Michael Meighen, MD – Optimizing Health (Innovation4Alpha Podcast Episode 206)
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Dr. Michael Meighen is a physician who is board certified in Physiatry and Pain Medicine. He is the author of #1 Best Selling Book “A New You: Using the Body’s Regenerative and Restorative Healing Powers to Optimize Orthopedic, Hormonal, and Sexual Health Function”. He is a specialist in musculoskeletal and health transformation as well as longevity and restorative medicine. His practice and approach to medicine is both proactive and practical with the goal of helping patients optimize health. He practices in Florida and you can reach him through his practice website: www.livelimitlessmd.com.

 

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SPEAKERS

Michael Meighen, MD, Tobin Arthur

 

Tobin Arthur  00:07

Hello everybody it’s Tobin Arthur, your host for Innovation4Alpha. And today I’m joined by a special guest, Dr. Michael Meighen, who is a musculoskeletal and holistic physician in Florida. And I’m really excited to jump jump into this conversation, we’re gonna have no lack of places to go with this. So welcome to the show.

 

Michael Meighen, MD  00:44

Thanks, Tobin. Appreciate the opportunity.

 

Tobin Arthur  00:48

Why don’t we just start with why don’t you give folks a sense of your background and how you got into medicine? And what you’re focused on is at the moment?

 

Michael Meighen, MD  00:55

Yeah. So kind of stems from back when I was 13, going on 14 in eighth grade and I broke my leg sounds like Well, that’s a pretty negative story. From that standpoint. How did that get you where you are? Well, I had two subsequent surgeries associated with that one on both sides, or both side and kind of introduced me to medicine, orthopedics, physical therapy, some of the things that I incorporate, and what I’m doing now and I always enjoyed science and some of the other pieces from that standpoint. So it kind of solidified the direction I was going to go for my career. So that’s kind of how it kind of pushed me toward a career in medicine and really musculoskeletal health. And so then I, you know, matriculate at the University of Cincinnati for medical school did my residency in Charlotte, at Caroline’s Medical Center in Charlotte rehabilitation. And then I did a fellowship in musculoskeletal and physiatry for musculoskeletal medicine physiatry, at the University of Florida in Gainesville. And then I’ve been working in that field since that point, which was 2000. So 22 years. And dovetailing on to that, I’ve kind of seen the limitations of certain things associated with interventional pain treatments, the use of steroids and other things. So that got me into looking for alternatives and how I got into regenerative orthopedics like prolotherapy, platelet rich plasma or PRP, and then bone marrow or fat as far as the source for stem cells, and then that also ballooned into precision medicine, health optimization, looking at labs, other pieces of data, in treating people kind of from head to toe in, you know, optimizing hormones or, you know, looking at hormone deficiencies, peptide therapies, which we can talk about a little bit more looking at their genetics and making us more precise, and the things that we do, and also wearable data, like an Oura ring, or a Garmin watch, or some of the other things from there. I have a lot of interests. But I really like looking at people from head to toe, as opposed to just looking at them as a knee problem or a back pain or some of the other potential, quote unquote diagnoses that have

 

Tobin Arthur  03:14

You mentioned data, and some terms like precision medicine, which go hand in hand. And this, this whole market is blowing up. But talk a little bit about how data fits into the way you look at what’s viable, what’s not. And then we’ll talk a little bit about the role of the physician because it’s obviously a critical role at this point to help the lay person like myself navigate what’s legit. Right?

 

