8 REASONS WHY YOU SHOULD GIVE A COMPLEMENTARY TREAMENT A TRY…

A Complementary Therapy is one that can be used in addition to, or instead of, conventional Western medicine. BUPA explain that Complementary therapies are methods of trying to treat illnesses, and these methods fall outside of conventional medicine. Some complementary therapies, such as acupuncture and reflexology, are based on older or traditional forms of medicine. Others, such as osteopathy and chiropractic, are more recent developments. Things like herbal medicine can be seen as a very rough precursor to modern medicine; there are many medicines that have been discovered through understanding the effects of natural substances. Herbal medicines can be seen as ‘unrefined’ medications, with varying doses and sometimes with other ingredients in them.

The word ‘complementary’ refers to the fact that they may be used in addition to the conventional medicine approaches advised by medical professionals. Here are 7 reasons why you should at least try one of them for chronic pain.

  1. It’s natural – Complimentary Therapies work naturally with the body to help restore balance.
  2. It an improve sleep, most Complimentary Therapies are great for relaxation and then sleep.
  3. You can chat with your therapist about your condition and sometimes just talking to someone can lift your mood.
  4. It’s more personal with some hands-on therapies.
  5. You can learn about many Complimentary Therapies and treat yourself. (I will cover this in another post).
  6. There are so many now available you are bound to find one that could help you but always book through a professional therapist.
  7. They can help you cope with your condition.
  8. Some are now available on the NHS like Acupuncture, Reflexology, Homeopath, Osteopathy, Chiropractic, Herbal Medicines, Counsellors, CBT and Tai Chi.

4 BENEFITS OF OWNING A HOT TUB…

When owning your first home, it may be difficult to identify things that you need or would like to have in your first residence. Whether you closed on one of the Cincinnati houses for sale or just bought a home in a rural area, you’re likely going to have to fill it out with various furniture and amenities. An option that is gaining lots of popularity and traction all around the country is hot tubs. Hot tubs are often thought of as a luxury item, something that you should only install if you have some extra money in the bank. That being said, having a hot tub can provide you with many benefits and can be a great addition to your home. So what do you stand to gain from installing a hot tub, and is it worth the large price tag? Here are the benefits of owning a hot tub.

RELAXATION…

It’s no secret that we spend our lives constantly dealing with stress and anxiety. Whether it be from work, school, or personal relationships, stress and anxiety is extremely prevalent in our lives. Unfortunately this is a very bad thing, as constantly being stressed out and anxious about situations can be a major detriment to both your mental and physical health. Thankfully, using a hot tub can relax you and provide you with some amazing stress relief. There’s something extremely soothing about ending your night relaxing in a hot tub. Not only can you let your mind drift off and relax, but you’ll be massaged by the tub’s jets and soothed by the warm water surrounding you. If you have a hot tub, you’ll almost certainly be using it to escape the everyday stresses of life.

PAIN RELIEF…

Another huge benefit of having a hot tub is the pain relief that it can provide you. Many Americans suffer from some form of pain ranging from neck pain to lower back pain. In addition, many Americans may suffer from ailments like arthritis or even major physical injuries like a sprained ankle. While using a hot tub certainly won’t make all of the pain go away, it certainly can go a long way in helping you cope with it. The relaxation that comes with being in a hot tub can put you in a more positive state of mind, something that can help you manage your pain better. In addition, sitting in the hot water and being massaged by the tub’s jets can be a huge help in relieving pain. If you’re someone who struggles with chronic pain and is looking for relief, then a hot tub could be the perfect solution. 

BETTER SLEEP…

As mentioned before, using a hot tub can be a great way to relax and relieve some stress. One way that this can manifest itself is through better sleep. If you use the hot tub at night before you go to bed, you’ll find yourself much more relaxed and carefree. Being relaxed at night, can make falling and staying asleep much easier for you. Many Americans struggle with anxiety or some other sleep problem, leading people to get less than the desired amount of sleep. Doing so can create a vicious cycle, as sleep deprivation can make you feel more stressed and irritated, further adding to your problems. Thankfully, a hot tub can break that cycle, allowing you to relax and get into a calmed mindset before you go to sleep. As a result, you can sleep peacefully and easily, improving your health and your mood for the future. 

MOBILITY…

It’s no secret that in our old age our bodies begin to deteriorate and become limited in their mobility. If you’re old enough to own your own home, then you’ve likely already experienced some of the negative side effects that come with ageing. Getting around the home may be slightly more difficult, and you might find physical tasks that used to be easy much more difficult. Thankfully using a hot tub can actually be a huge help with your mobility and range of motion. Studies have shown that frequently using a hot tub can help relieve joint inflammation and muscle stiffness, something that can be a huge help in improving your mobility. If ageing has made it more difficult to move around, then frequently using a hot tub can be a great way to combat it. 

