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Showing posts from May, 2014

All Aboard!

Listening to the sermon this Easter morning, the words "All Aboard!" were used, in the context of being all aboard in the spirit of the Risen Lord.  It got me to thinking about being all aboard in a different context...the context of daily living.

I got to thinking that people who are depressed fall away from this idea as they become internally focused, shutting off everything on the outside while dwelling on their inner pain.




People who suffer from chronic pain can fall into this trap as well; the struggle of living with daily aches and pains. Sometimes it becomes so all-consuming that that the sufferer falls out of touch with the life outside the scope of their illness.  Family events, travel, adventures--all fall by the wayside because the pain gets in the way.  Meanwhile, life is going by...and those who are not "all aboard" miss out on much that life has to offer.

It is my hope that some of the pain management tips I offer you will make it possible for you…

Common Causes of "Fibro Flare"

Karen Lee Richards, co-founder of the National Fibromyalgia Association, wrote an article for  HealthCentral a couple of years ago entitled "10 Causes of Fibromyalgia Flares."  You can read the article in entirety by following the link.  Here is my summarized version of her article:
Fibro flare-ups are temporary increases in number/severity of symptoms in those who suffer from fibromyalgia. These can include worsening pain, fatigue, memory and concentration problems, and sleep and/or digestive disturbances. These flares can last anywhere from a couple of days to weeks.
Not unlike migraine headaches, these flares are usually triggered by something. It is important to note that a flare is a delayed reaction--it can take up to 48 hours after the trigger event to feel the symptoms.





What kinds of things are these "triggers?" Here is a list of 10 common things that can initiate a fibro flare.
1) Weather Changes     --most commonly due to changes in barometric pressure, when a ne…

Ways To Improve Pain Threshold

As a chronic pain sufferer, you might think that you are stuck in a hopeless situation; believe it or not, that is not the case!




According to WebMD, many factors play into an individual's pain threshold. The most significant factors cited are the following:

1) Genetic variation: 
Each of us has a unique genetic makeup; no two people are alike. The five senses vary from person to person. The pain threshold follows the same rules as the rest of our being determined by genetic code.

2) Gender: 
Males seem to have higher levels of beta-endorphins than do females. As you might recall from prior blog posts, endorphins are naturally occurring pain killers.  If a male and female suffer exactly the same injury, this suggests that the female would feel more pain.  Interestingly, the female pain threshold seems to increase near the time of childbirth.

3) Fluctuation of pain threshold:
It appears pain threshold and stress levels are intricately linked. Life events such as the death of a fam…

Pain Threshold and Pain Tolerance

Pain Threshold and Pain Tolerance

Some of the things presented on this blog refer to the terms pain threshold and pain tolerance. After thinking about it for some time,  I came to realize that some of my readers would have no idea what I am talking about!  If you didn't know any better you might even think that they were just two different ways to say the same thing. So, today, I am going to clear that up for you.




Pain threshold refers to the "least experience of pain that that a person can recognize." Of course, this varies from person to person.  Depression affects a person's pain threshold in the sense the pain threshold is reached earlier in a person with depression than in someone who does not have depression.  
You might visualize the pain threshold much like crossing the threshold at the entrance of a house or other structure.  As you approach the doorway, you are still outside (outside the realm of pain); once you step across the threshold you are inside (in…

What does pain teach us?

“People are afraid of themselves, of their own reality; their feelings most of all. People talk about how great love is, but that’s bullshit. Love hurts. Feelings are disturbing. People are taught that pain is evil and dangerous. How can they deal with love if they’re afraid to feel? Pain is meant to wake us up. People try to hide their pain. But they’re wrong. Pain is something to carry, like a radio. You feel your strength in the experience of pain. It’s all in how you carry it. That’s what matters. Pain is a feeling. Your feelings are a part of you. Your own reality. If you feel ashamed of them, and hide them, you’re letting society destroy your reality. You should stand up for your right to feel your pain.” ― Jim Morrison

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure!

I have been writing posts for this blog on a regular basis for about 6 months now. At this point, the same theme seems to echo from everything I write about.  Today's post is going to focus on prevention, rather than treatment, of chronic pain.



