by Lovena Suson | Aug 1, 2021 | Health & Fitness, Pain Management
Do you suffer from chronic pain? As you know too well, the pain can affect your ability to work, socialize, and enjoy life. Chronic pain is a challenging issue to treat. However, scientists have found unusual treatments that can help reduce suffering.
If you’ve already tried traditional methods without success, then you may want to consider these unusual treatments:
1. Bee venom.
What??? Bee Venom?? Yes indeed! Bee venom can be used in an acupuncture treatment to help reduce chronic pain.
- You may run from the bees in your garden, but their venom can actually help you. Bee venom acupuncture has to be done in a professional setting and not your yard.
- A study titled, “Bee venom acupuncture for the treatment of chronic low back pain: study protocol for a randomized, double-blinded, sham-controlled trial,” found that the venom can help patients. Researchers also found bee venom improves circulation and lessons inflammation.
- If you’re allergic to bee stings, then you can’t use this treatment.
2. Sugar therapy.
Unfortunately, this treatment doesn’t involve eating cupcakes, cakes, candy, or other delicious treats.
- Sugar therapy, or prolotherapy, involves injecting sugar solutions into painful joints and tendons. Doctors usually use a dextrose solution. The goal is to make the joints and tendons fix themselves.
3. Guided imagery.
You can use your brain to control chronic pain.
- Guided imagery involves working with a professional to help you focus on specific pictures. These images are combined with words, so you work on eliminating illness from your body.
- For example, you may visualize a scene that involves your cells reducing inflammation to make your pain go away.
These drugs are usually reserved for patients who suffer from seizures. However, they can also help those who have chronic pain.
- It’s a medical mystery, but people are already using anticonvulsants to treat chronic pain. Scientists are still studying the treatment to determine why it helps with pain.
4. Pain pacemakers.
You can get a device similar to a heart pacemaker for pain. The pain pacemaker is used to stimulate the spinal cord with electrical signals. This helps to reduce the discomfort. The pain pacemaker requires surgery to be installed.
5. Spinal medication pumps.
Instead of sending electrical signals, these medication pumps send drugs to fight chronic pain.
- The medication is sent to the spinal cord after you push a button. You can control how much and how often the pumps work. The medications used for the pumps tend to be in high doses.
These drugs are being used beyond treating depression. They can reduce chronic pain in some cases.
- Researchers believe the antidepressants affect brain chemicals that control the pain. They state that patients don’t need to have depression to see benefits because the drugs can help decrease pain signals.
This treatment helps people who suffer from chronic pain by teaching them to manage the pain.
The Arthritis Foundation recommends hypnosis as an alternative treatment plan because it doesn’t have side effects. Hypnosis can help you relax and manage the pain. You want to work with a qualified hypnotherapist for the best results.
7. Tart cherry juice.
Drinking tart cherry juice may be one of the easiest alternative treatments for pain. Researchers found that it has anti-inflammatory properties and can reduce oxidative stress.
You can fight chronic pain with several alternative and unusual treatments. If you suffer from chronic pain, ask your doctor about these treatments. One of them may give you some much-needed relief!
Just being able to share this information might make a difference by guiding someone into researching more about this indeed, unusual treatment alternatives. When conventional treatment doesn’t work, why not?
Thanks all again for reading!
by Lovena Suson | May 4, 2021 | Pain Management
Heel Pain Be Gone!
Heel pain that comes and goes may seem mysterious, but it’s all too common. According to The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about one million patients go to see their doctor each year to treat plantar fasciitis, the most common cause of this symptom.
In case you’re not already familiar with your plantar fascia, it’s the tissue that supports the arch of your foot. When it’s overstretched, it can make walking or standing difficult. Usually, you’ll notice your first twinge when you plant your feet on the floor in the morning. The sensation may go away after a few steps, but the relief is short-lived.
Left untreated, the effects of plantar fasciitis will spread. However, more than 90% of cases can be solved with simple in-home treatments. Use these tips to find lasting relief.
