CRPS, Pain Relief, Complex Regional Pain Syndrome, Pain Management, Pain Treatment, Carolina Pain Scrambler Center, Greenville South Carolina

10 Questions About CRPS

1. What is CRPS?

CRPS stands for Complex Regional Pain Syndrome. It may also be referred to as Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy Syndrome. It is a chronic pain condition. Chronic pain means lasting 6 months or more. With CRPS, your nerves are affected, sending pain signals to the brain without an easy to diagnose cause. It may be caused by a malfunction in your central or peripheral nervous systems.

2. Is Excessive Sweating a Symptom of CRPS?

Yes, many people who have CRPS have issues with sweating. This includes sweating too much or not sweating at all. It is very common to have both extremes come and go when you are diagnosed with CRPS.

3. I am Experiencing Memory Problems. Is this a Symptom of Complex Regional Pain Syndrome?

Yes, many people with CRPS experience forgetfulness, cognitive impairment, and memory issues.

4. Will CRPS Spread to Other Parts of the Body?

While it is not guaranteed, it is common for CRPS to spread in many cases. If Complex Regional Pain Syndrome does spread, it is usually to nearby areas. For example, if you have CRPS in your arm, it may spread to your hand or shoulder. If you have pain in your leg, it may spread to your foot or buttocks.

5. Will CRPS Go Away on its Own?

Unfortunately, Complex Regional Pain Syndrome will not simply go away. This is why early diagnosis and treatment is critical. In some cases, people can go undiagnosed with CRPS for years; if there is a possibility that a person may have CRPS, going to see a doctor is imperative.

6. Is Complex Regional Pain Syndrome a Life Long Disease?

There is no universal answer to this question. There are a variety of factors that may contribute to whether CRPS goes into remission or if a person will experience the symptoms for their entire life Chances may increase that a person achieves remission by having CRPS diagnosed by an expert as soon as symptoms are noticed.

7. Will Ice Help Alleviate the Pain?

In general, it is NOT recommended for those experiencing CRPS to use ice or hot and cold contrast therapy.

8. How Do I Find the Right Doctor?

It will be important to find a clinic that specializes or has a successful history or treating CRPS. Ask a primary care physician to provide a referral for a pain specialist who treats CRPS on a regular basis.

9. Can CRPS Be Treated with Medication?

Yes, there a variety of medications that can help with the pain that is experienced from CRPS. Since one medication is not necessarily better than the other, it will be important to get a proper diagnosis from a doctor.

10. Will a Nerve Block Help with Complex Regional Pain Syndrome?

Yes, nerve blocks have been shown to be successful in treating CRPS; however, they may not consistently work. An individual’s response to treatment depends on the person and the variables surrounding their specific case of CRPS.

Article Provided By: PainScale

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Complex Regional Pain Syndrome Info

Complex regional pain syndrome is a rare, chronic, and sometimes progressive condition. It involves spontaneous or evoked pain in a region, or area of the body.

It usually affects one of the arms, legs, hands, or feet after an injury, but complications can impact the whole body, including the internal organs.

It appears to be an autoimmune condition, in which the body responds in an unusual way to a perceived threat. As the immune system fights to defend the body, inflammation occurs.

Symptoms that distinguish the pain of complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS) from that of other types of pain are autonomic and inflammatory signs such as changes in skin color, temperature, or sweating.

A person who develops CRPS after experiencing an injury may find that they have pain that is more severe than they would normally have expected with such an injury.

CRPS can affect people of any age, but it usually appears between the ages of 40 and 70 years, and it is more common among females.

Severity ranges from self-limiting and mild to severe and debilitating.


The severity and frequency of symptoms vary widely. Some people have repeated episodes, while others find that symptoms disappear forever after a few months.

There are two types of CRPS:

Type 1: An apparently trivial injury, such as a fractured or sprained ankle, has occurred, but with no confirmed nerve damage. This type was previously known as reflex sympathetic dystrophy.

Type 2: This may emerge after breaking a bone, having surgery, or after a serious infection. There is clear evidence of nerve damage. This type was previously known as causalgia.

However, debate about the classification of these types is ongoing. Since nerve injury is sometimes found in people with type 1, the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) notes that the distinction between the two categories may be removed at some point.

Some experts suggest that Trusted Source type 1 is not CRPS at all, but that is it either a normal reaction or the result of treatment received after a trauma.


Symptoms include severe and continuous pain, often in part or all of a limb. It has been described as “burning” or a combination of burning and electrical shocks.

