Tag Archives: Temporomandibular joint dysfunction

Straight, No Chaser: TMJ (Temporomandibular Joint) Syndrome

TMJ pain

TMJ. Those of you who have TMJ syndrome are likely already shaking your head in understanding. Those of you who don’t, be thankful. Take the advice of those who do and read this post to appreciate steps you can take to avoid developing it.

TMJ (temporomandibular joint) syndrome/disorders refer to symptoms developed in the chewing muscles and joints connecting your lower jaw to your skull. In other words, you’re having problems with your jaw joint. Given that the TMJ closes your mouth, and you’re using it all day to talk and chew, having this poses a lot of problems.

To understand various causes of TMJ, start by appreciating that most anything affecting all the various structures connecting the joint can contribute to the disorder. This includes problems with the joint itself or to its surrounding muscles, tendons and bones. Therefore, there isn’t just one cause. Many things you do or have done can contribute to difficulties with the joint. Here are some examples:

  • Arthritis (degenerative joint disease)
  • Having a bad (poorly aligned) bite
  • Having to wear braces
  • Lack of sleep (insufficient rest and recuperation for overworked muscles)
  • Poor diet
  • Poor posture (e.g., holding the head forward while looking at a computer all day, straining the muscles of the face and neck)
  • Stress and grinding your teeth
  • Trauma to the jaw resulting in fractures or dislocations

tmj_2

Knowing this makes prevention easy.

  • Limit or avoid hard foods and excessively chewing gum. Although you don’t think about it much, you can wear out the joints in your mouth just as you can a hip or a knee.
  • Learn to reduce your overall levels of stress and muscle tension.
  • Practice and maintain good posture of your head and neck.
  • Use protective measures when engaged in activities that can produce jaw fractures and dislocations.

It’s pretty easy to figure out the symptoms you may have if there is a problem with your jaw or TMJ.

TMJ sx

  • Aching facial pain
  • Clicking, popping or grating of the mouth when opening or closing it
  • Difficulty opening and/or closing the mouth
  • Difficulty/pain biting or chewing
  • Earache
  • Headache
  • Jaw pain or tenderness
  • Locking of the jaw

Treatment strategies vary widely based on severity and cause of the joint issues. Many patients get by with over the counter medications, relaxation techniques, heat or ice to the face and prevention of additional damage. More complicated measures may include use of prescription pain medicines, muscle relaxants, corticosteroids or antidepressants. Bite guards (aka splints, mouth guards/appliances) may be recommended if you have problems with teeth grinding. Your physician will make appropriate recommendations based on your individual circumstances.

The good news is for many patients symptoms come and go, and they are reasonably well treated with minor interventions. The bad news is if you go unidentified or untreated, you may suffer chronic facial pain and/or headache, and this is not a pleasant experience. Therefore, if you discover yourself having difficulty opening and closing your mouth or eating, please address it early and see your doctor or dentist right away. You really don’t want to deal with the consequences of inaction.

Feel free to ask your SMA expert consultant any questions you may have on this topic.

Take the #72HoursChallenge, and join the community. As a thank you for being a valued subscriber to Straight, No Chaser, we’d like to offer you a complimentary 30-day membership at www.72hourslife.com. Just use the code #NoChaser, and yes, it’s ok if you share!

Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s new books There are 72 Hours in a Day: Using Efficiency to Better Enjoy Every Part of Your Life and The 72 Hours in a Day Workbook: The Journey to The 72 Hours Life in 72 Days at Amazon or at www.72hourslife.com. Receive introductory pricing with orders!

Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) and 844-SMA-TALK offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress, like us on Facebook SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and follow us on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.

Copyright © 2018 · Sterling Initiatives, LLC · Powered by WordPress

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Filed under Head/Eyes/Ears/Nose/Throat, Trauma

Straight, No Chaser: Reacting to Broken or Dislocated Jaws

broken-jaw-photos-1

Should you ever suffer the misfortune of getting hit or falling onto your jaw, would you know what to do?

