Are Painkillers the Best Option?

One of the most common reasons for physician visits is for low back pain. The American College of Physicians has announced new guidelines on low back pain treatment. Those guidelines state for doctors to use non-drug approaches before prescribing painkillers. Studies have shown low back pain can be treated with many options: exercise, rehab, acupuncture, mindfulness meditation, tai chi, yoga, biofeedback, spinal manipulation and cognitive behavioral therapy. However, most acute and subacute low back pain tends to improve over time naturally.

The new guidelines also state if the pain lasts longer than three months then it is considered chronic pain. If the pain is chronic then medication can be prescribed for treatment. These new guidelines are set to help the patient and reduce America’s painkiller addiction.  If a patient grows accustomed to painkillers they could be increasing their sensitivity to pain. The less time spent on painkillers the better it is for the body.

Painkillers may be an easy option but not always the best. Speak to your physician to find the best treatment for you.

Why waiting is worse.

Why waiting is worse.

From weeks to months, pain can start and grow. Tiny aches and pains are seen as minor and unimportant. Is it normal to put off going to the doctor for pain complications?Desperate man with headache

The answer is yes. The average person waits 6 months to see a doctor about pain. If your pain is effecting your mobility, and hasn’t decreased in 4 weeks, it’s time to get help. Some symptoms of not receiving proper treatment includes depression and brain shrinkage.

Is exercise not working for you? Trying slow movements rather than fast ones. This can help your body ease into being more active, especially if done in water. Be alert of the narcotics you are taking and how they might react in result of physical activities.

Natural treatments aren’t working? Natural remedies can leave nasty side effects that can affect other parts of your body. Having a professional observe your problems is the safest way to go.

Once you have found a specialists that can treat you, stick to that specialist unless you feel they are treating you improperly. Flopping between specialists can rack up unnecessary bills from test and appointments. If you are confused about the options between surgery and therapy, talk to your specialist.

How to Distract Yourself in Healthy Ways

Your pain is your own – it is unique, and it can be hard to express because only you can feel it. No matter how intense, know your pain is real. There are many ways to deal with pain to supplement treatment. Whether you find these tips helpful or not, we are not trying to minimize your pain or what you go through; we are only offering suggestions for distracting your mind from this unfortunate part of your life.

  1. Know that distraction can be an unhealthy response.

Distraction can be a mechanism used to avoid dealing with difficulty in our lives. Some distractions that might be considered unhealthy include eating when you are in pain or feel stressed, or self-medicating with recreational drugs and alcohol.

  1. Acknowledge the feeling that you’re having.

If your pain seems to be more intense than it should be, then it’s time to get it checked out. You never know what that pain could mean. Your body has a very complex way of reacting to issues within. Distracting yourself can be a great way to reduce the pain, but ignoring it completely could result in more serious problems later on.

  1. Recognize that distractions can help you through unhealthy responses.

Once you realize that you are managing your pain in a healthy way, distractions can be a very helpful supplement. Studies have shown that drinking coffee, watching scary movies, and finding ways to laugh can help put thoughts of your pain on the backburner.

  1. Better yet, find distractions that can be productive

Sometimes, if moving doesn’t worsen your pain, people find comfort in cleaning or organizing things. Knitting has been known to be very calming, and as a result you will have a new blanket or sweater. Cooking can be therapeutic, too.

  1. Try deep breathing techniques

When you focus on breathing deeply, you can help your body release stress and anxiety. Your mind will start to clear as you think only about breathing. [3]

  • Breathe in for a count of four. Hold for a count of four. Exhale for a count of four. Place your hand on your stomach to feel it moving in and out with the breath.

Lower Back Pain Relief Remedies

The most effective and medically efficient relief for lower back pain can be found at Norman Interventional Pain Management. However, as a supplement, these simple natural remedies can provide additional relief.

Release your inner endorphin’s

Endorphin’s are hormones made naturally in your body. A lot of people don’t realize the strength of endorphin’s – they provide the body with its own homemade “medicine!” When endorphin’s are released into the body, they help block pain signals from registering with your brain. Endorphin’s also help alleviate stress, anxiety, and depression, which can all be associated with lower back pain and make it worse.

Try these activities to help release pain-blocking messengers:

  • Aerobic exercise
  • Massage therapy
  • Meditation


Get enough restorative sleep

Pain is a leading cause of insomnia – which refers to difficulty falling asleep and/or staying asleep. Approximately two-thirds of people with chronic back pain suffer from some type of sleep disorder. On top of that, inadequate sleep can make your back pain even worse. This vicious cycle can make lower back pain even harder to treat. There are many treatments to help with sleep trouble.

Exercise your core

The muscles in your abs and back play a critical role in supporting your lower spine. These muscles do not get adequately stretched and worked out throughout an average day; they need to be specifically targeted through exercise. There are many core workouts that can be completed in 20-30 minutes as part of your daily routine.

 Back Exercises and Abdominal Exercise Recommendations

Soothe the pain with cold and/or hot

Many underestimate the power of simply placing a heating or cooling pack on the ailing section to help the pain and healing process.