Pain may radiate

If CRPS happens after an injury, the pain of the injury may be unusually severe. For example, an ankle sprain may trigger an unbearable burning sensation. The pain may not be limited to the area where the injury occurred.

Damage to a toe or finger, for example, may lead to pain in the whole limb, or even pain in the opposite extremity.

The affected part can become hypersensitive. Touching, bumping, or exposing the limb to temperature changes may cause severe pain.

Muscle atrophy, or wasting, can result, if the patient stops using the limb because of the pain.

There may also be:

  • changes in skin temperature
  • fluid retention (edema) and sweating
  • changes in skin color, causing blotches or streaks, ranging from very pale to pink, and perhaps with a blue tinge
  • changes to finger and toenails
  • thin and shiny skin texture
  • unusually fast or slow nail and hair growth
  • painful, stiff, and inflamed joints
  • difficulty co-ordinating muscle movement
  • unusual movement in the limb

The limb may be fixed in an abnormal position or may experience movements such as jerking or tremors.

Mobility can be reduced, as it becomes difficult to move the affected part.


As mentioned above, CRPS may develop following an injury or surgery. The exact cause is not clear, but multiple mechanisms may be involved.

Research published in 2005 lists the likely mechanisms as:

  • trauma-related release of cytokines, substances produced by the immune system
  • exaggerated inflammation in the nervous system
  • changes to the nervous system that cause the pain to continue

Some people may have an existing abnormality in the peripheral nerves that make them more sensitive if damage occurs. If the individual experiences an injury, they may react to it in a different way than most people do.

Some theories propose that inflammation and changes in the brain and sympathetic, peripheral, and spinal nervous systems, aggravated by immobility, may contribute.

CRPS does not always result from an obvious injury. It may happen because of damage that has occurred internally, such as a blood vessel problem.

If CRPS occurs in members of the same family, it may be more severe, suggesting that genetic factors may play a role or make some people more susceptible.


If a patient seeks medical help, and they may have CRPS, the doctor will ask about their medical history and will look for swollen joints and changes in skin temperature and appearance.

The diagnosis is based on clinical findings that exclude other possible causes.

A number of diagnostic tests can help eliminate other causes and confirm a diagnosis.

Blood tests can help exclude infection or inflammation in the joints as a possible cause of symptoms.

Scans, such as ultrasound, may be used to rule out a blood clot, known as deep vein thrombosis.

Thermography measures skin temperature of specific parts of the body. High or low skin temperature in the affected area could indicate CRPS.

Electrodiagnostic testing, or nerve conduction studies, involve attaching wires to the skin and measuring the electrical activity of nerves. Abnormal readings could indicate nerve damage, and possible type 2 CRPS.

X-rays can detect mineral loss in the bones at later stages.

An MRI scan, a blood test or a biopsy can rule out underlying problems with bones or tissue.


There is little definitive treatment for CRPS, and the course is best determined by the doctor who treats it. Early treatment is most effective, and it is best for a specialty pain clinic to assess and determine a plan.

Treatment may involve a neurologist, a physical therapist, and other specialists.

Applying ice may help.

As CRPS affects the nervous system, it can lead to a wide range of complications throughout the body.

Issues that have been linked to CRPS include:

  • chest pain
  • changes to the way the body perceives and manages pain
  • problems with thinking and memory
  • lethargy, fatigue, and weakness
  • rapid pulse and heart palpitations
  • breathing problems
  • fluid retention
  • muscle weakness, bone loss, and other musculoskeletal problems
  • rashes, mottling, and other skin problems
  • urological problems such as difficulty urinating or incontinence
  • gastrointestinal problems, including nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
  • gastroesophageal reflux
  • low cortisol levels and hypothyroidism

If the condition remains untreated or treatment starts late, there may be muscle wasting and contracting of the hand, fingers or foot, as the muscles tighten.

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Manage Brain Fog From Chronic Pain

