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Showing posts from August, 2014

Non Drug Pain Management Ideas: Radiofrequency Ablation Treatment

Long term solutions to chronic pain are very important, and now that the FDA is limiting availability of opioids it it becoming increasingly important to know what options are available. One such form of treatment is nonsurgical procedure known as nerve ablation. One method of accomplishing this is the use of extreme cold (cryoblation).  Techniques that employ a chemical such as phenol or alcohol (chemical neurolysis) encompass the second of these methods. Thirdly is a technique known as radiofrequency ablation (RFA), which is the topic of my blog post today. The "pros" of RFA include the fact that it is reproducible. RFA is also extremely precise, and highly effective.  The RFA technique is also known to have a good margin of safety, so patients can have a sense of relief about that! A little background... The earliest accounts or RFA can be traced back to the 1930s. It has been noted that this technique was used as a treatment for trigeminal neuralgia.  More

The "Whole Body" approach: A growing trend in chronic pain management

If you've ever seen a television ad for Cancer Treatment Centers of America , you might recall that the patients featured usually talk about the treatment approach there--that is, being treated a a whole person. In all the months I've been posting this blog, I am hoping that you can see that the same approach is becoming a model in the world of pain management.  By treating the patient as a whole--it is possible to target chronic pain from many avenues at the same time. Hippocrates, the father of modern medicine had many wise things to say in this regard.  Here are some examples: " Natural forces within us are the true healers of disease." "If we could give every individual the right amount of nourishment and exercise, not too little and not too much, we would have found the safest way to health." "It's far more important to know what person the disease has than what disease the person has." When one is faced with

Non Drug Pain Management Ideas: The Power of Prayer

Can prayer heal people?  I suppose the answer to that depends on if you believe in the power of prayer, or not.  I tend to believe that God answers all of our prayers, but sometimes God says no.  We do not always understand because we cannot see through the eyes of God... I found an article on " Discovery Health " website that cites some interesting studies about this topic.  One study, conducted in 1988 by Randolph Byrd, a physician, looked at 393 patients who entered a cardiac care unit in a San Francisco Hospital.  Some of the patients were assigned to a group that received intercessory prayer (IP), while the other group did not receive IP.  None of the patients knew which group they were assigned to.  At the conclusion of the study, Byrd reported that 85% of the patients in the prayer group responded well to treatment, while 73% of the group that did not benefit from IP responded similarly. Many similar studies patterned after Byrd's study followed.  A study b

Living in Spite of Your Symptons

Today  I would like to share with you an article by Cynthia Perkins, M. Ed.  who is a holistic health coach/counselor that I came across recently.  The blog post she wrote entitled "Living in Spite of Your Symptoms" really reinforces the ideas that I am trying to present to you in my blog.  I addition to her education, Cynthia has battled her own share of demons: migraine, chemical injury, and atypical trigeminal neuralgia to name a few. Cynthia has also written several self help books on various subjects , including alcohol, meditation and mindfulness, and beating sugar addiction.  It is well worth your time to click the link above and explore her ideas! Sources: Wikimedia;

Non Drug Pain Management Ideas: Anti-Inflammatory Foods

Recently, I posted a piece entitled:  Is pain management possible through diet? The post features a book about  following eating foods that have natural anti-inflammatory properties.  By reducing inflammation one is able to accompanying pain that is a part of many disease states, such as rheumatoid arthritis. So today I am going to share a short list  of some of these natural pain relievers. In the coming days, I will go through the list and feature them individually.  I hope these foods are on  your  favorites list, and that by learning how to incorporate them into your diet, you, too will be able to reduce pain and suffering in your life that is due to inflammation. And so, without further ado, here is the list! Fruits and vegetables  Omega-3 foods Lean proteins Whole grains Herbs and Spices           The renowned Dr, Andrew Weil , a pioneer in the field of food and integrative medicine, has created a food pyramid based on the anti-inflammatory properties of foods. If

Non Drug Pain Management Ideas: 10 tips to help you sleep better

Natural Mama shares 10 tips to help you sleep better the natural way! At the end of the video she discusses some herbal remedies.  I don't really know too much about these products; I strongly advocate trying the 10 tips first and taking the time to research the herbals if and when you decide to give them a try. Can't see the video?  click here to watch on YouTube Source: Youtube

Non Drug Pain Management Ideas: Find the perfect sleep position!Find the Perfect Sleep Position Stomach, Back or Side? How You Slumber Can Aggravate Pain, Prevent the Body From Bouncing Back

Laughter: The best medicine!

