APM Blog

Fibromyalgia can be a confusing diagnosis and difficult to understand. Prior to receiving this diagnosis you many are sent to numerous specialists including immunologists, neurologists, and rheumatologists. Each specialist may have given you a different diagnosis or treatment option, with various medications that you tried and failed. Now what? It is important to have a clear understanding of what fibromyalgia is.

Fibromyalgia is defined as widespread pain and hypersensitivity to normal touch and daily activities. The latest research is suggesting that fibromyalgia is a product of a sensitivity of the nervous system, starting in your brain. When your brain decides there is a threat to your survival, it will increase the sensitivity of your whole system to ensure you are aware of how to protect yourself. Your brain is doing too good of a job trying to protect you.

So what can you do about it?
There is no reason to believe that you can’t live a normal life without constant pain, fatigue, and other symptoms associated to fibromyalgia. Physical therapists are equipped to work with you to determine the best way to manage your symptoms. Here are a few of the things your PT will do to decrease your symptoms and help you get back to doing what you love!

  • Develop a routine exercise program. This is vital in the recovery and management process. The human body is designed to move, and a regular exercise program will help restore a chemical balance that decreases sensitivity. Your physical therapist will help you determine which mode of exercise is the most appropriate for you.
  • Learning how to pace yourself will help improve your ability to perform activities without causing a flare up of pain.
  • Therapeutic neuroscience education to help understand why you have pain and what is happening in your body when you experience pain. Knowledge is power! The more you understand about fibromyalgia, the more you can empower yourself to take charge of your pain! YOU are the best tool against fibromyalgia pain.

There are resources out there to help you through this process. A recommended workbook that will help guide you down the road to recovery is “Your Fibromyalgia Workbook” By Adriaan Louw PT, Ph.D., CSMT.


Don’t be discouraged by fibromyalgia, move forward with physical therapy!!

Published in Fibromyalgia

The human body is a magnificent machine — but sometimes it needs a little support. That’s where braces come in. In times of pain, injury or surgical recovery, supportive braces can often provide the needed stability, compression and/or protection to take your body from faulty to functional and help you embrace life.

Back Braces

Back braces help support muscles while reducing pain.

Lifting is painful. Long car rides? Atrocious. And cleaning? Don’t even think about it. Back pain, simply put, can disrupt your life, changing everyday activities into dreaded events.
For many conditions that cause back pain, like lumbar instability, a herniated lumbar disc, chronic lumbar instability, degenerative disc disease — or even just chronic back pain — back braces can be an ideal and simple form of treatment.

They work by providing back and abdominal support when your muscles are overactive and you experience muscle spasms, or when your muscles are weak and don’t provided the needed support. Braces aren’t meant to replace your muscles; the goal is to protect your back while you work on strengthening the muscles, whether that’s through light exercise or physical therapy.

Ideally, braces should be worn for 2-3 hours a day during activities that may increase pain, such as gardening, prolonged standing or walking, and sporting activities.

Cervical Braces

Your neck goes through a lot in the course of a day, from rapidly turning to look at cars and coworkers to simply holding up your heavy head. But sometimes, as in cases of whiplash, severe sprain and traumatic injury, it is pushed beyond its normal boundaries, causing intense pain. In this case, a cervical brace allows your neck time to heal as your muscles regain their strength.

Cervical braces may be used alongside physical therapy, and can also help with pain resulting from kyphoplasty, cervical disc herniation and radiculopathy, in addition to post-surgery recovery. They may be worn for prolonged periods of time, if kept clean, but should never be worn while driving or sleeping unless advised by your doctor.

Wrist Braces

Repetitive motions can take many forms — typing, driving, writing, even swinging a tennis racket — and all of them take their toll. A wrist brace can combat that, providing comfort and support while reducing swelling and pain, whether it’s due to everyday activities, carpal tunnel syndrome, a fracture, tendonitis or arthritis.

