Tag: painkillers

Beyond Opioids: The Future of Pain Management

March 14, 2018 — Cindi Scheib wanted to die.

A three-day weekend spent jumping and dancing on Labor Day 2014 had left her with a neck injury – specifically the cervical spine – that was possibly an exacerbation of an unrecognized mountain biking injury earlier that year. To make matters worse, her doctor performed the surgery to fix the injury on the wrong part of her spine.

Now 54, Scheib has lived with constant neck pain and other unusual sensations throughout her body ever since. These sensations, including electrical shocks down her spine, buzzing, vibrating, burning sensations, ringing in her ears and sensitivity to normal noises, had gotten so bad, she said, that “I wanted to go to bed and not wake up tomorrow. This life was so bad, so horrible, that I couldn’t imagine how I was going to live the rest of whatever life I had,” says the Harrisburg, PA, nurse.

Full story at WedMD

From Move Forward Radio: A Journey Out of Pain and Away From Painkillers, Thanks to Physical Therapy

Morgan Hay had been down with the flu for about a week and was starting to get bored. So she turned on a horror movie to break up the monotony. It worked: not long into the movie, she jumped off the couch and attempted to run upstairs, away from all the scariness, only to slam her right big toe into a stair. The resultant pain was intense.

That’s when she entered what turned out to be a real-life nightmare that took her from specialist to specialist, and subjected her to multiple painkillers that made her feel “like a zombie.” The pain was so overwhelming that it caused her to lose consciousness nearly 2 months after the initial injury.

Full story on the journey away from pain with PT at APTA

Physical therapy patients may improve faster without opioids

Patients who have not been prescribed opioid painkillers benefit more from physical therapy, according to researchers in Canada.

A study at the University of Alberta found patients not taking the powerful drugs for pain while rebuilding physical ability regain function faster.

The researchers suggest adjusting therapy programs for individual patients’ pain tolerance, using a graded approach to recovery by slowly building back to full function.

“Even though opioid medications can be a powerful pain killer, it does not necessarily mean improved function will follow — pain is not the only factor in determining function,” Geoff Bostick, an associate professor of physical therapy at the University of Alberta, said in a press release. “It can be difficult helping people move when they have pain, but as a physiotherapist I know the importance of physical function and we have to help find a way to promote movement, even if it is painful.”

Full story of PT patients improving without opioids at UPI

Headache docs list top 5 tests and treatments to avoid

Doctors who specialize in treating head pain, such as chronic migraines, are out with a list of five procedures and treatments they think have risks or costs that may outweigh the benefits.

The American Headache Society’s list is part of the American Board of Internal Medicine’s Choosing Wisely campaign that has seen cancer doctors, eye doctors and chest surgeons naming the overused or unproven practices their peers should avoid and patients should question.

The newest Choosing Wisely list was published Thursday in the journal Headache.

“The article and recommendations identify situations that are felt by experts to be cases where patients and doctors should think very carefully before they decide to use that particular treatment or intervention,” said Dr. Elizabeth Loder, an author of the new recommendations.

Loder is the president of the American Headache Society, and chief of the Division of Headache and Pain at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston.

Full story of headache treatments at NBC News

Learning to live with chronic pain

Chronic pain is a formidable foe. It’s invisible and can’t be measured by an X-ray or a blood test. Sometimes it has no identifiable cause and yet it can ruin lives, affecting everything from employment to family relationships.

“Pain Matters,” a new documentary airing on the Discovery Channel, illuminates what it’s like to be one of the millions of Americans suffering with chronic pain, often defined as recurrent pain that lasts more than three months.

In the documentary, we hear from six people living with the condition, including a Navy veteran who sustained debilitating injuries in Iraq, and a mother of two who is still hurting from a car accident more than 20 years ago. Their testimony will surely strike a chord with anyone who has struggled with a bad back, arthritis, carpal tunnel syndrome or recurrent headaches.

