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Showing posts with the label #Pain

Common Comorbid Conditions in Patients With Fibromyalgia

Fibromyalgia is such a mysterious condition--poorly understood, extremely challenging for those diagnosed.  The search for new and better ways to diagnose, treat, and improve quality of life for those afflicted is a work in progress.

Today's post brings you some findings by a private practice physician who has discovered two measurable conditions that exist in fibromyalgia patients. He studied 60 fibromyalgia patients and 12 control patients and found two abnormal lab findings that existed exclusively in the fibromyalgia group.   One finding was a low level of magnesium within the red blood cell. The other finding was a significantly lower level of insulin like growth factor (IGF-1), which is used to determine whether or not a person is producing sufficient amounts of human growth hormone. These conditions are treatable: RBC Magnesium can be treated with a supplement, and IGF-1 issues can be resolved with the help of an endocrinologist.

This is important for two reasons:

1) Sinc…

Complementary Pain Management For Rheumatoid Arthritis

In the US, more than 46 million people suffer from Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA). Even though the incidence of RA has been on the decline over the last several decades, it's painful and debilitating to those who suffer from it.

The modern mainstay of arthritis treatment is the use of a class of drugs known as DMARDs (disease-modifying anti rheumatic drugs).  This class of drugs has done much for affected patients in terms of improving quality of life and slowing progression of disease. That being said, complementary treatments are still an important part of therapy for those affected by this condition.

What are these "complementary treatments" you ask?  Here are some examples:

Anti-Inflammatory diets, such as the Mediterranean diet, are helpful in controlling inflammation. Some of the important elements of these diets include fish, vegetables, and olive oil.

Heat and cold therapies are effective for acute pain. For joint stiffness, heat seems to have best effect, while cold…

Recent National Poll Finds Connection Between Sleep and Chronic Pain

Chronic and acute pain affect a person's ability to get sufficient good quality sleep. Conversely, the lack of sufficient good quality sleep contributes to the problems faced by those who are in pain--worsening pain, anxiety, depression, and the like.  You have to ask what came first--the chicken or the egg?  It seems like an endless cycle that's difficult to break.
A recent poll by the National Sleep Foundation entitled "Sleep In America" sheds some light on this puzzling phenomenon and offers some evidence that there is a solution to the problem. According to a press release about the study, 
The 2015 Sleep in America ™Poll finds that pain joins two related concerns--stress and poor health--as key correlates of shorter sleep durations and worse sleep quality. But there are paths to resolving the problem: The sleep gap narrows sharply among those who make sleep a priority. 
"Taking control of your sleep by being motivated, setting a routine bedtime and creating …

Pain Management: Does Race Play a Role?

Have you ever wondered if certain factors caused provider bias in the realm of medical care..especially with respect to pain management? Today's post explores a study of racial factors in pain management.
A study conducted jointly by Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis has found that patient race, provider bias, and clinical ambiguity interact to influence a provider's assessment and treatment decisions.  The researchers suggest that understanding these factors and their influence might be important in terms of improving patient care.  Their results were presented at the 2014 meeting of the American Pain Society in Tampa, Florida.

Dr. Adam Hirsh, a psychologist, and his colleagues studied 110 medical residents and their interactions with twelve computer simulated patients, all of whom presented with acute pain. The highlight of their finding is interesting:  In the end, race mattered but not in a way you might expect. In situations where the diagnosis was uncertain…

Non Drug Pain Management Ideas: Applying the 80/20 Principle

The idea for today's post comes from my husband, who has in recent years become a
follower of the paleo/primal diet.  Most of the time he is very strict about this diet, making sure not to eat anything taboo.  On occasion, he breaks from the rigidity of his new found way
of life and enjoys a few cookies, maybe a bottle of beer, or a new pasta dish.