Because of their design, wrist braces may be worn for extended periods of time during activities that cause pain, like working, gardening, cleaning or even sleeping. Plus, they are unobtrusive, since they’re made to be worn under clothing.

Knee Braces

Having a fully functional knee is a crucial part of any active lifestyle. But it’s also one of the parts of the body that causes the most trouble. Conditions like osteoarthritis, tendonitis, chondromalacia, patellofemoral pain syndrome and post-surgical pain can make it extremely difficult to walk and stand, let alone exercise or enjoy sporting activities.

Knee braces come in a variety of forms, and the support, compression and pressure relief they provide can help with many types of knee and leg pain and minimize the need for pain medications. They are often beneficial when used in conjunction with physical therapy, which your doctor may prescribe.

The use of these braces must be increased gradually. For the first week, wear it for one hour in the morning, and one in the evening. For the second, increase it to two hours, and so forth, until you can wear it comfortably all day as needed. Although it’s not designed for contact sports like football, knee braces can be particularly helpful during activities like walking, basketball, softball, hiking, skiing and other exercises.

Learn More

For more information on the benefits of braces, and to help choose one that’s right for you, talk with an APM provider by calling (888) 901-7246.

Published in Exercise
Friday, 17 November 2017 04:43

Superfoods for a Fiercer You

When searching for pain relief, look no further than your own backyard – or your local farmer’s market. These four foods fresh from the garden – or pot – pack super pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory power.

Mint

Infusing mint into your tea or ice water can refresh and rejuvenate – and relieve your headaches and general aches and pains. Gardening expert Melinda Myers suggests growing this vigorous perennial herb in a container so it won’t overtake your other plants. It’s also easy to grow indoors near a sunny window.

Hot Peppers

Capsaicin, the spicy element in chili, jalapeno, habanero and cayenne peppers, is a great pain-fighting tool and is often used in topical creams to help treat backaches, arthritis and muscle pain. “Plant hot peppers after the soil and air warm, usually around Memorial Day,” advises Myers. They will be ready to harvest in late July and early August. Try drying some to enjoy year round.

Cherries

Muscle pain and inflammation beware! Cherries contain a heavy punch of antioxidants, and can block inflammation and inhibit pain enzymes in much the same way as aspirin and other NSAIDs. Although it takes several years for cherry plants to start producing fruit, according to Myers, sour cherries grow well in Wisconsin. Just make sure to cover the plants with netting so the birds don’t eat your harvest.

Ginger

Ginger can help reduce inflammation and combat migraines, muscle pain, arthritis and post workout (or post-gardening) soreness – all on top of its nausea-fighting power. Although it’s a tropical plant, says Myers, “enthusiastic gardeners have had success rooting the rhizomes (the part you eat) and starting new plants.” Try growing it indoors like a houseplant in winter and then move it outdoors for the summer.

Learn More

For more tips, including pain-fighting recipe ideas, download your free Gardening Toolkit at www.apmhealth.com/Melinda.

Weed Out The Pain Toolkit Download

Published in Superfoods
Wednesday, 15 November 2017 08:05

A Relaxation Technique: Guided Imagery

Relaxation has many health benefits including: lowering blood pressure, reducing active stress hormones, reducing muscle tension and chronic pain and improving concentration and mood. We understand it can be difficult to find the time to use relaxation so here is a quick relaxation technique that can be used anywhere. 

Guided imagery is a relaxation technique where you use your imagination to picture a time, place or person that makes you feel relaxed. Guided imagery requires you to use all of the senses to relaxation. For example, you could imagine you hear the sounds of birds chirping, a breeze on your skin, the reflection of the sky in the water, the smell the fresh cut grass or the taste of your favorite beverage. This type of relaxation technique can take as little or as much time as you need.

First, find a quiet place and get into a comfortable position. Next choose your setting and then imagine yourself there; use all of your senses. Remember to include as many details as possible. Take a deep breath and let the scene play out.

