What Works For Knee Pain? Don’t Waste Your Money On Bad Medicine

What Medicines Works for Knee PainKnee pain is a very common problem, affecting young and old alike.  Among athletes, knees take a beating, particularly in sports that involve running and twisting.  Among older people, the cartilage that provides a cushion in our knees often just wears out, producing chronic stiffness and pain.

I’ve had knee problems myself, so I was interested to see an article posted on CNN, with content from Harvard Medical School called “Alternative Treatments for Knee Pain.”  Would it describe “alternative” medicine, as in “complementary and alternative medicine,” or would it present real medicine for knee pain?

A little of both, as it turns out.  But it does more: it inadvertently illustrates one of the major flaws with the U.S. health system.  We don’t discriminate between effective and ineffective treatments, and some doctors seem content to let patients try anything, regardless of efficacy or cost.

The article describes several treatments for knee pain, and for each one it turns to Eric Berkson, M.D., for an opinion on how well the treatment works.  Berkson is an orthopaedic surgeon at Massachusetts General Hospital and an Instructor in Orthopaedic Surgery at Harvard Medical School.

Full story of knee pain medications at Forbes

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Mayo Clinic: Teens with chronic pain should not use medical marijuana

Teens Treating Chronic Pain with Marijuana UseTeens with chronic pain should not be prescribed medical marijuana, according to the Mayo Clinic.

Due to a lack of information on the risks and benefits of medical marijuana for adolescents, the Mayo Clinic is not recommending that youth be given pot for pain conditions. While the drug may help alleviate some of their other conditions or symptoms, marijuana can lead to some negative short-term side effects including fatigue, impaired concentration and slower reaction times.

“The consequences may be very, very severe, particularly for adolescents who may get rid of their pain — or not — at the expense of the rest of their life,” commentary co-author Dr. J. Michael Bostwick, a Mayo Clinic psychiatrist, said in a press release.

The commentary will be published in the July issue of Mayo Clinic Proceedings.

Marijuana is the most commonly used illegal drug in the U.S. according to the2008 National Survey on Drug Use and Health. About 15.2 million users used marijuana in the month before they completed the questionnaire.

Full story teens treating chronic pain at CBS News

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Challenge chronic pain with physical therapy

Challenge Pain with Physical TherapyPhysical therapy is just one essential part of any comprehensive pain management plan. A multidisciplinary approach to pain management utilizes the strengths of several different techniques to complement each other and provide the most effective treatment for those suffering from chronic pain.

Using only one method to manage pain (such as chiropractic adjustments or acupuncture) will often fail to resolve problems, or leave the patient with insufficient skills to manage pain. There are many different ways to approach pain management, and a balanced program is more effective than a singular approach. By consulting with a licensed pain physician to create a multidisciplinary program, the patient can take control of their body and learn to manage chronic pain in a healthy, effective way.

Physical therapy can find solutions to improve a patient’s quality of life through pain management strategies, and, in many cases, reduce pain. Therapy treatments may include:

Strengthening Exercises

Physical therapists can prescribe a program of graded exercises — movement that are gradually increased according to your abilities. They help improve conditioning and movement, reducing the stress and strain on the body.

Full story of chronic pain and physical therapy at Komo News

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Medical Edge: Daily routine a good first step for teen with chronic pain

Teen Deals with Chronic PainDEAR MAYO CLINIC: As the result of a sports injury, my 16-year-old daughter has chronic pain that has lasted for more than a year. It’s really taking a toll on her. The pain makes it hard for her to go to school and participate in the activities she enjoys. Medication doesn’t make much difference. What can we do? Is there a chance the pain will go away with time?

Your daughter’s pain may fade over time. While she has pain, though, it’s important for her to find ways to manage it. A cure may not be possible, but there are many strategies that can help her get back into life.

Pain usually comes from illness, injury or surgery, and it goes away as our bodies heal. This type of pain is called acute pain. Chronic pain is different. It is generally defined as daily pain that lasts more than three months. Chronic pain may continue after an injury or illness has passed. It may come from a medical condition that’s hard to treat. Sometimes chronic pain may not have any clear source.

Full story of teen with chronic pain at Post Bulletin

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Chronic Back Pain Cure Using Antibiotics May Help 40% Of Sufferers

Antibiotics Help Back PainChronic back pain is a condition that nobody would wish on even their worst enemy. Doctors and scientists have struggled to narrow down the root cause of many cases, prescribing dangerous surgery or pain killers that offer only fleeting relief.

Now two new studies out of Denmark and the UK are turning common conceptions about the causes of back pain on their heads.

Back pain specialists have known that bacterial infections could cause back pain, but the findings indicate that as much as 20 to 40 percent of all back pain could be cured with a course of antibiotics.

The first research paper analyzed the presence of bacteria in the slipped discs of patients who had suffered from intense pain and inflammation and thus undergone surgery. The researchers found that close to half of all samples tested positive for infection and, of all those with bacterial infections, 80 percent carried a specific bacterial species called Propionibacterium acnes.

