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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 …

Saline...the right solution for some common ailments!

If you have an unbearable headache, especially one that is due to high blood pressure...try this simple remedy for rapid, drug free relief.
First, find some gauze or light cotton fabric to use for a compress.  Fold the fabric so it has eight layers, and set it aside for a few minutes.
Next, measure out 250 ml (8 1/2 ounces) of hot water (140-160) degrees Fahrenheit.  Add two teaspoonfuls of salt to the water and stir until dissolved. What you will now have is an 8% saline solution.  
Wash your forehead, ears and neck with a little bit of water. Soak the fabric or gauze in the saline solution and wring out the excess liquid. Lay down and apply the compresses to your forehead, neck and ears.  Once the compresses are applied, lay still for 20 minutes (even though you may start to feel relief very quickly!)  
After the twenty minutes have passed, remove the compresses. Rinse the areas where the compresses were applied with plain water.
You should be feeling better now!
How it works:  Hyp…

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!


New lead in the war on neuropathic pain

Neuropathic pain is one type of chronic pain problem.  The pain is the result of damage to the actual nervous system. Most who experience this type of pain describe it as "pins and needles", burning, stinging, "on fire" or similar.  It must be really annoying to suffer from this, be it a result of diabetic neuropathy, postherpetic neuralgia, or any other neuropathic disorder.  I can't even begin to imagine what it feels like.

However, I have some good news about this topic. I am here to tell you some exciting news about some research  developments in this field.  Recently UC Davis researchers announced that they have discovered a key mechanism in neuropathic pain syndromes. They are saying that a biological process known as endoplasmic reticular stress, or ER stress for short, is a key driver of neuropathic pain.

Why is it good news? Because now that this mechanism has been identified, a search for agents/methods to control this process can begin. Most likely …

Heroin addiction: a potentially fatal problem

The Patients Guide to Pain Management

Because of my blog, I follow a lot of social media.  As you might expect, I have a Twitter account so that I can share my posts and find new material for future blog posts.  One day, I discovered Dr. Harvey Jenkins through my Twitter account.  He is highly educated, knowledgeable pain management physician from the state of Oklahoma.
Dr. Jenkins wrote a a very concise, easy to read book that he asked me to read and review on Amazon. After reading the book and doing as he asked, I thought it would be good to share my thoughts with my readers.  The book is entitled "The Patient's Guide to Pain Management." To be perfectly honest, I think this book is a must read for anyone who is looking for medical help with chronic pain issues.  In reading this material, you will understand many things from the doctor's perspective that you might not understand now.  For instance, many pain practitioners have their patients sign treatment contracts when treatment begins.  The condition…

Device For Lower Back Pain On Earth May Benefit Astronauts During Space Travel

Today's post is about another of the many pain devices out there.  This time we're looking at sam®,
a product that is marketed by ZetrOZ, Inc.  It's an ultrasound device that was approved by the FDA in 2014 for select medical indications.  It is said to have advantage over other devices out there because because it can be worn for up to four hours at a time.  Of course, like the other devices in this category it's drug free...and that is a good thing indeed!

Here's where the story gets interesting. A clinical study on this device has received by ZetrOZ...because it has potential use in space!  Apparently, the human spine is elongated by some 2 inches during space travel due to low gravity situation.  The sam® device is being studied for use by astronauts in this situation.  Meanwhile, here on earth, sam® is available by prescription.  Here is a link to a brochure about the device. sam® is said to increase local circulation, improve the ant-inflammatory response, a…

Gender Inequality--In Pain Transmission

In the ever constant struggle for gender equality comes this news from the world of pain management...and in this case, it would be much easier for science and medicine to resolve if it did not exist.

Chronic pain is one of the most prevalent conditions in the medical realm. Nearly one in four Americans has experienced it. Pain management is a very tricky business...medical practitioners are struggling with when to use potentially addicting medications, antidepressants, complementary and alternative medical practices..the list goes on.  This has now become more complicated...because a recent study published in Nature Neuroscience reports that pain sensitivity differs with respect to gender. In other words, this study (conducted in mice) concluded that pain is transmitted via the nervous system differently in men than it is in women.

This opens up a whole new avenue into the world of pain management.  In the future we may see different treatment options depending on the gender of the…

Non Drug Pain Management Ideas: CryoSauna

Cryotherapy takes the idea of icing an injured body part to a whole new level. Imagine standing inside a tubular structure stark naked, and feeling the effects of liquid nitrogen that's been cooled to a mind-boggling 200 degrees below zero.  It sounds crazy, but some are saying that it works wonders for chronic pain problems.

