Research on the psychology of chronic pain shows that the most effective way to treat it is through a holistic effort that incorporates various specialists within a multidisciplinary care model. For many reasons – accidents, disorders, and disease, chronic pain impacts the lives of almost one-third of people in the United States. The costs of this condition are high and broad, ranging from expenses for chronic pain treatments to lost work days to emotional turbulence to disability.
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Most of us end our year with promising weight loss resolutions and expectations of making better choices and habits, but so often we fall short. Why is that? Well, we enter the new year, weighed down by the turkey and extra helping of cookies, rationalizing our over-indulgence with the promise that we’d drop those pounds come January 1st. A lot of us fizzle out by the time February rolls around, and we’re left with the weight (literally) of guilt.
Allergies are an overreaction of our immune systems to substances that generally don’t affect other individuals in the same way. These substances, or allergens, can cause runny or stuffy noses, sneezing, coughing, itching and more, and reactions can range from bothersome to life-threatening. According to the CDC, more than 50 million Americans suffer from allergies every year, and it is the 6th leading cause of chronic illness in the US. When is it a good idea for you to get allergy testing, and how is it done?
According to the CDC, 78.6 million Americans, or over one third of our population, are struggling with obesity. With a plethora of diet plans, a myriad of fitness fads, and exercise machines designed to combat the bulge, how is it that so many people find it so difficult to burn fat or build muscle? While many factors contribute to your ability to rev up your metabolism and drop weight, it turns out that something as simple as the timing of your meals could be making or breaking your weight loss goals.
Mobility exercises have become a crucial part of healthy body maintenance in a culture where we spend so much of our time sitting. Even if you have a job where you are moving around more, opening an athletic workout with the right mobility exercises, paired with stretching, can greatly reduce your risk of injury. When we have low back pain or other chronic pain, these types of exercises become even more essential.
Let’s look at 5 simple exercises that can help you stay strong and keep your body’s motions fluid. Do 8 reps for each side of your body for all but the “abs” exercise, which involves 8 reps total. Remember to be careful with these exercises. As general pain experts, and the top clinic in Atlanta for knee physical therapy, we urge you to respect your range of motion.
- Facing a wall, place your right foot 1 inch from the wall; then place your left foot about 18 inches back from your right foot.
- With your heel remaining on the ground, move the right knee forward against the wall.
- Return to step #1.
- Lie on your right side, with a foam roller about a foot in front of you.
- Move your left knee toward the roller until it’s just above the hips, resting on the roller.
- Be aware of your body’s limits with the remaining steps; for consultation, seek a pain clinic or other medical facility.
- Stretch out your right arm completely, reaching upward toward the ceiling.
- With your left arm fully extended, take your thumb and alternate touching it to the ground behind your back and to your left knee.
- Stand with your feet placed in line with your shoulders.
- Bend at your waist, touching and holding your toes (if possible).
- Keeping hold, bend your knees until you are resting on your heels, then come back to the position described in step #2.
- Lie face down.
- If you suffer from low back pain or other chronic ailments, proceed with caution.
- Push yourself up into a push-up stance.
- Once your arms are extended, start taking tiny steps forward, keeping your hands in the same spot.
- When your feet get to your hands, start “stepping” forward with your hands until you are back in the position described in step #2.
- Stand with feet in line with shoulders.
- Take your left leg, move the foot forward, and bend the leg until you are in a lunge.
- Extend both of your arms above your head.
- Bring your arms back to your sides.
- Step your right foot forward, returning to the position in step #1.
Mobility and strength don’t arrive by themselves. As with a car, general and routine maintenance keeps your system flowing properly. You don’t need to figure this out by yourself, either. If you are suffering, diagnosis and treatment at an integrative, cross-disciplinary pain clinic can greatly enhance your recovery. Call us now at Atlanta Medical Clinic to receive an evaluation and craft a unique plan for treatment.
At the Atlantic Medical Clinic, we treat many people for Atlanta neuropathy treatment. Since we are an integrative practice, we use both medical and natural modalities to help our patients recover. However, additional lifestyle recommendations and remedies implemented at home can be helpful too. This way, you can achieve maximum comfort and quality of life without the overuse of prescription medications.
To ease your pain and reduce your peripheral neuropathic symptoms, we suggest incorporating some of the following methods into your daily routine:
1. Check & Manage Your Feet
If foot pain is one of your neuropathic symptoms, make sure that both your shoes and socks are loose-fitting to ease the pressure and allow for optimal blood flow (1). Additionally, ensure that your feet do not have any calluses or blisters.
