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Showing posts from June, 2015

C2 Nerve-Field Stimulation May Benefit Fibromyalgia Patients

Results of a study published in spring 2015 indicate that longstanding treatment for headache may also benefit people with fibromyalgia.  The treatment is known as occipital nerve stimulation, or C2 nerve field stimulation.  This treatment involves surgical implantation of a small device at the base of the skull. Once implanted, the device can be connected to a power source that sends electrical impulses to the nerve. That being said, this is more invasive than some other forms of treatment and that means there is more risk involved when it is implemented.

The study group was relatively small, so everything I am telling you here is preliminary. suppose Further studies would give a better idea of how beneficial this would be for people with fibromyalgia. Early results show an overall 50% improvement in quality of life for subjects in the study.

 If you would like to read more detail about the study, you can reach it by clicking here.

Sources: Chronicfatigue.about.com; Wikimedia

Impaired Cognition appears to alter pain perception

Dr. Ruth Defrin and colleagues at the University of Tel Aviv in Israel have once again shared some interesting findings in the journal Pain.  This time they have done a review of research about how people with various forms of cognitive impairment (due to conditions such as autism, stroke damage, Alzheimer's disease, and others) perceive pain.





The authors feel that this review is important considering that so many people are affected by these forms of impairment. When coupled with aging and the development of other health conditions, these individuals cannot always verbalize how they are feeling.  So it's important to know how their pain sensitivity rates--more sensitive, less sensitive, or the same as other individuals. This scenario makes affected individuals more difficult to treat than the general population
As to the findings-- Dr. Defrin and her team say that the evidence suggests the following:
1) Normal , healthy aging may be associated with increased susceptibility to pa…

New computer software helps get a read on children in pain

Pain management in children can be extremely challenging. For one thing, due to the fact that their physical and mental development is still an ongoing process, they cannot always verbalize what they are really feeling.  Medication dosages change as children develop from infancy to adulthood.


One of the toughest things is getting a read on the severity of pain.  The methods used to date such as FACES scale are less than ideal.  Sad but true, many things experienced in childhood can cause acute or chronic pain.  Consider childhood cancers or juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, for example.  Ouch!

As published in the June 1 edition of Pediatrics, a new way to assess pain in children was validated at Rady Children's Hospital in San Diego.  This novel approach uses facial recognition software to study the changes in a child's facial expression over time to assess the severity of pain.


This is exciting if you ask me--hopefully it will go a long way to help ease the discomfort in child…

Chronic Pain: Myths and Facts from WebMD

One of the many resources I like to use for this blog is WebMD.  Today, I am sharing a slide show that they put together that sort of separates fact from fiction with regard to some things you may have heard about regarding chronic pain.



For example, did you know that changes in the weather actually does affect pain sensation..and even though a root cause of pain cannot be found, a person can still be in serious pain? How do diet, exercise and attitude affect pain?  Does one gender handle pain better than the other gender?

If you really want to know then answers to these and other questions...click here for a very interesting presentation!






Sources: Flickr, Wikimedia; WebMD

Natural Pain Killer

Are you into the juicing craze?  If so, this post is for you.  Click on this link to arrive at "Juicing for Health" section.  You will see a recipe for juice specific to pain relief, along with a brief essay that explains how the ingredients can help with pain relief.  Maybe it won't help...but unless severely allergic to an ingredient, it's safe enough to give it a try.







Increased Stress--->>>Increased Pain

The results of a recent study certainly don't surprise me... I don't think they would surprise anyone.  Professors from Tel Aviv University and Canada's McGill University recently published their findings in the journal PAIN. This study focused on the effect of stress on pain.




The research team studied 29 healthy men. The subjects underwent a number of commonly accepted pain tests...then they were given a test known as MIST (Montreal Imaging Stress Task). The MIST test is a psychological trick, a mathematical test whose very purpose is to induce stress.  Following MIST, the commonly accepted pain tests were repeated.

The results indicated that the induced stress did not seem to affect pain thresholds or pain tolerance. The addition of stress to the scenario, did, however affect the intensity of pain and caused a decrease in pain inhibition capability.  Some variation was observed amongst the subjects-- i.e., the effect was more intense in those who more strongly react to …

A Different and Better Approach to Pain Management: Some thoughts from Deepak Chopra, MD

You may have heard of Deepak Chopra, MD.  He is an American physician who was born and trained in India.  His beliefs about medical practice are somewhat different than traditional Western Medicine because he combines spiritual and medical worlds in his approach, rooted in the idea that there is a mind-body connection.