"Cryosaunas", as they are called, are not widely available here in the US...but they are beginning to appear in various locales. That being said, since its introduction in Japan in the 1970s, there are some true believers.  There's not much in the way of scientific study to back the claims, but those who have regular treatments have said the following:

that they experience a feeling of euphoria during treatmentsleep quality is improvedrelief from joint pain, arthritiscalorie burn--over 500 to 800 calories are burned over the next several hours!flushes out toxinspain relief is instantaneous How does it work?  During exposure to such extreme cold,…

Deep Tissue Massage: Beneficial for many chronic pain sufferers

Many people believe that massage is for the wealthy; that it's a way to be pampered in the same way that going for a facial or pedicure would be.  In truth, a good massage can be a way to make ourselves feel pampered...but it is so much more than that!

According to the Mayo Clinic, massage therapy can decrease swelling and improve joint mobility. Muscle spasms are eased, and blood circulation increases when undergoing massage. It is also possible that this form of therapy can increase the level of endorphins--i.e., the body's naturally occurring pain killer. Stress and anxiety are reduced, and some studies suggest that immune system function improves when massage therapy is applied.

There are many health conditions that benefit from massage therapy--among them are cancer, heart disease, digestive disorders, insomnia, fibromyalgia, headaches, and nicotine dependency.

Keep in mind that there are many massage techniques available.  Here is a sampling:

Swedish Massage: gentle; use…

When in pain...keep your fingers crossed?

This story about a research study in the United Kingdom is brings a whole new meaning to the phrase "keep your fingers crossed." According to the article, the test subjects were exposed to a phantom pain sensation known as thermal grill illusion, and asked to cross their fingers, and uncross their fingers.  It is believed that crossing of the fingers causes brain confusion and helps to reduce pain like sensation.

What does this mean for future pain sufferers?  It's not really clear but the concept of using finger crossing or select body postures to relieve pain may come in handy!

Here is an excerpt about thermal grill illusion--you can read in entirety by clicking here.

"The ‘thermal grill illusion’ refers to paradoxical sensations of heat and pain, resulting from simultaneous application of interlaced warm and cold stimuli to the skin. It provides an interesting model of integrative mechanisms in the nervous system, supposed to be relevant in expla…

The 5 Coping Skills Every Chronic Pain Patient Needs...

In searching for material for this blog, I came across an interesting article written by Ted Jones, Ph. D., a psychologist.  He begins by saying that good pain management is like a 3 legged stool.  The legs of the stool represent the 3 elements of treatment: interventions, medications, and psychological education/counseling.  All these elements must be in place in order for the stool to remain upright and stable...right?

The article goes on to point out more detailed information about each leg of the stool.  As the author is a psychologist, he goes on to say that many people are treated only with interventions and medications...but the psychological leg of the stool is left out, leaving treatment sorely lacking.

Why is the psychological aspect of treatment so important?  Because this part of a pain management treatment can help a patient to learn very important coping skills that enhance the overall effectiveness of treatment.  According to Dr. Jones, there are five skills that a pati…

Esther Gokhale's Interesting Observations about Back Pain...or the lack the world around us.

Today's post is based on an interesting story about a woman named Esther Gokhale.  Who, you might ask?

She is an acupuncturist in the San Francisco Bay area.  The short story is that she was having some spinal issues.  Unfortunately, she had to have surgery.  After that, she travelled across the globe and into history and anthropology books to understand why some cultures are more prone to spinal issues than others. 

Esther's observations are fascinating.  She has some good tips for back pain sufferers, too! You can read this very interesting story by clicking here.   I think it's fascinating and I hope you will too!

Sources: NPR; Wikipedia

Best Practices for Using NSAIDs

Most people have taken one or more of drugs from the NSAID class at one time or another.
Maybe you're not familiar with the term NSAID, but I bet you know the names ibuprofen or naproxen, or the trade names: Motrin, Advil, Aleve.  The National Ambulatory Study,  conducted in recent years, revealed that 95% of those questioned over a period of 7 years had taken this type of drug.

My whole reason for writing this blog is to promote the "less is more" mentality when using medication for pain, and this class of drugs illustrates my point very nicely. So, without further ado, let me elaborate a little bit.

While we are greatly familiar with what a great tool these drugs are in the world of pain management, many do not know the risks/side effects that go along with them.  The first one that comes to mind is damage to the GI mucosa...leading to ulcer formation, or even worse, GI bleed.  The more regularly you take these drugs, the more likely you will be to have the problem. …

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:; 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 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 …