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10 Myths about Chronic Pain

Today I am sharing a graphic that I found while researching for this sure is an eye-opener!

(Originally posted in 2014)

Ankle Replacement: The latest in joint replacement surgery

By now, most of us know one person or another who has had a knee or hip replacement.  What you might not know, is, as these procedures become more common, the frontier of joint replacement has expanded to include shoulder replacements.  And even more recently, ankle joint replacements have become available.

Up until this point, ankle fusion, or ankle arthrodesis has been the surgery of choice for those who suffer from debilitating ankle pain due to arthritis or prior ankle injury. The downfall of this procedure has been that the bones of the ankle are fused using metal plates and screws.  The end product is a joint that is less flexible than the normal ankle.  In turn, this puts pressure on other joints of the foot, leading to the possibility that arthritis will develop in those joints.

Ankle replacement joints were approved by the FDA in 2012.  The advantage to using them is that the post operative ankle function is more like a normal ankle, allowing the patient improved function r…

Quantum Mechanics Offers New Hope For Patients With Peripheral Neuropathy

As previously mentioned, one of the most painful consequences of type II diabetes is a condition known as peripheral neuropathy. This condition is essentially nerve damage caused by elevated blood sugar levels over extended periods of time.

There are also other forms of peripheral neuropathy--due to nerve damage from other causes. According to Peter Carney, MD, there are approximately 23 million persons in America who suffer from this problem.  Dr. Carney is the lead author of a study that offers a novel approach to treatment of this condition...and perhaps the answer to a prayer for sufferers.

Dr. Carney's study involves using a technique known as Combined Electrochemical Therapy (CET).
This technique uses a combination of local anesthetic and electrical current. Forty-one patients with peripheral neuropathy were studied. After twice weekly treatments (up to 24 total treatments per patient), 73% showed regrowth of nerves. Reduction in pain (as per visual analog scale) was marke…

Increased Mindfulness ---> Better Glucose Control

Mindfulness is defined as "the quality or state of being conscious or aware of something." This concept has become a hot topic in the past couple of decades. The roots of this idea are ancient—martial arts, yoga, meditation and Buddhism are all closely related to it.

Mindfulness is a very powerful tool. There are reports that Buddhist monks who sleep in freezing conditions in the mountains of Tibet are able to control their body temperature using this technique!  You have to ask yourself...what things could be possible in your own life if you were able to master this practice?
Four hundred participants in a study at Brown University recently gave us a hint at what is possible.  Using the Mindful Attention Awareness Scale (MAAS), researchers found a significant association between dispositional mindfulness and glucose control. After evaluating their findings, the authors hypothesize that being aware of the present moment can lead to reduced likelihood of obesity and a greater s…

iovera® Device: For Treatment of Breakthrough Pain?

The marketplace for pain management products is changing...and many devices have come onto the market for this purpose.  The early generation products, such as spinal cord stimulators and TENS units are still in use today..but more and more new devices have entered the scene.

One such device is undergoing clinical trials right now.  It's called iovera®and it's  already FDA approved for breakthrough pain.  The current trials are focused on post-surgical management of pain in knee replacement patients. There is a lot of interest in this product--according to Myoscience, the California based product developer, enrollment for the study filled up ahead of schedule!

This device is a little different from some of the earlier devices because of its use for breakthrough pain.  The earlier products I am most familiar with deliver a constant baseline level of pain relief--if breakthrough pain should occur while using these earlier products, it is managed using medication or some other p…

Biopsychosocial Program: A Method That Provides Long-Term Pain Relief to Patients Not Responding to Opioids

Okay, so sometimes pain management with opioids fails for one reason or another.  Maybe the side effects are just too much for an individual...or maybe an individual becomes addicted and wants to find and alternative way to manage pain going forward.  If that sounds like you, or someone you know...there is hope.

Research findings presented at this year's American Academy of Pain Management describe a study of this very thing.  A study of patients at the Chronic Pain and Recovery Center in New Canaan, Connecticut followed 154 patients who came to the center due to opioid failure/addiction.  Following a 28 day residential treatment program, these patients learned self management techniques,and participated in group therapy, physical therapy,substance abuse and nutrition counseling, 63 percent of these folks were no longer on opioids and still reported a reduction in their pain scores!

These findings are preliminary, but they are indeed good news! You can read the original story by …

Pain Medications Can Hurt You, Too...

A very traditional part of medicine follows the logic that medication is the first resort for pretty much every medical condition known to man.  This was a widely accepted practice for many years. For patients, it became pretty much expected that a visit to the doctor entailed a brief exam to evaluate the patient's complaint, followed by a prescription for some medication to treat said medical condition.

In more recent years, the medical community has learned from the flaws in this logic.  For example, after treating patient after patient with antibiotics for minor infection, we have fallen victim to "super bugs"--strains of bacteria that are resistant to most, if not all, antibiotics.  We have learned that it's better to find other approaches to the more minor infections, allowing the body to heal itself and develop a stronger immune system.
In that same vein, chronic pain conditions fell into the same logic process.  Long acting opioid products used over long peri…