Trauma to the jaw is more dangerous than you might imagine. The risk for bleeding or subsequent breathing difficulties is such that immediate medical attention is a must in the presence of either.

jawfracturejaw dislocation

Once you get past bruises, there are two main considerations to jaw injuries: fractures and dislocations. Jaw fractures are simply broken jaws. A dislocated jaw is one in which the lower portion of the jaw bone (the mandible) has moved from its normal position (i.e., out of the joint connecting it to the skull). It’s not likely that you’ll know which has occurred, which is another big reason why you should be sure to get medical attention instead of attempting to do much yourself. There are significant differences in the medical management of the two conditions.

There are two main considerations I want you to learn from this post: what to do (and not to do) in the case of a jaw injury and what can happen if you don’t.

jaw fx bandages

Things for you to do

  • While traveling to the emergency room, you should hold the jaw and any other injured portion of the face gently in place.
  • If you have access to a bandage, loosely wrap it over the top of your head and under your jaw. It needs to be rather loose in the event you need to remove it so you can vomit, which is likely after a head injury.

What you should not do

  • Do not attempt to move, relocate or otherwise manipulate the jaw after an injury. Your doing so without knowing the extent of the injuries could have devastating consequences.

What can happen if you don’t get the situation addressed

  • Bleeding from a facial fracture is a pretty big deal. Blood can go into the lungs and block your airway at different levels. Similarly any food that might have been in your mouth (e.g., during a car crash) can have the same outcome.
  • Displacement of a broken or dislocated jaw can cause difficulty eating or speaking and can cause problems aligning the teeth over the long-term.
  • Depending on the mechanism, the jaw and/or other parts of the face can become infected. With the facial structures being packed so tightly in a relatively small space, many different types of complications can occur.
  • Anyone with TMJ syndrome (temporomandibular joint) appreciates the pain this condition can bring. Untreated or mistreated injuries to the jaw and/or jaw joint can produce chronic pain in these areas.

jaw protector

Of course it shouldn’t have to be said that the better course of action is to avoid such injuries, but some of us refuse to wear helmets during sporting events, and some of us find ourselves in bar fights and motor vehicle crashes. If you can’t avoid these situations, then the next best course of action is to respond appropriately. Take care not to ruin your beautiful faces and smiles.

I welcome any questions you may have.

Feel free to ask your SMA expert consultant any questions you may have on this topic.

Take the #72HoursChallenge, and join the community. As a thank you for being a valued subscriber to Straight, No Chaser, we’d like to offer you a complimentary 30-day membership at www.72hourslife.com. Just use the code #NoChaser, and yes, it’s ok if you share!

Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s new books There are 72 Hours in a Day: Using Efficiency to Better Enjoy Every Part of Your Life and The 72 Hours in a Day Workbook: The Journey to The 72 Hours Life in 72 Days at Amazon or at www.72hourslife.com. Receive introductory pricing with orders!

Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) and 844-SMA-TALK offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress, like us on Facebook SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and follow us on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.

Copyright © 2018 · Sterling Initiatives, LLC · Powered by WordPress

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Filed under Head/Eyes/Ears/Nose/Throat, Trauma

Straight, No Chaser: Chronic Pain

The notion of a pain awareness month is an odd thing; probably even more so to those suffering from chronic pain. Typically the idea with these periods of recognizing diseases and conditions is to create sensitivity among the general public toward one’s condition. In this and the next Straight, No Chaser, we will not only do that but will build upon that and provide those sufferers of chronic pain some better tools to make those emergency room visits more productive.

chronic-pain

I’d begin by asking you to get more in touch with your “you sensitivity” and learn to differentiate between different types of pain. It’s important for you to know the difference.

  • Clearly there’s acute pain from injury. You break a jaw or twist an ankle, you’re going to hurt.
  • There’s acute exacerbations of pain from disease. You have sickle cell anemia? Cancer? Lupus? Sciatica or other low back pain? Arthritis? Migraines? You will have acute flare ups.

Then there’s chronic pain. Remember, sometimes pain happens without injury or disease. Pain is simply a signal communicated from your body to you through your brain. Acute pain is normal and is meant to alert you to somehow protect yourself or get help. Chronic pain is different. Those signals coming from your nervous system can be sporadic or haphazard, and they may be more reflective of dysfunction within the nervous system than a disease or injury. It can even be psychogenic (due to matters of your mind). Regardless of the cause, chronic pain is well, a pain.