2. Improve Your Diet
Changes to your diet can often help alleviate neuropathy-related discomfort (2). Here are several dietary modifications that can help:
- Reduction in alcoholic beverages
- Reduction in fatty foods such as cheese and fried meat
- Increase in fresh produce
- Increase in whole grains.
3. Quit Smoking
Per the National Institute of Health, one of the primary ways an individual can treat neuropathy is to stop smoking (3). Smoking causes vascular constriction, which in turn prevents vitamins and minerals from making their way to your extremities.
4. Get Regular Exercise
The following types of exercise can be of help to reduce the pain of neuropathy:
- Aerobic exercise
- Strength-training exercise
- Flexibility exercise
- Balance exercise.
Aerobic exercise – such as walking, swimming, or cycling – should be performed for a half-hour at least every other day, though you can work up to that amount if you are out of shape. The other categories of exercise are more specific. Our physicians can be of help in this regard, but the Foundation for Peripheral Neuropathy outlines a few suggestions (4).
5. Massage Your Hands & Feet
The Mayo Clinic notes that enhanced blood flow and neural stimulation can be effective at treating peripheral neuropathy (5). Massage can meet these aims. Since working with a professional can be cost-prohibitive and inconvenient, self-massage (or massage by a friend or loved one) may be a viable alternative or addition to a licensed therapist.
Peripheral neuropathy (PN) affects thousands of people throughout the United States, so you are not alone. We can also help, with a comprehensive evaluation and customized treatment plan, so you can reduce pain and receive treatment with the highest quality professional care. Having both conventional and chiropractic methods at our disposal, the Atlanta Medical Clinic can guide you back to a full and active lifestyle.
Pain management is not a simple science. Rather, it is an art form. Pain management presents an intricate blend of diagnostic, treatment, and lifestyle challenges – all of which must be overcome to achieve the fastest and fullest possible recovery. Let’s briefly explore how each of the three categories can be best approached to optimize your chances of mitigating your pain and reclaiming a full and active daily life.
The fact is that pain is not always as easy as we would like to diagnose and treat. Because that is the case, multidisciplinary diagnosis and treatment is not just an optional strategy for doctors and patients. Instead, it provides a necessary framework to accurately understand specific situations and craft meaningful management plans. Pain management doctors are at an advantage when they have various modalities immediately available to meet unique patient needs.
It’s crucial to take a multidisciplinary approach from the outset rather than using an outmoded “piecemeal” strategy, says Dennis Thompson, Jr., of Everyday Health. The science backs up this claim: recent medical studies offer loud and convincing evidence for the use of multidisciplinary means to treat pain, especially in the areas of chronic back pain and fibromyalgia (1).
Example Multidisciplinary Technique: Ultrasound
An example of a specific technique that is one piece of a multidisciplinary pain management plan is the use of ultrasound in a physical therapy program. An ultrasound machine directs sound waves at the effected part of the body. According to Laurie Sweet, a physical therapist for Johns Hopkins Hospital (2), this process creates heat in the patient’s body, which in turn stimulates blood flow and loosens tissues. The end result is twofold:
- easier to stretch and otherwise manipulate the body part
- reduction in swelling and inflammation.
How to Manage Pain with Lifestyle Changes
Always follow the recommendations of your pain management professionals, but there are several modifications to your day-to-day routine that can be pivotal in aiding your recovery. WebMD lists the following lifestyle changes to enhance your capacity for long term pain relief (3):
- Quit or reduce smoking
- Maintain a consistent, healthy sleep schedule
- Get regular aerobic exercise
- Stretch multiple times a day
- Use techniques such as breathing exercises or meditation to reduce stress
- Adapt your physical activity to avoid motions that trigger the pain
- Utilize assistive devices and technologies, such as voice-activation software.
As you can see, approaches toward pain management these days are broad and complex. Diagnosis, treatment, and lifestyle recommendations for proper pain management are best understood within a multidisciplinary approach. At the Atlanta Medical Clinic, we go beyond traditional medical care by offering not only neurological and physical therapy methods, but chiropractic care as well. If you think a multidisciplinary, integrative approach toward pain management might be right for you, please contact us today.
