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Showing posts with the label Pain Issues

A Picture Says It All: Back Pain

A Picture Says It All: Headache or Migraine?

A Picture Says It All: Fibromyalgia

Pain and Pregnancy, Part One

Pregnancy is such an exciting time in a woman's life (usually)...but it does not come without its pains or discomforts!  Additionally, some women have pre-existing conditions that they must endure in addition to being pregnant. Sadly, many chronic pain conditions are among the possibilities.

In terms of medications, there are guidelines that physicians follow with respect to pain management in pregnancy.  Tylenol (acetaminophen) is generally regarded as a safe and effective treatment for most pregnant women, but it has been reported that babies born to women who used it had an increased risk of developing hyperactivity issues.  The FDA has established a system for categorizing drugs as to risk in pregnancy.  There are some medical reference books available to pharmacists and other health care workers to help pregnant and nursing mothers to assess risks of specific drugs to both developing and nursing babies.

For the most part, great caution is advised when using medication of any…

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

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…

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,…

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…

Thinking Out Loud: Getting To The Root of The Problem Is a High Priority

In the modern era of pain management, it has become of utmost importance to pinpoint the source of pain. This really offers someone who is experiencing pain the best hope of a speedy, permanent resolution to their discomfort.  If pain medications are ordered, they may be effective, but will only cover up the pain instead of fixing it.

This process can be very frustrating. It's not unusual for someone to have pain but no source can be identified. But it's really better to be relentless in the search.  Here's a story that sort of illustrates my point:

Mrs. A. is a healthy woman in her later 50s. She lives in the country and raises chickens...she always has fresh eggs on hand!  She has never smoked and does not really consume alcohol too often.  She is a regular exerciser and loves to garden. She has been happily married for almost forty years. One day Mrs. A. notices some shoulder pain so she visits her local ER. The physician there tells her that she probably pulled a mus…

Prince: An Untimely Death

In recent weeks, we all were shocked and horrified about the death of pop star Prince. At the time, the cause of death was not apparent.  The coroner would not speculate but instead said that the results were inconclusive pending toxicology results.

Just last week, the toxicology results were in--and the cause of Prince's death was said to be an accidental overdose of the pain killing drug fentanyl.  This might not mean much to the average citizen, but I see a huge red flag here.  First of all, fentanyl is one of the most potent opioids out there. To give you some perspective, fentanyl isone-hundred times more potent than morphine (intravenous use)!

This tells me a couple of things:

1)  Fentanyl would not be a first choice drug for a person with chronic pain.  It's pretty safe to assume that Prince was using pain medication for a while, and was prescribed fentanyl when other medications did not provide adequate pain relief.

2) This scenario can play out--and has played itsel…

The Chicken--or The Egg?

What comes first..the chicken, or the egg?  This riddle has been pondered by generations.  And is there really an answer? Maybe...or maybe not.  

In the world of pain management, there is a similar question, and that is the basis for today's post. It has long been apparent that living with chronic pain can be disruptive to sleep patterns. This has a negative effect on the quality of life for chronic pain patients.  
Have you ever thought about the reverse situation...that is to say, how does a disruptive sleep pattern affect chronic pain? A study of this topic, conducting in the Netherlands, gives us an idea that there is a relationship.  "Emerging adults" (age 19-22) looked at followed subjects over several years; half of those who had sleep problems in the first year of study continued to be plagued with sleep issues in the third year of the study.  The subjects who had sleep problems at the outset were more likely to have chronic pain, and more severe musculoskeletal, he…

Chronic Pain And The Loves of Our Lives...or the Lack Thereof

According to a 2015 NIH study, nearly 50 million Americans suffer from some form of chronic or severe pain. That number is alarming. And if that isn't bad enough, chronic pain not only affects an individual, but all family, friends, husbands, wives, and others connected to that individual.

Maybe those not affected by chronic pain don't stop to think about the impact of this statistic.  For one thing, chronic pain affects the most intimate relationships because it can impact the ability to be physically intimate.  Consider fibromyalgia as an example... even the slightest touch can be excruciating. That's only one example--many other possibilities exist. At some point, someone with chronic pain may even "opt out" of physical love completely, just because it hurts too much.

Pain management medications take their toll on these relationships as well.  In as much as they benefit the patient, side effects such as decreased libido and fatigue can be a problem. Communica…

Gluten Free Diet: Beware of unexpected sources of gluten!