As I thought about this post, I remembered that I discussed all these healthy lifestyle changes as an approach to treating a chronic pain problem. However, I have never discussed a preventive  approach to chronic pain conditions.

 I remembered the saying, "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure."

So, what can a person who is relatively healthy and has not problems with chronic pain do
to stay ahead of the game? If the truth be told, most of us will suffer some kind of pain in our lifetime; it is not 100% preventable.  That being said, it can be minimized!  A good prevention program is much the same as all I have discussed in past posts...

Try to get a sufficient amount of sleep every day.  Alternate rest and activity thr…

Today's Pearl of Wisdom

Source: http://www.livelifehappy.com

Some thoughts about dementia and chronic pain

Nearly 5 million people in the USA are affected by dementia; if you are reading this you probably know of at least one person who has or is affected by this condition.  The signs of dementia are varied,and can include problems with memory( loss of orientation to person,place, and time) and difficulty with expression (not being able to find the right words to say things, forgetting "the right word', etc.) Eventually this disorder can can cause a person to forget how to care for themselves, and they can no longer care for themselves.

In this post, I am going to concentrate on the loss of ability to express...because that is where the difficulty comes in when a person with dementia suffers from chronic pain.  It is not uncommon for older persons to have multiple health issues; arthritis is one very common example.  When dementia is added to the list of comorbidities, things become much more complicated.  The ability to say "I have pain in my lower back" or "My le…

Surprising Facts About Back Pain

Here are some surprising facts about the impact of back pain on society.  After you have a look, I hope you will agree that taking efforts to prevent back problems are a lot better than suffering through this debilitating problem!



Low back pain is on the rise and causes more global disability than any other condition, according to two studies from Australia.

Prevalence of back pain is higher in men than in women.

Low back pain arising from ergonomic and occupational exposures is an important cause of disability particularly in the agricultural sector and in developing countries.

With expanding and aging populations in many low-income and middle-income countries, the enormous burden from low back pain in these areas will grow significantly over coming decades.

Known risk factors for occupational conditions that lead to low back pain are rapid pace of work, repetitive motion, insufficient recovery time, vibration, heavy lifting, bending, twisting, and sustained non-neutral post…

The Back Pain Cycle

Pain and anxiety are interconnected; it appears that persons who have chronic pain develop anxiety over time, because suffering from pain over time will bring on anxiety about that pain, if not about anything else.  People who already have anxiety often suffer physical symptoms as a result--increases in heart rate, panic attacks, tension headaches, muscle tension...are all common in anxiety prone individuals.




How does that relate to Back Pain--the blog topic for this week?  According to "Understanding and Conquering the Back Pain Cycle":

"Many times, there is a back pain cycle. If your back pain is severe, you are more likely to attempt to eliminate or relieve the pain by over adjusting. You may constantly be twisting, turning, walking and sitting in unnatural ways, that will eventually just lead to more back pain.
Just as anxiety increases back pain, your back pain may increase your anxiety level. Even if anxiety did not initially cause your pain, the anxiety contr…

What is Core Training? Why Is It Important?

After Monday's post I realized that my readers needed a little more detail about some of the things I was talking about...so, yesterday I posted a YouTube video about proper lifting technique.  Today I want to go into a little more detail about core training.

I have been an exercise addict for years.  I frequently hear class instructors emphasize the importance of "core strength."  They also say that core strength is important for protecting the spine.  At some point early on in my "addiction" I remember my car being rear ended; this kind of think can result in whiplash and other such anomalies.  Yet, I did not experience any problems after the incident. I guess there is some truth to this!

Let's start by trying to understand what muscles compromise "the core." Here is a picture that might give you some idea.  The trainer's finger is pointing to the zone of the body we are discussing.  The front and back of this body zone comprise "the c…

Preventing Back Injury: Proper Lifting Technique

Yesterday's post gave some idea of how to prevent back injury--but I did not feel that words alone could describe what good lifting technique is all about. So, for today's post I am sharing a short YouTube video that gives you a visual example of this important technique!


Back Pain Basics

Did you know...that as a person ages, the odds of having a problem with back pain tend to increase?  You might think this is something that goes along with aging, but if the truth be told there are measures one can take to reduce the risk of this problem.


