Nov 12

Though chemotherapy can extend or even save the life of a cancer patient, some types of chemotherapy have side effects that can be severe and long lasting. Most types of chemotherapy drugs used today are poisons that have a difficult time telling the difference between cells in the body that are malignant and cells that are healthy. Chemotherapy side effects include a condition called peripheral neuropathy. About 40 to 70 percent of cancer patients who undergo chemotherapy get this condition.

What is Peripheral Neuropathy?

Peripheral neuropathy is the pain, tingling, numbness or burning sensation that strikes areas of the body served by the peripheral nerves. These nerves receive signals from the central nervous system to hands, feet and internal organs. When this type of neuropathy happens as a result of chemotherapy, it is called chemotherapy associated neuropathy.

A patient can experience chemotherapy associated neuropathy at any point during the course of their treatment. Often, the symptoms worsen as the treatment goes on. The symptoms usually start in the patient’s toes and travel upwards.

Besides the chemotherapy side effects discussed above, the patient also experiences a loss of sensation that might make it hard for them to pick up items, button their clothes or do other tasks. They may not feel heat or cold properly. They have problems with their balance and may have episodes of lightning pain or what feels like electric shocks in their body. Other symptoms are:

  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea
  • Trouble urinating
  • Pain in the jaw
  • Trouble swallowing
  • Poor reflexes
  • Deafness or diminished hearing
  • Unstable blood pressure
  • Dizziness
  • Muscle weakness
  • Loss of position sense. This means the person have trouble telling where their hands or feet are in space.

Chemotherapy drugs that are implicated in neuropathy are:

  • Paclitaxel
  • Docetaxel
  • Thalidomide
  • Platinum-based drugs such as cisplatin
  • Vincristine
  • Eribulin
  • Carboplatin

A patient who is suffering the effects of chemotherapy associated neuropathy should contact their doctor immediately. The doctor might be able to change the chemotherapy drug, adjust the dosage or suggest medications that can ease the patient’s pain and discomfort. Interestingly, the best drugs to treat the symptoms of neuropathy caused by chemotherapy are antidepressants and anticonvulsants.

Dietary supplements such as calcium, magnesium, glutathione and vitamin E might bring some relief. Some patients find relief in eating a diet rich in the B complex vitamins.

A person who is suffering from neuropathy should make their home safe for them to move about. They can install handrails and grab bars, make sure that hallways and rooms are well lit, adjust the temperature of their water heater to guard against scalding and make sure to always use potholders when handling pots and pans.

Scrambler Therapy

A technique called scrambler therapy has proven beneficial for some neuropathy patients. This therapy sends non-pain electrical impulses along the patient’s pain pathways. In one study, one group of patients reported a significant reduction in their pain after less than two weeks of scrambler therapy. There were even a few patients who had no pain at all from their therapy. None suffered side effects.

To learn more about treatment for chemotherapy associated neuropathy, contact the Pain Care Clinic of Idaho at 208-629-2492 or visit

Nov 05

No one goes into a pregnancy thinking it is going to be a pain-free experience. Pregnancy discomfort is a fact of life. One of the problems with pregnancy pain is that many women are uncomfortable taking over-the-counter medicines, not knowing how much effect they will have on their unborn child. Acupuncture for pregnancy pain could be the solution for many common problems with pregnancy discomfort.

5 Common Ailments During Pregnancy

There are 5 common problems that most women experience sometime during their pregnancy:

  • Morning sickness
  • Headaches
  • Sciatica
  • Depression
  • Insomnia

Many of these symptoms are the result of increased hormones in your body, particularly HCG (human chorionic gonadotropin), the “pregnancy hormone.” Some pregnancy pain is a result of the normal stress and strain on your back and muscles as your weight and your center of gravity changes as your baby gets larger and heavier. Other symptoms are an unpleasant side effect as your body works to provide the proper environment for your unborn baby. Constant pregnancy pain and discomfort can be debilitating, especially if you are not comfortable taking over-the-counter medications that could also affect your unborn child.

How Does Acupuncture Work?

Ancient Eastern medicine is based on qi (pronounced “chee”), energy that travels smoothly through subdivisions in the body called meridians. A disruption in this flow results in pain, discomfort, and disease. Inserting tiny needles releases these energy blocks and re-establishes normal qi flow, allowing the body to naturally heal itself.

Western practice also stimulates certain areas of the nervous system by inserting hair-thin needles just under the skin surface. This stimulates the nervous system to release hormones, endorphins, and other chemicals into the blood stream, spinal cord, and brain.

How Acupuncture Can Help

When these tiny needles are inserted into the skin, they stimulate deep-seated nerves to release different chemicals, including endorphins. Endorphins block pain signals in the brain. For example, targeting points on the wrist can help to reduce the nausea and vomiting associated with morning sickness.

A study released by the American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology on pregnant women in their late 2nd and 3rd trimester seems to support that acupuncture can help with many of the problems associated with pregnancy. About 80 percent of the group treated with needles placed in the proper position reported a clinically significant reduction in pain. Compare this result with 56 percent of the women treated with random needles and only 36 percent of the women who were not treated at all.


Acupuncture for pregnancy has been shown to be a safe, gentle, and effective way to treat the normal discomfort and pain that comes with pregnancy with little risk. Find a professional who is trained and experienced in practicing acupuncture for pregnancy, and you could experience relief from normal pregnancy discomfort without fear of side effects that could harm your unborn baby.

