Over-The-Counter Solutions for Pain Management

Using prescription medications for pain management can sometimes involve a risk of developing dependency. Fortunately, there are many alternatives to using medication. Prolonged or severe discomfort can be a symptom of a medical problem, so it is important to speak with a doctor. For chronic pain that is only mild or moderately intense, it’s worth exploring options outside of the pharmacy.

Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation
Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) therapy uses low voltage of electrical currents to stimulate joints, pressure points, and other parts of the body in need of pain management. A far cry from the more aggressive forms of shock therapy used in psyche wards and dramatic historical films, TENS therapy administers a relatively mild shock delivered from a battery pack the size of a handheld radio. While the power is limited by the size of the device, it is important to consult with a physical therapist or other medical professional. Applied to the wrong areas or turned up too high, even a mild current has the potential to damage tissue.

Tai Chi
Originally from China, the karate-like art of Tai Chi is sometimes called “moving meditation.” Find a group of local practitioners in a park or community center, and you will be well on your way to relaxation. Many Westerners struggle with sitting still for meditation, and Tai Chi is attractive because it allows you to focus on the prescribed motions. Performing the motions and moving from one stance to the next requires a degree of focus and concentration, especially for a beginner. While yoga provides a similar blend of activity and meditation, Tai Chi may be better for many patients in need of pain management. Instead of getting down on the ground and dealing with the contortions of yoga, practitioners of Tai Chi can remain standing and learn the basics without needing a great degree of flexibility.

Massage
Many forms of mild and moderate discomfort can actually be attributed to muscle tension. Following a minor sports injury or sprain, the recommended treatment often focuses on rest, ice, compression, and elevation. The RICE treatment for sprains and strains encourages circulation and allows the body to repair itself. Massage works by improving circulation and helping toxins drain toward the lymph nodes. By giving the body’s tissues a better opportunity to repair, massage can minimize physical recovery time following an injury. For optimal pain management, it’s worth contacting an experienced masseuse.

Acupuncture
Another treatment option from China, acupuncture uses needle punctures for a variety of therapeutic treatment goals. The needles are used to stimulate nerves, and the treatment can include the application of heat, lasers, or pressure to the target areas. Criticized as a pseudoscience by skeptics, acupuncture is not based on Western medicine. Scientific studies into the effectiveness of acupuncture have been inconclusive, though many patients claim to experience relief. Those interested in trying this form of treatment should make sure to find an experienced professional.

Whatever pain management path is chosen, it is important to know that many options are available.

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3 Signs You Might Need to See an Osteopath For Neck Pain Relief

We live very busy and stressful lives. As we age, our bodies lose the flexibility and natural resilience it once had and we begin to feel the effects of our daily lives on our bodies. Muscle fatigue, aches and pains, stiff shoulders, and the dreaded neck pain. It is important to take care of ourselves through stress relieving activities and proper exercise. Massage therapy on a regular basis is also helpful for working out the aches and pains, increasing blood flow, and providing more flexibility in our movement. However, sometimes despite all our efforts our neck pain seems to continue to bother us. Here are 3 signs you might need to see an osteopath for neck pain relief.

1. You wake up each morning with a stiff neck

There is an entire industry devoted to helping us get the best rest possible each night. Mattresses now come with every bell and whistle imaginable to increase our level of comfort. Beds no longer have springs but are now instead made with sophisticated synthetic materials meant to cradle and hold our bodies in perfect alignment all night. There are even beds that can soften and stiffen with the push of a button. Yet, sometimes we still wake up with horrible and almost crippling neck pain. A consistent stiff neck may be a sign that regardless of how comfortable and cushioned your body and neck are at night, something internal needs to fixed.

2. At the end of the day you can’t turn your head

Waking up with a stiff neck is a huge inconvenience. It not only begins your day with pangs of intense pain, but it makes it difficult for you to get moving and begin your usual routine. If your stiff neck continues to bother you throughout the day and never seems to get better, it may turn into chronic neck pain. If you feel your neck and shoulder muscle continuing to stiffen all throughout the day regardless of what you do, you may need to see a doctor. Excessive stiff necks may cause trauma to your spine and the soft tissue that will only perpetuate the cycle of pain and may exacerbate the problem. If you cannot turn your head at the end of the day, it may become very debilitating and a safety issue with regards to driving.

3. You suffer from dizziness and headaches

Intense neck pain is not only an inconvenience but it can effect other aspects of your body as well. It can cause you to sleep badly leading to feeling fatigued and under rested, cause difficulties with concentration, and in some instances even lead to dizziness and headaches. If you are suffering from dizziness or headaches you should contact a doctor immediately. Severe pain and vertigo may be a sign of a serious issue.

