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Showing posts from November, 2013

NonDrug Pain Management Ideas: Recap

NonDrug Pain Management Ideas: Orthopedic pillows

Is there an orthopedic pillow out there for you?

Another possibility that one can incorporate into a pain management regimen is an orthopedic pillow.  There are many kinds of therapeutic pillows available,having different fillings and different intent of use.  Some pillows are better for lumbar support, for example, while others may help someone with cervical spine issues.  Doing a little internet research may help you to see if there is one out there for you. It would also be good to check with your health care team to confirm whether or not this is in your best interests.

By improving your posture as you sleep, you improve the quality of sleep during the night and will be able to function better throughout your waking hours. And that can make a world of difference!

What is Fibromyalgia?

FibromyalgiaFibromyositis; Fibrositis Last reviewed: February 2, 2012. Fibromyalgia is a common syndrome in which a person has long-term, body-wide pain and tenderness in the joints, muscles, tendons, and other soft tissues. Fibromyalgia has also been linked to fatigue, sleep problems, headaches, depression, and anxiety.
Causes, incidence, and risk factors The cause is unknown. Possible causes or triggers of fibromyalgia include:
Physical or emotional trauma Abnormal pain response - areas in the brain that are responsible for pain may react differently in fibromyalgia patients Sleep disturbances Infection, such as a virus, although none has been identified Fibromyalgia is most common among women aged 20 to 50.
The following conditions may be seen with fibromyalgia or mimic its symptoms:
Chronic neck or back pain Chronic fatigue syndrome Depression Hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid) Lyme disease Sleep disorders Symptoms Pain is the main symptom of fibromyalgia. It may be mild to se…

NonDrug Pain Management Ideas: Meditation

In pain? Try meditation By Anne Harding, April 5, 2011 5:53 p.m. EDT Meditation can help people cope with pain, anxiety and other physical and mental health problems. STORY HIGHLIGHTS Even a brief crash course in meditative techniques can reduce sensitivity to painMeditation relieves pain by helping people control their perception of painThe type of meditation used in the study is known as Shamatha, or "focused attention" RELATED TOPICS Meditation and MindfulnessPain ManagementMedical Treatments and ProceduresHealth and FitnessCognitive ScienceAlternative Health Care ( -- You don't have to be a Buddhist monk to experience the health benefits of meditation. According to a new study, even a brief crash course in meditative techniques can sharply reduce a person's sensitivity to pain.
In the study, researchers mildly burned 15 men and women in a lab on two separate occasions, before and after the volunteers attended four 20-minute meditation tr…

NonDrug Pain Management Ideas: Music Therapy

Prevention News Chronic Pain Relief: Music Therapy And Pain Management More Music, Less Pain? Studies have shown that music is a powerful pain reliever. Here are some practical tips for putting it to use.By Holly C. Corbett Lullabies may do more than soothe babies to sleep—they may also help ease pain in adults. A new study finds that participants who concentrate on melodies such as "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star" while receiving safe electric shocks cut pain levels by 17% overall. Moreover, actively listening to music is twice as effective at slashing pain levels for highly anxious types as compared to their less-anxious counterparts, according to the Journal of Pain. The key to using music to reduce pain is active listening. "We had people listen to specific childhood melodies that they knew well, such as 'Mary Had a Little Lamb,' and their task was to identify deviations in the songs, such as noting a jump in pitch or octave," says lead study aut…

NonDrug Pain Management Ideas: Tai Chi

Tai Chi for Arthritis Relief Gentle movements of the ancient Chinese exercise tai chi are one of many alternatives to help elderly people find pain relief.

WebMD Feature Archive By
WebMD Feature Reviewed by Charlotte E. Grayson Mathis, MD The movements of tai chi are gentle, graceful, mystical -- and, for elderly people, a very safe way to relieve arthritis pain and gain balance, strength, and flexibility. Tai chi is one of many alternative therapies that can provide relief from pain, possibly letting you cut back on pain medications. Early mornings in large and small cities in China - and increasingly in America's parks, hospitals, and community centers - people are practicing tai chi. It is an ancient tradition said to have developed in medieval China, to help restore health of monks in poor physical condition from too much meditation and too little exercise. Recommended Related to Pain Management Chronic Pain: Does Vitamin D Help? Not getting enough vitamin…

Categorizing Pain

Pain can be characterized in many different ways, but one of the simplest ways to categorize pain is to break it into three basic types.  Below is a quick summary of the 3 basic types of pain and the main properties of each type of pain.

Neuropathic pain is usually caused by damage or injury to the nervous system, and probably responsible for a lot of chronic pain conditions.  This type of pain does not usually respond well to  the drugs we commonly think of as pain medications, such as Tylenol, Aspirin, Ibuprofen or Opioid medications.  This kind of pain can be the result of injury, such as an accident, or health conditions such as shingles. It can also be a result of cancer or cancer chemotherapy. Somatic (nocioceptive) pain is pain experienced following surgery, broken bones,  toothaches, etc.  It is the localized assault to body tissues that causes the pain sensation.  This kind of pain usually resolves as healing progresses.  It is also more likely to respond to traditional pain m…

NonDrug Pain Management Ideas: From a Child's Perspective

How to cope with chronic pain from a child's point of view!