To learn more about how acupuncture can help you, contact the Pain Care Clinic of Idaho at 208-629-2492 or visit

Oct 29

Seasonal allergies affect about 20 percent of the American population. Millions of dollars are spent each season by people looking for allergy relief. If you are looking for a solution from the sneezing, runny nose, and itchy watery eyes, you might want to consider acupuncture.

How Allergies Affect Your Body

Some people are hypersensitive to specific airborne particles such as grass pollen, ragweed, and other weed pollens that are prevalent during spring and fall. Sneezing, runny nose, and itchy, watery eyes are your body’s way of trying to get rid of these irritants. While many people try to treat their symptoms with both over-the-counter and prescription medicines, allergy shots, and even surgery in extreme cases, these treatment methods can come with unpleasant side effects. Studies have shown acupuncture to be a safe and effective treatment method that can significantly reduce or even eliminate dependence on other forms of treatment.

How Acupuncture Affects Your Body

This type of medicine has been practiced for a few thousand years in Eastern cultures. The Eastern thinking revolves around qi (pronounced “chee”), or energy flow. Normal qi travels smoothly throughout the body through subdivisions. When this energy flow is disrupted, the body reacts with disease and pain. Placing needles in the proper position corrects this disruption by releasing the energy blocks and re-establishing normal qi flow. This reboots the body’s natural ability to heal itself.

Practiced in the U.S. since the 1970s, Western medicine has shown that these needles stimulate the nervous system to release hormones and endorphins. These chemicals are released into the blood stream, spinal cord, and brain, stimulating the body’s natural ability to heal. This results in physical and emotional well-being.

A Safe and Effective Treatment

A study in the Annals of Internal Medicine journal showed promising results. In three different groups, the group that was treated with needles placed in the proper position showed more improvement than either the group with randomly placed needles or the group treated with just antihistamines. Most people treated by a proper acupuncturist as either the primary or a complementary treatment method showed a quick response and  were able to reduce their need for medication to treat seasonal allergies.

The needles used are hair-thin, FDA-approved, sterile, disposable, and made of solid steel. These tiny needles are inserted just under the skin at specific points. Adverse effects are rare, with fewer side effects reported than many of conventional drugs. Once the treatment has stimulated an adequate response, most people can be weaned off treatments.


If you are one of the millions of people who suffer from seasonal allergies, consider looking for an acupuncturist with experience and a good success rate with treating allergies. This practice has been growing in popularity. You might be able to find relief without the annoying side effects of conventional medicine.

To learn more about how acupuncture can help you, contact the Pain Care Clinic of Idaho at 208-629-2492 or visit

Oct 22

Chronic pain sufferers everywhere are becoming more aware of the tremendous benefits that health maintenance can provide. By adhering to a healthy lifestyle, some types of chronic pain can be mitigated. There are many paths to success, including eating a balanced diet and exercising regularly. While these practices are important, there is another vital piece of the puzzle that needs to be addressed.

This increasingly recognized therapy is commonly known as meditation. Practiced for millennia and widely studied in modern times, this sophisticated discipline has been shown to provide a wide range of benefits to adherents, including enhanced pain management. This article will introduce readers to the subject of managing chronic pain with basic meditation. It will also deliver a basic step-by-step startup guide to help pain sufferers reap the remarkable fruits of enhanced mental control.

Just What is Mindful Reflection?

Meditation is the general name for a number of mental or physical skills and practices that can alter mental states. By using the techniques that are described below, individuals can become more in tune with their inner material and spiritual states and can gain greater control over their bodily functions.

Basic Techniques

Here are some tried and tested yogic techniques that are known to promote relaxation, harmony, and pain relief. Set aside about 15 or 20 minutes for these pain relief techniques. While certain exercises can be performed just about anywhere, the following methods are best performed in a quiet and clean setting.

  • Assume a relaxed position in a supportive seat, with the soles of the feet touching the ground.
  • Passive awareness exercise. Allow your attention to be drawn to the details of your body, mind, and environment. Make observations without judgements.
  • Deep breathing. Proper breathing can activate the parasympathetic nervous system, releasing many therapeutic substances along the way. Practitioners should breath in and out slowly and rhythmically, making sure to allow the abdomen to move freely.
  • Use a mantra. This can be any word or phrase that is significant to you. Speech can be synchronized with breathing for greater effect.
  • Thought acceptance. Take note of the thoughts that pass through your mind without trying to address them. Observe as each one slowly floats away.
  • Body scan. Focus your attention on different areas of your body in sequence.
  • Final stretch. Take a moment to loosen up the major muscle groups to promote further relaxation.

Benefits of Mindfulness for Pain Management

Basic meditation has helped many people manage their constant pain, improving the quality of their lives in the process. Some other benefits include:

  • Pain relief without the need for drugs. While opiate pain relief products have their place, they also have many well-documented and potentially dangerous side-effects. According to many studies, including one conducted at Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center, meditation can provide rapid pain relief that can supplement or replace drug therapies.
  • Effective. Another related study at the same institution tested mindfulness against placebos. The results showed that practitioners of mental awareness and acceptance enjoyed greater pain reduction on average than the placebo recipients.
  • Can provide lasting relief. One of the main dangers of opioid drugs are their tendency to lose effectiveness over time. Mindful reflection suffers no such constraints, and can be key to managing chronic pain over the long term.

To learn more about how to manage and relieve chronic pain, contact the Pain Care Clinic of Idaho at 208-629-2492 or visit

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