It is important to remember that there isn’t a right or wrong way to relax; you need to do what works best for you. Relaxation is a skill, and it is important to practice the skill to get better.

 

Sources: 

http://www.webmd.com/balance/stress-management/stress-management-doing-guided-imagery-to-relax

Published in Acute and Chronic Pain
Thursday, 02 November 2017 13:00

What’s Causing Chronic Pain Among Children?

Pain isn’t reserved for adults. In fact, between 20-35% of children and adolescents worldwide suffer from chronic pain.[1] Since chronic pain that appears in children often persists later in life, discovering the factors that lead to chronic pain and starting to address them may help the next generation lead a more pain-free life. A new study in the Journal of Pain[2] explored what these factors might be, hinting that childhood lifestyle habits may play a large role in the development of pain.

Overview of the Study

The findings, reported in the article “Associations of Sedentary Behavior, Physical Activity, Cardiorespiratory Fitness, and Body Fat Content with Pain Conditions in Children,” include the latest numbers from the ongoing Physical Activity and Nutrition in Children Study, which is being conducted at the University of Eastern Finland. The study as a whole is geared toward gathering extensive public health data on children’s lifestyle habits, health and well-being.

This study, in particular, looked at a sample of 439 children between the ages of 6 and 8. Researchers analyzed their physical fitness, exercise levels, physically passive hobbies and body fat percentages to determine what factors, if any, were linked to the development of chronic pain.

Key Findings

The researchers discovered that several lifestyle habits are, indeed, linked to the development of pain conditions. Sedentary behaviors, in particular, are likely to lead to pain problems. Compared to the least sedentary third of children in the study, the most sedentary were almost two times more likely to experience pain. Plus, those who were in the highest third in terms of cardiovascular fitness were 46% less likely to experience pain and 50% less likely to experience headaches (which were found to be the most common type of pain among children of this age group).

Although it may seem odd, it was also found that low body fat content can mean a higher risk of developing pain, experiencing pain in multiple locations and having lower limb pain. This may be because children of this age group need a specific amount of body fat in order to promote growth and not having enough can sometimes be detrimental.[3]

Implications for the Future

The goal of the study was to help inform strategies to prevent chronic pain in childhood. In doing so, they’re also working to lessen the number of adults who will experience chronic pain in the future.

The main findings from the study suggest that, unsurprisingly, increased physical fitness among children may go a long way toward warding off chronic pain conditions. Additionally, the authors suggest that introducing “pause” exercises into hobbies that are physically passive may also prevent the development of pain. Pause exercises involve children taking frequent breaks – from video games, television watching or other sedentary activities – and using the time to stretch and move their bodies, loosening up their joints and muscles and getting their blood pumping.

By moving slowly away from the sedentary lifestyles to which children are now becoming accustomed, maybe we can move toward a more active society with less pain – both now and in the future.

Get moving. Call (888) 901-PAIN (7246) or click to schedule a consultation now.

[1] The American Pain Society. “Assessment and Management of Children with Chronic Pain: A Position Statement from the American Pain Society” (2012).

[2] Vierola, Anu, Anna Liisa Suominen, Virpi Lindi, Anna Viitasalo, Tiina Ikävalko, Niina Lintu, Juuso Väistö, et al. “Associations of Sedentary Behavior, Physical Activity, Cardiorespiratory Fitness, and Body Fat Content with Pain Conditions in Children: The Physical Activity and Nutrition in Children Study.” The Journal of Pain 17, no. 7 (July 2016): 845–53.

[3] Corleone, Jill. “Body Fat Percentage for Children.” April 27, 2016. Accessed October 18, 2016. http://www.livestrong.com/article/194320-body-fat-percentage-for-children/.