Michael Meighen, MD  03:39

Yeah, I mean, if you look at medicine as a whole, and kind of the stranglehold that the insurance companies have on the way we can manage people and or ourselves even, they want us to do more with less, which, you know, I see, to some degree, there would be some testing, maybe that would be over the top, but my opinion, we’re about the only industry where we make, you know, important decisions, sometimes life saving decisions with limited information. And I think that needs to change. And I think we should have control meaning the client and or the physician tried to decide what are the best pieces of information for me to help you go from where you are starting what I call Ground Zero to where you want to be what I call superhero. And that can be multitudes of things.  So you know, good comprehensive bloodwork panel, genetic or epigenetic testing, which is as simple as taking a cheek swab or doing a little bit of saliva and looking at some other pieces of data, wearables for example, how you sleep so there are some good technologies are looking at that how you recover or what we look at called heart rate variability, which is important to see. You know, if you have recovered well from whatever you’re doing, be an exercise session or any other things for surgery, any of those sort of things, can give us an idea of how we treat you that day. So if you’ve recovered, well, we can push a little bit harder, you could do a harder workout. So you’re doing CrossFit. Or if you’re not recovering particularly well, well, maybe we do a relatively calmer type interventions such as maybe do yoga, or maybe go out for a 3040 minute walk or something along those lines. And then there’s a multitude of other things that we can look at as far as that goes. But I think important to have all of the data points and pieces, in my opinion, yes, maybe that spend, there’s a little bit more on the front end. But I guarantee you that I would help save money on the back end for pretty much everybody. Because we’re going to be proactive, and hopefully preventing any type of disease process, injury process, hopefully keep people independent for a longer period of time, allow them to work for as long as they would like to, which actually has financial implications for both person but also society. And some of the other things from that standpoint.  So I think overall, looking at people as their own entity, or their own individual, what we call no one thinking, I think is incredibly powerful and important. And I think we need to kind of change the paradigm of medicine. From that standpoint, I think that’s the direction that we are going to some degree, and hopefully, we’ll continue to move in that direction.

 

Tobin Arthur  06:27

So you hit a lot of really interesting points in there. One, I heard this holistic perspective, instead of just looking at some isolated issue, and why don’t we dive into that in terms of Sure, the average patient coming into your practice, I mean, people have bumps and bruises. And so I’m guessing there’s, you know, there’s a back pain or something that may get them started to come through the door. But then you’re talking about proactive medicine, which I think a lot of people are starting to pay more and more attention to, instead of just reactive medicine, how do you look at that mix currently, in terms of your patient base people that are proactive? Or do you get a reactive start? And then you try to get them to take a proactive perspective as you solve the underlying problem?

 

Michael Meighen, MD  07:10

Right, in I think you stated that, well, I think they’re both approaches. I mean, no matter what we do, we’re still going to have some injuries, we’re still going to have some, you know, aches and pains, and we’re still going to have some disease processes. So yes, I mean, some people will come in and really are doing reasonably well or have taken control of their health, and they really want to take those next few steps to increase their longevity, to have the ability to play with their grandchildren, great grandchildren, they want to not retire. I mean, I know that sounds crazy. But some people, you know, they, they really desire to kind of keep doing what they’re doing in some form. Sure, because it keeps the mind healthy and the body healthy. And they have a sense of purpose, which is incredibly important just for overall health and function and that sort of thing. But they’re really looking for tools and ways to make that happen. And it doesn’t have to be big, expensive piece of equipment, it can involve that. But a lot of it’s more of the foundational pieces like sleep optimization, proper diet, regular exercise, getting out in nature, getting some sunlight, reducing your stress, improving your relationships, including, you know, your sexual function, all kinds of things from that standpoint.  And then you can look at that step above where you’re looking at hormones and or supplementation, some of the other things, peptide therapies, which are small proteins that can be very helpful. For example, you know, insulin is a peptide, obviously, in some very important for health, because if we didn’t have it would die. And we have to replace that. But there are others that are incredibly powerful and important, they can help things in relation to brain function in relation to musculoskeletal health in relation to gut health, a number of other things from that standpoint. And then, you know, again, if somebody comes in with a specific, you know, that definitely something that we’re gonna address and try to get the pain under control. But if we’re looking potentially to do something, from a regenerative standpoint, we’re gonna think about doing one PRP or stem cells or something along those lines to try to help improve that and try to keep them from having surgery, then maybe some reducing the effects of high blood glucose and insulin levels, weight potentially, to take some of the load off of those joints and some of the other pieces from there. If people are constantly in a state of fight or flight where they’re in that sympathetic mode, where everything just feels like is on top of them. I mean, you got to kind of get them to tap back into that parasympathetic tone. We’re kind of in there rest, relax or restore, where things like you know, reading, journaling, yoga, meditation, religion, some some other things that can be very important from that standpoint, and And then once you have some of those pieces in place that then they’re at a point where they’ve got the building blocks and the ability to heal from any of the things you want to do. And I’m not just going to help them then short term, I’m going to help them longer term and kind of keep them from having, hopefully future injuries, chronic joint related issues and pain. A good number of other things from that standpoint.

