thoughts and everything. So you know, and then again when the back pain flare, but that will get worse. So it was almost like I had to kind of figure out both battle fronts at the same time.
Yeah. Those L-4, L-5 disc issues are so problematic. My husband suffers from that too. People have heard me talk about that a little bit on the show before but he injured his back at work he broke L-4, L-5, S-1. And went down the whole path of severe chronic pain, multiple surgeries, and you know, it’s one of those things it’s a really hard thing to get back from and, you know, as I’m sure you can attest Your mind is everything, how you perceive your pain, how you perceive your life, how you manage this is everything into getting back to a normal lifestyle, you can lay curled up in a ball and pain, or you can figure a way out of it mentally. Because either way the pain is going to be there.
Yeah. 100% Yeah. Yeah. I mean, your brain plays a huge role, especially in pain. You know, as far as you know, the intensification is all about your brain’s perception of it. So, yeah, 100%.
Yeah, tell us some of the things that you did to treat your back pain and to manage it both physically and mentally.
Yeah, so I would say, you know, like I said, with what I experienced enough, or I didn’t realize how stressed and anxious I was from that, and I think I just seem, I you know, no psychologist, but I read a lot. And I know, I always read that like, high functioning anxiety, and I’m, like, I read all the symptoms, and I’m like, Oh, my gosh, that’s me, you know, like, I’m functioning and working, I’m a productive adult, but I would have so much anxiety. And I think just the more I read about things, I’m like, Oh, my gosh, like, I didn’t realize how much anxiety it is actually experiencing. So I started, you know, really engaging in a lot of like, self care tactics. So you know, started meditating, started doing breath work, started taking time out of my day, you know, to do those things. So doing that, just gentle motion and movement. So those were a lot of things that just helped me get myself in a place where I feel like the anxiety was not controlling me as much and where I could have like, more clarity of thought, physically started working on changing what I was doing. So like I said, I was very more like that mechanical, like, Oh, my did my, you know, like, this is what my back looks like, I should do this extension based program like, very much that like physical therapy, you know, and, and so I kind of took a step away, because I feel like that was almost making me worse, in some instances, so, so I recognizing that, you know, more learning of the nervous system is all about protection. So if we can move within a range that is pain free, that our nervous system recognizes that now you know, that’s safe, so and then we kind of brought in that. So you start very small and recognize, okay, this is what I can do today. And even if it’s like the smallest movement, that’s what you can do today. And if you teach your system that you just did this movement, and it didn’t exacerbate pain, then now it opens that door to more and more movement as you kind of desensitize the nervous system. So I really use that as kind of my means of getting myself back to a place where I had, you know, better mobility and less tension and less pain, for sure.
There, there are very specific programs that teach this to people that are in chronic pain as a way to get the brain to not perceive the pain the same way. Correct?
Yeah, absolutely. Yeah.
So if somebody is listening to us, and they’re in pain, what’s one of the first things that they can do to start moving from this horrific, painful place? To recognizing that maybe there is a place for them to live their life differently?
Yeah, I, I, I always start with everyone just education, you know, so I’m really big on educating people and about the nervous system, because, you know, I was in then Bo, and a lot of people I’ve worked with, it’s, they’re so fearful of doing anything, that if you jump right in and try to get them to do stuff, it’s gonna be like fighting, they’re gonna fight you back. And I kind of equate it to like a guard dog. So you know, if you just step on the property, that dog guard dog is gonna go after you, you know, but if you the next time you go, you bring a tree, and you kind of just walk away, the guard dog starts to trust you, and then you do it again, bring a tree and walk away. And over time, eventually, that guard dog starts to trust you and let you own the property. And our nervous system is kind of the same way, you know, if you just force something on it, it’s gonna fight you off, you know, it’s only gonna get worse. But if you teach it that, you know, you can trust yourself, you can trust the process, and that you actually can heal from chronic pain, then again, your guard dog kind of lets his guard down and, and allows things to happen. So, um, you know, that’s really what I start with people is, you know, educate them on the fact that they’re can, they can heal from chronic pain, because a lot of times people feel just very like this will never ever get better. And without hope, it’s hard to really ever get better. And just to learn the power of the nervous system, and what you need to do to, to kind of capitalize on your own healing abilities.
I think that’s such a good point is to let your body do a little bit at a time, let it trust you. That is one of the biggest things because I think we’re so used to pushing our body to that point of pain and pushing ourselves to that place of a little bit of struggle, right. And now we’re trying to push our To not have pain or not have that struggle on the immune system and on the nervous system itself.
Yes, yeah, absolutely. And it’s like, I think, you know, when you look at a lot of like the typical treatments, young people go to different practitioners, it’s kind of like, no pain, no gain, you know, you just got through it, you just got to do it. And, and that works for some things. You know, if you have a total knee replacement, yes, you have to push through pain. But chronic pain is a whole different ballgame. So we talk about like chronic pain, it is more just a more gentle approach, you know, letting yourself learn how to trust yourself again, and your body again,
I’m glad that you’re bringing that up cecause I think the trust in the body is such a huge, huge thing. And for many people who suffer from chronic pain, there’s a lot of trust issues in their own body as well as externally in the world, too. And I’m not in any way saying that people who have chronic pain have have this psychological issue. That’s not what I’m saying. But there are trust issues, you know, for a variety of reasons. Because usually, if you have chronic pain, you’ve seen multiple providers. And unfortunately, they’ve probably let you down because they haven’t been able to fix the pain. That’s why you’re still in chronic pain. So those are some of the trust issues that we never talk about is like, I have pain, somebody should fix me, they can’t fix me. And now I have this whole psychological thing to deal with. Because either they’ve been mistreated in the medical community, or they haven’t been treated at all. Or they’ve been told that it’s all in their head. And they’ve been misdiagnosed so many times that, that becomes a big issue for somebody to trust a practitioner like yourself to say, Yes, I can help you work through this pain. How do you what do you say to those people who’ve been through this multiple times have not had the success they’ve been looking for?