Cold application has two primary benefits:

  • It reduces inflammation, which is usually a culprit in any type of back pain.
  • It acts as a local anesthetic by slowing down nerve impulses, which keeps the nerves from spasming and causing pain.

Heat application has two primary benefits:

  • It stimulates blood flow, which brings healing nutrients to the affected area of the low back.
  • It inhibits the pain messages being sent to the brain.

It is important to determine which solution works best for you.


Stretch your hamstrings twice daily

One often overlooked contributor to lower back pain is tight hamstrings. If your hamstring muscles are too stiff, your lower back joints will become stressed, leading to more pain. Hamstring stretching should be done carefully and twice per day.


Engage your brain

Pain specialists have long understood that pain is not absolute – it is more complex than just a physical sensation. The way your brain interprets pain signals has a lot to do with what you feel and the way you feel it. You can develop skills that help your brain ignore or reduce the pain signals it receives.

See Chronic Pain Coping Techniques – Pain Management


Bonus Tip: Find activities that make you happy!

Some people find that even doing 3 things per day that make them happy can have a hugely positive impact on their battle with pain – whether it be walking the dog, watching a favorite TV show or movie, a cup of tea, gardening, or knitting, taking time to do your favorite things can help distract from the negative and focus on the positive.



5 Things You Should Know About Chronic Pain

  1. Your Pain is Real

Having chronic pain sometimes means that you are treated as if you are over exaggerating or even making your pain up. While it is sometimes true that people use pain for attention, that doesn’t mean that yours is not real or present. It can be a problem because pain can be hard to diagnose – it can’t be seen on a scan like a tumor or broken bone. When it comes to measuring and understanding pain, science is still a little behind. However, great strides are being taken and a lot of pain is still very manageable.

  1. Chronic Pain Often Leads to Disuse Syndrome


Chronic pain has been known to lead to a long-term lack of physical activity and a condition known as disuse syndrome. This syndrome can negatively impact your musculoskeletal, cardiovascular, neurological, and psychological and emotional processes. Pain leading to more pain? No thank you. Treating your chronic pain can help prevent disuse syndrome from developing.


  1. Pain Leads to Difficulty Sleeping and Depression

Thoughts and feelings related to your pain can make the pain itself even worse. In other words, being in pain all the time can make you depressed about being in pain all the time. Lack of sleep caused by pain can intensify said pain – it’s a vicious cycle. Often all symptoms related to the pain must be treated in order for the pain to see alleviation.

  1. Pain Is Deeply Personal

Everyone experiences and expresses pain differently. Even if two people have identical conditions, they could act and present symptoms in very different ways. Everyone expresses their pain on their own terms based on a number of different factors.

  1. Chronic Pain is Lonely

After an extended period of time, a person with a form of chronic pain (especially one that can’t be seen) can start to feel very isolated. The Internet has made a huge difference in helping with this with the popularity of online forums and support groups. Having a clear understanding of your pain as well as the role your mind plays in it can help improve a mindset as well.

There are so many related issues to chronic pain that it would be hard to list – this is simply to get the conversation started. Once you realize these things, it’s time to get help. Norman Interventional Pain Management devotes their entire practice to alleviating pain – it’s time to see how they can help you.

Gardening Benefits

Sometimes, the one thing you need most in your life, is a distraction. Most of the time we try to avoid them, like when trying to focus on personal priorities, but in certain instances they can do a lot of good. One of these instances is when we’re in pain. Whether it be emotional or physical pain, taking your mind off of it can sometimes be the best treatment. A lot of times it helps if these distractions are enjoyable or fun, yet relaxing so as not to worsen your pain. The idea is to lessening it. Many people enjoy turning to nature to find tranquility and escape DSC_0623their troubles.

Gardening can be a very rewarding hobby. Not only does it give you an outlet for your idle hands, but you get to watch something that you are responsible for grow and blossom. Working outside can double as a way to take your mind off of your ailments and soak in the relaxing
attributes of nature.

When trying to find a distraction from your pain, consider gardening, or at least spending time in a garden. Sometimes, the aforementioned “nature relaxation” factor can be enough to soothe you in some way. Read a book, knit, solve a crossword puzzle, or spend time with friends and family in a garden and forget about your pain in no time.

For some inspiration, check out this article. It might not feature any in Oklahoma, but it can give you a peek into how some other folks enjoy gardens.

Travel Tips for Chronic or Fibromyalgia Pain

Summer is here, and you know what that means: vacation time! While the prospect of summer vacations is an exciting one for most, to those with chronic pain, it can be a real source of stress. Planning ahead for ways to enjoy your vacation and manage your pain simultaneously can alleviate that stress and allow for a fun-filled experience! Here are 10 ways to improve your trip from the National Fibromyalgia & Chronic Pain Association website.