 

Tobin Arthur  10:23

Let me jump into a little bit of a specific so for the person listening to the things that you’re talking about. They’re fascinating. I’m guessing most people, particularly as you get into middle age are thinking about optimization and things of this sort. What does that look like? Maybe give an example of you know, I know there’s no typical patient every patient’s different, but just give an example of what the regimen might look like for a patient. I’m guessing a lot of it is not insurance based, as you mentioned earlier there part of the problem. So what can they expect in in a treatment protocol with you?

 

Michael Meighen, MD  11:18

So the typical way would go is we would get together either myself or health coach or concierge would contact the client or the patient and get together and go through their their intake questionnaire, and kind of get an idea of what their goals may be. So for example, I have some clients that are higher level athletes, they do marathons, they do triathlons, and one of their main goals is to optimize their times. So they’re looking for ways to help improve that. I have others that come in, and their main goal is, look, I go out, play with my grandkids, I get worn out in five minutes, and they want to be able to do things with them, go to Disney, or go out and play on the beach, or any of those sort of things, then you have other people that have a multitude of things. For example, you know, 30th class reunions coming up want to look good for that, or, you know, I just want to be healthy and stay out of a nursing home and have the longest prosperous life that I can have. So that’s the key is, is again, your goals are going to be different than my goals is going to be different than other people’s goals. So just looking and see where you want to start and where you want to go and kind of get an idea of what you’re willing to do both from an activity standpoint. But also from a financial standpoint, again, these things don’t have to cost zillions of dollars. They can I mean, it depends on what your goals are. And there are all kinds of toys and trinkets and biohacking tools that we can use, that really can take you higher places. But again, I always bring people even those people that have the ability to look at those down to the foundational pieces to start with, like we talked about a little bit earlier with the sleep and diet and the exercise and stress reduction and nature and some of the other things if those are in place, I don’t care what other medications or things that we use, we’re not going to see the impact that we would once those foundational pieces are in place. Once those are in place, that’s where the hormones can come in the peptides can come in. And that’s where some of the biohacking tools are like, if we’re looking at cryotherapy, if we’re looking at hyperbaric oxygen type treatments, if we’re looking at IV therapies, just for a few examples from the endpoint. So once that data points done, then typically we would have a comprehensive bloodwork panel done. And that can be usually through most of the major players as far as LabCorp quest or some of the areas alone that point. And the nice part is what we do is we can actually negotiate prices that are much, much, much cheaper than what you would get through insurance. And, you know, it definitely makes a pretty significant impact. And also, we’re not told what we can and can’t do. So we can check whatever you like if you want. But we’re getting a very good large snapshot of what’s going on. Then typically, I like to have the genetics done as well. And genetics are simple. But what they do is they just make us more precise in the way that we manage you. So for example, I have a colleague who I’ve done a lot of training with who is a physician as well. So ketogenic diet is obviously the rage everybody doing that trying to increase their protein, increase their fat, produce their carbs, all those good things. And for the vast majority of people probably 80 85% That’s going to be fine. He unfortunately, it was not going that direction was not losing weight. It was in fact gaining weight, felt like he was getting pudgy or asleep was terrible, had a lot of good issues, number of other things. We ran genetics, and he was actually a person that would do poorly with the ketogenic diet because he didn’t process fat very well. And then his genetics also pointed to the fact that he needed her higher carbohydrate diet. So we’re talking 250 to 350 Miller, or excuse me, 350 grams, which is a lot. Yep.  But once he kind of flipped that paradigm and started increasing his carbs, reducing saturated fats on the other things, he turned around incredibly quickly. So it’s just an example. And there’s others too, of things that, like, you know, can be beneficial for the vast majority of the population, but may not be good for you, even though your friends in the gym or your friends at the country club or your friends just at the bar, are doing well with certain things doesn’t necessarily mean that’s going to be a good, good choice for you. So once that information is together, we’ll have another powwow and probably spend a good 60 to 90 minutes together, again, reiterating certain things that you want to do, going over the labs and the genetics and comprehensive form, and then coming up with a plan of attack in trying to help you meet your goals. And I usually tell people that if they’re going to do this, it’s going to be more of a marathon than a sprint, they’re looking for changes in 60 to 90 days. Unfortunately, if they’re going to be disappointed, will they feel better? I think they will. But we’re usually talking anywhere from about nine to 18 months to start really seeing significant change. And you know, the list of things that comes up at the end, as far as recommendations can be lengthy. Usually I tell people this is if this were a perfect world, or these are the things I would recommend long term, however, usually we’ll start with, you know, two, three, or four. And I do them like a totem pole list and get an idea of what the things we absolutely have to address, what are the things we would like to address, what are the things maybe we can put off. And once we get some of these other pieces in place, we can get those taken care of. And then we’ll come up with a treatment regimen. And typically we’ll let that go for about 8 to 12 weeks, and then we’ll repeat some of the bloodwork typically not the whole thing that we did in the beginning. But we’ll go ahead and look at pieces that we are are trading, for example, if your thyroid is not functioning properly, then we’ll retest your thyroid. Some other things from that standpoint, we’re treating you with testosterone, obviously, we’ll look at those along with some of your blood counts and your liver function. Just make sure everything’s up on the up and up. If you’re a male, we’d obviously look at your PSA, just make sure it’s not causing any issues with your prostate health or function or any other pieces from that standpoint. And then as we get into those longer, typically, we would maybe check blood every six months or so. And then we might look at some other things where we’d check your biologic versus your diet, or excuse me biologic versus your chronologic age. We would also look at body composition with a DEXA scan and some other things which are another objective pieces of data that we can use and help them make decisions on where we need to go and also see if the treatments that we are implementing, are helping you and try to meet your goals.

