As summer is fading, fall is knocking on our doors with more bearable cool air, and changing trees. Some find themselves outside more, breathing it all in.
Is being outside better for our health?
Here are the perks:
Your vitamin D levels rise. Sunlight hitting the skin begins a process that leads to the creation and activation of vitamin D. Studies suggest that this vitamin helps fight certain conditions, from osteoporosis and cancer to depression and heart attacks. Limited sun exposure (don’t overdo it), supplemented with vitamin D pills if necessary, is a good regimen.
You’ll get more exercise. If you make getting outside a goal, that should mean less time in front of the television and computer and more time walking and doing other things that put the body in motion.
You’ll be happier. Light tends to elevate people’s mood, and there’s usually more light available outside than in. Physical activity has been shown to help people relax and cheer up, so if being outside replaces inactive pursuits with active ones, it might also mean more smiles.
Your concentration will improve. Children with ADHD seem to focus better after being outdoors. It might be a stretch to say that applies to adults, but if you have trouble concentrating, outdoor activity may help.
You may heal faster. In one study, people recovering from spinal surgery experienced less pain and stress and took fewer pain medications when they were exposed to natural light. An older study showed that the view out the window (trees vs. a brick wall) helped recovery in the hospital.
When you have a long and detailed medical history it is important to have a way to keep track of it all. Even if there is limited information, it doesn’t hurt to stay organized, and its beneficial for yours and your doctor’s visits.
Here are some tips and key things to keep track of:
Create a doctor directory.
Jot down all health care providers, their contact info and the role they play in care. This record is especially important if you are a caregiver juggling many contacts and appointments for a loved one.
Keep these records at the ready.
Key records more than a year old may be packed away. But keep documents from the past year readily accessible, including:
- A family health history (particularly parents, siblings and grandparents)
- A personal health history (conditions, how they’re being treated and how well they’re controlled, as well as important past information such as surgeries, accidents and hospitalizations)
- Doctor visit summaries and notes
- Hospital discharge summaries
- Pharmacy printouts that accompanied prescribed medications. In a study of patients taking blood pressure drugs, about 40 percent were unable to name a single one of their medications.
- Test results (such as blood work, urine tests, X-rays, MRIs, bone density scans, mammograms and prostate screenings). If you or your loved ones have certain lab tests done regularly, a record will enable you to track changes from year to year and ask informed questions.
- Insurance forms related to medical treatment
- Legal documents such as a living will and medical power of attorney
Log symptoms and side effects.
If you or a loved one has a chronic condition, keep a log of relevant factors like blood pressure and blood sugar. If you can, include the time of day so that your doctor can help figure out whether changes in your health measurements are related to the condition or to medications. Note any changes in nutrition, activity and stress levels.
Also, keep a log of how you or your loved one responded to any medications and treatments. Be specific with the name of the medication, the dose and what happened. This record will come in handy when trying to determine adverse effects of treatments down the line.
Take advantage of technology.
Health care providers, hospitals and insurance plans may offer online records that you can access. Apps and programs can help you manage health records—ask your primary care doctor for recommendations.
If you use any online tools, be sure to record (and share with a backup contact) the log-ins and passwords.
Whether you use high-tech record keeping or a good old-fashioned box or file folder, be sure to keep several copies of your medical records. If you can keep one in your car or purse it will ensure you always have it when you go to the doctor or if you unexpectedly end up in the hospital. It’s also smart to stash a copy of health records in a safe and/or with someone else in case of natural disaster.
For more information visit: https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/healthy_aging/caregiver_resources/medical-records-getting-organized
Setup your appointment with Norman Interventional Pain today & don’t forget to keep track.
Yoga helps relieve chronic pain
Yoga can help people with arthritis, fibromyalgia, migraine, low back pain, and many other types of chronic pain conditions. A study published in Annals of Internal Medicine found that among 313 people with chronic low back pain, a weekly yoga class increased mobility more than standard medical care for the condition. Another study published at nearly the same time found that yoga was comparable to standard exercise therapy in relieving chronic low back pain.
