Mar 25

Pain is an indicator of a threat as well as a trigger of protective behavior caused by fear. An individual undergoing pain will automatically get the urge to avoid or escape it as a self-preservation measure.

The pain cycle can be classified into four stages:

1. Acquisition: The threats associated with pain results in fear that triggers adaptive learning. The experience may lead to conditioned responses such as safety-seeking or avoidance.

2. Generalization: Persistence of pain-related fear may facilitate the development of chronic pain. This can lead to generalizing of protective responses to adverse situations of grief.

3. Avoidance: This reaction serves to protect the individual from harmful stimuli. However, once acquired, avoidance behavior may be notoriously persistent, hence maintaining the pain-related fear. The action promotes negative effect by altering positive activities, which fuels the maintenance of pain.

4. Extinction of pain: Prioritizing optimism over pain-associated adverse effects will ultimately break the pain cycle. Optimism may result in omission of avoidance behavior, making the individual learn inhibitory responses.

Prolonged pain has adverse effects. Most of these effects are triggered by fear of pain, which can be a key factor in development and maintenance of disability and chronic pain. These effects include anxiety and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

Anxiety Disorder

Chronic pain sufferers have higher chances of having anxiety disorders. These pains usually bring about depression to the patient as they may lack sleep or even face stigma. It is important for clinicians to assess patients for psychological factors.
Chronic pain accompanied by anxiety disorder can be difficult to treat. Such patients have a lower pain tolerance and may be more sensitive to the side effects of medications than patients without anxiety. Treatment can be through drugs, cognitive-behavioral therapy, relaxation techniques and complementary treatment such as yoga.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

Most patients who have post-traumatic stress disorder have a prevalence of digestive, circulatory, musculoskeletal, and nervous system diseases. There is also a noticeable co-occurrence of chronic pain in PTSD patients. The pain experienced by these patients is worse than their counterparts. This scenario is fueled by their exposure to psychological stress.

Both chronic pain and PTSD sufferers are stigmatized by the general community. The community perceives them as victims of their own actions. This mostly results from the existential and esoteric nature of both kinds of patients. Models that offer integrated treatments for both PSTD and chronic pain are available in healthcare facilities.

Pain management requires an efficient and innovative service provider. The specialist should be trained and experienced in diagnosing and treating any form of chronic pain. Do you need specialized treatment? Contact the Pain Care Clinic of Idaho for a pain-free life.

Mar 18

If you’ve ever been told that “pain is all in your head,” they may be right, but not in the way they were thinking. Pain is real, but science is demonstrating that our brains and nervous systems are actually physically changed through experiencing pain. Furthermore, stress and psychological risk factors caused by physical suffering can also help alter the receptors in our brains.

Suffering does not end with the physical sensation of trauma we experience. Studies have shown that pain is a complex process that actually has an effect on “perception, attention, mood, motivation, learning and memory.” The neurons in our brains are altered when we experience discomfort. This alteration can lead to or reinforce the effects of suffering. Another study revealed that actual lesions develop in our neural pathways and can contribute to agony arising directly from our nervous system. Normally, our nerves alert us to trauma so we can avoid danger. But when they experience chronic suffering, they can become hypersensitive.

There are certain psychological conditions which risk causing more physical misery. Feelings of depression, hopelessness, or anxiety are a common response when experiencing hurtful sensations. This is why the American Psychological Association also endorses psychotherapy in addition to other treatments when dealing with chronic pain. They have found that psychological therapy actually reduces negative nerve sensations. This demonstrates that painful sensations, the alterations they cause in our nervous systems, and our psychological responses to them create a vicious feedback loop.

Feeling stressed out also has a direct physical effect because the muscles in our body can cramp, increasing our discomfort. Biofeedback therapy can help teach patients how to relax their minds and bodies to control the stress responses which lead to worsening problems. This is an example of why physical suffering should be treated not only with surgery or drugs, but also with therapies meant to address our psychological and neurological responses to it. Drugs only disguise negative sensations and fail to attack the root causes of chronic misery.

Whereas psychological therapy can help moderate our experience of physical suffering, neuropathic treatment is therapy involved in fixing the actual malfunctioning nerve receptors. Scrambler Therapy is a type of therapy designed to retrain receptors to learn to recognize again what a non-pain signal is. Rather than the signals they were accustomed to receiving, the malfunctioning receptors will now become accustomed to receiving normal signals.

Changing nerve receptors is possible due to the property known as “plasticity.” This term refers to the ability of our brains and nervous systems to alter, change, or grow. In other words, the same property which allows nerve receptors to change because of trauma and harmful psychological conditions, will also allow them to return to a normal state. Scrambler Therapy is one way to achieve relief at the neuropathic level. Neuropathic therapy and psychological therapy are a one-two punch for chronic suffering.

