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Does Pilates Improve Posture?

You’d be hard pressed to find a fitness guru more obsessed with posture than your average Pilates instructor (perhaps a classical ballet instructor? We digress). Both forms of exercise focus on moving efficiently, and that requires core strength. If you’re relying on your superficial muscles to support you, you probably suffer from at least a little pain. Headaches, pinched nerves, and hip pain can all happen as the result of slouching, and Pilates will address the problem from a few different angles.

Why is Good Posture Important?

If your spine is poorly aligned as you work and play, some muscles must compensate while others become knotted and contracted. Your range of motion will be limited and some of your organs will be compressed. Inflammation can result from nerve compression, too.

Pilates teaches balance, which requires you to rely on core strength while teaching you to balance your weight onto the middle of your foot. You’ll learn a neutral spine position, which keeps your curvature relaxed and natural. If you overcompensate by opening your chest too widely and pushing your shoulders too far back, you will lose your balance, so the process teaches you good habits intuitively.

Pilates for Back Pain

Core strength is an obvious support for back pain, but flexibility has a role, too. By stretching out the muscles around the spine, it releases contractions while reinforcing a healthy curvature. Pilates is so effective at its job that trials have demonstrated improved endurance, flexibility, and posture within only 12 weeks. You needn’t turn your exercise into an obsession to enjoy results. Even mild Pilates routines, when performed twice weekly, have an impact.

Pilates specifically targets the hunched kyphotic lordotic posture, which brings hip spasms, neck tension, and weak abs. Your back pain deserves a proactive solution, and Pain Stop Clinics can help you design a treatment plan.

What is the WHO Pain Ladder?

The vast majority of doctors’ consultations focus on pain management, but before 1986, there was no universally understood way to communicate pain levels. Doctors had to intuit their way through pain care one adjective at a time. The World Health Organization developed the pain ladder as a three step grading system to solve this problem.

The WHO Pain Ladder has evolved from a cancer pain guide into a treatment framework for all chronic pain conditions. The ladder leaked into the medical industry, acting as a catalyst for global teaching campaigns that improved pain awareness. It also came at a cost, triggering a cataclysmic opioid crisis.

Treatment-Based Pain Relief

The ladder doesn’t only guide the kind of treatment you receive, but acts as a flag to alert doctors if your condition requires extra investigation. It’s divided into three levels:

  • Step Three: Severe pain levels: Morphine and other opioids are indicated.
  • Step Two: Moderate, constant pain: Codeine and milder opioids are suggested.
  • Step One: Mild pain rated at 1-3 out of 10: Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories and acetaminophen are best.

The Problem with Pills

Pain management has come a long way since the Eighties. New, non-opioid medications have been developed that address the cause of pain instead of its symptoms without introducing risky, addictive substances. Symptoms should be taken seriously, not stifled thoughtlessly. All unrelieved pain deserves a second and even third assessment. Pain is, after all, a signal that something is wrong. There is a massive range of therapies, from spinal fusion surgery to neuropathic solutions, that treat the foundation of pain.

The pain ladder fails to address each unique case on its own merits. In medicine, it’s often said that you should treat the patient, not the numbers. Physicians must advance towards a more personalized approach to care. Pain Stop Clinics will support you and your condition compassionately.

Opioid Overprescription Among Veterans With Chronic Pain

The Tomah facility earned its nickname, “Candyland”, for its over-prescription of opioid painkillers. Chronic pain is the most common reason Middle East veterans seek care. It’s often suffered together with post-traumatic stress disorder, with 66% of PTSD vets having a coexisting chronic pain condition. By the same token, 47% of vets in treatment for neck and back pain also have PTSD.

The VA is working on adding new types of chronic pain treatments to its arsenal, but many of the therapies it’s selected don’t come close to having a foundation in evidence-based medicine. This leaves veterans with few recovery options, but funding has been pushed through to improve the situation.

One of the most important tools to fight the prescription epidemic is by offering treatment alternatives that genuinely reduce pain. Since emotional states have a powerful impact on pain levels, treatment of psychiatric disorders is equally key.

Coping Tools

Over the last 30 years, multidisciplinary pain clinics have shown themselves to be 75% more effective than conventional care. Pain patients should be taught how to manage their pain behaviors and use cognitive tactics to manage their symptoms. Of course, physical care cannot be ignored, and there is a host of treatment options that don’t include opioid prescriptions.