Preventing Heel Pain
- Lose weight. While walking is a great way to lose excess pounds, that extra weight can be hard on your feet. The majority of patients with plantar fasciitis are obese. While you’re slimming down, ask your doctor about which preventive measures are suitable for you.
- Change your shoes. Look for styles with firm heel counters and substantial arch support. Check your footwear regularly for signs of wear. A good rule of thumb is to replace walking shoes at least every 300 miles.
- Stretch your feet and calves. Tight calves and Achilles tendons put strain on your feet as they try to compensate by overdoing their natural rolling motion. Perform stretches that target your calves, as well as your ankles and toes. For example, stand on the edge of the stairs, and lower yourself up and down.
- Cushion the floor. Do you spend a lot of time standing on hard floors? A pad or rug in your kitchen or in your workplace could help.
- Rest up. If possible, stop or limit the activities that make your heels hurt. They need a break so they can recover.
- Vary your workouts. You may still be able to exercise if you change your routine. Go for a swim or ride a stationary bike instead of taking your usual run. Ease back into your former activities gradually to sustain your recovery.
Treating heel pain
- Ask your doctor. Arthritis and ligament tears can cause heel pain too. Your doctor will check your history and X-ray your feet to diagnose your condition.
- Be patient. If your feet have been under stress for a long time, they’ll take a while to recover. While patients often experience some relief quickly, it may take up to a year to see the full results.
- Apply ice. Cooling your heels can reduce inflammation and pain. You may also want to try contrast baths, alternating between hot water and ice, and finishing up with ice.
- Take medication. For fast aid, take a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug like ibuprofen or naproxen. If your symptoms still persist after several weeks, your doctor may recommend corticosteroid shots.
- Wear a splint. Night splints that stretch your feet and Achilles tendon overnight are extremely effective. Many studies show they even work for patients whose symptoms are long-standing.
- See a specialist. If you need further assistance, your doctor may refer you to an orthopedist or podiatrist. You may also want to consult a sports medicine professional who can evaluate whether running or other activities are affecting your condition.
The sooner you start treating plantar fasciitis, the easier it will be to heal your heels. Protect your comfort and mobility by wearing supportive shoes, stretching regularly, and modifying your activities if you notice pain in your heels.
by Lovena Suson | Apr 22, 2021 | Pain Management
The Secret to Getting Powerful Pain Relief Through Meditation
Would you like to reduce pain without the side effects that accompany medication? You can, with a simple meditation practice. Meditation can be a very valuable tool to ease pain, stress, even anxiety.
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Scientists have been studying Zen monks to learn how meditation helps them cope with both chronic and occasional pain. While some of their accomplishments depend on their faith, many of their techniques can be used by anyone. Whether or not you already have a meditation practice, the suggestions below can help you get relief from pain.
TOOLS FOR MEDITATION
1. Appreciate the mind-body connection. There’s a growing understanding that our health depends on a wide range of factors. Our mind and body interact closely. This is a psychosomatic connection. The pain we experience due to physical conditions such as arthritis also affects us emotionally.
2. Reduce apprehension. Your reaction to pain can become exaggerated if you anticipate that it’s going to occur. Fear of pain is a good thing when it helps you avoid dangerous situations. It’s less helpful if you dwell on how your back will keep hurting. Mindfulness meditation helps you live in the present moment and take a break from worries about the future.
3. Manage anxiety. Studies show that experienced meditators feel pain but experience less emotional impact. Even beginners can use meditation as a useful distraction. With practice, you can become more skilled at noticing the affected body part but declining to get upset about it. You may be able to notice the sensation of pain without judging it as unpleasant.
4. Fight depression. Depression is known to make the pain worse. When meditation helps you to feel happier and more peaceful, it’s also giving you greater protection from all kinds of afflictions.
5. Loosen up. Many people feel some tension around an injured body part. If you’re nursing a stiff neck, you can focus on relaxing the area and opening it up. Imagine that your breath is flowing across the muscles, where it warms and heals them.
