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Chronic Pain, Peripheral Neuropathy, Pain Management, Pain Treatment, Carpal Tunnel, CIPN, Carolina Pain Scrambler Center, Greenville South Carolina

16 Gifts For People with Chronic Pain

Chronic pain conditions don’t take a holiday. Even when days are merry and bright, an estimated 100 million people in the U.S. suffer from some form of chronic pain. This pain can impact their enjoyment of holidays spent with family and friends, but there are some chronic pain gifts you can give to bring them a little cheer and lessen their pain.

The best chronic pain gifts in 2018

Here’s our best choices in 2018. We give options for splurges, last minute chronic pain gifts, and affordable or even DIY options.

1. A clean house

This seems unglamorous, but the truth is that chronic pain sufferers have difficulty cleaning their homes on bad days. On good days, who wants to clean the house?

Make a coupon book good for one cleaning every month, or hire a local company to come in and clean at the chronic pain patient’s convenience. This thoughtful gift is two gifts in one: a clean house and extra time!

2. Spa days

There are many ways to pamper a chronic pain patient. The easiest way is to find a local spa and book them a couple of treatments. Massages, facials, and pedicures are especially relaxing.

Another alternative is to schedule a spa day at home and give them tools that they can enjoy year round. A paraffin wax bath can be purchased online, or you can create one at home. The heat of the wax can relieve pain in the muscles and tendons, but if it’s cooling for painful joints and inflammation you need, a cooling mitten may be a good gift. Run a hot bath with Epsom salts and relaxing essential oils, then chill the mittens for muscle relaxation and joint pain relief at the same time!

3. A delicious dinner

If the foodie in your life happens to suffer from chronic pain, there are useful kitchen gadgets to help make cooking tasks easier.

OXO Good Grips tools have padded, ergonomic handles that are easier for arthritic hands to operate. Additionally, a good jar, can, and bottle opener can make all the difference for a cook with chronic pain, as can a comfortable kitchen mat.

4. Video games

This may seem counterintuitive: buying a video game for a chronic pain patient when most doctors recommend more movement? These are not your father’s videogames. Nintendo and Playstation have video games that promote movement, such as Wii Sports, Wii Fit, Dance, Dance Revolution, and others.

For young kids suffering from chronic pain or other conditions that might make regular sports painful or dangerous, these games can help them stay active while still qualifying as a fun gift!

5. Adaptive equipment

Got a golfer on your list? If he or she has limited their tee time due to chronic pain, consider getting them special golf grips to help. These grips are larger and have extra nubs and grippy material so that the golfer can use less strength. For arthritic hands, this can be a way to stay in the game.

In addition, braces and other supportive gear for sports such as gloves, wraps, insoles, and compression socks and braces may not be exciting gifts, but if they help chronic pain patients stay active they will be welcomed!

6. Gardening tools

Being outside in nature is therapeutic and soothing, elevating mood and administering a daily dose of vitamin D. Some chronic pain patients are unable to tend their plants. Look for adaptive tools and seating options for the avid gardener, or offer to build them a raised bed for easier access.

7. Jewelry

Many chronic pain patients have abandoned the idea of jewelry long ago. Rings and bangles won’t fit over painful joints, and earrings and necklaces are impossible to fasten.

Jewelry Helper accessory kit can handle those necklaces and earrings with ease. This kit helps adapt bracelets and necklaces with magnetic clasps and also includes a “hooker” that helps with fastening necklaces, closing zippers, and buttoning buttons. You can also purchase individual kits to adapt favorite necklaces to magnetic clasps, or visit a jeweler and have them adapted for you.

8. Clothes

Along with adaptive jewelry comes adaptive chronic pain friendly clothing. This can be anything that doesn’t have a million tricky buttons, clasps, or zippers. A pair of luxurious gloves or a scarf provides soothing warmth in cold weather, or try a beautiful, fluffy robe and slippers for comfort at home.

Winter is a time of gorgeous knits, and easy dressing needn’t mean unfashionable dressing. On Etsy alone there are hundreds of handmade sweaters for all ages and styles.

9. Subscriptions

Sometimes chronic pain is debilitating, and one of the best chronic pain gifts for the person who is suffering is a good distraction. With a subscription to Netflix or Hulu they can stream movies and TV shows instantly.

For the literary minded, Tailored Book Recommendations will ship books directly to a gift recipient’s door every quarter or send customized PDF recommendations. The books are chosen based on previously enjoyed books, with an expert book recommender assigned to them.

Audible also provides audiobook subscriptions for those who love listening to their books. Magazine subscriptions can be another excellent monthly present that lasts all year. Look on Amazon for deals and order multiple subscriptions to keep them in reading material all month long!

Also consider ___-of-the-month clubs. The sky’s the limit for these, the ultimate in last-minute Christmas gifts. These are designed to be given as gifts, so the majority of them come with printable gift cards (no extra card purchase necessary!). From beer to bacon to bagels, there is something for everyone.

10. Time

Perhaps the biggest challenge for a chronic pain patient is the feeling of isolation. If you are not the one suffering, it can be difficult to understand what they are feeling. Chronic pain patients have rates of depression that are triple the general population. This depression can trigger a vicious cycle of pain, withdrawal, and more depression.

Give your time as a gift. Don’t just text or call. If it is convenient for the chronic pain patient, visit in person with lunch, a movie, a game, or just a cup of tea. Go for a walk, sit in the sun, or take a trip to the store to browse or for necessities. Make this visit a regular occurrence throughout the year, and make sure that you are no trouble.

Some chronic pain patients miss entertaining and may want to make snacks to serve, but others may prefer to go out. Let them decide, then give them your heart and your ear for an afternoon. The benefit of this gift will extend to giver and recipient.

Last-minute chronic pain gifts 

If find yourself scrambling for last-minute gifts, not to worry. Quick and easy chronic pain gifts can be found many different places this time of year. With a little ingenuity you can finish up your list in time for the holiday! Here’s some of our favorite ideas.