Do you find that you’re more forgetful or fuzzy-headed when you are in pain? Is it harder to concentrate? Like many with chronic pain, you may be experiencing signs of brain fog, also known as cognitive dysfunction. If this is happening to you, rest assured you are not alone.“Cognitive function” is a variety of mental activities including memory, learning, problem solving, decision making, and attention. Over the past decade, people have come to learn that the experience of pain can play a big role in how well people perform these mental activities, and the more intense the pain and the more body parts that are affected, the more disruptive it seems to get.Perhaps the best-known example of this is “fibro fog,” which is a term commonly used by those with fibromyalgia to describe the cognitive difficulties they experience on a daily basis. Common complaints of fibro fog include forgetfulness, poor concentration, difficulty finding words, and trouble carrying on a conversation. But this feeling of mental cloudiness can occur with other chronic pain syndromes as well, including migraines, back pain, and painful nerve disorders like diabetic neuropathy and complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS).
Research has shown that chronic pain can interfere with a variety of cognitive functions, with the most recognizable being memory. Chronic pain is associated with greater recall problems for words and information, as well as for objects and places, also known as spatial memory. The more widespread the pain is in the body, the bigger the memory deficits. Pain has also been shown to interfere with how well people concentrate and stay on task, as well as their ability to organize their thoughts (known as executive function). For example, pain seems to interfere with the brain’s ability to adapt to change when performing tasks.
Other factors related to pain can also contribute to brain fog, including depression and anxiety. Insomnia, also highly associated with chronic pain, can reduce mental sharpness and cognitive performance.

Researchers are still trying to better understand the causes of this brain fog, but one possible explanation may be found in research suggesting that a brain in pain is over-activated and over-stressed. Parts of the brain that would normally get time to rest don’t get a break with chronic pain, resulting in changes to how well the brain can store information and perform executive functions. It is much harder to have a conversation with someone when there are a bunch of other people in the room talking to you at the same time. Experiencing pain may create a lot of extra brain noise, making it that much harder to focus.

So, if experiencing pain seems to leave you with brain fog, what can you do? One way you may be able to decrease brain fog is by clearing out some of this extra unwanted background noise. One proven way to do this is through meditation. Mindfulness meditation training boosts focus while calming the nervous system, which can lead to improved cognitive performance and less brain fog. Distraction can also help dampen some of this background interference. Simple distraction tricks can include listening to music, journaling, drawing, or coloring. And a lot has been published on the powerful effects that exercise can have on brain performance, even in old-age. Research has found that exercise stimulates the production of a protein called brain derived neurotrophic factor which has been shown to boost mental function and improve both depression and anxiety.Along with trying out some of these tools, consider taking notes and making lists to help be prepared for moments of cloudiness or forgetfulness. Carrying a notepad with critical information (like your medication list) to places like doctor appointments or when running errands can help remind you of what is most important. Improving brain function is still an active area of research, so hopefully we’ll see more helpful treatments on the horizon soon.
Article Provided By: WebMD

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Coping with Chronic Pain

Chronic pain is physically and psychologically stressful and its constant discomfort can lead to anger and frustration with yourself and your loved ones. By definition, chronic pain is pain that lasts longer than six months and affects how a person lives their daily life. While physicians can provide treatment for the physical dimensions of chronic pain , psychologists are uniquely trained to help you manage the mental and emotional aspects of this often debilitating condition.

Several medical treatments may be used to alleviate chronic pain, including over-the-counter or prescription medication, physical therapy and less utilized treatments, such as surgery. However, these options are only a few of the pieces necessary to solve the puzzle of chronic pain. Mental and emotional wellness is equally important — psychological techniques and therapy help build resilience and teach the necessary skills for management of chronic pain.

The Following Tips are for Coping with Chronic Pain:

Manage your stress. Emotional and physical pain are closely related, and persistent pain can lead to increased levels of stress. Learning how to deal with your stress in healthy ways can position you to cope more effectively with your chronic pain. Eating well, getting plenty of sleep and engaging in approved physical activity are all positive ways for you to handle your stress and pain.

Talk to yourself constructively. Positive thinking is a powerful tool. By focusing on the improvements you are making (i.e., the pain is less today than yesterday or you feel better than you did a week ago) you can make a difference in your perceived comfort level. For example, instead of considering yourself powerless and thinking that you absolutely cannot deal with the pain, remind yourself that you are uncomfortable, but that you are working toward finding a healthy way to deal with it and living a productive and fulfilling life.

Become active and engaged. Distracting yourself from your pain by engaging in activities you enjoy will help you highlight the positive aspects of your life. Isolating yourself from others fosters a negative attitude and may increase your perception of your pain. Consider finding a hobby or a pastime that makes you feel good and helps you connect with family, friends or other people via your local community groups or the Internet.

Find support. Going through the daily struggle of your pain can be extremely trying, especially if you’re doing it alone. Reach out to other people who are in your same position and who can share and understand your highs and lows. Search the internet or your local community for support groups, which can reduce your burden by helping you understand that you’re not alone.

Consult a professional. If you continue to feel overwhelmed by chronic pain at a level that keeps you from performing your daily routine, you may want to talk with a mental health professional, such as a psychologist, who can help you handle the physical and psychological repercussions of your condition.