Milayzia plays 'Monster on the Move," a board game designed to help younger children with chronic pain develop coping skills that improve their ability to function and resume more normal activities. Click image to see the video...

NonDrug Pain Management Ideas: Hypnosis

The use of hypnosis in the treatment of chronic pain has a long and well studied history.  While not intended for use as a stand alone treatment, when used in conjunction with other pain control methods it has offered a "moderate to large hypnoanalgesic effect, supporting the efficacy of hypnotic techniques for pain management." according to a large meta-study analysis conducted by Guy Montgomery, Ph. D., of New York's Mount Sinai School of Medicine (Int J Clin Exp Hypn 2000;48:138-153). 

Regarding the study, a May 2009 article in Pain Medicine News study,Dr. Montgomery says:
"Part of the appeal of hypnosis, is that it can be performed on most patients in a relatively short period of time (usually over four to 10 sessions) and has virtually no side effects. Additionally, skills learned by the patient through hypnosis can be used to cope with other issues that may accompany chronic pain, such as anxiety, depression, sleep disturbances and distress."

The arti…

NonDrug Pain Management Ideas: Support Groups

Another idea to help you to along the pain management journey is that of a support group.  Many hospital systems offer support groups for specific disease states, such as fibromyalgia, arthritis, cancer, spinal cord injury, and the like.  You can find this kind of support group by looking online or by calling the hospital/health system or other appropriate agency in your locale, such as the Arthritis Foundation.  In addition to this, some psychologists or social workers may offer support groups.  Lastly, since the advent of the internet and social media, you may also find online support groups that serve your purposes as well. 

Support groups serve a dual belonging to one, you have access to support and resources from others in the group.  They may have ideas that will help you when you are faced with a problem you don't know quite how to solve.  The second role of the support group is for you to be supportive to other members of the group when they are faced with challe…

NonDrug Pain Management Ideas: Physical Therapy

For today's post I am sharing an article from WebMD on physical therapy for pain management.  If you think physical therapy may be helpful to you, discuss it with your health care team!Pain Management and Physical Therapy Sometimes pain treatment can be accomplished through physical therapy. Physical therapy (PT), also known as physiotherapy, involves the treatment, healing, and prevention of injuries or disabilities. PT helps to relieve pain, promote healing, and restore function and movement.
PT is practiced by a professionally trained physical therapist under the referral of a doctor. A physical therapist is a specialist skilled and educated specifically in proper rehabilitation. How Is Physical Therapy Used to Treat Pain?A therapist may focus on decreasing pain with either passive or active therapy. Examples of passive physical therapy include: Heat/ice packsTENS unitsUltrasoundExamples of active physical therapy include:

Living With Pain: Purposeful Activity Ideas From The American Chronic Pain Association

Play activities come readily to small children, but as adults we don't think about them too much.  Can you remember the last time you got so engaged in an activity that you escaped from reality for a while?  There are numerous simple pleasures that can help us to pass the time in a satisfying way...away from all those daily aches and pains if only for a while!  If you haven't done so for a while, maybe it's time to revisit your inner child! 

Here are a few suggestions to help you get started:

DrawingPaintingJigsaw puzzlesColoringArts and CraftsPlay Dough or Modeling ClayCard GamesBoard Games 

NonDrug Pain Management Ideas: Living Within Your Limitations

Going hand in hand with yesterday's post is the concept of living within your limitations.  Pacing yourself is part of this concept; another part of it is learning to function within our physical limitations.

When my daughter was young (about 5 years old), I was diagnosed with osteoarthritis in a knee joint.  I was forced to accept that I could no longer play jump rope with her, but we could go for a long walk or a hike.  I could not jump into the shallow end of a pool because the impact on landing was painful-so when she and I went to the pool in the summer, we would go to the deep end to jump in.  I could give you many more examples of this concept, but I think you can get the picture from what I have already said.

The hardest part of this is acceptance.  It comes with time.  It comes easier if we spend more time focusing on the things we CAN do and minimizing our focus on the things we have to give up.

NonDrug Pain Management Ideas: Pace Yourself!

Once you have identified your pain triggers, you can explore the idea of pacing yourself.
By knowing what activities/ weather patterns/foods/ medications etc. serve to help or hurt your comfort level, you can develop strategies to keep yourself pain free or at reduced pain levels more of the time.

Here are some examples:

If you are just starting an exercise program, try to ease yourself into it.  You can accomplish this by starting slowly and gradually increasing your tolerance to an exercise activity slowly and steadily.  If the activity is too painful, it is possible that you've reached your upper limit for that activity, or maybe a different exercise activity is better suited for your health condition. You can also vary your workout
activities if doing the same thing all the time is problematic.

