Chronic Pain IS A Disease, Not Just A Symptom Say Experts...

This is an article I found on the Health Central website
I've posted the LINK at the bottom of the article.

Will a fresh look at Pain overcome drug barriers?

Barriers to understanding pain are starting to fall and scientists and drug firms say a fresh approach is producing potential new drugs to hit where it hurts.
Millions of people across the world suffer chronic pain -- such as nerve, joint or muscle pain that lasts weeks, months or years -- and many fail to get adequate relief, partly because doctors have a relatively scant grasp of what causes it.
But new imaging techniques, a recognition that the brain's responses are central to pain and a growing realization of pain's cost to society, mean the scientific community is now pushing for it to be redefined as a disease in its own right.
As pain moves status from symptom to disease, interest among some of the biggest drug firms is picking up.
Pfizer, the world's mightiest drugmaker, has a large pain research team working on a portfolio of drugs, some of which are generating excitement in the field.
"The science has moved on considerably," from Martin Mackay, Pfizer's head of research and development.

He said new technologies allow more objective measuring of pain, adding: "Our knowledge of targets and human genetics has taken a real step forward in the last few years."

Science is shifting attitudes too.
Irene Tracey of the Pain Imaging Neuroscience Group at Oxford University published a study last year which reviewed 10 years of imaging research and found chronic pain is linked to functional, structural and chemical changes in the brain.
So, pain is very much in the mind, and the brain's responses to it are key to what it feels like and how long it goes on.

"Pain doesn't exist until the brain gets hold of it. And one of the things brain imaging has been very good at is taking away some of the myths and cultural biases against pain," she said at a meeting of experts in London earlier this month.

"Chronic pain fits the definition of a disease," she said.

Pain, however, can be a tricky condition to medicate, as the numbers of sufferers show, and not all drugmakers are convinced it is a profitable area. Britain's GlaxoSmithKline said last month it was cutting research in the field.
Many pain killers around today, from products like aspirin or paracetamol to opiates used for cancer pain, rely on mechanisms of action exploited since Egyptian times or were found as side effects of drugs developed for other things.


The sheer size of the problem shows the need for more effective drugs. Pain hurts, in more ways than one.
In Britain alone, it affects about 7.8 million people, about 13 percent of the population, and a 2002/03 survey by a group called Pain in Europe estimated that as many as one in five Europeans suffers chronic pain.
Studies show that around 22 percent of people with chronic pain become depressed and 25 percent go on to lose their jobs.
Pain is estimated to cost more than 200 billion euros a year in Europe and $150 billion in the United States.
"It has huge ramifications, not only for the person themselves but also for society as a whole," said Beverly Collett, a consultant in pain medicine at the University Hospital of Leicester in central England.
In recognition of this, the European Union's Innovative Medicines Initiative gave some of its first grants to pain researchers to work with pharmaceutical firms to try to speed up the process of finding new drugs.
Steve McMahon, director of the London Pain Consortium, said his group and several others in Europe were now working with about 10 major drug companies to push the field forward.


Among the most promising drug prospects is tanezumab from Pfizer, which McMahon says is "the first drug in a long time to have originated from basic science identifying the biological problem and suggesting a therapy."
Pfizer's MacKay is naturally upbeat about the experimental medicine -- an antibody currently in late-stage trials for osteoarthritis caused by wear and tear of the joints. He named it among the firm's top picks for "blockbuster potential".
McMahon hopes it will be the first of many.
Another potential from Pfizer is a drug based on work by British scientists who identified a genetic mutation several years ago that prevents those who have it from feeling pain.
The gene clue was found in a Pakistani boy -- and members of three related families -- who had become a local celebrity as a street performer, stunning crowds by plunging knives through his arms and walking on burning coals.
The experimental drug seeks to mimic the gene mutation and block a sodium channel which normally produces nerve impulses that convey pain signals to the brain.
"This is the way that pain (research) is going to go now, where you have very strong human genetic evidence and you're able to mount really large campaigns against tough targets and then take them through to the clinic," MacKay said.

