It’s been about a year since we became Pain Doctor and began sharing information with you about everything pain- and health-related. In that time, we’ve covered a lot of information, but we’ve tried to make sure that all of it is centered around the topics that you, as a health-conscious pain patient, might care about the most. It was tough, but we narrowed down a year’s worth of information into our top ten favorite posts from Pain Doctor, covering everything from resources to lifestyle changes.
In no particular order, here are our top ten favorite posts on Pain Doctor.
It can be hard to start a new exercise routine, especially if you’re in pain, but the payoff will be worth it. In this post, we touched on a few studies that looked at the benefits of exercise for people with chronic pain, noting:
“Several studies have looked at the effects of exercise on chronic pain conditions. The results are often very similar: decreased pain and a better quality of life.”
We also gave you some suggested types of exercise, along with a few tips, to get you started on your fitness journey.
We’ve mentioned several times on Pain Doctor that stress is bad for you, particularly if you live with chronic pain. Self-care is one of the absolute best ways to combat chronic stress and, by extension, improve your health and reduce your pain. Also, the more often you allow yourself a few minutes of self-care, the better, because your body will eventually come to associate a certain activity or routine (like the motions of brewing a pot of tea for an afternoon break) with relaxation. Once your body has built up this association, you’ll begin to experience the physiological signs of relaxation more quickly. If you need ideas for self-care or relaxation, look no further: this post has plenty.
Health literacy is all about knowing how to find and understand health information so you can make informed decisions about your own healthcare. Pain conditions, like lots of medical conditions, can get confusing and overwhelming very quickly, so having the health literacy skills to do research, find information, and know what questions to ask your physician is vital. This post breaks down how to judge the reliability of an online resource by asking five simple questions:
- Who is in charge of this website?
- What is being said?
- When was it published or updated?
- Where is the information coming from?
- Why does this website exist?
After you’ve been dealing with a chronic pain condition or medical condition for long enough, managing your medications will become almost automatic. If you’re newly diagnosed, or if your medication regime has changed recently, it can be scary trying to keep all those pills (and maybe even injected medications) straight. Here we gave you some tips and tricks about medication management, like using a medication sheet and letting your everyday activities (such as meals or bedtime) act as reminders. The bottom line is to make sure you talk about your medications with your physician and then take them as directed.
Sleep might not seem like that much of a deal, but it is. Getting enough sleep can have big benefits on your health, just as being chronically sleep deprived carries some serious risks. If you deal with pain on a regular basis, sleep can be a struggle. Hopefully this post convinced you that, if your pain is interfering with your sleep, you should talk to your physician about it. After all, as we noted:
“Sleep deprivation lowers the pain threshold. This means that the more tired an individual is, the more likely he or she is to experience sensations as painful. The increased pain can make falling asleep and staying asleep difficult, which often leads to more sleep deprivation. This becomes a repeating cycle, until it’s difficult to tell which came first – the sleep deprivation or the pain.”
There are a lot of surface similarities between chronic pain and depression. For instance, people suffering from these conditions often face similar misconceptions, like the problem being “all in your head” or that you can “just get over it.” With both chronic pain and depression, though, this is certainly not the case. Both conditions are serious, diagnosable medical conditions that need attention from a physician. And the similarities go even deeper, right down to some of the same centers of the brain being involved in both chronic pain and mood disorders.
This post is a must-read for anyone who takes opioids (or who has a family member or friend who takes opioids). It covers all the nuts and bolts of opioids, from how they work to the different types to what they treat best to the risks involved.
A common opioid painkiller, hydrocodone, was reclassified last year, along with hydrocodone-based painkillers. We know that for a lot of people with chronic pain, opioids are commonly used for as-needed or breakthrough pain relief, until a less risky pain management technique can be found. In this post we delved into why hydrocodone-based painkillers have been reclassified and how it might impact you.
Dogs are good for your health in lots of ways, and they can even help you manage your pain. For some people, it’s only thanks to their assistive or service dogs that they’re able to function independently. Therapy dogs can make a huge difference to people who are hospitalized or living in assisted care. What it boils down to, though, is that no matter the breed, age, size, or training, your canine best friend does more for you than you realize.
Hopefully this post was as interesting to read as it was to write. Dogs’ super-sensitive noses have been used for jobs like search and rescue or bomb-sniffing for years, but now they’re being trained and put to work in the medical field. Some of these amazing dogs can detect oncoming seizures, allergic reactions, or blood sugar fluctuations in their owners. Others are taught to identify infections or cancers. The really amazing thing is that oftentimes, the dogs are more sensitive than modern medical equipment.
At Pain Doctor, we try to help you live your best life possible, and we truly think that part of that is arming you with all the knowledge you need to make the best decisions about your lifestyle and healthcare. We hope we’ve accomplished that for you, and we hope that we can continue to help you control your pain and enjoy your life to the fullest.
We also encourage you to check out the website and social media accounts for PainDoctor.com. There, you’ll find even more posts every week about the latest health and wellness news and research. They also have a large presence on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest, and Tumblr. Get involved in the community now!
Image by Andy Melton via Flickr