This year there was so much to talk about, and at Nevada Pain’s Inside Pain blog we examined new research, offered tips and suggestions for positive lifestyle changes, and found new ways to support our patients and their families. Here are ten of our favorite posts from 2014.
Chronic pain can be an isolating, lonely condition. Families of chronic pain patients may not always understand the daily struggles a patient endures, and it can be difficult to find local support groups. Finding support online for a variety of chronic pain conditions may be the answer. This Nevada Pain post offers ways for both patients and caregivers to find the support they need online.
42.1 million caregivers either live with or care for the estimated 100 million chronic pain patients in the U.S. These caregivers may be untrained in proper care-giving techniques, including proper lifting and moving of a patient. As a result, there are health risks that caregivers face. When thinking about the issues surrounding chronic pain, caregivers are sometimes last on the list of things to consider, but at Nevada Pain we also recognize that the health and well-being of the caregiver is important and worth protecting.
The old saying “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” is possibly best applied to migraine headaches. What if you could stop a migraine before it even started? This Nevada Pain post suggests ten ways to do that, from the simple (drink more water) to the more complex (learn to identify and manage stress).
Being near water has a calming effect on nearly everyone. Its soothing, rhythmic quality relaxes and relieves stress. It stands to reason that exercising in water would have multiple benefits for chronic pain patients, benefits that incorporate this stress relief but go beyond that. Consider this quote from just one study:
“In one 12-week study, women who exercised in warm water — for 60 minutes, 3 times a week — reported improved physical and mental well-being. They also had less fibromyalgia pain and more vitality. As for their state of mind, they reported feeling less depressed, and more sociable.”
Sign us up!
At Nevada Pain, we believe that soldiers, both active duty and retired, deserve all of our support. An estimated 44% of military personnel experience chronic pain, a number which may be drastically higher due to the culture of military service and underreporting. Combining this estimate of chronic pain with the pain of post-traumatic stress disorder sets off a perfect storm of potential opioid overuse or abuse. This is an important topic that needs to be addressed for the soldiers who sacrifice so much in service to their country.
Being an adolescent is hard enough without the added challenge of chronic pain. Many teens with chronic pain feel especially isolated. Online support groups may help. In these forums and chat rooms, teens can find understanding and support, night or day. Growing Pains is an online support system run by the American Chronic Pain Association. The site is designed to meet the special needs of adolescents who are dealing with chronic pain. Each area of the site is moderated, and the goal is to provide a safe place for teens to get the support and understanding they need.
George Bernard Shaw’s quote really resonated with us this year: “We don’t stop playing because we get old. We get old because we stop playing.”
Study after study continues to highlight the value of play in our lives, even as we get older. Among other benefits, play relieves stress, makes you smarter, and helps you be more creative in your daily life. This post was one of our favorites because it reminds us that even though we are serious about what we do at Nevada Pain, keeping a sense of playfulness is also good medicine.
Some of our favorite posts this year have explored complementary or alternative medicine as a way to relieve chronic pain. Acupuncture is a centuries-old practice that is gaining traction as a proven treatment for chronic pain. Although there is still a need for research on the effects of acupuncture, many doctors are now recommending this practice as part of a holistic approach to pain treatment.
It may be difficult to imagine flipping your entire life upside-down to combat chronic pain, but what about making five basic changes to reduce chronic pain? Something as simple as changing your sleep hygiene to sleep more soundly and for longer periods can make a tremendous difference in not just chronic pain but also overall health. Incorporate four more lifestyle changes to work towards a pain-free future!
Sitting down was a major topic of conversation for us at Nevada Pain this year. The research is overwhelming: sitting is a high-risk behavior, causing a 12% increase in the chance of death for the most sedentary women. Sitting or resting goes beyond time spent sleeping, which is vital to health. This is specifically inactive periods during the day, and this post offers easy ways to combat the risks of sitting.
Those are our top ten Nevada Pain posts of the year; which posts are on your top ten list?
Image by Pedro Serapio via Flickr