Monthly Archives: January 2017

Narcotic Pain Medications and Chronic Pain

What if we were to tell you that narcotic pain medications like oxycodone, hydrocodone, and morphine can actually worsen your chronic pain? Not that great of news, huh?

Studies have found that to be the case.

“A brief treatment with a pain killer, like morphine, doubled the duration of chronic pain.”

Let’s talk about the things we knew about narcotic pain medication prior to this finding. We’ve always known they’re an extremely high-risk drug because they’re highly addictive. That’s why your doctor is always a bit wary of prescribing you too many.

We’ve also known that people who take narcotic pain medications can develop a tolerance within two to four weeks. Meaning, they need to take a higher dosage to feel the same effect as before.

Couple just those two facts together, and you can see how they often become a recipe for disaster. In fact, in 2014 alone, 14,000 people overdosed on their narcotic pain medications.

Now, studies are discovering that these medications can actually increase a patient’s sensitivity to pain, a condition known as hyperalgesia, and decrease their ability to tolerate pain. This means that even after the original cause of pain has been healed, many people keep having pain or even an increase in pain.

That’s some scary stuff.

Luckily, this problem can be solved by simply stopping use. At first, it may seem as though the original pain is still there, but that’s only because withdrawal from narcotic pain medications can often mimic the original pain.

So, if these prescription pain medications are ruled out for treating chronic pain, what are you supposed to do? The following methods have proven effective in managing chronic pain:

  • Exercise to both maintain motion and release feel-good endorphins
  • Cognitive therapy to develop coping techniques
  • Meditation to help distract the brain from pain
  • Massage
  • Other low risk or non-habit forming pain medications

Whatever you do, if you’re experiencing chronic pain, a pain that persists longer than two to three months, never try to treat yourself. Please seek a professional medical opinion. And we urge you to never take prescription drugs not prescribed to you, whether they are narcotic pain medication or something else.

Finally, we encourage you to come forward if you or someone you know is suffering from a dependency or addiction to narcotic pain medications. With the proper treatment, it is entirely possible to overcome.
To seek help, please call the national helpline for substance abuse at (800) 662-4357. The helpline provides you with free, confidential information and can refer you to a local professional for further assistance.

Strengthen Your Back In Three Moves

We’ve noticed a trend in all of our most recent blogs; we keep urging you to remain active and add some workouts to your daily routine. While that’s easy for us to say, sometimes it’s hard for those of you suffering from back pain to know which exercises are safe for you to perform.

Obviously, it’s impossible for us to know through the Internet which exercises are safe for your particular condition, so we want to remind you to consult your physician before beginning a new exercise program, especially if you suffer from chronic pain.

Now that that’s out of the way, let’s talk about exercising with back pain. Not only do certain exercises help prevent back pain, but they can also relieve it if you are already suffering. They do so by strengthening your back, stomach, and leg muscles.

Stronger muscles mean less pain while performing daily activities. That seems logical, right?

In addition to the following exercises, adding a stretching regimen to your daily routine can also be extremely effective for those suffering from back pain, or those who aren’t. Stretching is an important, often overlooked, aspect of health.

We recommend repeating the exercises below 8-12 times each, or as many times as you feel comfortable completing. Remember, the more you exercise, the stronger you’ll get. So, it’s important to continue pushing yourself by either doing more exercises or holding them for a longer amount of time.

Partial crunches

Partial crunches

Begin by lying on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the ground. Cross your arms across your chest or put them behind your head. Then, tighten your stomach muscles and raise your shoulders off the ground, all while slowly breathing out. Hold for one second and lower with control to the ground.

Wall sits

Image source: Popsugar

Image source: Popsugar

Stand about a foot from a wall and lean back until your back is flat against it. Slowly lower yourself until your knees are slightly bent, pressing your lower back into the wall. Hold for ten seconds before standing back up.

Bridging

Bridging

Lie on your back with your knees bent. Push your heels into the ground, squeeze your glutes, and lift your hips until your shoulders, hips, and knees form a straight line. Hold for about six seconds before slowly lowering yourself to the ground again.
We know it can be tempting to rest when suffering from back pain, but doing so for more than a couple of days can actually make your pain worse. So be proactive and start by incorporating one or all of these exercises into your daily routine. You know what they say, every bit helps!

Resolve To Maintain A Healthy Spine In 2017

Welcome to 2017! Who’s determined to make this their best year yet? We know we are! To kick off the year with a bang, we decided to provide you with some extraordinarily reasonable resolutions to make if you’re suffering from back or neck pain.

Resolutions can be difficult to maintain throughout the year, but we believe slow implementation is the key. Change one small habit at a time, and soon you’ll be rid of all of the pesky bad habits contributing to your pain.

Implement an active lifestyle.

An active lifestyle is essential to your overall health, including your spine. As we always say, an active spine is a healthy one. We know it can be hard to exercise when you are experiencing pain, but it’s important to build up your strength and to stretch on a daily basis.

This year we’re encouraging you to ditch all of the exercise programs you don’t like and focus on ones you do. Not a big fan of hitting the gym solo? Choose a gym that offers group exercise! Doing something you love will make it easier to stick to the plan.

Engage your mind.

Mindful meditation has proven to be an effective treatment for those suffering from chronic pain. The best part is that it only takes up about 15 minutes of your day, so don’t try telling us you can’t find the time.

Reevaluate your posture.

We know we talk about this all the time, but that’s only because it’s so incredibly important. If we told you this every single day, it still wouldn’t be often enough.

If you have poor posture, you’re destined for back pain. Read our blog on correct posture and try to be mindful of how you’re sitting and standing.

Eat for your health.

Eating healthy goes hand-in-hand with a healthy lifestyle. The nutrients you ingest from eating whole foods work wonders for your body. Also, eating healthy can help you to maintain a proper weight and, as you surely know, being overweight can severely stress your spine.

Assess your sleeping position.

Is your pillow the correct height? Are you more prone to experiencing pain because of your sleeping position? You spend a large chunk of your day sleeping, making it a likely contributor to your pain. Find all of the answers you need in our blog about sleeping positions.

Quit smoking.

Smoking increases your likelihood of developing degenerative spinal disorders and back pain, along with a host of other health issues. If you haven’t already, this is the year to quit smoking.

As we mentioned above, it’s probably not the best idea to attempt all of these changes at once. We don’t want you to just be healthy now – we want you to be healthy for the rest of your life.

If you have any questions at all about preventing or managing back pain, feel free to contact us. Now get out there and make this your year!