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Showing posts with the label NonDrug Pain Management Ideas

Novel Pain Treatment Gets The Green Light

As the opioid crisis looms, researchers everywhere are looking into new and novel ways to lessen their usage. One example of this is a story out of the University of Arizona, where researchers studied how exposure to different colors of LED light affected chronic pain in rat populations. After studying several colors of light, it was noted that low intensity green light had the most potent effect. Following the animal study, a small scale human study was conducted.  Study subjects were asked to use the green light in a darkened area of their homes for one or two hours a day.



All the study participants claimed that their moods were improved and pain lessened. The exact mechanism of action is yet to be determined. Larger studies of longer duration are needed to determine the optimum intensity of the light, duration of treatment, ideal frequency of treatments, and so on.  The best news is that no adverse affects were reported during the initial study.

You can read more about this intere…

Herpes As A Helper?

If you've ever had shingles, or known anyone that has experienced it, you probably know that chronic pain can persist following the initial attack (post herpetic neuralgia).  This is because the herpes virus seems to have an affinity for nerve cells.  And while it's not fun to have shingles or post herpetic neuralgia, the herpes virus may be a key in future development of delivery systems for pain management treatments.





Here's the deal--since Herpes simplex has an affinity for nerve cells, researchers are looking a genetically modified, safer version of the virus to deliver genetic material to damaged nerves.  In simple terms, once the genetic material reaches these nerve cells, it will hopefully encode these nerves to ultimately inhibit pain signals.  Animal studies and clinical trials in cancer patients have been encouraging thus far.

This is one of those developments that makes me believe that there is hope for those in chronic pain. Along with so many other exciting d…

Posture Treatment: New Hope For An Old Problem?

With the opioid crisis looming over our heads, we need to look for new ways to treat some of the problems that could potentially lead to future opioid use.  One of the most common causes of chronic pain is low back pain that stems from degenerative changes, sciatica, etc. As mentioned in past posts, there is no panacea for any of these conditions, but there are many options out there.



I recently read a story in the New India Express about a new treatment that is offering hope to patients with these types of maladies. According to the article, our body posture can easily end up in misalignment when we try to compromise for things like physical trauma, or develop poor posture habits in the workplace. We often overlook the effects of these postural abnormalities as part of "the big picture."  Using the latest technology, medical science can now detect and treat such abnormalities with great precision. Medical procedures of this sort are non-invasive and are virtually painless…

Beyond Lung Cancer: Smoking And Chronic Pain

Smoking has been on the decline for decades. However, there are still a good number of smokers out there--despite all the health warnings!  I suppose the biggest fear in this group is the fear that they might develop lung cancer.  And that certainly is a possibility.
What they might not consider is that smoking cessation has many other benefits. For one thing, the risk of heart attack, stroke and other vascular diseases is reduced greatly when one decides to kick the habit. Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is another health issue that can improve or be completely prevented if a smoker decides to quit. Women of childbearing age who smoke can experience infertility issues-; this is less of an issue if a woman does not smoke.  If a woman is pregnant, the baby is less likely to experience health issues if the mother is not a smoker. Expectant mothers who stop smoking during the pregnancy are less likely to have a baby with low birthweight.
Last, but not least--did you know th…

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…

Practical Management Of Chronic Pain In The Elderly

The elderly population is probably at greater risk for chronic pain than their younger peers.  The wear and tear on knees, hips and other joints over the years is one big source of this problem, combined with the likelihood of other health issues such as diabetes, restless leg syndrome, Parkinson's disease, cancer, stroke, etc. Those with dementia may also suffer from pain--but their ability to effectively communicate this to caregivers is often diminished.

Due to the fact that multiple problems often coexist in this population, pain management can be problematic.  It's certainly not a good idea to ignore their pain; that would be inhumane  and could lead to a whole host of new problems including anxiety, depression, and insomnia.  But often times medication options are more limited due to an individual's prescription regimen for their current comorbidities. Fear not!  There are still ways to manage this issue.

