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Showing posts from February, 2015

NSAIDs linked to Irregular Heartbeat

One of the most common cardiac problems in aging adults is an irregular heartbeat, or atrial fibrillation.  Left untreated, this condition can lead to the formation of blood clots...blood clots can travel to the heart, lung, or brain leading to heart attack, pulmonary embolism, or stroke.  Once diagnosed, the usual treatment of atrial fibrillation includes an anticoagulant, such as warfarin to prevent the problems that result should a blood clot develop.  Anyone that knows someone with atrial fibrillation probably knows that it requires regular diagnostic monitoring and physician follow up.

This is one of those cases where an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.  A recent study out of the Netherlands tells us one way in which this can be accomplished.  The study followed over 8,000 people since the was determined that the non steroidal drugs, such as ibuprofen and naproxen, may play a huge role in the development of irregular heart beat.  These drugs are widely u…

The Fibromyalgia FLOAT Project

Today, I'd like to share something with relatively new in the treatment of fibromyalgia. To be specific, I am referring to the Fibromyalgia FLOAT Project.  The idea was first reported in Sweden back in 2012, and the early studies provided compelling evidence that this technique decreased pain, muscle tension, anxiety and stress.  Freedom of movement, energy, mood and quality of sleep were also greatly improved. It also became apparent that long term relief was possible if participants floated regularly.

What is FLOAT?

Officially known as Flotation REST (Reduced Environmental Stimulation Therapy), treatment is accomplished using a pool about the size of a large bed. The pool is filled with water that is saturated with Epsom Salts. Known as "Heavy Water", this makes it very easy for any participant to rest on their back atop the water with no effort.  The treatment pool is also temperature and light controlled. Each pool is in a private soundproof room, allowing the particip…

Surprising Causes of Chronic Pain...and how to solve them

Years ago, when I was working retail pharmacy, I seemed to have an aching back during cold weather seasons.  As it turned out, the temperature in the store was set pretty low in the winter months.  Most shoppers were wearing coats so it really was not necessary to worry about keeping them warm it seems.  In any event, after being exposed to the cold air for hours on end, my bodily response was to tighten up...and my back bore the brunt of it!

I thought of that the other day when I came across an article on WebMD about some surprising causes of pain and how to remedy them.  So today, I am sharing this article with my readers.  You might just find a solution to a problem of your own!

Click here to see: Surprising Reasons You're In Pain

Sources: WebMD;

New study sheds light on the role of dietary fat in osteoarthritis

You are what you eat.  At least that's what one old saying says.

There is some truth in this.  We all know that if we don't include certain things in our diet, we end up with deficiencies of vitamins, minerals, etc. that lead to serious illness.  We also can associate that a carbohydrate rich diet can increase the risk of diabetes.  And on it goes.

A new study at Duke University reveals a connection between the types of fats in the diet and osteoarthritis symptoms.  Maybe you wouldn't think there's a connection here, but early evidence suggests that this is the case.  The study centered around mice (with osteoarthritis caused by injury) who were fed one of three types of diets:

Diet A: rich in saturated fats (found in butter, dairy products, meats)

Diet B: rich in Omega 6 fats (found in corn oil, soybean oil, nuts, and seeds)

Diet C: rich in Omega 3 fats (found in fish oil, fish oil supplements)

To make a long story short, the mice who ate the diet that contained high…

Virtual Reality Enters the World of Pain Management

By now, you may well be familiar with virtual reality games due to the popularity of some science fiction movies, video game systems such as X Box and PlayStation,  3 D TV, IMAX® movies, and Google glass.  This technology allows users to feel like they are in another place and time even though they haven't gone anywhere.

I came across this story in a British newspaper and thought it would be interesting to share on this post.  We've explored the idea of distraction technique in past posts. If you would like to read this article, it will tell you about a burn unit in the Netherlands who is using this technology to help patients to be less cognizant of their pain.  The pain experience for burn patients is probably some of the most excruciating pain I can think of; if it works for them, it would probably work for most anyone!

Here is a link to the story:

The future of pain relief? Dutch burns unit trialling new virtual reality computer system that distracts patients from the ago…

Travel tips for back pain sufferers

Last year while I was traveling, a woman with an obvious back problem sat next to me on a plane. I watched with interest as she maneuvered her spine onto the seat and positioned her legs to rest on the back of the seat in front of her.  There were several times during the trip (travel time a little over an hour) where I saw her step into the aisle to do stretching exercises.  She could not seem to get comfortable no matter what she did.

Such is the life of a person with a "bad back."  Sadly, there are many individuals out there who have the same woes as my fellow passenger.  I don't know who where she is, but she is the inspiration for today's post!  It must not be easy to travel or do much of anything for those whose lives are impacted in this way.

