Category Archives: Chronic Pain

NIH and VA address pain and related conditions in U.S. military personnel, veterans, and their families: Research will focus on nondrug approaches.

medicine-100176550Chronic pain and associated conditions have increasingly become a problem in the United States, especially in those who are currently serving or have served military time for our country. Thirteen research projects, which are to be funded $21.7 million within the next five years by the U.S. Veteran’s Affairs, National Institutes of Health’s National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, and National Institute on Drug Abuse, will investigate non-pharmacological treatments for these conditions. Due to the current increase in opiate prescribing and abuse, alternative options are to be further explored. The research will investigate skills which can better manage symptoms of their conditions and prevent their progression. This is expected to help more appropriately treat these patients while driving down healthcare costs and curbing the overuse or misuse of opiate medications.

What do you think about the current opiate prescribing practices in this patient population? How do you currently manage patients with pain and related conditions?


For additional information, please visit NIH.


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Nutrition Basics Help Fight Child Obesity


The Food and Drug Administration just released Nutrition Basics reminder to help parents look at nutrition facts labels (ingredients, percent daily value, nutrients, and serving size) before buying food for their children. The main goal of this program is to fight childhood obesity with better food choices. How often do you discuss food labeling with your patients?

For additional information, please see the FDA Consumer Update .

“Image courtesy of [Stuart Miles]/FreeDigitalPhotos.Net

New herb potential for treating rheumatoid arthritis


A Chinese herb by the name of Thunder God vine (tripterygium wilfordi) has been shown to provide better relief for rheumatoid arthritis compared to methotrexate. Annals of Rheumatic Disease published a 24-week open-label trial of 207 patientsconcluding that Thunder God vine is capable of modulating anti-inflammatory and immune effects. Authors state that the data favored the combination of both the vine and methotrexate claiming improved results. What natural products do you currently include in your rheumatoid arthritis treatment protocol?

For information on the research visit Annals of Rheumatic Disease

For the article visit MNT

Sitting too much: how bad is it?

SittingSeveral research studies have come to the same conclusion that sitting for long hours may lead to an increased risk of cardiovascular events, worsening mental health and risk of being disabled even with a consistent exercise regimen. Furthermore, results of a recent study published in the American Journal of Preventative Medicine, reported study participants who sat for more than 11 hours daily were at highest risk of mortality during the 12- year follow up. Sitting can lead to an increase in appetite and reduced muscle movement; thus the article suggests to break up sitting time about every half hour at work or home. How much time do you spend sitting daily? What are some methods you would recommend to your patients on how to reduce sitting time?

The article can be found at WebMD

Image courtesy of [Danh Nguyen]

Herbal supplement shows promise for joint health

A study published in Nutrition Journal compared the use of a joint supplement with placebo in 100 men and women (aged 50-75) for relief from joint issues. All subjects agreed to avoid using NSAIDs and were given either the joint supplement Instaflex TM (containing glucosamine sulfate, methylsufonlylmethane (MSM), white willow bark extract, ginger root concentrate, boswella serrata extract, turmeric root extract, cayenne, and hyaluronic acid) or placebo for 8 weeks. The results favored the joint supplement showing significant improvements in joint paint severity, stiffness and physical function with improvement being the greatest for those experiencing knee pain. How often do your patients ask about supplements for joint health?

For more information, click here


Calcium and vitamin D fail to relieve joint pain in study.

bone_kneeAlthough some studies suggest that low levels of vitamin D are associated with joint pain and swelling,a post-hoc analysis of the Women’s Health Initiative clinical trial suggest that vitamin D-3 (400IU) and calciumcarbonate (1000mg elemental calcium) are no better than placebo for relieving joint problems. After two years, 74.6% of the supplement group still had joint pain, compared to 75.1% of the placebo group.  What has vitamin D and calcium been most effective for in your patients?

For more information, please click here.

Image courtesy of [scottchan] /

Medicinal Use of Marijuana — Polling Results

Earlier this year the New England Journal of Medicine have conducted anInternet poll, triggering an international debate over the medicinal use of Marijuana.Analysis of the public’s response from 72 contributing countries shows that76% voted in favor even though consumption is illegalin most of these countries. Where do you standin this long standing debate?In what circumstances would you be comfortable recommending marijuana to your patients?

For more detailed results click on the following link:

Stem Cells to Relieve Low Back Pain?

In a new study presented at the American Academy of Pain Medicine, researchers explore alternative treatment for lower back pain by harvesting and re-injecting the body’s own bone marrow into spinal discs. Twenty-four individuals were injected with their own bone marrow aspirate cellular concentrate (BMAC) and were assessed for clinical improvements. Results of the study were inconclusive as several subjects reported relief after a few months to a year while others reported no improvement at all. However, researchers are optimistic that this pilot study will encourage future controlled clinical trials to further explore the use of stem cells for lower back pain relief. What do you currently recommend to patients with lower back pain? What are your opinions on the use of stem cells for pain relief?

For additional information, please go to Health Day

Acupuncture may help with chronic pain

A new systematic review published in the journal Archives of Internal Medicine, analyzed data from close to 18,000 patients with various types of chronic pain. Researchers found that patients who had undergone acupuncture were in less pain than those who had”sham” acupuncture treatment (a control method for acupuncture in which needles were improperly placed) or did not get any treatment at all. Many conventional clinicians are skeptical about acupuncture treatments believing it is simply a placebo effect.  Based on the results of this meta-analysis, the difference between true acupuncture and sham technique is relatively modest, but statistically significant. What are your thoughts on acupuncture? Have you found any other modalities that help your patients with chronic pain?

For more information, visit Archives of Internal Medicine