Less severe pain can be managed using ice packs and/or heat a…

The Lesser Known Health Benefits of Knitting and Crochet

I've previously mentioned that having a hobby can do much to distract someone from chronic pain...and I've previously mentioned that knitting and /or crochet are helpful to those with stress and anxiety--two common problems in the chronic pain population.




Recently, I came across a post in "The Little Things" citing many reasons why knit and crochet are good for your health.  You can read the post in entirety here, but here is the short list of the benefits!

1) Knitting (or crochet) can reduce heart rate and blood pressure. This leads to reduced levels of cortisol, a stress hormone that can damage the circulatory system and the heart.

2) Knit/crochet help keep fingers nimble. Just as walking or other exercise is good for arthritic knees and hips, knitting and crochet serve to exercise muscles in the fingers and hands, which helps to keep them from becoming stiff and dysfunctional.

3) Math skills are improved in people who knit/crochet. Following patterns is all abou…

Good Pain Management Requires a Good Manager!

Happy New Year!


I have to ask all of you who suffer from chronic pain..are you happy with how well your pain is managed?  Do you feel like the pain levels in your life have control over you more than you have control over them?  Now that the new year has begun, it might be time to think of a new strategy if you aren't happy with the old one.

Everyone will have good days and bad...some days will be better than others, and some days you just won't have the upper hand.  In a business, when a manager does not produce as expected--they may have to change their strategy to improve in the problem areas. The same is true in pain management.  If you think it's time to change some things up it might be time for a new strategy!

This is the purpose of my blog.  I hope you will keep reading it and that 2014 will bring you many new ideas to try in your personal pain management strategy.  Have a look around. I wish you all many more days of pain free living in this new year!

Original Po…

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 …

"B Sure" to Avoid B12 Deficiency!

Vitamin B12--also known as cyanocobalamin is an important nutritional element.  The human body uses this vitamin to make red blood cells, DNA, and other important products.  Cyanocobalamin is also necessary for integrity of the human nervous system. In this regard, one of the symptoms of B12 deficiency is tingling or numbness in the hands and/or feet. Other signs of deficiency include anemia, problems with balance, inflammation of the tongue, jaundice, problems with thought processes, weakness and fatigue. 




A deficiency of this vitamin can be caused to a number of different things.  Some of the more common reasons people are deficient include the following:
Proton pump inhibitors--while wildly popular for their ability to quell heartburn and GERD and treat ulcers, chronic use of these medications interferes with the absorption of this crucial vitamin from the GI tract.Metformin, one of the most popular drugs used to treat type II diabetes can deplete B12 levels over time.Advanced age-…

Exercise and Chronic Pain

It has been said that most people CAN exercise. That includes people with chronic pain. I think they key here is to choose types of exercise that you personally enjoy AND are within the scope of your physical limitations.  For instance if you have a problem with your knees maybe you shouldn't be doing exercise that involve impact--so instead of jumping rope or running, you consider walking or swimming...

It's probably a good idea to talk to your health care providers about which exercises are good fits for your own personal situation, especially if you are just starting out.  Prevention Magazine ran an article several years ago about this topic.  They were focusing on exercises best suited for fibromyalgia in their writings, but I think they are a good place for anyone to start.  So, without further ado here are some suggestions:

1) Walking or biking: pretty much anyone can do one of these. But, just like everything else there are exceptions.


2) Yoga: There are many forms of …

Living in Spite of Chronic Pain

My message for today is simple but very important.  My message today is that a positive attitude about ANY situation--chronic pain being a prime example--is the most important weapon you can have.  Case in point: Barby Ingle.  Click here for a link to a column she wrote for her the Pain News Network.  Her story is not unusual; her attitude is priceless!

Sources: Flickr; Pain News Network

A Penny For Your Thoughts...

After I wrote the post just prior to this one, I took some time to think reflect on the people in my life--most especially those whom I know to have chronic pain.  I can definitely see that there is an emotional component to the problem.  And the study in the prior post seems to confirm that what I am thinking is true.

