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

16 Gifts For People with Chronic Pain

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

The best chronic pain gifts in 2018

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

1. A clean house

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

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

2. Spa days

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

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

3. A delicious dinner

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

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

4. Video games

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

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

5. Adaptive equipment

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

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

6. Gardening tools

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

7. Jewelry

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

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

8. Clothes

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

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

9. Subscriptions

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

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

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

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

10. Time

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

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

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

Last-minute chronic pain gifts 

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

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

11. Grocery store gift baskets

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

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

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

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

12. Experiences 

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

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

13. Charitable contributions

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

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

14. Customized photo projects 

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

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

15. Journals and calendars

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

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

16. Gift cards

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

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

Article Provided By: Pain Doctor

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

Acute Vs. Chronic Pain

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

Acute vs. chronic pain explained 

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

What is chronic pain?  

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

Examples of chronic pain include:

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

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

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

What is acute pain? 

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

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

What should you do if you suffer from chronic pain?

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

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

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

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

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

2. Understand that there is no miracle cure

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

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

3. Understand that some days are better than others

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

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

4. Be open with your family and friends

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

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

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

5. Ask for help

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

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

Article Provided By: Pain Doctor

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

Chronic Pain Syndrome

What is a chronic pain syndrome?

Your doctor has told you that you have a chronic pain syndrome. What does it mean?

In most cases, chronic pain starts with an acute injury or illness. If the pain of this injury or illness lasts longer than six months, it’s then considered chronic pain. Sometimes, chronic pain subsequently causes complications. These complications, in turn, can make the pain worse. A chronic pain syndrome is the combination of chronic pain and the secondary complications that are making the original pain worse.

Chronic pain syndromes develop in what we call a vicious cycle. A vicious cycle is the cycle of pain causing pain: chronic pain that causes secondary complications, which subsequently make the original chronic pain worse.

What are these secondary complications? Chronic pain can lead to some common problems over time. For example, many people tend to have trouble sleeping because of pain. After a while, they are so tired and their patience has worn so thin that everything starts bugging them. They also find that coping with chronic pain gets harder and harder too. Some people stop working. With the job loss, they might come to experience financial problems. The stress of these problems keeps them up at night. Thinking too much in the middle of the night can make the original sleeping problem even worse. It can be hard to shut off the thinking even in the middle day. Chronic pain can also affect the roles people have in the family. They miss out on children’s activities, family functions, and parties with friends. As a result, many people struggle with guilt. Guilt isn’t the only emotion that is common to living with chronic pain. Patients tend to report some combination of fear, irritability, anxiety and depression. Patients also tend to express that they have lost their sense of direction to life. They are stuck. These problems are all common when living with chronic pain.

These problems cause stress. They are called stressors, which means that they are problems that cause stress. These stressors can make pain worse because stress affects the nervous system.It makes the nervous system more reactive and you become nervous. Now, pain is also a nerve related problem. Whatever its initial cause, pain travels along the nervous system to the brain, which is also part of the nervous system. Once reaching the brain, it registers as pain. When stress affects the nervous system, making it more reactive, the pain signals reach the brain in an amplified way. So, stress leads you to have more pain.

The vicious cycles of pain become clear. Chronic pain causes stressful problems, which, in turn, cause stress that makes the pain worse. This combination of chronic pain and the resultant problems that make pain worse is what we call a chronic pain syndrome.

Article Provided By: Institute of Chronic Pain

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

Complex Regional Pain Syndrome

What is complex regional pain syndrome?

Complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS) is an uncommon nerve-related pain condition. While it can occur in any body part, it usually occurs in an arm or leg. It has a typical set of signs and symptoms in the affected body part:

  • Persistent burning pain
  • Sensitivity to touch and/or cold
  • Changes in skin color (to the color red or even a shade of purple)
  • Swelling
  • Changes in skin temperature
  • Changes in hair and nail growth

The pain of CRPS is often intense. Patients tend to exhibit a touch-me-not reaction of vigilance and alarm to the mild touch of others or even to the wind blowing on the affected part of the body. As such, patients often limit activity and hold the affected part in a rigid and motionless manner. In addition to being impairing, the persistent sense of vigilance and alarm naturally lead to emotional distress.

There is no known cause of CRPS. It likely involves the sympathetic nervous system. The sympathetic nervous system also affects immune system functioning. As such, the sympathetic nervous system likely has something to do with the inflammation that causes the swelling and changes in skin color. The cause of CRPS also likely involves the central nervous system – the brain and spinal cord. Among other functions, the central nervous system processes nerve impulses from the affected body part. Because of the high sensitivity to touch and cold that occurs, the amplification of these signals suggests that there is some type of problem in the information processing functions of the central nervous system.

Despite having no known cause, CRPS often starts with surgeries or injuries – even mild injuries — to the affected body part. Obviously, however, there must be more to the picture when it comes to causes of CRPS, as most surgeries and mild injuries do not typically lead to CRPS.

There are two types of complex regional pain syndrome. These types are based on the different kinds of injuries that can precipitate CRPS. They are referred to as complex regional pain syndrome I and complex regional pain syndrome II.