For Tracey, scientific progress will only keep its momentum if society agrees pain is something scientists should fight.
"You can still hear it in the language, with expressions like 'no pain no gain'," she said.
"These are real barriers that we have to get over in society if we're really going to accept that we should be treating pain and putting more money into it."

Last Updated: 03-19-2010
By K.K. Kelland -London

Chronic Pain Is Very Disabling...

ok, just wanted to clarify that.
Because in the last 12 yrs that I have had to deal with my pain issues I've encountered many people who think that having pain (as in 24 hrs/day) should not be a problem that you cannot handle.
Some think you should just "get over it" & "just deal with it" or "stop whining" or "how bad could it really be" or my fav - "well, I have pain too" as I have been told on occasion...

Chronic Pain HAS been officially defined as a Chronic Disease/Illness/Condition in and of itself now.
So not only are most people dealing with the 'initial' disease or condition that they have been diagnosed with, but now also have to deal with living IN pain 24/7.
As in ALL the time.
As in EVERY second, of EVERY minute, of EVERY DAY of your life.

Now, it has taken me alot of years and alot of trial & error to find what works for me specifically - cause every persons pain tolerance levels are NOT the same (although I've had an actual 'Dr.' try & convince me that I shouldn't be in as much pain as someone 'older' than me-???, uh ok...)
So, that being said... don't listen to others try and tell You about YOUR pain.
It's yours...  In Your body. YOU are going thru it, living it, feeling it.
Not THEM....  How could they possibly know what you are actually feeling inside your own body -??

As I've mentioned before, the best approach that has worked 'for me' & for many others is of course your medications, (that will differ person-to-person depending on your 'initial' condition too), BUT the main point I am wanting to get across is doing just ONE thing isn't going to be AS effective as doing/trying Several Types of therapies TOGETHER...

Probably first and most important is just having/living a healthy lifestyle in general.
No smoking, no drinking(alcohol), eating the healthiest, freshest, natural food that you can.
Maintaining a healthy weight for your height - you all know those charts we dislike...
Look into & research thru the internet and books about eating healthy.
I even did alot of research into the Eastern Philosophy approach to diet (ie:Ayurvedic diet would be one).
Doctor-approved stretches every AM/PM (I am dealing with spinal/lumbar issues).
Modified Yoga & Pilates are great for helping with pain issues. (You need to keep your body as strong/fit as possible).
Get a YMCA membership (they now have scholarships based on your income).
At the YMCA - you can do water therapy/exercises, just indoor walking on a treadmill greatly helps your body. - most have saunas (good for toxin release) & whirlpool for hydrotherapy (muscle-stress relief).
Consider saving up to purchase a new mattress set. (I have a Sleep Number bed & I LOVE It!)
Spinal Decompression (is an expensive therapy) - BUT, I found an inversion table on sale (and a floor model) at walmart for under $80.
And I've mentioned before... Meditation, Relaxation therapies ARE So Effective, I never realized until I started researching and trying different methods to see what worked best for me... (again everyone  is different in what works for them, but at least try.)
Accupuncture, accupressure, reiki, massage - even just getting a manicure/pedicure or facial would be relaxing to your mind & body.
There is also aromatherapy, sound therapy, color or chromatherapy, art therapy(painting, knitting,crafts,etc.)
Cognitive Behavioral therapy which is just a fancy term for - Don't let yourself get stressed out! *lol*
Think Positive - Do Affirmations - which is actually good to do along with meditation.
I'm guessing a good example of thinking positive/affirmations would be the movie "The Secret".
If you haven't seen it, you can do a search on Youtube and watch it for free.
So most of all just take care of yourself...
- And pamper yourself -  not just physically, but mentally, emotionally and spiritually.