WHICH INJECTION IS IDEAL FOR BACK PAIN -EPIDURAL, STEROID, FACET JOINT OR TRIGGER POINTS?…

With so many different types of spinal injections available for back pain its difficult to decide which one to try. In a previous post I decided to do a bit of research on epidurals for back pain and other types of injections for back pain.

One I had (which was through the front of my neck ) was highly dangerous and not many pain consultants ( including mine) would perform this procedure. All the way through the procedure the consultant ( another one I had been referred to who specialised in this type of injection )kept saying I must not move one fraction of an inch but instead to shout stop whenever I started to feel it too uncomfortable.

I can honestly say it wasn’t the most pleasant or procedures but I’m always of the opinion of no pain no gain with these type as of procedures. Fortunately I had no after affects and after about three weeks ( I was told it could take that long) the pain relief kicked in and my neck and arm pain disappeared for the first time in years. Now 18 months later some of the pain and pins and needles are coming back but nothing like it was before. 

Spine Health wrote that while the effects of an epidural steroid injection tend to be temporary (lasting from a week to up to a year) an epidural steroid injection can deliver substantial benefits for many patients experiencing low back pain.

  • Recent research reports that lumbar epidural steroid injections are successful in patients with persistent sciatica from lumbar disc herniation, with more than 80% of the injected group with disc herniation experiencing relief (in contrast to 48% of the group that received a saline placebo injection).
  • Similarly, in a study focused on a group of patients with lumbar spinal stenosis and related sciatica symptoms, 75% of patients receiving injections had more than 50% of pain reduction one year following the injections. The majority also increased their walking duration and tolerance for standing.

So, I could see from this information that it seems to be ok for lumber pain but there is no mention of it for cervical pain.

An article in The Daily Mail said that tens of thousands of patients are being given a ‘useless’ back-pain injection, which costs the NHS nearly £40 million every year, an analysis suggests.

Patients that demand a ‘quick fix’ for their discomfort are being given the treatment, priced at £540 per procedure, despite doctors being told to recommend back-pain sufferers be more active or try psychological therapy.

According to an analysis of NHS data by The Times, 70,608 steroid injections into patients’ facet joints, which make spines flexible, occurred last year, compared to 62,570 five years ago.

Guidelines released in both 2009 and 2016 advise against the procedure. 

Figures also show 8,044 operations that fuse spinal bones together were carried out last year, up from 7,224 between 2012 and 2013. 

Spinal Healthcare point out that Epidural steroid injections are actually very safe, since they are simply an injection that contains both local anaesthetic and steroids. In effect these reduce the inflammation that is causing pain in the nerves and the disc in the spin and the local anaesthetic numbs the area, bringing short term numbness to the region. By the time the local anaesthetic wears off the steroid will be working to reduce inflammation.

However there are some risks with the procedure, but these need to be looked at in context. Almost every human activity carries some risk with it. For example, crossing the road, lifting heavy objects, even opening a tin of beans all carry risks. Yet we do them every day, simply because they are necessary to human function.

Reading through lots more posts on epidurals I have come to the conclusion that like anything in life one size does not fit all of us and for some this treatment gives great relief and for others none whatsoever. There is definitely a problem with the cost of this type of injection as you require x ray staff and others to proceed with it. My facet joint injections which were also done in X-ray were cut a couple of years ago due to funding.

After my move down south last June I managed to see a pain team in January of this year but they also said they do not cover facet joint injections which I have found to be the best for me. However, when I talked it through with my GP he said other hospitals offer it and if I got to the stage that I was desperate for them he could organise a referral.

I can quite understand the cuts as the NHS is under so much pressure but I think it would make sense to have a team of people who simply follow up your pain relief after the injection to monitor if it was worth doing or not. That way the ones who benefit could continue having them and and the ones that don’t could try something else.

As far as the safety of this type of injection, I guess any injection into your spine carries risks but that could apply to any type of procedure. However, having it for cervical pain is something I could not find so it makes me think that maybe the one I had was a one off that worked for a while but now it’s back to square one again.

The difference between the nerve block and the epidural is where they put the needle. The nerve block injection usually also contains a steroid to decrease inflammation and pain. The injection is similar to a transforaminal epidural steroid injection, but in a selective nerve root block, there is no attempt to have the medication enter the epidural space.

