New Year’s Resolutions for a Pain-Free 2018!

New Year’s Resolutions for a Pain-Free 2018!

1. Put Your Health First – Take good care of yourself. You are not able to care for your family, if you don’t properly take care of yourself first. Make it your goal to surround yourself with individuals who understand your situation and support you unconditionally. Allow yourself to rest, recover, and say no to things that may make your pain worse. Knowing that you are doing all you can to reduce your pain is a comforting feeling. See a specialist and take control of your pain, before pain takes control of your life. 

2. Find Little Ways to Incorporate Activity – Invest in a good pair of walking shoes & hit the pavement! The benefits are clear: regular low impact aerobic exercise may reduce inflammation, strengthen your muscles, and provide healing by sending oxygen-rich blood to painful areas. Build walking into your daily schedule so you can’t easily skip it. For example, take your dog for a walk every morning or walk during your lunch break. Try to exercise for at least 30 minutes at least 3 or 4 times each week.

3. Set a tobacco quit date – It’s no secret that smoking and tobacco use can wreak havoc on your health, but studies have shown that smokers experience pain more frequently than non-smokers. Quitting smoking can be highly challenging but is definitely worth the effort. Don’t put off quitting. Set a date and stick to it. Share the date with family and friends, so you’re more committed to that date and they can help hold you accountable to your goal. If you associate other habits, such as drinking coffee, with smoking, replace those habits with new ones! Click here to learn how smoking affects your chronic pain. 

4. Get a “Resolution Buddy” – You’ll be far more likely to achieve your objectives if you have a friend by your side to encourage you to stay persistent. Invite a friend to come over to cook a healthy meal or join you as you work out in the gym. You can be each other’s “cheerleaders”, which will make the chore of getting healthy more social and fun.

5. Set Short-Term Goals – If your New Years Resolution is to eat healthy, instead of telling yourself “I’m not going to eat junk food for the next three months,” tell yourself “I’m not going to eat junk food for the next week”. Breaking up a large goal into smaller chunks will give you the sense of accomplishment you’ll need in order to stay motivated enough to see your goals through to completion. Don’t be discouraged by a set-back. The road to success has lots of curves and bends, if you stay on track after a set back it can fuel you forward!

 

From all of the staff at Twin Cities Pain Clinic and Surgery Center we wish you happiness and health in 2018!

Winter Blues and Chronic Pain

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) and Chronic Pain

Many Minnesotans suffer from a case of the “winter blues”, but this seasonal depression known as Seasonal Affective Disorder can be detrimental to someone suffering from chronic pain. Chronic pain can make other conditions, like seasonal affective disorder, worse. Likewise, pain can be made worse by other conditions. Pain and seasonal depression become a vicious cycle, leaving many people with little hope. 

In many cases, Seasonal Affective Disorder symptoms appear during late fall or early winter and go away during the sunnier days of spring or summer. Other times, people may experience the opposite pattern of symptoms that begin in spring or summer. In either case, symptoms may start out mild and become more severe as the season progresses. These are no true identified causes of Seasonal Affective Disorder, but many experts believe that it is related to hormonal changes in the brain that occur at certain times of the year. It is thought that the lack of daylight in the winter time ma also contribute, as the brain makes less serotonin, which is a chemical linked to regulation of mood. (1)

SAD usually begins in young adulthood and is more common in women than men. There are some individuals who experience SAD only have mild symptoms of irritability or feel not like themselves. Other symptoms of SAD vary, and may include symptoms of depression, less energy, fatigue, weight gain, and he inability to concentrate. If the patient already experiences a chronic pain condition, the symptoms of that condition can be worse than usual, or can make symptoms of SAD even more severe. (2)

Treatment for SAD and chronic pain conditions should begin with management of pain, which can be achieved by the pain management team at Twin Cities Pain Clinic. Concurrently with chronic pain management, treatment for SAD should occur. This may include getting more sunlight when it is available and use of antidepressant medication.

If you suspect that you suffer from SAD along with your chronic pain, be sure ask your provider on how Twin Cities Pain Clinic can help. You don’t have to suffer alone, we can help! Call 952-841-2345 today!

 

references:

  1. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/seasonal-affective-disorder/symptoms-causes/syc-20364651
  2. https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/seasonal-affective-disorder/index.shtml

Managing Flares in Your Chronic Pain

Managing Flares in Your Chronic Pain

Chronic Pain is pain that persists for more than a few months. Temporary increases or flares in chronic pain are expected. A chronic pain flare is not a new pain – it is more severe occurrence of the already existing pain. This does not mean you have a new injury. It is important to remember that flares are going to happen, and in most instances will resolve on their own. Twin Cities Pain Clinic provides you with tools you may use when your pain flares up. 

Rest – take breaks when needed, and get adequate sleep. Avoid activities that are likely to trigger your pain. Reduce your exercise routine slightly, but don’t completely stop it. It is important to keep moving during this time. Mobility is a key part of managing your pain and lack of movement can actually make your pain worse. 

Hot Showers or Baths – a hot shower or bath will help dilate the blood vessels, promote blood flow, and help sore and tightened muscles relax.  

Ice Packs or Heating Pads – use ice or heat, whichever feels the most comfortable for you. unless this is a band new injury, it is ok to use heat. Some people find it helpful to alternate the two – ice for 20 minutes, followed by 10 minutes of heat. (Do not ice for more than 20 minutes at a time and do not fall asleep with the heating pad on).

Distraction – watch TV, read a book, play a game or try to go for a walk. Think of an activity that will help to take your mind off of the pain.   

Deep Breathing – find a quiet place to rest and breathe in and out slowly and rhythmically for 10-15 minutes. 

Yoga – yoga helps our bodies relax, which can help muscle spasms. 

Massage – massage therapy relaxes muscle tissue, which reduces painful contractions and spasms. 

 

Please schedule an appointment with your provider if the pain does not start to improve after 1-2 weeks, if you have new symptoms, or if you have a change in the function of your arms or legs.