Why, you ask?  He says that according to others who follow this course, there is an
80/20 rule.  This means that that if you adhere to the rules 80% of the time, you can allow yourself some leeway the other 20% of the time.  It is important to bring this concept to the readers of this blog for a number of reasons:

1)If you have been following this blog at all,
you know there are a lot of lifestyle changes that can tremendously enhance relief from chronic pain.  For a lot of people this not an easy thing to do.  By opting to follow the 80/20 rule these lifestyle modifications suddenly become much easier to follow!

2)If you find …

Don't Let Chronic Pain Take Charge of YOUR Life!

For this post, I am sharing an article I saw back in July..."Taking Your Life Back From Chronic Pain."  The author raises some very good many health conditions, such as migraine, can overwhelm our lives when they are in full force.  She goes on to say that.... in spite of increased scrutiny over some aspects of health care, including prescription medications...there are still many ways to get a handle on the problem before it gets a handle on you!

Many of the things she brings up are things that have been mentioned in this blog before--smoking cessation, weight loss, dietary measures, etc.  Now that the New Year has begun, maybe it's time to think about these things once again.  Even if medication is required to manage one's medical condition, adding healthy lifestyle changes to the regimen will further improve the treatment plan.

Happy 2015!  Go for it!

Sources: Yahoo! News; Flickr
Originally posted January 23, 2015

Polyneuropathy: Diabetes Is Not The Only Cause!

You may be well aware that one of the complications of type II diabetes is neuropathy.  When caused by diabetes, the nerve damage is attributed to elevated blood glucose levels over extended periods of time.  But diabetes is NOT the only cause of neuropathy.  Some forms of neuropathy develop following illnesses, such as shingles, or physical damage to our bodies following injury, accident, or general wear and tear. The term polyneuropathy is used to describe multiple affected nerves as opposed to only one affected nerve (also known as mononeuropathy).

A new study of polyneuropathy from a team at the University of Michigan unveiled another way that this condition can develop.  According to study authors, pre-diabetes and obesity are also factors that contribute to development of this most uncomfortable condition.

For those who are weight conscious, this is a winning situation. By being careful to maintain a healthy weight you are able to fend off pre-diabetes and ultimately diabetes,…

New Type of Migraine Identified?

According to the Cleveland Clinic, seventy percent of migraine sufferers are women. About sixty to seventy percent of these women report a correlation between migraine attacks and the menstrual cycle.  Most commonly this is attributed to the fact that a woman's hormones levels fluctuate throughout their cycles. This change in hormone levels over time is said to be what precipitates migraines.

A new study points to the idea that this is not the only mechanism by which a menstrual migraine can come about.  According to researchers at the Carolina Headache Institute, cyclic "end menstrual migraine" (EMM) can be the result of anemia. This anemia is the result of dropping ferritin levels due to blood loss of menstruation  The authors go on to say that more study is necessary to firm up this theory.  The good news is that the affected women in the Carolina study responded favourably to iron supplementation.  
Here again, more study is necessary to substantiate the findings...…

Medications: When more is NOT Merrier!

I believe in living simply.  And when it comes to medications, it appears that this is a good philosophy. Apparently, the folks at agree with me. This agency is an advocate for consumers--it provides informations about drugs, devices and the pros and cons of using these things.

Getting back to why they agree with me (or vice versa):

When a person takes a medication, it is important for them to know as much about it as possible

What is the name of this medication?
What is this medication used for?
What are the directions for use?
What are the possible side effects of this medication?
and lastly,
What are the potential drug interactions of this medication?

This last point may not seem any different than the others at first glance, but it is in fact, a very important point.  Drug interactions can occur in several different ways, so let's take a look at some possibilities.

Drugs can interact with other drugs.

Most pharmacies will run a drug interaction checker listing all…

Safe Disposal Of Unused Medications

Do you have medications that you are no longer using in your medicine cabinet?  It might be a good idea to have a look. No one wants a young child or potential addict to have access to these things!