Looking back on a previous post about Celiac Disease,  I thought it might be a good idea to follow up with a post about gluten free diets, which are the only known treatment for this malady.  At first glance, it may seem simple enough to eat gluten free...but when you need to eliminate all gluten from your diet, it's not quite that simple.

To this point, here are some examples.  You might be surprised after reading these!

1) Soy sauce, salad dressings, and soups can contain gluten.  Soy sauce is made from fermented wheat; soups and salad dressings often contain malt or flour as a thickening agent.

2) Medications are not necessarily gluten free.  "Gluten Free Drugs" is a good reference for those who need to be in the know.  You can reach it by clicking the link.

3) Condiments are not guaranteed to be gluten free unless they are labelled as such.  Thickening agents and stabilizers are  used in ketchup and barbecue sauce may contain gluten.  The best advice here is not to …

Phantom Limb Pain...It's very real, but it's all in your head!

The human brain is a most interesting organ.  Have you ever stopped to think about all the functions carried out by the brain in a typical day?  The brain is sort of like the conductor of an orchestra...sending signals to all parts of the body to control blood pressure, heart rate, ambulation, thoughts, moods, and everything in between.  Pretty amazing stuff, if you stop to think about it.

A most fascinating phenomenon known as phantom limb pain illustrates just how complex and amazing the human brain really is.  Phantom limb pain is something that occurs in patients who have experienced an amputation. The brain is telling them that they are having pain in an arm, a foot, a leg that has been surgically removed. But the reality is, that arm, foot, or leg is no longer there!

According to medical literature, physicians have been aware of this phenomenon since the 1860s;  In more recent years, there have been many amputations due to injuries of war and diabetes, and this has spurred new…

You don't say....or what NOT to say to a chronic pain patient!

When someone is in a trying situation...and a chronic pain condition is one of's not always easy to know what to say, or how to say things without sounding insensitive.  I recently came across an article about this very subject.  Here is a link to the article; if you prefer a "short list" of some taboo phrases, read on!

"But you don't look disabled...""...I thought you'd be better by now.""Essential oils would probably fix that!""Your poor husband and kids!""How much disability do you get?""Oh come on, it's not that bad.""So do you take any good drugs?""Are you contagious?""You don't have to work?  Must be nice."Source: Buzzfeed.; wikimedia

Prescription Drugs For Opioid Induced Constipation: My Opinion

If you have ever had painful condition, most likely you have taken one of the opioid drugs...and some may take these drugs for chronic pain.  You might know that one of the big side effects of the opioids is constipation.

Recently some drugs have been developed and FDA approved for this condition. OIC (opioid induced constipation), as it's called is now a medical condition that stems from chronic opioid use.
According to the drug manufacturers,  the solution to the problem take a second medication for a problem that's caused by the original medication!

I'm sure the people reading this blog have many different opinions about this.  Personally, I think that the only time chronic opioid therapy is appropriate is for people with terminal illnesses.  And for them, I guess these OIC drugs are a blessing.  When your lifetime is going to be shortened by a painful terminal illness, it's not unreasonable to do whatever is needed to minimize discomfort... Addiction is …

Can Pain Medications Cause Weight Gain?

I wanted to share this video of Dr. Kent Smalley.  He's a pain management physician who is also a chronic pain sufferer.

I've shared things about him before...this time he's answering a question as to whether or not pain medications can cause weight gain.  The answer is more complex than a simple yes or no but he explains it here in about a have a look!


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

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 …

All Aboard!

Listening to the sermon this Easter morning, the words "All Aboard!" were used, in the context of being all aboard in the spirit of the Risen Lord.  It got me to thinking about being all aboard in a different context...the context of daily living.

I got to thinking that people who are depressed fall away from this idea as they become internally focused, shutting off everything on the outside while dwelling on their inner pain.

People who suffer from chronic pain can fall into this trap as well; the struggle of living with daily aches and pains. Sometimes it becomes so all-consuming that that the sufferer falls out of touch with the life outside the scope of their illness.  Family events, travel, adventures--all fall by the wayside because the pain gets in the way.  Meanwhile, life is going by...and those who are not "all aboard" miss out on much that life has to offer.

It is my hope that some of the pain management tips I offer you will make it possible for you…