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Sleep and Pain Management

Sleep and Pain Management

By on Aug 23, 2014 in Articles | 0 comments

Do you struggle to get quality sleep? What if I told you that you can have less pain, feel more alert and less irritable, and need less medication just by getting better sleep? Sleep and pain tolerance are directly related. Scientists have shown that improving sleep allows people to endure greater amounts of pain. I know there may be several reasons you aren’t getting great sleep, but it is essential that you continue to develop good sleep habits and get more sleep at night. Not only will you feel better mentally and physically, you will have better pain tolerance. That means you can feel less frustrated and distracted by pain during the day just by getting more zzz’s. A study split subjects into two groups. Half of the study subjects slept their normal durations (average 7.14 hours of sleep per night) while the other half where asked to spend ten hours in bed (average 8.9 hours of sleep per night). Researchers measured how much pain each subject could tolerate on day one and day four by measuring how long participants could keep a finger on a heat source. The well-rested group of subjects showed a 25% increase in the amount of heat they could tolerate after just four nights of getting two extra hours of sleep each night. The researchers say this increase is similar to taking a 60mg dose of the painkiller codeine two times a day. They also speculate that improved sleep duration and quality can improve pain tolerance in all pain conditions. Wow! Thomas Roth, PhD, director of the Sleep Disorders Center at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit, says that if you are already sleeping eight hours a night you probably don’t need more sleep, but if you are only getting six or seven hours, get eight or preferably nine. The National Sleep Foundation recommends that adults get seven to nine hours of sleep per night. The specific reason sleep is so beneficial is still unknown. It is believed that sleep-loss and pain both increase inflammatory markers in the body. Scientists, like Roth, believe that getting more sleep may help decrease this inflammation. How many hours of quality sleep do you think you get at night?...

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Chocolate Relieves Pain?

Chocolate Relieves Pain?

By on Jul 28, 2014 in Articles | 1 comment

Across the internet you’ll find articles professing that eating chocolate relieves pain. Wouldn’t it be great if all you had to do each morning was have a couple squares of chocolate to feel great! Well I’ve got good news for you. Eating chocolate will reduce your pain for a couple different reasons. The first is something called ingestion analgesia. The word ‘analgesia’ means the inability to feel pain. Ingestion analgesia occurs when your ability to feel pain is reduced when you eat. But you don’t have to eat chocolate to experience ingestion analgesia.  A study done with rats in 2009 showed that drinking water was just as effective as eating chocolate for reducing pain. By the way, I highly recommend drinking lots of water and staying hydrated to help manage your pain. Not only does the act of drinking water potentially produce ingestion analgesic effects, staying hydrated is good for a zillion different reasons that I’ll discuss with you in another post. But let’s get back to chocolate. I find eating chocolate pleasurable.  A lot of people do.  And an interesting thing about pleasure is that it can cause you to feel less pain. This is called pleasure analgesia. And that’s the second way chocolate relieves pain; it’s pleasurable to consume. Pain and pleasure share a lot of the same wiring in the body and brain. This is why some people can find pleasure with painful stimulation, like eating hot peppers.  An experience of pleasure can temporarily override feelings of pain. But again, this effect isn’t exclusively related to chocolate, listening to great music, or feelings of gratitude or any other pleasurable experience can also help in relieving pain. So is there anything special about chocolate? Well, chocolate may have some health benefits. A nine year study of 31,000 Swedish women showed that eating chocolate reduced their risk of heart failure significantly. They were eating Swiss milk chocolate by the way. Isn’t dark chocolate the healthy chocolate? Dark chocolate has been given so much press lately that it’s almost considered a health food, but there is some truth to its benefits. It is said to be rich in flavonoids which are complex molecules found in plants that can help...

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Avoid 3 Foods To Relieve Pain

Avoid 3 Foods To Relieve Pain

By on Jul 26, 2014 in Articles | 0 comments

You’ve seen the headlines claiming that the foods you eat can worsen your pain, but are they correct? Science says that changing what you eat can absolutely impact your pain. You should avoid certain foods to relieve pain. The secret is the link between inflammation and food. Let me try to simplify this complicated topic for you. When you eat, your food is broken down to its molecular components and then absorbed in the intestines. Once absorbed, the molecules circulate through your body and feed your tissues. However, not all molecules are good for you. Some are identified as foreign substances by your body. Highly processed food containing sugar, preservatives, and other chemicals, can break down into molecules considered foreign substances to the body. It’s as if these foods are gently poisoning your body. When this happens, your body goes into defense mode to protect itself. Your body’s immune system protects you from bacteria, viruses, and other foreign substances through the inflammatory response. When you have a simple cut, a brilliant cascade of healing mechanisms occurs to prevent infection and repair tissues at the specific part of the body involved. White blood cells and other chemicals are sent to the area of acute injury and get the party started. The aching, swelling, and redness you experience are part of the normal healing process. This type of acute inflammatory response is a natural and positive thing. Chronic inflammation, however, is a type of systemic inflammation that affects tissues all throughout the body and can have a negative effect. Chronic inflammation can cause intensify and prolong pain, stiffness, soreness, poor memory, and fatigue. It can even counteract the benefits of pain medication. Some chronic pain conditions like rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, and polymyalgia rheumatica, Multiple Sclerosis, Crohn’s disease, osteoarthritis, fibromyalgia, and IBS are extra sensitive to inflammation. That’s because the inflammatory response stays on even though there isn’t any reason for it. Are you wondering what you can do to reduce your risk of chronic inflammation and therefore reduce chronic pain? What you can do is make a point to avoid certain things that are known to cause inflammation in your body – like certain foods. Avoid these three types of foods...

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Yoga For Pain Relief

Yoga For Pain Relief

By on Jul 21, 2014 in Articles | 1 comment

Yoga for Pain Relief: What’s the hype? Have you heard that yoga is a miracle cure for pain? Have you been told to consider yoga for pain relief? Well, there is something to that. Exercise in general can be a valuable part of your pain management program, but yoga in particular can help you find lasting relief. Below are five reasons yoga is great for pain relief, but before you read them let’s be clear what I mean by yoga. I don’t mean Pilates and I don’t mean stretching.  Yoga is a very specific thing in that it is a complete mind-body practice. If you haven’t experienced yoga before, ask around for a good beginning yoga class taught by a knowledgeable instructor. You’ll be glad you did! Five Reasons To Consider Yoga For Pain Relief 1. Yoga is inwardly focused. In yoga, your awareness is drawn into yourself which is something most of us don’t do often enough in our modern world. A yoga instructor may ask you to close your eyes, become aware of your breath, and to fully accept your sensations, thoughts, and emotions. This is a powerful practice because being accepting of your current state relieves your body of stress. A typical response to pain is to reject it and refuse to pay attention to it. Unfortunately, that can increase your suffering and prolong the discomfort from pain by increase your stress response and other neurological triggers. Yoga teaches you to how to be with your current experience without needing it to be different. 2. Yoga befriends the body. Anyone can do yoga. While many exercises require specific skill sets and muscular conditioning, yoga can be done by anyone. A knowledgeable yoga instructor knows how to modify classic yoga poses to account for injury and alignments. Yoga encourages you to accept your body as it is – bumps, bruises, pain and all. 3. Yoga is all about kindness. In yoga you are reminded to be kind to yourself. Now you might think that we should naturally be kind to ourselves, but it’s not unusual that people will get out of the habit of being kind to themselves for one reason or another. Maybe you’ll skip that...

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