I came across an article in Travel & Leisure that I thought might be of help.  Often times, I paraphrase the content of these kinds of articles, but this time I think I'll let you read it for yourself!
Click here

Living with Chronic pain hits the big screen!

Been to the movies lately?  Jennifer Aniston is on the big screen in a recent release titled "Cake."
Her character, Claire is a victim of chronic pain...she belongs to a support group, where all of the members are coming to terms with the suicide of one of their members.  Of course, she also takes pain medication and addiction is another of her problems...and of course there's more!

I guess I am writing this post just to bring readers' attention to the fact that Hollywood has become aware of the crisis that is chronic pain.  This movie is a testament to that. People that don't have to live with this kind of pain don't fully understand the whole story.  Maybe this movie will shed some light on the issues.

Here is the official trailer for the movie:

Sources: prweb;;YouTube

Compassion: A Drug Free Pain Management Remedy

What is compassion?  According to,  compassion is defined as :

" a feeling of deep sympathy and sorrow for another who is stricken by misfortune, accompanied by a strong desire to alleviate the suffering."

When people have compassion for you, they are expressing their care and concern for you and your situation.  If you are a person who suffers from chronic pain and you sense this coming from others, it is certainly appreciated.  But that's not all...

Even though you suffer from chronic pain...and maybe have some disabilities related to your can give the gift of compassion as well!  There are benefits to this that you may never even thought of!

1) Being compassionate toward others does not require any physical exertion whatsoever.  You can give oodles of care and concern to other people without ever lifting a finger!  You may even notice that the more compassion you have for others, the more you will receive in return.

2)If you make an effort to fo…

Some thoughts on the dangers of addiction

In recent days, it has come to mind that there are some folks out there who think that addiction to dangerous drugs (such as opioids) only pertains to people who use drugs recreationally. They believe that using medication for legitimate medical purposes does not lead to addiction.  Sadly, this is not the case. 

In reality, the human body does not know the difference between a legitimate use or illegitimate use, and in the end, the consequences are the same if a certain line is crossed.Many people have been prescribed pain medications for legitimate pain issues only to end up addicted in the end.  Here are some examples of well-known who fell into this trap:

Rush Limbaugh   This talk radio icon began using pain medications for a back problem. Dependency on the medications gravitated to doctor-shopping and legal charges against Limbaugh.  Eventually, he checked himself into a rehab program.

Carrie Fisher     This celebrity, known for her role in the "Star Wars" saga,  reveals …

Stem Cell Transplantation: A Future Treatment for Degenerative Disc Disease?

At the 2014 American Academy of Pain Management meeting, the Mayo Clinic shared some very positive findings during a poster session.  This is interesting..maybe someday it will lead to a new way to treat degenerative disc disease, a common and painful condition that is all too common.  
The poster explained a study that was conducted using stem cell transplants to treat degenerative disc disease in animals.  Over the study period, the discs in the spines of the animals treated with stem cells actually showed signs of regeneration!

Current treatment of degenerative disc disease via medication: acetaminophen and NSAID drugs are commonly employed for this purpose.  We all know long term or excessive use of these medications is unwise; it is good to know that new ways of addressing this problem may be on the horizon. What's more exciting is that a stem cell infusion is a lot easier to endure than some other forms of treatment, such as surgery.  
Let's hope that this research leads…

Managing Arthtritis: Milk it!

Here's a natural remedy for those of you who suffer from osteoarthritis...

 A fairly large scale study out of Brigham and Women's hospital concludes that drinking milk may actually slow the progression of arthritis. According to the study, 2,148 persons with osteoarthritis were studied; the researchers looked at health, diet and behavioral details of those in the study group. Additionally, each person in the study group had x-ray studies done every year over a four-year period.

The researchers found that subjects who drank milk had the slowest disease progression. Interestingly, this phenomenon occurred in men who drank seven or more glasses of milk per week, while in women it seemed to happen to those who drank milk in general.  Those who consumed other dairy products in place of milk--cheese, ice cream, yogurt--did not reap the same benefits as the milk drinkers.

As a word of caution-the researchers noted that their findings were strictly observational. They were not able t…

Pain Management for Cancer Survivors

Dr. Gary Jay, a pain management specialist based in Raleigh, NC area is discussing post-cancer pain management in the video you can find at this link.

What he is saying is certainly food for thought; people who have been successfully treated for cancer can have lingering pain even though they are cancer free.  This may be due to damage caused by the cancer itself, or complications resulting from its treatment: post surgical pain, radiation damage, or chemotherapy-induced problems, such as neuropathy.

Once cancer free, the patient is released from treatment by their oncology treatment team. But what about the after-effects of these dreadful diseases?  The best treatments are multi-modal in nature. They may include prescription drugs, but by incorporating healthy lifestyle habits into everyday life can do much to maximize pain relief.

It's a good idea to slowly incorporate these changes into one's lifestyle; start with one thing, such as weight loss, healthier eating habits, …