Published in Kids

For some, seeing a behavioral health provider may seem like an odd way to treat pain. After all, the pain is in your body – your back, your neck, your joints – not all in your head. But studies have shown that incorporating a psychologist into a multidisciplinary pain treatment plan can actually result in much better outcomes than just seeing a doctor. So the question remains: How does psychology, a science focused on the human mind, help improve pain, a condition of the body? For many, the answer lies in a type of therapy know as cognitive behavioral therapy, or CBT.

Overview of CBT

CBT is based on the cognitive model, an idea that the way we mentally frame our experiences affects the way we feel and act. The goal of CBT is to identify distorted thinking (negative or erroneous thought patterns) and begin to challenge them and replace them with more realistic – and positive – thoughts. Unlike Freudian psychoanalysis, which explores childhood experiences to get to the core of issues, CBT focuses on thoughts in an attempt to improve mood, behavior and even pain levels.

For example, according to APM licensed psychologist Mary Papandria, pain sufferers may think such distorted thoughts as “I can’t live with this,” “This is too much,” “I’m being punished” or “I’ll never be happy again.” Being able to identify these thoughts when they occur and utilize effective methods to overcome them is the goal of CBT.

First Session

CBT typically takes less time than other behavioral therapies, with most patients receiving treatment for roughly 8-10 sessions, according to Dr. Papandria. The first session is similar to an initial doctor’s visit in that the provider will evaluate a patient’s history of pain and other medical issues. They will also delve into social and educational history and will evaluate the patient’s current psychological condition and coping strategies.

“During this evaluation, I often get a good sense of how the person deals and copes with their pain, their viewpoint on life and illness and how well they have adjusted to their pain,” says Dr. Papandria.

Recognizing and Challenging

Once the provider has a good grasp of the patient’s thought processes and cognitive distortions, he or she can provide exercises that allow the patient to identify these episodes on their own. Dr. Papandria uses a set of steps called Challenging Cognitive Distortions. This process allows individuals to identify erroneous or destructive thinking patterns, evaluate the proof for and against it, then begin to replace these thoughts with more realistic ones.

Dr. Papandria gives the example of “I can’t live with this pain,” a common thought among pain sufferers. When going through the Challenging Cognitive Distortions steps, a patient would provide proof against this idea, like that they have lived with this pain for a while, that they do take steps to minimize the pain, that they have had happy moments even with the pain and that they are actually adjusting to life with pain. Over time, doing this makes it easier for people to recognize – and refute – their negative thought patterns.

“For patients who use this exercise daily,” says Dr. Papandria, “they have less depression, rate their pain at a lower level and feel they are in control of how they feel both physically and psychologically.

Utilizing CBT can also lead to a plethora of other benefits, including helping you improve communication with loved ones and co-workers, allowing you to become more active, helping you re-engage in hobbies and improving your mood, sleep, appetite and overall ability to cope with pain. After CBT, says Dr. Papandria, patients “begin to believe that they are in control of their lives and that pain is not in the driver’s seat.

By combining interventional treatments with cognitive ones, multidisciplinary providers are able to address pain on multiple fronts, helping patients achieve a higher level of relief and function.

Get moving. Call (888) 901-PAIN (7246) or click to schedule a consultation now.

Published in Behavioral Health

Chronic pain, by its very nature, can make people feel alone. This oftentimes invisible illness can make it incredibly difficult to connect, especially with those who may not truly understand what you’re experiencing. But serious, chronic pain is more widespread than you might initially think – meaning you are far from alone in this struggle.

A Nationwide Issue

Overall in America, chronic pain affects roughly 100 million people, although it’s difficult to measure the full scope of the problem.[1] To put that number into perspective, coronary heart disease, stroke, cancer and diabetes combined affect 61 million people.[2] That means chronic pain is almost 40% more prevalent than all of those common conditions and illnesses combined. More data on underdiagnosed and undertreated populations is needed before we can truly understand the full scope and effect of the pain problem in the country.