Article Provided By: American Psychological Association

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5 Hard Truths about Chronic Pain

Living with chronic pain—often associated with conditions such as ankylosing spondylitis or osteoarthritis—can be accompanied by many frustrating realizations. If you are living with chronic arthritis pain, understanding and accepting these truths can make you better equipped to confront challenges that arise, head on.

1. Medication may not eliminate all pain

A major challenge of living with a degenerative disease like arthritis is that medications may become less effective as the condition progresses.

Taking over-the-counter medications, such as ibuprofen (Advil) or acetaminophen (Tylenol), may eliminate mild arthritis pain, but may be less effective in reducing moderate or severe pain. Similarly, prescription pain medications, such as celecoxib (Celebrex) or a topical NSAID, such as diclofenac sodium (Voltaren gel), may become less effective as arthritis progresses. In addition, current medical treatment guidelines recommend that the use of opioids for arthritis or similar degenerative conditions, should be avoided and reserved for only exceptional circumstances.

Finding relief from chronic pain will involve trial and error and might not be as simple as taking a daily medication. A willingness to try alternative therapies, such as tai chi or yoga, and a supportive health care team can help you live with chronic arthritis pain.

2. Chronic pain is isolating

Chronic pain can be debilitating and keep you from doing the things you enjoy. You feel lonely and isolated. This is especially true if others don’t understand what you’re going through or why you can’t just overcome it.

The easiest way to combat this isolation is to make connections with others who know what you’re going through. For example, online chronic pain forums and exercises classes tailored for people with arthritis (such as an aquatics exercise class) allow people with chronic pain to find each other and share support and experiences.

3. Chronic pain is unpredictable

Each person’s experience with chronic pain is completely unique. Two people can have the same condition and be in the same general health, and yet their pain experience can be completely different.

When it comes to chronic pain, the amount of tissue damage does not necessarily predict the pain that will be experienced. This is very true for those with arthritis. For example, someone with a badly damaged joint may feel only minor pain, while someone else with only mild joint deterioration can be in serious pain.

4. Chronic pain doesn’t help the body heal

Acute pain due to tissue damage from something harmful—like touching a hot surface or a sharp object—acts as a warning to the brain to take evasive action and avoid further injury. But with chronic pain, the nerves are sending repeated signals to the brain for no protective purpose. Chronic pain can be very frustrating since it is not as simple as finding the cause of the pain and “fixing it,” like in acute pain. Even when pain starts as acute pain resulting from tissue damage, the pain can linger long after the tissues have healed.

5. Chronic pain triggers other health problems

Those with chronic pain are much more likely to have depression, fatigue, sleep problems, and more. Often, these problems increase the pain, triggering a dangerous downward cycle both physically and emotionally.

The health problems that accompany chronic pain can be identified and treated at the same time chronic pain is being treated. Treating sleep problems and depression, for example, can help increase your quality of life even if the pain intensity is unchanged.

If you have chronic pain and you struggle with some or all of these factors that make life difficult, seek emotional support from others who understand what you’re going through. Also, don’t be afraid to talk with your doctor and share how chronic pain affects your day-to-day, so you can work together on finding appropriate treatment options for both the pain and the suffering.

Article Provided By: Arthritis Health

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5 Things to Know About Chronic Pain

If you suffer from chronic pain, it’s important that your friends and family know what you’re going through. With this in mind, here are 5 things to know about chronic pain that you can share with your loved ones:

1. Chronic pain is real

People with chronic pain are often treated as if they are making up (or at least exaggerating) their pain. But the truth is that all pain is real, even if there is no known cause. Additionally, almost all people with chronic pain want nothing more than to be pain-free.

So what your friend or family member needs from you is your support and kindness, not condemnation. Statements like “Get over it” or “It can’t be that bad” don’t accomplish anything other than to discourage those with chronic pain.

Thankfully, there is an increasing consensus in the medical community that all chronic pain is real, and that it needs to be treated even if there is no known cause.

2. Chronic pain commonly leads to disuse syndrome

Chronic pain often leads to long-term lack of physical activity and a condition recognized as disuse syndrome. This syndrome can negatively impact your musculoskeletal, cardiovascular, neurological, psychological, and emotional processes. At its worst, disuse syndrome leads to a pervasive lack of wellness that in and of itself can be debilitating.

Of note, disuse syndrome can both perpetuate and increase the likelihood of chronic pain worsening over time.

3. Chronic pain commonly leads to sleep-related problems

Chronic pain can create a troubling cycle when it comes to sleep. That is, chronic pain can make it harder to sleep, and in turn a lack of sleep can make chronic pain worse.