Medical innovation leaps forward every day, and chronic pain is one of its core focuses. This has created an entire set of evidence-based treatment types that can reduce pain and symptoms of PTSD. Pain Stop Clinics offer the multidisciplinary approach that has shown itself to be so powerful among veterans. You deserve the best care, and that’s what we provide.

The Nocebo Effect and Pain Management

There’s an excellent reason some doctors don’t warn their patients about medication side effects. When you expect negative symptoms, you’re more likely to experience them, a phenomenon known as the nocebo effect.

When researchers used fMRI to uncover the physiology behind this tendency, they found that no less than 12 regions of the brain were involved. Everything from the rational prefrontal cortex to the more emotional temporal gyrus responded to health expectations. The brain is a powerful and mysterious organ, capable of changing how you experience your body. Expect pain, and you’re likely to feel it. Expect nausea, and your brain will make it happen, too.

Medical trials frequently suffer under the weight of the nocebo effect. 11% of placebo takers dropped out of a fibromyalgia study due to perceived side effects. 26% of the control group in a lactose intolerance trial suffered gastrointestinal symptoms. Getting beyond the nocebo effect is no easy task. If you’re a suggestible person, you’re likely to experience it at least once, and your healthcare worker is the best tool you have for combating it.

The Power of Words

Even the most sensitive healthcare workers can trigger a nocebo effect, so the only way over the hurdle is through awareness. Secret-keeping is not a solution. Your physician must understand the power of words, which can increase reports of bad reactions by as much as 2000 times.

JAMA nocebo researcher, Ulrike Bingel has found that clear and thorough communication is the best tool to overcome false adverse effects. Your physician should describe your drug’s effects and their likelihood clearly, without jargon. Doctors at Pain Stop Clinics remain aware of the power of the mind so that they can better guide patients away from their fears with active listening, sensitivity, and realistic hope.

Service Dogs for Chronic Migraines

Dogs are truly amazing creatures. They can be trained to work with anyone and to identify all sorts of health-related problems. Due to their strong sense of smell, they can identify odors we humans can’t. As any dog owner knows, they are also extremely keen on our behavior and are able to pick up on subtle changes. If you or someone you love deals with chronic migraines, you may want to consider a migraine alert dog.

Early Warning Signs

There is nothing worse than a full on migraine. From time to time there are symptoms you can identify ahead of time. These early warning signs help you prevent the migraine from fully developing. Now, every individual has unique symptoms and you likely will be able to identify some of these triggers and patterns over time. You’ll also learn how to cope with some of these triggers. Yet sometimes, migraines still seem to come out of no where.

Migraine Alert Dogs

A migraine alert dog perceives changes in both physical and psychological behaviors that precede a migraine. Dogs are able to identify the prodrome phase, which often begins a migraine attack. The dog is then able to warn you so you can take yourself out of the situation or seek preventative treatment. The prodrome phase can start up to 48 hours before a migraine attack.

If you have a dog who seems to be trying to get your attention before you suffer a migraine, you might have a natural migraine alert system. In this case, consider training and certifying your dog as a service animal. Any breed or size of dog can become a service dog if they are intelligent and attentive, and if they undergo the appropriate training. Consider meeting dogs at your local shelter to find a good partner in pain management.

Coping with Chronic Knee Pain

Knee pain is a very common musculoskeletal condition. It’s the number one reason people seek out pain relief. Chronic knee pain can be long term, with swelling and sensitivity in one or both knees. Each person’s experience with knee pain will be different, so what someone else is going through may be quite different than what you are experiencing.

Causes of knee pain are many and varied. These include:

  • osteoarthritis
  • tendinitis
  • bursitis
  • rheumatoid arthritis
  • torn ligaments
  • bone tumors
  • meniscus tears
  • dislocation

Knee pain can be caused by a variety of movements or injuries that may include overuse, a sprain or strain, sports-related injuries, or falling. All of these incidents can lead to chronic knee pain where the pain feels as if it will never go away.

Chronic knee pain is pain that has been going on for two months or more with no satisfactory explanation. You may have had a leg or knee injury in the past, or you may have rheumatoid arthritis now. All you know is that there is some damage inside of your knee and it just keeps getting worse with each passing day.

Annoying pain can suddenly become more severe for seemingly no reason. Knee pain ultimately comes down to the wearing away of the cartilage which covers the entire knee joint area. Every time you walk, there is more friction on the joint and hence, the pain continues.