 

Tobin Arthur  17:49

So there’s a ton there. How do you as a physician with all of this explosion of knowledge, and you mentioned bio-hacking. There’s so many new things even, you know, things like the aura ring, there’s more tools, how do you stay current? How do you stay on top of all of these things, and then quarterback this for your patients?

 

Michael Meighen, MD  18:05

It’s hard and challenging. I would agree with that. But I’m in, you know, I work with some telehealth groups. And also and then a number of societies that kind of look at this stuff pretty regularly and post fairly regularly. Because it’s impossible to keep up with everything, to be honest with you. But it’s important to kind of stay up on things that have some scientific validity and appear to have evidence based type literature behind it. But even so, I mean, the beginnings of just looking at you know, they looked at 20 people and they had a positive response, at least kind of gets the ball rolling to show a this could be safe, and be it could have a positive effect on people while we’re coming up with potential studies, double blind placebo controlled to see if this indeed is particularly helpful and beneficial. But yeah, I mean, it’s it’s a bit of a challenge. But you know, what I tell folks is the vast majority of things don’t care for treating a brain health issue versus a gut issue versus a musculoskeletal problem. But 80% of the treatments going to be almost the same, it’s going to be that extra 10 to 20%, that’s going to be a little bit more germane to that specific entity. And then also having a network of people that are specific for treating certain conditions. For example, I’ve got some colleagues that are incredible with chronic infections like Lyme do, I know of, you know, monitoring and ways to kind of work that up a little bit, kind of get an idea I do, but they’ve got some higher level treatments that are outside of what I know or I have some people that are very good with women, they’re having challenges getting pregnant and so many other things from that standpoint. It just kind of depends on where you’re going and what you’re looking for. But I think that’s the that’s the key is to try to get them to the proper person or persons that can really help them specifically with their issues. Even if we didn’t go with that specialized treatment, they’re still going to see some benefit with the things that higher we can do.

