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Showing posts from December, 2013

Is Pain Managment Possible Through Diet?

Just browsing on Amazon.com, there is definitely some thought in this area.  The basic idea here is that by eating foods that are more nutritionally correct, you can reduce inflammation and as a result reduce pain levels.  This would make sense for any chronic pain situation where inflammation is the BIG problem--rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, ,many back pain issues, and the like.  I don't know if it works or not but I am here to share the idea with you because that is the purpose of my blog.  Below I will share the book that intrigued me the most. Ultimately, I believe that it is worth it to try just because most of us have much room for improvement in our dietary choices--and our dietary choices go a long way in improving or worsening our overall health.  Maybe it's not the be-all and the end-all but is sure can't hurt!










Good Relationships, Better Pain Management

Curious?  Follow the link to see a short video on how having good mutual relationships can improve pain management.





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NonDrug Pain Management Ideas: Smoking Cessation

Chronic Pain and Smoking Put out that cigarette! People with chronic pain smoke more, even though smoking can actually make the pain worse. 
By Dennis Thompson Jr. Medically reviewed by Pat F. Bass III, MD, MPH 


Studies have found that people in chronic pain smoke tobacco at a greater rate than the general public, even though smoking interferes with pain management.
What's behind the increased tobacco use in patients with chronic pain? Smoking appears to be a method some people adopt to manage pain. Studies have found that smokers increase their cigarette consumption when their pain increases. Researchers also have speculated that chronic pain patients smoke due to the depression or anxiety they are more likely to have as a result of their pain.
Chronic Pain and Smoking: The Statistics
More than half of chronic pain patients who have sought out pain management are known to smoke, compared with a 22 percent smoking rate for the United States as a whole. People who h…

The Heartbreak of Shingles

Shingles is a common--and painful problem for many people, especially the elderly.  Some people suffer a form of neuropathic pain (post herpetic neuralgia) for very long periods following a shingles outbreak.  Today I am posting this article from WebMD because it is highly important to know about this subject! What is shingles? Shingles is a painful skin rash. It is caused by the varicella zoster virus. Shingles usually appears in a band, a strip, or a small area on one side of the face or body. It is also called herpes zoster.
Shingles is most common in older adults and people who have weak immune systems because of stress, injury, certain medicines, or other reasons. Most people who get shingles will get better and will not get it again.
What causes shingles?Shingles occurs when the virus that causes chickenpox starts up again in your body. After you get better from chickenpox, the virus "sleeps" (is dormant) in your nerve roots. In some peo…

NonDrug Pain Management Ideas: Biofeedback

What Is Biofeedback And When Is It Used For Pain?  August 18, 2008 Joshua Prager, M.D., M.S., Director, Center for the Rehabilitation of Pain Syndromes (CRPS) at UCLA Medical Plaza Question: What Is Biofeedback And When Is It Used To Relieve Pain? Answer: In the chronic pain patient, we often need many different tools to treat the patient. Biofeedback is one of these tools that helps the patient to modulate their pain or tune it down. Pain is often associated with anxiety, and anxiety can certainly be managed with biofeedback. There are various forms of biofeedback. Biofeedback can be measuring muscle tension; it can measure skin temperature; it can measure sweating; or the most sophisticated forms of biofeedback now measure brainwaves that are associated with the pain. This type of biofeedback is called brainwave biofeedback or EEG biofeedback, for electro-encephalography or EEG. Brainwave biofeedback has the advantage of actually allowing the technologis…

Eliminating Stress Brings Pain Relief

Getting a handle on everyday stress can help you better manage the pain you're experiencing. By Juhie Bhatia Medically reviewed by Niya Jones, MD, MPH

It's easy to get stressed out when the pressures of work, family, and everyday life are weighing on you. These stresses can have not only an emotional impact, they can cause physical pain as well.
Stress and pain are often closely linked. Each one can have an impact on the other, creating a vicious cycle that sets the stage for chronic pain and chronic stress. So, part of getting pain relief is learning how to better manage stress.
"Lots of studies support the conclusion that what happens in the brain — depression, anxiety, being stressed out — can increase pain. At the same time, if you have more pain, you may be more stressed," says Jennifer Schneider, MD, PhD, a chronic-pain specialist and author of the book Living With Chronic Pain. "Each makes the other worse, so if you decrease pain, you'…

Some reflections on living with pain...

