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CRPS, Complex Regional Pain Syndrome, Pain Relief, Pain Therapy, Carolina Pain Scrambler, Greenville South Carolina, Peripheral Neuropathy

Symptoms and Causes of CRPS

Following an injury or surgery, even something as simple as a sprained ankle, some people begin experiencing intense pain that seems to spread from the injury and makes the entire limb feel on fire or as if electrical shocks are running up and down the area. Often, doctors diagnose these individuals with complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS), a condition for which there are many causes and symptoms.

1. What is Complex Regional Pain Syndrome?

Complex regional pain syndrome is a rare condition that can occur after surgery, stroke, heart attack, or an injury. It is thought to be an unusual autoimmune response to the trauma. Unfortunately, this pain is often more impactful than the injury or preceding illness itself.

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2. What Causes Complex Regional Pain Syndrome?

Complex regional pain syndrome is believed to be caused by the malfunction of, or from damage to, the peripheral and central nervous systems, combined with the immune response. The pain causes the immune system to overreact, resulting in swelling and stiffness in the affected joints. The initial cause is the trauma, which leads to a cascade of events resulting in complex regional pain syndrome.

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3. How Long Does Complex Regional Pain Syndrom Last?

Complex regional pain syndrome is often a chronic condition lasting more than six months. You may experience symptoms for a while and go into remission, only to have the condition flare up again at a later date. CRPS will affect some people just once and never again, while others are in constant pain and need treatment regularly.

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4. What are the Symptoms of Complex Regional Pain Syndrome?

Complex regional pain syndrome manifests itself in several ways. You may feel constant dull or severe pain, or feel electric shocks or “pins and needles”; others describe the pain as burning and intense. Some people with CRPS have difficulty moving the affected limb, or the pain may travel to the opposite limb, as well. You may experience sweating in the affected area, where the skin may appear thin and shiny. Some people notice changes to hair and nail growth patterns and have tremors or jerking in the limb. Lastly, the affected limb may change color, becoming purple, red, blue, blotchy, or pale.

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5. How Does a Doctor Diagnose Complex Regional Pain Syndrome?

There is no one test that definitively diagnoses complex regional pain syndrome. Instead, your doctor will look at your past case history and your symptoms and make an evaluation. He or she may run tests to rule out other diseases since the symptoms of complex regional pain syndrome mimic other diseases with different treatments.

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6. Are There Different Types of Complex Regional Pain Syndrome?

There are two types of complex regional pain syndrome: type 1 and type 2. Most people (90 percent) have type 1 complex regional pain syndrome. Also called reflex sympathetic dystrophy syndrome or RSD, it occurs following trauma that did not damage the nerves. Type 2 or causalgia occurs when the trauma damages the nerves.

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7. Complications of Complex Regional Pain Syndrome?

If you fail to receive treatment for CRPS, you could experience severe complications including atrophy and muscle contraction. Atrophy causes your muscles, skin, and bones deteriorate due to lack of use. Affected extremities become weakened to the point where they cannot be used at all. Alternatively, your muscles may begin to contract, fixing the injured body part in one position, again rendering the limb unusable.

 

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8. How is Complex Regional Pain Syndrom Treated?

There are many options for treating complex regional pain syndrome. Your doctor may prescribe physical therapy, medications, and psychotherapy. You may find some relief from sympathetic nerve blocks, spinal cord stimulation, neurostimulation, intrathecal drug pumps, or Graded Motor imagery. Some people find alternative therapies helpful and turn to acupuncture, chiropractic, and biofeedback for relief. Other modalities that work toward relaxing the limb include behavior modification, relaxation techniques, progressive muscle relaxation, and guided motion therapy.

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9. Who is At Risk of Complex Regional Pain Syndrome?

Complex regional pain syndrome may affect anyone at any age, but the median age is 40. Children and adults younger than 30 have been known to develop CRPS. Women seem to develop the condition more than men, but men can get it, too. Anyone who has had an injury is at risk, especially if the injury affects the extremities.

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10. What is the Prognosis for Recovery from Complex Regional Pain Syndrome?

The earlier CRPS is diagnosed and treated, the better the prognosis. Younger people, especially those under the age of 20 are more likely to recover from complex regional pain syndrome than older individuals. However, the disorder is different for everyone and some people deal with chronic pain and disability, even with treatment.

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

Article Provided By: FactyHealth

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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 info@carolinapainscrambler.com
Peripheral Neuropathy, Carpal Tunnel, Nerve Pain Relief, Pain therapy

When Your Pain Is Disabling

Pain can entirely change our lives. Ongoing pain problems can lead to disabilities like not being able to work, drive, or even maintain a home. Pain in a dominant hand or arm can make it difficult to button a shirt, comb hair, or carry groceries. Lower back pain can make it hard to sit, stand, bend, tie shoelaces, or just about anything else you can imagine. Intense, recurring headaches, like migraines, can make it difficult to concentrate, listen, read, eat, or even turn the lights on. When your pain is disabling – it is called high-impact chronic pain. Research done on high-impact chronic pain by groups like the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health have published some important findings:

  • Approximately 10.6 million Americans, or 4.8% of the population, have high-impact chronic pain.
  • Disability is typically more commonly associated with chronic pain than with a number of other chronic conditions, including stroke and kidney failure.
  • Those with high-impact chronic pain reported higher levels of mental health problems and cognitive problems, compared to those with chronic pain without disability.
  • High-impact patients reported greater difficulty performing daily self-care activity and greater healthcare utilization.

These findings suggest that an awful lot of folks are not only living with intense pain, but also experiencing life-altering limitations as a result.

When pain becomes this overwhelming, pain management becomes a far bigger challenge. Finding the best pain relief strategies while also exploring ways of engaging more with daily activities can seem like a daunting task. How can you reduce the effect that pain has on your life without undoing all the hard work you have put in to get the pain under better control?

For starters, I think it helps to focus on only a couple of tasks at a time. What function or activity would be most meaningful to have back in your life? For example, becoming just a bit more mobile can mean the difference between spending more time with friends or missing out, and being able to cook a prized recipe once again will delight all who get to enjoy it with you. Consider consulting with an occupational therapist that typically specialize in helping patients hone in skills that boost their ability to perform home or work activities.