Try to plan your day(s) so that you have a good balance of activity and rest.  Don't try to clean out your whole house in one day, for example.  Break a big activity into several sm…

NonDrug Pain Management Ideas: Yoga

The practice of yoga can be traced back to the Stone Age.  It began as a communal form of spiritual meditation.  Since its inception, Yoga has come a long way.  There are a number of different styles of Yoga practice that formed over time, and in recent years it has become an exercise may have heard of the practices of Power Yoga and Hot Yoga.

When you are in pain on a chronic basis, you might be thinking that exercise is the last thing you really want to do.  However, yoga is a unique practice and it may offer you benefits that other forms of exercise cannot.  Here are a few excerpts from the Everyday Health article below that explain some of the benefits for pain relief:

~~Recent studies have indicated that practicing yoga for pain can cause physical changes in the body to promote healing, says Maureen McBeth, a physical therapist at Mercy Medical Center in Baltimore.
"There has been research to measure cytokines, which are markers in the body that indicate …

NonDrug Pain Management Ideas: Magnetic Therapy

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Magnetic TherapyOther common name(s): magnetic field therapy, magnet therapy, bioenergy therapy Scientific/medical name(s): none Description Magnetic therapy involves placing magnets of varying sizes and strengths on the body to try to relieve pain or treat disease. Overview Although there are reports of individuals being healed by magnetic therapy, available scientific evidence does not support these claims. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) considers these magnets harmless and of no use for medical purposes. How is it promoted for use? Many claims about magnetic therapy are based on the fact that some cells and tissues in the human body give off electromagnetic impulses. Some practitioners think the presence of illness or injury disrupts these fields. Magnets produce energy fields of different strengths, which proponents believe can penetrate the human body, correcting disturbances and restoring health to the afflicted systems, organs, and cell…

NonDrug Pain Management Ideas: Attitude is Everything!

How to be happy despite pain (Click above to go to the blog)

Today I am simply sharing another blog with you...It's written by someone who is a psychiatrist and also a sufferer of chronic pain.  Lots of feedback here from other chronic pain patients as well.  I hope you will find some pearls of wisdom in reading this blog...thanks to the blogger and commentators for their great advice!

NonDrug Pain Management Ideas: Identify Your Triggers

People who deal with chronic or recurrent pain may realize over time what may or may not help improve control of their pain. One way of doing this is to keep a diary and make notations of various things about their day, such as
What foods did I eat--did I eat too much or too little today? What kind of exercise did I do ? What was my activity level today? How was my sleep last night? What was the weather today?
What medications did I take/withhold today? What was my pain level today?
By keeping track of these various things in your day, you may actually be able to see what kinds of things help or hurt your pain control efforts, and identify triggers and patterns unique to your situation.
A pain diary is a good way to accomplish this goal.
You can create your own pain diary from a notebook, or you can use a form like the one below that I found on  Your doctor's office may also have resources like this for you to use.
Last but not least, there are smart phone and…

NonDrug Pain Management Ideas: Hold the Morphine!

Adjust the Lights, Hold the Morphine? Closer-to-normal lighting in hospital patient rooms linked to less pain in study.
By Robert Preidt, HealthDay News

THURSDAY, November 7, 2013 (HealthDay News) —
Changing lighting patterns in hospital rooms to more closely align with normal sleep-wake cycles may improve patients' health by reducing fatigue and pain, a new study suggests.
The findings highlight a simple and inexpensive way to improve patient care, according to the researchers.
Their study was designed to determine if there were any links between hospital lighting, mood, sleep and pain in adult patients. Twenty-three women and 17 men in a large U.S. hospital had their light exposure levels and sleep-wake cycles continuously monitored over 72 hours.
The patients' moods were checked daily through questionnaires, and their pain levels determined from medical records, according to the study published online recently in the Journal of Advanced Nursing.
The patients were expos…

Treating Depression Linked to Neuropathic Pain

Today's post is an article from "Life Script" written by a physician.
In her column, Bridget Carey, MD discusses depression associated with neuropathic pain, and what you can do about it. The article is in part devoted to meditation, which is another non drug pain management idea!
Click photo to go to the column...

Painting Pain As A Therapeutic Outlet

Painting Pain as a Therapeutic Outlet Heather Bolinder remembers the pain. In fact, she will never forget it. The trained emergency medical technician and nursing assistant had helped others in discomfort before, but she had never felt such agony herself. That is, until that one July day nearly five years ago.
Ms. Bolinder was in her garden, tending to her flowers, when suddenly she felt what she now describes as an “excruciating” pain in her back. She couldn’t move. Family members came to her aid and rushed her to the emergency room at a local hospital. It was the first of many visits to hospitals, physicians and specialists as part of a seemingly never-ending effort to get an accurate diagnosis of, and proper treatment for, her pain.
Largely bedridden for more than a year, Ms. Bolinder was forced to give up her job as a nursing assistant as well as her avocation: painting. Even though she knew her art would make for great therapy, she just couldn’t bring herself to pi…