There are many established conditions that cause chronic pain, such as the following:

chronicpain-circle3

Maybe the point of this post isn’t to tell those of you who suffer from chronic pain things you don’t already know as much as it is to organize your thoughts and approach to your pain. After all, it’s not like there are cures for chronic pain besides eliminating the underlying condition (which reminds me to remind you not to fall for the many medical scams promising instant and permanent relief to these medical conditions). The first step really is to help you appreciate the need for becoming better sensitized to your condition. Many patients with chronic pain suffer horrible outcomes because they become desensitized to pain, learn to ignore it, and misinterpret a new, unrelated pain condition (maybe with a few similarities), failing to get evaluated before it is too late.

If you suffer from chronic pain, it’s key to know the things you can do to improve your quality of life. Strengthening your mind to reduce stress and avoid fixating on your medical condition is very important. Learning to relax actually is treatment; your body has pain-reducing chemicals, including those that directly treat pain and promote healing, and others that prevent release of internal pain producers. Find someone with whom you can discuss relaxation and stress reduction.

chronicpain2

Engage the fight to get better within your physical limitations.

  • Exercise remains key. Depending on your situation, walking, running, biking and/or swimming can dramatically improve your situation. Be advised that the extremes (not exercising at all or doing so too much) can actually worsen the situation.
  • Stretching and strengthening similarly produce benefits to those with chronic pain. This should sound like a good reason to become involved with a personal trainer or have a physical therapist.
  • Regular sleep and avoidance of nicotine (stop smoking!) will also help.

Your physician may discuss multiple other possible treatment modalities, such as the following:

  • Acupuncture
  • Behavioral therapy can reduce your pain and decrease your stress through methods that help you relax, such as meditation, tai chi, and yoga. Give it a try. It works for many people.
  • Brain stimulation therapy
  • Local electrical stimulation
  • Occupational therapy teaches you how to perform routine activities of daily living in a way that reduces your pain and/or avoids reinjuring yourself.
  • Osteopathic manipulation therapy (OMT)
  • Psychotherapy

Regarding medication, for many people use of medication (especially narcotics) becomes a crutch and a slippery slope. Over the counter medications such as acetaminophen and ibuprofen are quite effective for many causes of pain. Use of narcotics should be measured and part of an overall plan, not a tool for a quick fix or to get you out of your doctor’s face. It is part of reality that even if you are not a drug-seeking patient, with enough exposure to narcotics you will develop tolerance (less effectiveness at the same dose) and become addicted. You should want to avoid this fate.

The pain, mental duress and reduction in quality of life associated with chronic pain can be lessened with you learning how to approach and understand your pain, taking appropriate steps to reduce things you do to exacerbate the pain, increasing the things you do to lessen the pain, and working with your health care team to provide you with appropriate support and treatment.

Feel free to ask your SMA expert consultant any questions you may have on this topic.

Take the #72HoursChallenge, and join the community. As a thank you for being a valued subscriber to Straight, No Chaser, we’d like to offer you a complimentary 30-day membership at www.72hourslife.com. Just use the code #NoChaser, and yes, it’s ok if you share!

Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s new books There are 72 Hours in a Day: Using Efficiency to Better Enjoy Every Part of Your Life and The 72 Hours in a Day Workbook: The Journey to The 72 Hours Life in 72 Days at Amazon or at www.72hourslife.com. Receive introductory pricing with orders!

Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) and 844-SMA-TALK offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress, like us on Facebook SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and follow us on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.

Copyright © 2017 · Sterling Initiatives, LLC · Powered by WordPress

Comments Off on Straight, No Chaser: Chronic Pain

Filed under General Health and Wellness, Health Prevention, Neurology

Straight, No Chaser: Chronic Pain

Print

The notion of a pain awareness month is an odd thing; probably even more so to those suffering from chronic pain. Typically the idea with these periods of recognizing diseases and conditions is to create sensitivity among the general public toward one’s condition. In this and the next Straight, No Chaser, we will not only do that but will build upon that and provide those sufferers of chronic pain some better tools to make those emergency room visits more productive.

chronic-pain

I’d begin by asking you to get more in touch with your “you sensitivity” and learn to differentiate between different types of pain. It’s important for you to know the difference.

