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How Much Does Exercise Reduce Pain?

Chronic pain encourages a sedentary lifestyle, but recent research suggests that curling up in bed waiting for your aches to disappear could make your condition worse. Exercise not only improves lower back pain symptoms, but reduces your odds of ever developing the problem in the first place.

Positive Effects of Exercise on Back Pain

A daily walk, combined with patient education, reduces risk by between 27 and 33%.

If your lifestyle is currently inactive, you reduce your risk of developing lower back pain by up to 38%, simply by taking up exercise.

Occupational health specialist, Dr Rahman Shiri, suggests strengthening and stretching your core muscles, even if you’ve already developed spine issues. Muscle spasms set your posture off balance, which causes even more spasms, pain, and pinched nerves. By loosening up your back and strengthening your core, you encourage the right muscles to support your body weight.

Add some feel-good aerobic exercise to your routine, and you’ll flood your body with pain-reducing hormones. If you have poor posture, Pilates and yoga can teach you better habits.

The Wrong Kind of Exercise for Back Pain

If you have a painful condition, exercise can worsen your symptoms as much as improve them. Any movements that put your weight onto your back should be avoided. Substitute toe touches with half crunches. Avoid sit-ups, leg lifts, and any movements that place pressure on the hollow of your back. Avoid jarring exercise and take a moderate approach to stretching. If you’re unsure about your routine, your physician or physiotherapist is there to guide you.

Patients who exercise tend to be slow to ask for medical help or take necessary sick leave. It’s commendable to take your health into your own hands by exercising, but try not to view exercise as your only option for wellness.

Taking control of your health has mental benefits as well as medical payoffs. By taking action, you’ll find your emotional response to your pain will improve.

The History of Prescription Opioids

Opium first appeared in the historical record in 3400 BC Mesopotamia. Its mind altering effects were so celebrated that it would ultimately cause a war. The ancient Greeks and Romans were the first to discover their analgesic strength, which led to the creation of morphine and, eventually, codeine. Heroin was only synthesized in the late 1800s when the famous pharmaceutical company, Bayer, began to sell it as medicine. Bayer’s current catchphrase is “Science for Better Life,” a distinctly ironic slogan considering the unforeseen chaos heroin has caused among addicts.

In reality, research takes time to collect and analyze data for long-term effects. In the quest for fast pain relief (and profits), new treatments sometimes jump the gun.

Today, the DEA lists all opiates as having a high risk of physical and psychological tolerance. Their addictive properties don’t undermine their usefulness, but they do underline a need for caution. The U.S. government called the opioid abuse crisis a “public health emergency” in 2017, but awareness of its dangers is not synonymous with having a realistic best practice for overcoming the problem.

Patient Rights and Mortality

Profit-seeking is one of the most destructive aspects of the pharmaceutical industry. Patients have a right to pain relief, but if pharmaceutical companies studied tolerance and addiction patterns during their first trials, the current crisis might have been diverted early.

Opioids receive more bad press than most other drugs, not merely for their addictive qualities, but also the fatal effects of their abuse–another issue that should have been addressed before the drugs went to market. Had solutions, such as addiction specialist support and abuse screening tools, been rolled out to doctors during post-market studies, fewer lives would have been lost.

One of the most powerful solutions to the opioid crisis is education. Chronic pain patients deserve pain-free and safe lives. The pharma sector can and should put those rights ahead of profits.

Virtual Reality for Chronic Pain Works

Morphine’s long-term efficacy and safety remains contentious. In studies, it has reduced pain by between one and three points on the numeric pain rating scale, so while it certainly has its place, more effective, safe analgesic therapies are desperately needed. Hope might come from an unexpected place: virtual reality software.

The Studies Supporting VR for Chronic Pain

In March 2017, researchers at Cedars Sinai Medical Center studied the effects of calming virtual reality content on 50 pain patients. They reported a 24% drop in pain—equal to that of morphine. Two dimensional video and music brought a 13.2% improvement.

Psychologist, Hunter Hoffman, tried out a different virtual reality environment called Snow World on burn victims during and after wound care. Patients reported 60% to 75% less pain during their sessions and 30% to 50% less afterwards.

The Brain Hijack

Researcher Brennan Spiegel thinks that virtual reality works as an “immersive distraction” that “hijacks the senses.” It keeps the brain from processing pain, an effect that still needs to be tested over longer periods of time. Spiegel has already begun a larger trial, which will look into how virtual environments affect the length of hospital stays.