My suggestion to you is twofold:

If the medications are still in date, consider donating them to a free clinic.  It's always a nice "pay it forward" for someone who can't afford a medication but could really make use of it.

If the medication you have is outdated, the FDA has suggestions for you on how to get rid of it. Here is their advice on medication disposal:


Can Opioids Suppress The Immune System?

Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) is a progressive, painful crippling disease. It's unfortunately a common condition, and RA patients comprise a large segment of the chronic pain population. Fortunately, for the most part, the current standards of treatment for this condition do NOT include the use of opioids.

A recent study published in Arthritis & Rheumatology examined chronic opioid usage in almost 14,000 RA patients over a fourteen year period.  Surprisingly, when the patients in the study were using chronic opioids, they had a significant increase in rate of infection.  The study authors found a twofold risk of infection in opioid vs. non-opioid populations.

Why is this so?  In vitro studies have shown that certain opioids--morphine, methadone, and fentanyl--have immune suppressive properties. This can be attributed to inhibition of T-cell receptor signaling, reductions in natural killer cell activity, and depletion of lymphocytes, according to said studies.

The authors of the 

New Non-Pharmaceutical Technique Shows Promise In Controlling Post-Operative Pain

The opioid crisis came about largely because of routine use of opioids for chronic pain conditions. Opioids are used to control post operative (acute) pain as well; and even though short term use of these drugs generally does not lead to addiction, more and more advances are being made to reduce or eliminate their usage save for very rare circumstances.

Here are a couple of examples--

1) There is a product line known as On-Q® can click the link to see specifics about this if you wish.  These products are drug delivery systems that can be used in some types of surgery, such as knee replacements to reduce or eliminate the need for opioids. On-Q® devices can be filled with a local anesthetic. The device has tubing with a catheter like tip that is placed in the operative site, allowing the anesthetic to be delivered directly to the affected area via the On-Q® pump.  These have been around for several years, and the results are dramatic!

2) A new technique devised by Dr. Brian Ilfie…

The Knee Bone's Connected To The Leg Bone....

Two recent studies have brought a not-so-novel concept into the limelight-the concept being that people who present with knee pain often develop pain in other parts of their bodies.  These studies, known as the Multicenter Osteoarthritis Study (MOST) and the Osteoarthritis Initiative (OAI), were assessed by a Clinical Epidemiology Team as Boston University School of Medicine in an effort to find preventive strategies to combat this trend.

The authors suggest that knee pain may cause individuals to alter their gait in an effort to compensate for their discomfort. In doing so, the alignment of other body joints is altered, and this may be the cause of secondary joint pain, especially hips and ankles. The authors go on to say that the pain in these secondary sites is not necessarily osteoarthritis--perhaps bursitis or some other injury.

Osteoarthritis is a result of wear and tear in the joints.  We may not be able to completely eliminate osteoarthritis from occurring, but some common se…

The Wurn Technique: A Novel Approach to Pelvic Adhesions That Cause Pain And Infertility

One of the most baffling pain conditions women experience is chronic pelvic pain. This unfortunate problem is not only uncomfortable, but can be a cause of infertility in women. Some of the usual causes are fibroids, endometriosis and pelvic adhesions. Typically, these problems are addressed by standard modalities--surgery, medications, psychotherapy, and physical therapy among them.

Recently, I came across a newer idea for treatment of pelvic pain caused by adhesions.  It's known as the Wurn Technique, and it's really a quite interesting approach.  Similar to a deep tissue massage, this method can be used to break the adhesions in the pelvic area.  This helps to reduce the pelvic pain and can even restore fertility in some cases!  The best part is that it's all drug free!

For more information about the Wurn Technique, you can click here to reach the ClearPassages website. This site explains in more detail about how the technique is used and also the story of how this ama

September is Pain Awareness Month!

My thoughts exactly!