The differences between epidurals and the nerve blocks and facet joint injections is that facet joint injections are used for both diagnostic and therapeutic reasons in the treatment of degenerative or arthritic conditions. Along with the numbing medication, a facet joint injection also includes injecting time-release steroid (cortisone) into the facet joint to reduce inflammation, which can sometimes provide longer-term pain relief.

A trigger point injection which I have recently been offered is an anesthetic such as lidocaine (Xylocaine) or bupivacaine (Marcaine), a mixture of anesthetics, or a corticosteroid (cortisone medication) alone or mixed with lidocaine and are used to treat painful areas of muscle that contain trigger points, or knots of muscle that form when muscles do not relax. Many times, such knots can be felt under the skin.

But, all seem to include some kind of steroid medication for the pain, they are all put into different areas and some involve using x-ray guidance but to me, the actual drug they are using is the same, but of course this is just what I have read online and is not something have discussed with my pain consultant.

 
Another treatment at the Regenerative Clinic in Harley Street London is stem cell therapy and PRP can help patients avoid spinal surgery and the side effects of epidural steroid injections. These procedures utilise the patient’s own natural growth factors or stem cells to treat bulging or herniated discs, degenerative conditions in the spine, and other back and neck conditions that cause pain.

According to Back Pain Expert Researchers at Manchester University’s Division of Regenerative Medicine are still currently running clinical trials in people with back pain to test a revolutionary treatment that could repair damaged intervertebral discs. The revolutionary new treatment based on stem cells, pioneered by Dr Stephen Richardson at Manchester University, may turn out to offer a permanent cure for back pain related to damaged intervertebral discs. For over five years, and backed with funding from the Arthritis Research Campaign, he and his colleagues at the Division of Regenerative Medicine have been developing a way of using cells from the body to regenerate the nucleus polposus in the damaged intervertebral discs.

However, I’m not holding my breath that this treatment will be available on the NHS anytime soon. I do feel that if you have only tried one type of injection and it’s not working as well then it is definitely worth trying another as you can see from this article there are a number of different options available. 

 

 

SUPPORTIVE RESOURCES FOR MANAGING CHRONIC PAIN…

If you’ve recently been diagnosed with a health condition that causes chronic pain, you might be wondering where to turn for health and advice. After all, managing chronic pain can be quite challenging, and it can be tough to find practical solutions. The following resources are packed with information on understanding your diagnosis, getting relief from your symptoms, and learning to relax on rough days.

Accepting your diagnosis…

You finally have a diagnosis – but now, you’re confused about what to do next. These resources can guide you along the way.● It’s normal to feel shocked. Give yourself time to grieve and process your new diagnosis.● If your diagnosis has made you feel isolated, check out Back Pain Blog UK to read accounts from other chronic pain patients.● Consult expert tips to turn your home into a comfortable wellness haven.

Safe Symptom Management…

Your symptoms can range from mild to debilitating. Here’s how to find some relief with safe methods. ● Stock your pantry with tasty, anti-inflammatory foods. ● Focus on cooking nutritious meals at home with whole, unprocessed ingredients.● Take supplements that have been proven to help relieve chronic pain. ● Ask your healthcare provider about using CBD products to alleviate your symptoms.

Relaxation Techniques…

Chronic pain can raise your stress levels. Turn to these breathing and relaxation tactics to calm down.● Try these mindfulness techniques specifically geared towards people with chronic pain. ● This soothing yoga sequence can help you get your body moving without exacerbating aches and pains.● These sleep positions will allow you to get the rest you need every night.  

Living with chronic pain can be difficult, but if you’ve just received a chronic pain diagnosis of some kind, you will quickly find that knowledge is power. The more you learn about your condition and potential treatment options, the better you’ll feel. By referencing these resources, you’ll be able to research the best ways to manage your pain.

Guest post from Jackie Waters

8 INTERESTING FACTS ABOUT BACK PAIN…

Here are eight really interesting facts about back pain.

1.Up to 7% of people with acute back pain will develop chronic back pain. These chronic patients have considerable discomfort and account for approximately 80% of the social and health care costs.

2. Severe intermittent back pain that goes down to your groin, could indicate that you have kidney stones.

3. Eighty to 90% of back pain resolves itself within a month to six weeks all on its own.

4. Back pain accounts for almost one fourth of all occupational injuries and illnesses.

5. A survey of back patients revealed that 75% of those who were told they needed surgery recovered successfully without it.

6. Most cases of back pain are mechanical or non-organic—meaning they are NOT caused by serious conditions, such as inflammatory arthritis, infection, fracture or cancer. But rather poor posture and poor use of the body.

7. The number of given people who have lumbar related pain increases with age.

8. Pain that is worse in the morning and improves with movement and stretching is often indicative of a muscle related issue or injury.