Perhaps on this day we should reflect on the ability to feel pain...is it a blessing or a curse?



There is a rare sensory disorder known as Congenital Insensitivity to Pain.  Those who are afflicted never experience pain.  Therefore, they do not get a "warning bell" like the rest of us to when something is wrong.  They may have no indication that something is seriously wrong, perhaps until it is too late.

The pain experience is one of those things on life's journey that is unpleasant-but without it life would certainly not be the same.  Many of our negative experiences have positive counterparts and because of that, we appreciate the positives much more.  For instance, how could those who never know sorry truly know joy? Could someone who never knows hunger understand satiety?

I cannot answer as to whether or not pain is a blessing or a curse for anyone else but myself. If I had to tell you my own thoughts right now, I would say that it is a little bit of both!

Walking program for chemo-related joint pain

Walking program eased chemo-related joint painBy: DOUG BRUNK, Family Practice News Digital Network
11/26/13

SAN DIEGO – A 6-week, low-impact walking program relieved joint pain and stiffness and increased the number of minutes per week walking among elderly breast cancer survivors on aromatase inhibitors. "A breast cancer diagnosis can be an ‘a-ha’ moment for women," Kirsten A. Nyrop, Ph.D, said during a press briefing at the annual meeting of the American College of Rheumatology. "Some of the women with whom we spoke said: ‘My cardiologist told me to walk and my general practitioner told me to walk, but when my oncologist asked me to walk, I started walking.’ " Doug Brunk/IMNG Medical Media
Kirsten A. Nyrop, Ph.D. Dr. Nyrop, of the Thurston Arthritis Research Center at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and her associates studied 20 patients who were taking an aromatase inhibitor for stage I-III breast cancer and had self-reported joint …

Good news: ‘fibrofog’ doesn’t portend Alzheimer’s

By: BRUCE JANCIN, Family Practice News Digital Network 11/22/13
 SAN DIEGO – ‘Fibrofog’ – the cognitive dysfunction experienced by up to 80% of fibromyalgia patients – is not an early harbinger of Alzheimer’s disease, Dr. Robert S. Katz asserted at the annual meeting of the American College of Rheumatology.

 The problems with memory, concentration, language, and thinking, collectively known as fibrofog, affect fibromyalgia patients in their 20s-50s. The onset is typically more sudden and dramatic than with classic forms of dementia. As fibrofog becomes chronic, many affected fibromyalgia patients – fearing the worst – worry they are on a road to Alzheimer’s disease in middle age.

Not so, according to Dr. Katz, professor of medicine at Rush Medical College, Chicago.

 He presented a cross-sectional study involving two cohorts. One comprised 69 fibromyalgia patients with symptoms of cognitive dysfunction of 12 months duration or less. The other consisted of 39 fibromyalgia patients wi…

Does Vitamin C play a role in pain management?

Does Vitamin C play a role in pain management?

Recent years have seen the new and important roles for vitamin C in the world of pain management: most notably as a way to lessen the impact of periperal neuropathy related to shingles.   In addition a double blind study conducted by Zollinger et. all showed reduced pain sensitivity to painful stimuli and reduced risk of developing complex regional pain syndrome in patients given vitamin C pre/post surgery in wrist and ankle surgeries.   There is also suggestion that vitamin C plays a role in reducing incidence of migraine.  It is proposed that the antioxidant properties of this vitamin are the key to this role; it has also been found to increase the pain threshhold in patients with chronic pancreatitis.  Studies suggest that the additon of B-carotene and methionine further enhance the benefits of vitamin C when all three are taken together.
Reference:

Vitamin C and Its Emerging Role in Pain Management: Beneficial Effects in Pain Conditions Be…

BPAs and Migraine Headache

Chemical commonly found in plastics makes migraines worse, researchers show November 12, 2013 By C.J. Janovy