When Less is More: Why Chronic Opioids Are Not Advisable

As time goes on, we're starting to see some very nasty consequences of long term opioid usage. There's always the risk of addiction. To me, a person is addicted if abstaining from said drug results in withdrawal symptoms.  This can happen whether a person is using these medications for legitimate or recreational purposes. Beyond that, we are now seeing some of this patient population resort to heroin usage because it's much easier and much less expensive to obtain.

As if that's not argument enough, there is now some preliminary scientific evidence to support more conservative opioid prescribing. Animal studies at the University of Colorado performed an experiment in which laboratory rats underwent surgery to induce sciatica like pain.  Ten days after surgery, one group of rats was given a five day course of morphine treatment, while the other group was given saline. The saline group demonstrated signs of recovery in about four weeks, while those who received morphine …


Have you ever heard of HCAHPS? It's an acronym for Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems. A creation of the US Department of Health and Human Services, this is website where you can look up patient satisfaction scores for specific doctors, hospitals, and such.  The data provided on this site is generated from surveys sent randomly to patients following hospital admissions, medical visits, etc.

Under the Affordable Care Act, this data is also used to determine reimbursement rates for these same providers.  To put it simply, better scores mean better rates of reimbursement for health care providers. So it's natural to assume that providers want to perform well, because that means more income for them!

One of the sections of these surveys pertains to pain management.  And since pain was considered the "fifth vital sign" until very recently, pain control is/was very important part of patient satisfaction. Now that we are in the midst of an &qu…

Gadgets Galore: Is one of these devices is right for your chronic pain condition?

As the heroin epidemic continues, and the struggle with taming the opioid crisis goes on, the marketplace has become full of many new devices to help those who deal with chronic pain. So today, let's look at some of the new devices that have come out in the past year.  I am surely hoping that someday, someone will read this--or one of my many other posts--and find a reason for hope, and a way to make each and every day brighter.  So, without further ado, here are a few of the devices that came out this year, along with a link and brief description.

1) PainShield®--  This novel device is actually an ultrasound device that is applied to the body via a topical patch.  It is very portable--and battery operated-- so it can be used anywhere, anytime. The manufacturer says it is indicated forpain and soft tissue injuries. Most of the reviews on the product website claim that it is helpful for trigeminal neuralgia that has failed to respond to other therapies.

2) iovera®--Another new dev…

Fibromyalgia Week: Day 5

For this last day of Fibromyalgia Week, I have two things for you, my readers.
First, I have a quiz...just to see how much you know, or have learned, about fibromyalgia this week.  Click the link below if you want to try it out!

How much do you know about Fibromyalgia? » online quizzes

Secondly, and very importantly...I have found something that some of readers may find quite useful.  There are lots of "apps" for smartphones out there, and some for fibromyalgia. Today I am sharing a link for "FibroMapp", which is available for Android and Kindle.  Sadly, there is not an Apple platform for this app but we can only hope that some day....  There are other apps like this available, but this one seems to have lots of good reviews.  Here is a link if you would like to check it out.

repost from 2014

Fibromyalgia Week: Day 4

On this day 4 of fibromyalgia week, I am going to focus my writing on treatments for this
mysterious condition.  As discussed in earlier posts, this condition tends to be chronic --and while it is debilitating, it is not life threatening.  There is no inflammatory process involved either.

Pharmacotherapy for fibromyalgia 

Drug treatment for fibromyalgia is still sort of in the trial and error phase.  There has been good response to some of the SSRI and tricyclic antidepressants to date.  Other drugs that have some use in fibromyalgia are NSAIDs (ibuprofen for example), COX 2 inhibitors (a specific category of NSAID such as celecoxib) and antiepileptics (eg Gabapentin). There have been some trials of naltrexone and also Immune Globulin . To date, these last two studies look promising but at this point they are not conventional therapy.  At one time, guaifenesin was thought to be promising but there is no clinical or scientific data to support its use as a treatment for fibromyalgia. In…