The study isn’t as spurious as it may seem. The brain and mood’s impact on medical outcomes is well documented. Optimism not only encourages recovery from surgery, but lowers death rates.

Pain is a strange and stubborn creature. To endure it, you must use all your personal resources. Patients must alter their perceptions of what they feel and find optimism at a time when it’s least available. Many treatments support this difficult task.

Chronic pain constantly occupies a place in your brain, which leads to depression and insomnia. PainStop Clinic understands your suffering and will support you with a range of therapies that replace risky opioid-based medications.

 

Opioid Alternatives for Chronic Pain

Almost half of opioid overdoses in the United States involve prescription drugs. A thousand people a day receive emergency room care for misusing their prescribed painkillers. As a temporary measure, there are few medications quite as efficient at erasing pain than opioids, but this may change in the next five years. Kineta, Inc, a biotech company that specializes in immune modulating drugs, recently began phase one human trials for a new class of chronic pain treatment—and this one does much more than treat mere symptoms.

A New Non-Opioid Painkiller

For the moment, Kineta is calling their new drug KCP-400. It’s a chemical component of cone snail venom that blocked pain signals where they began in animal trials. The drug seems to act at the site of the injury, and its disease-fighting effects also promote healing and reduce inflammation. It will be administered as a weekly injection, and side effects remain unknown. Since it doesn’t cross the blood/brain barrier, it shouldn’t cause tolerance or addiction.

Alternatives to Opioids In Development

Kineta’s search for an opiate replacement is not isolated. Several pharmaceutical companies are working on a new molecular approach that binds opioid receptors along a different pathway than morphine. Researchers hope that by removing the risk of addiction, the new drug class could save thousands of lives and add quality of life to millions of patients.

The DEA is working on the problem from a different angle: by cutting down the production quota of drugs like morphine and oxycodone. Some pharma companies are supporting that effort by making their drugs difficult to crush to prevent patients from injecting them, but this does little to ease the legitimate suffering of chronic pain patients.

A new drug is desperately needed, but until it’s discovered, PainStop Clinics will guide you through your pain using non-opiate therapies whenever possible. Stop in for a consultation.

Over Half of Opioid Prescriptions Given to Adults with Mood Disorders

Almost 10% of the U.S. population suffers from a mood disorder, and 19% of them use prescription opioids. Patients with depression, anxiety, and bipolar disorder are vulnerable to highs and lows caused by medications that directly influence their moods, are prescribing them to this vulnerable group is a contentious issue. Some physicians suggest opioids as a last port of call for lifting depression, but this off-label effect is so short lived that it has little genuine value. To make matters worse, long-term opioid use frequently causes depression and manic episodes, and psychiatric patients are more likely to abuse their medications, due to the psychological drivers behind addiction.

The Depression/Pain Cycle

The opioid problem is so far ranging that the CDC has called for a new social policy to cure what it refers to as over-prescribing. Psychiatric illness poses a particular challenge to chronic pain patients. Depression can worsen your pain, and pain can worsen your depression and anxiety. There is no question that the toxic cycle needs to be broken, and opioids are far from the only option for doing so.

The reason 51% of opioid scripts are given to mood disorder patients is unclear, but it could be that depression and anxiety change the way people respond to pain. Doctors may also be more sympathetic to this group of patients. In other words, if your psychiatric health places you in this vulnerable demographic, it’s crucial that your pain be treated as proactively as your mood is. Every therapy must not only be assessed according to how effective it is, but also how it influences your psychiatric condition.

Surgery, physiotherapy, non-opioid analgesics, and occupational therapy all have an important role to play in chronic pain management. Pain Stop Clinics take a multi-pronged approach that takes our responsibility to whole patient health seriously.

Do Opioids Lead to Heroin Addiction?

Drug overdoses kill 29,000 Americans a year, with the majority of those deaths being from opiate and heroin abuse. While campaigners like to draw a link between opioid and heroin abuse, no studies have revealed anything beyond correlation. Most heroin abusers have used opioids before because most Americans have used opioids at least once in their lifetimes. By the same token, most heroin users have used soap in the past. This doesn’t mean cleanliness caused their addictions. The DSM, fortunately, provides a better idea of addiction’s cause.

Addiction vs Dependency

The DSM-V separates addiction into two separate diagnoses:

  • Substance dependency, which is a physiological tolerance to a substance without psychiatric involvement.
  • Addictive/Substance abuse disorder, which involves behavior.