Clinicians also provide insight on the timely subject of pain management. Last month, the Food and Drug Administration recommended tighter controls on how physicians prescribe the most commonly used narcotic painkillers, such as Vicodin.

For more on this topic, we turned to Penney Cowan, 65, founder and executive director of the American Chronic Pain Association, one of the experts featured in the documentary. Here is an edited transcript of our interview:

Q: What is your personal connection to pain?

Full story of living with chronic pain at the Chicago Tribune

Painkillers May Worsen Headache After Concussion

Too much pain medication may have been part of the problem for teens reporting chronic headache months after suffering concussions, researchers reported here.

Nearly half of adolescents with post-concussion headaches lasting 3-12 months showed either complete resolution of symptoms or a reduction to pre-concussion levels after discontinuing their analgesics, according to Geoffrey Heyer, MD, and Syed Idris, MD, both of Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio.

Because withdrawal of painkillers alleviated these patients’ headaches, a diagnosis of medication overuse headache may be made under International Classification of Headache Disorders (ICHD) criteria, the researchers indicated in a poster presentation at the Child Neurology Society annual meeting.

The findings emerged from a retrospective chart review of 104 consecutive adolescent patients treated at Nationwide Children’s for concussion. Of these, 77 reported chronic headache after the injury, and 54 of this group were deemed to have “probable” medication overuse headache.

Under the ICHD, medication overuse headache may be diagnosed in patients with frequent headaches (at least 15 days per month) that either developed or worsened while using headache medications such as over-the-counter or prescription analgesics. The diagnosis is considered “probable” if either such medications have not yet been withdrawn or if the headaches continued for up to 2 months after medications were stopped.

Full story of painkillers and concussions at Med Page Today

How to manage chronic pain without pills

Q: I’ve had shoulder pain for a couple of years, and the constant low-level agony is making me nuts. What should I do? — Johnny M., Akron, Ohio

Managing Chronic Pain Without PillsA: More than 100 million North Americans live with chronic pain, and, as you indicated, it does a lot more than just make you feel achy. Chronic pain is associated with a three- to fourfold increase in the rate of depression and anxiety, and most folks also have problems with sleep, memory, attention, high blood pressure and resulting cardio problems, not to mention sexual dysfunction. Chronic pain actually can damage your most valued relationships.

The most common sources (not related to cancer) are degenerative spine disease, lower-back pain, rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis (perhaps in your shoulder), fibromyalgia, HIV, migraine, nerve pain and complications of shingles.

The first step is to get the right diagnosis from a specialist (maybe a second opinion, too). If pain medications are suggested, ask about a pain-management specialist who knows how to do nerve-dampening blocks and how to safely put you on (and take you off of) potentially addictive drugs.

But we’re huge fans of using wellness to control pain!

Full story of chronic pills without pills at the News Sentinel

Photos courtesy of and copyright PhotoPin, http://photopin.com/

Headaches are common, but they are not all alike

Headaches Are Not All The SameThere’s no escaping the headache. At one point in your life, you will have one — probably more than one.

“Headache is a very common thing,” says Dr. Heidi Nicola, who added she has seen a multitude of patients for headaches.

But not all headaches are created equal and some can be a sign of something more serious. We talked to Nicola, an internal medicine specialist with Advocate Good Samaritan Hospital in Downers Grove, for more information. Here is an edited transcript of our interview.

Q: What are some common causes for headaches?

A: For me, when I think of headaches, I think about headaches as two main causes — the headache that is the symptom and the headache that is the diagnosis.

Tension headache, migraine headache, cluster headache and over-medication headache are the four most common types of headaches. When the headache is a symptom it might be more dangerous (it could be a brain bleed or a tumor in the brain) and it has different characteristics.

Full story of headache differences at the Chicago Tribune

Photos courtesy of and copyright PhotoPin, http://photopin.com/

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

Photos courtesy of and copyright PhotoPin, http://photopin.com/