  • Clearly there’s acute pain from injury. You break a jaw or twist an ankle, you’re going to hurt.
  • There’s acute exacerbations of pain from disease. You have sickle cell anemia? Cancer? Lupus? Sciatica or other low back pain? Arthritis? Migraines? You will have acute flare ups.

Then there’s chronic pain. Remember, sometimes pain happens without injury or disease. Pain is simply a signal communicated from your body to you through your brain. Acute pain is normal and is meant to alert you to somehow protect yourself or get help. Chronic pain is different. Those signals coming from your nervous system can be sporadic or haphazard, and they may be more reflective of dysfunction within the nervous system than a disease or injury. It can even be psychogenic (due to matters of your mind). Regardless of the cause, chronic pain is well, a pain.

There are many established conditions that cause chronic pain, such as the following:

chronicpain-circle3

Maybe the point of this post isn’t to tell those of you who suffer from chronic pain things you don’t already know as much as it is to organize your thoughts and approach to your pain. After all, it’s not like there are cures for chronic pain besides eliminating the underlying condition (which reminds me to remind you not to fall for the many medical scams promising instant and permanent relief to these medical conditions). The first step really is to help you appreciate the need for becoming better sensitized to your condition. Many patients with chronic pain suffer horrible outcomes because they become desensitized to pain, learn to ignore it, and misinterpret a new, unrelated pain condition (maybe with a few similarities), failing to get evaluated before it is too late.

If you suffer from chronic pain, it’s key to know the things you can do to improve your quality of life. Strengthening your mind to reduce stress and avoid fixating on your medical condition is very important. Learning to relax actually is treatment; your body has pain-reducing chemicals, including those that directly treat pain and promote healing, and others that prevent release of internal pain producers. Find someone with whom you can discuss relaxation and stress reduction.

chronicpain2

Engage the fight to get better within your physical limitations.

  • Exercise remains key. Depending on your situation, walking, running, biking and/or swimming can dramatically improve your situation. Be advised that the extremes (not exercising at all or doing so too much) can actually worsen the situation.
  • Stretching and strengthening similarly produce benefits to those with chronic pain. This should sound like a good reason to become involved with a personal trainer or have a physical therapist.
  • Regular sleep and avoidance of nicotine (stop smoking!) will also help.

Your physician may discuss multiple other possible treatment modalities, such as the following:

  • Acupuncture
  • Behavioral therapy can reduce your pain and decrease your stress through methods that help you relax, such as meditation, tai chi, and yoga. Give it a try. It works for many people.
  • Brain stimulation therapy
  • Local electrical stimulation
  • Occupational therapy teaches you how to perform routine activities of daily living in a way that reduces your pain and/or avoids reinjuring yourself.
  • Osteopathic manipulation therapy (OMT)
  • Psychotherapy

Regarding medication, for many people use of medication (especially narcotics) becomes a crutch and a slippery slope. Over the counter medications such as acetaminophen and ibuprofen are quite effective for many causes of pain. Use of narcotics should be measured and part of an overall plan, not a tool for a quick fix or to get you out of your doctor’s face. It is part of reality that even if you are not a drug-seeking patient, with enough exposure to narcotics you will develop tolerance (less effectiveness at the same dose) and become addicted. You should want to avoid this fate.

The pain, mental duress and reduction in quality of life associated with chronic pain can be lessened with you learning how to approach and understand your pain, taking appropriate steps to reduce things you do to exacerbate the pain, increasing the things you do to lessen the pain, and working with your health care team to provide you with appropriate support and treatment.

Feel free to ask any questions you may have on this topic.

Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s new book Behind The Curtain: A Peek at Life from within the ER at jeffreysterlingbooks.com, iTunes, Amazon, Barnes and Nobles and wherever books are sold.

Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) and 844-SMA-TALK offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress, like us on Facebook SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and follow us on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.

Copyright © 2016 · Sterling Initiatives, LLC · Powered by WordPress

Comments Off on Straight, No Chaser: Chronic Pain

Filed under General Health and Wellness, Health Prevention, Neurology

Straight, No Chaser: Pain Awareness Month and Your Chronic Pain

Print

The notion of a pain awareness month is an odd thing; probably even more so to those suffering from chronic pain. Typically the idea with these periods of recognizing diseases and conditions is to create sensitivity among the general public toward one’s condition. In this and the next Straight, No Chaser, we will not only do that but will build upon that and provide those sufferers of chronic pain some better tools to make those emergency room visits more productive.

chronic-pain

I’d begin by asking you to get more in touch with your “you sensitivity” and learn to differentiate between different types of pain. It’s important for you to know the difference.