The psychopathological model sees mental disorders as the cause of addiction. Saying opioid painkillers lead to heroin addiction is thus like saying razorblades are the cause of self-mutilation.

When Medication Creates Addiction

The circumstances surrounding a patient’s need to take painkillers should be carefully monitored. For example, if they are prescribed painkillers after undergoing a traumatic event, they may be at higher risk for self-medicating, which can lead to addiction.

If you’re taking opiates due to a substance dependency, the odds are excellent that you’ll never pick up heroin. If you have an underlying pathology like substance abuse disorder, your drug of choice is probably “more”—of anything, whether it be heroin or stronger opioids or a bottle of vodka.

It’s critical that opioid users receive the correct diagnosis because a substance abuse disorder requires specialized care. Those who have developed a dependency are generally able to take narcotic medications without abusing them, but those with substance abuse disorders should avoid that entire class of drugs, from benzodiazepines to pseudoephedrine and Oxycodone.

This doesn’t make dependency a pleasant problem. If you’ve developed a tolerance and are suffering from severe rebound pain, you deserve freedom from a toxic cycle that’s likely leaving your body in constant crisis. Besides, long-term side effects can create more health problems down the road. At Pain Stop Clinics, we treat pain with a holistic approach based on each unique patient profile.

Steroid Injections for Back Pain

Back pain is notoriously challenging to treat, but steroid injections could give you weeks of relief without drugs. The risks are rare, but significant, so your physician will try more conservative approaches before recommending them. They’re an invasive option given the sight of the epidural, but if you’re waiting for surgery or are struggling to cope with short-term pain, they may bring much-needed freedom.

Conditions Treated with Steroid Injections

Back pain isn’t a single diagnosis, but a symptom of a titanic collection of conditions. Epidural injections have proven themselves effective in two conditions: inflammation or nerve damage and spinal stenosis. The former usually affects the lower back and neck, with shooting pain that radiates into the limbs. A herniated disc is frequently the cause. If your spine has narrowed, whether from a herniated disc, misplaced bone spur, or tumor, steroid infections might ease your symptoms, too.

What to Expect from Steroid Injections

Your epidural should be effective for a few weeks. If your first one does its job well, you may be prescribed up to three a year, which means they can’t be a constant source of support. They’re also no substitute if surgery is needed. It’s important to approach this form of treatment from the right angle. Studies haven’t turned up any long term benefits, so they’re largely symptomatic.

Your injection will be given as near as possible to the source of your pain, which is why epidurals are only an option if your condition is highly concentrated to one area. Dispersed pain demands a more general approach.

Cortisone and steroids may be used as anti-inflammatories. Lidocaine or bupivacaine are often included, not only for their anaesthetic powers, but their tendency to flush inflammatory agents out of the area, too.

As always, to determine which treatment might be best for you, work with a caring medical team. If your back pain is affecting your quality of life, contact Pain Stop Clinics for a consultation.

Pain Causes Biochemical Changes

When you feel pain, you want it to be gone. Whether it is leg, knee, back or head pain, it’s all the same in that it hurts and all you want is some relief.

Did you know that the longer you live with chronic pain the worse it can become? You may think you’re treating the pain with over-the-counter medication, but are you treating the condition or just the symptom?

What can happen over time is that your pain will start to cause you to use your body in different ways, favoring one side over another or walking incorrectly to compensate. If you have knee pain, for instance, you may start limping. If it’s sciatic pain, your sleep may be interrupted at night and the way you sit during the day will also be affected. Inevitably, your reliance on medications to alleviate the pain every day will only increase.

Pain, over time, can also cause biochemical changes in your body that tend to keep the pain going. Without special treatment, you may develop chronic pain syndrome. These pain signals, which are triggered by the nervous system, can affect your everyday life.

Researchers now want to look at pain in terms of its inflammation profile, in that all pain is caused by inflammation and inflammatory response. This new approach acknowledges the significant role of the biochemical factors at play that deal with pain, including cytokines, neuropeptides, growth factors and neurotransmitters. Activation of pain receptors, transmission and modulation of pain signals, neuro plasticity, and central sensitization all make up your body’s pain response. Understanding how these components work together allows researchers to think about the biochemical components of pain differently to help you achieve advanced pain management.

Studies have shown that the pain associated with osteoarthritis is more than just a symptom of the disease. Pain signals which originate in the arthritic joints themselves, and the biochemical processing of those signals as they reach the spinal cord are actually made worse, and exacerbate the arthritis.