Yeah, I am. You know, I it is very, I mean, all the points you touched on 100%. That is it. For my experience, everyone I’ve worked with chronic pain, they have gone through pretty much all those you know, and, and there’s a lack of trust internally and externally. And, you know, I think it’s about having, you know, trying to develop trust with the person. And so, you know, again, learning what, what works for other people, and, you know, hopefully seeing that it can work for you too, but again, you know, education, I say is, again, kind of that base, you know, it’s the foundation of everything. And so, if you can just kind of learn that it’s possible, and then you know, try just something being open to try something you know, so give yourself a few weeks of just doing some breath, work, you know, consistently, and see how it works, you know, and, and start there. So just recognizing what can the person do now, and let’s just do that now, you know, and see how you feel afterwards. And a lot of times, I find that people can say they feel a little bit better. And if you can just recognize wow, like, I am a little bit better. You know, obviously, you’re not curing anybody, but I’m a little bit better than I was a few weeks ago. Okay. All right. And that kind of opens the door to be like, alright, let’s, let’s try the next thing, you know, and, and basically build on that. So, you know, I always try to start, you know, small with people and like, what can you do right now, and it literally maybe not much, and that’s okay, but let’s just start with what you can do. And we can always build on that. And I think a really great way to kind of establish that trust
That is a great way to do that. When you’re working with the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous system in something like this. How much does medication play a role in blocking this from being effective? Whether it’s self medicating or traditional medication? Does that interfere with this process?
Yeah, absolutely. Unfortunately, the typical means of treating chronic pain right now are opioids. And that’s why we have such a huge epidemic from that because, you know, that’s the first thing it’s, you know, you go to a, you know, playing pain clinic and you’re usually walking out with some kind of medication to treat. So, you know, the big ones are Gabapentin and any kind of opioid I see most people so um, you know, and and I never, like you know, allopathic medicine is not great. I will never say that, you know, there is a time absolutely for allopathic medicine. But I think we have to recognize that those medications were to be used in a finite amount of time. So when you start using them for chronic pain, that’s when it becomes an issue. And opioids have been found to actually increase the sensitivity of your nervous system to pain. So that’s why you build a tolerance and that’s why they’re so addictive, because they require more and more and more for the same effect. And when you get off of them, you’re actually in a higher pain level than you were when you even started, because of that, that sensitization that system. So for people who have used only opioids, you know, as their course of care, it can be very, very difficult to, you know, one kind of convince the person that that’s not the best long term treatment, but also to to, you know, desensitize the person after they’ve been so sensitized for such a long period.
Yeah, I think that’s one of our downfalls in medicine, right is our first point is to give somebody something to make it go away. Unfortunately, with pain, I’ve yet to find anything that’s amazing at making pain go away. Everything comes with another side effects and another complication or another layering. And so working with your brain and controlling some of that pain and learning some techniques that can help you desensitize the pain from a mental aspect can be so much better than just a pill that is not really taking your pain away anyway.
Absolutely. Yeah. 100%.
Great. So could tell us a little bit about the connection you’ve seen between eating disorders and chronic pain.
Yeah, so um, so with the eating disorders, again, most people are experiencing again, that shame that you know, and a lot of anxiety, sometimes, and you know, not everybody again, but a lot of times, sometimes it’s spurred from trauma, maybe from childhood, or current trauma. And again, it is or it’s become kind of that coping mechanism for the trauma, someone maybe I’ve experienced. And again, there’s a lot of trauma. And again, not with everybody with chronic pain, sometimes there’s a lot of trauma with that, too. So it could be like a physical trauma, mental trauma, or emotional trauma. So, a lot of times the common denominator is kind of that trauma that is both, both of those. But excuse me, so for people who’ve had an eating disorder, again, for a long period of time, you know, if you’re on that, if you are experiencing anxiety for a long period of time, your sympathetic nervous system is basically heightened for a long period of time. So again, that causes you know, increased muscle tension, increase inflammation, causes heightened pain sensitivity. So if you’re having that over a period of time again, now your body starts to experience what your mind has been experiencing for a long period of time. So again, our mind and body are completely interrelated. So whatever we perceive in our head, again, starts to manifest physically and then, unfortunately, kind of spurs into some of those chronic pain experience it.
Gotcha, gotcha. Well, this has been such a great conversation. Dr. Kessler, tell, tell us how people can get in touch with you and have a conversation around eating disorders or chronic pain.
Sure, yeah. So I’m on a lot of social media platforms on Instagram. Under DrKelly Kessler, I’m also on Facebook, so @optimalyouhealthandwellness. And I also have websites optimalyouhealthandwellness.com So um, anyone can find me there. And, you know, feel free to if you have any questions. I’m always open to answering any questions. And I have a free course coming up. But I also also have courses to help for more of those long term effects. So definitely a lot of things available.
Awesome. Well, thank you so much for joining us today.
Yes, thank you so much. Thank you for having me.
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