How Chiropractic Care can Help Your Neck Pain

man holding neck in pain
If you’ve ever experienced neck pain, you know how it can interfere with your normal daily activities. Upwards of 30% of adults in the U.S. experience neck pain each year. The neck is a high traffic area and can become a victim to a lot of unnecessary damage and impact secondary to trauma, overuse, or less obvious issues related to spine alignment.

Neck pain and spine alignment

The top 6 vertebrae in our spines are designated as the cervical spine, or neck. Functionally, this area houses some pretty important central nervous system hardware that allows us to properly receive signals from the brain, relay signals to the brain for perception, and control sensation and motor control of the head, neck, and upper body. It is also the “highway” to lower levels of the spinal cord.

You probably know how detrimental damage to the neural tissue in the neck can be when a fracture or severe trauma is endured. It can lead to paralysis of the limbs and trouble with basic functions like breathing and bowel function (depending on what level is affected). This is an extreme example. Yet, there are many people dealing with impaired neural energy primarily due to issues with spine alignment every single day. When the spine is misaligned, particularly in the neck, it can manifest as pain, loss of normal function, and other factors that affect quality of life.

Causes of neck pain

Here are some of the most common causes of neck pain:

  • Tech neck. This is an epidemic problem nowadays with many people slouched over their phones and technology for both work and recreation.
  • Trauma. Whether from a fall, blow to the head, or car accident, direct trauma to the neck or head can lead to soreness.
  • Injury. This is typically secondary to strain with use of the upper body or spending too long in an awkward position, particularly sleep.
  • Poor mechanics. Completing your daily activities with bad form is a recipe for disaster. This can include bad posture or poor overall mechanics of the upper body that are straining the neck.
  • Headaches. When headaches are caused by muscle tension or strain, it can easily translate to neck pain as well (the reciprocal is true too!).
  • Spine alignment. While some alignment issues that were just discussed in the bullets above are more obvious, there are also many subtle differences that can be affecting your neck’s ability to cope.

Addressing the underlying problem with CBP care

While there can be many issues that lead to neck pain, the one root cause remains the same. Spine misalignment can leave your neck feeling sore and stiff. Chiropractic BioPhysics (CBP) treatment is an exclusive research-oriented and results-based approach that treats this common cause of neck pain.

A CBP care provider is specially trained to recognize and address any alignment issues non-invasively, effectively, and holistically. Get in touch with a practitioner in your area today to discuss what options are available to you. Treat, manage and prevent your neck pain so that you can get back to focusing on what you want in life.

6 Benefits of Chiropractic BioPhysics Care

Logo of Chiropractic BioPhysics
If you’ve ever experienced pain in your neck or back, you may have gotten the recommendation to see a chiropractor or you already have one on speed dial for these times. Yet, did you know that chiropractors take a holistic approach to care that can address almost any facet of your health? Today, we will explore 6 of the benefits that a chiropractor can bring to the table.
CBP care is the gold standard.

Specifically, we will be focusing on Chiropractic BioPhysics (CBP). This elite form of chiropractic care addresses the root cause of many health conditions: spine misalignment. This is done via a non-invasive research-oriented systematic approach that works. This takes a great traditional treatment option (chiropractic care) and makes the process exceptional.

Spine alignment is at the core for healthy living. The spine becomes misaligned more often than most people realize secondary to issues like poor movement, posture anomalies, injuries, and more. When this occurs, it leads to poor nerve energy flow. When normal nerve signals are inhibited, this can manifest into a whole range of issues since our nervous system is literally the command center for our entire body’s function.

6 Benefits of CBP Care

Let’s dive into the 6 benefits of receiving regular CBP care from a trusted healthcare provider.

1. Improved nerve energy

When preventing or managing any type of health issue, nerve energy and flow should always be a top priority. Proper signals between the central nervous system (brain and spinal cord) and the rest of the body allows the organs to function optimally. This allows for all of the additional benefits we are about to discuss possible. CBP care providers are experts in restoring nerve energy via good spine alignment.

2. Reduced risk of illness

Chiropractic care has been shown to reduce a person’s overall risk of illness. This includes both chronic diseases like diabetes and heart disease and acute issues like the cold or flu. When the body is in balance, the immune system is at a better advantage for detecting and addressing any pathogens it may come in contact with.

