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Goodbye 2014, Hello 2015

December 22nd, 2014 · No Comments

In my last post this year, I’ll finish December’s theme of things to make you smile and fill you with hope. Here’s today’s:

YOU

Thanks for reading, commenting, sharing your stories and ideas, and contributing to our How to Cope with Pain community.

Coming up in 2015:

  • a contest where YOU write something to share with other readers (more details in January – start thinking what you’ll write to share!)
  • monthly practices of gratitude, daily fun, mindfulness, etc
  • improving your pain management skills
  • and more!

I hope the last days of December are relaxing and rejuvenating for you.  Happy Holidays and Happy New Year!

(If you or your company would like to donate a prize for our contest, which comes with awesome advertising, contact me here.)

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A Potential New Way to Treat Pain

December 15th, 2014 · 1 Comment

During this month of December, I’m sharing things that will make you smile and fill you with hope. Here’s today’s:

Researchers have discovered a way to block a pain pathway in animal models of chronic neuropathic (nerve) pain.  This finding could eventually lead to a promising new approach to pain relief.

This finding is so exciting, even if using it for patients is a ways off.  We need to make progress in evaluating and treating pain, as you readers know very well.  Whilte making little advances in current treatments – slight changes in medications, or adding another medication option to an existing category – is good, a brand new way to treat pain could be a much-needed larger step in pain medicine.

I’m hopeful!!!

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Good News and Cheer

December 8th, 2014 · No Comments

For the rest of December, I’d like to share things that will make you smile and fill you with hope.  Here’s today’s:

The Random Act of Kindness calendar

Subscribe Here

You can sign up here and each day you’ll receive a suggestion for an act of kindness.  It’s inspiring!

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Today is #GivingTuesday!

December 2nd, 2014 · No Comments

Today is #GivingTuesday!

You might have ventured out to stores for “Black Friday” last week, or done some online shopping yesterday on “Cyber Monday”.  Today is a opportunity to give to an organization that’s important to you, on #GivingTuesday.  It’s your chance to join a movement to “celebrate generosity and give”.

How can you give?

Visit the website of a pain organization you admire, such as the U.S. Pain Foundation or RSDSA.  Contribute so their good work can grow stronger.  Or donate to any charity that means something positive to you.  Any help is appreciated!

How can you spread the word?

You can help promote #GivingTuesday by:

  • telling your family and friends about it
  • spreading the word on social media – your Facebook page, your Twitter account, your blog, etc.
  • leaving a comment below to share where you contributed

It’s a great way to get involved!  Here is the initiative website: #GivingTuesday Initiative

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“Giving Tuesday” Coming Up!

November 24th, 2014 · 1 Comment

The U.S. Pain Foundation is participating in the #GivingTuesday initiative!

Similar to “Black Friday” or “free online shipping Monday”, #GivingTuesday will be on the first Tuesday after Thanksgiving – December 2nd this year. This day will encourage all to “celebrate generosity and give”.

How can you give?

On Dec 2, the U.S. Pain Foundation will highlight all of the programs and services they partner with to raise awareness of pain conditions.  You can start now and think how you’d like to contribute.

How can you spread the word?

You can help promote #GivingTuesday by telling your family and friends about it, and by spreading the word on social media – your Facebook page, your Twitter account, your blog, etc.

It’s a great way to get involved!  Here is the initiative website:  #GivingTuesday Initiative

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Free Family Camp for Children with Pain

November 17th, 2014 · 2 Comments

Here’s the greatest news I’ve seen recently…

4 organizations have come together to create a camp for kids with pain.  A BIG shout out to The Coalition Against Pediatric Pain (TCAPP), RSDSA, US Pain Foundation and The Center for Courageous Kids in Kentucky!!!  This will be a family camp that will take place at The Center for Courageous Kids in Scottsville, Kentucky from July 14-17th and is free of charge.  They write, “It will be a time for families and kids that deal with daily pain to kick up their heels and have fun in a safe, accepting environment!”

