Skip to main content


Showing posts from December, 2014

Best post of 2014!

This blog post was #1 in my most read posts this year...reposting in case you missed it!

Fibromyalgia is difficult to diagnose; many times it's a process of elimination. Weeks, months, and years of suffering go by before those who are afflicted ever know what's happening to them.

If you think you have fibromyalgia and have been struggling to confirm the diagnosis, this self-assessment toolmight help you and your physician to come to a conclusion.

This might also be worth sharing with friends or family members who might find it useful.

New Twist in Pain Management Drugs: Link Discovered Between Tramadol and Hypoglycemia

As if the all the known risks of pain medications aren't already enough, a new problem has surfaced recently.

Tramadol, a prescription painkiller that has grown in popularity in the last decade or so, has been linked to an increased risk of hypoglycemia, and in some cases, the ending was fatal.  According to the study regarding this issue, persons taking tramadol face a threefold risk for hospitalization due to hypoglycemia.

The authors cannot clearly pinpoint a cause and effect relationship has not been established.  Some of the persons who experienced this problem were diabetic while others were not; clearly diabetics should be extra vigilant since hypoglycemia is a constant concern for those affected. You can read some information about this recent finding here.

For me, this is just one more reason why pain management should be multi modal, and that relying on prescription drugs alone is not a good idea.  I hope you agree!

Source: WebMD; Wikimedia

Learning to say "no"...

When you suffer from a chronic condition--regardless of what condition that might be, you have to learn how to live within your limitations. At first, this is not so easy. Part of this is denial on your own part; it's hard to admit that things are not quite the way they used to be.  This would be admitting weakness, perhaps?

Still other times, other people are the culprit.  When you are home on disability, they may think you are just twiddling your thumbs and need to be doing things to keep yourself busy.  They might be asking you for a favor--running an errand, making phone calls, etc...never stopping to think about the possibility that this is too much for someone who is chronically ill.

That is where you have to take ownership of the have to learn to say no more often. You have to learn to say no to yourself when you have the urge to push through something that's really too much under the circumstances. You have to say no to others sometimes as well-- becau…

Quality of Sleep: A Key Ingredient in Pain Control

Chronic pain, sleep quality, and physical activity are interconnected. Understanding the interconnectivity  of these three things can help those who suffer from chronic pain.  
According to study authors at the University of Warwick, 
"Engaging in physical activity is a key treatment process in pain management. Very often, clinicians would prescribe exercise classes, physiotherapy, walking and cycling programmes as part of the treatment, but who would like to engage in these activities when they feel like a zombie?"argues study lead-author Dr Nicole Tang.
Dr Tang and study co-author Dr Adam Sanborn examined the day-to-day association between night-time sleep and daytime physical activity in chronic pain patients. "Many of the patients struggled to stay physically active after the onset of pain and we found that chronic pain patients spontaneously engaged in more physical activity following a better night of sleep".
"The research points to sleep as not only an an…

But you don't LOOK sick!

As the Christmas holiday draws closer, take some time to think about this..
Many people suffer from chronic pain.  You can't see it by looking at them. There is not always a way to tell how much they are really suffering.  What can you do for those people?  A little compassion goes a long's probably the best gift you can offer them!

How Memory Impairment Impacts the Chronic Pain Experience

Persons who have memory or executive function impairment have increased risk of developing chronic pain after surgery, according to a study published in Brain this past January. According to the authors, 185 persons aged 18 to 85 who were undergoing knee replacement or breast cancer surgery were studied.  The subjects were also assessed for the memory/executive function impairments prior to surgery and for a year following.

 Here is a breakdown of the study results:

Type of surgery  % reporting significant pain prior to surgery  6 months post-op 12 months post-op
Knee replacement                      84                                           39                                38
Breast surgery                            0                                             20                                18       
The presence of memory impairment and/or executive function disorders predicted which individuals experienced post operative pain.  These persons had findings on brain MRI that i…

6 inflammation-causing foods no one talks about | Well+Good

One of the many things that can cause or worsen chronic pain is inflammation.  In the past I have shared some information about this. There is much information in my past posts about anti-inflammatory diets that help to keep a lid on the inflammatory process in the body.

Conversely, there are a number of foods that promote inflammation, and can be responsible for causing an increase in pain levels amongst other things: Alzheimer's disease, heart disease and acne to name a few.  By controlling intake of these foods and eating more of the foods that help tame inflammation, you can do much to improve your health and well being.  Below is a link to some interesting information about this topic.  As you may have guessed, excessive sugar intake is a big culprit, but you might be surprised by some of the other items on the list.