Mar 11

Patients who suffer from emotional stress often also end up dealing with physical pain. Statistics show that people who underwent an event that led to psychology related issues such as post-traumatic stress disorder are at 15 percent to 30 percent higher risk of developing long-term physical pain.

One is said to be suffering from chronic pain when the physical pain lasts longer than what the process or injury normally allows. When you have chronic pain, moving becomes close to impossible. This leads to over-dependence on pain medication, which eventually can lead to addiction to pills, making the patient’s state even worse.

During a traumatic event such as a robbery, accident, natural calamity and other events, your nervous system goes into survival mode. Sometimes, the system will have a hard time reverting back to the normal mode. When this happens, stress hormones such as cortisol will be released on a regular basis. This triggers an increase in blood pressure and blood sugar levels. The immune system’s ability to heal is greatly reduced and with time, the following physical symptoms start to manifest.

1. Tension headaches

Tension headaches are the most common direct result of emotional stress. Research has shown that women are more prone to develop tension headaches than men and that between 30 percent and 80 percent of adults have suffered from these headaches at some point in their lives. The headaches normally result from tense muscles at the back of the head and neck. They create a lot of pain and pressure around the forehead, back of the head and neck region.

2. Chest pain

Most people associate chest pain with heart disease and other issues related to cardiac health. However, a significant number of people go to the hospital complaining of stress-related chest pains. Men are more likely to suffer from stress-related chest pains when dealing with work stress. Women, on the other hand, are more likely to suffer from chest pains when dealing with anxiety and depression.

3. Aches and pain all over the body

When you have a stressful and hectic lifestyle, it takes a toll on your muscles. The pain normally affects the neck, shoulders and the lower back. Tense muscles seem to have an unclear effect on brain chemicals. When the body is stressed, it is unable to regulate inflammation, hence the aches and pains in different body parts.

Other issues that result from emotional stress taking its toll on the body include reproductive health issues, damage to the teeth and jaws, hypertension, heart problems and chronic sickness.

The most effective way to relieve chronic aches and pains is by treating the cause of the stress. There are professional clinics where they deal with all types of pain from chronic pain, post-surgery pain and pain caused by previous accidents among others.

A consultation at Pain Care Clinic of Idaho starts with you making a call to consult on the available options. These include Inter-X- therapy, Scrambler therapy, Medical acupuncture and other solutions. Seeking treatment is the first step towards a stress-free and happy life.

Feb 25

Acupuncture is an alternative healing method that has been used for hundreds of years. Originating in various Asian countries, it spread across the Western world to become an accepted treatment for various conditions by many individuals and institutions.

One modern use of acupuncture is to alleviate stroke symptoms. But can this traditional treatment method really help in the challenging task of stroke rehabilitation? Here’s what various studies conducted around the world have found.

Acupuncture in Integrative Medicine

Integrative medicine is the concept of using a variety of medical treatments to manage health and treat health problems. These methods may include both traditional medicine and alternative healing procedures.

A practioner writing for Huffington Post reported that acupuncture, particularly a protocol called Xing Nao Kai Qiao, is commonly used to treat symptoms of strokes. In fact, it has been used ever since the 1970s to manage many health problems. It has been applied to treat a variety of stroke symptoms, including aphasia, dyslalia, central facial palsy, shoulder pain, and even incontinence.

Ways It Can Help

What is the science behind this stroke recovery method? Understanding it requires taking a look at the nature of a stroke and why it affects the body.

Strokes are caused by a clog in brain arteries that decreases blood flow to the area and causes brain cells to die. Although an article on the Science-Based Medicine website concludes that no reliable studies have shown positive effects of acupuncture in the treatment of stroke, it acknowledges that some studies have found a positive effect in managing neurological impairment and dysphagia. However, is also states that it unlikely to be a successful treatment to prevent death or disability caused by strokes.

What About Its Tradition?

While the double-blind studies discussed in the Science-Based Medicine article may be inconclusive, there is a centuries-long history of this ancient treatment for stroke victims. This tradition states that acupuncture helps alleviate many of the symptoms of a stroke and can contribute to a restoration of functionality to a person’s life.

As reported by Medical Acupuncture, there have been studies in China, Japan, and Scandinavia indicating that this method appears to help with stroke rehabilitation.

Many American studies ignore or discard the findings found by these groups, pointing to a lack of scientific grounding in the studies or results that were carefully picked to show success that wasn’t sustainable.

Final Thoughts

The use of acupuncture for stroke recovery is likely to remain controversial for some time. While there are thousands of people who claim that it has benefited their lives, scientific skepticism casts a shadow over its effectiveness.

It can be confidently stated that acupuncture is a safe treatment method, so it is probably okay to try it in combination with traditional medicine to promote healing of stroke and other conditions.

Pain Care Clinic of Idaho offers medical acupuncture within a range of drug-free treatments and therapies. Find us in the Boise area.

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