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Showing posts with the label Non Drug Pain Management Ideas

Positive Habits For Chronic Pain Patients

Living in chronic pain is a big challenge. And on a daily basis, everything we do contributes to the quality of our lives...or takes away from it.  Therefore, developing positive habits, even in the little things, can make our lives better in small ways and in large ways!

Here's a short list to help get you started:

1) Don't give up the ship!  Any new treatment, diet, or lifestyle change that you try will take time to work.  You might not see the fruits of your efforts right away.  A little patience will go a long way; you might actually miss out on the benefits if you give up too soon!

2) Hope for the best; expect the worst.  Try not to be too negative, but don't let yourself believe that nothing is going to work.  The right solution to your problem is out there somewhere!

3) Remember: Take care of yourself first !  This is true for chronic disease~or not.  You're not being selfish in doing this; as a matter of fact you can't really take care of kids, spouses, p…

Opioid Induced Hyperalgesia

Opioid Induced Hyperalgesia (OIH) is a real condition. It occurs when opioid medications actually cause increased sensitivity to painful stimuli. Yes, it's a paradox but it does occur. It is difficult to diagnose because it is difficult to distinguish from opioid tolerance.  But there are some characteristics unique to OIH:
Pain in more diffuse in naturePain worsens over time even if opioid dosage is increasedPain harder to pinpoint and of lesser quality It is thought that the mechanism of OIH is most likely due to over-excitation of neurons, but at this point the jury is still out. If OIH is suspected, the offending medication is withdrawn slowly. Sometimes, if pain persists it may be possible to reduce the dose of the original medication or switch to another class of drugs for pain management.  There is added difficulty in that a patient might have difficulty understanding how pain levels can actually increase because of their medication!
OIH is poorly understood and more researc…

Shared Reading: A New Approach To Chronic Pain?

One of the traditional strategies in the treatment of chronic pain is cognitive based therapy(CBT)--that is, using the help of a psychologist to help build up coping skills and keep a positive perspective in spite of the hardships. A recent study based in the United Kingdom suggests an alternative approach: shared reading.  Shared reading is an activity in which a small group of individuals gather to read aloud. The study involved reading poetry, short stories, and other literature that helped participants to recall memories and experiences of life, especially those that pertain to childhood, family, work, and other lifetime memories.  The idea for this study stems from the use of this strategy for other chronic conditions such as dementia. It is thought that prompting these memories helps patients to address painful emotions that may contribute to their respective conditions.

While the results of the study are encouraging, the team who conducted the study says a larger scale study w…

The Painful Truth About Psoriasis--Dietary Considerations

Just as with many other chronic health conditions, diet plays a role in disease management.  Here is a quick overview of dietary considerations for people with psoriasis:

First off, if you are a psoriasis patient you may notice that some foods tend to trigger flare-ups more than other foods.  To this point, it's good to be observant and do what your body tells you to do. As long as you follow a healthy diet, this is good!
It has been suggested that people with celiac disease may be at higher risk for psoriasis than other persons. A gluten free-diet is the mainstay of treatment for celiac disease,and it may help keep psoriasis flares at bay as well. But the relationship between gluten intolerance, yeast exposure and psoriasis is not well understood at this point in time. You can try eliminating gluten or yeast if you suspect it to be a problem and see what happens.
Fatty red meats are known to increase heart health risks...and people with psoriasis have an increased risk of heart …

Scrambling Isn't Just For Eggs!

An emerging form of treatment, known as "scrambler therapy" was introduced to the 2016 meeting of the American Pain Society.  This type of therapy, also known as Calmare Pain Therapy Treatment, seems to be useful for various forms or neuropathic pain, including neuropathic pain following cancer chemotherapy.

This form of treatment involves using electrical stimulation to block nerve pain.  Treatments are given in cycles.  One cycle of treatment can produce remission for 10 days, 2 months, or even longer. If a patient's pain begins to re-emerge, another cycle of treatment can be initiated.  Study authors are also studying the possibility that other forms of chronic pain treatment may complement or enhance this new pain therapy.