It isn’t easy to do any activity that you haven’t done in a while. There is a good chance that being in pain has caused important muscles groups to get deconditioned and stiff, and overdoing it too quickly will only set off the pain. But building back up a strong foundation or core that can help support your arms, legs, and spine as they become more active helps prevent overstressing them. Working with a physical therapist or exercise expert can help you find ways to recondition key muscle groups and build up more foundational or core stability, so you can do more with less pain. Diminishing the impact of pain is a much taller order than getting physically stronger. Research has taught us that those living with high-impact chronic pain often experience psychological distress and mood disorders like depression and anxiety. It is hard to function when you feel overwhelmed, so try to get involved in practices that can bring a sense of calm – meditation, yoga, breathing exercises, enjoying nature, or seeing a counselor all have the potential to help. If you are suffering from a challenging chronic pain problem and feel you and your doctors have done your best to manage the symptoms, consider having a conversation with your healthcare team about how you might be able to lessen the impact that your pain has on your life.
Article Provided By: WebMD

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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 info@carolinapainscrambler.com
Carpal Tunnel, Nerve Pain Therapy, Pain Relief, CIPN, Greenville, South Carolina

Good Friend to Someone in Chronic Pain

Being a Good Friend to Someone with Chronic Pain

Many individuals experience acute or chronic pain at some point in their life. Many that suffer from chronic pain can go years without finding the appropriate relief which leads to extended discomfort, depression, and a sense of loneliness.

Chronic pain affects everyone surrounding the actual sufferer. Frustration and exhaustion can consume the sufferer making it difficult to even get through the day. Many suffers don’t see how their emotions and attitude are being inflicted on others around them. Lifestyle changes alter the relationships with family, friends, and colleagues. If you have no direct experience with chronic pain, you might not able to relate adding additional stress and anxiety to their life.

Listed below are a few tips to help someone with chronic pain:

  • Ask to attend their appointments or therapy sessions. You will be able to relate and discuss their pain.
  • Educate yourself. With medical research and their history of chronic pain.
  • Don’t feel sorry for yourself. The sufferer doesn’t want to burden you or be in a constant foul mood. Try putting yourself in their shoes. Treasure your relationship!
  • Offer a lending hand. Help clean their house, drive them to the grocery store, or any other chore.
  • Listen. At times they just want to be heard!
  • Accept Cancellations. Sufferers like to be included even if they regularly cancel.
  • Limit talking about their pain. Distract yourselves with hobbies that interest you both.
  • Be supportive. Learn and teach them how to be mentally and physically independent.
  • Be sensitive and positive. Criticism, stress, and conflict increases pain. Avoid questioning the sufferer’s pain this can hurt them and your relationship.
  • Remember to take care of yourself. Take time out to recharge. Research indicates spouses of those dealing with chronic pain show increased weakened immune system, withdrawal, discouragement, loneliness, and deteriorating physical health. It can be helpful to better understand how to care for your loved one while always remembering to take care of yourself.

Article Provided By: PainScale

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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 info@carolinapainscrambler.com
Pain Management, Chronic Pain, Pain, Relief, Lower Back Pain Relief, Carolina Pain Scrambler, Greenville SC

Complex Regional Pain Syndrome Facts

What is complex regional pain syndrome?

Complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS) is a chronic (lasting greater than six months) pain condition that most often affects one limb (arm, leg, hand, or foot) usually after an injury.  CRPS is believed to be caused by damage to, or malfunction of, the peripheral and central nervous systems.  The central nervous system is composed of the brain and spinal cord; the peripheral nervous system involves nerve signaling from the brain and spinal cord to the rest of the body.  CRPS is characterized by prolonged or excessive pain and changes in skin color, temperature, and/or swelling in the affected area.

CRPS is divided into two types:  CRPS-I and CRPS-II. Individuals without a confirmed nerve injury are classified as having CRPS-I (previously known as reflex sympathetic dystrophy syndrome).  CRPS-II (previously known as causalgia) is when there is an associated, confirmed nerve injury.  As some research has identified evidence of nerve injury in CRPS-I, it is unclear if this disorders will always be divided into two types.  Nonetheless, the treatment is similar.

CRPS symptoms vary in severity and duration, although some cases are mild and eventually go away.  In more severe cases, individuals may not recover and may have long-term disability.

Who can get CRPS?

Although it is more common in women, CRPS can occur in anyone at any age, with a peak at age 40.  CRPS is rare in the elderly. Very few children under age 10 and almost no children under age 5 are affected.

What are the symptoms of CRPS?

The key symptom is prolonged severe pain that may be constant.  It has been described as “burning,” “pins and needles” sensation, or as if someone were squeezing the affected limb.  The pain may spread to the entire arm or leg, even though the injury might have only involved a finger or toe. In rare cases, pain can sometimes even travel to the opposite extremity.  There is often increased sensitivity in the affected area, known as allodynia, in which normal contact with the skin is experienced as very painful.

People with CRPS also experience changes in skin temperature, skin color, or swelling of the affected limb.  This is due to abnormal microcirculation caused by damage to the nerves controlling blood flow and temperature.  As a result, an affected arm or leg may feel warmer or cooler compared to the opposite limb.  The skin on the affected limb may change color, becoming blotchy, blue, purple, pale, or red.

Other common features of CRPS include:

  • changes in skin texture on the affected area; it may appear shiny and thin
  • abnormal sweating pattern in the affected area or surrounding areas
  • changes in nail and hair growth patterns
  • stiffness in affected joints
  • problems coordinating muscle movement, with decreased ability to move the affected body part
  • abnormal movement in the affected limb, most often fixed abnormal posture (called dystonia) but also tremors in or jerking of the limb.

What causes CRPS?

It is unclear why some individuals develop CRPS while others with similar trauma do not.  In more than 90 percent of cases, the condition is triggered by a clear history of trauma or injury.  The most common triggers are fractures, sprains/strains, soft tissue injury (such as burns, cuts, or bruises), limb immobilization (such as being in a cast), surgery, or even minor medical procedures such as needle stick. CRPS represents an abnormal response that magnifies the effects of the injury.  Some people respond excessively to a trigger that causes no problem for other people, such as what is observed in people who have food allergies.

Peripheral nerve abnormalities found in individuals with CRPS usually involve the small unmyelinated and thinly myelinated sensory nerve fibers (axons) that carry pain messages and signals to blood vessels. (Myelin is a mixture of proteins and fat-like substances that surround and insulate some nerve fibers.) Because small fibers in the nerves communicate with blood vessels, injuries to the fibers may trigger the many different symptoms of CRPS.  Molecules secreted from the ends of hyperactive small nerve fibers are thought to contribute to inflammation and blood vessel abnormalities.  These peripheral nerve abnormalities trigger abnormal neurological function in the spinal cord and brain.

Blood vessels in the affected limb may dilate (open wider) or leak fluid into the surrounding tissue, causing red, swollen skin.  The dilation and constriction of small blood vessels is controlled by small nerve fiber axons as well as chemical messengers in the blood.  The underlying muscles and deeper tissues can become starved of oxygen and nutrients, which causes muscle and joint pain as well as damage.  The blood vessels may over-constrict (clamp down), causing old, white, or bluish skin.