6. Engage the pain. Pain may command all of your attention when it becomes severe. In such cases, trying to resist it may just make things worse. Some patients find relief by taking an active role in rating the relative intensity of their symptoms or observing how they increase and decrease over time.
7. Get an early start. It’s a lot more challenging to learn to meditate when you’re in the middle of recovering from back surgery. By starting your practice in advance, you’ll be better prepared to cope with medical issues or the common aches that come with aging.
WHEN YOU’RE NOT IN MEDITATION
1. Understand the relevance of meditation breaks: You’ll probably spend most of your life away from the meditation cushion. By learning to access the states of mind you attain while meditating, you can take advantage of those benefits anytime you want.
2. Pay attention to your body & use pain as a cue. Even if you need to keep working when a headache hits, you can guide yourself with constructive reminders about how to deal with it. Use everyday discomforts to check in with yourself and see if anxiety and apprehension are building up.
3. Guard yourself against depression. Depression can strike anybody, but you can lower your risks. A healthy lifestyle and a positive attitude can make it easier to stay on track. Depression is very common not just in adults but in children too. Your child sees how you feel and are quite astute at reading your body language. They tend to be in tune with their parent’s moods. Take care of yourself so you can take care of them too.
4. Reduce other sources of stress. This may be easier said than done. However, it is imperative to address stressors that are within your control. Living with chronic pain can take a heavy emotional toll. It does tend to affect people around you too. If possible, build a strong support network and avoid taking on too many obligations.
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5. Consult with your doctor. If symptoms of pain continue, talk with your doctor about other available methods of treatment. Fortunately, meditation can be used to complement conventional approaches. It is not a cure in itself.
Anyone can get started with meditation. Meditation is affordable. A myriad of resources can be accessed through books, audiobooks, and even just searching online. Youtube alone has videos to guide you with meditation. It is an effective method for treating physical and emotional suffering without harmful side effects. As you continue to practice, your skills will improve You will then spend less time worrying about pain and more time enjoying life.
🙏A Simple Guide of Meditation for Beginners
- Find a quiet area where you sit or lie down comfortably. There are meditation cushions that you can buy. I just use a cozy body pillow I already have. If lying down, rest your hands on your sides and visualize that they are heavy but relaxed.
- Closing your eyes allows you to focus and feel as visual feedback that can distract you from seeing your surroundings limit your other senses to focus and feel.
- Make your breathing effortless. simply breathe naturally, in through your nose and out through your mouth in a very relaxed manner.
- With eyes closed, focus on your breath: on how the upper body, torso, and chest rises and falls as you breathe slowly, in, and out. Inhale…… Exhale…..
- Feel and sense your chest, shoulders, rib cage, and belly. Focus your attention on your breathing without controlling its pace or intensity. Just let it flow. Your body limp and relaxed. Do not allow your mind to wander;
- It helps to visualize being in a place that is most relaxing and calming for you. As a tip, I search and look at a specific image of nature that I like. I search this online. Then I visualize myself in the midst of that serene place. Below is an example of an image where I visualize myself in its midst.
Practice this meditation for two to three minutes to start, and then try it for longer periods. I seem to have a better and deeper trance when I also listen to meditation music. Try this and it is truly amazing the tranquility you will feel when you allow your body and mind to be free and calm for a few minutes.
Hope this helps!
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Any Questions? Any thoughts you may have about these topics, do get in touch!
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by Lovena Suson | Apr 10, 2021 | Pain Management
Simple Lifestyle Changes That Prevent Back Pain
I’d say 20-30% of patients we see at the clinic are being referred for back pain. It can be different conditions including spinal stenosis, bulging discs, sciatica, and other back issues. It can be very unpleasant, where you can experience pain that radiates to the leg, at times burning, tingling, or at times would feel like pins and needles all the way down the leg.