 

Tobin Arthur  20:07

That’s great perspective, some humility based in there to that don’t know everything. Talk a little bit about COVID. Because I imagine you probably have seen COVID had a challenging effect, or people across the board disconnected. And so the, you know, the mind body connection, we were talking just briefly about that earlier, what have you seen? And how do people is, maybe we’re kind of quote coming out of it and moving more toward an endemic state? What kinds of things do you suggest for patients?

 

Michael Meighen, MD  20:37

I had a pretty significant COVID infection, I was sick for two weeks and felt terrible. And I do think it had a negative effect on my brain and functioning from our standpoint. And I think the other piece that it did exhibited to us is, you know, going to a society where we’re all connected by video or TV is probably not a place we all want to live. Could we do it short term, and, you know, similar to what we’re doing right here on this, it’s, it’s helped with connection to some degree, but I think it’s almost like social media, we’re more connected, but we’re less connected. Meaning we can, we can stay in touch with a bunch of people or connect with people that we knew from high school and some other things. But by the same token, it’s very surface, and it’s not very fulfilling, to be honest with you, right. So I think it’s shown us that, you know, it’s important to have family or you know, people that you can count on, and have that physical, but also that psychological connection. But also, you know, I think it’s important, looking at our realm, going to medical meetings is incredibly powerful and important. And I like doing them on Zoom. But if you’re doing long zoom, you’ve got opportunities to get up and go to the kitchen, you got opportunities to go outside and do some things from that standpoint, you’re not totally focused on what you’re doing. Whereas if you’re at the meeting, you’re interacting with people, you learn a little bit more about what they’re doing, you’re having to pay attention to the speaker, you’re having to read, you’re having to take notes, you’re having to do all those other things. In my opinion, the parts of the meeting that are more important is after the meeting, when you’re doing dinner, happy hour, or any of those sort of things. And that’s where a lot of business happens, a lot of collaboration happen. And the other part is you don’t feel as alone, because you’re talking to other people, and you’re like, Oh, I must be the other person that feels this way. And that’s absolutely not the case. So it does increase connect tivity and does increase that feeling of being in a tribe and that sort of thing. So I, you know, I think that part, but also, I mean, there’s definite physiologic and biological changes that have happened with, with a virus that we’re definitely gonna have to address.  And again, I think looking at that more from precisions medicine standpoint is going to be incredibly powerful and important. And then, you know, coming up with, I think, better ways to handle just, you know, reducing the riffraff and time that we’re doing paperwork intake and putting you in a room and doing your vitals and doing all the other things that are important. Don’t get me wrong, we tend to stay on time. And that’s important for pretty much everybody. And then you don’t have to leave your office, find a place to park sometimes you have to be at a bar, do all the other things associated with that. So I think a nice mix of that as is where we are going and I think important from that standpoint, but I think we still need to understand that we need to have that connection. And we need to you know, that’s a big part of being human in my opinion,

 

Tobin Arthur  25:01

Really well said. I want to come back to a couple of treatments and just things that you’re particularly keen on these days. But first for the person, you know, patient who’s listening to this, and this could be other physicians who are listening to it, because I find physicians tend to be so busy themselves. It’s the old adage of the cobblers kids have no shoes, right sometimes to take care of themselves.  So how, you know if they’re not in your backyard? Or if they are in your backyard? How do they find you in it, but if they’re not in their backyard, your backyard? And they’re hearing this thinking, Boy, this is the kind of physician I need to work with? How do they find somebody who’s got a similar perspective in their, you know, particular part of the country?

 

Michael Meighen, MD  25:44

Yeah, I mean, it’s sometimes a bit of a challenge. And part of that can be to some of the governmental agencies kind of Hawking, right, and looking at your website, and some of the other things and you got to be careful with what you claim and or what you say you hear. So those are the those are the careful pieces. You know, I think at this stage, the website can be a benefit and looking at that. But I think part of it too, listening to podcasts similar to this one. Getting on some of the social media sites can be a benefit to some degree, I think, you know, LinkedIn’s got a nice setting where it’s not super inflammatory, political, and people primarily talking more about their professions and kind of what they can offer. But you know, I think Facebook has this role in some of the other things from that standpoint, as well. And you can put in some keywords and certain phrases as well, if you put in, you know, PRP or regenerative medicine, or precision medicine and health optimization, some of the other things from that standpoint can be of benefit. If you want to look at working with me, probably the best place to address that would be at Dr. Meighen. And I definitely can interact pretty much with anything there and get, get you set up with the appropriate person, if it’s myself or with somebody else to really try to get and manage, you know, the issues and some of the desires for health that you’re looking for.