Have a good weekend!

New Public Television Special Facilitates National Pain Management Dialogue -

Breaking news! New Public Television Special Facilitates National Pain Management Dialogue - Look for this show on your local cable:  ITV (Information Television Network) sources:Wikimedia, WallStreetJournal

Fibromyalgia: Small Fiber Neuropathy?

The jury is still out on what exactly causes fibromyalgia.  I would suppose if we knew the answer to that question, we would know a lot more about medicinal and non medicinal approaches to treatment. The research is ongoing...and more and more new and interesting information is coming out all the time. One such study out of Northridge Hospital Medical Center, Northridge,CA and North Central University in Prescott, AZ looked at skin biopsies from the thighs and calves of people with and without fibromyalgia diagnosis.  In their study, they found that people with fibromyalgia had a decrease in the density nerve fiber density in their calves and thighs.  This suggested to the authors that fibromyalgia is actually a problem of peripheral neuropathy. Current thinking about fibromyalgia is that the problem is in the central nervous system, so this certainly raises some questions.  Also of note was that there was evidence in this study that fibromyalgia is an immune mediated proces

A study on migraines...via Twitter

It appears that twitter, a very popular social media website, has found a purpose in the research world. According to the news website Newswise, researchers at the University of Michigan studied the tweets of migraine sufferers and others in an effort to understand the agony of migraine in real time. After scrutinizing 21,741 posts regarding those pesky headaches, some pretty interesting statistics emerged. Migraine headaches are a fairly major public health problem; approximately 12 percent of the population in the Western world are migraine sufferers.  Migraine headaches negatively affect a person's mood, quality of life, and productivity.  Approximately 3 out of every 4 migraine sufferers report reduced functionality; thirty percent report that they require bed rest when suffering an attack. Some additional findings: About sixty-five percent of the tweets were actually from people experiencing a migraine attack posting in real time. Migraine tweets were attrib

Four ways to relieve trigger point pain

If you've ever had one of those nagging knots in your neck or back, this post is for you.  I am a crocheter and sometimes I experience this kind of problem in my shoulder. For others, this may be a problem due to the nature of your job, hobbies, or other favorite pastime. According to the Cleveland Clinic, these "knots", or trigger points, are actually tight knots of muscle tissue that are simply unable to relax. The most common areas that are affected are in the neck, down the back, and across the shoulder area.  It is possible to have multiple trigger points in the same basic area. You can find one of these knots by exploring the affected area with your hands; it feels denser and tighter than the surrounding tissue, and if you push on it, you will most likely feel pain. There are four basic things you can do to try to relieve "trigger points" if you tend to experience them. The first idea is massage ; try to rub out the tension in those troubled m

Connecting the dots: Eye Color and Pain Tolerance

Have you ever heard the term "biomarker?"  A biomarker is defined as "a measurable indicator of some biological state or condition."  You might already be familiar with some biomarkers...for instance, the prevalence of sickle-cell anemia in persons with dark skin.  Biomarkers are being studied in the realm of pain management as well.   Pain Medicine News reports of a recent study in which researchers were looking for a correlation between eye color and pain tolerance.  In the study, 58 pregnant women were assessed for pain using standard validated pain tools, including the Brief Pain Inventory, Patient Reported Outcome Measurement Information System, anxiety/depression sleep scales, Pain Catastrophizing Scale, and Quantitative Sensory Testing.  Of the 58 subjects studied, 24 of the women had dark colored eyes (brown or hazel) , while the remaining 34 had light colored eyes, including shades of blue or green. Given the small number of subj

Cervical Spondylosis: Home Remedies

Holistic treatment of cervical spondylosis is much like treatment of other chronic pain conditions. Over the counter pain medicine such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen is always an option when there is a pain flare up.  But keep in mind... all medications have side effects, and there is always a risk of drug interactions when taking multiple medications ...therefore all medication should be used prudently.This is precisely why it's a good idea to know about alternative ways to care for chronic pain conditions! So, keeping that in mind...what other strategies can be used to treat cervical spondylosis? Heat or ice can be applied, especially if the neck muscles are feeling sore. Soft neck braces can be used. But a word of caution: using neck braces for a short time is ok; with extended use the muscles of the neck can actually become weaker. In short, less is more. Regular exercise is really a terrific option.   Arthritis Today , a publication of the Arthritis Foundation, re