16 Thoughtful Chronic Pain Gifts For Your Loved Ones | PainDoctor.com

11. Grocery store gift baskets

Christmas gifts from the grocery store offer a bonus: you can tackle weekly grocery shopping while picking up a few last minute gifts. Here are some ideas for themed gift baskets you can put together in the store:

  • Coffee and chocolate: Select organic coffee, flavored syrups, a couple mugs, a tin of hot chocolate mix, and some seasonal marshmallows.
  • Cheese and wine: Not all grocery stores carry wine, but if they do, head to the gourmet section of the deli and pick up a few different kinds of cheeses and meats (like coppa). Add gourmet crackers, a little fig jam, a bottle of wine, and perhaps some festive cheese knives or spreaders if your grocery has a Christmas gifts section.
  • Fruit: Choose only seasonal, colorful fruit (think citrus and pomegranates, or perfect seckel pears). Wrap in a basket with a beautiful red bow.

Likewise, many grocery stores have a small housewares section. You could also put together a cupcake baking set with muffin tins, cupcake liners, and a potholder. Include your favorite cupcake recipes.

Have multiple gifts to buy? Get a dozen Mason jars and find a great recipe for cookie mix in a jar or pancake mix in a jar. Spend an hour or two creating a dozen last-minute Christmas gifts for teachers, mail carriers, or as hostess gifts. For gluten-free folks, make your own gluten-free flour mix that substitutes cup-for-cup for all-purpose flour, or find a similar mix in the natural food section.

12. Experiences 

How did people survive last-minute Christmas gift shopping before the internet? The internet makes gift shopping possible even up to Christmas day. Think outside the box for things that aren’t things and don’t need to be shipped. Some of the best options are experiences, from sites like Living Social and Groupon. 

Living Social and Groupon have museum tickets, balloon rides, stained glass classes and more, all ready for purchase, most deeply discounted, and all easy to give as gifts. Sign up to get notifications in the area where your gift recipient lives (you can always change this later), then watch the daily deals roll into your inbox.

13. Charitable contributions

For the person who has everything, sometimes the best last-minute Christmas gift is giving to a charity in their name. Making a contribution to a charity they support is also an excellent gift.

You can also find a great cause or product that your gift recipient might love and contribute in their name on sites like Kickstarter. Then, when the Kickstarter is funded, they get the reward. Discover different Kickstarter projects, choose a reward level, contribute, and then write a card, telling your recipient what they will be getting.

14. Customized photo projects 

Office supply stores offer a plethora of last-minute gift ideas for nearly everyone on your list. They also usually have a wide assortment of products that can be customized with photos.

Make a calendar, mug, or t-shirt with family photos. These require a bit more effort and usually a 24-hour lead time (at least), so you cannot wait until the very last minute, but they are an option for a more personal gift if you have a couple days.

15. Journals and calendars

Reflection can be so important with chronic pain. Consider buying your loved one a journal to capture their thoughts or a calendar to organize their lives.

These come in every theme and price point you can imagine. Pair a leather-bound journal with a high-end writing instrument and you have a luxurious, last-minute gift.

16. Gift cards

If all else fails, many grocery and retail stores offer fee-free gift cards to stores and restaurants. It may not be the most personal gift you have ever given, but it will work in a pinch!

If you know a bit more about where they buy their medications or chronic pain supplies, consider buying them gift cards for their favorite pharmacy, Costco, or Target. They’ll appreciate the help.

Article Provided By: Pain Doctor

Carolina Pain Scrambler Logo, Chronic Pain, Greenville, SC
If you would like to discuss what Carolina Pain Scrambler do to help relieve your chronic pain symptoms or receive more information on our treatment process, please do not hesitate to call us at 864-520-5011 or you can email us at info@carolinapainscrambler.com
Chronic Pain, Pain Management, Pain Therapy, Pain Treatment, Carolina Pain Scrambler, Greenville South Carolina

Thanksgiving with Chronic Pain

The holidays bring with them visions of turkey-laden tables, sugar plum fairies, tables set with all kinds of pumpkin goodies, and chilly nights spent by the fire with a warm beverage. However, some doctors say that all the celebrating, along with the stress and disrupted routines, can worsen feelings of chronic pain. Social worker Patricia Fennell says: “Holidays act like a lightning rod where all the physical and social concerns around chronic illnesses get really highlighted.” If you’re preparing for Thanksgiving and suffer from chronic pain, here’s what you should know. Below are also some healthier food blogs you can go to for holiday meal inspiration.

Can the holidays worsen chronic pain

Even those who, for most of the year, barely exhibit symptoms of chronic pain and related conditions may find themselves taxed beyond their limit during the holidays. Outside the holiday months, chronic pain patients may scrape by. They may spend energy on working, chores, and other basic life tasks. And, in that time, socializing fall by the wayside because they simply don’t have the energy.

During the holidays, however, hibernating may become less possible. People throw parties, dinners, and other events that require effort to prepare for and attend, Fennell says. People with chronic pain often don’t have that extra effort to spare. Fennell adds:

“Most of the time (people with chronic pain) don’t look sick. When illness flares up, their pain is invisible. Or they have bone-numbing fatigue, so bad that they can’t take a shower and go to the store in the same day. There’s a cultural misperception that says you’re not sick unless you look sick. They need to make their illness visible by talking about it.”

Here are a few ways to manage chronic pain as you prepare for Thanksgiving and throughout the holidays.

1. Be honest

Fennell recommends asking for what you need and being upfront about your limits. If headed to a party, for example, let the host know in advance if you’ve been experiencing pain or fatigue. Tell that person that you may only be able to stay for a few hours, and request that chairs be made available in case you need to sit.

Also, be open to asking for help. WebMD gives the inspiring story of a woman named Rosalind Joffe living with multiple sclerosis and ulcerative colitis who still managed to throw a holiday party for 22 people. Joffe wasn’t a superwoman, one of those rare souls who manage to live with health conditions while never skipping a beat. Instead, she asked for help.

Joffe began planning for the Thanksgiving dinner months in advance, creating a menu and asking people to bring specific dishes. She hired people to clean so that concern would be off her mind. The day before the dinner, a friend arrived to help arrange table settings. She assigned relatives various tasks ranging from serving dinner to helping with clearing the table.

Joffe says that although at times hosting the large gathering was a challenge, avoiding the dinner and not inviting friends and family into her home to enjoy the holiday would have made her feel worse. Joffe tells WebMD:

“What I’ve learned is if I ask for help in advance, even with my own family, people don’t feel put upon. They feel like they’re a part of the event.”

2. Get sunshine 

To complicate matters of chronic pain around the holidays, fall and winter months can be linked to episodes of depression, also known as seasonal affective disorder, which may exacerbate chronic pain symptoms.