 

Tobin Arthur  27:29

Perfect, we’ll put that link in the show notes, so people don’t have to remember it. So let’s talk just a little bit about some of those precision medicine tools, maybe some things that you’re particularly excited about over the last year or two. Are there things that come to mind.

 

Michael Meighen, MD  27:43

But I think again, we haven’t talked about the orthopedic or the aesthetic or sexual health piece. So let’s dive there a little bit. So you know, the orthopedic piece, in my opinion, that’s kind of my bread and butter, kind of where I came from, and how I got into regenerative medicine or restorative medicine. So, you know, I think the vast majority of things typically are not surgical. If you talk to most orthopedists, if they’re being honest, probably about 90 to 95% of things that come into an orthopedic clinic are non operative, which is kind of where I come in. And, you know, I think their regenerative piece is particularly appealing for a couple of reasons. One, I’m using you to heal you. So using either your blood, I’m using your bone marrow or I’m using your fat, so the likelihood of you rejecting yourself is almost zero. The second thing is it’s it’s typically done either under you know, local or just lighting anesthesia. So it could be a Valium, it could be nitrous oxide. Occasionally, we’ll do you know, some IV sedation, whether it be a verset and fentanyl, or something along those lines, but that’s where the other pieces, the downtime is almost zero. So, you know, for example, even if you’re having a nice job or something along those lines, depending on what kind of job you had, me, if it’s sedentary, you could probably have it on Friday and be back to work on a Monday, which is reasonable. But with these, I mean, usually, you know, you might be down for 24 to 36 hours, but able to resume function again, if it’s not a super blue collar super lifting type job for those who may have adjust but so the downtimes much less, you know, the the risk of infection and or side effect issues as much less, and then we can get you going into rehab much more quickly. And get you back to activity, be that exercise, be that work, be that you know, fun activities and that sort of thing much more quickly. And the nice part is sometimes we can repeat it, or we can go with a little bit more aggressive type intervention, whereas if we just did PRP the first time maybe we do some bone marrow or some fat the next time or combination thereof, there are even processes where you can go into roseus or into the bone. So you take a large was born needle, kind of put it into the area where you may have some some bone related change or abnormality, you can inject there along with injecting into the joints. And then the other part is it’s not just a joint procedure.  For example, if you’re looking at the knee, then we want to hit some of the soft tissues, most of us have problems because we have some instability or some problems with ligamentous support with the capsule, which kind of lines all of our joints, with some of the tendinous type insertions, even some of the nerves in around the joint can be problematic. So we try to hit all of those in a comprehensive type process, and really try to get people moving forward. And then the nice part with the static, so if you’re looking at the face, hair growth, and even with sexual function, if anybody’s heard of the P shot or the O shot, which stands for practice shot for men, we inject PRP into the penis, and the orgasm shot for women, it’s using the same medications just in a different area. And the beauty of is it tends to increase blood flow tends to help beef the tissue up tends to help improve the overall environment of that tissue. And kind of gets it moving forward in a positive manner direction and can help things like incontinence for women can help with orgasm or a sexual response can help with erectile dysfunction. And then for skin that can kind of turn that skin over and help improve beauty and integrity. Some of the other things from that standpoint without having to use fillers and some of the other things that sometimes can be problematic or could cause some type of reaction in the body be allergic or other. So it’s got tons of utility and can be very helpful for a good number of conditions and some of those that we didn’t have great treatments for in the past to be honest with you. So I think it’s it’s definitely changed orthopedics and aesthetics and sexual function pretty dramatically. I think we’ll continue to do so for sure.