CRPS also affects the immune system. High levels of inflammatory chemicals (cytokines) have been found in the tissues of people with CRPS.  These contribute to the redness, swelling, and warmth reported by many patients. CRPS is more common in individuals with other inflammatory and autoimmune conditions such as asthma.

Limited data suggest that CRPS also may be influenced by genetics.  Rare family clusters of CRPS have been reported.  Familial CRPS may be more severe with earlier onset, greater dystonia, and more than one limb being affected.

Occasionally CRPS develops without any known injury.  In these cases, an infection, a blood vessel problem, or entrapment of the nerves may have caused an internal injury.  A physician will perform a thorough examination in order to identify a cause.

In many cases, CRPS results from a variety of causes.  In such instances, treatments are directed at all of the contributing factors.

How is CRPS diagnosed?

Currently there is no specific test that can confirm CRPS. Its diagnosis is based on a person’s medical history, and signs and symptoms that match the definition.  Since other conditions can cause similar symptoms, careful examination is important.  As most people improve gradually over time, the diagnosis may be more difficult later in the course of the disorder.

Testing also may be used to help rule out other conditions, such as arthritis, Lyme disease, generalized muscle diseases, a clotted vein, or small fiber polyneuropathies, because these require different treatment.  The distinguishing feature of CRPS is that of an injury to the affected area.  Such individuals should be carefully assessed so that an alternative treatable disorder is not overlooked.

Magnetic resonance imaging or triple-phase bone scans may be requested to help confirm a diagnosis.  While CRPS is often associated with excess bone resorption, a process in which certain cells break down the bone and release calcium into the blood, this finding may be observed in other illnesses as well.

What is the prognosis?

The outcome of CRPS is highly variable.  Younger persons, children, and teenagers tend to have better outcomes.  While older people can have good outcomes, there are some individuals who experience severe pain and disability despite treatment.  Anecdotal evidence suggests early treatment, particularly rehabilitation, is helpful in limiting the disorder, a concept that has not yet been proven in clinical studies.  More research is needed to understand the causes of CRPS, how it progresses, and the role of early treatment.

How is CRPS treated?

The following therapies are often used:

Rehabilitation and physical therapy.  An exercise program to keep the painful limb or body part moving can improve blood flow and lessen the circulatory symptoms.  Additionally, exercise can help improve the affected limb’s flexibility, strength, and function.  Rehabilitating the affected limb also can help to prevent or reverse the secondary brain changes that are associated with chronic pain.  Occupational therapy can help the individual learn new ways to work and perform daily tasks.

Psychotherapy. CRPS and other painful and disabling conditions often are associated with profound psychological symptoms for affected individuals and their families.  People with CRPS may develop depression, anxiety, or post-traumatic stress disorder, all of which heighten the perception of pain and make rehabilitation efforts more difficult.  Treating these secondary conditions is important for helping people cope and recover from CRPS.

Medications. Several different classes of medication have been reported to be effective for CRPS, particularly when used early in the course of the disease.  However, no drug is approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration specifically for CRPS, and no single drug or combination of drugs is guaranteed to be effective in every person.  Drugs to treat CRPS include:

  • bisphosphonates, such as high dose alendronate or intravenous pamidronate
  • non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs to treat moderate pain, including over-the-counter aspirin, ibuprofen, and naproxen
  • corticosteroids that treat inflammation/swelling and edema, such as prednisolone and methylprednisolone (used mostly in the early stages of CRPS)
  • drugs initially developed to treat seizures or depression but now shown to be effective for neuropathic pain, such as gabapentin, pregabalin, amitriptyline, nortriptyline, and duloxetine
  • botulinum toxin injections
  • opioids such as oxycodone, morphine, hydrocodone, and fentanyl.  These drugs must be prescribed and monitored under close supervision of a physician, as these drugs may be addictive.
  • N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptor antagonists such as dextromethorphan and ketamine, and
  • topical local anesthetic creams and patches such as lidocaine.

All drugs or combination of drugs can have various side effects such as drowsiness, dizziness, increased heartbeat, and impaired memory. Inform a healthcare professional of any changes once drug therapy begins.

Sympathetic nerve block. Some individuals report temporary pain relief from sympathetic nerve blocks, but there is no published evidence of long-term benefit.  Sympathetic blocks involve injecting an anesthetic next to the spine to directly block the activity of sympathetic nerves and improve blood flow.

Surgical sympathectomy.  The use of this operation that destroys some of the nerves is controversial.  Some experts think it is unwarranted and makes CRPS worse, whereas others report a favorable outcome.  Sympathectomy should be used only in individuals whose pain is dramatically relieved (although temporarily) by sympathetic nerve blocks.

Spinal cord stimulation.  Placing stimulating electrodes through a needle into the spine near the spinal cord provides a tingling sensation in the painful area.  Electrodes may be placed temporarily for a few days in order to assess whether stimulation is likely to be helpful.  Minor surgery is required to implant all the parts of the stimulator, battery, and electrodes under the skin on the torso.  Once implanted, the stimulator can be turned on and off, and adjusted using an external controller.  Approximately 25 percent of individuals develop equipment problems that may require additional surgeries.

Other types of neural stimulation. Neurostimulation can be delivered at other locations along the pain pathway, not only at the spinal cord.  These include near injured nerves (peripheral nerve stimulators), outside the membranes of the brain (motor cortex stimulation with dural electrodes), and within the parts of the brain that control pain (deep brain stimulation).  A recent option involves the use of magnetic currents applied externally to the brain (known as repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation, or rTMS).  A similar method that uses transcranial direct electrical stimulation is also being investigated.  These stimulation methods have the advantage of being non-invasive, with the disadvantage that repeated treatment sessions are needed.

Intrathecal drug pumps.  These devices pump pain-relieving medications directly into the fluid that bathes the spinal cord, typically opioids, local anesthetic agents, clonidine, and baclofen.  The advantage is that pain-signaling targets in the spinal cord can be reached using doses far lower than those required for oral administration, which decreases side effects and increases drug effectiveness.  There are no studies that show benefit specifically for CRPS.

Emerging treatments for CRPS include:

  • Intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIG).  Researchers in Great Britain report low-dose IVIG reduced pain intensity in a small trial of 13 patients with CRPS for 6 to 30 months who did not respond well to other treatments.  Those who received IVIG had a greater decrease in pain scores than those receiving saline during the following 14 days after infusion.
  • Ketamine. Investigators are using low doses of ketamine—a strong anesthetic—given intravenously for several days to either reduce substantially or eliminate the chronic pain of CRPS.  In certain clinical settings, ketamine has been shown to be useful in treating pain that does not respond well to other treatments.
  • Graded Motor imagery.  Several studies have demonstrated the benefits of graded motor imagery therapy for CRPS pain.  Individuals do mental exercises including identifying left and right painful body parts while looking into a mirror and visualizing moving those painful body parts without actually moving them.