Because one thing that I am absolutely 100% sure of  *and it's being scientifically proven more each year* and that is that THE MOST effective treatments out there are "Mind & Body" combined.
You can - not treat one without the other... I mean they ARE connected, are they not..??

ok... whew. wow, that was a long post... are you tired of reading yet?  lol
well here are a couple of  links I found that might be helpful to some out there.
Look them over & let me know some feedback on them - I/m not real familiar w/these ones yet.

Love & Blessings to ALL,

What We All Need To Do More Of....


Yes, it is very true.....
as you will read about from the LINK below and in my next round of articles, your "state of mind" has ALOT to do with your pain.
So please check out this LINK and some of the other informative and helpful articles on his site.

**and KNOW that you are not alone in this**
I am here(w/this blog) to help you out as much as I possibly can, cause I am right HERE with you living in "our world" of PAIN.
Together we WILL find ways/solutions to this detrimental issue!!

Love & Blessings to you All...

Reduce Stress: Ten Stress Relief Tips


Control Your Thought... Control Your Pain.

I will elaborate more on this post later in the day... I have to run out for the moment, but wanted to post this as soon as I found it.
Yes, it IS true... The MORE you can control your thought patterns (ie: negative thoughts DO cause Stress), the LESS pain you will experience/feel.
How do I know? I am living it. I have tried EVERYTHING to help lower my pain levels & being more positive DID make a difference for me.
Did I think it would? - I was skeptical...
How do you go about this? Well, for me I started trying to learn meditation and everything I could about "Relaxation Therapies"
Like I said... more on this subject tonight, but here for you now is a LINK (under my name) to get you started reading about this topic.
*this site has TONS of great articles, that are very informative*
The main site is:
Love & Blessings,
How to Discipline Your Mind


Holistic Therapies used in Combination WITH Medications...

This article is a Q&A with a Pain Doctor who has had success when combining therapies.

On a personal note:
I myself have had my best "success" in dealing with my pain/conditions when I have combined various types of therapies. Although I now realize that I will probably always have to take certain medications to control the severity of my pain (intensity-levels), I am also aware that there ARE other types of holistic healing therapies that have helped in combination with the meds.
--I will elaborate more on this topic in a future blog entry.--

Physician Looks to Safest, Gentlest, Most Effective Methods to Treat Pain and Stress...
*An Interview with Woodson Merrell, MD*

Trained as an internist at Columbia Medical School, Woodson Merrell, MD, Executive Director of the Continuum Center for Health and Healing at Beth Israel Medical Center found that when he got out to practice, he lacked the tools needed to help many of his patients, particularly those with functional problems caused by stress, inadequate exercise, and poor nutrition. For his patients with more serious problems, he wanted to find modalities that could be used as adjuncts to conventional care and expand his options beyond pharmaceuticals or surgery.

Merrell trained in most of the practices included in integrative or complementary medicine, and in 1994, started one of the nations first courses in complementary and alternative medicine for medical students at Columbia. Today, as Executive Director of the 16-month-old Continuum Center for Health and Healing at Beth Israel Medical Center, he combines conventional care with alternative methods.
Merrell says, "we use whatever is safest, gentlest, and most effective for the patient regardless of what tradition it came from. As much as possible, we use an evidence-based approach, but certainly would consider an herbal remedy that's been around for twenty-five hundred years - that's a significant enough empirical trial."

Q. As a physician practicing integrated medicine, how do you view and treat pain?

Merrell: People with pain fall into many categories - from those with run-of-the-mill temporary types of pain to those with severe, crippling neurologic problems. I usually get patients in the earlier stages where the problems are less severe. For those patients, I try to use modalities that will nip their pain in the bud without having to risk the side effects of pharmaceuticals. As physician practicing integrated medicine, I encourage the use of all gentle remedies that can help reduce a person's pain and hopefully eliminate the need for more drastic forms of treatment.

"But, I have no problems prescribing opioids when needed".

