New Research Shows Non-Drug Pain Therapies Attract More Female Than Male Veterans
At the Veterans Health Administration (VA), medical providers increasingly offer ex-soldiers, sailors and other servicemen and women chronic pain relief options that don’t come in a pill or via injection.
Called “complementary and integrative health (CIH) therapies,” popular types include acupuncture, meditation and yoga. Studies show that, among civilians, CIH therapies are increasingly popular because they are proving successful.
Disturbingly but perhaps unsurprisingly, a new study of CIH therapy usage by veterans age 18 to 54 with chronic musculoskeletal pain finds a gender gap. Substantially more women (36 percent) than men (26 percent) use CIH therapies to manage pain. Rates vary according to age and race/ethnicity as well: the percentages for women run from 25 to 42 percent; men’s 15 to 29 percent.
The study’s authors suggest VA clinicians should tailor “CIH therapy...more
September is Pain Awareness Month, here are some scary numbers:
25 million: people in the U.S. who experience daily pain.
8 million: those who have pain so severe, it interferes with their ability to function daily.
43,000+: the number who died in 2017 of opioid overdoses, according to preliminary Centers for Disease Control data.
For years, opioids were the prescribed treatment of choice for constant, severe pain. Now, a spiraling epidemic of abuse has resulted, ravaging many families and communities.
It is a struggle for many of us individually and all of us as a nation: how should we best address these parallel crises of managing dreadful pain that makes living so difficult and guarding against opioid abuse that routinely leads to death?
Dr. Mark Malone, Medical Director and Founder of Advanced Pain Care, shed some light on this opioid epidemic and discussed alternative, nondrug therapies used to treat chronic pain with...more
Dr. Mark Malone
This is National Osteoporosis Month, designated to raise awareness about bone health and encourage individuals to identify risks and make any necessary lifestyle changes. The National Osteoporosis Foundation offers wise guidance on adopting a healthy diet rich in fruits, vegetables and foods with calcium and vitamin D. Weight-bearing and muscle-strengthening exercise also can help prevent fractures and maintain peak bone mass.
A healthy spine is so important because it fosters pain-free movement and supports your head, shoulders and pelvis. It protects your central nervous system within the spinal cord – in effect, playing a pivotal role in the healthy function of every organ, tissue and cell in the body. Any serious degradation of just a single vertebrae can cause continuous, significant pain impacting your quality of life.
A “compression fracture” occurs when vertebrae start to compress or collapse causing...more
Long after three months, when “normal healing” can be expected, more than 25 million U.S. adults experience pain on a daily basis, a National Health Interview Survey found. This becomes more common as we age and more often experience ailments such as lower back pain or osteoarthritis.
It can prevent us from living any kind of normal life.
Not all sufferers have a physician-diagnosed health issue. Other times, pain can result from having two or more diagnoses of fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, irritable bowel syndrome or something else.
Take lower back pain. One study published in the European Spine Journal (and subsequently fully posted online by the U.S. National Institutes of Health) found that, in western industrialized nations, it can afflict 49 to 70 percent of people at one time or another and annually occur in 15 to 45 percent of a...more
The U.S. surgeon general has released an advisory that urges more people to carry naloxone, an opioid overdose-reversing medication.
Naloxone, also called Narcan and Evzio, is an FDA-approved medication that can be given as a nasal mist or injection. It is not a long-term treatment, but it can temporarily stop the effects of an overdose until emergency responders arrive. Advanced Pain Care offers this potentially life-saving medication in their pharmacy.
Most first responders like EMTs and police carry naloxone, but now the surgeon general is recommending that more individuals, including family, friends and those who are personally at risk for an opioid overdose, have the medication handy.
According to the Department of Health and Human Services, about 2.1 million people in our country struggle with an opioid addiction. Rates of opioid overdose deaths have spiked considerably since 2010 when there were 21,000. As...more
Your pain's traits may reveal important clues
A survey found that over 50 percent of American adults suffered from pain at some time during a three-month phase. Around one-ninth of the population reportedly endures chronic discomfort on a daily basis, according to The Washington Post. This medical predicament interferes with crucial everyday tasks and makes it difficult to enjoy life.