He has written over 80 books, 22 of which have been NY Times best sellers.



Recently, Dr. Chopra wrote a piece for SF Gate regarding the application of his philosophies towards chronic pain.  He states that in this day and age, the complaint of pain is the most common reason people seek medical help.  Traditionally, that medical help consists of orders for diagnostic testing to help pinpoint the cause of the pain, and medication for pain relief.  
In the modern era, we have come to a moral/ethical dilemma about when/when not to use opiates in the management of pain.  Dr. Chopra's mind-body approach is very appropriate here.  The pain signal is initiated by a physica…

Biometric Technology Enters Chronic Pain Treatment Arena

A new spin on old technology was recently introduced to the pain management world.  The old technology is something that some chronic pain sufferers are familiar with--i.e. the TENS unit. The new spin introduces a new twist to using a TENS unit, by way of biometrics.




This new product, known commercially as Cur (pronounced "cure"), delivers a wireless signal to the accompanying TENS unit by way of biometrics. The biometric component has sensors that detect muscle vibrations that signal the TENS unit when it needs to work.  The Cur device is very small...it fits on a band that can be worn on the upper arm.

One important thing you should know..as of this writing,the Cur device is still awaiting FDA approval. No devices will be shipped to consumers until the approval process is complete, according to the manufacturer's web site.  Since this is the case, we will have to wait and see if it's a great product--or a flop.

You can find out more about the product and the FDA …

Integrative Medical Approach to Chronic Pain

What is Integrative Medicine, you might ask?




This model of medical practice has been around for about twenty or thirty years .  The idea of this medical practice model is to treat a person (patient) as a whole person (mind, body, and spirit) rather than focusing on distinct medical diagnoses.  This brings to mind TV ads for Cancer Treatment Centers of America.  You may have seen these--usually a patient in the ad speaks about their cancer treatment and how these facilities took a team approach to the illness.  The "team" can involve people from many types of disciplines. For example, these disciplines can include medicine, nutrition, spiritual, physical therapy, and mind-body practices such as yoga.

Integrative medicine is becoming increasingly popular and many treatment centers have opened since this concept emerged. And this is good news for my readers-because at this point in time, there is a growing role for this treatment approach in the area of chronic pain.

Chronic …

Musculoskeletal pain in women

I came across this video while searching for material for my blog.  It's not as informative as most things I like to share, but it certainly offers some optimism for women who are dealing with this issue. Colleen Fitzgerald, MD is the speaker and she gives an overview of some of the musculoskeletal issues that women face at different points in their lives (youth, midlife, and older years)  and gives us a glimpse at some strategies for dealing with the pain in a drug free way.  If you have this kind of problem or you know someone who might benefit from what she has to say, feel free to share!





Source: PainWeek

What is an auto-immune disease--and why is it painful?

In all the time this blog has been in existence, we have discussed a number of auto-immune diseases that can cause chronic pain.  Some examples are rheumatoid arthritis, systemic lupus(SLE), and celiac disease.  But I have never explained the cause of these types of diseases. Once you understand the root cause, you will understand why the people who have these problems are often the victims of chronic pain.




When a person suffers from an auto-immune disease, it is because somewhere along the way their immune system began to see normal body tissue as a foreign body.  Normally, when a foreign body is detected in the human body, a whole chain of biochemical reactions takes place in an effort to destroy that foreign body. In the case of auto-immune disease normal human tissue is perceived as a foreign body, the immune system produces antibodies that seek to find and destroy the invader.

If you find that confusing, think of it like this:  A pedestrian is walking down a busy street. A hit m…

Train the brain, feel less pain

The idea for today's post comes from a story out of Australia--a story about a man who suffered terrible back pain.  Although the initial back problem was healed from a physical point of view, the idea of walking even small distances was disabling to him.  The young man took pain medications and wore a back brace, but that did not seem to be enough.  To put it simply, his body was healed...but his mind was not.



When the man's physician recommended cognitive behavioral therapy it seemed a bit absurd at first.
But after, consulting thirty different doctors, he found a pain clinic that worked with him, in essence "training his brain to feel less pain." Using a stopwatch, they worked to increase the amount of time he could sit upright, for example, by increasing the time in small increments day after day. There was also a psychologist involved who worked with the patient on relaxation and meditation techniques.

Cognitive behavioral therapy is a psychological technique w…