Common sleep-related problems caused by chronic pain include an inability to fall asleep, constantly waking up at night, and not feeling refreshed upon waking up in the morning. Because of the close connection between sleep problems and chronic pain, the two need to be treated together.

4. Pain is deeply personal

Everyone persons experience of pain is different. For example, two people may have the same condition, and one may display no ill-effects, while the other may be incapacitated. When it comes to back pain, this is especially true. Two people can have the same type of herniated disc, but one feels only slight discomfort and the other feels burning, debilitating sciatic pain.

There are a number of possible reasons for this, including individual physiology, a person’s upbringing, etc.

5. Happiness does not equal health

Often times, when a person with chronic pain is smiling or having a “good day,” people assume that the person is not experiencing pain. However, this is not necessarily the case.

It is important to recognize that a person can be happy and at the same time be experiencing pain. So be careful to not assume that a friend or loved one is “healed” simply because they seem to be enjoying themselves.

The bottom line

There are so many secondary and related issues that accompany chronic pain that it would be a real challenge to address them all. This list is intended to at least get the conversation started—and for anyone living with any type of chronic pain , please pass this along to your loved ones to help them better understand and support you.

If you have chronic pain, your may also find it does you a world of good to have increased emotional support, more effective and sustainable pain management, and even possibly harnessing the power of your mind to assist in coping with the pain.

Article Provided By: Spine Health

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Chronic Pain Diets That Work

Chronic pain is defined as pain that has lasted for longer than three months and is generally unresponsive to treatment. Many times your diet can be effecting your pain, so it might be time for a chronic pain diet.

Creating a chronic pain diet 

One of the ways that many chronic pain patients find improvement over time is through a holistic chronic pain diet. Although “diet” usually refers to fad weight loss plans or severe, “quick fix” changes, diet in this case means making healthy lifestyle changes that are meant to be permanent and functional. Improving the quality of the food you eat to improve your health should be “usual and customary food,” in the truest dictionary definition of the word “diet.”

For many, the information on dietary changes for chronic pain can be overwhelming and difficult to sift through. Here is the ultimate guide to a chronic pain diet to make it easier.

Step 1: Talk to your doctor 

Every change in your treatment plan should start with a conversation with your doctor. They may be able to recommend specific resources related to your diagnosis.

Step 2: Find the chronic pain diet that works for you

Not all diets are created equal when it comes to managing pain symptoms, but there are a few that have been shown to result in longer, healthier lives. Below, we cover four diets that embrace holistic lifestyle approaches to food that may also have the benefit of pounds lost. What’s more important is how you’ll likely feel once you start these.

Many of these diets follow the same basic guidelines (e.g., focus on fresh food, eliminate or cut back on sugar, etc.) but what matters most is what’s sustainable for you and your lifestyle. Managing chronic pain through diet is not a quick fix, and going back and forth from healthy eating to old habits won’t work.

Step 3: Focus on your symptoms

While there are some similarities in diets that work for chronic pain, there are some specific tips that apply more to some conditions than others.

For example, people with arthritis may want to focus their efforts on losing weight. Eating for weight loss may bring about lasting pain relief, especially for those who suffer from arthritis in the knees and hips.

These types of eating plans are best combined with exercise and can help ease pain by:

  • Relieving weight-based pressure on the joints
  • Providing more energy and ease in daily tasks
  • Improving mood

For rheumatoid arthritis, there is growing evidence that a vegan diet that eliminates all animal products is effective for pain relief when other approaches are not.

Arthritis is not the only type of chronic pain that can benefit from a specific chronic pain diet overhaul. Fibromyalgia is a whole-body pain condition that is characterized by tender points that can flare to unbearable levels of pain. Diets that may work well for this condition include:

  • Macrobiotic dietAlong with eating fresh food in season and plenty of traditional Japanese foods such as tofu and miso soup, this chronic pain diet advocates energy work and maintaining a positive outlook.
  • Paleo diet: A Paleo diet focuses on healthy fats; grass-fed, organically raised meats; fresh fruits and vegetables, and nuts and seeds. This diet also eliminates all processed foods, all added sugar, and preservatives or artificial additives. The research is largely anecdotal, but as the foods consumed on this diet are anti-inflammatory, it stands to reason that proponents would feel some level of pain relief .
  • Vegetarian diet: If eliminating all types of animal products (including honey) is not for you, those with fibromyalgia might consider trying a vegetarian diet on for size. If committing to eliminating all meat and fish all at once is too much, try Meatless Mondays or becoming a weekday vegetarian to start.