You can read more about scrambler therapy and the Calmare Pain Therapy Treatment by clicking here.

Sources:; Pain Medicine News; Wikimedia

How To Relieve SInusitis...The Drug Free Way!

Attention allergy and rhinitis sufferers!  Before you know it it will be spring, and all those pesky nasal symptoms will return.  If you suffer from frequent sinus pressure and sinus headaches, today's post is just what the doctor ordered!

This method is a beautiful thing because it can be used if you are already on medicine for your symptoms...or not.  Oral decongestants are effective, but they are not a good idea for people with hypertension or heart problems.  They can also cause the sensation of a racing heart (tachycardia) and can interfere with a good night's sleep.

So, without further ado, here is a graphic from Top Ten Remedies that will show you a very effective way to deal with this problem:


New Study Suggests Shoulder Pain Can Be Indicative Of Heart Disease

A recent study released by the University of Utah illustrates that shoulder problems can emanate from injury, but that might not always be the case.  While shoulder problems can stem from repeated physical stressors, heart disease can also be a cause.

The research behind this claim is based on a study of over 1200 laborers.  The team found that those who already had risk factors for heart disease, such as hypertension, high cholesterol, and diabetes also showed risk for shoulder injury.  Some of these had more than one cardiac risk factor, and some of those with prior shoulder injury had subsequent shoulder injuries!

The authors suggest that controlling the risk factors of heart disease may also help prevent this type of injury....that is certainly food for thought!

You can read the original story behind this post by clicking here.

Sources: Science Daily; Wikimedia

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

Chronic Pain Management: How To Train Your Inner Dragon

Many people see chronic pain management as strictly a medical issue...and that, it is not.  Pretty much every person living with chronic pain can benefit from many alternative and complementary practices.  At first you might think it's crazy to see a psychologist for treatment of chronic pain. For some folks, the idea of going to a psychologist implies some kind of mental health problem, or that the pain your feeling is all in your head. Nothing could be further from the truth!

A psychologist can help a pain patient in some very significant ways. First of all, a psychologist can help an individual how to self-manage their pain. Think of it this way--many of us would go to a doctor about being overweight, but their are many weight loss plans and health clubs that can help us to get back in shape.  In a similar manner, a psychologist can help to explore which things in our lives improve or worsen pain levels and how to get those things into balance.

Secondly, a psychologist can hel…

Physical Therapy: First Line Therapy For Non Cancer Pain Management

No one should have to live their life in pain. That's a given.  But no one should lose their life to "Pain Killers", such as the opioids. Using these medications has landed us all in a tough spot.  Scores of people have died from opioid addiction, still more have moved beyond opioids to heroin. Heroin deaths have quadrupled in number in the last decade or so.

One of the safest approaches to pain management is physical therapy.  While chronic pain patients will likely need to employ multiple approaches of pain management, physical therapy is always a safe and effective pain management tool.  The American Physical Therapy Association has recently launched a campaign to promote this idea. Known as "#Choose PT", its aim is to make people aware of the safety and effectiveness of this form of treatment.

In 2008, a study that followed 20,000 people over a period of 11 years found that people who exercised experienced less pain than those who did not exercise.  It goe…

Endomorphins: An Emerging Pain Management Strategy

New research into a group of compounds known as endomorphins may offer hope to chronic pain patients of the future.  These compounds are based on endorphins, which are the human body's naturally occurring pain relievers.  Researchers say that these compounds appear to be superior to morphine in terms of analgesia, and have fewer side effects as well.  The other big advantage to these compounds is that there appears to be no risk of addiction, respiratory depression, constipation, and some of the other problems that develop with the use of opioids.  This would be a most wonderful development in the world of pain management!