A meta-analysis of 17 studies that included more than 1,600 participants concluded that yoga can improve daily function among people with fibromyalgia osteoporosis-related curvature of the spine. Practicing yoga also improved mood and psychosocial well-being.
What does a typical yoga session look like?
Yoga sessions typically last from 45 to 90 minutes. But you can also benefit from practicing yoga at home for 10 to 20 minutes a few times a week. Video recordings with yoga instruction are widely available.
A session generally begins with breathing exercises to relax the body and help free the mind of worries and distractions. Breathing deeply through the nose is a vital component of yoga. The session then proceeds through a series of seated, standing, and prone yoga postures. These postures are known as asanas. Some asanas are held for a few seconds to a few minutes. Holding the body correctly in the various postures and breathing into them to stretch farther is important. But don’t push your body farther than it wishes to go. And stop if you feel any pain. The sessions typically end with breathing and meditation.
Yoga postures may be modified as needed
Asanas can be modified to accommodate your strength and experience, as well as any health conditions. People with multiple sclerosis, for instance, can do yoga on a chair rather than the floor, as is traditional. Be sure to tell your instructor about any limiting health problems. That way, he or she can warn you against certain positions that may aggravate your pain and instruct you in appropriate modifications.
Everyone reacts differently to the chemicals that are used in cancer treatments. That is why some might suffer some pain after receiving cancer treatments. Surprisingly, some cancer treatments can cause as much pain as actual cancer itself.
There are a few ways on how to treat pain caused by cancer and its treatments. One way is to remove the cause of the pain, which could be a tumor, through surgery, radiation, chemotherapy and other treatments. If the pain is the outcome of some of the recently mentioned cancer treatments, then over-the-counter and prescription pain relievers can be used.
If pills are not your choice of medication then you could be able to use medicated shots, a skin patch or rectal suppositories. If those options don’t work, then a nerve block could help. A nerve block is a local anesthetic that is injected into or around a nerve to prevent it from sending pain messages to the brain. Other treatments that might work is acupuncture, massage, acupressure, physical therapy, meditation and hypnosis.
The first step to find the proper pain management is to talk to your provider. Together you will be able to figure out the best treatment that will keep you comfortable.
If you have any questions on cancer pain management give us a call at (405) 701-4909.
When you take an over-the-counter pain reliever, do you make sure it is after you have food in your stomach and had a tall glass of water? If not, maybe you should.
It is easy to forget that over-the-counter pain relievers have a recommended dosage and have side effects. Those effects can range from mood swings, elevated blood pressure, to kidney damage, heart attack and even death.
Some consumers can also become dependent on the pills. On average, 1 in 10 exceeds the daily dosage recommended for over-the-counter pain relievers. It is easier than you think to exceed the daily recommendation. You can exceed it by mixing medicine that has the same active ingredients too closely together, like Tylenol and Nyquil. Some believe taking extra medicine will give them extra strength against pain, which is false. Yet they truly believe it is true and exceed the recommended dosage without worry.
If you are looking into using an over-the-counter acetaminophen as part of a daily routine, please consult your doctor. They will be able to give you a proper routine to help reduce potential side effects.
If you have any questions about over-the-counter pain relievers, don’t hesitate to call your favorite medical professional.
A feeling of intense pain after a surgery or illness can be known as a type of neuralgias. The pain can feel like a stabbing, burning sensation or just severe pain in any part of the body. Some of the most common causes of neuralgia are aging, illness or infection.
Here are some of the most common:
Diabetic neuropathy is pain associated with diabetes mellitus. Some symptoms can include pain and numbness in the legs, issues with the bladder, digestion problems and controlling heart rate. Treatment managing blood sugar can help reduce symptoms.
Peripheral neuropathy is pain caused by nerve damage. Symptoms include a pins-and-needles sensation, numbness and weakness. Some treatments are pain-relieving creams, antidepressants and pain medications. To pick the adequate treatment your doctor must find the underlying cause of the pain.
Phantom limb pain occurs when a body part has been amputated but you feel pain as if that body part was still there. The pain could feel like an electric shock, burning, pins-and-needles and other aches. At times the pain will fade away as your brain becomes aware that there is no longer a limb. For the time being, treatment can include antidepressants and painkillers.