What we do know unequivocally is that it is a problem – one that needs to be studied and addressed. In 2011, the Institute of Medicine (IOM), commissioned by the Department of Health and Human Services, composed a blueprint for relieving the pain problem in America, which deemed pain a national challenge that would take a full cultural transformation to understand, treat and prevent. [1] IOM said that to address such a widespread problem, the public’s awareness of pain and its health consequences must be heightened, and both pain assessment and management must be improved.

Download your Free Back Pain Guide Improving Pain Management

“Among steps to improving care,” the IOM report said, “healthcare providers should increasingly aim at tailoring pain care to each person’s experience.” Pain can no longer be addressed similarly simply because it falls under the category of “pain.” Everyone’s experience with pain is unique – just as every patient is unique – and it should be addressed as such.

The physicians at Advanced Pain Management (APM) are dedicated to providing just such a personalized approach. Take, for instance, APM patient Sarah. As Sarah herself noted, “Many people that suffer from CRPS are prescribed pain medications.” But APM’s Dr. Patel took the time to understand her condition, her treatment goals and her wishes, and determined an individualized treatment plan that not only led to significant relief, but did so without the need for pain medications.

Collaboration in Care

The IOM report goes on to say that the best course of action in cases where pain persists is for “primary care physicians – who handle most frontline pain care – [to] collaborate with pain specialists,” like those at APM. The committee behind the report found that even among health professionals, there “are major gaps in knowledge about pain.”  Pain specialists, whose training includes a focus on pain physiology, diagnosis, management and treatment, understand the complex nature of pain and can help where other physicians may not be able to. Pain specialists, like those at APM, who offer referral-free appointments, are a clear part of the path to a more pain-free America.

“Given the burden of pain in human lives, dollars, and social consequences,” the report concludes, “relieving pain should be a national priority.” For those at APM, who see this burden daily, addressing pain on an individual and societal level is crucial. Only when pain becomes a part of the conversation – and people learn there are places they can turn to for help – can chronic sufferers stop feeling alone and start getting relief.

 

[1] "Relieving Pain in America: A Blueprint for Transforming Prevention, Care, Education, and Research." Institute of Medicine of the National Academies, June 2011.

[2] "AAPM Facts and Figures on Pain." American Academy of Pain Medicine. Accessed March 03, 2016. http://www.painmed.org/patientcenter/facts_on_pain.aspx.

Get moving. Call (888) 901-PAIN (7246) or click to schedule a consultation now.

Published in Pain-in-America
Thursday, 02 November 2017 12:16

Step up Your Health with a Raised Garden

The frequent bending, kneeling, stooping and reaching that are required  to create and maintain a beautiful garden can often leave your body with aches and pains, pulls andstrains. Raising your garden off the ground can be an easy – and visually appealing – solution, saving your body from unnecessary strain while adding a pop to your plants.

Bale Out

A straw bale garden is an interesting alternative to the traditional raised garden bed. Although it takes a bit more preparation work than a normal garden (12 days of conditioning and daily watering), there are many perks, says Melinda Myers, an expert horticulturalist who works with Advanced Pain Management to provide tips on seasonal gardening and safety. Not only does it raise the garden to a better working height, but it doesn’t require large amounts of soil and the straw bales serve as the container and planting mix. To get the best results, says Myers, “Plant annual vegetables, condition the bales in early spring and plant them in spring for a summer or fall harvest.” So save those fall decorative straw bales and convert them into a productive garden next spring.

Step by StepLadder_Garden-1

Placing plants on the rungs of a ladder is a creative way to add visual appeal and raise plants off the ground. If you plan to place your ladder outside, use pots of fall favorites like pansies or mums.

But don’t forget to secure the pots to the ladder and the ladder to the ground so they don’t blow over, reminds Myers. You can also bring your ladder indoors and use flowering plants like anthuriums and peace lilies, which look beautiful staggered on a ladder and can be maintained without excessive stooping or kneeling.

“This would also be a fun way to change things seasonally,” says Myers, who suggests switching to festive plants like poinsettias around the holidays.