The good news is that Pain Stop Clinics, a pain management provider in Phoenix has solutions. These solutions mean that you can achieve real pain relief. There are lasting ways to remedy knee pain; chronic pain is not something you have to resign yourself to.

Treatment options are something your doctor will discuss with you. There are any number of effective treatments available to help you conquer knee pain, including:

  • Physio therapy and therapeutic exercises
  • Joint injections
  • Trigger point injections
  • Massage therapy
  • Low-dose steroid injections
  • Pharmacological intervention

When you decide you’ve had enough and want lasting pain relief for chronic knee pain, you’ll find there are many options open to you. Pain management in Phoenix is available and waiting.

Remember, if a knee problem isn’t treated properly, it can lead to chronic conditions. That, in turn, will lead to hip and back pain, all because your knee pain causes your body to compensate in other ways.

Chronic Pain and Depression

No one likes having to deal with pain. In a world where just about everything can be solved or has an endpoint, pain which goes on and on is certainly not welcome. Chronic pain is not good for your mental health and overall state of being. In fact, it can make things decidedly worse.

What is Chronic Pain?

Chronic pain is any pain that lasts longer than usual. You could almost compare it to an endless toothache. Long after an injury or problem has healed, the pain continues. It may cut into your daily life in that you begin doing things differently, or stop doing things altogether. Because all you’re looking for is pain relief, if not diagnosed and treated properly, chronic pain can often lead to substance abuse.

Your body will react in different ways with chronic pain. Chronic pain is characterized by low energy, muscle pain, abnormalities in brain hormones, mood disorders, and impaired physical and mental performance. As neurochemical changes in your body take place, chronic pain worsens.

This leads to pain in other parts of your body, where once you may have never experienced pain. Chronic pain leads to not being able to sleep at night, which means that during the day you are tired don’t feel like doing much of anything. Where once you had great enthusiasm for the day, now nothing matters because you don’t have the energy to deal with anything but the pain.

Depression can set in. If your chronic pain has led to depression, know one thing: you’re in good company and there are treatments available to help you.

Neurotransmitters in your brain, the brain chemicals that act as messengers between nerves, are shared by both depression and chronic pain. That includes some of the pathways in the brain and spinal cord as well. It’s no wonder that chronic pain can lead to a feeling of depression.

Think of depression as a magnifying glass. It’s bad enough coping with chronic pain, and depression only magnifies the pain you have. Given enough time, many things start to be affected: relationships, your job, hobbies, and your social network, whereby daily living becomes a chore.

Here’s the good news: because chronic pain and depression are so closely linked, there is pain relief, and they are treated together. It just makes sense doesn’t it, to treat the whole condition and not just a piece of it?

If you have chronic pain which has led to depression, know that pain management in Phoenix has the cure for you. Don’t make pain a part of your life. It doesn’t have to be that way.

Stop Sciatica Pain with Pilates

Sometimes back pain is sciatic pain. If you’ve been experiencing sudden pain in your back upon arising, a pain that travels down one of your legs, chances are it’s sciatic nerve pain. Sciatica is caused from either a herniated disk, tight muscles, or some type of injury to the nerves in the spine.

Other symptoms of sciatica include pain while bending, numbness, or tingling in the leg after prolonged sitting, a pins and needles sensation, or pain felt around the mid-buttock to the side. These are usually chronic in nature, meaning they don’t just appear and then disappear quickly.

Because the sciatic nerve controls most of your lower body’s sensorimotor activity, anything that puts pressure on this nerve can cause some type of sciatic nerve pain. There are exercises known as Pilates that can help to alleviate some of these sciatic symptoms.

Pilates exercises won’t cure sciatica, but they may go a long way to helping you with gaining sciatic nerve pain relief. It’s very unlikely that Pilates will cause sciatica, although it is true that certain exercises may make a sciatic situation worse. If you have any type of sciatica, do not engage in any exercises that have you rolling like a ball, where you are rolling back and forth on your spine. That said, there are several other Pilates exercises you can utilize, and pain management doctors in Tempe can help develop a Pilates routine to help you alleviate sciatica pain.

Mat Exercises

Exercises such as the cat stretch, where you kneel on all fours, and gently round your back to an upwards curve, can be useful in alleviating sciatica symptoms caused by spinal stenosis.

The swan exercise is best for a herniated disc. Lie face-down, flat on the mat, with your elbows and forearms on the floor and your fingers under your shoulders. Lift your head, neck and chest slowly from the floor, extending your spine. Return slowly to the floor and repeat 4 or 5 times.