👉👉👉Top Tips to ease Chronic Pain Naturally
About four out of five Americans suffer from back pain at some point in their lives. It can take many forms, but lower back pain is the most common. Fortunately, there are many simple lifestyle changes you can make to avoid an aching back.
DAYTIME LIFESTYLE CHANGES
1. Maintain a healthy body weight. Being overweight strains your back and disrupts your balance. Abdominal fat is especially problematic. Spot reducing is a myth but your midsection will usually slim down along with the rest of your body when you lose excess pounds.
2. Exercise regularly. Yoga is a great way to improve your posture and flexibility and strengthen your muscles. Any physical activity can help fight inflammation by increasing the flow of blood and nutrients to your back.
3. Eat more calcium. Strong bones help protect you from osteoporosis, a leading cause of back pain, especially for women. Eat your yogurt and leafy green vegetables like spinach or kale.
4. Follow safety guidelines at work. Ergonomics is now commonplace in workplaces due to the high cost of injuries. Back injuries are the most common type of workplace injuries. Talk with your employer about job design features that will keep you productive and safe. You can opt for an ergonomic chair or a high – low office desk that allows you to stand in between tasks.
5. Practice good posture. Make it a habit to press your lower abdomen against your spine. Keep your shoulders held back and relaxed. Hold your head up.
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6. Observe Good Sitting Posture. Try to use an adjustable chair that will give you all the support you need. Prop a pillow against your lower back if needed. Keep your knees a little higher than your hips. Change positions or take a brief walk frequently.
7. Observe Proper and Safe Lifting. Most people have surely heard the statement, “Lift with your legs, not with your back”. This is to make sure you are using the most powerful muscle in the body to lift, and not the smaller and weaker back muscles. I have had many patients rupture a disc from lifting and twisting the trunk.
Bend down at the knees and lift with your legs to avoid putting the whole load on your back. Carry heavy objects close to your body. Get help if an object is too heavy for you to lift alone.
8. Dress comfortably. Stiletto heels and heavy handbags can cause knee and back pain. So can overstuffing your pockets or wearing anything two sizes too small. Enjoy dressing up for special occasions but ensure your everyday wardrobe allows a full range of movement and your tote bag stays under 10 percent of your body weight.
NIGHTIME LIFESTYLE CHANGES
1. Select the right mattress for you. A moderately firm mattress usually works best because it adapts to the natural curves of your spine. If you have a firm mattress, an inch or two of padding on top may help.
2. Sleep on your side. Sleeping on your side with your knees slightly bent helps protect your back. Even better, put a small pillow between your knees to keep your hips aligned.
3. Sleep on your back. Sleeping on your back is also good. Stick a small pillow under your knees to maintain the curve in your lower back. Use enough pillow to position neck comfortably, not flexed forward as it can make breathing uncomfortable and stretch the posterior structures of the neck.
4. Stop sleeping on your stomach. Lying on your stomach puts extra stress on your back and neck. You can wake up with neck stiffness and this bad habit can cause a rotational pressure in the neck alignment compromising your discs. Break the habit, lie on your side, and use pillows supporting your neck and shoulder. For better comfort, also place pillows in between your knees to maintain good spine alignment in sidelying. that will make it harder to roll over.
5. Avoid alcohol. You may fall asleep faster by drinking alcohol but it impairs the quality of your sleep and you’re more likely to wake up with aches and pains. Some prescription medications may also interfere with sleep.
6. Apply heat. A heat pack is an easy and safe way to keep a little ache from growing into a big one. Get a hot water bottle or a pack that you can microwave and apply to any spot that needs a little extra care. I do want to note that microwaveable heat pads do not last as long and you may end up going back to heat it up over and over. A commercial plug-in heat pad like this one is available on Amazon.
I just happen to refer my patients to Amazon, Walgreens, Target, or Walmart to get one like this especially one with an automatic shut-off to ensure safety.