  • Complex regional pain syndrome I: Presumed injury to the sympathetic nervous system in the affected body part. This type used to be called ‘reflex sympathetic dystrophy (RSD).’
  • Complex regional pain syndrome II: Actual injury to a nerve in the affected body part due to a surgery or injury. This type used to be called ‘causalgia.’

Complex regional pain syndrome I is the most common form of CRPS.

Is there a cure for complex regional pain syndrome?

The course of CRPS can vary across different individuals. Conventional wisdom in the healthcare community is that CRPS can be cured if caught early, but will become chronic if not caught early. This notion comes from anecdotal evidence that CRPS can sometimes be cured through early interventions. However, there are no well-designed, published research data that clearly supports this view.

CRPS can progress beyond the original affected body part. It can come to affect other limbs or indeed the whole body. Central sensitization likely plays a role in this progression.1 Central sensitization is a highly reactive state of the nervous system, which amplifies pain.

Typically, CRPS I and II are chronic pain disorders. Chronic conditions are health conditions that have no cure and which tend to last indefinitely. Healthcare for chronic conditions focuses on reducing symptoms and reducing the impact that the condition has on the patient’s life. The goal is to still live well despite having the condition.

Therapies & Procedures for complex regional pain syndrome

Common treatments for CRPS I & II are anti-inflammatory medications, corticosteroid medications, antidepressant medications, anticonvulsant medications, bisphosohonates, calcitonin, physical therapy, nerve blocks, neural blockades, spinal cord stimulation, and chronic pain rehabilitation programs.

Recent published reviews of research express concern about how there are no well-designed studies of the effectiveness for any of these common treatments.2, 3 Despite how often they are pursued, their effectiveness are all unproven. Both reviews indicate that there are limited data to suggest bisphosphonates can be helpful. Quisel, et al., suggest that calcitonin and chronic pain rehabilitation program are likely to be helpful. They also report that spinal cord stimulation shows some promise but should only be pursued after considerable consultation due to the invasive nature of the procedure.

Article Provided By: Institute of Chronic Pain

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

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

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

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

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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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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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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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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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 | PainDoctor.com

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 info@carolinapainscrambler.com
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Managing CIPN after Cancer Treatment

Though doctors and researchers are continually working to refine cancer treatments, therapies to treat the disease can still have side effects. Chemotherapy is often used as a strategy to kill cancer cells, but it can also affect the nerves that connect the spinal cord to muscles, skin, and internal organs. This condition is known as peripheral neuropathy.

“The likelihood that a person will develop peripheral neuropathy after cancer treatment varies widely, and is largely dependent on what kinds of chemotherapy drugs were given and the dosage that was used,” says Memorial Sloan Kettering physical therapist Laryssa Buoneto.

Symptoms of Neuropathy

A person’s particular symptoms related to neuropathy also may vary based on the type and dosage of drugs received. Certain types of chemotherapy affect the small sensory nerves in the feet and hands, causing symptoms such as numbness, tingling, and pain in fingers and toes. Treatment with chemotherapy can also result in weakness, muscle cramps, and muscle fatigue.

Less commonly, chemotherapy can have an impact on the nerves that control movement and autonomic (internal) functions. People with autonomic nerve damage may become dizzy when sitting or standing up, or may experience urinary or bowel symptoms, blood pressure changes, or irregular heartbeat.

“People who experience any of these symptoms during or after being treated for cancer should discuss them with their doctor,” says Ms. Buoneto. “These symptoms are common after cancer treatment, but they may also have other underlying causes.”

Diagnosing Peripheral Neuropathy

The first step in diagnosing peripheral neuropathy is to meet with your oncologist to discuss your chemotherapy regimen, symptoms, and any preexisting medical condition that could cause similar symptoms. Your oncologist may refer you to a physiatrist (a doctor who specializes in rehabilitation), a physical therapist, or an occupational therapist for evaluation and treatment.

In a typical exam, you would be examined for cuts and injuries, which can occur due to decreased sensitivity of the skin, and evaluated for your reaction to light touch, sensitivity to sharp and dull stimulation, finger muscle strength, reflexes, balance, and autonomic symptoms.

You may also undergo neurophysiologic tests such as:

  • electromyography, nerve conduction studies, and quantitative sensory tests to further examine peripheral nerve function
  • laboratory tests to look for metabolic disturbances and nutritional deficiencies
  • imaging tests to look for other possible causes of nerve damage

“These tests also can help your doctor or therapist to tailor a treatment plan to your needs and to measure progress to see if treatments are working,” says Memorial Sloan Kettering occupational therapist Gabrielle Miskovitz. “During your evaluation, your physical or occupational therapist will ask you to think about your goals. The therapist is there to help you maximize your safety, reduce your risk of injury, and improve your quality of life.”

Treating the Effects of Neuropathy

Medications are available to reduce the pain and sensory symptoms related to chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy (CIPN).

In addition, physical and occupational therapy can help those with neuropathy to improve balance and gait, fine motor skills, dexterity, and coordination. Many of the treatments are focused on decreasing the risk of falls, and injuries that can result from neuropathy.

Article Provided By: International Myeloma Foundation

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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
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