To learn more about the camp location and what they have to offer, visit The Center for Courageous Kids website.  To apply for the pediatric pain family camp, access the application here.

This is such a good idea that I encourage you to support this effort.  You can contact RSDSA or US Pain Foundation for more information or to make a donation.

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May You Be at Peace

November 10th, 2014 · No Comments

This is a sweet video of a cat and frog at peace.  I hope it brings you calmness and a smile!

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Women and Pain Chat – Nov 6

November 3rd, 2014 · No Comments

Pain Pathways is offering a chat with experts on women and pain.  The date is this week on Thursday, November 6, at 8pm ET.  Click here for more info on the Pain Pathways Facebook page.

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New Brain Re-Training Treatments for Pain

October 27th, 2014 · 5 Comments

Welcome to the last article in our series Why You Should See a Pain Management Psychiatrist.  This week we’ll look at using newer treatments such as mirror therapy and graded motor imagery for pain.

In chronic pain, your brain is changed so that signals get “stuck” in pain-mode.  Chronic pain creates actual changes in your brain.  As well, when you’re in pain, you often use your body part less, so there are less signals of normal movement registering in your brain. This can create a downward cycle:

Pain →
less use of your body →
fewer “normal movement” signals competing with pain signals →
more pain →
less use of your body, etc.

How can you break this cycle?

There are newer treatments based on the concept that re-training your brain can decrease pain. These treatments are exciting, and some patients using them have had good success decreasing their pain.

Mirror therapy uses your visual system to “see” normal movement and reassure your brain that it no longer needs to produce pain signals. Graded motor imagery is a step-wise program aimed at breaking up movement into components, allowing your brain to slowly resume normal movement without producing pain.

Mirror therapy has been shown to be helpful in:

  • early CRPS
  • phantom pain
  • stroke
  • low back pain

Graded motor imagery has been shown to be helpful in:

  • chronic CRPS
  • phantom limb pain

Ongoing research is helping us learn more about these exciting treatments and fine-tune our use of them.

Click here to read other articles about these newer brain-based treatments.

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How a Pain Support Group Can Help

October 20th, 2014 · 2 Comments

Welcome to the continuing series Why You Should See a Pain Management Psychiatrist.  This week we’ll look at the benefits of pain support groups.

For many years, I’ve offered Coping with Pain support groups.  These sessions have both skill-building (learning exercises such as relaxation and visualization) and discussions on living with chronic pain (issues such as family issues, staying positive, working towards acceptance).  Some patients find them so helpful, they attend more than 1 series.

What are the benefits of these types of groups?

1. Decrease isolation
Many people with pain lose work friends, and can’t do as much with friends and family.  Pain can be very isolating.  Groups can increase your socialization.

Groups can help people realize they aren’t the only ones with significant pain – others in the group really understand your pain.  You feel less isolated.

2. Problem-solve with others
Each person in a group knows ways to cope with pain.  Sharing these can help others, and group members benefit from things others have learned.  There’s less “re-inventing the wheel” to figure out how to cope with pain.

3. Help others
Patients with pain often do less – at work, at home, hobbies, etc.  They become the “help-ee” rather than the “help-er” –  mostly receiving assistance.  Helping others in support groups lets patients have more balance between helping and being helped.  Helping others often increases self-esteem.

4. Expand support networks
As we said above, pain can be isolating.  Adding new people to your support network can be good for you, to have other people to rely on.  As well, this can lessen the load of those already in your support network, who may sometimes feel overburdened from the impact of your chronic illness.

5. Share resources
Living with chronic pain often means living with limitations and challenges – living a new type of life.  Sharing resources, information, and tricks and tips is an advantage of a group.

One important challenge of a group is to keep it focused on coping with pain.  Groups should not settle into complaining, focusing on pain, or focusing on whose pain is worse.

Readers, if you’ve attended a group, what’s been your experience?

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