  • Clearly there’s acute pain from injury. You break a jaw or twist an ankle, you’re going to hurt.
  • There’s acute exacerbations of pain from disease. You have sickle cell anemia? Cancer? Lupus? Sciatica or other low back pain? Arthritis? Migraines? You will have acute flare ups.

Then there’s chronic pain. Remember, sometimes pain happens without injury or disease. Pain is simply a signal communicated from your body to you through your brain. Acute pain is normal and is meant to alert you to somehow protect yourself or get help. Chronic pain is different. Those signals coming from your nervous system can be sporadic or haphazard, and they may be more reflective of dysfunction within the nervous system than a disease or injury. It can even be psychogenic (due to matters of your mind). Regardless of the cause, chronic pain is well, a pain.

There are many established conditions that cause chronic pain, such as the following:

chronicpain-circle3

Maybe the point of this post isn’t to tell those of you who suffer from chronic pain things you don’t already know as much as it is to organize your thoughts and approach to your pain. After all, it’s not like there are cures for chronic pain besides eliminating the underlying condition (which reminds me to remind you not to fall for the many medical scams promising instant and permanent relief to these medical conditions). The first step really is to help you appreciate the need for becoming better sensitized to your condition. Many patients with chronic pain suffer horrible outcomes because they become desensitized to pain, learn to ignore it, and misinterpret a new, unrelated pain condition (maybe with a few similarities), failing to get evaluated before it is too late.

If you suffer from chronic pain, it’s key to know the things you can do to improve your quality of life. Strengthening your mind to reduce stress and avoid fixating on your medical condition is very important. Learning to relax actually is treatment; your body has pain-reducing chemicals, including those that directly treat pain and promote healing, and others that prevent release of internal pain producers. Find someone with whom you can discuss relaxation and stress reduction.

chronicpain2

Engage the fight to get better within your physical limitations.

  • Exercise remains key. Depending on your situation, walking, running, biking and/or swimming can dramatically improve your situation. Be advised that the extremes (not exercising at all or doing so too much) can actually worsen the situation.
  • Stretching and strengthening similarly produce benefits to those with chronic pain. This should sound like a good reason to become involved with a personal trainer or have a physical therapist.
  • Regular sleep and avoidance of nicotine (stop smoking!) will also help.

Your physician may discuss multiple other possible treatment modalities, such as the following:

  • Acupuncture
  • Behavioral therapy can reduce your pain and decrease your stress through methods that help you relax, such as meditation, tai chi, and yoga. Give it a try. It works for many people.
  • Brain stimulation therapy
  • Local electrical stimulation
  • Occupational therapy teaches you how to perform routine activities of daily living in a way that reduces your pain and/or avoids reinjuring yourself.
  • Osteopathic manipulation therapy (OMT)
  • Psychotherapy

Regarding medication, for many people use of medication (especially narcotics) becomes a crutch and a slippery slope. Over the counter medications such as acetaminophen and ibuprofen are quite effective for many causes of pain. Use of narcotics should be measured and part of an overall plan, not a tool for a quick fix or to get you out of your doctor’s face. It is part of reality that even if you are not a drug-seeking patient, with enough exposure to narcotics you will develop tolerance (less effectiveness at the same dose) and become addicted. You should want to avoid this fate.

The pain, mental duress and reduction in quality of life associated with chronic pain can be lessened with you learning how to approach and understand your pain, taking appropriate steps to reduce things you do to exacerbate the pain, increasing the things you do to lessen the pain, and working with your health care team to provide you with appropriate support and treatment.

Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s new book Behind The Curtain: A Peek at Life from within the ER at jeffreysterlingbooks.com, iTunes, AmazonBarnes and Nobles and wherever books are sold.

Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) and 844-SMA-TALK offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress, like us on Facebook SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and follow us on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.