To alleviate wintertime blues, try opening all your blinds to let in as much sunlight as possible and trimming any tree branches that block light from entering windows, recommends the Mayo Clinic. If you work in a dark office, consider ways to sit closer to a window or walk outside when possible to experience daylight.

Experiment with eating lunch outdoors or taking walks outside during the day. Exercise is believed to alleviate the holiday blues, and breaking a sweat is recommended by experts as one way to manage chronic pain during the holidays.

3. Rest

With so much on your plate, the temptation can be to go, go, go. However, constant movement can lead to burnout for anyone, but particularly for those experiencing underlying conditions such as chronic pain or fatigue. Take rejuvenating baths, lay on the couch with a good book, and try to get eight solid hours of sleep each night.

Balancing activity with rest will help you find a way to partake in holiday festivities while reducing chronic pain symptoms.

4. Prioritize

With an ever-growing to-do list, it may feel sometimes like you’ll never get it all done. And that’s true. The to-do list will never end. So don’t worry about accomplishing every item. Pick the most important things, those that you can’t get off your mind, and then save the rest for another day.

If you have a flare-up or feel really tired one day and fall behind on the list, don’t worry. The important things will get done. Ask for help if needed.

5. Eat healthy

Sure, you may indulge, but continuing to eat an abundance of vegetables, fruit, and whole grains during the holidays is critical to managing chronic pain. For conditions such as diabetes, eating healthy is essential while eating the wrong kinds of food could worsen the disease, according to WebMD.

With other conditions, such as fibromyalgia or lupus, eating too much pumpkin pie will likely not make the disorder worse, but it could worsen symptoms.

6. Go to healthy food blogs for guidance 

A hot, home-cooked meal can chase away the winter chill like nothing else. Food blogs are a fantastic source of regular, new recipes. Once you find one you like, you’ve got a constant source of new dishes to try out. Whether you’re trying to liven up your diet or find a new twist on your traditional Thanksgiving meal, there’s a food blog for you.

Some food blogs focus on dishes that are healthy or food-restriction friendly. Maybe you’re trying to cut back to avoid any holiday weight gain. Perhaps you’ve got food allergies or follow a restrictive diet. Whatever the case, if you’re trying to watch what you eat, odds are you’re getting bored of the typical bland “diet” foods. We recommend checking out the following blogs for recipe ideas.

How To Prepare For Thanksgiving If You Have Chronic Pain | ArizonaPain.com

The Picky Eater

The Picky Eater food blog is run by Anjali, who is a Board Certified Health Coach. According to her About Me page, Anjali grew up eating a very health-centric diet full of organics and fresh produce, but her husband grew up eating pizza and fast food. She balanced both lifestyles by cooking healthy versions of her husband’s favorites, resulting in lots of deliciously healthy dishes.

The recipes at The Picky Eater are clear and easy-to-follow, complete with lots of pictures along the way. Additionally, there’s a lot of information about other health topics, such as healthy baking substitutes, information about soy proteins, and tips for enjoying holiday meals without going overboard.

My Darling Lemon Thyme 

The food blog My Darling Lemon Thyme is by Emma. Emma is vegetarian, and both Emma and her children have lactose and gluten allergies, so the recipes on her food blog reflect this. She’s got some great information for anyone who’s new to a gluten-free diet. Additionally, she grows lots of the ingredients for her recipes in her own garden, so there’s quite a bit of information about gardening on the website.

If you have food allergies or restrictions, the recipe list at My Darling Lemon Thyme could be a goldmine for you. Each recipe is followed by a description like gluten-free, vegan, lactose-free, fermented, or sugar-free. This allows you to quickly find recipes that fit your specific food requirements.

I Am A Food Blog

I am a Food Blog is run by Stephanie, a self-proclaimed lover of noodles, bacon, potatoes, and breakfast foods. She takes traditional recipes and gives them an unconventional twist, like bacon grilled cheese pizza, or an Asian influence, as with bacon and eggs yakiudon.

The recipes from this food blog are eclectic and playful, and the photos of the completed dishes always look delicious. The end result often leans toward gourmet, but the ingredients and directions are simple and straightforward.

The Comfort of Cooking

The Comfort of Cooking food blog focuses on fresh and frugal recipes, and there is a huge selection to browse. If you’re trying to watch what you eat, check out the diabetic friendly or light and healthy sections of the recipe index.

There are also lots of tips and tricks and how-tos, if you’re a bit unsure in the kitchen. The recipes here are comfort foods or homemade versions of popular sweets. There are plenty of options to keep you cooking for a long time.

How Sweet It Is

Jessica’s How Sweet It Is food blog revolves around things that taste good. Some of the recipes here are healthy, and others are decadent. Lots are revised versions of the author’s favorites, like the caramelized shallot bacon gravy made with the same method as her mother’s traditional gravy.

There are vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free sections in the recipe index if you’re working with a specific set of dietary needs. Additionally, the author sometimes does lightened versions of classic recipes, like this lightened up fresh green bean casserole.

Top with Cinnamon

If you’ve got a sweet tooth, head for the Top with Cinnamon food blog, which is run by the very young Izy. There are a few savory recipes here, as well as several how-to posts, but the vast majority are baked desserts, muffins, breads, and cakes. Lots of the recipes in the index are accompanied by a short description, like vegan or dairy-free.

Also noted next to many of the recipes is whether or not they contain videos or GIFs (which are animated files or images). These how-to videos and GIFs can be extremely helpful in tackling new recipes. For example, the step-by-step guide to making croissants is accompanied by GIFs illustrating each step, which simplify a rather intimidating recipe.

Food blogs are a great way to liven up your Thanksgiving dinner. There’s definitely something to be said for sticking to the classics, but it’s also fun to mix things up every once in a while. This Thanksgiving, consider adding a few new dishes to your table, even if you just add them to the mix instead of replacing traditional ones.

8. Speak up

Finally, if you need help, or are worried about cooking dinner for eight, or don’t think you’ll be able to stand up all night at Aunt Barbara’s holiday gathering, let people know. Chronic pain is largely invisible to outsiders, and people don’t know how you feel unless you tell them.

Not everybody will accept your limitations, but being willing to ask for help and staying true to yourself will help you avoid pushing too hard. It’s better to prepare and ask for help before you reach the point of exhaustion or frustration to avoid reaching that place in the first place.