It is imperatively important to see a doctor if you feel any numbness or tingling, or if you experience severe or chronic pain. For most backaches, these self-help techniques will give you effective relief and keep the pain from coming back.
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by Lovena Suson | Apr 10, 2021 | Pain Management
Hot and Cold Therapy: Beneficial or Needless Self-Torture?
It is a known fact that heat or cold is a very common home remedy for pain. Whether in a form of a heating pad, liniments, it is the go-to pain relief choice. Heat and cold are commonly used for treating injuries to specific areas of the body.
But what about heating and cooling your entire body? We hear a lot about athletes soaking in a tub of ice cubes after a big game. Gyms featuring saunas to attract clients who go crazy using them after workouts.
Are these helpful in any meaningful way? Or is it just a silly fad without any merit?
Biohackers have promoted these ideas over the last few years. Let’s see if there’s any substance to their advice.
Spending time in a sauna regularly has its benefits:
Good for Stress Relief. Sitting in a sauna can feel wonderful. It’s stress-relieving and cleansing, especially after you wash the sweat off.
Facilitates the Formation of Heat Shock Proteins. Excessive heat stimulates specific genes to create heat shock proteins.
● These are helpful in eliminating free radicals in the body. Heat shock proteins can also repair damaged proteins.
Spending time in a sauna can prolong your life. Research has shown that spending some time in a sauna at least four days a week may reduce the incidence of several causes of death. These include fatal cardiovascular disease, coronary disease, and sudden cardiac death.
Endurance and aerobic capacity increase. Red blood cell counts and blood plasma volume increase with regular sauna use.
Increased circulation. Heat causes your blood vessels to dilate and increases your heart rate. This can help injuries to heal faster and improve mobility in joints affected by arthritis.
Keep in mind that normal sauna temperatures are just fine. There’s no reason to crank up the heat in hopes of gaining greater benefits. No benefit is worth risking your life. Be reasonable.
A nice cold bath might not be that appealing but learn the advantages before making decisions!
A 10-minute ice bath can be beneficial, too:
Reduces inflammation. Exposure to cold reduces inflammation. This is why you might ice a sprained ankle. It turns out that if you cool the entire body, the anti-inflammatory effect affects the entire body.
● An ice bath can reduce pain more effectively than just icing a specific area of the body.
● Many diseases, including heart disease, are believed to be at least partially due to systemic inflammation in the body. Regular ice baths may reduce the likelihood of developing many diseases.
It can enhance the immune system. White blood cell counts increase after spending time in an ice bath. This has been shown to reduce the likelihood of getting sick.
May reduce depression. Some studies have shown that regular ice baths can enhance mood.
The term “ice bath” is a bit of a misnomer. The most commonly researched temperature is 50 degrees Fahrenheit, which feels colder than you might think. It’s possible that your tap water is that cold. The time spent in the cold water was 8-12 minutes.
Maybe you don’t have access to a sauna or a cold bath. Will a hot tub, hot shower, or cold shower work just as well?
There’s not a lot of research on the benefits of these other options. It seems reasonable to assume that these could be viable substitutes, but there are no guarantees. It’s not too hard to find a health club that has a sauna, and you can take a cold bath or shower at home.
There are definitely health benefits to safely exposing yourself to hot and cold temperatures.
You may have also heard about the use of contrast bath, which is the use of contrasting temperatures that can shock the body due to the alternating action of vasoconstriction and vasodilation.
When the body is subjected to cold and capillaries constrict, it is called vasoconstriction. This also happens when an ice pack is used over bruises or inflamed joints. When heat is used, blood vessels open up, called vasodilation, dilating blood vessels. This is consistent with the physiological of heat: expansion.
In using hot or cold therapy, it is just important to remember: HEAT expands, COLD constricts. For muscle spasms, cramps, heat proves to provide relief than cold for already tight muscles. For inflammation, on the other hand, cold works better as it decreased warmth in inflamed joints or body parts.
The stress that these situations create stimulates the body to make healthy adaptations.
