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How Maintaining Your Mobility Might Improve Your Quality of Life

Ever sustained an injury? You've probably been told to "walk it off" at some point. Although those who use this expression don't always treat you with the compassion that you deserve, they may not have been too far off the mark when it comes to chronic discomfort. Here's how physical therapy has the potential to help you manage your lasting pain.

Pain and Movement

Staying mobile has many benefits that could contribute to its reported pain reduction effects. In 2015, the American Pain Society noted that although individuals who experienced chronic pain exhibited distinct structural brain matter changes, those who practiced yoga showed the opposite effects. Instead of losing gray matter, they gain it in regions associated with managing pain.

According to the Journal of Pain and Relief other motion-based practices, like Tai Chi and Qigong, may...

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The Hidden Dangers of Ongoing Discomfort

When your aches and pains last for more than 12 weeks, they meet the definition of chronic pain. Although minor inflammation and passing tenderness are normal side effects of injury or harm, long-lasting discomfort may indicate more serious problems. Persistent irritation can also have life-changing ramifications. Here are some issues to look out for.

The Lasting Physical Effects of Long-term Pain

Chronic pain does more than just cause irritation. In some cases, it may be associated with stiffness or inflexibility that limit your ability to move and carry out normal activities, like performing your job duties or simply going through your daily routine as usual. According to the National Institutes of Health, you may also experience reduced strength and stamina.

Long-term pain is associated with other physical problems. The nervous system may respond to persistent irritation by undergoing maladaptive structural reorganizations that result in a...

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Pain and Sleep Quality: How Each One Affects the Other

Your constant pain may be ruthless during the day, but when it's time to go to sleep, it becomes an even greater enemy. Both acute and chronic pain can cause insomnia and poor sleep quality. As if that's not frustrating enough, the opposite also applies; when you don’t get enough sleep or your sleep quality isn't up to par, it can make your pain even worse by lowering your pain threshold.

Researchers believe that poor sleep may disrupt your nervous system's pain signaling ability and heighten your sensitivity to painful stimuli. When your pain tolerance decreases, it's even harder to sleep. It's a dreaded vicious cycle for many people who suffer from chronic pain. At some point, it may become difficult to determine whether the poor sleep is caused by pain or the pain is caused by poor sleep.

What We Know About Sleep and Pain

It's obvious that pain affects sleep quality. About 15 percent of the U.S. population and 50 percent of the elderly population experience...

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Acute pain associated with injury or surgery is self-limiting, normal and generally predictable, but what if it doesn’t go away? When pain continues after healing, it can have devastating effects on your mobility, your psychological health and your quality of life. Many people suffer from chronic pain for months or even years before getting the help they need. In many cases, this is because they weren't sure how long they should wait for acute pain to stop.

The Difference between Acute and Chronic Pain

Acute pain is the body's way of signaling you that there's an injury or disease affecting your tissues. When the tissue regrows or mends and inflammation subsides, the pain should stop. This type of pain serves a purpose; it warns you to protect and stop using the injured part. If pain persists after healing, it no longer serves any protective function. When there's no obvious explanation for the pain and it doesn't go away on its own, it’s considered chronic pain. It may be temporary, or it may last indefinitely.

Chronic pain can also be caused...

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Modern medicine offers powerful options for overcoming cancer, which is great news for individuals who suffer from curable varieties of this terrible disease. Unfortunately, not every treatment is without side effects. Chemotherapy, which is often used to kill cancer and save lives, can cause suffering of its own. Here's what you need to know about chemotherapy-related pain and what you can do about it.

What Causes Chemotherapy-Related Pain?

Nausea and vomiting are well-known side effects of chemotherapy, but they aren't the only issues that this type of treatment can cause. Some individuals undergoing chemo also suffer from mouth sores, muscle pain and headaches. Others suffer from burning, tingling, numbness or shooting pain that seems to come out of nowhere. These latter issues are symptoms of something called chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy (CIPN), which can affect cancer patients of all ages and backgrounds.

CIPN happens when the medications used in chemotherapy...

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If you suffer from chronic pain, have you suspected the pain may be affecting your memory? Many chronic pain sufferers complain that they experience brain fog, anxiety, depression or other mental or emotional disorders. Recent studies support the theory that there may be a link between chronic pain and short-term memory issues.