3. Boost an overall sense of well-being

Mental health issues are often due to an imbalance in the nervous system and/or hormone pathways. Chiropractic care has been shown to restore a sense of well-being that makes it easier to manage issues like depression, stress, and anxiety. It should make sense that proper nerves signals will help you feel your best.

4. Improved Productivity

There are many issues that can lead to poor productivity with your daily activities such as illness, injury, or general brain fog. CBP care can help address all of these issues to maximize your ability to live the life you want to the fullest potential.

5. Better Sleep

Sleep is an overlooked function that is vital for good health. A CBP practitioner can help you sleep in a better posture. Plus, better spine alignment and body function will allow the body to fully rest at night as it’s supposed to. This way you can wake up feeling restored and ready for the day.

6. Pain Management and Injury Prevention

One of the major factors that affect quality of life is having to deal with pain. Whether it’s a new injury or a chronic pain, CBP care can help you feel in control of your symptoms. Plus, treatment can often help prevent further aggravation or even prevent sustaining an injury in the first place. This is one major reason that it is never too soon to seek care!

These are all great reasons to get a CBP care provider on speed dial for all your health support needs. They provide an elite non-invasive way to address a lot of health issues all at once. What are you waiting for? See how your quality of life could benefit from CBP care today.

Boosting Your Productivity with Chiropractic Care

woman stressed from work

Brain fog is a common issue that many of us will face at some point in our lives. It is defined as trouble with the ability to focus or think clearly. This can quickly lead to a decrease in the ability to be productive with daily tasks like work or managing a household. Brain fog can be a short term issue when we experience sleep deprivation or a particularly stressful day. Yet, what happens when these issues become long term? It can totally change our quality of life for the worse.

Factors affecting productivity

Some of the potential causes of brain fog and resulting poor productivity include the following:

  • General allergies or food allergies
  • Poor diet
  • Chronic anxiety, stress, pain, and/or illness
  • Mental health issues such as depression
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Sedentary lifestyle
  • Poor sleep habits

Brain function and spinal alignment

Regardless of the trigger or cause, the big underlying issue related to brain function and the ability to concentrate comes down to spine misalignment. Often, we may be suffering from poor spine alignment without even realizing its effect on the body’s nerve energy and ability to complete normal vital daily functions. Chiropractic BioPhysics (CBP), an elite and expert-based approach, focuses on restoring this alignment to help boost our overall health and brain function.

Good spine alignment allows the brain (and spinal cord) to function optimally. This allows for clarity with thinking, decision making, and staying on task among many other benefits.

Reduce brain fog with Chiropractic Care

When our central nervous system (aka the brain and spinal cord) is out of sync due to spine misalignment, it can lead to significant issues with concentration and productivity. This makes it hard to work with efficiency, interact with others, and enjoy life to the fullest. On the other hand, when nerve energy is restored normal brain function is optimized and allows for living a life full of potential.

Outside of improved productivity, good spine alignment comes with a long list of other benefits. In fact, research has shown that chiropractic care can potentially reduce the risk of disease, prevent injuries and pain conditions, and instill an overall sense of well-being for daily life. Ultimately, this means fewer days lost from work (and other vital tasks) due to complications from illness or injury. It’s easy to realize that seeing a chiropractor, particularly a CBP practitioner, can help boost the ability to focus, optimize brain health, and so much more.

Why you should find a CBP practitioner today The potential that can be gained from CBP care is endless. CBP practitioners are part of a small and elite group in the U.S. that can provide this potentially life changing care. They are the experts on spine alignment. Ironically, many of us don’t even realize spine alignment is an issue until we seek care from an expert that understands. Boosted energy, better sleep, increased mental acuity, and less moodiness are all possible benefits of achieving good spinal alignment.

Boost Your Sleep Quality with Chiropractic Care

woman stressed from work
We’ve all experienced the deleterious effects of poor sleep sometimes in our lives that leaves us feeling off. If it becomes a chronic issue it can have serious side effects on our health such as brain fog, exacerbation or triggering of disease, and simply feeling out of sync. Sadly, high quality sleep is not often a priority in our society that focuses on hard work and to-do lists. Yet, the ironic reality is that without good sleep we are setting ourselves up for failure with burnout, poor health, and decreased productivity.