Article Provided By: Arizona Pain

Carolina Pain Scrambler Logo, Chronic Pain, Greenville, SC
If you would like to discuss what Carolina Pain Scrambler do to help relieve your chronic pain symptoms or receive more information on our treatment process, please do not hesitate to call us at 864-520-5011 or you can email us at info@carolinapainscrambler.com
Chronic Pain, Pain Management, Pain Treatment, Peripheral Neuropathy, Carolina Pain Scrambler, Greenville South Carolina

Acute Vs. Chronic Pain

The terms “chronic” and “acute” are used to describe pain. So, what are the differences when it comes to acute vs. chronic pain? The main difference comes down to how long the pain is experienced.

Acute vs. chronic pain explained 

A simple way to understand chronic versus acute pain is to remember that “acute” means “severe” and “chronic” means “persisting.” A person can experience pain that can clinically be described by both terms at the same time, or maybe just one. But, in most cases, chronic pain is defined as pain that lasts three months or more according to the National Institutes of Health. Acute pain is severe, but only lasts for a short time.

What is chronic pain?  

Chronic pain is usually associated with a long-lasting condition, such as a disease. For example, if the pain resulting from a specific injury lasts much longer than the expected time of healing, a doctor would consider the person’s pain to be chronic. With this kind of pain, the pain signals could remain active for weeks, months, or even years.

Examples of chronic pain include:

Chronic pain is not just about the pain itself. Other common symptoms include:

  • Fatigue
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Irritability
  • Cognitive issues
  • Trouble sleeping

According to an article by health economists from Johns Hopkins University printed in The Journal of Pain, the annual cost of chronic pain is as high as $635 billion per year. That is more than the annual costs for cancer, heart disease, and diabetes. Learn even more about chronic pain at our chronic pain statistics page.

What is acute pain? 

On the other hand, acute pain comes on suddenly and is sharp and sporadic. Acute vs. chronic pain is typified by its duration. Acute pain typically only lasts for a few days or weeks at the most. This type of pain could happen with a(n):

  • Burn
  • Cut
  • Infection
  • Acute headache
  • Pulled or sore muscles
  • Fracture or sprain
  • Surgery

What should you do if you suffer from chronic pain?

If you’ve determined that you’re suffering from chronic vs. acute pain, it’s time to get help and support. Faster treatment typically leads to better results over time.

Further, chronic pain can be one of the most isolating conditions a person can have. From the outside, people suffering from chronic pain may appear healthy. They may function normally: going shopping, picking the kids up from school, going to work. They may even laugh and smile and seem to have their lives all together.

Privately, though, the story may be different. Chronic pain sufferers often work very hard to not show their struggle in public, holding on until they get home to let their guard down. This is a tough situation for the person in pain, and it can also be tough for their families. If you’re suffering from chronic pain, or know someone who is, here’s what you need to know and what you can do to find relief.

1. Know that the pain is not “all in your head”

Chronic pain sufferers aren’t faking it. They need to be surrounded by people who believe them when they say they are hurting.

2. Understand that there is no miracle cure

Although there are ways to help with chronic pain, from diet to medications to exercise, they don’t always work at the same level each day. There is no one answer for all conditions. Working with a highly-qualified pain specialist can help you find the best treatments for your condition. They can also help reduce daily symptoms. But, for most types of pain, a “cure” isn’t really possible. Your pain specialist will be working as hard as possible to find the most pain relief they can provide.

Unfortunately, this is the major and most impactful difference between acute vs. chronic pain.

3. Understand that some days are better than others

What was possible yesterday may not be possible today. Levels of pain will rise and fall. Allow the chronic pain sufferer to set the pace and duration of activities, and listen to them when they say they have had enough. If you’re in pain, know when you need to back off.

And, if there is a period of time during the day when the pain seems to be less, ask family and friends to accommodate that schedule when possible. Some times you may have more energy in the morning. Or in the afternoon. If they cannot change plans or accommodate you, then be honest about your own availability and re-schedule if necessary.

4. Be open with your family and friends

Sometimes a person suffering may not appear to be in pain. They may have to deal with comments from strangers on how slowly they move or how creaky they seem. On these days, ask if there is anything you can help with, and move at their pace.

If you’re suffering from pain, others may not understand what you are going through. If they are curious, give them information to better explain chronic pain and answer their questions. You don’t have to give more information than you are comfortable sharing, but know that people who know what you are going through are more likely to be understanding.

The most important thing for chronic pain sufferers and their support systems is communication. Keeping those communication lines open is the best way to work together. Chronic pain can be a very difficult condition to live with, for the sufferer and their loved ones, but understanding when things get tough and asking for help can make a big difference.

5. Ask for help

You don’t have to do it all, and there are people who are willing and able to help. Kids can have chores, and your spouse can take over some activities on the days that the pain is intense.

Next, get the outside support systems you need to tackle your chronic pain condition. Talk to your doctor about pain support groups near you to join.

Article Provided By: Pain Doctor

Carolina Pain Scrambler Logo, Chronic Pain, Greenville, SC
If you would like to discuss what Carolina Pain Scrambler do to help relieve your chronic pain symptoms or receive more information on our treatment process, please do not hesitate to call us at 864-520-5011 or you can email us at info@carolinapainscrambler.com
Pain Management, Chronic Pain, Pain Therapy, Peripheral Neuropathy, Carolina Pain Scrambler Center, Greenville South Carolina

Travel Tips for People with Chronic Pain

Whether for fun, familial obligations or business, traveling can be exhausting, especially for individuals who live with chronic pain. The stress and tension associated with travel can cause and/or worsen pain symptoms. Taking the time to plan and prepare for the journey can help ease travel anxiety and set the tone for a pleasant journey.

A few tips to help make traveling more comfortable and less stressful include the following:

Planning ahead

Learning as much as possible about the journey ahead is essential to making a smooth transition. Travel details that should be secured include the following:

  • Mode of transportation and directions
  • Times of arrival/departure
  • Detailed information on places that will be visited
  • Information about room and board (hotels, cruise ships, etc.) regarding elevator access, accessible restrooms, etc.

Another important tip is to travel during times of the year when pain levels are typically decreased. If flares are common in the heat of the summer, a trip during the autumn months may be more comfortable. If crowds are bothersome, avoiding high-peak travel days is a good idea. Also, if possible, planning an extra day at the start of a vacation and an extra day at the end of a vacation to rest and recover is beneficial.