Step 4: Manage stress

While not a typical piece of advice when considering making a significant change to your diet, stress can throw every good plan out of whack. Stress eating is a real thing, and even just one day of fat- and sugar-filled indulgence can be enough to cause a painful flare-up of symptoms.

When daily life becomes hectic, stay on track with stress-busting comfort foods. You can snack and still stick to a pain-healthy diet.

Step 5: Focus on health

Sure, cutting back on sugar and focusing on whole, fresh foods will help you drop some pounds, but the end goal is not weight loss. The end goal with a chronic pain diet is overall health and wellness. To that end, make all of the changes based on what is good and healthy for your body. It’s not about getting a “bikini body” or squeezing into your high school jeans. Changing your diet for pain management and increased well-being goes far beyond those goals. Love the body you are in while making positive, healthy changes.

Step 6: “Everything in moderation, including moderation.” Oscar Wilde

Except for extreme cases or doctor-ordered, life-preserving dietary changes, there is nothing wrong with an occasional indulgence. You may be more likely to stay with a new chronic pain diet if you allow yourself a little wiggle room every now and then. Dark chocolate is very nearly a superfood, and an occasional sweet-tooth satisfying bite can actually help you stick with your other changes. There are many satisfying swaps for your favorite foods (even burgers and pizza) that require just a little creativity.

How To Create A Chronic Pain Diet That Works |

Chronic pain diets that can help

When the word “diet” is mentioned, most people think of restrictions: a long list of everything you cannot eat, followed by strict portion control and feelings of guilt on “cheat” days.

It’s time to re-think what “diet” means, starting with the proper definition. According to Webster’s Dictionary, the word “diet” means “The usual food or drink of a person.” Technically, under this definition, a “diet” could mean a steady stream of soda and chips, but that is obviously not optimal. Instead of thinking in terms of restrictions and calorie or fat-gram counting, there are a few diets that work to change “the usual food and drink of a person” into something that is delicious, nutritious, and supportive of good health.

Here are four diets that actually work to keep you healthy and satisfied.

1. Mediterranean diet

The Mediterranean diet is less a diet and more a way of life. This way of eating and living is based upon geography in the Mediterranean region of the world, a geography that focuses on fresh vegetables, seafood, seeds and nuts grown in the hills, a generous amount of olive oil, and a glass or two of daily red wine.

In addition to the food basics of the diet, the Mediterranean culture centers around the pleasures of eating, featuring long, leisurely lunches of delicious foods, traditionally prepared. Key components of the Mediterranean diet include:

  • Fresh fish at least twice a week
  • Minimal red meat
  • Olive oil replaces butter and is used generously
  • High concentrations of fresh herbs and spices instead of salt
  • Primarily plant-based foods are featured, including seeds, nuts, legumes, whole grains, and plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables
  • Eliminates processed foods almost entirely
  • Red wine in moderation

This diet is recommended for heart health. Those on the Mediterranean diet also showed reduced incidence of both Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease. One study found that women who followed the Mediterranean diet lived beyond 70 and about 40% did so in good health; that is, they aged without major health issues or chronic conditions.

2. The Okinawa diet

Another traditional diet (are you seeing a pattern?) that helps more of its adherents reach the century mark in good health is the Okinawa diet. Japan has the largest proportion of centenarians in the world, based in large part on their traditional, regional diets. This diet is very similar to the Mediterranean diet, based on the fruits of the sea and the land and steeped in traditional ways of preparation.

Featured in the Okinawa diet are:

  • Three or more servings of fish a week
  • Traditional soy products such as miso and tofu
  • Pickled items like radish and vegetables
  • Seaweed
  • Very little processed foods
  • No butter
  • Little, if any, dairy products
  • Use of medicinal herbs and spices, such as turmeric and ginger, in all preparations
  • Sweets in moderation, traditionally prepared

An Okinawan meal would feature plenty of rice, a bit of fish or tofu, pickles for digestion, and vegetables either steamed or stir-fried. Dr Craig Willcox, a gerontologist who has spent years studying the Okinawans and their centenarians summarizes the benefits of the Okinawan diet like this:

“The Okinawans have a low risk of arteriosclerosis and stomach cancer, [and] a very low risk of hormone-dependent cancers, such as breast and prostate cancer.”