Studies have shown that pain can disrupt several cognitive processes, leading to problems in attention, spatial memory, recognition memory and decision making. One study of chronic pain sufferers in Canada found that patients performed worse on memory tests when they didn’t have a pain-relieving procedure. The researchers noted that the results didn’t seem to be linked to other factors such as age, sleep or stress.

An animal study by Portuguese researchers may provide some insight about the relationship...

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Condition and pain care information for paresthesia sufferers

Paresthesia describes unusual nerve sensations such as tingling, itching, burning, numbness or crawling. If you’ve ever slept on your arm and subsequently woke up to a “pins and needles” feeling, you’ve experienced paresthesia. However, some of these sensations can indicate a much more complex underlying condition.

Causes of Paresthesia

Anything that places prolonged pressure on a nerve can result in symptoms of paresthesia. This can be something as simple as sitting with your legs crossed for too long or as serious as a tumor. Paresthesia may also be caused by conditions that lead to nerve damage or entrapment. Some common culprits include:

• Back and neck injuries

• Carpal tunnel syndrome

• Degenerative disk damage

• Diabetes

• Fibromyalgia

• Fractures

• Migraines

• Multiple sclerosis

• Osteoporosis

• Restless leg syndrome

• Rheumatoid arthritis

• Vitamin B12 deficiency

Given the long list of...

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The question of how smoking affects pain is complicated and multifactorial. It is true that patients who smoke are more likely to develop low back or other types of chronic pain. Additionally, those that smoke are more likely to report higher pain levels, they are also more likely to use higher levels of analgesic or pain medicines, and their pain is likely to have a greater impact on their daily life. Several studies have shown links between moderate to heavy smoking (one or more packs per day) and disability related to pain. Several Finnish studies found teenage smoking was a significant risk factor for developing pain, this trend was also dose responsive. People that smoked more were more likely to develop pain than those who smoked less.

There are several epidemiological studies that show trends within the population. We now know that those who smoke are at risk of developing painful conditions. Smoking is a risk factor for osteoporosis, lumbar disc disease and poor bone healing. We also know that smoking impairs wound healing, thus those that smoke take longer to...

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Different Types of Therapy for Different Types of Pain

If you’re in pain, you may have heard your doctor refer to it as acute pain or chronic pain. Both types are unpleasant, but they are distinct clinical symptoms which are treated in different ways.

What Is Acute Pain?

Acute pain is related to a specific illness, injury or event. This pain is caused by a normal reaction of the nervous system; it helps alert your brain that something is wrong. Acute pain resolves as the illness goes away or the injury heals. It can usually be treated successfully with medications during the healing process.

What Is Chronic Pain?

Chronic pain is a long-term condition in and of itself. When it’s associated with an injury, it outlasts the normal healing time. It may also occur if you develop a chronic disease such as degenerative arthritis or spinal stenosis that persists for an extended period. Some cases of chronic pain are due to a malfunction of the nervous system, and others may be related to psychological factors....

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Advanced Pain Care’s physicians are featured in Austin Monthly’s August, 2015 edition. The article highlights our pain management specialists as the faces behind Advanced Pain Care’s organization.

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Pain management is not always as straightforward as treating the surgical area

Surgery is performed to restore normal bodily function, remove diseased tissues or alleviate painful conditions. After surgery, it’s normal to experience post-surgical pain; in fact, it’s expected in almost all cases. When the incision and the damaged internal tissues have healed, the pain should go away. Unfortunately, it’s not always so simple. It’s estimated that between 10 and 50% of people who have surgery experience lingering or chronic pain long after their surgery sites are completely healed. Chronic pain is especially common in back surgery and other surgeries that involve extensive manipulation of nerve tissues. If you’re suffering from pain weeks or months after it should have been long gone, your surgeon may be baffled. Don’t worry. It’s not all in your head. It’s real, and help is available.

Why Am I Still in Pain?

Pain that persists after surgery may be either caused directly by the procedure or indirectly related to it. The pain may be...

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The challenges of pain, and the relief you can receive

If you’re struggling with chronic pain, it may help to know that you’re far from being alone. Experts estimate that some 100 million Americans are living with chronic pain right now, a number that dwarfs rates of other better-known conditions, including diabetes and heart disease. Yet treatment for chronic pain isn’t given the same level of attention. Changing that by raising awareness and bringing compassion back to the pain management field is a shared goal across our community.