Researchers at the University of Kansas Medical Center have shown that a compound frequently found in plastics, Bisphenol A (BPA), can worsen migraine headache-related symptoms. The findings suggest that migraine sufferers might be able to reduce the frequency and severity of their headaches by changing their diets.
Nancy Berman, Ph.D., a professor of anatomy and cell biology at KU Medical Center, is one of the country's leading experts on migraine. Building on her previous research showing a connection between migraines and the hormone estrogen, Berman developed a way to test potential headache drugs in laboratory rats. The discovery was significant because, while potential treatments are frequently tested first in animals, there had been no definitive test to determine whether a rat had a headache.
"Currently, migraine has no specific biomarker …

Long-term Migraine Effects

Migraine is a debilitating condition that costs billions of dollars a year in healthcare fees, sick days and poor performance. It can change throughout your life depending on your stress levels, your hormone levels, your age and your triggers, which can also change.
Doctors often diagnose migraines based on ruling out other problems, like heart and other brain issues. Migraine sufferers should know, though, that constant scientific research is being done to understand more about the disease. What has come to light, however, is that migraine may be a symptom of other neurobiological (brain) disease.
A recent study has also confirmed that women over 45 who suffer classic migraines are much more likely to have cardiovascular problems. It is very important if you have migraines to have regular checkups and report any changes in your symptoms to your doctor so that they can catch and fix problems quickly.
By now it should be obvious that migraine is much more than a normal he…

Migraine: Not just a bad headache

Migraine headache can be simply defined as severe head pain that lasts for several hours, sometimes even for days.  Usually the pain is only on one side of the head. For about  twenty percent of the 24+ million migraine sufferers in the US, it is accompanied by an aura--a sensory disturbance such as a visual disturbance, hallucination, numbness, or tingling .

Migraine can be quite debilitating.  As a migraine sufferer myself, I cannot begin to tell you how many days of productivity I have personally lost due to migraine.  Multiply me by 24 million and...well, that's a lot!  The financial impact is also huge if you consider all the work days lost in addition to the money that is spent on doctor or ER visits and tests and prescription drugs related to this problem.





What causes migraine, you might ask?  Well, the jury is still out on that but it is proposed that there is a cascade of neurological events that lead to the swelling of blood vessels in the brain. Pain and inflammation ac…

MRI Shows Fibromyalgia Patients Process Pain Differently

Brain scans reveal that people with fibromyalgia are not as able to prepare for pain as healthypeople, and they are less likely to respond to the promise of pain relief. This altered brain processing could explain why people with the mysterious chronic ailment feel pain more intensely and don't respond as well to narcotic painkillers, the researchers said. Their findings are published in the Nov. 5 issue of the journal Arthritis & Rheumatism.
People without fibromyalgia can mentally alleviate some types of pain that people experience, explained Dr. Lynn Webster, president of the American Academy of Pain Medicine. "For people with fibromyalgia, that capability seems to be dampened if not eliminated," Webster said. "They may not be able to respond the same way to medications or our intrinsic [natural] mechanisms for dealing with pain."
The authors used an MRI to scan each participant's brain as a blood pressure cuff painfully
squeezed the patient's calf…

Ten things you should know about Acetaminophen

1. Acetaminophen is also known as Tylenol(brand name) and sometimes by its abbreviated name APAP. It is probably the most common fever and pain reducer on the market today.
2. Acetaminophen is an ingredient in many single and multi-ingredient products. Before taking any prescription or non prescription product it is a good idea to know if and how much acetaminophen is in that product.   3.It is recommended that no more than 4 grams of acetaminophen be ingested in a 24 hour period. The ceiling effect of acetaminophen is 3 grams-- meaning that anything over 3 grams does not really contribute to its analgesic effect. Make sure to include all the acetaminophen being ingested from all the products you are taking so you don't go over the 4 gram limit. 4. Tylenol overdose can cause liver damage, and even death if the limits are exceed. 5. Tylenol is useful for pain relief and also fever reduction. The mechanism of action is unclear. 6. Acetaminophen has no anti-inflammatory properties,…

NonDrug Pain Management Ideas: Pain Management Through Weight Loss

Most of us have heard the term "obesity epidemic" over and over again in recent times.  Most of us are also aware that being overweight is unhealthy, and sets the stage  for many other health disorders if left unaddressed.  Diabetes, hypertension,sleep disorders, and heart disease are only some of the many potential issues that can occur when a person is overweight.  Being even moderately overweight can wreak havoc on the human body.