Several alternative therapies have been used to treat other painful conditions.  Options include behavior modification, acupuncture, relaxation techniques (such as biofeedback, progressive muscle relaxation, and guided motion therapy), and chiropractic treatment.

What research is currently being done on CRPS?

The mission of the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) is to seek fundamental knowledge about the brain and nervous system and to use that knowledge to reduce the burden of neurological disease.  The NINDS is part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the leading supporter of biomedical research in the world.

NINDS-supported scientists are studying new approaches to treat CRPS and to intervene more aggressively to limit the symptoms and disability associated with the syndrome.  Other NIH institutes also support research on CRPS and other painful conditions.

Previous research has shown that CRPS-related inflammation is caused by the body’s own immune response.  Researchers hope to better understand how CRPS develops by studying immune system activation and peripheral nerve signaling using an animal model of the disorder.  The animal model was developed to mimic certain CRPS-like features following fracture or limb surgery, by activating certain molecules involved in the immune system process.

Limb trauma, such as a fracture, followed by immobilization in a cast, is the most common cause of CRPS.  By studying an animal model, researchers hope to better understand the neuroinflammatory basis of CRPS in order to identify the relevant inflammatory signaling pathways that lead to the development of post-traumatic CRPS.  They also will examine inflammatory effects of cast immobilization and exercise on the development of pain behaviors and CRPS symptoms.

Peripheral nerve injury and subsequent regeneration often lead to a variety of sensory changes.  Researchers hope to identify specific cellular and molecular changes in sensory neurons following peripheral nerve injury to better understand the processes that underlie neuroplasticity (the brain’s ability to reorganize or form new nerve connections and pathways following injury or death of nerve cells).  Identifying these mechanisms could provide targets for new drug therapies that could improve recovery following regeneration.

Children and adolescents with CRPS generally have a better prognosis than adults, which may provide insights into mechanisms that can prevent chronic pain.  Scientists are studying children with CRPS given that their brains are more adaptable through a mechanism known as neuroplasticity.  Scientists hope to use these discoveries in order to develop more effective therapies for CRPS.

NINDS-funded scientists continue to investigate how inflammation and the release of adenosine triphosphate (ATP) may induce abnormal connections and signaling between sympathetic and sensory nerve cells in chronic pain conditions such as CRPS. (ATP is a molecule involved with energy production within cells that can also act as a neurotransmitter.  Neurotransmitters are chemicals used by nervous system cells to communicate with one another.)  A better understanding of changes in nerve connections following peripheral nerve injury may offer greater insight to pain and lead to new treatments.

Article Provided By: NIH

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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 info@carolinapainscrambler.com
Chemotherapy, CRPS, Pain Center, Nerve Pain Therapy, Back Pain Relief

Mistakes That Make Pain Worse

What if I told you that, besides being generally unpleasant (to put it mildly), pain can also be deceiving and misleading? Yes! Pain can play tricks with our heads and fill us with thoughts that can be harmful and hold us back from getting better. Here are two of the most powerful mind tricks that pain plays on us (they may surprise you!): 
Catastrophizing
Think of catastrophizing as a thought process where you see the worst in a situation and consider only the most negative of possible outcomes. Catastrophizing is often associated with rumination, meaning you keep thinking that something terrible is going to happen and you can’t get it out of your head. This constant negative thinking can then directly impact your feelings and emotions, which means you can start to freak out or get really depressed. A lot of pain research done over the years suggests that catastrophizing can have a big impact on how we hurt. Not only does catastrophizing influence the intensity of our pain, but it seems to play a significant role in whether the pain becomes chronic or not. In fact, studies have found that catastrophizing can lead to an increased chance of long-term disability.In some cases, how we interpret the words we hear from our doctors can determine how much we catastrophize. For example, if your physician tells you that you have really degenerated discs in your lower back, you could respond by ruminating that this a “terrible” problem that will never go away and will likely lead you down a path of becoming wheelchair dependent. Or, you could choose to interpret this as a common diagnosis that happens as we get older and decide you are going to do whatever you can to minimize its impact so you can continue to lead an active and happy life. Two different mindsets to the same problem can lead to very different outcomes.

But if you are the person hurting and you don’t have a medical background, how do you know if what you are thinking is reasonable or catastrophizing? This is might be a good topic to bring up with your doctor, especially since research shows that catastrophizing is usually overlooked by most doctors. If you find yourself feeling very worried about anything related to your health, why not let your physician know how you feel and get their perspective on how realistic your fears might be. There is a good chance that your doctor has treated similar situations to yours many times in the past.

If you find yourself ruminating excessively, ask your physician for assistance in learning tools for quieting these thoughts and finding ways you can see your health in a more positive light. Studies show that decreasing levels of catastrophic thinking actually lead to better pain treatment outcomes. 
Associating Pain With Harm  
Pain and injury don’t go hand in hand when it comes to chronic pain. Granted, pain is the hallmark sign of an acute injury like a broken bone, and the disappearance of that acute pain is a notable sign of tissue healing and repair. Starting in childhood, our brains learn to equate pain with harm or injury that we carry into adulthood and use as a protective mechanism. But this typical learned behavior can pose a problem for those working to overcome a condition that is more chronic. When pain triggers this warning alarm, we go through a fight or flight response as a protective mechanism to either fight off or run from danger. But if we go through this type of fire drill every day, then we develop a dysfunctional behavior pattern where we keep our attention focused on a perceived threat that doesn’t really exist. This can leave us feeling agitated, anxious, and fearful, and prevents us from moving on with our day and engaging in otherwise meaningful activities. Consider the example of neck pain from a whiplash injury. The pain you feel right after getting rear-ended is related to acute tissue inflammation, but feeling neck pain a whole year later is a different matter. When pain is felt with moving chronically tight and sore muscles or joints, that doesn’t mean injury is taking place. Rather, it is a sign that your body has learned to resist such movements and needs to go through a careful process to recondition and retrain certain muscles, tendons, joints, and nerves to behave differently.But if you continue to avoid turning your neck for many months because of the negative feedback of the pain, then your neck will only get stiffer and hurt even more, and keep you from engaging in meaningful activities. Yes, pain can play wicked games on our minds and hold us back from getting better if we let it! Overcoming this tricky “pain – fear – avoidance” loop is not easy and may require assistance, but the first step is getting to a place where you understand the difference between experiencing pain versus doing something that is actually harmful or dangerous to your body.