At the same time, painful sensations serve a vital purpose. They can warn you to stop engaging in an activity that harms your body. Physical discomfort may also alert you to a life-threatening disease and provide an incentive to seek treatment. You can learn more by carefully identifying the specific type of ache.
If you suffer from sudden discomfort that lasts no longer than six months, you might have acute pain. You may feel particularly anxious when it occurs. This sharp pain often...more
Psychology Can Impact Pain More Than You Think
If you have chronic pain, it affects your thoughts, feelings and behaviors as well as your body. A holistic approach to pain management can be more effective than treating physical symptoms alone.
The Relationship Between Physical Pain, Emotional Pain and Stress
Chronic pain can limit your ability to function. Inability to function might make you feel angry, anxious, depressed, hopeless, frustrated and stressed. The more stressed you feel, the harder it is to deal with the pain and the more intense these negative emotions become. If the pain has no discernible cause, you might wonder if you're imagining it and question your own perceptions. You might feel guilty because you can no longer work, participate in activities you used to enjoy or take care of your family. You might blame yourself if you fail to respond to pain relief treatments, or you might believe your health care providers are undermining your condition.
How a Psychologist Can Help
How Can I Make Them Go Away?
Migraine is a specific type of headache suffered by about 12 percent of the population. Typically, these headaches are severe, painful, and recurring. They can also be debilitating and last for hours or days. Often, they occur on only one side of the head. They may be triggered by certain stimuli or preceded by one or more warning signs called auras. People between the ages of 15 and 55 are most vulnerable. No one really knows what causes migraines, but researchers suspect that they are symptoms of abnormal brain activity that affects cell communication in the central nervous system and chemicals levels in the brain.
Common Migraine Triggers:
- Stress and overexertion
- Sleep deprivation, jet lag and insufficient restorative sleep
- Shoulder and neck tension
- Hunger and dehydration
- Low blood sugar
- Premenstrual syndrome and other hormonal...
These Innovative Treatments Can Relieve Pain for Months or Even Years
If you suffer from chronic back or neck pain, you might be looking for pain relief that doesn't involve medication. Narcotic medications can be very effective for treating short-term or intermittent pain, but because these drugs are addictive and can lose effectiveness over time, they're not necessarily the best long-term solution for chronic pain.
Fortunately, there are a number of pain-relief treatments that can be effective and long-lasting that don’t involve medication. The type of treatment your doctor prescribes will depend on the condition that's causing your pain and the type of pain you're experiencing. Here are some of the most innovative pain-relief treatments along with the conditions they're used to treat:
Epidural Steroid Injections
These injections contain anti-inflammatory agents (steroids or cortisone) and a local anesthetic and are used to treat sciatica and back pain. Steroids and the anesthetic are injected directly into the epidural...more
Take remote control of your chronic pain.
Spinal cord stimulation therapy provides an advanced alternative to people who are suffering. If you have been dealing with chronic pain, you know how its tentacles work their way into virtually every aspect of your daily life, holding you back from enjoying even the simplest tasks that you used to take for granted. While spinal cord stimulation is not for everybody, it may help you free yourself from the insidious octopus of debilitating pain.
What is Spinal Cord Stimulation?
This therapeutic approach to pain, also known as neurostimulation, relies on electronic pulses to intercept the pain messages your spinal column transmits to your brain. Although the concept is not new – the FDA approved many neurostimulation devices in the 1980s -- the technology has progressed rapidly, making spinal cord stimulation therapy a relatively easy and often effective alternative to surgery. Also, if you have already been through back surgery, but the pain...more
Advanced Pain Care
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...more
Advanced Pain Care
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...more
Advanced Pain Care
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...more
Advanced Pain Care
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...more
Advanced Pain Care
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...more
Advanced Pain Care
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...more
Advanced Pain Care
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
• Multiple sclerosis
• Restless leg syndrome
• Rheumatoid arthritis
• Vitamin B12 deficiency
Given the long list of...more
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....more
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...more
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...more
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...more
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...more
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....more
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...more
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...more