Professor John Mather, a director of the Institute for Ageing and Health at Newcastle University, says that these traditional diets work the same way in the body. He notes:

“All of these diets work on similar mechanisms. One hypothesis is that the secret about ageing is to avoid accumulating molecular damage, and eating fish, beans, nuts, seeds, legumes, whole grains, and not so much red meat, dairy or sugar may help us to reduce that kind of cellular damage.”

For more information on how to implement this way of eating, take a look at this site for meal planning, recipes, and shopping help.

3. Mayo Clinic diet

This research-based diet has two phases. The first phase may be what we think about when the word diet is mentioned: weight loss. The second phase is what diet should really mean: a healthy lifestyle change in the way you eat. The Mayo Clinic diet follows these basic guidelines:

  • Cut sodium levels
  • Reduce intake of saturated fats and eliminate transfats
  • Eat plant-based proteins more frequently than animal-based
  • Keep meats lean and limit servings
  • Include two servings of fish weekly
  • Eat unlimited amounts of fresh vegetables
  • Restrict or eliminate refined sugars and grains
  • Just add water – hydrate
  • With the exception of vegetables, watch portion sizes

In addition to these dietary changes, the Mayo Clinic diet stresses adding more activity to your day to ramp up weight loss and increase health. Along with the other diets, the Mayo Clinic diet is great for heart health. Its main focus though is reducing health risks associated with obesity. Losing weight and increasing physical activity lowers the risk of heart attack, stroke, and Type 2 diabetes. The emphasis on long-term lifestyle change can help people sustain their healthy habits and live healthier lives in general.

4. Weight Watchers

The research on Weight Watchers is in, and the results are good. Two recent studies say that it does work for weight loss and can help people develop healthy eating habits for life. The key to Weight Watchers is the support system. Here’s how it works:

  1. Meeting with a nutritional counselor or completing a survey online
  2. Determining the number of daily “points” you will be able to consume, based on weight, BMI, activity level, and goals
  3. Follow up with meetings and check-ins

Weight Watchers stresses that they are not a diet plan, per se. Although they sell their own food that has the number of points printed on the packaging, they also offer a long list of other foods and their point values so that people can make their own choices. One of the criticisms of this system has been that the Weight Watchers-branded food is processed and filled with preservatives, but they are constantly adding point values so that you need not rely on pre-packaged food.

This program also focuses on the health benefits conferred by losing weight and increasing activity. The personal support and long-term coaching helps people to stay in the program and increases their chances of losing weight and keeping it off. While the program does not explicitly focus on certain types of food, fruits and vegetables have lower point values than fats and sweets, allowing you to eat more of what is healthy and less of what is not.

Weight Watchers offers an extensive printable list of point values as well as online options for people who cannot meet in person and one-on-one coaching for those who need extra support.

Get help

It’s time to stop thinking of dieting as something you only do to drop a few pounds. Diet is a whole life makeover with far-reaching benefits to health and wellness. For more help managing your chronic pain diet, contact a pain specialist for more information.

Article Provided By: Pain Doctor

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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
Pain Management, Pain Relief, Chronic Pain, Pain Therapy, Pain Treatment, Peripheral Neuropathy, Carpal Tunnel, Carolina Pain Scrambler, Greenville South Carolina, Pain Can Spread

How Your Pain Can Spread

Pain that starts in one place doesn’t necessarily stay there. Over time, pain can spread, shift, expand, or radiate, from one part of the body to another, making treatment even more challenging.

One common way that pain spreads to other parts of the body is through over-compensation, where we start to change our movement patterns to compensate for a part of the body that is injured or hurting. One typical example is a back ache caused by chronic pain in a knee or foot. When a part of the lower leg, such as a knee or foot, is chronically irritated, it can disrupt our normal body mechanics, which can lead to a limp when walking. If this altered gait pattern continues for an extended period of time, then this puts added stress on other parts of the body that may have to work extra hard to make up for weakness in the leg. Before you know it, the muscles in the lower back start to tighten up and get sore and stiff, and this can easily spread to the right hip and even up the spine to the neck.