“American with Pain Statistics Infographic”
- An estimated 100 million people suffer from chronic pain (AAMP)
- 16.1% of chronic pain sufferers suffer from headaches
- Headaches can be triggered by environ-mental a factors (stress, noise, lighting, weather, and odors)
- Headaches can also be triggered by diet (Nitrates, MSG, alcohol, caffeine, chocolate)
– Back Pain
- 28.1% of chronic pain sufferers suffer from back pain
- Back pain is the leading cause of disability in Americans under 45
- More than 2 million Americans between the ages of 20-64 experience frequent back pain
- Back pain is more common as you get older
- Poor physical fitness and being over weight can also lead to back pain
– Neck Pain
- 28.1% of chronic pain sufferers suffer from neck pain
- Neck pain is a common condition and is more frequently seen in women than men
- Neck pain is usually caused by trauma, injury, stress, sleeping in un-natural position, and pro-longed computer use
- Neck pain can often lead to headaches
– Knee Pain
- 19.5% of chronic pain sufferers suffer from Knee Pain
- Common knee pain problems stem from the patella
- People often complain of dull achy pain of the knee made worse by running, squatting, jumping, or walking up or down stairs
- Often knee pain is related to repetitive movement or direct trauma
– More Chronic Pain Facts
- The total annual cost of health care due to chronic pain is around $635 billion a year
- Workers lose an average of 4.6 hours per week of productive time due to a pain condition
- $61.2 billion a year lost from loss of productive time from common painful conditions
- Side effects of Chronic Pain include depression, trouble concentrating, and inability to sleep well
Sources: American Academy of Pain Medicine (AAPM)
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Sleep is an essential part of healing and managing pain. We need to get enough to function properly (8 hours), but quality sleep is most important. When we sleep our bodies are healing and repairing the damage done from the stress of the day, and naturally during this healing process our bodies need optimum circumstances. Everyone’s body is different, some positions will benefit others and some will hinder them depending on the aliment.
“Sleep allows us to rejuvenate the proteins in our body, in fact, rest helps with increasing the pain threshold of the body…if you have a particular back pain, neck pain, shoulder pain or hip pain then quality sleep will help you.” says Dr. Dembowski.
Many people can find sleeping during the night difficult. But there are always ways in which it can be improved. Some listen to the sound of rain while sleeping, as it helps calm them down and transports them to places such as the beach or holidays. Others people may like sleeping with a fan or air conditioning to keep them cool throughout the night. Someone I know use to have such a hard time going to sleep that he would always sleep with the air conditioning on. Unfortunately for him, the one time that he needed the fan for more than sleep (to keep him cool during a heat wave), the air conditioning stopped working. While he looked into finding a company would could deal with an air conditioning replacement, he had to use the small fan that was hidden away in the cupboard for months. For him, it wasn’t as effective, but he did manage to get a few good night’s sleep. You just need to try and find out what works best for you and your sleeping arrangements.
The three major sleeping positions are side, back, and stomach. Around 57% of people sleep on their side, according to a nationwide survey of over 2,000 people conducted by Tempur-Pedic North America. Lying on the back is the second most popular, with around 17% of people; followed by the stomach at 11% and the rest is varying positions throughout the night. Each position has variations, benefits and drawbacks. Make sure your sleeping position is correct for the area that is causing you the most pain.
If you suffer from…
Shoulder Pain: Try to avoid sleeping on your side if you have shoulder pain, the best position is on the back or on the opposite side of the hurt shoulder. Also place a pillow under the arm to support the shoulder.
Neck Pain: For neck pain try and keep the neck supported in a neutral position with a pillow above the shoulders, too many pillows may put the neck in a bent position. That can put stress on the vertebrae and cause damage to the disc. When dealing with neck pain avoid sleeping on the stomach.
Back Pain: To reduce back pain experts suggest sleeping on the back with a rolled up towel or pillow under the knees and under the small of the back. If you are sleeping on your side place a pillow between the knees for added support, and to aid the hips and knees.
Knee Pain & Hip Pain: Sleeping in the side or fetal position with a pillow between the knees can reduce pressure on the knees and hips, also if lying on the back place a pillow below the small of the back and under the knees to help alleviate pain.
Snoring / Sleep Apnea: Try to keep off your back, sleep on your side or stomach to reduced the threat of tongue collapsing or the relaxation of tissues in the throat which can hinder breathing.
Acid Reflex: Sleeping on the side is best for acid reflex most experts recommend sleeping on the left side. Sleeping on the back is not ideal for acid reflex but it can help alleviate symptoms if the head is propped up.
For those with sleeping problems it is not recommended to sleep on the stomach as it can cause back and neck pain. Use these helpful tips to find out your ideal sleeping position, but be sure to change it up once and a while as sleeping in the same position to often can cause problems. If these tips do not help you with your symptoms then contact our clinic for a free consultation. You may need medical attention to relieve the inflamed areas of the body and help you get a good night sleep.
1.) Journal of Sleep Vol. 35:12 (2012)