Packing tips

  • Choose the right luggage
    Luggage equipped with wheels can be pushed instead of carried. Using both hands to push bags, rather than pull them, reduces pressure on the hands and shoulders.
  • Pack light
    Packing light is essential, especially if an individual does not have a travel companion. Lifting and carrying luggage can aggravate chronic pain.
  • Gather health information
    A brief medical history along with a list of current medications can be included in a wallet or carry-on bag. Individuals should include contact information of their health care provider(s) and any health insurance information that may be required if a medical situation arises.
  • Pack medications
    Individuals should pack more medication than required in case of an emergency (usually an extra 3-4 day supply is sufficient). Medication should always be in their original pharmacy containers and packed in a carry-on bag. Before traveling, researching pharmacies at the destination is also a good idea in case medication is lost.
  • Assemble a comfort kit
    A comfort kit contains anything that would make the journey more comfortable, such as heat wraps, cold packs, entertaining distractions, etc. Small pillows are great to use behind the back or on a seat. A light blanket is nice for keeping warm and also can be used rolled up for more back or neck support.
  • Pack healthy snacks
    Packing healthy snacks helps individuals avoid the temptation to purchase high priced, high fat and high calorie processed food that is available at most gas stations or rest stops. Reusable water bottles are a cheap and healthy way to stay hydrated; they can be refilled at drinking fountains along the way.

During the trip

Individuals with chronic pain should be honest with their travel companion(s) about their physical limitations. Sitting for long periods is not healthy for anybody, especially individuals with chronic pain. If driving, stopping about once an hour to stretch and walk loosens the joints and increases blood flow. If traveling by bus or train, individuals should choose an aisle seat (if possible) so stretching or walking during the trip is more accessible. Distractions like books, videos or music are also great for long trips (tablets are ideal for this).

Arriving at the destination

Arriving at the final destination is exciting! To make the trip more enjoyable, it is important to ask for help when needed and take advantage of any amenities offered. Certain rental car companies offer amenities specifically for people with pain conditions, such as vehicles with tilt-able steering, adjustable seats and vehicles big enough to easily accommodate wheelchairs or rollators/walkers. While traveling, individuals with chronic pain should remember to maintain a comfortable pace and enjoy the trip! Hospitality specialists and concierge are trained to make sure their guests are as comfortable as possible, so individuals should not be hesitant to ask for assistance.

Article Provided By: PainScale

Carolina Pain Scrambler Logo, Chronic Pain, Greenville, SC
If you would like to discuss what Carolina Pain Scrambler do to help relieve your chronic pain symptoms or receive more information on our treatment process, please do not hesitate to call us at 864-520-5011 or you can email us at info@carolinapainscrambler.com
Chronic Pain, Pain Management, Pain Therapy, Peripheral Neuropathy, Carolina Pain Scrambler, Greenville South Carolina

Get Better Sleep with Chronic Pain

The importance of a good night of sleep cannot be underestimated. Sleep deprivation has been linked to increased obesity and body fat, a compromised immune system, and serious chronic illness such as diabetes. It has even been used as a torture technique. A full night’s rest is essential to help your body rejuvenate and repair. If you are suffering from chronic pain, a solid rest every night is crucial to helping to manage your pain. Here are ten tips to improve your sleep hygiene to get the shut-eye you need!

How to get better sleep 

According to the American Sleep Association, there are some steps you can take to make sure you get the best sleep possible, so that you wake up feeling refreshed, energized and ready to take on the day.

1. Keep the room cool

When you sleep, your body temperature drops. Keep your bedroom cool at night (around 65 degrees) so that you can add blankets to your bed no matter what the season. The drop in body temperature signals to your body that it is time to sleep, and the additional weight of the blankets will promote relaxing, restorative sleep.

2. Go to bed earlier

Just like babies who stay up past their bedtime and then throw fussy temper tantrums, adults can get overly tired and be unable to fall asleep. In addition, adults who stay up late and sleep fewer hours report more negative thoughts and more worry. Going to bed an hour or two earlier can help ease into rest.

3. Stay on schedule

It’s important to maintain the same sleep schedule, day in and day out, even on the weekends, so that your body can get get used to keeping this rhythm. To sleep better, try to go to bed and wake up at the same time (give or take about 20 minutes). It also helps to keep a relaxing pre-bedtime routine, such as a warm bath, soft music or meditation.

4. No naps

There is a lot of debate as to whether or not naps can help or hurt a person’s sleep routine, but the ASA says naps decrease the “sleep debt” that makes it easier to fall asleep at night. So if you’ve napped that day, you’ve increased your odds of having difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep.

5. Minimize clutter

A calm, cool bedroom that is tidy (no messy nightstands!) is welcoming and promotes restful slumber. Remove clutter from the nightstand, clean up the cobwebs, and keep sheets and pillows fresh and clean. Make your environment as comfortable as possible with regard to temperature and noise level. Keep pets out of the bedroom if they’re loud or distracting. Turn off the TV if you keep one in the bedroom, and make sure the room is dark.

6. Turn off screens

A study out of Iowa State University found that minimizing screen time for children has benefits that include a good night’s sleep, better behavior in general, and improved academic performance. Children average 40 hours a week of screen time, and adults even more than that with computer-based jobs.

Turning off all screens a couple hours before bedtime for sleepers of all ages allows the brain to settle down and shift into sleep mode. There are studies that show that the artificial light emitted from computers and televisions can be stimulating, so it makes sense to turn it off when you want to rest. There is a software called f.lux that helps to adapt your computer’s lighting to make it more like the glow of the moon, but play it safe and just shut down altogether.

7. Uni-task the bedroom

We ask our bedrooms to function as more than just bedrooms these days. They are also a home office, a movie theater, and sometimes a workout room. Simplify the bedroom’s function by eliminating all other uses and just focus on sleep and intimacy. It can be hard to relax when we have a desk piled high with papers staring at us from across the room. Move the desk, relocate the treadmill, and make your bed the highlight of the room.

Try to treat the bed as a place just for sleeping so your brain subconsciously associates being in bed with being asleep. Then it can associate other activities with being awake. This means you shouldn’t read, watch TV, or surf the internet while you’re sitting in bed.