How to assess sleep quality

We all know that 7 to 9 hours should be the goal for quantity of sleep each night. However, what about quality? This is often an overlooked but vital part of sleep. Sleep quality can be affected by factors like chronic pain, poor sleep hygiene, poor diet and inactivity. Poor sleep hygiene relates to issues like poor stress management, not having a nighttime routine, and eating or staring at electronics too close to bedtime.

Here is a short list of ways to assess sleep quality:

  • Being able to fall asleep quickly (within 30 minutes)
  • Waking up 0 to 1 times per night (and falling back asleep within 30 minutes)
  • Waking up feeling rested in the morning
  • Having enough energy to get through a normal day

How spine alignment affects our ability to sleep

Chiropractic care can play a role in improving sleep quality by focusing on spine alignment. Chiropractic BioPhysics (CBP) an elite, expert-based approach is one of the best ways to address any underlying issues with spine misalignment that may be affecting sleep. Spine misalignment leads to poor nerve energy flow that affects the body’s ability to both function and recover (done during our sleep cycle). A CBP practitioner can restore alignment while also providing expert recommendations for decreasing pain and optimizing sleeping posture.

Poor posture (particularly in sleeping), an injury that is causing pain, and faulty biomechanics with daily activities can all lead to poor spine alignment. This quickly affects the body’s ability to efficiently complete normal daily tasks like sleep. Ironically, poor sleep can then exacerbate other health issues we are facing and create a nasty cycle of poor health.

A CBP practitioner can help

Restoring balance to the spine allows the body to properly move, heal itself, and function optimally. Working with a CBP care provider can potentially help with this process and potentially restore restful nights of sleep. When sleep quality is good, overall quality of life can be maximized. CBP practitioners are part of a small elite group in the U.S. that can provide effective spine treatment (whether we realize we need it or not) and help optimize sleep quality.

How Chiropractic Care Can Help Depression

woman stressed from work
Depression is a growing worldwide illness. An estimated 16 million Americans have at least one major depressive episode every year. This number seems to only be growing as we face uncertain times, loneliness, and anxiety from social distancing measures. While sadness is a very normal emotion as a human being, chronic feelings of helplessness and loss of interest can significantly affect our quality of life. There are many underlying issues that can contribute to and perpetuate symptoms of depression that we will explore in this article.

Symptoms of depression

While exact symptoms will vary from person to person, here are some common issues that present with depression:

  • Feelings of sadness, emptiness, or hopelessness for greater than a few weeks
  • Poor anger management skills
  • Irritability and mood swings
  • Loss of interest in normal daily activities
  • Suicidal thoughts (*if you are experiencing these thoughts- seek medical help immediately)
  • Anxiety
  • Restlessness

Risk factors for depression

There are several different types of depression that can be diagnosed by a healthcare professional. These include seasonal, postpartum, major depressive and bipolar disorder. Onset of depression is usually caused by a blend of the following factors:

  • Chronic pain
  • Sedentary lifestyle
  • Poor diet
  • Traumatic events
  • Altered brain chemistry
  • Hormone imbalances
  • Side-effects of certain medications
  • Low self-esteem
  • Genetic predisposition
  • Drug or alcohol addiction
  • Chronic disease like diabetes, cancer, or multiple sclerosis

Chiropractic care and depression

Regardless of what initiated a bout of depression, chiropractic care can be a very useful adjunct to any recommended treatment. Common treatment recommendations for depression include lifestyle modification (exercise, diet, mindfulness, etc.) and antidepressant medications. Did you know that chiropractic care can potentially help expedite the recovery process or make symptoms more manageable?

Chiropractic care has been shown to improve sleep, reduce pain, and instill an overall sense of well being; all great ways to feel in better control of depression. Additionally, the very literal health of the brain and spinal cord can be influenced by encouraging spine health. Chiropractic BioPhysics (CBP) specializes in addressing spine and neural health by promoting optimal spine alignment.

CBP care and depression

When the spine is out of alignment, it affects overall nerve energy in the body. This blocked nerve flow affects every single bodily function, including brain function and the way we process our emotions. Spine misalignment is a common underlying issue for many organ dysfunctions that can be addressed by an expertly trained CBP practitioner, whether we realize there is an issue or not. This non-invasive, extensively researched approach can help restore balance to an out of sync nervous system.

