Friday, September 30, 2016

Study Finds Link Between Weather and Chronic Pain

There may be something to the old adage about “feeling under the weather.”
Early results from a smartphone-based weather study in the UK show that rain and lack of sunshine have an impact on how we perceive pain.

Over 9,000 people are participating in The University of Manchester’s Cloudy with a Chance of Pain project,  using a special app to record their daily pain levels. 

The app also captures hourly weather conditions using the phone’s GPS, giving researchers the ability to compare the pain data with real-time local weather.

Researchers reviewed data from participants in three cities – Leeds, Norwich and London – and found that as the number of sunny days increased from February to April, the amount of time participants spent in severe pain decreased.


Pain News Network - By Pat Anson, Editor

Living with Chronic Pain After Being Labeled an Addict

I am writing this article from the perspective of a patient who has chronic back pain and also an unwarranted, doctor-imposed label of “addiction.” 

As most people can imagine, having both of these problems -- chronic pain and a substance use disorder -- can be very difficult for a healthcare provider to manage. Imagine though how harmful it is when someone is diagnosed or labeled as an addict and it is not an appropriate diagnosis. 

The new polite wording for addiction is "chemical dependence," "substance use disorder" or "opiate dependence." 

But these terms are not helpful either, since they have the same meaning to most healthcare professionals, as well as the general public.

To make matters worse, I was totally unaware that this diagnosis was ever made and it was never explained to me that it would be in my medical record. I want to share some of the problems this has caused me. 


Pain News Network- By Patricia Young, Guest columnist

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Acupuncture Reverses Facial Paralysis

Acupuncture is effective for the treatment of facial paralysis and improves patient outcomes for patients taking medications.

Hospital researchers find acupuncture effective for the treatment of facial paralysis. Across multiple hospital investigations, researchers document effective acupuncture protocols that yield significant positive patient outcomes for facial paralysis patients. In addition, acupuncture, infrared therapy, and moxibustion demonstrate the ability to significantly improve positive patient outcome rates for patients taking pharmaceutical medications.

Acupuncture and infrared heat therapy are effective for the treatment of facial paralysis. Researchers from the Third People’s Hospital in Chongqing determined that combining acupuncture and infrared heat therapy with conventional facial paralysis medications improves the rate of positive patient outcomes for the the treatment of this condition. Facial paralysis is a disorder in which the facial muscles are dysfunctional, causing immobility, and it may occur in any age demographic. In the Third People’s Hospital investigation, facial paralysis patients who received supplementary infrared heat therapy and acupuncture reported a 91.67% total treatment effective rate while those in the control group reported a 60.42% total treatment effective rate. The addition of acupuncture and infrared therapy increased the effectiveness by 31.25%.


Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Experimental Drug Reduces Migraine Days by Half

An experimental injectable drug reduces the number of migraine days by 50 percent or more in patients who suffer from chronic migraine, according to the results of a new study released by drug makers Amgen and Novartis.

The Phase II study of AMG 334 -- also known as erenumab – involved 667 patients who suffered an average of about 18 migraine days per month.  A reduction of 50% or more in monthly migraine days was observed in four out of ten patients taking a 140 mg dose of erenumab. Patients taking a 70 mg dose had a 40% reduction in migraine days compared to a placebo drug.  

Significant improvements were also noted in quality of life, headache impact, disability, and pain interference compared to the placebo.

“Chronic migraine patients lose more than half of their life to migraines with 15 or more headache days a month, facing intolerable pain and physical impairment,” said Stewart Tepper, MD, a professor of neurology at the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth. “As a neurologist, these findings are exciting because they demonstrate that erenumab could serve as an important new therapy option for reducing the burden of this often-disabling disease.”

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Opioids are not necessarily evil – Michael Schatman

Since 1999 the use of opioids for pain management has quadrupled in the USA, resulting in what is now well known as the ‘opioid epidemic’ – too many people are now unnecessarily reliant on the drugs and opioid-related overdoses have rocketed. The prescription of opioids within the USA is now considered to be one of the biggest health crises facing the nation, however the battle to ‘fix’ the problem is complex.

Michael Schatman has worked in multidisciplinary chronic pain management for over 30 years and has published more than 90 journal articles on pain management and pain bioethics. He recently published an article discussing the ‘MEDD myth’, exploring the impact of reliance on unreliable techniques for calculating opioid doses within the medical literature and in the generation of opioid guidelines. We contacted Michael to find out more about this as well as his extensive work around the ongoing opioid epidemic in the USA.


Monday, September 26, 2016

Fertility Acupuncture 101: Treatment Plans

Acupuncture Treatments for IVF cycle

Here's a disclaimer. Everyone is unique and Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is based upon the tenet of uniqueness. That said, the most common question we get at Pulling Down the Moon is about a “typical” treatment plan. So, with the caveat that your situation is unique and your practitioner will tailor treatment to suit your needs, here’s a good solid overview of what a typical fertility acupuncture treatment plan looks like.