In order to avoid spinal issues, it is important to take a look at what causes them.  The main problem is that we tend to spend a lot of time "hunched over"--leaning forward over a computer, or driving, for instance.   Slouching is not unusual, but oh so unhealthy! Many are unaware of proper lifting technique; spinal cord injuries occur as a result.




So, with that in mind, here are some tips to keep in mind during every day activities.  By putting some healthy practices in place now, it will save a lot of pain in the back later.

1) When sitting, try not to lean forward.  Even sitting at a 90 degree angle is not preferable.
The ideal is to sit at a 135 degree angle.  (see image above)This posture reduces pressure on the spine…

Non Drug Pain Management Ideas: Introducing Cefaly!

A medical device for the prevention and treatment of migraine has been approved by the FDA. It is a battery powered device, shaped like a headband...it has been available in some other countries prior to its release in the US.  Here is a video demo and the FDA new release for this product. FDA NEWS RELEASEFor Immediate Release: March 11, 2014
Media Inquiries: Jennifer Rodriguez, 301-796-8232, jennifer.rodriguez@fda.hhs.gov
Consumer Inquiries: 888-INFO-FDA
FDA allows marketing of first medical device to prevent migraine headaches  Today, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration allowed marketing of the first device as a preventative treatment for migraine headaches. This is also the first transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) device specifically authorized for use prior to the onset of pain.
“Cefaly provides an alternative to medication for migraine prevention,” said Christy Foreman, director of the Office of Device Evaluation at the FDA’s Center for Devices and Radiologi…

Multimodal Approach to Fibromyalgia Treatment Now Widely Recognized

Multimodal Approach to Fibromyalgia Treatment Now Widely Recognized




The American College of Rheumatology established guidelines for diagnosis and treatment of fibromyalgia in 2010. Last year the Canadians, Israelis published guidelines as well. Their ideas are very much in step with those in America.  In addition, the German medical community came up with guidelines that are also very similar.  

Ideas of note from of these medical guidelines are the following:

Extensive physical examination, complete with number and location of tender points on the body is required for diagnosis. Multimodal approach to treatment is an important approach. Medications play a role in treatment, but physical activity and self management techniques, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy.Israeli presenters point out that many drugs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, systemic steroids, benzodiazepines and thyroid hormone) are not recommended for treatment of fibromyalgia. All three guidelines suggest that …

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

What is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?


Carpal tunnel syndrome is an overuse injury.  Common causes of the disorder involve repetitive fine motor movements: knitting, crochet, stitchery, computer usage, and video games, for example.  The symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome occur because the median nerve, which runs through the small bones of the wrist, becomes compressed by swollen tendons and the ligament that occupy the same passage between the hand and the arm.  Over time, the overuse causes  inflammation and eventually leads to nerve damage.


What are the symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome?  


Early symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome include burning, itching, numbness and/or tingling in the palm, the  thumb and first fingers of the hand. It is not uncommon to experience the sensation of hand(s) "falling asleep" during the night. Eventually the symptoms progress and this sensation may occur at other times of day; the patient's grip strength may weaken. It is possible for …

Scientists Discover "Dimmer Switch" of Pain Threshold

Scientists have recently discovered that different people have different pain thresholds.
In their studies, they found that even identical twins do not have the same tolerance for pain. This is very exciting news, since this discovery opens the future possibility of "turning the dimmer switch up or down" to modulate an individual's tolerance to painful stimuli. It may even suggest a whole new avenue of approach in pain management, through the development of new types of medications or new recommendations for lifestyle changes!




Scientists Discover Pain Threshold “Dimmer Switch” – The Key to Controlling SensitivityFebruary 9, 2014 By

Researchers pinpoint the body’s pain “thermostat” which could lead to the development of revolutionary pain relief techniques
Scientists have discovered what’s said to be a genetic “dimmer switch” that’s responsible for controlling pain sensitivity.
According to researchers from the King’s College, London, even twins that that …

Fibromyalgia Truths and Myths

Even though fibromyalgia seems to be mystifying disorder, it really does exist. Just ask any one of the approximately five million diagnosed persons in the US alone.  Here is a quick list of some truths and myths about the disorder.



Source: OneHealthyLifestyle