CBP care has the potential for improving brain chemistry, down regulating certain genes, and helping you feel motivated to tackle your health issues, like depression, head-on. When the spine is better aligned, both the body and mind may have the opportunity to function at their highest potential. Talk to a CBP practitioner today to see if their care might be right for you in battling depression and other health issues.

Chiropractic Care and Headaches

Headaches are a very common issue that we all will most likely deal with at some point in our lifetime. While some headaches are a short term issue and are an inconvenience, some people suffer from chronic debilitating headaches. Regardless of the severity, we can all agree that finding ways to prevent and/or effectively treat headaches is the best case scenario. That’s why it’s vital to learn about potential options for treating headaches when they strike.

Spine alignment and headaches

A major issue that commonly underlies headaches is spine misalignment. In fact, poor spine alignment can be the initial trigger for many of the risk factors we will be discussing below. The best way to address spine alignment is with Chiropractic BioPhysics (CBP). This expert-based, extensively researched treatment approach focuses on restoring sustainable spine health. CBP minimizes issues with body imbalances and dysfunction that could trigger many health issues, including headaches.

Risk factors for developing a headache

Here are a few of the possible causes and risk factors for developing a headache.

  • Muscle fatigue, overuse, or exertion- particularly in the upper body
  • Trauma to the head and/or neck
  • Dehydration
  • Sleep deprivation
  • Poor stress management skills
  • Low blood sugar or general hunger
  • Poor posture with daily activities or sleep
  • Withdrawal from sugar or caffeine
  • Sinus issues typically due to allergies
  • Poor diet choices

Chiropractic care and headache management

Traditional headache treatment includes pain management via modalities like medication, ice, rest, and heat. Sometimes, lifestyle changes are recommended (to address any of the risk factors listed above). Yet, unfortunately the bigger underlying issues of posture and spine alignment are not commonly addressed.

A CBP practitioner can work closely with you to develop a personalized program that works. This will most likely include extensive posture education, gentle manipulations, soft tissue mobilization, exercise and flexibility recommendations, and many more non-invasive options. At the root of the treatment, spine alignment will always be addressed to optimize overall health.

Address spine alignment with CBP

Spine misalignment affects nerve energy. This affects the body’s ability to heal from trauma, remain resilient against poor posture, and maintain other vital bodily functions that keep you feeling your best. When spine health and proper nerve flow are restored with CBP treatment, the body will be able to cope better to help prevent or minimize the onset of a headache.

If you’ve suffered from headaches and can’t seem to get a grasp on how to prevent or better treat them, seeking the care of a CBP practitioner has the potential to improve your quality of life. Find an elite CBP care provider and discuss the potential for living a life with fewer or no headaches thanks to better spine alignment and overall body function.

How Chiropractic Care Can Help Manage High Blood Pressure

The heart is an amazing organ in the body that never stops working, working around the clock to keep you alive and thriving. How efficiently it can work depends on a lot of factors related to our health. Heart disease can put a lot of unnecessary strain on the body and ultimately lead to a poor quality of life, disease, and even death. One primary factor for heart health is blood pressure.

Blood pressure is a measurement of the force the heart exerts on the arteries every time it contracts and relaxes. It is measured with a blood pressure cuff. A normal value is around 120/80 mmHg. If blood pressure is 130/90 mmHg or more, it is categorized as high blood pressure.

High blood pressure and overall health.

When the ability to pump blood is compromised due to heart disease, the entire body suffers due to lack of oxygenated blood. Sadly, these issues can go undiagnosed for years. This is because high blood pressure is not typically associated with any specific symptoms (outside of generalized poor health).

If left untreated, high blood pressure can lead to issues as serious as stroke, heart attack, kidney disease, and dementia. Prevention and regular monitoring are crucial for staying alert to any potential heart health issues.

Risk factors and treatment for high blood pressure.
There are many risk factors associated with high blood pressure. They include:

  • Poor diet high in processed foods and salt
  • Genetics
  • Metabolic diseases (obesity, kidney disease, Diabetes, etc.)
  • Age
  • Sedentary lifestyle
  • Stress

The only consistent treatment recommendation for high blood pressure (with traditional care) is medication. Unfortunately, this approach does not address the root cause of the issue related to lifestyle factors and underlying body imbalances (such as the spine). Ideally, lifestyle adjustments should be the first line of defense for managing, or even reversing, heart health issues.