With both catastrophizing and the misconception that chronic pain is a sign of further harm, we see ourselves misinterpreting our medical condition to the point of letting it disrupt our lives in very negative and lasting ways. Turning the tide on these two barriers to recovery might be just the thing that helps you find relief.

Article Provided By: WebMD

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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 info@carolinapainscrambler.com
Back Pain Relief, Nerve Pain Relief, Neck Pain Relief, Nerve Pain Therapy

5 Ways to Manage Pain Flare-Ups

If you live with chronic pain, one of the most important things you can do for yourself is to learn how to manage pain flare-ups. A pain flare-up is a substantial increase in the intensity of an underlying chronic pain problem. While the change in pain level can be dramatic, it is not a new pain, but rather a significant exacerbation of a pain problem that already exists. Still, the sudden spike in pain can be so unsettling that you may worry that there is a new injury or problem, leading you to shift your attention from calming the flare-up to seeking a new diagnosis and new treatment for this “new pain” (which isn’t really a new pain at all). All of this misplaced effort allows pain to run amok.A pain flare-up is not to be confused with the term breakthrough pain, which originally came about to describe increases in cancer pain that were not adequately controlled by pain medications and needed an extra boost. Breakthrough pain eventually became a popular term for the pharmaceutical industry to promote the daily use of added pain painkillers during the day to try to bring down routine fluctuations in pain levels.

Pain flare-ups can be attributed to a whole host of causes, including these common culprits:

  • Physical Activity – A certain movement or task can set off a pain crisis. For example, something as simple as bending the wrong way or sitting too long in the car can be a trigger.
  • Stress – Whether it be emotional or physical stress, going into fight-or-flight mode seems to make us more sensitive to pain. We have a tendency to carry stress in our bodies right where we hurt the most.
  • Poor Sleep – Studies have shown that pain intensity can correlate with the quality of our sleep. Something as simple as staying up an extra hour later than normal can leave you feeling more pain sensitive and uncomfortable the next day.
  • Overdoing It – Trying to get too many things done in a day or participating in an activity for longer than what you can typically handle is a common cause of flare-ups.
  • Eating the wrong foods – Foods that cause inflammation, fluid retention, dehydration, or trigger headaches can play a role in aggravating an existing pain problem.
  • A Virus – Having the flu or a cold can leave muscles and joints feeling achy and can easily make a chronic pain problem feel that much worse.
  • ??? – It is worth pointing out that sometimes pain flare-ups occur from no particular cause; they just happen.
Whatever the trigger, it may be helpful to think of a flare-up as a situation where something has gone awry in the communication between the nervous system and the musculoskeletal system. The processing of information in the brain and the nerves that connect with your body are telling your muscles to react and tense up. Having a robust flare-up management game plan is an integral part to successfully managing chronic pain.Here are my tips to developing a winning flare-up management tool kit!

  • Pacing – Learning how to slow down and pace activities can be a critical part of living well with a chronic pain problem. If overdoing it causes you to crash for the next few days, then pacing will actually help you get more done in the long-run. Consider breaking up tasks into smaller jobs as opposed to trying to do them all at once.
  • Avoid Shutting Down – Sure, rest is an important part of recharging, but too much avoidance of activity can actually make the pain worse. Find the right balance between moving too much and aggravating the flare-up-up versus doing too little and causing the body to get tighter, stiffer, and sorer.
  • Don’t Panic – A bad pain flare-up can set off all kinds of alarms. But this mindset will only serve to make you tenser and hurt even more. Learn strategies to calm the nervous system and use them when you start to feel control slipping away.
  • Move – It may seem counter-intuitive, but the right movement strategies can be your best friend when it comes to managing a flare-up. Learn stretches to release tight muscles groups, or consider gentle yoga poses to connect the mind with the body in a calming way. And even doing some cardio or a nice walk can improve your mood and outlook enough to reduce the pain.
  • Pamper Yourself – This might be a good time to book a massage, check in with the chiropractor, or see an acupuncturist, if these practices have a proven track record with your particular condition. It helps to have an outside support team

Creating a successful flare-up-up tool kit will be well worth your time and energy, but it might mean thinking outside the box to get there.

Article Provided By: WebMD

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, Nerve pain Relief, Pain Therapy, Pain Relief

Enjoy Summer and Manage Chronic Pain

6 Ways to Manage Chronic Pain and Enjoy Summer

Don’t let chronic pain rule your summer! Plan ahead using these self-care warm weather tips.

Regardless of where you live, everyone looks forward to the summer months—the daily schedule is less hectic, leaving more time to just enjoy yourself. Hot weather can exacerbate pain symptoms, while changes to the household routine such as school breaks for the kids or family vacations can make wellness routines harder to maintain.

Enjoying the summer months and hopefully making some new memories along the way requires planning for chronic pain sufferers.

I start advising my patients in April they should be thinking of warmer months ahead and plan accordingly.

Self-care extends through all the seasons. Planning ahead for health-challenging roadblocks minimizes reliance on others, feeds your independence and keep you socially engaged.

Don’t let pain rule your summer by preparing for challenges—and enjoying the luxuries that only these few months offer:

1. Seek out your happy place—the water
Depending on your pain condition, water can be a wonderful respite from pain and you can find a pool or lake without looking too hard.

woman keeps cool in the pool

Make a point of accepting those pool party invitations and bring a cool drink into the water with you.

Don’t swim? Many pools are only four to five feet deep, so no worries. While you are in the surf or lake or pool, do some light stretching (so one can see you under the water).

Closer to home, a misting fan can be very relaxing and cold packs can be lifesavers during summer pain flares.

2. Avoid extreme heat
Unfortunately, you may be living every day with burning nerve pain. The last thing you want to expose yourself to is sunburn or prolong heat exposure. Changes in temperature and barometric pressure can also trigger joint pain.

Fortunately, many people who battle pain don’t also prefer to stay out of the heat, so it should not be hard to find some company.

Plan activities in the early morning or after the sun begins to set and put a hand-held fan in your bag whenever you venture out. Wear loose clothing and comfortable shoes. Grab a light hat to shield your face, also.

3. Prioritize proper seating
Summer activities always seem to include plenty of uncomfortable seating–tiny café chairs, bleachers at a ball game, outdoor concerts where you sit on the hard ground. Plan ahead—store a folding or travel chair that fits in the truck of your car. Add a couple of cushions to sit on or bolster your lower back.

4. Boost your immune system and eat fresh summer fare
Fruits and vegetables are not going to be better than they are right now. Enjoy them and boost your vitamin and mineral bank as well. Increase the quality of your food. You will feel so much better for it.

fresh vegetables

My favorite summer snack is the big red cherries available only for a few weeks in the market. I eat far too many, but the the health boost makes it acceptable–The USDA found that cherries contain pain-fighting and inflammation-reducing compounds that can help lessen pain, particularly arthritis.