Did you ever stop to think that of being overweight can have an impact on chronic pain?
Visualize how you might feel while carrying around a 20 pound bag of potatoes.
Or as an experiment, try it out on your next trip to the market!  When you put the bag down, it simply feels just so much better!  The trouble is, when someone is overweight, they can't "put it down"...so it gets carried everywhere, all day and night, causing pain and accelerated deterioration of the spine, hips and knees. Many hip and knee replacements could be postp…

Non Drug Pain Management Ideas: Pain and Mood Disorders

If you are a chronic pain sufferer, you are well aware of the impact that being in pain has on your moods every day.  If you are a person who battles depression or anxiety, you know that when you are in pain, trying to tackle both issues makes putting on your best face a lot more challenging. The lack of sleep, the battle of dealing with discomfort that comes and goes when you least expect it, or doesn't go away...just all seems to takes its toll on your self-esteem, your sense of humor, despite all attempts to keep a positive demeanor. In a nutshell, when both of these problems occur together, they both become worse. Ughhhh...

That being said, do not fear.  There is help for you! Here are some therapies you might like to consider.  You may need to combine remedies for best results:

Counseling with a psychiatrist or psychologist.  Group therapy may also be of value.Antidepressant medications, especially SNRIs or tricyclic typesStrategies to reduce stress: exercise, meditation, dist…

Non Drug Pain Management Ideas: Inversion Therapy

The effect of gravity on the human body takes its toll over time. Although it is something you cannot taste, touch, see or hear, the consequences of this constant downward force are obvious to most of us.  If it were not for gravity, we would not be walking the earth as we do; rather we would be floating bodies above its surface.

One of the end results of this constant pull is compression of the spine and joints in the human body.  The discs of the spinal cord lose moisture and tend to compress over the course of our waking hours.  In case you haven't guessed, this phenomenon can wreak havoc with a back that's already feeling the pain from an injury or disorder.

One possible way to relieve the painful outcome of this combination is the use of inversion therapy.  By allowing our bodies to hang upside down for a time, the spine can decompress and  effect that gravity has on that aching back is reversed. This can be accomplished several different ways.  One example of inversion t…

Non Drug Pain Management Ideas: An Ergonomics Primer

What is ergonomics? *
Ergonomics is the science of work.
Ergonomics derives from two Greek words: ergon, meaning work, and nomoi, meaning natural laws. Combined they create a word that means the science of work and a person’s relationship to that work.
In application ergonomics is a discipline focused on making products and tasks comfortable and efficient for the user.
Ergonomics is sometimes defined as the science of fitting the work to the user instead of forcing the user to fit the work. However this is more a primary ergonomic principle rather than a definition.

Most workplaces are required by OSHA to meet certain standards to prevent accidents and injuries for people in their employ.  In the home, many of the same principles can be applied to help prevent problems associated with everyday chores and routines. By using these principles one can perform tasks in a way that is more comfortable, and less likely to cause pain or repetitive injury.



Here are a few items that are av…

Non Drug Pain Management Ideas: Lumbar Support

Many individuals suffer from low back pain.  It is a good idea to see your health care professional about this problem, but in the meantime...how can you be more comfortable without overusing medications?

Here is one possible remedy--and there are actually two ways to accomplish this.  One is the use of a lumbar support that can be placed behind the small of your back whenever you are in a seated position.  Using these devices will help to put your spine in its normal "S" curvature while in use...this alone can provide much needed relief to that pesky backache!

Here are a few images of some products that you might find:

The second type of lumbar support is one that is wearable.  There are a number of types available and it's probably best to get some professional advice so you best meet your personal needs.   Here are a couple of examples:               

NonDrug Pain Management Ideas: Compression Gloves

For those who suffer from arthritic problems of the hands, life can be a real struggle.  Everyday tasks become everyday challenges: everything from turning knobs to opening jars to fastening buttons...and everything else that you do with your hands...is a painful, difficult problem.  It is easy for those of us who don't have this struggle to take these things for granted.

There is a product on the marketplace that can help someone with the pain and swelling that they may be experiencing from arthritis in the hands. The purpose of this product is to provide mild compression, helping to relieve pain and swelling to all those bony joints! Thus I bring you to today's non drug pain management idea: compression gloves.  These are pretty easy to find on the Internet if you are interested in purchasing a pair. Medical supply stores may also be able to assist with this.