How chiropractic care can help.

The cornerstone of high blood pressure management should include a focus on nutrition, exercise, and stress management. Then, the focus can turn to optimizing organ function by restoring any impaired nerve energy. What causes poor nerve signals that can affect the heart and overall health? Spinal misalignment.

Chiropractic BioPhysics (CBP) is a specialized and well-established approach that focuses on addressing the true root cause of most health issues. Just like it’s hard to self-diagnose high blood pressure without a trained professional, it can also be hard to know how spine alignment is affecting your health. A CBP practitioner can help reduce overall strain on the body’s functions by restoring optimal nerve energy through proper spine alignment.

Regardless of the initial trigger, one of the primary causes of high blood pressure is related to over-activation of the autonomic nervous system (that regulates our stress response). When spine alignment is restored, it allows better regulation of this system to prevent unnecessary spikes in stress that affect full body homeostasis and organ function.

Your heart health is vital for living a high quality of life. That’s why seeking care from a CBP practitioner can help you feel your best and help you achieve the best possible heart health.

How Chiropractic Care Can Prevent (or Manage) Arthritis

Osteoarthritis is defined as degeneration cartilage in the joints meant to provide cushioning for daily activities. While some wear and tear is expected with aging, too much of it can lead to pain, disability and poor quality of life. With an understanding of the disease process, prevention and management are completely feasible without the need for traditional invasive treatment options.

Osteoarthritis and its effect on quality of life.

Osteoarthritis (OA) is most common in the fifth decade of life and beyond. The joints affected most often include the knees and hips from weight bearing and the shoulders and fingers from repetitive use.

The body’s joints respond best to balanced regular use. Thus, overuse, imbalanced movements, or too little movement can all be a culprit for OA. Other risk factors include past injuries, metabolic diseases (Diabetes, obesity or heart disease), and being overweight.

The most common symptoms related to OA are stiffness and pain. As severity increases it can become difficult to complete normal daily activities. Traditional medical models diagnose the severity of OA based on imaging (such as an x-ray) that shows the level of cartilage damage. Yet, interestingly there is no direct correlation between how much pain and severity. Each individual deals with OA differently.

Treatment options for OA include physical therapy, weight loss, chiropractic care, massage therapy, injections, pain medications, and surgery. The best treatment is prevention first and then conservative care. Unfortunately, motivation tends to be low until there are symptoms. Additionally, many people may not be aware there is an issue with the way they are moving. This is why having an expert in joint alignment can help.

How chiropractic care can help.

The development of OA all begins due to an imbalance in the way the body moves. While some local issues can be at play related to muscle strength and flexibility, this balance ultimately comes down to spine alignment.

The core and the spine are the base for which all other movements of the human body are possible. Without the right signals from the brain and spinal cord for proper sequencing, chaos will catch up with the body eventually. When nerve energy is disrupted, muscles can’t coordinate, joints can feel stiff, and movement can become awkward and uncoordinated.

It’s like trying to ride your bike when the chain has come loose. Instead of fixing the issues, you keep pushing with significantly less efficiency and poor form even though you know that you’re damaging the spokes. Obviously, it’s better to hop off the bike and fix that chain before proceeding to prevent unnecessary damage.

Chiropractic BioPhysics (CBP) is an expert-backed approach that specializes in keeping this system as balanced as possible through spinal alignment. Oftentimes, untrained eyes are unaware of the alignment issues they have that may cause them future problems. That’s why a CBP practitioner can provide you a deep understanding of what your body needs to prevent arthritis and other potential health issues that occur with poor spine alignment.

Addressing Stress and Anxiety with the Help of Chiropractic Care

The year 2020 has been traumatic for many people worldwide. Understandably, stress and anxiety are high right now as people figure out how to navigate these uncertain times. As economic and health issues continue, it’s so important to find ways to better manage our feelings of stress and anxiety. Otherwise, if they go unchecked and become chronic they can lead to poor health and a dismal quality of life.

How stress and anxiety affect our health.

Stress and anxiety can be caused by a variety of life factors. These might include health, money, relationships, and employment. While the reasons may vary, the physical response our bodies go through are the same. A stressful or anxiety inducing situation can leave us feeling threatened (even if it’s a more figurative threat rather than a literal one) and illicit a physical stress response.