Similarly, don’t lie in bed awake for longer than five or ten. Get up and and sit in a chair in the dark to let your mind race in a place that isn’t your bed. Once you feel drowsy, climb back into bed. You can repeat this as many times as necessary. Just avoid any engaging activity that will make it hard for your mind to wind down.

8. Exercise

Exercising in the morning, even just a short walk or brief session of yoga, helps follow the body’s natural rhythms of wakefulness and resting. It also promotes healthy sleep. Exercise relieves tension and irritability and increases energy levels. In an analysis of 70 studies of exercise and fatigue the results were very clear.

“More than 90% of the studies showed the same thing: Sedentary people who completed a regular exercise program reported improved fatigue compared to groups that did not exercise,” says researcher Patrick O’Connor, PhD, co-director of the University of Georgia exercise psychology laboratory, in Athens, Ga. “It’s a very consistent effect.”  Avoid exercising in the heat of the day, and make sure to drink plenty of water throughout your exercise.

9. Skip the meds

Desperate times call for desperate measures when it comes to chronic pain and sleep deprivation. After weeks of no sleep, you may be tempted to reach for prescription meds. If possible, resist the urge, especially for teens. The University of Michigan found that teens who were prescribed anti-anxiety or sleep medications were up to 12 times more likely to use those drugs recreationally as they got older. If you can use natural remedies like melatonin or teas like chamomile or valerian, try those first.

In some cases, a pain reliever may be necessary to help you relax and ease into sleep. Using natural remedies may help you to sleep after that. As always, even when taking a natural remedy, check with your doctor for any potential drug interactions.

10. No caffeine after noon, and avoid other stimulants

To sleep better, avoid coffee and other caffeinated beverages after noon, as well as cigarettes (nicotine) and alcohol. Some prescribed and over-the-counter medications may also make it harder to fall asleep. Discuss this issue with your doctor if you’re having trouble falling asleep.

Get help 

If your pain is effecting your sleep, or if your sleep is exacerbating your pain, get help. A pain doctor can help find treatments to reduce pain. Or, they could discuss other sleep modifications you could use. Find a pain doctor in your area by clicking the link below. Or, read more about pillows you can use for neck pain or ways to combat hip pain at night.

Article Provided By: Pain Doctor

Carolina Pain Scrambler Logo, Chronic Pain, Greenville, SC
If you would like to discuss what Carolina Pain Scrambler do to help relieve your chronic pain symptoms or receive more information on our treatment process, please do not hesitate to call us at 864-520-5011 or you can email us at info@carolinapainscrambler.com
Peripheral Neuropathy, Chronic Pain, Pain Management, Pain Treatment, Carolina Pain Scrambler, Greenville South Carolina

Coping with Neuropathy in Cold Weather

Neuropathy, also called peripheral neuropathy, is a term that describes the type of pain and discomfort caused by nerve damage. It is typically characterized by a feeling of weakness, numbness, tingling, or burning in the hands and feet.

Peripheral neuropathy can be a common side effect of certain chemotherapy treatments, and can develop after surgery (especially for breast or lung cancer). Often, nerve damage is temporary; it will usually get better, but it can take time.

Cold weather poses special challenges for people affected by peripheral neuropathy. Prolonged exposure to the cold causes the body to slow blood circulation to the hands and feet in an effort to preserve the body’s core temperature. The reduced blood flow can intensify peripheral neuropathy symptoms and potentially cause further damage to already affected peripheral nerves. This is of special concern to those who experience their neuropathy pain as a numbness or tingling sensation. Their ability to measure the effects of the cold is compromised since they already experience those physical warning signals that would otherwise indicate a need to get to warmer conditions.

Tips to lessen the pain and lower your risk of further nerve damage:

  • Wear warm, dry clothing in cold weather.
  • Protect your hands and feet by wearing thick socks, thick mittens or gloves.
  • Take intermittent breaks from the cold to reduce your exposure to extreme temperatures.
  • Limit or avoid caffeine before an outing as it can temporarily cause blood vessels to narrow.
  • Do not smoke as cigarette smoke can slow circulation.
  • Limit alcohol use since excessive consumption can lead to vitamin deficiency which can, in turn, damage peripheral nerves.
  • Incorporate exercise into your routine to improve overall circulation.
  • Explore comfort measures like massage or use of flexible splints for support.

This information is meant to be helpful and educational, but is not a substitute for medical advice. If you have concerns that you or a loved may be experiencing symptoms of peripheral neuropathy, be sure to discuss the issue with your health care team as there are treatments available to help control the symptoms.

Article Provided By: Cancer Care

Carolina Pain Scrambler Logo, Chronic Pain, Greenville, SC
If you would like to discuss what Carolina Pain Scrambler do to help relieve your chronic pain symptoms or receive more information on our treatment process, please do not hesitate to call us at 864-520-5011 or you can email us at info@carolinapainscrambler.com
Chronic Pain, Peripheral Neuropathy, Pain Management, Pain Therapy, Pain Treatment, Carolina Pain Scrambler, Greenville South Carolina

Living with Chronic Pain

This is the kind of pain is usually what patients these days complain about. Patients would describe it as if they have had a pain in certain part of their body for years which doesn’t go away with the usual management techniques. What people who don’t suffer from it may be surprised about is that, for most patients, the pain is the least that bothers them. Yes it is frustrating and can even keep patients in bed for days but it’s actually the baggage that comes along with the condition that usually really gets patients down.

This is probably the reason why chronic pain sufferers gets misunderstood a lot. Other people assumes “Oh you have chronic pain, then you should be fine if you take your pill (or whatever pain management remedy that they can think of)” when in reality it’s actually more complicated than that.  While it’s different from patient to patient, here are the basic things that chronic pain sufferers have to live with every day.

Worsens Your Health

When people say that they have chronic back pain or chronic knee pain, believe me when I say this that that’s not the only pain that they have. Most of the time, it starts on a particular part of the body and it just crawls to the rest like a thief and the next thing you know your body feels so heavy and way older than your age. That’s because pain can start a vicious cycle that has a direct impact on your health. One injury can turn you into an inactive person which gives birth to a slew of other health problems.