Take a Seat

“Any chair, stool, support or repurposed item would make a great decorative addition to the garden,” says Myers. Such items add both vertical interest and accessibility. Add a pop of coordinating color with mums, bright light Swiss chard, snapdragons or dianthus. Or try planting a leaky birdbath. “Greens like lettuce and spinach would look nice, fit the space and thrive in cooler fall temps,” suggests Myers.

Garden, Garden on the Wall

Shoe_Caddy-1

Green walls are another option for upright gardeners. “These are basically containers gone vertical,” says Myers. Not only are they a very trendy option right now, she says, but they are also something you can build yourself.

For those who aren’t handy, a cloth over-the-door shoe caddy can work just as well – and provide an individual spot for a variety of indoor plants and herbs. Just be sure to protect the floor or any furnishing located below the caddy from dripping water.

Grab Some Padding

For the sections of your garden that are still at ground-level, don’t fret; there are still ways to reduce pain during prolonged periods of planting, weeding or harvesting. To reduce knee pain and injury, for instance, look into purchasing a padded kneeler or knee pads. And when dealing with back pain, consider using a back brace, which can provide back and abdominal support when your muscles are overactive and you experience muscle spasms, or when your muscles are weak and don’t provided the needed support. Knee and wrist braces are also an option.

Learn More

For more expert gardening advice from Myers – along with tips on how to stay safe and avoid pain in the garden – download your free Gardening Toolkit

Published in Melinda Myers

A new study released in the journal Pain had some interesting findings about the state of pain in America. The research particularly concentrated on the socioeconomic groups that are currently experiencing the most severe pain, but it also delved into the overall state of pain in America. (Hint: It’s on the rise.)

Study Overview

The study,[1][2] completed by University at Buffalo medical sociologist Hanna Grol-Prokopczyk, utilized data from 19,776 adults aged 51 and older. Instead of focusing on a single point in time, the researcher followed the participants over 12 years, from 1998 to 2010, using information gathered from the Health and Retirement Study.

While most studies on the topic have examined only if people had pain or not, Grol-Prokopczyk’s research went one step further, asking whether the pain was mild, moderate or severe – with interesting results.

Key Findings

One of the most surprising findings to come out of the study is that chronic pain levels are on the rise. As it turns out, people who were in their 60s in 2010 are experiencing more pain than those who were in their 60s in 1998.

Furthermore, there is an extreme disparity when it comes to the people who are experiencing the most severe pain. People with less wealth and lower levels of education are far more likely to suffer from more severe pain and disability than those who are more privileged. While this trend was generally known beforehand, the extent of the disparity was a surprise. According to the research, chronic pain is 80% more likely to occur in the least educated people compared to the most eudcated.[3] And those who didn’t finish high school are 370% more likely to experience severe pain when compared to those with graduate degrees. Since severe pain is also the most associated with disability and death, the disadvantaged are most likely to experience those, as well.

Implications for the Future

Currently, it’s not clear why there’s such an unequal distribution of chronic pain in general and severe pain in particular, and Grol-Prokopczyk says more research needs to be done in order to better understand the matter. But what is clear is that there’s a rapidly increasing need for effective pain treatments.

“If we as a society decide that opioid analgesics are often too high risk as a treatment for chronic pain,” Grol-Prokopczyk says, “then we need to invest in other effective treatments for chronic pain, and/or figure out how to prevent it in the first place.”

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[1] Grol-Prokopczyk, Hanna. “Sociodemographic Disparities in Chronic Pain, Based on 12-Year Longitudinal Data.” PAIN 158, no. 2 (February 2017): 313–22.

[2] University at Buffalo. Poor And Less Educated Suffer The Most From Chronic Pain. February 8, 2017. Accessed February 14, 2017 https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/02/170208160411.htm.