Additional pain can also come from avoidance, where we avoid using a body part that is hurting. This often occurs when patients develop lingering pain in a hand or shoulder. As they try to keep doing their normal chores at home or activities at work, they resort to relying primarily on their opposite hand and arm. This over-dependence on one side of the body can lead to significant over-use and new pain. For example, a right-handed person who develops carpal tunnel syndrome with pain and numbness in the right hand can eventually experience similar symptoms in the left hand just by using it more.There is also something known as referred pain, and we can see this occur from painful muscle “trigger points.” Trigger points are tight and tender when you press on them, but they can also cause referred pain that appears in a different location. Because many of us spend so much time on computers or smart-phones, trigger points often develop around the trapezius muscle, which is a large muscle behind the neck, upper back and shoulder blades. Headaches, jaw pain, eye pain, and even pain the ring finger have in some cases been attributed to trigger points in the trapezius.
Nerve irritation can also cause referred pain. Sciatica is a classic example, where a bulging or herniated disc in the lower back presses on a nerve, causing pain to shoot down the back of the leg. This type of referred pain can feel like an electrical shooting sensation that radiates down the leg.The way pain gets processed in the brain can also lead to a spread of symptoms in the body. Intense nerve pain that arises from an injured arm or leg can start to crop up in a different arm or leg that was not injured. It is still not clear what causes this to happen, but the new pain that arises in the uninjured limb can mimic the original nerve pain.As you can see, there are a whole host of ways that pain can spread or move around the body. In each circumstance, the better we understand the causes, the more likely we are to treat it effectively. Reviewing how the pain feels with your health team can provide helpful clues. For example, muscular pain typically feels achy, throbbing, twitching or tight, and if you start to experience that in a part of your body that was not previously injured or affected, then there is a good chance it is due to some sort of muscular over-compensation. But if what you are feeling is more electrical, shooting, burning, or tingling, then that likely indicates nerve irritation, such as a pinched nerve from a herniated disc in the back. In many cases, restoring function and activity where the pain first started can help reduce the stress and strain on other parts of the body that get overworked. Listen to your body for clues to help guide the process.

Article Provided By: WebMD

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Emotions That Come With Chronic Pain

There is an overlap in the brain between feeling emotion and pain. This overlap may provide a path for people to gain control over their chronic pain.

According to Ashley Boynes-Shuck, a blogger and health advocate, being positive and staying hopeful while helping other people has been a wonderful way to get through the pain.

As more attention is being given by the scientific community, it is becoming more evident that the brain has evolved a certain amount of overlap between its emotion and pain centers. According to a practicing physician, “the areas of our brain that are associated with sensory perception, they share real estate with the areas of our brain that are involved in the processing of emotions.”

Since emotions are closely linked to the sensory centers of the brain, emotions may determine in part, our perception of pain in our bodies. People with chronic pain often avoid exercise and social interaction which are two activities that can often times provide relief.

Moreover, pain itself may increase negative emotions. Getting up every day with debilitating pain that will not stop can lead to frustration, resentment, and stress. People with chronic pain are also more likely to develop mood or anxiety disorders. Additionally, depressed individuals have three times the possibility of developing chronic pain. The subsequent cycle is hard to break.

Understanding the way emotions play a role in how we experience pain may provide some relief. There are many different options for dealing with chronic pain, from being evaluated by a physician or psychologist, to trying other methods like biofeedback, acupuncture, and yoga. Exercise of any kind is also a very helpful treatment for pain. Since its different for every person, depending on their age and their condition, its important to seek out personalized medicine and to find a balanced treatment.

Article Provided By: PainScale

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5 Exercises to Help Ease Chronic Pain

While medical treatments and physical therapy are vital components of managing chronic pain symptoms, increased physical activity as a daily habit can increase quality of life. Physical activity results in the release of natural endorphins; these are the “feel good” chemicals in the brain that enhance mood while simultaneously easing pain signals. Regular exercise also helps to improve sleep quality and may even result in a reduced need for pain medications.


Chronic Pain, Pain Management, Pain Relief, Pain Therapy, Pain Treatment, Carolina Pain Scrambler, Greenville South Carolina, Exercises

Walking is a low-impact aerobic activity that is safe and effectively provides the muscles with oxygen. By increasing circulation, exercise often decreases pain and stiffness.

Aquatic exercises

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Gentle exercise in warm water often aids in decreasing chronic pain symptoms. Research shows that this may be due to low impact on the joints in water-based workouts.

Stretching and yoga

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Stretching and yoga are often valuable exercises for the improvement of chronic pain. Maintaining good posture, gentle stretching and relaxation exercises are helpful pain-reduction tools to incorporate into a daily routine.

Strength training

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Strength training can significantly ease chronic pain and benefit a person’s overall health. Workouts that use free weights or resistance machines are helpful for balanced strength training. Starting slowly and building strength gradually is important to prevent injury.

Activities of daily living

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If going to the gym seems overwhelming or an individual’s chronic pain prevents them from exercising, everyday activities and daily chores can help. Routine activities, such as doing laundry, getting the mail, cooking, bathing and dressing are also valuable ways to incorporate movement throughout the day.

Article Provided By: PainScale

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