Stated simply, those who have the best coping skills have the best natural ability to deal with chronic pain. Unfortunately, many of us do not have those skills due to any number of reasons. So, the next logical step for people in this group is to learn to improve their coping skills.  I guess I think that's really what my blog is all about.  



I do believe the first step in this effort requires an attempt to find a root cause of the pain, and if possible, to correct it.  This is the best hope of staying ahead of the game.  There will always be situations where this is not possible, or that a given condition can be managed but not cured.  For this group, I would say i…

Positive Coping Skills--An Important Tool In Chronic Pain Management!

Sometimes we overlook the simple things. I must apologize--all the time I've been writing this blog, and never thought about the importance of good coping skills.  We all learn to cope with whatever we're dealing with one way or another, but not every coping skill is a positive one.  The good thing is, we can ALL learn positive coping skills that we don't have on board already!



So today, I would like you to ask yourself..what are your responses to situations that are not going well?  Whether the situation is a pain filled day or some sad news, our choice of response can make a lot of difference!

Here is a list of some NEGATIVE COPING SKILLS. I am not trying to call anyone out--we all do some of these at least some of the time:


AvoidanceAlcohol Use/AbuseDrugsSedativesRefusal to address emotions/feelingsSelf-mutilation The goal here is to be honest with yourself. If you see a little bit of yourself in the list above, look to the list below to find some POSITIVE COPING SKILLS

Aqua Therapy

I belong to a health club.  I wouldn't have it any other way...there are so many ways to exercise!
Most weeks, I follow the same ritual.  Once in a while, when I am injured or I need some time off I still go to the gym and try new things.




One of the things I enjoy now and again is water exercise.  I have seen people "water walk" in the lanes of the swimming pool. There is a warm water pool and a regular pool at our facility...each of which has advantages and disadvantages.  Occasionally I take a water aerobics class. And the icing on the cake(for me) is a trip to the whirlpool after class!  Ahhhhh..... I can just feel it now.

There are many advantages to working out in the water.  For one, you the water offers resistance against you when you are in it.  Water walkers often take advantage of this...it gives some of the advantages of weight or resistance training.  A second advantage is that the bouyancy of the water is easy on the joints. This is a great advantage to tho…

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…

Here's a crafty way to battle chronic pain!

I really like to crochet...and one day when I was showing someone a few pictures of my work, I was told that persons who are under treatment for PTSD are shown how to knit or crochet for therapeutic reasons.  Hmmm...I thought--I am going to do a little research on that topic!

One of the things I found was this story from CNN that illustrates this point exactly.  According to the article, crafting can help anyone with anxiety, PTSD, chronic pain, and/or depression.  While no specific research has been done on crafting, studies have shown that the same cognitive skills used to complete crossword puzzles may be used when a person is crafting.

I can tell you from experience that I have a little anxiety and have a history of some chronic pain disorders. When I have my yarn and hook working away, I could care less about any of those issues. I just get lost in my project and loose all sense of reality. And before you know it, I have produced a blanket, a scarf or a hat...made with love for …

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…

Fibromyalgia Week: Day 3

Today, I am sharing some thoughts about what causes fibromyalgia.  Current understanding of this debilitating disorder suggests that central pain processing in fibromyalgia patients is altered.  Somehow, the central nervous system (CNS)  has some faulty wiring problems, resulting in an amplified physical pain. In the adult population, it seems that more women are affected by fibromyalgia than are men.  In children and adolescents the gender ratio is 1:1.



There are a few theories out there as to the root cause of fibromyalgia.  Some ideas:

1)Genetic Basis--it seems that fibromyalgia "runs in families", suggesting that there is a specific gene  that may be involved in the perception of pain.

2)Biochemical Imbalances--Some findings in fibromyalgia show that these patients have very low levels of serotonin,which has been linked to problems with sleep,pain perception,headaches, and mood disorders. Other studies have shown that people with fibromyalgia have elevated levels of sub…