My MD Clinic Blog

May is Arthritis Awareness Month

Monday, May 14, 2012

Arthritis is a very painful condition in which one or more of a person’s joints are inflamed. This campaign is to educate people on facts and prevention of the condition.

Affecting more than 50 million Americans, arthritis is the leading cause of disability in the United States. The condition is used to describe more than 100 diseases which affect a person’s joints, the area where two bones meet.

Arthritis is the result of a breakdown of cartilage. Joints are typically protected by cartilage, which allow them to move easily. Without an efficient amount of cartilage, the bones rub together causing severe discomfort, swelling, and stiffness.

There are two major types of arthritis. The first is Osteoarthritis, where the joint cartilage breaks down and causes pain and stiffness. The second type, Rheumatoid arthritis, is more severe and is a condition in which the body’s immune system attacks the membrane surrounding the joints, and can lead to joint destruction.

There are many different causes of arthritis; however, there are no known cures for it. The Arthritis Foundation is a non-profit organization working towards finding a cure through education and research.

Although there are no known cures, there are many types of treatment to help reduce pain, improve joint function, and prevent further damage. The types of treatment include exercise programs, such as muscle toning and aerobic activity. Along with this, physical therapy may be recommended. Heating or icing the area, support joints or splints, and massages are proven to help reduce inflammation and pain.

In honor of Arthritis Awareness Month, make sure you get plenty of sleep each night, at least 8 to 10 hours. You should also stay active, make sure you include plenty of fruits and vegetables in your diet, and participate in stress-reducing activities such as yoga or meditation.

April is National Cancer Awareness Month

Friday, April 27, 2012

Cancer is that dreaded six-letter word that unfortunately most of us have experienced- whether through our own personal battle or through a family member or friend. This campaign is to educate people of the facts, prevention and advances in treatment.

After heart disease, cancer is the second leading cause of death in the United States. Over a lifetime about 1 in 2 men and 1 in 3 women in the U.S. will develop cancer. While that sounds like a lot, cancer rates and death have actually been on the decline since the early 90’s. In even better news, the top cancer scientists in the country are feeling optimistic about the ongoing battle with cancer, and DNA is the reason.

When given the DNA of two different patients, typically the samples are going to look more than 99.99 percent the same. It is in that tiny difference that the secret of what is causing cancer is hidden. What is needed then is a drug that can correct the problems caused by DNA damage. Now, thanks to giant leaps in the science of DNA sequencing, there is hope. Scientists now have the technology to be able to see deep enough into the cells and that means they can create new drugs to target what they’re seeing.

While this news leaves us feeling hopeful and optimistic, we should always remember that when it comes to cancer, early detection and prevention is the best treatment. One-third of cancers detected are related to overweight or obesity, physical inactivity and poor diet and nutrition. Be sure you are leading an active lifestyle and maintain and nutritious diet. Also, people who use tobacco, drink heavily and have prolonged and unprotected exposure to sunlight are all at increased risk for certain cancers.

Not only are there new advancements in the treatment of cancer, there are new and more accurate screening methods that allow for earlier detection. This will allow doctors to treat patients before the disease progresses, and the earlier the cancer is found, the better the prognosis.

In honor of National Cancer Awareness Month, implement a better diet and physical activity into your daily routine to lessen your risk of developing the disease and be sure to keep up with all routine screenings. In the meantime, happy –and hopeful- Cancer Awareness Month!

Meditation- A Simple and Fast Stress Reducer

Wednesday, April 18, 2012
April happens to be National Stress Awareness Month. Most people are or have been plagued by stress in their lives- especially those suffering with chronic pain. If stress has you feeling anxious, tense and worried then you should consider trying meditation for stress and pain reduction. This is a simple and fast way to help you feel more relaxed, even spending a few minutes a day in meditation can restore your calmness.

Anyone can practice meditation. It requires no special equipment and you can do it virtually anywhere you feel comfortable.

Meditation has been practiced for thousands of years. It was originally meant to help deepen understanding of the sacred and mystical forces of life. Nowadays, meditation is typically just used for relaxation and stress reduction. It is considered a mind-body complementary medicine, producing a deep state of relaxation and a tranquil mind. Meditation will allow you to clear away the information overload that’s built up in your mind everyday contributing to your stress. You can practice everyday by focusing on steady breathing or central thoughts.

Research suggests that there are some physical health benefits as well. Meditation may help such conditions as high blood pressure, depression, anxiety disorders, asthma and even allergies! Meditation is not a replacement for traditional medical treatment, but may be a useful addition to your other treatments.