About Pain Management

The pain management industry has come a long way since its humble beginnings as a research field in the 19th century. Back then, physicians struggled to understand pain as a condition, and the prevalence of spirituality as a healing tool made it tough to get support for new medical studies. The first major step forward happened when Johannes Muller, a German physiologist, submitted groundbreaking work on pain transmission.

In the many decades that followed, we’ve learned a lot...

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January has come and gone. Has your new year’s resolution turned to dust? Each New Year’s Day, people across America promise to make changes that improve their lives for the better. Popular New Year’s resolutions include weight loss, smoking cessation, managing finances and spending more time with family. Unfortunately, some resolutions are not successful. It’s not because they were made impulsively, it’s just that keeping them turned out to be much harder than expected. This is especially true for people who must suffer with daily pain. When you have to deal with the physical and emotional stress of chronic pain on a daily basis, staying motivated can be quite a challenge. Instead of gaining your much-desired new outlook on life, you may find that you fall back into old habits quickly.

Pain Management Can Help You Keep Your New Year’s Resolutions

Chronic pain doesn’t have to be a life sentence. If you make conquering it one of your top New Year’s resolutions for 2015, you’ll probably find it easier to keep your others. Many pain management therapies...

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At Advanced Pain Care, patients can rely on doctors who will use the least invasive approaches to manage pain. In many cases, effective relief can be achieved in one visit. For the most challenging, intractable pain, the physicians of Advanced Pain Care turn to evidence-based treatment options that are on the forefront of pain management technology. Often times, patients feel that they have exhausted every option, and have possibly undergone surgery, to address their pain before finding solutions at Advanced Pain Care.

Meet Dr. Mark Malone

After successful pain management experience and serving as clinical instructor at Baylor College of Medicine, Waco native Dr. Mark Malone launched Advanced Pain Care in 2002. Dr. Malone is a board-certified pain specialist who has successfully treated numerous patients experiencing pain. Dr. Malone understands the importance of prompt attention to chronic pain as well as the deterioration it takes on peoples’ lives. He and his team are committed to listening to patients and...

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Chronic pain generally refers to persistent, non-acute, sometimes disabling pain in the spine, extremities, or other areas of the body. This pain can be associated with a known cause such as an injury, or it can be a symptom of other chronic painful conditions like as fibromyalgia or migraine headaches. Naturally, a person experiencing persistent pain may begin to struggle with depression and various other mental health conditions. It is estimated that about 35% of the American population has some degree of chronic pain, and up to 50 million Americans have some form of disability due to chronic pain.

Many individuals suffering from chronic pain may also have mental health disorders like depression or anxiety that can significantly impact the underlying chronic pain condition. The convergence of depression and pain is reflected in the pathways of the central nervous system. These pathways (which control the transmission of pain signals to the brain), use some of the same neurotransmitters involved in the regulation of mood and emotion such as serotonin and norepinephrine....

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Testosterone is the hormone in a man that helps him build muscle, deepens his voice, helps him mature in puberty, and in short makes a man a man. Testosterone is produced by the testes in men. It is produced in smaller quantities in women by the ovaries.

Hormone levels have significant effects on the human mind and body. Men are often so busy with their day-to-day functions and responsibilities that they may not recognize when a testosterone deficit is causing unfavorable changes in their bodies, and therefore in their lives. Signs and symptoms that testosterone levels are low could be: a decreased sexual desire, erectile dysfunction, fatigue and loss of energy, depressed mood, diminished mental aggressiveness, loss of body hair, decrease in strength and osteoporosis, a weakening of the bones. Testosterone is also important for cognition and memory and can play a role when low in insulin production.

After the age of 30, most men begin to experience a gradual decline in testosterone. As a greater percent of our population ages, there are much larger levels of low...

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Before Knee Surgery – Available Classes

Some hospitals and special therapy centers offer education classes about pre-operative knee and other joint surgery. The information received will give patients a grasp as to what to expect after knee surgery. The surgery and rehabilitation will go much better if the patient knows what to expect. Topics that are covered at these classes are as follows:

  • Preparing for surgery – home and body
  • What to expect – hospital treatment and equipment
  • Method of pain control
  • Tips for performing daily living activities after surgery
  • Options for rehabilitation
  • Guidelines for physical activity

The chosen hospital will have a multidisciplinary joint surgery team, which includes nurses, physical therapists and occupational therapists, who will teach the course. Questions can be asked so that the patients will feel knowledgeable about every element of the joint replacement procedure. An MRI or CT scan is completed before surgery to establish an accurate three-dimension...

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