However, as with all things, it’s important to be safe and reasonable! If you use hot and cold therapy safely, they can benefit your health.
by Lovena Suson | Apr 8, 2021 | Pain Management
Do You Struggle with Stiff Joints? 13 Ways to Find Relief
Young and old, joint stiffness seems to plague us all. No matter how intense or sedentary our activities may be, we all experience it at some point.
Do your hips and knees feel stiff when you wake up in the morning? Do you struggle to stand up after watching a long movie? There are several reasons why prolonged inactivity may cause such symptoms.
One of the most common reason is arthritis. You may have osteoarthritis, which affects many older adults as the result of the joints experiencing years of ordinary wear and tear. If you’re younger, you may have rheumatoid arthritis or related conditions involving your immune system.
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Duration can be a simple way to distinguish between the two. Stiffness related to osteoarthritis typically eases up in about 15 minutes or less while symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis tend to last much longer.
Whatever the cause, morning stiffness can usually be eliminated or reduced. Try these strategies for finding relief.
Medical Treatment for Morning Stiffness:
- See your doctor. Your doctor will perform blood tests and examine your joints to make a diagnosis. They will also ask you about your medical history because genetics and injuries could increase your risk for arthritis.
- Consult a specialist. You may be referred to a rheumatologist. They are specialists in autoimmune conditions who can help you to develop a treatment plan.
- Take medication. There are many over-the-counter and prescription drugs to help relieve arthritis pain. Depending on your diagnosis, anti-rheumatic drugs may also be an option.
- Get referred to physical therapy. Learning to move safely without damaging your joints can make you more comfortable and independent. A physical therapist will provide exercises to help you with daily activities.
Some approaches that a physical therapist may use include therapeutic exercises, manual therapeutics that can include joint mobilization to regain joint motion, soft tissue mobilization to release muscle tightness that can hinder movement, or relieve muscle spasms. A physical therapist also has an arsenal of modalities for pain relief. This can be ultrasound, electrotherapeutic point stimulation, low-level laser or phototherapy, Kinesiotaping (or KT Taping), and much more. Consult with a therapist. You can always get a referral from your primary physician, rheumatologist, neurologist, or internist. Nowadays you can also get a referral from a Nurse practitioner or a physician assistant. Check with your insurance.
Home Remedies for Morning Stiffness:
- Lose weight. Excess pounds strain your joints, as well as your heart. Lighten up with healthy eating and regular exercise.
- Build strength. While it’s impossible to replace the cartilage you lose with age, you can increase your muscle mass. Lift weights or do floor exercises that use your body weight for resistance. Strong muscles give your joints extra support.
- Increase flexibility. Safe stretching fights stiffness too by loosening tendons that naturally tighten when you sleep or sit still. Practice yoga or do leg and arm stretches while you watch TV.
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- Change your diet. There’s little evidence to support claims about expensive supplements and miracle foods that cure arthritis. On the other hand, a diet low in processed foods and rich in nutrients limits inflammation. Eat more fatty fish, nuts, green vegetables, and cherries.
- Sleep well. Adequate rest is essential for healing. Go to bed and wake up on a regular schedule. Darken your bedroom and block out background noise with a fan or white noise machine.
- Manage stress. Chronic tension can aggravate arthritis and any mental or physical condition. Relax with gentle music, meditation, or a warm bath.
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- Apply heat. For pain relief without drugs, apply a warm compress to your sore hips or shoulders. Long-standing injuries usually respond more successfully to heat while ice is recommended for the first couple of days after a new event.
- Keep moving. Prevention is a sound strategy. As the saying goes, “An ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure!”. When possible, take frequent breaks when you know you’ll be stuck in one place for a while. Shift your sleep position during the night and walk around while you’re on the phone.
Taking care of your joints will help you to sleep more restfully at night and move more comfortably in the morning and throughout the day. Maintain a healthy weight, avoid fatigue, and talk with your doctor if you need more assistance.
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