At Pain Doctor, we believe that treating chronic pain effectively is done by considering the patient holistically. That’s why we incorporate as many research articles on innovative techniques, mind-body approaches, and lifestyle changes into our discussions about treating pain. We know that pain is different for every person, so we also know that pain treatment will never be a one-size-fits-all approach. What might work for some patients, will have no benefits for another group of patients. By exploring all of the varieties of pain management, however, we hope to provide more options that could potentially work for pain patients.
The latest chronic pain therapies and research
As creative and passionate healthcare professionals, we’re always excited to learn about new pain treatment methods. This month we featured some of the newest and most innovative gadgets and techniques for fighting pain. From shocking wearables like Quell to regenerative stem cells to radiofrequency discal nucleoplasty, we’ll continue to cover many of these research areas as they develop.
We also covered some of the top general health research areas to watch for in 2015 in a post this month. As we noted:
“As with fashion, there are trends and hot topics in health. These hot topics are generated by new discoveries and understandings in research, and this year there are three particular areas to watch for: gut microbes, regenerative/stem cell therapy, and the practice of mindfulness.”
These topics may have huge implications for future pain therapies and lifestyle practices. Mindfulness, in particular, is a topic we covered in more detail during our feature on All the Rage, a recent documentary that was funded on the Kickstarter website. Dr. Sarno, the doctor the documentary is featuring, is an ardent believer in the power of the mind for relieving pain. While he has many intriguing ideas, Dr. Sarno also has many detractors. We covered both the strengths and weaknesses of the claims he makes through his approach to pain management in our post.
One chronic pain therapy almost everybody can agree on is water therapy. Float tanks, water aerobics and exercise, and balneotherapy are all gentle approaches to managing pain and stress. In our post, we noted that:
“Few things are more soothing than the sound of ocean waves crashing on the shore or a vision of a clear lake, flat calm on a beautiful day. Maybe it’s because our bodies are mostly water, or maybe it takes us back to before we were born. Whatever the reason, water is remarkably calming to our minds, and new water therapies can also soothe our bodies. Float tanks, water exercise and aerobics, and balneotherapy are all emerging types of water therapy that help manage chronic pain conditions.”
Managing your medications
While learning about innovative therapies is definitely interesting, there’s also much to learn about the medications many patients are already using to manage their pain.
Opioid medications, in particular, are a controversial topic with many organizations worried about the prescription rates, while many patients continue to need them to manage their pain. Finding a balance between appropriate and safe prescription methods that still allow patients to get the medications that they need is of utmost importance.
We started our research into opioids this month by simply looking into who is prescribed these medications. What we found was surprising and somewhat unsettling. Beyond this, we took a look at the rates of opioid use among military veterans. It’s an important issue, with over one million vets taking opioid medications. In the post, we cover ways to reduce the amount of medications used and lifestyle strategies for reducing their risks.
Another post took on the topic of reducing opioid risks among all patient groups. Beyond consulting a pain specialist, we also offered strategies for taking your medications effectively and resources for support if you suffer from opioid addiction. As we noted:
“Being aware of the risks is just the first step of safely taking prescription painkillers. With a few considerations, it is possible to reduce the risks of these medications if they are needed to treat your pain.”
Taking opioids safely extends to how you manage and take your medications. Taking them on-time, in the quantities prescribed is an important yet often missed step. Research indicates that up to half of all patients take their prescription medications improperly. Techniques like using pill sorters or mobile apps may help you remember how much to take and when to take them.
Finally, we also discussed many of the research areas and predictions for the future of pain meds. As we noted in the post:
“Whether it is a nearly pain-free injection or an enzyme that treats pain without serious side effects, research on pain meds and pain therapies continues to promise more options in chronic pain treatment.”
Eating right to manage chronic pain
As we mentioned at the very beginning of this post, treating pain is about treating the whole person. A large part of that comes down to the very food patients eat.
To coincide with the observance of American Heart Month, we provided many tasty and delicious recipes to add into your rotation. These included:
- Roasted smashed potatoes made with cholesterol-healthy coconut oil
- Polenta with wild mushroom bolognese for a new take on a dinner classic
- Almond butter green smoothies that can provide quick protein and healthy fats for breakfast
- A tofu and winter squash lasagna that creates loved flavors with new, healthier ingredients
In addition to these specific recipes, we provided some general ways to eat better for heart and pain health in our “Eat This, Not That” monthly feature. In that post, you’ll find switches for pizza, soda, and burger you can make fast and easy in your home.
What was your favorite post on Inside Pain this month?
Image by Maryland GovPics via Flickr