Social Stigma

Partly because chronic pain is a personal and subjective experience not to mention comes with invisible symptoms, patients face a huge stigma in addition to having disabling symptoms. People don’t understand the totally of the condition, so patients of chronic pain are often misunderstood why they had to miss an important occasion “just because of an back pain”, mocked by “exaggerating” the severity of the pain to gain sympathy or attention, or not believed altogether thinking that they’re just “faking it” to get out of a situation or responsibility. When patients don’t have any outward sign of suffering like a cast or bandage, they tend to easily dismiss it since “you look fine”. What many people don’t realize is how debilitating and life disrupting chronic pain is. Even chronic pain sufferers would tell you how they’d give anything to live a pain-free life.

Lost Time

When you have chronic pain, you lose a huge chunk of time not just for yourself but as well as the people around you. You will feel unproductive all the time because of not being able to finish your work or even work at all for days when it is really bad. And then you also find yourself cancelling a lot of plans because you’re spent and can’t even take another step around the house. And when you do finally make it to an appointment, even though you’re glad to spend time with family or friends, you’re also itching to go home because your energy level is dropping by the minute and every muscle in your body is begging for the bed. Losing years of life quantity and quality is definitely one of the biggest unaffordable loss for a lot of chronic pain patients.   It’s no wonder then that no one likes to talk about the subtraction effect that ongoing pain has on his or her lifetime.

Lost Energy/Capacity

The thing with chronic pain is that aside from the excruciating pain it often comes with fatigue too. Daily routine feels so much harder and the day feels so much longer because you barely have enough energy to even get out of the bed much less run your errands and chores. That’s just the normal daily level of pain where you’re still able to go about your day though struggling. But when a flare up happens that a whole league of its own. This is when you basically stay in bed for days because even the act of adjusting your body on the bed or going to the toilet already feels like a marathon. The pain becomes unimaginable like even you would question how you can be in this much pain and still be alive. And then it just feel like your soul escaped your body because you just don’t have the energy at all.

Lost Opportunity And Sacrifices

There’s a hefty price tag attached to the many potential opportunities that intractable pain stops dead in their tracks. Sometimes grieving over what might have been can be just as difficult as coping with what is. If you had to end your career early, curtail socializing, give up traveling, limit driving, miss important time with family/friends, or narrow your operating world significantly, then you understand sacrifice, limitations and/or lost opportunity.

 

It Affects Your Personality And Relationships

Chronic pain can rob patients a part of themselves. If you know someone who used to be bubbly and then became cold or someone who you know to be very adventurous now barely participates in anything, there’s a huge chance some of them are suffering from chronic pain. That’s not them intentionally changing themselves but it’s the condition that’s limiting their life that forces them to adjust to it without realizing it. If you talk to patients you’d often hear them say the person before they had their condition feels like a different person from who they are now.

The underlying hits to heart and soul add up too for the courage, fortitude and considerable patience it takes to try to find themselves again, craft a new normal and reach some level of acceptance. That kind of change affects the people around them too especially those closer to them like family and friends. Losing connection with people you expected to stick around forever becomes commonplace and forming a strong bond with ones you’ve never expected to will always be a pleasant surprise.

Financial Losses

We all know pain costs too much money that could have been spent on better things or even saved.  While often coping with the stress of lost income, the bills for prescriptions, treatments and insurance quickly add up. Not only does a protracted painful condition regularly send you a bill to be paid in full; when we’re in debt it has ways of challenging our will, perseverance, hope, sanity, and even courage at times.

Chronic pain is like a really heartless creditor, it offers no grace period, understanding or consideration.  It expects to be paid in time, energy, money or sacrifices, affordable or not. Pain never skips a bill for what it takes, like some twisted accounting mistake.

Article Provided By: Dr. Gary Tho

Carolina Pain Scrambler Logo, Chronic Pain, Greenville, SC
If you would like to discuss what Carolina Pain Scrambler do to help relieve your chronic pain symptoms or receive more information on our treatment process, please do not hesitate to call us at 864-520-5011 or you can email us at info@carolinapainscrambler.com
CRPS, Complex Regional Pain Syndrome, Pain Relief, Pain Therapy, Carolina Pain Scrambler, Greenville South Carolina, Peripheral Neuropathy

Causes of Peripheral Neuropathy

Peripheral neuropathy occurs when the nerve fails to conduct a proper signal along its course to the spinal cord and brain. This can occur in the nerve ending (dendrites) or the nerve fiber (axon). This dysfunction can be a result of any of the following:

  • Infection
  • Nutritional deficiency
  • Thermal injury
  • Toxins
  • Trauma
  • Underlying disease

Although there are over 100 different potential causes of peripheral neuropathy, diabetes is responsible for more than ½ of them. Proceeding with peripheral neuropathy treatment without a clear understanding of the root cause will likely end in failure. Intervention should treat both the underlying conditions as well as neuropathy symptoms. Eliminating the cause of your neuropathy can stop new damage from occurring and allow your nerves to regenerate.

A short list of conditions which may contribute to peripheral neuropathy:
  • Alcoholism
  • Chemotherapy
  • Diabetes
  • Nerve trauma such as sciatica or frostbite

Obviously, avoiding progression of the condition is critical to obtaining relief, and helping your body to heal. From there you can decide what type of treatment of peripheral neuropathy you’d like to explore, including natural remedies for neuropathy, neuropathy medications, and or simply adding a once a day neuropathy vitamin supplement to your daily health regimen.

Article Provided By: NeuraVite

Carolina Pain Scrambler Logo, Chronic Pain, Greenville, SC
If you would like to discuss what Carolina Pain Scrambler do to help relieve your chronic pain symptoms or receive more information on our treatment process, please do not hesitate to call us at 864-520-5011 or you can email us at info@carolinapainscrambler.com
Peripheral Neuropathy, Chronic Pain, Pain Management, Pain Therapy, Carpal Tunnel, Carolina Pain Scrambler, Greenville South Carolina, Facts

10 Facts About Peripheral Neuropathy

Here are 10 facts that most people don’t know about peripheral neuropathy.

1. Approximately 50% of diabetics (as well as untold numbers of non-diabetics) will be diagnosed with peripheral neuropathy. You’re not alone in dealing with some form of peripheral neuropathy! Millions of people just like you deal with the discomfort and frustration of numbness, pain, tingling and loss of mobility and feeling in the lower extremities.

 

2. Peripheral neuropathy is treatable – through natural supplements, neuropathy vitamins, pharmaceutical neuropathy medication, and neuropathic pain treatment, neuropathy symptoms can be reduced or eliminated, and mobility and quality of life improved.