Q. What are some of the most effective ways people can address their stress and pain?

Merrell: We need to address the causes of stress. If someone's in the middle of a divorce or a horrible home situation, for example, cognitive behavioral therapy can be a very valuable tool. In terms of what people can do on their own, first, they should eliminate bad habits that are often used to relieve stress, but are really harmful such as drinking too much coffee or alcohol, smoking cigarettes, and eating comfort foods. These may be rewarding in the short term, but whenused as a perpetual remedy, they seriously contribute to the problem.

They should also consider pursuing activities that are rewarding, satisfying, and relaxing such as walking in the park, listening to Bach, playing a sport. Group social support is also extremely beneficial. Group therapy can help, but so can talking with friends and loved ones.
Mind-body techniques are the most powerful way to reduce stress in the long-term. And of those techniques, meditation is the most effective way of all. It can change physiologic functioning. Meditation that is spiritually-focused has been shown to have even more dramatic effects. For many people it's often hard to meditate - and the people who need it the most often have the greatest trouble. They're either bothered by problems in the past or worrying about the future. They have trouble focusing on the present moment - which is where they have to be.
Imagery can also be useful. It is a conscious meditation technique. You focus on something you want to change within - whether its pain or a tumor. Hypnosis and biofeedback are also useful mind-body techniques. But, these are different from meditation because they are conscious-focusing exercise.
Meditation is a way of disengaging conscious thought processes and going to a much deeper place of relaxation. People can do mind-body techniques on their own, but would benefit by going to someone who can teach them how to do it and set practices in the beginning.

Q. Let's get back to mind-body medicine. Can you give a brief description of what it is?

Merrell: The mind and body are inseparable - they are one. Every cell has an immediate feedback from the brain and nervous system - so there is no separation - it's a false distinction.
The mind is the most powerful healing tool. Mind-body approaches allow us to realize the full potential of the mind in producing a change in how you think, feel, and act - whether emotional spiritual, or physical.

Q. As a trained acupuncturist, will you describe the benefits of this treatment for stress and pain?

Merrell: Acupuncture forces the nervous system to relax. It raises endorphins and mitigates the pain. It can actually help heal some pain syndromes - it doesn't heal a herniated disk - but it can reduce the level of pain you feel. And it can produce an instant deep meditation - give a jump start to the process and show people what they're capable of. Sit them down, plug them in, and let the endorphins do their thing.
Acupuncture is very underutilized by conventional medicine. It's a gentle tool for helping control pain and stress. But mind-body is easier because you can meet with a teacher two or three times and then go off and do it yourself. With acupuncture, you have to continue visits and paying. Mind-body is the most powerful in the long term.

Q. How do you see your role as a physician?

Merrell: The physician should be looked at as an educator and partner in helping the patient find the best modalities for optimum health. It's also vital that the patient is engaged in the process.

The mind is the most powerful healing tool.

Last Updated: 08/10/09



Yes my darlings,  You DO have rights as a patient...  Hell, as a human being to NOT Live in Pain!

I found an online copy of this document. This can be vital information for you to have to help insure that you will receive the quality medical care that we all deserve.
So save this information & print it out or retype it and take it with you to your appointments.
And if your doctor or a healthcare worker ever tries to tell you, "Oh well, we all have to put up with or live in a little pain now and then".
Well, now you can calmly and confidently show them this document:
YOUR -- Patient 'Pain Care' Bill of Rights and inform them that you have done research on the subject and found that you Do Not have to Live with or Live in, pain ever again...

Pain Care Bill of Rights
As a person with pain, you have the right to:
• Have your report of pain taken seriously and to be treated with dignity and respect by doctors, nurses, pharmacists, social workers and other healthcare professionals.
• Have your pain thoroughly assessed and promptly treated.
• Participate actively in decisions about how to manage your pain.
• Be informed and know your options: talk with your healthcare provider about your pain - possible cause(s), treatment options, and the benefits, risks and costs of each choice.
• Have your pain reassessed regularly and your treatment adjusted if your pain has not been eased.
• Be referred to a pain specialist if your pain persists.
• Get clear and prompt answers to your questions, take time to make decisions, and refuse a particular type of treatment if you choose.
--These are the rights you should expect for your pain care.

