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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.

Promising News: Pain Relief Without Drugs

When signs of pain appear, your first reaction may be to run for the medicine cabinet or the drugstore. No one wants to experience pain for any longer than is absolutely necessary. Pop a pill, but know that the relief will only be temporary. There are better solutions for pain relief.

Today, more than ever before, there are several approaches available for pain management. Your pain management doctors in Tempe can guide you through the options that will be most beneficial to you.

Pain relief without drugs includes:

  • Physiotherapy. This procedure teaches you how to move and stretch your muscles gently in order to work your joints for maximum advantage. Instead of using medications which may have unwanted side effects and complicate your life, physiotherapy can treat the underlying source of your pain. Conditions such as arthritis can be helped by introducing a physiotherapy workout designed for your special needs. You won’t be on your own. You’ll be working with trained specialists who know just what to do to pinpoint and alleviate the pain you are experiencing.
  • Chiropractic Therapy. This is a very safe and very effective way to combat pain. This type of therapy brings your spine into true alignment so your entire body, the musculoskeletal, and nervous system, are all restored to a point where the body can begin to heal itself. Very effective for severe back pain relief.
  • Massage Therapy. Given by a licensed massage therapist, this will concentrate finding the painful localized trigger and muscle points that are often associated with chronic pain. With assisted stretching techniques, massage therapy is quite effective in decreasing pain and the inflammation that goes with it.
  • Diet and Exercise. There are foods that can make inflammation worse such as processed foods, too much caffeine, alcohol, dairy, eggs, wheat products, and even chocolate. By avoiding these or consuming them at a minimum you are helping your body to maintain an optimal healthy state. Exercising every day, or at least three days a week, is also conducive to helping you manage chronic pain. Walking and gentle stretches are excellent ways to move your body.

You don’t want to move forward with any of these approaches without talking to your pain management doctors in Tempe first. They can guide you to the proper pain treatment that’s right for your pain.

A Desk Jockey’s Guide to Exercise

Okay, admit it. You love sitting at your desk all day, taking care of business. Then to get home, you sit again, either in your car, bus, or train. It’s what you do! It’s also what can cause many back, neck and knee problems.

What Causes Knee Pain?

Unless you are suffering from an injury, knee pain is often the result of tight hamstrings or other muscles attached to and providing support for your knee. Make sure you do plenty of leg stretches and strengthening exercises to keep knee pain away!

What Exercises Can I Do To Alleviate Desk-Related Aches and Pains?

Fortunately, there are exercises you can do right at your desk or in your office. Your body wasn’t designed to sit still for long, and you’ve got to get up and go. Here’s how:

•Book Press. Use the heaviest book you can find in your office and hold it with both hands behind your head. Extend your arms up, then drop them down again. Repeat this as many times as you want. This exercise will help with any chronic neck pain.

•Shoulder Blade Squeeze. This movement is great for getting the kinks out of your back. Pretend you have a pencil between your shoulder blades. Squeeze them together for 10 seconds, then release and repeat. The shoulder blade squeeze is great for getting the blood flowing again.

•Wall Sits. Standing against a blank wall space, squat down to a 90-degree angle, and hold for as long as you can. Slide up with your back against the wall and repeat.

•Raising Your Calf Muscles. Standing behind your office chair, feet together, rise up to raise your calves. Hold for 10 seconds, then lower and repeat. This exercise is great for your lower legs.

•Tighten Your Abs. While sitting, straighten one leg and hold it out for 10 seconds or longer. Lower it almost to the floor, then hold again. Repeat for your other leg.

•Phone Walking. If you use the phone frequently throughout the day, invest in a headset so you can walk while you talk. This is great for your entire body because it gets you moving. By keeping stationary all day long, you’re only adding to what causes knee pain while you’re working.

•Desk Pushups. Place both hands on your desk and walk your feet back to a 45-degree angle. Do as many pushups as are comfortable. You might want to increase your pushup amounts as you go.

If you are a ‘desk jockey’ all day long, there are ways to get your body moving even in a small office space. Your pain management doctors in North Phoenix will have even more recommendations for you. Contact one of our 6 Phoenix area clinics and get on the road to comfortable and efficient pain management care.