5. Monitor the air quality
During the summer, it is especially important to pay attention to the air quality ratings before heading outdoors. Studies have shown urban air pollution increases inflammation, particularly for people with fibromyalgia, chronic pain syndrome, and MS. Before heading outside, check the Air Quality Index (AQI) at your outdoor destination.

6. Don’t put your healthcare on vacation

Don’t let summer vacations or road trips get in the way of your treatment plan. Check in with your doctor before you go and ask for help to navigate your adventure as painlessly as possible.

Be as self-sufficient as you can by planning ahead this summer. This will lessen stress and increase your independence.

Article Provided By: spineuniverse

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 Therapy, Carolina Pain Scrambler Center, Greenville South Carolina

Parenting With Chronic Pain

Not long after her daughter was born in 1999, Sherrie Sisk began experiencing debilitating episodes of pain that left her feeling like she’d been run over by a truck.

“It was like the worst flu aches and pains you could ever imagine,” she says. A few months later, she was diagnosed with fibromyalgia, a chronic pain condition characterized by fatigue and pain, particularly focused around certain “tender points” in the body.

Ten years later, she’s learned to live with her condition — and her daughter has grown up with it. “I have days when I’m relatively functional — I hurt but it’s manageable. On those days, I can take her to the park and drive her around,” she says. “But on other days, I can’t get out of bed.”

How can you cope with chronic pain and still be the best parent you can be? First, it’s important to communicate with your child.

Talking with Your Child About Pain

Being a parent with chronic pain “reverses the family dynamic,” says Daniel Kantor, MD, president-elect of the Florida Society of Neurology (FSN) and medical director of Neurologique, an organization dedicated to patient care, research, and education. “The parent no longer feels like the person taking care of the child. Sometimes, it can feel like the child is taking care of the parent. It can be very stressful on that relationship.”

The best way to combat that stress is to talk opening about how you feel, Sisk says. “Kids want two things when it comes to chronic pain and parents: information and reassurance,” she says. So don’t hide your condition from your child. (Do you really think you can, anyway?) Instead, talk with them honestly about your pain and in an age-appropriate way.

  • Expect to have this talk more than once. In some ways, talking to your child about chronic pain is like talking about sex. You’ll have to reinforce your messages over and over again, and modify them as your child gets older and can understand more.
  • Keep it simple and honest. “Mommy hurts” is a good place to start with a younger child. “Explain to them that there are some things other parents can do that you can’t,” says Sisk. “Tell them what your condition is called and what it means.”
  • Reassure them. Your child needs to know that you aren’t going to die, and that chronic pain isn’t contagious — just because you have it doesn’t mean they’ll get it.
  • Let them help. Just bringing you a glass of water can make a child feel special and important. Just be careful that your child doesn’t turn into the caregiver. Kantor says he knows of 12-year-olds giving their parents their medication injections. “An adolescent shouldn’t act in the role of doctor or nurse.”
  • Listen to your child’s concerns. “Ask your child what it is about your condition that really bothers them,” says Maryann Lowry, a retired special education teacher who coaches families on parenting with chronic pain after her own decade-long battle with chronic pelvic pain. “But do it on their timetable. If they come to you upset or concerned, don’t just say ‘it’s OK’ — ask them what upsets them. For example, you son may feel like you got sicker because he begged you to take him to swim practice. You don’t want to leave a child with that thought.”

Parenting Through the Pain

While you keep the lines of communication open with your child, you also need to develop strategies that allow you to be as active a parent as possible while not pushing yourself so hard that the pain further debilitates you.

The most important thing to remember, Lowry says, is that your time and attention are more important than any activities you can do with your child.

“I felt terrible because I couldn’t take my sons to Disneyland for awhile,” she says. “But every day, I tried to shower, have makeup on, and look halfway decent when they got home. Even if I couldn’t go downstairs and sit on the couch, they could come upstairs and sit on the bed with me and talk to me about their day.”

Sisk, Lowry and other experts who’ve been there recommend a few strategies for making sure pain doesn’t interfere with your parenting:

  • Plan. If Sisk knew her daughter had a big dance recital coming up, she’d take it easy for several days ahead of time and asked the dance teacher to let Kayleigh leave the night-before rehearsal immediately after her number, so Sisk could rest. “Think of it like a bank: make deposits so you can be ready to make a withdrawal on a certain day,” she says.
  • Pre-medicate, if necessary. “If you know you’re going to need to be more active on a given day, take some medication ahead of time — don’t let the pain get too hot to cool down,” says David Rosenfeld, MD, a pain specialist with the Atlanta Pain Center. “There are also very good fast-acting medications out there for breakthrough pain.” Some are absorbed through the mucosa of your cheek and kick in much faster than even a ‘fast-acting’ pain pill.”
  • Focus on what you can do, rather than what you can’t. “I can’t go roller-skating and rock-climbing with my daughter, but I can go and watch her,” Sisk says. “I can walk the dog with her and swim, even though I can’t do it for very long.”
  • Look at what’s causing the pain and find strategies to alleviate it. “For instance, if your son plays basketball and by the end of two hours in the bleachers you’re in horrible pain, try little tricks to minimize it,” says David Kloth, MD, founder of Connecticut Pain Care in Danbury, Conn. “Alternate sitting and standing, or go out to the car at halftime and sit on a softer surface. Or only come for the second half of the game.”
  • Get some help. Don’t be afraid to ask for help — from your family, your friends, your church, your community groups. If you know other parents with chronic pain, trade days — you take the kids on a day when I feel lousy, and I’ll do the same for you.
“Depending on your income status, you may even be eligible for assistance with taking care of activities of daily living, like a home health aide a few hours a day or week to help with chores and let you spend more of your energy on your children,” says Sean O’Mahony, MD, medical director of the palliative careservice at Montefiore Medical Center in New York.“Chronic pain does interfere with the kind of parent I’d like to be,” Sisk says. “There are things other parents can do that I can’t. But what she really wants from me is to be with me — and that, I can do.”Article Provided By: WebMD

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
Back Pain Relief, Nerve Pain Treatment, Pain Relief, Perpipheral, Greenville, South Carolina

Adopting an Attitude that You’re Healthy

Adopting an Attitude that You’re Healthy despite having Chronic Pain: Coping with Pain Series

Chronic pain rehabilitation programs are a traditional and effective treatment for chronic pain. Such programs are based on cognitive-behavioral principles that aim to change how you experience pain. By doing so, chronic pain rehabilitation programs help you to a) reduce pain and b) return to meaningful life activities even though some level of pain may persist. In other words, by participating in chronic pain rehabilitation, you change your relationship to chronic pain. You no longer perceive pain as an alarming and disabling condition, but develop the know-how to understand your pain as a benign condition that no longer needs to disrupt or prevent your daily life activities.