Cervical Spondylosis: Osteoarthritis of the upper spine/neck

As we age, everything we do in our lives takes its toll on our bodies.  At least 90 per cent of adults age 65 or over will have evidence of degenerative disease upon x-ray exam.  Some people will not experience symptoms even though this process is taking place.  Genetics also play a role in the development of this condition; some families will be more affected by it than others.  I also feel that our daily activities may play a role--maybe those of us who spent our work lives sitting at a desk doing paperwork or using a computer will have more problems those whose job activities are different. As I just mentioned, sometimes people have this condition and experience no symptoms at all. Unfortunately for some, the story is very different--the space occupied by the spinal cord can become narrowed, causing entrapment of the spinal cord.  This situation can cause an array of problems, such as loss of bowel or bladder control, tingling or weakness of the extremities, or problems wi

Optogenetics: The future of pain management?

The science of optogenetics is an exciting and new field of study. This branch of neuroscience focuses on controlling brain cells with light. At present, researchers are focused on learning exactly which cells in the brain control which functions; and finding ways to turn those specific cells on or off using light.  At this point in time, optogenetics is an evolving science--but there is tremendous potential here in the treatment of many conditions.  Perhaps in the future the treatment of conditions like schizophrenia, depression, fibromyalgia, or chronic pain may involve this technology.  No one really knows for sure, but it sure is exciting! Here is a brief video featuring Professor Ed Boyden from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology describing this very interesting new idea: Sources: YouTube; University of Oxford

Non Drug Pain Management Ideas: Arthritis of the Hands: Compression Gloves and Paraffin Dips

In addition to exercise, there are a few more non drug treatments that come to mind for those who are dealing with arthritis of the hands. These ideas are great things to try when you are having more discomfort than usual.  They are not necessarily a panacea, but they are worth a try. The first one that comes to mind is hot/cold applications , (aka contrast hydrotherapy), which I wrote about very recently.  You can go back to that blog post by clicking the link above. The second idea that comes to mind is heat application , which is another of my earlier posts.  At the time I was not writing specifically about osteoarthritis of the hands, as it is a useful tool for many pain conditions.  Related to this idea--but perhaps more appropriate for hands or feet--is the spa-like treatment of a paraffin dip .   Last but not least, compression gloves can help to reduce pain and swelling in the bony joints of the hands.  They are available from a number of internet sites

Non Drug Pain Management: Osteoarthritis of the Hands: Hand Exercises

Many of us don't really fully appreciate how much we use our hands in the regular activities of daily life.  If you have ever had an injury to the hand or wrist, you may have more appreciation for this. But for those who suffer from chronic conditions involving the hands and fingers, these activities can be a real struggle.  Rheumatoid arthritis is one such debility; this is a fairly serious medical condition; what I am about to say here may help, but non drug measures will never be enough to combat the condition. The treatment of osteoarthritis, in contrast, focuses more on non drug measures.  The occasional acetaminophen or ibuprofen will help manage short term pain.  There are no joint replacement options for the joints of the hands at this point. Since that is the reality, what is one to do? For persons with osteoarthritis in other joints, such as knees or hips, the usual recommendation for preserving joint function is two fold:  exercise and weight management. The ex

Non Drug Pain Management Ideas: Straight from the Cow!

People with arthritis definitely suffer from chronic pain....some more than others, of course. And while medications can help control pain sometimes, there are many non drug remedies for that pesky joint pain. We've discussed many of these in prior posts...exercise, weight control, and dietary modifications, including omega-3 supplements and glucosamine.  Today's post is about a newer dietary measure that I find most interesting...milk consumption! Dr. Bing Lu of Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston recently shared the results of a study on this very topic . In this study, 2,148 men and women  with osteoarthritis of the knee were followed over a period of four years with respect to their health, diet, and behaviors.  X-rays were obtained on each subject every year during the duration of the study. Using the X-rays researchers  were able to determine the speed of arthritis progression in the subjects. At the study conclusion, researchers found that people who