 

Tobin Arthur  32:01

That’s pretty neat. So let me ask you about a specific one. This one’s personal. So osteoarthritis, once you’ve got you’re getting down to bone on bone or that kind of issue, I mean, what do you see are their options? Does this have any effect before you get to surgical options?

 

Michael Meighen, MD  32:17

Sure. So depends on the joint. And some of my colleagues and fellow regenerative physicians have done incredibly powerful job and looking at specific joints and reporting on those. So if it’s a knee, knees tend to do well, no matter what state they’re in, even if they are severe bone on bone, you can definitely get some response in relation and improvement and pain control and function. With any or all the general procedures. Usually, if it’s more pronounced, you’re looking at something a little bit higher level like the bone marrow or fat and then using the PRP kind of on the supporting structures, shoulders kind of the same way, they tend to respond well, all the way up to, you know, severe osteoarthritis, and some of the other things their hips, not quite so much. Hips tend to do reasonably well with mild to moderate change, they get more toward the severe level, they tend not to respond quite as well. Risks kind of the same for the ankle kind of the same. Just depends on the joint now. Can you try it? Absolutely, there is no problem with attempting to do that and doing some things to really try to manage that as best you can. Potentially my bias some time, but knees and shoulders tend to do incredibly well. And spawns actually tend to do incredibly well, too.

 

Tobin Arthur  33:32

Let’s wrap up with this topic, you kind of brought it up in the beginning, just in glancing but physician burnout. So it’s been a challenging environment for physicians for the last what’s really called a decade. How do you personally, you know, make sure you don’t get burned out? And kind of adjacent to that, what are the things that, you know, keep you excited and keep you driving? You know, what’s the next year look like for you?

 

Michael Meighen, MD  33:57

I’ve dealt with some burnout issues in the past and continue to try to work on those things, just to try to keep myself relatively even keel, and moving forward and trying to manage all of the things that we have to juggle as a person, as a professional, as a father, as a husband, and those types of things as well. I think at this stage, most of us feel like we’re on that rat wheel, and we’re going, we’re going, we’re going and going and we’re not really getting anywhere, I’m gonna get off we’re at the same spot we were before. And at times, depending on what or whom you’re working for. They may not really care as long as somebody is on that rat wheel doing what they need to do. So I think the first part is to kind of empower yourself, I think you’ve got to take care of yourself and in any number of way. And I think important, you know, from a physical standpoint, so I think exercise and some of the other things we’ve discussed previously are important. I think sleep is incredibly powerful. And something that we all need to optimize, I think we again, have to cultivate our relationships, and maybe even discard certain ones that are not helping us or vice versa, we’re not helping somebody else, which is difficult. I mean, that could even involve a family member or something is very close to us. But I think is important, if they are not benefiting you, then you need to take a step back and kind of reassess those relationships and some things. And then I think finding outlets to relieve some of that tension, or some of that stress or some of that difficulty. And again, for some people, that could be a 30 minute walk at lunch. For some people, maybe that’s a massage, or something along those lines. For others, it may be a yoga session, some it may be a vacation, it could be any or all of those things, it’s gonna be different for everybody and not everybody’s going to respond. Typically meditation, it’s incredibly helpful, but I have some people that just don’t feel like they respond particularly well to that form of activity or movement. So I think at this stage, again, it’s it’s more of trying to find the things that are going to align with you. And they’re going to impact you in a positive manner. And again, I mean, I think when we talk about burnout, or talk about some of the other parts of that we focus almost solely on the mind, which don’t get me wrong, I think is incredibly important. But if you look at that 35 to 65 year old person, things are happening in their lives that are causing more stress and more problems, I mean, their hormones are going to hell, they’re probably not exercising as much as they should be, probably overusing alcohol or other illicit substances. And some of the other things from that standpoint, probably not sleeping particularly well, they may be going through divorce or some other things, maybe having some challenges with their children or with, you know, close friends or some of the other things from that standpoint, they’re not feeling particularly passionate, or empowered or focused on their job, they’re just kind of going through the motions. You know, I think all of those are areas that we need to hit. And then some of the things we’ve talked about before, there are some physiologic reasons. That’s one of the things that you can have some issue, for example, if your testosterone is tanking, it’s really going to negatively affect your brain health, mood, brain function, your feelings of confidence, energy, focus, passion, all those type things, and definitely can help with things like diabetes or insulin control issues can help with body composition, muscle mass, all kinds of pieces, both in men and women. So it’s not just a male hormone, it’s definitely got some the same effects and women. So again, I mean, I think it’s another piece as far as looking at that it could be as simple as you know, your b 12, and folate levels are low, B, 12, and folate. Incredibly important for making neurotransmitters, which can affect brain function, really good for your nervous system and activity. Really good for what we call methylation or the way that your DNA is expressed. detoxification, good, no other things to vitamin D. I mean, we could go on and on. But I think just looking at it from one realm, and not looking at all of the realms is important. And you know, I think more of a comprehensive approach is kind of the same thing. And, you know, I think, unfortunately, with what we talked about before the COVID, and some of the things going on the world, you know, professionals, entrepreneurs, and even just folks that are in blue collar positions that have been working themselves to death, like, you know, in the grocery store, or delivery people are some of the things from that standpoint, are also burnout as well. So I think it’s not just high functioning or high level people, if you want to call it that, like everybody’s high level or can be, but it’s it’s kind of the whole society. So I think we’re going to have some issues that we’re really going to need to address at this stage. And I think people just need to raise their hand and say, I need some help. And that’s, I think the first step, I mean, unfortunately, suicide going up, isolation going up, and so many other things. Unfortunately, you know, my profession is second, I think, to the military and the number of suicides per year. So it’s, it’s definitely an issue that we really need to jump on and address and has to be solved, if you want to call it that. From all realms. It’s not just one person as the issue. It’s not just the person that’s burnout, they’re part of the issue, but it’s also others around them. It’s also the folks they interact with or what they’re being asked to do. Are they empowered? Are they asked what could make my job better? Right? Maybe you’d like to coach. And that could be another way that you can, you can help people. So I think important. That’s why I like Angel MD. And some of the things that your group does is it kind of gives physicians and other professionals ideas and thoughts of, Hey, have you ever thought of this or ever looked at that? And again, that’s another piece where we can collaborate and say, hey, I want to learn more about that, or, Hey, this guy seems like he, he could help kind of get me potentially through something or help me with my business or something along those lines that could make a pretty significant impact more people. And then I would feel more that empowerment and that passion and that focus and those sort of things, too. And I appreciate that.