Wouldn’t it be good to become so competent at dealing with persistent pain that you no longer are disabled by it?

Pain would continue to occur, of course, but it would now be occurring in the background of your day-to-day life. The reasonable activities of life, like work and family activities, would become what occupies your time and attention, not pain. Again, wouldn’t it be good to learn how to do it?

Everyday, people with moderate to severe chronic pain learn to do it in chronic pain rehabilitation programss across the world.

There are countless strategies for coping better with pain, which can be learned in chronic pain rehabilitation programs. One strategy, which has been taught ever since there have been such programs, is to adopt an attitude that you remain a healthy person even though you have chronic pain. By assuming this attitude, you come to change your understanding of how you should relate to chronic, or persistent, pain.

Do you remain a healthy person when having persistent pain?

Like many questions in life, the answer to the above question depends on whom you ask. There may or may not be a universally correct answer for all people across all conditions and all situations. Pragmatically, however, the answer is important because it can determine how well you cope with persistent pain.

Many people with persistent pain consider themselves injured or ill. It’s common, for instance, for those with chronic low back or neck pain to think of themselves as injured. Another possibility is that individuals with such pain might have been told they have degenerative disc disease and as such they consider themselves to have a disease of the spine. Still others might consider migraine headache (aka, “sick headache”) or fibromyalgia as an illness. In all these scenarios of thinking of pain as the result of injury or illness, the implication is that you are unhealthy.

Indeed, this way of understanding pain goes hand in hand with seeking healthcare for it. It’s what sick or injured people do. You go to the doctor in order to get better. In this light, pain medications are often thought of as “medicine”.

It can also lead those who conceptualize chronic pain in this manner to engage in other behaviors associated with injury or illness, such as stopping life activities, staying home from work, and resting. It’s what injured or sick people do to get healthier, right?

Together, these beliefs and behaviors make up what’s called the sick role. They are the normal ways of understanding yourself as injured or ill and therefore what you do when you think of yourself in this manner.

Is there really any other way of thinking about it?

For many, this way of relating to chronic pain doesn’t involve a choice. It’s just how they experience pain. The presence of pain is simply and necessarily a sign of injury or illness for which there is nothing you can do but stay home and remain inactive. It’s never questioned and when it is, such questioning is perceived as invalidating or stigmatizing the reality of the pain as it is experienced.

This way of experiencing pain is apparent when people express such beliefs as “I can’t work” or “I can’t go to my kids ball game this afternoon” or “I have to take pain medicines.” For them, the presence of pain requires certain behaviors like staying home and resting or taking pain medicines. Open discussion of other possible ways of reacting to pain is perceived with skepticism at best and as invalidating or stigmatizing at worst. “You just don’t understand,” they might say. There really is nothing else they might do in the presence of pain, for its very experience requires that one must stay home, rest or take pain medicines. It’s just how it is.

What we are trying to articulate is the underlying conceptual framework or categories through which people experience pain.

Or, more specifically, we’re trying to articulate the conceptual lens through which some people experience pain (see also, Jensen, et al, 1999).

Do all people experience persistent pain in this manner?

While the above noted ways of experiencing pain are common, they are not universal to all people with chronic pain. We know, for instance, from empirical research but also from everyday experience, that some people with moderate to severe pain don’t take opioid pain medicines or don’t perceive themselves as disabled and so remain at work (see, for example, this article here).

For them, the presence of pain doesn’t rise to any level of urgency that requires action. It’s experienced as inconvenient or bothersome, but largely normal. “It’s just what happens when you get old” or “My migraines are a barometer that tells me I’m not taking care of myself very well” or “I heard that back pain is just something we have because early humans stood up on two feet” or “Doesn’t everybody have back pain?” Notice the lack of alarm or urgency with which these people experience pain. They have pain, but there’s no need to do anything about it. They accept it as normal. They don’t enjoy it, of course, but neither are they distressed by it. Pain is something we have and it’s accepted as a bothersome fact of life that we put up with.

One way in which people experience pain in this manner is that they don’t understand pain as a health problem. In other words, pain lies outside of the conceptual categories of health or disease or injury. For them, knees and hips and backs and stomachs and necks and heads hurt because that’s how we’re made. It just comes with the territory of playing sports or getting older or getting stressed. It’s the given. It’s not abnormal. It’s normal.

This conceptual lens through which they perceive pain has for them no bearing on whether they are healthy or not. They might, for instance, consider themselves healthy even though they have to mind their persistent knee pain because of the sports they play. Indeed, the presence of chronic pain can sometimes serve as the cause of maintaining a healthy lifestyle. “I have a desk job and so when I sit all the time my back tends to hurt a lot and so it makes me insistent that I block my lunch hour so that I can walk everyday.” “I’m prone to migraines, almost everyone in my family gets them, and so I really have to stay on top of my stress and get regular exercise.”

Notice in these scenarios that pain isn’t understood as in itself an injury or illness. Rather, it’s due to playing sports or sitting too much or getting older or having too much stress. These ways of understanding pain don’t lead to illness behaviors such as staying home or resting or taking pain medicines. Indeed, it just might never occur to them that they should respond to their pain by staying home or taking pain medicine.

To learn to cope better, you have to be open to learning how

What we are trying to do in this discussion of contrasting experiences of pain is to articulate the underlying conceptual frameworks with which people understand pain. Pain is a complex subjective experience and we are attempting to make apparent the possible differences in the subjectivity of these experiences. Pain may be a universally human sensation, but it is subjectively experienced differently by different people in part because different people perceive pain through different conceptual frameworks.

For some, the sensation falls into the categories of injury or illness and poor health. From this way of understanding and perceiving pain, pain is an abnormal sensation that requires actions that sick or injured people do: seeking the advice of healthcare providers, getting tests and medical procedures, staying home from work, resting and taking medicines.

For still others, the sensation of pain falls into different conceptual categories, such as a sign of a hard fought sports game or getting really good work outs or getting older or sitting too much or having too much stress. From these ways of experiencing the sensation, there’s no sense of urgency to do something about it. It’s because they are understood as normal experiences.

The observation of these differences involves no intention to stigmatize. There are times, of course, when pain is due to injury or illness. Acute pain, for instance, is commonly the result of an acute injury or illness. So, it is not inherently wrong to conceptualize pain within the frameworks of injury or illness.

Not all pain, however, falls into these categories and it is sometimes in the best interest of those with chronic, or persistent, pain to begin to understand their pain differently.