[3] Fitzpatrick, Caitlyn. “Pain Is Getting More Painful, Study Shows.” February 9, 2017. Accessed February 14, 2017. http://www.mdmag.com/medical-news/pain-is-getting-more-painful-study-shows.

Published in Pain-in-America

Chickenpox has an evil counterpart in shingles, a much more sinister outbreak caused by the same varicella-zoster virus. Once the virus is in your system from a bought of chicken pox, shingles becomes a looming threat – especially later in life. And, to make it worse, the condition brings with it the possibility of long-term chronic pain, a condition known as postherpetic neuralgia. But, with the proper information and treatment, it’s possible to effectively manage (and even prevent) these conditions and relieve the associated pain.

Who’s at Risk?

Anyone who’s had chickenpox is at risk for shingles, however there are certain factors that make it more likely for the virus to be reactivated. Advancing age, a weakened immune system, illness and stress can all cause an outbreak.[1]

While not all people who get shingles will get postherpetic neuralgia, there is a substantial risk – especially for older individuals. According to Columbia University Medical Center, about 40% of people older than 60 experience postherpetic pain, while less than 10% of those younger than 60 are likely to develop it.[2] Individuals may also have a greater risk if their shingles outbreak was particularly severe, if their outbreak was on their face or torso or if they have a chronic illness (like diabetes).[1] However, this risk decreases if people begin a course of antiviral medication within three days of developing the shingles rash.

Symptoms and Causes

Shingles results in a painful rash and blisters, which are often preceded by pain. These symptoms should usually clear up within two to four weeks.[3] In postherpetic neuralgia, however, this pain continues even when the rash and blisters are gone. This happens if the shingles virus damages your nerve fibers. Since damaged fibers can’t properly communicate messages between the skin and the brain, the messages become confused and exaggerated, which your brain interprets as intense pain. The pain usually improves over time, but can take months – or even years – to resolve.[1]

It can often feel like a burning, sharp or jabbing feeling and can make your skin extremely sensitive to touch. Even clothes rubbing against the skin can become unbearable. The condition may also be accompanied by fatigue, depression and difficulty sleeping or concentrating.

Prevention and Treatment

Since 2006, a shingles vaccine has been available and is now recommended for those 60 and older, whether or not they remember having the chickenpox. The vaccine is also recommended for those who have already had shingles in order to prevent future occurrences. According to the CDC, this vaccine can reduce the risk of shingles by 51% and the risk of postherpetic neuralgia by 67%.3 Protection from the vaccine lasts about five years.

While there’s no way to cure postherpetic neuralgia, there are various ways to reduce the pain to make the condition more bearable. Columbia University suggests seeking out a comprehensive, multidisciplinary pain management-oriented approach when dealing with the lingering pain.[2] This type of approach may include pain-relieving skin patches or creams, anticonvulsants, TENS therapy or antidepressants, in addition to behavioral health services. While opioids may sometimes be prescribed, they’re typically less effective than other medications and have dangerous side effects.[2] Interventional procedures, including nerve blocks or spinal cord stimulation (for severe cases), may also be considered to provide a higher degree of pain relief.

If you or a loved one is experiencing chronic pain related to shingles, it’s important to see a doctor as soon as possible. To speak to a care team specialist or to schedule an appointment to discuss your condition, call (888) 901-PAIN (7246).

Get moving. Call (888) 901-PAIN (7246) or click to schedule a consultation now.

[1] Mayo Clinic. “Postherpectic Neuralgia.” September 16, 2015. Accessed January 17, 2017. http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/postherpetic-neuralgia/basics/prevention/con-20023743.

[2] Columbia University Department of Neurological Surgery. “Postherpetic Neuralgia.” Accessed January 17, 2017. http://www.columbianeurosurgery.org/conditions/postherpetic-neuralgia/.

[3] CDC. “Shingles (Herpes Zoster) Vaccine & Preventable Disease.” November 22, 2016. Accessed January 17, 2017. https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/vpd/shingles/.

Published in Chronic Pain
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