Copyright, Sterling Initiatives, LLC. 2013-2015

 

Comments Off on Straight, No Chaser: Pain Awareness Month and Your Chronic Pain

Filed under General Health and Wellness

Straight, No Chaser: Pain Awareness Month and Your Chronic Pain

Print

 

The notion of a pain awareness month is an odd thing; probably even more so to those suffering from chronic pain. Typically the idea with these periods of recognizing diseases and conditions is to create sensitivity among the general public toward one’s condition. In this and the next Straight, No Chaser, we will not only do that but will build upon that and provide those sufferers of chronic pain some better tools to make those emergency room visits more productive.

chronic-pain

I’d begin by asking you to get more in touch with your “you sensitivity” and learn to differentiate between different types of pain. It’s important for you to know the difference.

  • Clearly there’s acute pain from injury. You break a jaw or twist an ankle, you’re going to hurt.
  • There’s acute exacerbations of pain from disease. You have sickle cell anemia? Cancer? Lupus? Sciatica or other low back pain? Arthritis? Migraines? You will have acute flare ups.

Then there’s chronic pain. Remember, sometimes pain happens without injury or disease. Pain is simply a signal communicated from your body to you through your brain. Acute pain is normal and is meant to alert you to somehow protect yourself or get help. Chronic pain is different. Those signals coming from your nervous system can be sporadic or haphazard, and they may be more reflective of dysfunction within the nervous system than a disease or injury. It can even be psychogenic (due to matters of your mind). Regardless of the cause, chronic pain is well, a pain.

There are many established conditions that cause chronic pain, such as the following:

chronicpain-circle3

Maybe the point of this post isn’t to tell those of you who suffer from chronic pain things you don’t already know as much as it is to organize your thoughts and approach to your pain. After all, it’s not like there are cures for chronic pain besides eliminating the underlying condition (which reminds me to remind you not to fall for the many medical scams promising instant and permanent relief to these medical conditions). The first step really is to help you appreciate the need for becoming better sensitized to your condition. Many patients with chronic pain suffer horrible outcomes because they become desensitized to pain, learn to ignore it, and misinterpret a new, unrelated pain condition (maybe with a few similarities), failing to get evaluated before it is too late.

If you suffer from chronic pain, it’s key to know the things you can do to improve your quality of life. Strengthening your mind to reduce stress and avoid fixating on your medical condition is very important. Learning to relax actually is treatment; your body has pain-reducing chemicals, including those that directly treat pain and promote healing, and others that prevent release of internal pain producers. Find someone with whom you can discuss relaxation and stress reduction.

chronicpain2

Engage the fight to get better within your physical limitations.

  • Exercise remains key. Depending on your situation, walking, running, biking and/or swimming can dramatically improve your situation. Be advised that the extremes (not exercising at all or doing so too much) can actually worsen the situation.
  • Stretching and strengthening similarly produce benefits to those with chronic pain. This should sound like a good reason to become involved with a personal trainer or have a physical therapist.
  • Regular sleep and avoidance of nicotine (stop smoking!) will also help.

Your physician may discuss multiple other possible treatment modalities, such as the following:

  • Acupuncture
  • Behavioral therapy can reduce your pain and decrease your stress through methods that help you relax, such as meditation, tai chi, and yoga. Give it a try. It works for many people.
  • Brain stimulation therapy
  • Local electrical stimulation
  • Occupational therapy teaches you how to perform routine activities of daily living in a way that reduces your pain and/or avoids reinjuring yourself.
  • Osteopathic manipulation therapy (OMT)
  • Psychotherapy

Regarding medication, for many people use of medication (especially narcotics) becomes a crutch and a slippery slope. Over the counter medications such as acetaminophen and ibuprofen are quite effective for many causes of pain. Use of narcotics should be measured and part of an overall plan, not a tool for a quick fix or to get you out of your doctor’s face. It is part of reality that even if you are not a drug-seeking patient, with enough exposure to narcotics you will develop tolerance (less effectiveness at the same dose) and become addicted. You should want to avoid this fate.

The pain, mental duress and reduction in quality of life associated with chronic pain can be lessened with you learning how to approach and understand your pain, taking appropriate steps to reduce things you do to exacerbate the pain, increasing the things you do to lessen the pain, and working with your health care team to provide you with appropriate support and treatment. We at http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and 844-SMA-TALK are here to support your efforts. We welcome your questions.

Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what 844-SMA-TALK and http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress. We are also on Facebook at SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and Twitter at @asksterlingmd.

Comments Off on Straight, No Chaser: Pain Awareness Month and Your Chronic Pain

Filed under General Health and Wellness

Straight, No Chaser: Chronic Pain

chronic-pain

If I could talk to you about pain (oh wait, I can), I’d begin by asking you to get more in touch with your “you sensitivity” and learn to differentiate between different types of pain. It’s important for you to know the difference.

  • Clearly there’s acute pain from injury. You break a jaw or twist an ankle, you’re going to hurt.
  • There’s acute exacerbations of pain from disease. You have sickle cell anemia? Cancer? Lupus? Sciatica or other low back pain? Arthritis? Migraines? You will have acute flare ups.

Then there’s chronic pain. Remember, sometimes pain happens without injury or disease. Pain is simply a signal communicated from your body to you through your brain. Acute pain is normal and is meant to alert you to somehow protect yourself or get help. Chronic pain is different. Those signals coming from your nervous system can be sporadic or haphazard, and they may be more reflective of dysfunction within the nervous system than a disease or injury. It can even be psychogenic (due to matters of your mind). Regardless of the cause, chronic pain is well, a pain.

There are many established conditions that cause chronic pain, such as the following:

 chronicpain-circle3

Maybe the point of this post isn’t to tell those of you who suffer from chronic pain things you don’t already know as much as it is to organize your thoughts and approach to your pain. After all, it’s not like there are cures for chronic pain besides eliminating the underlying condition (which reminds me to remind you not to fall for the many medical scams promising instant and permanent relief to these medical conditions). The first step really is to help you appreciate the need for becoming better sensitized to your condition. Many patients with chronic pain suffer horrible outcomes because they become desensitized to pain, learn to ignore it, and misinterpret a new, unrelated pain condition (maybe with a few similarities), failing to get evaluated before it is too late.

If you suffer from chronic pain, it’s key to know the things you can do to improve your quality of life. Strengthening your mind to reduce stress and avoid fixating on your medical condition is very important. Learning to relax actually is treatment; your body has pain-reducing chemicals, including those that directly treat pain and promote healing, and others that prevent release of internal pain producers. Find someone with whom you can discuss relaxation and stress reduction.

 chronicpain2

Engage the fight to get better within your physical limitations.

  • Exercise remains key. Depending on your situation, walking, running, biking and/or swimming can dramatically improve your situation. Be advised that the extremes (not exercising at all or doing so too much) can actually worsen the situation.
  • Stretching and strengthening similarly produce benefits to those with chronic pain. This should sound like a good reason to become involved with a personal training or have a physical therapist.
  • Regular sleep and avoidance of nicotine (stop smoking!) will also help.

Your physician may discuss multiple other possible treatment modalities, such as the following:

  • Acupuncture
  • Behavioral therapy can reduce your pain and decrease your stress through methods that help you relax, such as meditation, tai chi, and yoga. Give it a try. It works for many people.
  • Brain stimulation therapy
  • Local electrical stimulation
  • Occupational therapy teaches you how to perform routine activities of daily living in a way that reduces your pain and/or avoids reinjuring yourself.
  • Osteopathic manipulation therapy (OMT)
  • Psychotherapy

Regarding medication, for many people use of medication (especially narcotics) becomes a crutch and a slippery slope. Over the counter medications such as acetaminophen and ibuprofen are quite effective for many causes of pain. Use of narcotics should be measured and part of an overall plan, not a tool for a quick fix or to get you out of your doctor’s face. It is part of reality that even if you are not a drug-seeking patient, with enough exposure to narcotics you will develop tolerance (less effectiveness at the same dose) and become addicted. You should want to avoid this fate.

The pain, mental duress and reduction in quality of life associated with chronic pain can be lessened with you learning how to approach and understand your pain, taking appropriate steps to reduce things you do to exacerbate the pain, increasing the things you do to lessen the pain, and working with your health care team to provide you with appropriate support and treatment. We at www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and 844-SMA-TALK are here to support your efforts. We welcome your questions.

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Filed under General Health and Wellness, Musculoskeletal System, Neurology