In your acupuncturist’s ideal world, starting acupuncture treatments at least three months prior to an IVF cycle would provide an optimal preparatory period. During this prep period we will focus generally on your overall health (adjusting lifestyle and dietary practices that lead to imbalance) and specifically on the maturation of the egg.


Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Echogenic Needles Provide Best Needle Visualization at Steeper Angles of Insertion

Anesthesiologists looking to achieve good needle visualization at steeper angles of insertion may get better results using echogenic needles with beam steering versus using these technologies individually, new research suggests.

“Needle visualization is of utmost importance when providing regional anesthesia care and to provide a safe and efficacious block,” said Christopher Prabhakar, MD, lead study author and clinical instructor in the Department of Anesthesiology, Pharmacology and Therapeutics at the University of British Columbia, in Vancouver.

Echogenic needles use coatings or notchings to increase the amount of ultrasound beams that get bounced back, while beam steering “angles the beam of the ultrasound transducer to provide a more perpendicular angle with respect to the needle that is inserted,” Dr. Prabhakar said. Although both technologies can improve visualization, there is “no appreciation for what is the best technology to use at moderate angles of insertion between 40 to 60 degrees,” the researchers wrote. They conducted the study to determine whether beam steering will improve visibility when used with echogenic (Pajunk SonoPlex Stim 22 gauge, 80 mm) and nonechogenic (Pajunk UniPlex NanoLine 22 gauge, 80 mm) needles within that range.


Tuesday, September 20, 2016

What Does a Migraine Look Like?

Sometimes there’s an aura. Or bright lights. Or blurred vision.

About a billion people worldwide suffer from headaches caused by migraines, which affect three times as many women as men. Most non-sufferers understand the headache part, but explaining what a migraine looks like isn’t easy – which is why the makers of Excedrin invented a simulator to help people better understand  migraines and the impact they can have.

"Migraines are more than bad headaches – the pulsing pain can be debilitating, and the associated symptoms like nausea and extreme sensitivity to light and sound, really impact people's lives," said Dr. Elizabeth Seng, a New York based psychologist.

GSK Consumer Healthcare brought together several migraine sufferers and had them explain the symptoms they most often experience during a migraine episode, including aura, sensitivity to light and blurred vision. The symptoms were then replicated with the simulator and conducted in a controlled environment from everyday life – like riding the subway or going to a restaurant -- to give non-sufferers the chance to safely experience the full range of migraine symptoms

Many found the experience unsettling and nauseating, as you’ll see in this short video that Excedrin recently began airing on TV and over the Internet:

More stories...

Source: Pain News Network

A new finding could help explain why painkillers are so addicting

Researchers at the University of Colorado-Boulder tested opioids -- like morphine -- on rats, and found a few days' worth of doses caused months of chronic pain.

The painkillers were found to spur a "cascade" of reactions that led to more pain signals being fired from nerve cells in the spinal cord and brain.

"What we found were those rats that were treated with placebo control were recovering about 4 to 5 weeks after that," said researcher Peter Grace. "But those rats that had morphine took twice as long to recover. So, it took about 10 or 11 weeks to return to normal threshold."

Distinguished Professor Linda Watkins said, "This is a very ugly side to opioids that had not been recognized before."

Grace suggests if painkillers work the same way in humans as they do in rats, it could help explain why they're so addictive. Using them could cause more pain, which, in turn, leads people to use them longer, leading to a vicious cycle.
This research could lead to better pain treatments.

 Full Article -



Monday, September 05, 2016

Skin Care Benefits of Acupuncture

  I suffered from debilitating migraines for years, and after experiencing countless negative side effects (and little relief) from powerful medications, I had just about given up on treatment. That is until a close friend of mine recommended her acupuncturist. She had been seeing him for about a month for her headaches, anxiety, and hormone imbalances and had nothing but glowing reviews. I quickly booked an appointment, and after regular treatments, I found that my migraines had considerably subsided, leaving me with only one or two painful days a month instead of the 15-plus days I was used to. 

  That's when I decided to do some digging. What couldn't acupuncture treat? Nearly nothing, as it turns out. Acupuncture is shockingly versatile, even for skin care. It's a great alternative method for aging skin and breakouts in lieu of more-invasive procedures like Botox and heavy-duty acne medications. So far, I've been blessed with clear, firm skin, but when the time comes to get more serious about my complexion, I'd rather go with preventative options over corrective ones. I sat down with my acupuncturist, Dr. Min Zhang, a practitioner for over 25 years, to get the skin care scoop.