The body responds to stress by releasing hormones that prime the body for survival. This requires a lot of energy and puts strain on the body. While it’s an important mechanism, if it is occurring chronically it can lead to unwanted health issues. The body needs time each day to recover and revitalize itself, which is not possible when the body is always in a heightened state.

Treating health issues related to stress and anxiety can feel ambiguous. Oftentimes, seeking treatment is stigmatized and can lead to over-prescription of medications that come with some serious side effects. Treatment is more effective when it addresses issues like proper stress management techniques and promoting optimized body health through proper exercise, nutrition, sleep, and overall spine alignment.

Health problems related to anxiety and stress.

Stress and anxiety do not only affect our mental health. They can also lead to very real physical manifestations and disease. These include:

  • Gastrointestinal issues
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Asthma and other breathing problems
  • Chronic pain
  • Depression
  • Heart disease
  • Obesity
  • Alzheimer’s, dementia, or memory loss
  • And on…

Chiropractic care’s role in mental health.

Brain and spinal cord health are key to both mental and physical health. When nerve energy and flow is blocked for any reason, it can lead to or aggravate mental health issues like stress and anxiety. This is why Chiropractic BioPhysics (CBP), a results-oriented, expert-backed approach, can help better manage mental health by addressing underlying issues with spinal misalignment.

Optimal spine alignment allows neural health for normal daily functions. This promotes vitality and an overall sense of well-being for an individual. When brain function is improved, it allows better clarity and flexibility for adjusting to daily life. Since we can’t necessarily remove all the stressors and anxiety-inducing events from our lives, addressing the base for good health with spinal alignment can help build resilience for any situation life throws at us.

Seek out care from a CBP practitioner to learn about the untapped potential in your life free of paralyzing stress and anxiety.

Preventing Chronic Pain with Chiropractic Care

Pain is the number one reason people seek medical care. It is an important protective mechanism that helps the body avoid injury and alerts us to any potential problems. Unfortunately, this vital bodily sensation can become a problem when it becomes chronic.

Chronic pain is defined as pain that lasts greater than 6 weeks. Oftentimes, pain continues to linger even after an injury has healed. Additionally, a traumatic event or certain health conditions (like Fibromyalgia or Chronic Fatigue Syndrome) can lead to the onset of pain despite any measurable physical injury.

The problem with chronic pain.

Pain alters the way our bodies function and puts a burden on the entire system. It temporarily limits our mental capacity, decreases tolerance for daily activity, and leads to imbalanced movement patterns that all affect overall quality of life and participation in daily life. These issues are what make proper injury recovery and optimized overall health ideal for avoiding the complications that come with chronic pain.

When generalized, aching pain becomes a norm for life, it can lead to a feeling of hopelessness. There are many theories surrounding what causes chronic pain, but there is one factor that all experts agree on. The pain signals that the nerves are sending to the brain become dysfunctional or even overactive. Essentially they are signaling the brain that there is pain when there isn’t any direct stimulus. Additionally, the brain can play a role in the perception of the signal its receiving.
Risk factors for developing chronic pain:
The following factors can play a role in developing chronic pain:

  • Mental health
  • Mindset
  • Past injury and trauma
  • Inflammatory diseases
  • Poor general health

Chronic pain is a widely stigmatized health issue that often leads to patients being blown off by their physicians because their symptoms aren’t well understood in traditional medicine. It leads to palliative care and the prescribing of a wide variety of medications that affect quality of life and have some major side effects.

Yet, the truth of the matter is that there is a very real perception of pain going on in the body and brain, regardless of what is causing it. This is why more alternative treatments like psychotherapy, acupuncture, chiropractic care, massage therapy, and physical therapy tend to have better long term results.

How chiropractic care can make a difference.

Chronic pain all comes down to a disconnect between the nerves detecting pain and the body due to overactive neural pathways and stimulus. When nerve energy is compromised and out of sync, the root issue needs to be addressed. This is why Chiropractic BioPhysics (CBP) is a recommended option for managing chronic pain because it can address any underlying issues related to spine alignment that are affecting nerve integrity.

Treatment is non-invasive with a focus on soft tissue mobilization, education (key for chronic pain), manipulation, exercise, stretching, and more. A CBP practitioner can provide much needed relief with a notoriously difficult and stigmatized health condition.