Post-herpetic can happen at the end of a shingles episode. These pain symptoms can range from moderate to debilitating. Treatment will depend on the severity of the pain.
If you are experiencing pain after an illness or surgery, please call your physician. If the pain continues and with your physician’s recommendation visit a pain management specialist.
One way to live with incurable pain is to focus on a distraction. That is why virtual reality has slowly been integrating itself into the medical world.
The first time VR technology was used for a pain management study was in 2000. Two separate burn victims undergoing burn wound care were handed virtual reality goggles to help distract them from their treatments. The study demonstrated a decrease in anxiety, pain levels and the amount of time the patients spent thinking about pain. This form of distraction has also been tested on patients suffering from various cases of chronic pain. The study also showed that using VR technology during treatments helped maintain the patients’ pulse rate and pain ratings at normal levels.
In the last few years, VR distraction has been implemented in some hospitals. VR technology is being used to help keep patients- particularly children- still during long MRI or CAT scans. It has yet been truly implemented into pain management plans because of cost and a limited amount of research completed.
Samsung recently announced their collaboration with Travelers Insurance, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Bayer and Applied VR in funding a 16-month study on VR distraction.
Who knows, maybe after this study, VR distraction could become part of your new pain management plan.
Whenever you go into a doctor’s office they always ask you to describe your pain. Whether it is bearable or not, it truly helps to describe your pain as accurately as possible for a proper diagnosis.
Here are some terms that may be helpful:
- Dull pain- A slow or weak pain, not very sudden or strong.
- Throbbing pain– A pain that surges, beats, or pounds.
- Steady pain- A pain that does not change in its intensity.
- Sharp pain- Pain that causes intense mental or physical distress, that may feel “knife-like.”
- Acute pain- Severe pain that lasts a relatively short period of time.
- Chronic or persistent pain- Mild to severe pain that is present to some degree for long periods of time.
- Breakthrough pain- When you are taking medication for chronic pain, moderate to severe pain that occurs between doses is pain that “breaks through”.
The holidays are always fun and stress-free…for kids. For anyone in charge of making the magic happen, the holiday season can be stressful. The holidays can be a trigger for pain flares. Here are a few tips to keep in mind to help prevent pain flares:
- Don’t Indulge Too Much: Taking a few bites of those holiday goodies isn’t necessarily a bad thing. To help from over-indulging eat healthy snacks before your favorite holiday goodies. This will help you from possibly gaining a few extra pounds that could put stress on your joints and spine.
- Have a Light Schedule: Don’t double book yourself or book too many back to back activities. Avoid over working your body from rushing from party to party. Also keep in mind the time you spend in a vehicle sitting down. This could cause back pain flares. Just pace yourself and take breaks to relax. This will help release tense you might be building up on your body from stress.
- Remember to Sleep: After a long day of holiday cheer remember to give your body a break. Try your best to stick to your normal sleep schedule. Having a poor night’s sleep can cause more pain the following day. Your grandparents were not lying when they said a good night’s rest does the body wonders.
- Avoid Heated Topics: Getting into a heated argument with friends and family members can add stress to your body resulting in a pain flare. Steer clear of stressful situations by having an escape plan or coming up with topics to help transition the conversation. There is no complete way to dodge your Aunt’s side comment but we can control how we react to it.
The best way to help avoid pain flares is to try to reduce the stress you place on your body. Remember to enjoy the holidays, but know it is ok to take a break from all the activities.
From watching your favorite team play or going to your kid’s sports games it is always exciting but sitting in the stands for hours can be a painful experience! There are things you can do to prevent what’s called “bleacher back”.
At the next big game you attend, keep your back health in mind by remembering to:
- Maintain good posture and sit up straight.
- Bring along or purchase a stadium chair, blanket or lawn chair to cushion the bleacher and better support your back.
- Stand to cheer as often as you can. This encourages movement to keep things loose.
- When you feel pain, get up and move around or stretch your hamstrings and hip flexors.
- Work on strengthening your core before the game
- Have half of your body weight in fluid in ounces per day
By following the steps above and actively keeping yourself hydrated, you are going to have less inflammation and can sit for a longer period of time.