Equipment Exercises

You can also gain sciatic nerve pain relief from the use of a Pilates chair. If you have a herniated or degenerated disc, lie face down on the machine with your hands against the pedals. Pushing down on the pedals, you can extend your spine.

Pilates exercises are best discussed with your pain management doctors in Tempe, in that they are qualified to recommend what will work best for your particular sciatica condition.

Simple restorative yoga practices for pain management

If you suffer from pain that is constant or never seems to go away for long, you have chronic pain. Some people may tell you ‘it’s all in your mind’, but it’s not. Millions of Americans have some type of chronic pain, commonly in the neck and shoulders, and along the spine.

Doctors in the past believed that pain could only be caused by strains, sprains and breaks to muscles and bones, infections, and injured discs. It is now generally understood that pain is much more complex, and that the human body as a whole works as an interconnected system. Pain can manifest from stress, and sometimes tightness in a one muscle group leads to pain in another part of the body.

Luckily, there are proven ways to take the pain away. There are ways to unlearn chronic stress and pain responses that will help your mind and body to achieve practice pain relief.

Restorative Yoga

Restorative yoga is a practice that combines gentle yoga poses and conscious breathing exercises. The result, for many, is healing and relaxation. The effectiveness of this is due to several factors.

  • While holding poses, the stillness of your body results in you dropping off deep layers of tension.
  • While engaged in these poses, you use props to support your body.
  • There is no challenging stretching or strengthening with these gentle poses.
  • Restorative yoga rests your body but enlists your mind in concentration.

There are different poses you can employ that will bring your body into a greater harmony and lessen the pain you have been experiencing.

Nesting Pose

Using pillows for your head and between your knees (to relax your hips), lie on your side and draw your legs up to your belly. This pose creates a true sense of security and nourishment. Rest in the natural rhythm of each breath.

Supported Bound Angle Pose

Lying on your back with a bolster underneath your head, and place your legs in a diamond shape supported on each side with pillows. Lean back on the bolster with your hands to your sides. This allows your breathing to be unrestricted.

Supported Backbend Pose

Place pillows under slightly bent knees. Place a pillow or folded towel under your upper back and another under your head or neck. This pose improves the flow of your breath.

Supported Forward Bend

Sitting cross-legged, lean forward onto a stack of pillows, or the support of a chair cushion. This pose relaxes your hips and spine.

All of the restorative yoga poses can be discussed with your pain management doctors in Tempe. Your body will learn to breathe and let go of pain in a whole new way.

Resources to help you manage chronic pain

Chronic pain is manageable. Due to advances in medicine and physiotherapy, new treatments can be very effective in helping you to keep pain in its place.

There are many ways you can suffer with chronic pain: back injuries, car accidents, sports injuries, or health conditions such as diabetes, shingles, arthritis or cancer. Waking up to face the day with pain that never ceases is not anyone’s idea of quality living.

Today, there are any number of resources available to you in your fight against chronic pain, and below are some resources for managing chronic pain:

  • OTC Medications. Acetaminophen, NSAIDs such as Motrin, Advil often are temporary stop-gaps in keeping pain at bay. They can be very effective for mild arthritis, headaches, or small sprains, and strains.
  • Antidepressants. Low doses of common antidepressants are now being used to fight chronic pain. These drugs adjust levels of brain chemicals that may be off enough to be causing undue pain. You don’t need to be depressed in order to be prescribed an antidepressant medication.
  • Pain Relief Creams. Topical painkillers such as Zostrix or Capsaicin help, as do topical skin patches that contain lidocaine for pain relief. If you suffer from shingles or mild arthritis these relief creams can be especially beneficial.
  • Targeted Procedures. Applications such as nerve blocks or trigger point injections are also very helpful in alleviating chronic pain that has gone beyond the mild stage. These help to hone in right where the pain originates, and they are very helpful when dealing with muscle pain.
  • Physiotherapy. Getting into a good physiotherapy regimen will often do wonders to help keep pain at bay. Just by properly exercising the muscles or joints that are the most sensitive, you can keep them from getting any worse. Exercise is often the last thing you want to think about when pain invades your life, although often it’s one of the most effective things you can do. Psychologically, physiotherapy can provide a real boost.
  • Surgery. This should be your last resort. There are so many ways to treat pain nowadays, surgery should be a last option when nothing else has worked.

The only way you’ll really know what will work best for you is by speaking with your pain management doctors in Mesa. Only a qualified professional can give you the best advice.

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