*Helpful Hints on Your Road to Pain Relief*
Managing your pain is an important step to reclaim your life.
--The earlier you seek treatment, the better.

• Only YOU know the extent of your pain and how it affects your quality of life.  DO NOT be afraid to speak up!

• Remember, there are a variety of drug and non-drug therapies (physical therapy, yoga, meditation) available to effectively control pain; these are typically used in combination with medications.

• Knowledge IS power. Many people living with pain and even some healthcare providers believe that opioid medications are addictive. The truth IS that when properly prescribed by a healthcare professional and taken as directed, these medications give relief - not a “high.”

• Tell your provider what over-the-counter medications, vitamins and supplements you take, at what dose and how often. Also let him or her know about other personal health habits (smoking tobacco, alcohol use), which can interfere with some pain treatments and increase pain levels.

• Keep a pain journal to record the frequency and intensity of your pain. Use descriptive words, such as sharp, crushing, dull, aching, stabbing, shooting or tender. Also, take note of how well your treatment plan is working and what makes your pain worse or better.

• Write down questions you have before each appointment. Bring a relative or friend with you for support and to help take notes and remember what was said.

• Research available support groups and educational programs.

Hope some of this information will be helpful to someone...
If anyone reading this has any questions, concerns or would like an advocate to talk with...
feel free to contact me - leave a comment & I will get back to you and try to help in any way that I can.
Love & Blessings,

American Pain Foundation
201 N. Charles Street, Suite 710
Baltimore, MD 21201-4111
Toll-free information line: 888-615-7246
© 2003, 2007 American Pain Foundation

Top Ten Tips for Finding Quality Health Information Online

Ok, so to start out with here is one article I found that lists some of your basic general health sites.
These ones are your "tried & true" credible and reliable Websites.

People with disability or chronic illness are more likely than Internet users with no chronic conditions to look online for information about various health topics. (according to the Pew Internet & American Life Project).
AND... Those with chronic conditions (*including yours truly*) report that the online searches/results actually affected the decisions they made about their treatment, interactions with their doctors, the ability to cope with their condition and their dieting and fitness regimen.

But PLEASE, keep this in mind...
When using the information found on the Internet to make decisions about your medical care. Double & Triple CHECK the validity of all info.
It is best to use your online research to educate yourself and be a more informed patient when working with your healthcare providers to determine the best treatment for you.

AND VERY IMPORTANT: Please know that *YOU* have the final say in whether you agree with the treatment you are going to receive. (Medications are included in this).
--More on this in a later post, because this IS a very important issue regarding healthcare & your patient rights!--

Click on the LINK below to go to the article and the Health Websites.

As always, Love & Blessings to ALL!

Top Ten Tips for Finding Quality Health Information Online

APF Position Statement on Reformulated Oxycontin

I found this today on the American Pain Foundations Website. (AFP - of which I am also a member)

I think this is a wonderful article and wish more doctors, nurses and healthcare workers would really take the time to read (study & research) different "Pain" related foundations, their websites and all the great information, articles, personal life stories, etc. that are included on them.

Chronic Pain is an extremely disabling condition/disease in and of itself.

Here are a few stats for ya...
76.5 MILLION Americans suffer with/from chronic pain.
Chronic pain affects more than diabetes, heart disease and AND cancer combined.

It is so unfair that patients in LEGIT pain should have to suffer from under-treatment because of a few "bad apples" in the bunch (so to speak)...
*she sighs*
well anyways, here is the LINK to that article/website (below).
and I will be posting more PAIN related websites, links, foundations, etc. later this evening - so be sure and check back.

Love & Blessings to ALL...

APF Position Statement on Reformulated Oxycontin