Chronic pain linked to Vitamin D deficiency

One of my earlier posts regarding non-drug pain management was about nutrition. In today's post we see an example of this. In an July 2012 article in US Pharmacist, the link between chronic pain issues and vitamin D deficiency were explored.  The table below was posted in that article. 
As you can see, there have been a good number of studies linking various chronic pain syndromes to this problem, and in almost every case repletion of vitamin D produced positive results.  If you have reason to believe that your vitamin D levels may be subnormal---don't hesitate to ask your doctor about checking your levels.  This is not a rare problem in the current day and age, and if it turns out that you, too are affected, a little vitamin d supplementation may be just the ticket!


Vitamin D and Chronic Pain: Promising Correlates        US Pharmacist July 18 2012

Fairy Tales of RA

Today's re-post comes from another blog called "Here's Your Gold Watch".  The author, Anet suffers from Rheumatoid Arthritis and in this post talks about the benefits of being engrossed in a good fairy tale during episodes when pain is troublesome.

 Fairy Tales of RA
I have a lot of things that bring me comfort and distraction in my life with chronic illness. The first one would be getting lost in a good book.  Now when I do get sick it hits me harder and there is nothing more helpful than a really gripping book.  Thinking back to childhood here's the shelf in the library that I gravitated toward.  I think that I have read all of these.


                                                                Fairy Tales

Fairy tales have coloured my view of what is the ideal comfort, and who can forget The Princess and the Pea.  Though she slept on a huge pile a featherbeds she could still feel that irritating pea under her mattress.  I got a feather bed a few years…

Aspirin: The first NSAID

Aspirin: The first NSAID
Post by Marietta LeDonne.




The origin of aspirin can be traced back to the era of Hippocrates, where historical records indicate the use of extracts of willow bark and spirea for relief of headache, pain and fever.
Many years later, in the mid to late 1800s, chemists in France and Germany identified and then synthesized the active component of these extracts: Salicylic acid.  Hence, modern day aspirin was born!

In the years that followed, aspirin gained popularity in use for pain and fever reduction. In the late 1950s, acetaminophen became a popular alternative for pain and fever, while aspirin gained popularity as an anti platelet agent for prevention of heart attack and stroke. In later years, other NSAID(Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug) and the COX- 2 inhibitors came onto the marketplace for treatment of pain, fever and inflammation. Aspirin is still widely used for prevention of clot formation by many patients, and chronic pain patients are no excepti…

Pain Management for Cargegivers

Holistic Healing
How To Care for a Partner with Chronic Pain Chronic Pain Caregiver Tips By

Are you the caregiver of a partner who is challenged with chronic pain? It can be trying to meet the needs of another person living in your home who is suffering and also stay on top of your own self-care. Here are a few tips to help keep you in balance.
Be Present: Stay in tune with the needs of your partner. It is likely these needs will change from day to day. There will be good days and bad days. Each day will likely bring its own challenge. Be ready to listen to words spoken, but also make note of your partner's body language. Is he moving more slowly? Is she grimacing as she attempts to get out of her chair? Are you noticing the good moods as well as the bad moods? Are you ready to return a smile during those rare respites when hurting subsides? Be Adaptable: Plans can quickly go awry when the chronic sufferer hits a low point. Become more flexible when…

Endorphins: Nature's Pain Medication

What are endorphins?(reprinted from eHow.com) by Browse the article What are endorphins? What are endorphins? It's not uncommon to hear someone talk about getting an "endorphin rush." Sex, exercise, even hot peppers -- all sorts of things are credited for these euphoric highs. So what are endorphins, and are they really responsible for our feelings of excitement or satisfaction?
In the early 1970s, researchers were studying how the brain is affected by opiates, such as heroin or morphine. They found that opiates interact with specialized receptors in cells that are primarily massed in the brain and spinal cord. When opiates enter these receptors, they hinder or block the cell's transmission of pain signals. But why, wondered the scientists studying this phenomenon, would these specialized receptors exist in the first place? The most plausible answer was that opioid receptors exist due to the presence of an opiatelike substance produced naturally…