3 Ways to Turn Your Life Around and Manage Your Pain

Whether it is the occasional headache, or pain from arthritis or another disease, understanding what to do for pain can be half the battle. You don’t want to be overly medicated or so miserable that you miss out on all that life has to offer. Turn your life around by incorporating these three simple suggestions.

#1 – Eat Healthy

Many foods cause inflammation which can make pain worse or cause it to start again. There are foods that will reduce inflammation, such as leafy greens, foods high in omega-3 fatty acids, asparagus, low-sugar fruits (cranberries, cherries, pineapple, plums), and soy products. Pain relief can often be found in eating the right foods.

There are also foods you will want to limit or avoid altogether. These include: chocolate, eggs, citrus fruits, dairy, wheat products, processed foods, red wine, coffee, tea, and soda. This is not to say you can’t have any of these, just don’t overdo it, and substitute healthier alternatives when you can. In time, you may find yourself actually reaching for that bottle of water instead of the can of soda.

# 2- Start and Maintain a Gentle and Appropriate Exercise Program

Pain management is often very doable when you treat it with an exercise routine. Using and stretching the parts of your body that seem to be causing you problems may not always initially seem like the best way to alleviate pain. Simple, gentle approaches including learning how to have perfect posture and implementing a yoga or meditation routine can help you to control some of the pain you have. Pain management doctors in North Phoenix can help suggest some exercises and stretches to help you with pain relief.

Maintaining correct posture is key to fighting pain. Train yourself to always be aware of what kind of posture you are holding. Relax your shoulders away from your ears, stand balanced on your feet, and take even, deep breaths to bring awareness to your posture. You’ll be amazed at how you’ll feel when your body isn’t all scrunched together.

# 3 – Talk About Your Pain

Don’t keep everything to yourself. If you are having real pain issues, then let others know about it. Discuss things with your family, and turn to your pain management doctors in North Phoenix for advice on what to do next. They will be able to accurately diagnose what type of pain you have and offer real, lasting comfort and pain management techniques.

By talking to others, you are taking all of the stress of the situation off of yourself. You’ll sleep better, eat better, and have a more positive outlook on life.

What Causes Joint Pain?

Joints form the connections between your bones. They help you to move and offer support. When you suffer damage to joints it can interfere with how you move and get around. There is usually great pain as well.

Joint pain is very common. Usually, everyone has a story to tell about their own joint pain experiences. The pain can range from mildly irritating to downright debilitating. The pain may last for a week or a month, or never go away. With the joint pain, there is swelling in the joints as well, which will only get worse as time passes.

Joint pain is often chronic pain. You think you’re learning to live with it and then it flares up again, and you know you have to do something about it.

First, understand what causes joint pain. There are a number of reasons for joint pain.

• Dislocated or broken bones
• Arthritis or Osteoarthritis
• Inflammatory disease
• Fibromyalgia
• Repetitive movement
• Bursitis
• Gout
• Sprains and strains
• Lyme disease
• Lupus
• Tendinitis

Whatever the cause of your joint pain, there is relief for your chronic pain. It can be managed through medication, alternative treatments, and/or physiotherapy. Seek out a pain management specialist to discuss best options for your specific situation.

Only with a proper diagnosis will you be able to move forward with joint pain relief. According to one national survey, about one-third of adults reported having joint pain in the last 30 days. The most common joint pain is knee pain, followed by shoulder and hip pain. You don’t need to be an NFL player to know how painful joint pain can be!

When to see a doctor

Many times self-medication seems to clear things up. Over-the-counter medications and ice/heat packs can bring relief. Too often, they turn out to be temporary solutions. This is likely because your joint pain is too serious for small fixes.

Pain management in Phoenix will be your best answer to your joint pain questions. Only with a proper diagnosis will you get to the real core of the problem. Then you’ll know if your joint pain is caused from simple overuse of a muscle or if it’s from a disease that will simply get worse with time.

At Pain Stop Clinics, our pain management teams work with you to get rid of your joint pain by utilizing the best possible treatment plan designed specifically for you.

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