Pain and aging—it’s an unfortunate fact of life. As we increase in age, so does our risk for painful health conditions. Research also suggests the experience of pain changes as we age; the treatments for it must often change as well.
More Painful Problems
“As we get older we are more likely to experience pain because of the kinds of health problems that go with getting older,” says Patricia A. Parmelee, PhD, director of the Alabama Research Institute on Aging at the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa. “There are a number of disorders linked with the aging body that are painful,” she says. Of these, one of the most common is osteoarthritis (OA).
The likelihood of developing arthritis increases with age. The CDC reports that 7% of people between the ages of 18 and 44 say they have doctor-diagnosed arthritis. Among people 65 and older, that number is 50%.
Continue reading Aging and Arthritis Pain: Should Treatment Plans Change as We Age?
Treating fibromyalgia with both pregabalin (Lyrica) and duloxetine (Cymbalta) is more effective that using either drug alone, according to a new study out of Canada.
Fibromyalgia is a chronic health condition characterized by widespread muscle pain, fatigue, memory problems, sleep disturbance and mood changes. If non-drug treatments such as exercise and avoiding triggers (which can include physical and psychological stress) don’t provide enough relief, medication may be prescribed. Common choices in the United States include pregabalin, duloxetine and milnacipran (Savella).
Continue reading Combining Meds for Fibromyalgia May Offer Added Benefits
Researchers agree – meditation can help with a host of health problems. “Relaxing and quieting your mind by focusing on your breathing can reduce stress – even the stress that comes with arthritis flares,” says David E. Yocum, MD, director of the Arizona Arthritis Center in Tucson. His studies, as well as others, found that patients who meditated responded to stress with lower heart rates and improved immune function; and that meditation, in combination with traditional medicines, appears to help patients with chronic pain. Studies have shown that meditation inhibits or relieves pain perception. And in a study published in the American Academy of Pain Medicine’s scientific journal in April 2015, 43 patients who used a mindfulness meditation program as part of their pain management experienced lower general anxiety and depression, better mental quality of life (psychological well-being), a greater feeling of control of the pain, and higher pain acceptance.
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Arthritis is much more than a disease plaguing the elderly – it’s the No. 1 cause of disability in the U.S. and impacts more than 50 million Americans, including 300,000 children. It’s smart to learn about this common but painful disease. Do you think you know about arthritis? Test yourself with these arthritis myths and learn the facts.
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Scientists evaluated clinical studies on 21 complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) to determine if they help the pain and disability associated with rheumatoid arthritis (RA), osteoarthritis (OA), fibromyalgia and low back pain. Other forms of arthritis and related diseases were not included in the analysis. Of the therapies included in the studies, they rated acupuncture, massage, yoga and tai chi most effective.
These findings don’t mean that other CAM therapies – defined by this report as any therapy that exists outside normal health care practices – aren’t effective. The researchers stress that, in many cases, there just weren’t enough high-quality data to fully evaluate the therapies. “Where there is no or little evidence, it is very difficult to judge,” says lead author of the report, Gareth Jones, PhD, a senior lecturer in epidemiology in the School of Medicine and Dentistry at the University of Aberdeen in Scotland.
Continue reading Research Shows Which Alternative Therapies Can Ease Arthritis Pain
Health care in the United States can often feel proscriptive, narrow and impersonal, with a focus on the doctor, not the patient. Integrative medicine aims to be different, and may be a good option for your arthritis treatment.
Continue reading Integrative Medicine for Arthritis Treatment
Fibromyalgia – an example a central pain syndrome – is a chronic health condition characterized by symptoms of widespread muscle pain, fatigue, memory problems and mood changes. As in many chronic diseases, fibromyalgia symptoms can come and go and vary in intensity. Continue reading Fibromyalgia Flares: Symptoms, Triggers and Treatment
Studies show nearly half of all patients don’t follow their doctor’s advice, so they fall short of their health goals.
“Almost everyone wants to feel better and do what they set out to,” says William McCann, director of behavioral science education at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center in Winston-Salem, N.C. “But translating knowledge into action requires strategy.”
Continue reading Achieving Arthritis Treatment Goals
In a 2015 Gallup poll of more than 5,400 Americans, 60 percent believed chiropractic is an effective treatment for neck and back pain. It’s true that chiropractors manipulate, or adjust, the spine to improve pain and mobility, but the benefits may extend beyond the back. By using varying degrees of force in an effort to adjust misaligned joints, chiropractors try to improve the relationship between the spine and nervous system, which they believe may affect the function of all the organs and systems in the body.
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One of several nondrug pain treatments for arthritis, acupuncture involves inserting fine needles into specific points on the body. The goal is to correct imbalances in the flow of life energy – called chi or qi – thereby stimulating healing. Traditional Chinese medicine describes more than 2,000 acupuncture points (acupoints) connected to 12 main energy channels.
In the West, acupuncture is mainly associated with pain relief, but the 3,000-year-old practice is a complex and comprehensive system of medicine that emphasizes healing the mind and spirit as well as the body.
Continue reading Acupuncture and Acupressure for Arthritis