6 inflammation-causing foods no one talks about | Well+Good

Sources:, wikimedia

Your Pain Community...An online meeting place for Chronic Pain Sufferers

Do you ever wish there was someone who understood what it's like to live with chronic pain?  If so, today's post might be just what you are looking for.  Have a look at

This community is the brain child of Dr. Lynn Webster, a pain management physician. He resides in Salt Lake City, UT. and has a wealth of experience in this field. Have a look around the site; perhaps it is the pot of gold you've been looking for!

The Role of Animal-Human Bonding in Pain Management

A Loyola University study reveals that animal assisted therapy reduced the need for oral pain medication following total joint replacement therapy. The study retrospectively compared a group of subjects who were given AAT as part of treatment vs. a group that did not benefit from such therapy.
In conclusion, those who were given animal therapy had a reduced need for medication-- 28 percent less, to be exact! The two groups were similar in composition with respect to age, ethnicity, etc..the only difference was that the AAT group had daily visits with specially trained dogs, for a duration of somewhere between 5 and 15 minutes per visit. The study was published in the August/September issue of Anthrozoos, the official journal of Anthrozoology.

Once again, we see that health, healing, and relief from chronic pain can be enhanced by forces aside from traditional medical treatment.  The bond between humans and animals is powerful, and can be of great benefit to all who are willing to emb…

From the Cleveland Clinic: How to Manage Pain Without Medications

I always like sharing information from the Cleveland Clinic with my readers--they are highly regarded in the world of medicine, and have much to offer persons will all sorts of illnesses and disabilities.  Today I would like to share what they have to say about managing pain without medications.  You can read the article in its entirety here.

For those of you who simply prefer an overview of this piece, here is an overview:

Many people suffer from pain due to illness or injury.  All too often the first treatment of choice is medication.  Unfortunately, medications can have troubling side effects, and some of them are potentially addicting.  Therefore, it is wise to look at some alternative forms of treatment and incorporate them into a treatment plan.One of these alternatives is Osteopathic Manipulation Therapy, which involves re-alignment bones/joints in an effort to ease pain. This is the hallmark of Osteopathic medicine. Chiropractic medicine and acupuncture are similar to OMT.Exer…

New Oral Pain Medication Under Study...May Be Safer, More Effective Than Morphine

A tiny protein found in cone snail venom may be the source of a new medication that is safer and more effective than morphine for those who suffer chronic nerve pain. This substance is one of five compounds that were found by the David Craik, Ph.D. and his colleagues a the University of Queensland. Craik reported his findings at the American Chemical Society Meeting this year.
As reported in NewsWise, Craik, who is at the University of Queensland, explained that acute pain occurs when the nervous system is stimulated by a wound or injury and naturally subsides over time. In contrast, chronic neuropathic pain kicks in when the nervous system itself is damaged. This type of pain — which is often triggered by diabetes, multiple sclerosis and other diseases — can last for months, years or even decades. Current treatments for chronic neuropathic pain have serious side effects and provide relief to only about one in every three patients, he said.
This finding of a novel source of a new group …

A new approach to osteoarthritis of the knee

A novel approach to osteoarthritis of the knee was revealed this past summer. The study was conducted jointly by a group of Swiss and Japanese researchers. The group investigated a small group of subjects who had osteoarthritis of the knee that was unresponsive to medication.  

This small group of subjects underwent an interventional radiology procedure that involved embolization of some arteries in the knee.  According to the researchers, “This treatment is based on the notion that increased number of blood vessels and accompanying nerves are a possible source of chronic pain and that occlusion of these abnormal vessels might reduce such pain.”

The researchers found all 14 subjects to have successful treatment just after the procedure. Twelve months later, all 14 were still deemed a success!

“From our experiences, there were two distinct time points when pain and symptoms improved”, notes the team.
One was soon after embolisation, which the researchers attributed to decreased abnormal bl…

New information about chronic back pain in smokers!

In recent weeks, a new study has come sheds some interesting light on the effect of smoking on chronic back pain.  The study involved comparing brain  MRIs of chronic back pain sufferers by categorizing them into smoking and non-smoking groups.

It appears that smokers have worse problems with back pain than their non-smoking counterparts. The explanation given by this study suggests that a communication pathway between two areas is affected by smoking; therefore the pain signal is affected.

This is an interesting development.  It might just help the development of better pain medications or treatments for all back sufferers..and it might get some people to believe that they really would be better off if they could kick the habit!

You can read more about the study here:

"Smoking is a pain in the back"

Sources: Northwestern University, wikimedia