Full story of chronic back pain at Medical Daily

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Chronic pain after trauma may be genetic

Chronic Pain After Trauma May be GeneticPersistent pain after a traumatic event like a car accident or sexual assault may have a neurological basis, new research suggests.

“Our study findings indicate that mechanisms influencing chronic pain development may be related to the stress response, rather than any specific injury caused by the traumatic event,” says Samuel McLean, assistant professor of anesthesiology at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine.

“In other words, our results suggest that in some individuals something goes wrong with the body’s ‘fight or flight’ response or the body’s recovery from this response, and persistent pain results.”

Published in the journal Pain, the study assessed the role of the hypothalamic-pituitary adrenal (HPA) axis, a physiologic system of central importance to the body’s response to stressful events.

Full story of chronic pain and trauma at Futurity

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Freezing Nerves, An Effective Way To Treat Chronic Pain

Tyler Ball For The Whig-StandardMichael Kawaja's research on Pain Neurons recently received a grant from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research. His project was one of 13 at Queen's University to receive such a grant.A form of treatment called cyroneurolysis is being used for chronic pain caused by nerve damage; it involves using a tiny ball of ice to interrupt pain signals and eliminate pain while the nerves slowly recover.

The results of the study, presented at the Society of Interventional Radiology’s 38th Annual Scientific Meeting in New Orleans, could mean possible treatment for people suffering from a condition called neuralagia, characterized by a sharp shocking pain that follows the path of a nerve.
William Moore, M.D., medical director of
radiology at Stony Brook University School of Medicine in Stony Brook, N.Y, said:

“Cryoneurolysis could have big implications for the millions of people who suffer from neuralgia, which can be unbearable and is very difficult to treat. Cryoneurolysis offers these patients an innovative treatment option that provides significant lasting pain relief and allows them to take a lower dose of pain medication – or even skip drugs altogether.”

Full story of freezing chronic pain at Medical News Today

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Americans think people with chronic pain should suck it up

People with Chronic Pain Should Suck it upA new health and medical poll shows that far more Americans are concerned about the abuse of painkillers than the chronic pain that forces people to seek relief through prescribed drugs.

Which is sort of weird since 63% of respondents to the Research!America poll said they know someone whose pain was extreme enough for them to seek prescription medication, yet only 18% believe chronic pain is a major health problem.

While prescription painkiller addiction is a real problem in this country, it’s interesting that chronic pain essentially is dismissed by more than 80% of respondents. Maybe some Americans actually have to be in chronic pain to believe it’s real. Everyone else is just a crybaby!

For a large percentage of elderly Americans, chronic pain is part of their daily lives, a byproduct of aging as the body’s various parts — particularly the joints — begin to wear out. Perhaps the poll respondents who dismiss chronic pain should advise old people to stop complaining or maybe just stop getting old!

Full story of America’s chronic pain at IT World

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6 Things People Suffering From Chronic Pain Want Their Friends and Family to Know

Family and Friends to Know about Chronic PainBeing diagnosed with a condition that causes chronic pain can put a severe damper or even a hold on your life. You can’t do the things you enjoy, and in some cases, you can’t do the things other people see as simple. It’s not always easy to talk about either. You don’t want to be pitied, but at the same time you don’t want to be dismissed. And truth be told, sometimes you’re just so sick and tired of feeling horrible, that the last thing you want to do is talk about it at all. So even if your friend or loved one isn’t talking to you about it, here are some things you should know.

1. We don’t use it as an excuse:
While it may come to your mind, please realize that if we can’t attend something, and we tell you it’s because of our chronic pain, it’s the truth. We don’t use it to just get out of things. We wanted to go to that birthday party/concert too.

2. The pain is, well… chronic!
Unfortunately, this means we are in pain every day or at least nearly every day. Saying something like "Oh, that still bothers you from four years ago?" is not something we want to hear.

Full story of chronic pain at Huffington Post

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Back manipulation may help relieve chronic pain

Manipulate the back for Chronic PainOsteopathic manipulation may modestly reduce symptoms for some people with chronic low back pain, a new study suggests.

The treatment involves moving out-of-line joints back into place, relaxing overused muscles and massaging soft tissue, said Dr. John Licciardone, a doctor of osteopathic medicine who led the new study.

He considers osteopathic manipulation a complementary treatment – not necessarily the only thing to do for low back pain, but something that can work as an add-on therapy for people who don’t get better with painkillers alone, for example.

"I think the osteopathic approach is different (from chiropractic care, for example) in that it takes a more overarching view, so you wouldn’t necessarily restrict your examination or treatment to the lower back," Licciardone, from the University of North Texas Health Science Center in Fort Worth, told Reuters Health.

He and his colleagues wanted to test the effectiveness of both osteopathic manipulation and ultrasound therapy – a technique sometimes used by physical therapists on soft tissue injuries. The researchers randomly assigned 455 people with chronic low back pain to undergo eight weeks of either real or sham versions of each treatment method.

Full story of the back and chronic pain at Fox News

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