It’s possible to learn how to experience pain differently. You have to be open to learning and it helps if you can learn from teachers or coaches within a non-judgmental or stigma-free environment. People with moderate to severe chronic pain learn everyday in chronic pain rehabilitation programs across the world.

Adopting an attitude that you remain healthy despite persistent pain

More often than not, if you see healthcare providers for chronic pain, they will encourage you to remain active, use the painful body part, exercise, manage your stress, stay at work, and try not to take opioid pain medications. Sound familiar? Despite these common recommendations, there’s often little instruction as to how to do these things when actually having pain. In fact, it almost seems impossible because the presence of pain seems to demand that you rest, guard or stay off the painful body part, stay home and take pain medicines. So impossible, it seems, that maybe they don’t really get how much pain you have or otherwise they wouldn’t recommend doing things that you know you can’t do.

With the discussion above, however, we can now begin to articulate how you might actually go about engaging in these recommendations, despite how impossible it might seem at first. It starts with adopting an attitude that you are healthy even though you have chronic pain.

Begin by reflecting on this essay. Consider the possibility that understanding your chronic pain as a long-lasting injury or illness leads naturally to behaviors that healthcare providers recommend against doing: staying home from work, resting, guarding the painful body part, taking pain medicines. This combination of beliefs, perceptions and behaviors lead to what we call identifying with the sick role. It puts you in a dependent role to your healthcare providers, on whom you rely to make you better. It also often puts you in a dependent role to family members, on whom you rely to take up the slack of what you can’t do. However, healthcare providers don’t have many effective ways to make you better, short of helping you to engage in the above recommendations. Reliance on family can foster guilt in you or increased stress and conflict with them. So, in all, experiencing pain through the lens of the sick role doesn’t typically amount to much improvement and sometimes it can even make your overall situation in life worse.

Maybe, then, it’s time to re-think how you think about pain.

Once you decide that it is in your interest to be open to learning new ways to respond to pain, then practice thinking of yourself as a healthy person with persistent pain. Recognize that healthy people have pain, even persistent, or chronic, pain. Low back pain, for instance, is by far the most common form of chronic pain and to manage it well you have to engage in behaviors that healthy people do – stay active, remain at work, use your back, get regular exercise, manage your stress, and maintain a healthy weight.

To adopt the attitude that you remain healthy despite having persistent pain, it helps to recognize that persistent pain is common. A third or more of the population has persistent pain. As we age, pain becomes increasingly more common (Fayaz, et al., 2016). It isn’t, therefore, abnormal to have chronic pain.

From this understanding, the occurrence of persistent back, neck, joint or head pain doesn’t have to be cause for alarm. It’s not signaling a state of urgency. Pain can be accepted as a fact of life. Many of us, as we get older, have a harder time keeping weight off. This biological condition isn’t a pathological condition of illness, but rather just something that is accepted. Most forms of chronic pain can be considered in a similar light – not something that is a pathological condition of illness or injury, but just something that tends to happen. It may occur because of sedentary lifestyles or sports activities or age or stress or maybe we don’t even question why because it happens to so many of us. From this way of understanding it, pain isn’t abnormal and it’s not alarming, but just bothersome.

This way of experiencing pain seems considerably more preferable than experiencing it as an abnormal and alarming event for which valued life activities must be given up. Rather, pain is something for which you stay active. Motion is lotion, as the old saying goes. Experiencing it this way, pain persists, but occurs in the background of daily life in which you stay active, remain at work, get regular exercise, manage your stress, maintain a healthy weight, and otherwise engage in the healthy behaviors of the healthy person you are.

Now that’s what really good pain management looks like.

Article Provided By: Institute for Chronic Pain

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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 info@carolinapainscrambler.com
Pain Management, Chronic Pain, Nerve Pain Treatment, Pain Therapy, Chemotherapy, South Carolina

5 Ways to Boost Your Pain Management

Right about now there is a good chance that you have been thinking about ways you might “hit the refresh button” on your pain management approach in the coming year. As you’re thinking about what you’d like to change, make sure that whatever goal you’re shooting for is both impactful and sustainable.

And, as with starting anything new, try to set yourself up for success. First off, make it easy to do. Look for options that are not too time-consuming or taxing. Seek out strategies or therapies that you can ease yourself into, one step at a time. Also, keep your plan affordable and try to get as much value as possible out of the time and money that you spend. And try to make it fun. The more enjoyment, inspiration, and fulfillment that you get out of whatever you do, the more likely you are to make it a lasting part of your routine.

Now let’s look at some easy ways you can spruce up your approach toward making chronic pain more manageable and better controlled –

  • Unplug an hour earlier. Research has shown that when we sleep better at night, we experience less pain during the day. I also know that one of the most frequent complaints I hear from my patients is that they just don’t sleep well at all. While there are many strategies that can improve sleep, an easy one to try is to simply disconnect from your smart phone an hour earlier at night. Stopping whatever stimulation and agitation that you could get from looking at emails or social media well in advance of bedtime helps the mind and body wind down to fall asleep more easily.
  • Download a meditation app. Over the last several years, a number of studies have found that meditation can play an important role in pain relief. But finding the time and inclination for meditation in our busy and over-stimulated culture can be a real challenge. While attending an 8-week mindfulness course can have serious benefit, that is not something most folks can commit to. But downloading a meditation app, most of which are free or low cost, puts a daily 5-minute mediation at your fingertips, making it easier than ever.
  • Exercise smarter, not harder. While getting enough exercise is critical to both physical and mental health, this can be a real struggle for folks with challenging pain problems. In many cases, trying the typical gym exercises will only flare-up the pain even more, making the whole subject of exercise even more frustrating for patients. This is where looking outside the box can pay off by exploring other movement strategies, some of which, like tai chi and yoga, can even be done in a chair. When trying a new activity, go slow and gentle, and consider breaking it up into smaller sessions during the day instead of doing it all at once. Adding good music and making it social can boost the fun value of whatever you are doing.
  • Start event planning. Commit to doing at least one joyful activity each month. Spend some time planning to do something that is special and has meaning for you, and then book it on your calendar. It can be as simple as going to the movies or taking a walk in the park. The anticipation of having something fun coming your way can boost optimism, improve mood, and lower stress.
  • Take it outside. Make a habit of going outdoors and getting some fresh air in the middle of the day on a regular basis, even if it is for just a few minutes. Midday sunlight increases vitamin D levels, helps set our biological clocks, and can improve mood.

No matter what new, exciting, or different therapies or strategies that you explore this year, try not to fret about any hiccups or missteps that you encounter along the way. Appreciate each moment of the process as meaningful in some way. And if you can get through the first few months, there is a better chance that the new resolution will become a lasting habit.

Article Provided By: WebMD

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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