Today’s advanced pain management has the solution you’re looking for. There are comprehensive pain treatment programs for quick-pain relief and for long-lasting results. There really is no reason any longer to be burdened with chronic pain. No matter what type of pain you are experiencing, there is a treatment for it. There is pain relief for migraine headaches, knee pain, back and neck pain, muscle and joint pain, sciatic nerve pain relief and so much more.

Don’t let your chronic pain get the better of you! There are real solutions to pain. Make an appointment today to discuss at Pain Stop, pain management clinics in Phoenix. Pain professionals will diagnose your specific pain and offer you many options that are quick-relief and long-lasting for what ails you.

Pain doesn’t need to become a damaging part of a disease. It doesn’t need to become worse before it gets better. There are workable solutions to get rid of your pain today.

Trends you need to know about chronic knee pain

Even if you don’t suffer from some type of knee pain, chances are you know someone who does. It is a very common problem for millions of people. Often, chronic knee pain can lead to knee surgery.

Total knee replacement surgery is a big deal. Not only is it a full surgical procedure, but it takes weeks of rehab to get you back on your feet again. Luckily, with newer trends in medicine and physiotherapy for chronic pain relief, surgery is not always necessary.

There are a number of non-invasive treatment plans that your doctor can employ to alleviate chronic knee pain. Some of these treatments include:

  • Non-steroidal Injections. Steroids are not always needed to relieve knee pain, believe it or not. The non-steroidal medication is injected into the joint, muscle or around a nerve for total pain relief.
  • Nerve Blocks. Your doctor will pinpoint the exact region where your pain is coming from. Then an epidural steroid injection is used to specifically target your pain area. This is done through the use of an x-ray known as fluoroscopy.
  • Chiropractic Therapy. Another non-surgical solution is using your body and bringing it into proper alignment. Through the use of chiropractic therapy you may find that your knee pain is lessened or gone, now that your body has been restored to a more balanced natural state.
  • Trigger Point Injections. Muscle fibers cause pain. They actually can become muscle knots, due to overwork or an injury. Trigger point injections can reduce inflammation and the pain caused by these muscle knots because they are specifically targeted by your pain management doctors in Mesa. This goes a long way in helping the muscle to heal.
  • Physiotherapy and Therapeutic Exercises. These are at the heart of any pain management program. Your doctor will develop a treatment plan specific to your knee pain. This is to treat the cause of the pain, which in turn will bring about chronic pain relief. Musculoskeletal imbalances are brought into alignment and knee pain can be greatly reduced or eliminated.

Knee pain can be mild to severe, even to the point where getting around is next to impossible. Let your pain management doctors in Mesa evaluate your knee pain situation and put you on the road to total knee health again.

Things You Need to Know If You Suffer From Migraines

Migraine headaches are more than just your typical headache. They are the result of specific changes in the brain, although what causes migraines isn’t fully known. Usually, they consist of a pounding pain in your head, which can be accompanied by nausea, vomiting, sensitivity to light, and eye pain.

There are a number of factors which seem to trigger migraine headaches, such as stress, hormonal changes, certain foods, or even loud noises. Once you are in the grip of a migraine headache all you want is for the pain to go away.

In the past you may have tried any number of remedies in the search for the one that would provide you with the best pain-free condition. Some may have worked for a while, some may never have worked, and others may have seemed to be too far ‘out there’ to bother with. You’ve probably gone through the prescription medication route, OTC meds, massage therapy, stretching, aroma therapy, nerve block shots, supplements, and you may have even tried surgery to bring some relief.

When you talk with your pain management doctors in North Phoenix, you’ll discover how they are using a two-pronged approach to help their patients reduce and even eliminate the pain of migraines. This treatment is not suitable for every individual, but it has been effective for many.

This treatment begins with the MiRx Protocol, which is a non-surgical nerve block technique for relieving pain through targeting a nerve located in the nasal cavity. Pain relief is almost instant and can last for weeks. This protocol is combined with advanced physiotherapy, where physiotherapists and chiropractic professionals work with you to determine the exact causes and location of your migraines. You work with the doctors to identify physical and emotional factors that bring on migraine episodes.

Knowing all there is to know about your specific life factors is key to reducing and eliminating migraines permanently. The success ratio for this two-pronged approach is 90% in qualified candidates.

Migraine headaches are controllable through lifestyle changes and the right treatment program designed for you. Knowing what triggers your pain goes a long way to controlling it and eventually reducing the effects it has on your life. Pain management doctors in North Phoenix can help determine whether or not migraine relief can be achieved by this treatment and therapy.

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