If you show signs of neck pain, schedule a visit with an osteopathic doctor and begin the path of relief immediately.

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Fibromyalgia Causes and Symptoms – Fibromyalgia Treatment

Fibromyalgia is a chronic painful condition, a lot about Fibromyalgia remains unknown, but it is clear that there is alteration in the nervous system functioning, where it starts misinterpreting normal signals originating in the muscles and nerves as abnormal and painful.

Fibromyalgia can follow strong emotional stress or physical illness and is common in persons suffering from PTSD (Post -Traumatic Stress Disorder)

There are theories about remote viral infections triggering the symptoms.

Chronic insomnia can also make a person more vulnerable.

There is a genetic predisposition, because Fibromyalgia is seen in more than one family members.

Fibromyalgia is diagnosed by the clinical history of below listed symptoms and physical findings and by excluding other underlying medical conditions mimicking the Fibromyalgia picture.

Symptoms

Chronic diffuse muscle pain widespread all over the body, lasting more than 3 months in duration.

Sleep disturbances

Tiredness and fatigue.

Poor concentration and attention span.

Gastrointestinal disturbances (Irritable Bowel Syndrome).

Anxiety and depression.

Mental fogginess.

Restless Legs Syndrome.

Mood disturbances, Depression.

Fleeting numbness and tingling affecting different parts of the body.

Migraine and muscle tension headaches.

Lack of fresh feeling even after adequate sleep.

Symptoms are made worse by weather changes, stress, lack of sleep, physical exertion.

Diagnosis

Diagnosis is made by eliciting following signs and exclusion of other causes mimicking the symptoms:

Physical examination reveals tenderness on deep palpation in 11 out of 18 spots of the body, both below and above the waist, lasting for more than 3 months duration.

Diffuse muscle pains can be present in a number of other medical conditions; however, these conditions are either transient or are accompanied by abnormalities in the laboratory workup, whereas in Fibromyalgia, all the laboratory workup is normal.

At the bottom of the page is the link for the diagram of trigger points which on deep palpation intensify the pain. These locations should be examined by palpation, there should be 11 out of 18 spots positive for eliciting pain on deep palpation. In a normal person, such pressure on the muscle does not produce pain but in fibromyalgia, patients experience marked degree of tenderness.

Other criteria of the diagnosis is presence of symptoms and pain for more than 3 months duration.Laboratory tests to rule out other causes leading to muscle pains should be negative and there should be no other medical explanation for such diffuse muscle pain.

Differential Diagnosis

Myofascial pain syndromes.

Rheumatoid arthritis.

Polymyalgia Rheumatica.

Osteoarthritis.

Collagen vascular diseases.

Hepatitis C infection.

Hypothyroid myopathy.

Myotonic disorders like congenital myotonia.

Toxic myopathy like due to the use of cholesterol lowering drugs.

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.

Depression.

Malingering.

Personality Disorder with Hypochondriasis.

Borderline Personality with somatic concerns.

Post- Viral infection Myalgias.

One has to consider that sometimes Fibromyalgia can coexist with any of the above conditions. About 15% of the patients with autoimmune disease processes have Fibromyalgia type symptoms and may have this disorder.

Common conditions which can cause muscle pain and can mimic Fibromyalgia syndrome are as follows:

Hypothyroidism

Polymyalgia Rheumatica

Statins induced Myopathy

Polymyositis

Fibromyalgia Treatment

Unfortunately, there is no cure for Fibromyalgia yet, all the measures tend to make the pain tolerable.

Common Measures:

Reduction in stress.

Adequate sleep.

Stretching exercises.

Aerobic exercises.

Hot baths /hot tub or showers can decrease the intensity of the pain.

Some persons experience increase in pain with carbohydrates, if that is the case, they should be substituted with small portions of meal consisting of protein 4-5 times a day.

If Depression is present, use of antidepressants can be very helpful.

Massage therapy especially deep massage therapy.

Sometimes localized trigger spots form inside the muscle from where pain can radiate in different directions on pressure upon them. These trigger spots can be treated by trigger point injections with lidocaine.

Medications used for Fibromyalgia

These drugs belong to the group of Antidepressant and Anticonvulsant drugs, they help in reducing the pain of Fibromyalgia:

Gabapentin

Lyrica

Cymbalta

Savella

Effexor

Bupriopon

Modafinil

Topical pain gels/creams can help when applied locally to the trigger spots

The following Medications belong to the anti-depressant group of drugs, they can be helpful by promoting good night sleep and reducing pain:

Trazodone, Remeron and Amitriptyline, Doxepin

Some patients have found great benefit with the use of medical marijuana.

Fibromyalgia pain relief with Narcotics should usually be avoided unless it is on short term basis.

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