 

3. Peripheral neuropathy can be preventable – achieving and maintaining control of your blood sugar, a healthy diet, regular exercise, and intake of appropriate natural vitamins for peripheral neuropathy helps maintain or restore nerve function. Some diabetics will develop neuropathy even when their blood sugar is controlled. So take ALL of these steps to lessen the chance of developing peripheral neuropathy.

 

4. Prescription medications won’t cure your peripheral neuropathy – they’re prescribed only to control the symptoms of neuropathy. Pharmaceuticals focus on pain management and don’t address the underlying causes of peripheral neuropathy. They do not support regeneration of nerve cells, tissues or function.

 

5. Metformin (one of the most commonly prescribed medications for diabetes), may actually increase your risk for developing peripheral neuropathy. Recent studies suggest it can lead directly to B12 deficiency, which can result in neuropathy.

 

6. Years of studies of high dose vitamin therapy for peripheral neuropathy have demonstrated success in the treatment of both the symptoms and cause of peripheral neuropathy. Natural remedies for neuropathy have been shown to be safe, effective and don’t produce significant side effects. You also don’t have to worry about drug interactions with most natural supplements (but always check with your doctor).

 

7. Peripheral neuropathy, including numbness, is the most reliable predictor of serious complications of diabetes, including limb loss. That’s why it’s so important to understand and manage your diabetes, take great care of your feet and to recognize the signs and symptoms of peripheral neuropathy.

 

8. Numbness may be the absence of pain, but it can be dangerous! Far from being a relief, it signifies your neuropathy has moved farther into the danger zone. Without adequate sensation, you may injure your foot without realizing it, which may lead to serious complications. Something as simple as a callus or an ingrown toenail, without the protective sensation of pain, may quickly progress without your knowing it.

 

9. Diabetics aren’t the only people who benefit from treatment of peripheral neuropathy. Although neuropathy is most common in diabetics, it may be present in many other conditionsPeripheral neuropathy from causes such as chemotherapy can be effectively lessened with the use of high dose neuropathy vitamin therapy to restore nerve function after treatment. (Always check with your doctor).

 

10. Your peripheral neuropathy won’t go away by itself. Your neuropathy symptoms and condition may worsen unless YOU take action and do something about it.

Article Provided By: NeuraVite

Carolina Pain Scrambler Logo, Chronic Pain, Greenville, SC
If you would like to discuss what Carolina Pain Scrambler do to help relieve your chronic pain symptoms or receive more information on our treatment process, please do not hesitate to call us at 864-520-5011 or you can email us at info@carolinapainscrambler.com
Chronic Pain, Pain Management, Peripheral Neuropathy, Nerve Pain Treatment, Carolina Pain Scrambler, Greenville South Carolina, Brain

Chronic Pain and the Brain

When a person is suffering with chronic pain, it can affect every aspect of his or her life, from their sleep to their brain. It can sometimes start out like a pebble in one’s shoe, only to become a thorn, or piece of glass—depending on the intensity. The difference is that when there’s a foreign object in our shoe, it’s easy to take the shoe off and remove it. Yet when it comes to living with pain, it’s much more difficult to treat than removing a pebble from a shoe. The constant suffering can affect a person’s mentality in a number of different ways. It can influence thoughts, feelings, sleep patterns, memory, concentration, and even connections with others.

How the Brain Processes Pain

The effects of persistent pain may sound intense, far reaching, and perhaps even exaggerated; but those who experience it truly understand just how debilitating it can be. Research covering the different ways the brain processes pain show us that the brain reacts differently to short-term pain than it does to long-lasting pain. When the body experiences the latter, it can change the central nervous system (CNS), and influence sensory, emotional, and modular circuits that would otherwise inhibit pain. Chronic pain is now looked at as a neurological disease of its own—comorbid with symptoms of anxiety and depression. This is due to the altered cognitive and emotional states by the CNS. This means that the longer pain exists, the greater it becomes, and the more prone to feelings of fear, anxiety, and depression a person will be. Constant, debilitating pain can truly interfere with a person’s life.

1. How Pain Affects Mood

Unfortunately, living with pain can affect a person’s mood by making someone more susceptible to emotional changes that can foster depression, anxiety, and fear. Such mood disorders can also promote a person’s dependence on prescription medications designed to treat the pain, such as opioids. The more scared, alone or sadness they feel, the more likely they are abuse certain medications, which temporarily mask the pain by providing a “euphoric” feeling.  However, when these effects wear off, the sense of hopelessness and discomfort return, so this can soon develop into a vicious cycle.

2. How Pain Affects Sleep

In addition to changes in a person’s mood, living with pain can seriously disturb a person’s sleep patterns. It’s often difficult for a person to fall asleep, and remain asleep for an entire 7-9 hours when they’re experiencing unrelenting or sporadic pain. According to the National Sleep Foundation, an estimated 21% of Americans experience chronic pain—causing each sufferer a 42 minute sleep deficit (on average) per night.

3. How Pain Affects Memory and Concentration

study conducted by the University of Alberta shows that pain not only affects one’s physical, emotional, and mental states, but it can also affect a person’s memory and concentration. It interferes with the memory trace needed to hold information for processing, and long-term storage. This affects not only one’s ability to remember, but also to concentrate and focus in the moment.

4. How Pain Affects Relationships

It’s no secret that the side effects of living with pain reach over into a person’s personal relationships with coworkers, family, and friends. The physical limitations that develop, as well as one’s tendency to be less patient while in pain can limit one’s ability to interact and empathize with others. This can lead to interruptions in one’s social life, as a person may be more inclined to stay at home instead of going out in public. It can also interfere with sexual relationships, household or on-the-job tasks, parenting, and interacting with children.

Living with pain is a constant battle to fight the physical discomfort as well as the mental and emotional side effects it causes. Trying to attack all symptoms at once can seem overwhelming. But with support of family, friends, and the proper medical care, hope for a life with less pain is possible.

Article Provided By: H Wave

Carolina Pain Scrambler Logo, Chronic Pain, Greenville, SC
If you would like to discuss what Carolina Pain Scrambler do to help relieve your chronic pain symptoms or receive more information on our treatment process, please do not hesitate to call us at 864-520-5011 or you can email us at info@carolinapainscrambler.com
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