  1. Plan for pleasure – and make sure to remember it!
    1. Plan ahead of time the activities or excursions you want to take part in – ones you really know you’ll enjoy. Don’t forget to document your vacation so that you will have pictures and videos to look back on when you return home.
  2. Get your prescriptions and supplements stocked ahead of time.
    1. Make sure you get your prescriptions filled at least 10 days before you leave so that you aren’t caught without your medicine away from home.493x335_fibromyalgia_health_check
  3. Prepare for comfortable sleep.
    1. The last thing you want is to lose sleep on vacation. This is your chance to relax and rejuvenate! Pack a mattress topper or air mattress to cushion unfamiliar beds. Many prefer to sleep with their own pillow, so go ahead and take yours with you!
  4. Ask for assistance.
    1. Don’t be afraid to ask for special accommodations or help while on vacations. Most hotels are happy to fill your specifications – such as a room closer to the elevator, or a bathroom with a shower but no tub. Making sure these details are in order can make all the difference in your level of satisfaction on vacation.
  5. Do your stretches!
    1. A lot of the time traveling will include sitting or staying in one place for extended periods of time, such as in the car or on a plane. Make sure to stop driving and stretch your legs every two hours or so, and on a plane you can make a walk to the bathroom really count.
  6. Sleep is NOT overrated.
    1. Do all the fun activities on your trip that you want to do, but don’t forget about your 8 hours of sleep. Like we said before, it is important to feel rested after your vacation even if you have a full itinerary planned. Nothing ruins a day faster than feeling exhausted.
  7. Take good care of your feet.
    1. Make sure to wear good, supportive shoes especially if you are going to be doing a lot of walking. Sore feet are a nuisance no one wants when trying to enjoy a vacation, so be sure to kick back and put them up at the end of the day.
  8. Be careful of what you eat.Man having a back pain over gray background
    1. Enjoy the local fare, but maybe only one meal a day. Keep the other two simple and easy on the stomach.
  9. Don’t try to see it all.
    1. It’s better to see what you truly want to see and see it fully than try to see everything you vacation spot has to offer. Don’t overdo it!
  10. Allow plenty of time.
    1. Delays when traveling are almost inevitable. Make sure you plan for unexpected detours or slip-ups so that you aren’t rushing from place to place. Building extra time into your schedule can really be a stress-saver later on.

Overall, planning is the key to an enjoyable vacation, despite pain. Don’t let it ruin all your fun.

If your pain has been around for a while and is getting to be unmanageable, give us a call at Norman Interventional Pain Management and let us help get to the bottom of it.

Norman Pain Management

Don’t let pain hold you back from living a joyful life. Pain can slow you down at work and keep you from enjoying precious time with your family and friends. Even minor chronic pains and aches can affect your everyday life.

No matter how big or long-standing your pain, there’s a good chance you can first find relief and then go on to reach your physical potential. Pain management clinics like Norman Pain Management can help you with a variety of treatment options. Don’t settle for a life of pain. Get your joy of living back!

Foods that fight Inflammation

Foods that fight Inflammation

Did you know what you eat can affect inflammation or lack thereof? It’s true.

Foods such as Salmon, Halibut, Trout, Maceral, Sardines, Tuna, Yellowtail and Sea Bass.

  • Reduces joint swelling, pain, and morning stiffness
  • Reduce headache pain
  • Significantly reduce neck and back pain

Onions, Garlic and Herbs

  • Relieve pain and inflammation
  • fight inflammation in rheumatic conditions
  • Relieve pain and inflammation
  • fight inflammation in rheumatic conditions

Berries: Cherries, Strawberries, Blueberries, Raspberries, Cranberries

  • Reduced joint in osteoarthritis
  • Tarte cherry juice reduces muscle pain
  • Lower the risk of painful gout


  • Soothe neuropathic pain and sciatica
  • Relieve nerve pain due to diabetes
  • ease pain from diabetic peripheral neuropathy


  • Relive dental pain and headache
  • Too much caffeine can make you jittery, trigger withdrawal headaches if you’re a big coffee-drinker and keep you awake nights.

Chronic Pain

cold and damp weather painThere’s not a lot of scientific evidence showing a correlation between cold and/or damp weather and chronic pain, but many of our patients tell us that there definitely is a link.
Some patients with chronic joint pain, for example, can predict changes in the weather based on how their joints are feeling.
Many people say that damp or cold weather worsens the pain in their joints, low back, and neck. Others with fibromyalgia have mentioned that the cold, damp weather worsened their symptoms.
If the cold makes your pain worse, try adding in some heat therapy to your daily routine. Heat therapy decreases stiffness and promotes healing through increased circulation.
Here are a few ideas for adding heat to your routine:
• Apply a hot pack, warm towel or heating pad to the painful area. Simply doing this for 20 minutes at a time may be enough for temporary pain relief.

• Use over the counter heat wraps. Available in most grocery stores/pharmacies, heat wraps can provide warmth for joint-related back pain and other symptoms for up to 8 hours at a time.

• Try water therapy. You may experience pain relief by swimming in a heated indoor pool a few times per week, or by soaking a whirlpool or hot bath.

• Stay active. It can be tempting to hibernate during cold weather, but inactivity can actually increase some types of pain. If you prefer to stay inside, consider purchasing a treadmill, so you can walk while you catch the evening news.