There are many types of meditation and relaxation techniques to choose from. Here are a few detailed ways to meditate:

Guided meditation. Sometimes called guided imagery or visualization, with this method of meditation you form mental images of places or situations you find relaxing. You try to use as many senses as possible, such as smells, sights, sounds and textures. You may be led through this process by a guide or teacher.

Mindfulness meditation. This type of meditation is based on being mindful, or having an increased awareness and acceptance of living in the present moment. You broaden your conscious awareness. You focus on what you experience during meditation, such as the flow of your breath. You can observe your thoughts and emotions but let them pass without judgment.

Transcendental meditation. You use a mantra, such as a word, sound or phrase repeatedly silently, to narrow your conscious awareness and eliminate all thoughts from your mind. You focus exclusively on your mantra to achieve a state of perfect stillness and consciousness.

Yoga. You perform a series of postures and controlled breathing exercises to promote a more flexible body and a calm mind. As you move through poses that require balance and concentration, you’re encouraged to focus less on your busy day and more on the moment.

Try out any of these techniques that you feel works best for you and what you enjoy doing. You can adapt your meditation to meet your needs at the moment. Remember there is no right or wrong way to enjoy all of the wonderful mind and body health benefits of meditation!

Can the Weather Affect Joint Pain?

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

The theory that a change in weather can cause joint pains is no longer dismissed as just an old wives’ tale. While there’s no full agreement among scientists that weather does indeed cause pain, but there are plausible theories out there.

One leading theory attributes the joint pains to changes in air pressure. Although many people say that their pain worsens with damp, rainy weather, researchers say that the thing that actually affects people the most is the barometric pressure.

Barometric pressure is the weight of the atmosphere that surrounds us.

The tissues surrounding the joints are kind of like a balloon, and when barometric pressures increase, that can push against the body from the outside, keeping tissues from expanding. So when the barometric pressure drops just before bad weather sets in, it pushes less against the body, allowing the tissues to expand and thus causing pressure and pain on the joint.

While researchers have come to mixed conclusions about whether or not weather changes contribute to pain, barometric pressure is a likely explanation because is does in fact affect people’s bodies.

During weather changes some people will need to increase their pain medications, and you can also take a few other steps to make relief possible:

  • Stay warm. Heat allows muscles to relax, so it’s a soothing way of easing pain. Try dressing in layers or sleeping under an electric blanket.
  • Prevent swelling. Try wearing Spandex gloves at night to keep out fluids in the joints.
  • Keep moving. Exercise and stretching is good for joint pain. Before you go outside during cold weather seasons, try to exercise painful joints to loosen up stiffness.
  • Improve your mood. Sometimes people with chronic pain can feel anxious, depressed and irritable. Try to keep yourself occupied when pain strikes to keep the focus off of the pain. Also, figure out how to get as much sleep as possible and stay active.

Realize that weather-related pain is not permanent. Your body will begin to adjust to barometric changes and move fluids from the joints into circulation, so you will feel less stiff and achy.

Optimize Your Treatment Plan

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Treating chronic pain can be challenging. What is the most frustrating for patients and doctors alike is that the cause of the pain is often unknown. It may take several types or combinations of treatments before you find relief. Medications are often used to treat patients suffering from chronic pain, but doctors have found that usually a combination of treatments works best to reduce chronic pain and increase your ability to function.

Making exercise a routine part of your life can also help to subside your pain. Anything from walking to swimming is sufficient. Many pain sufferers have found yoga to be very successful in their pain management treatment plans. It helps keep your muscles flexible and strong while also providing you with relaxation and reduces stress – which often is a cause or side affect of chronic pain.

Eating a balanced diet is also important. Including getting enough vitamins such as C, B and D. As well as a balanced diet you should be drinking the recommended amount of water; about 8 glasses a day. Discuss a nutrition plan with your doctor and get healthy eating tips.

Getting enough sleep is another way to help manage pain. Unfortunately, those suffering from chronic pain know that sometimes their pain gets in the way of a full night’s rest. Try meditating or ask your doctor about sleep aids. But you will find that getting a solid 7-8 hours of sleep at night will reduce pain and stress.

There are also many complementary therapies that can be implemented into your treatment plan. Acupuncture, meditation and cognitive therapy can all be beneficial to your overall health and pain management.

Be sure to speak with your doctor about any adding any of these treatments into your daily routine along with any medications you may be taking in order to manage your pain to the fullest!