 

Tobin Arthur  40:40

That’s exactly right. And I love the fact that you’re, what you’re describing is this holistic approach. You know, there’s no one thing it’s it’s looking at all of these things and addressing them. And you’ve given us some some great thoughts on that you mentioned earlier, which I absolutely agree this, this social connectivity online, while it’s got benefits, you know, at the same time, people feel more isolated now than they ever have, even though the irony is that we’re more connected. And you know, from that perspective, we look forward to you know, we’ve got our pitch club events every couple weeks, but we really look forward to over the course of this year getting back to more live events, either our own or supporting other people’s live events, because there just is nothing that replaces those as much as we try.

 

Michael Meighen, MD  41:24

I agree with you. And there’s no question about that. I mean, yeah, you’re right. I mean, you can text Mark Cuban, and I’ve had him answer me once. But I mean, it wouldn’t be that way. If it was 30 years ago. I mean, there’s no way we would have access to certain people. And you know, sometimes we still don’t have access, and that’s okay. But by the same token, I agree with you. I just think that in person peace is just paramount to great health.

 

Tobin Arthur  41:49

It’s always interesting to watch kids mine in particular, and they’ll be in a car with their friends, and they’re texting one another, you know, they’re literally sitting, you know, feet from one another, and they’re still texting and Snapchatting and whatever the heck else they do. Doctor Meighen, I really appreciate you spending time today. This was a lot of fun getting to know you a little bit more and hearing all about your perspective. It’s really terrific. Thank you again.

 

Michael Meighen, MD  42:13

Well, thanks Tobin. I really appreciate the opportunity and enjoyed it a great deal as well. Thanks. We’ll talk again soon. All right. Sounds great.

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