In the meantime, one of the best ways to help your body deal with chronic pain is to practice activities that help to increase natural endorphin levels.  According to Reader's Digest, here are eight ways to reach this goal:
The scent of vanilla and lavender are said to increase endorphin levels.  Try adding some vanilla to your morning coffee or bathe with l…

New Pain Management Device Mimics Natural Response To Pain

Spinal cord stimulators (SCS) have been a part of the pain management marketplace for a very long time. These devices are all basically the same; they are electrodes, surgically implanted in the epidural space of the spine.  These electrodes are attached to an impulse generator which is implanted in the abdomen or gluteus.  The other key piece of the system is a remote control which is used to modify the the electrical signals being transmitted to the spinal cord via the electrodes.  These electrical signals become "white noise" to the nervous system in an effort to "scramble" the pain signals, making pain more bearable for the patient.. The goal here is to maximize the patient's comfort while minimizing dependency on pain medication. These devices are most commonly used for patients with failed back surgeries, who really have no alternative but to find ways to cope with chronic pain.

Up until recently, these devices were pretty similar to each other-that is t…

Chronic Pain Management: The Three Legged Stool Approach

Today I am sharing an article about one multi-modal approach to chronic pain that makes a lot of sense to me...
I don't want to elaborate too much because I think it's worth it for you to read for yourself.  All I can say in advance is that this article makes me think of a three-legged stool.  If you only rely on one leg of the stool, it's certainly not going to be very useful.

So without further ado, here is a link to the article I am speaking of.  Read and contemplate...comments are appreciated!

Sources:; wikimedia

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 

Need Motivation To Exercise? An Exercise Buddy Can Help!

If you are someone who hates to exercise, it can be really difficult to get out there and "just do it." Knowing that exercise will benefit you as a chronic pain patient is often not enough, especially when you are just starting out.  You might find it helpful to find an exercise buddy--especially someone like yourself, who is just starting to exercise, who knows the benefits will pay off...but just getting out there and doing it is a huge battle.

Having a friend along for the journey can help you to know that you are not alone in your situation. Most of us look forward to meeting up with a friend and catching up over a cup of why not do your catching up over exercise?  Just knowing that you're meeting up with a friend might be all the motivation you need to get those sneakers on and get moving.

An exercise buddy can look at you a way you can't look at yourself--they can help you (and you can help them) to assure that your exercise technique is correct, w…

Blue Emu: What's All The Hype?

It seems like every time I turn on the television I see at least one ad for Blue Emu Products. That prompted me to ask the question: What's all the hype?

That brings us to the topic of today's post.  To give a little background you must first consider the active ingredient in this product line, which is emu oil.  According to WebMD, emu oil is an extract that is derived from the fat of a flightless ostrich type bird known as an emu bird. This extract has been used for a multitude of purposes--taken orally, it supposedly can reduce cholesterol levels, promote weight loss; it has been used in cough syrups as well.

Veterinarians use emu oil to reduce swelling of animal joints, and for cracking or peeling of paws, and other dermatological issues such as "hot spots" or flea bites.  Massage therapists sometimes use emu oil in their practices. Emu oil can be applied to the nostrils as a treatment for cold or flu.

With respect to chronic pain, emu oil can be applied to the…

Drug Free Options For Managing Chronic Pain

Today I wanted to share with you a recent ABC News report about non-drug options for chronic pain. According to the report, research conducted by the Mayo Clinic is affirming that these alternatives to opioids really do work!  I don't know about you but I find the Mayo Clinic to be one of the most reputable medical institutions here in the US. So, without further ado, here is a link to the video!  


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

Cupping: An Ancient Chinese Secret?

While watching a bit of the Olympics this summer, I gave some thought to all the training and sports medicine...and I couldn't help but think a little bit about all that goes into making each athlete the best he or she can be during competition.  There's a lot more going on there than meets the eye, that's for sure!

One example of this came to my mind as I prepared for this post.  Most of us know seasoned Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps and all the gold medals he has earned over the years...
It turns out that many of the athletes in Rio, including Mr. Phelps, showed up at the games with circular bruises on various body parts.  It came to be known that these athletes use a form of Chinese medicine known as "cupping."

During a cupping section, specialized round cups are heated and placed on the skin to target select muscle groups. The cups create a suction effect and are purported to stimulated blood flow in the target tissues.  It is also said to increase muscle f…