Staying Active with Fibromyalgia

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Fibromyalgia is a chronic syndrome that causes long-term, body-wide pain and tenderness. It effects more women than men and is seen in up to 5 percent of the population. Physical activity is recommended to help patients suffering from fibromyalgia manage their symptoms, keep their bodies strong and maintain their health. While exercising with this condition can be quite a challenge, it is possible.

Many patients prefer aquatic exercise because it is a low-impact activity easier on the joints and bones. Water offers natural resistance, which helps to strengthen muscles without the painful impact the ground may have. Start out by simply walking slowly forwards, backwards and sideways.

Any weight lifting should be done with a light weight and on a chair, ball or lying on a bench. You can also do strength training exercises in the pool. You might also use a stationary bike for cardiovascular exercise.

Stretching is paramount to maintaining flexibility and ease of movement in fibro patients. Your stretches should be long and slow (hold for 15-30 seconds for maximum results). Be sure to stretch before and after workouts.

Struggling with fibromyalgia is difficult, but exercise and staying active is one definite way to keep your mood lifted and can even keep your painful symptoms at bay! Be sure to speak with your doctor before beginning any new exercise plan.

What Exactly is Chronic Pain?

Wednesday, February 29, 2012
Pain is the body’s natural response to harm. When pain receptors at the end of the nerve are turned on by injury or illness, chemical changes indicate that tissues are being damaged. These receptors, called nociceptors, get turned on and send a signal through the spinal cord to the brain. The brain then recognizes the signal as pain.

Chronic pain is pain that lasts a long time. This can be caused by injury or illness, and some doctors begin referring to the pain as “chronic” when it lasts for over a month. However, the medical definition describes it as “chronic” after six months of pain.

There are two types of chronic pain—nociceptive and neuropathic. The types differ based on how it feels, how it’s caused and what treatments may be necessary. Chronic pain can be difficult to manage because it varies so much between different people. For this reason, it is important to seek out a doctor who specializes in pain management. These doctors are often referred to as Pain Specialists. They have training in diagnosing, treating and rehabilitating those with chronic pain. 

Sometimes specialists realize that many chronic pain conditions have no cure so they find ways to best manage the pain. Usually they try many therapies until they find one that is best suited for your personal issue.

Contact one of our Board Certified Physicians and Pain Specialists today and start treatment. Pain relief is only a phone call away. 

Pain Care Bill of Rights

Saturday, May 14, 2011
As a person with pain, you have the right to: My MD Clinic will take your report of chronic pain seriously and to be treated with dignity and respect by doctors, nurses, pharmacists, social workers and other healthcare professionals.

My MD Clinic will have your chronic pain thoroughly assessed and promptly treated. My MD Clinic will have you participate actively in decisions about how to manage your Pain and Anxiety. My MD Clinic will have you be informed and know your options.

My MD Clinic will have you talk with your healthcare provider about your pain, possible cause(s), treatment options, and the benefits, risks and costs of each choice.

My MD Clinic will have your chronic pain reassessed regularly and your treatment adjusted if your pain and anxiety has not been eased.

My MD Clinic's practitioners will give you clear and prompt answers to your questions, take time to make decisions, and you may refuse a particular type of treatment if you choose.

Although not always required by law, these are the rights you should expect for your pain care.

Pain Management

Thursday, May 12, 2011
My MD Clinic is a Healthcare Practitioners referral service. The alternative for Healthcare Practitioners to attend to patient’s pain, whether it’s acute, chronic, mild, or severe. If you are suffering from Chronic Pain your first objective is to form a partnership with our physician. It is necessary for you, the patient, to participate in the management of your disorder, whatever it may be. The Healthcare Practitioners referred by My MD Clinic are specialist in pain management and all have one goal, to treat each patients pain in relation to the patients overall health. Inappropriately treated pain impacts a patient’s Quality of Life, reduces patient’s ability to be productive members of society and increases patient’s use of Health-care Services.

Healing the Hurt

Saturday, April 23, 2011
Since man discovered pain they have been trying ever since to alleviate the pain. Chronic pain has no solutions, just a collection of imperfect options. When asked to describe the ideal form of treatment for chronic pain, every doctor recommended a multifaceted approach that combines medication, physical therapy and psychological support to help patients cope with the knowledge that they will probably never be cured. There are only an estimated 8,000 pain specialists in the U.S. That's one doctor for every 9,500 chronic pain suffers.  Most people who seek treatment for pain are not managed by a board certified specialist.