5 Easy-Care Houseplants for Your Chronic Pain Toolkit

5 Easy-Care Houseplants for Your Chronic Pain Toolkit | Pain Camp

Over the years I have gifted many cuttings of my “easy-care” houseplants to friends who swore they had a “black thumb”. To their surprise they have been successful at keeping them alive! About a year ago, I gave one to a dear pain camper friend. She found this very therapeutic and I explained how I use my houseplants and hobby of gardening as a tool for my Chronic Pain Toolkit.

Here are 5 of the easy-care houseplants that I’ve gifted from cuttings (which much success!):

  1. Epipremnum aureum
  2. Gynura aurantiaca
  3. Hoya
  4. Chlorophytum
  5. Aloe Vera

See the PainCamp site for descriptions of these plants and what care and feeding they need.

Higher Authorities? Pharma, Addiction, Marijuana Policy

Health Care Renewal: Higher Authorities? – Pharmaceutical Companies, Addiction Experts, and Marijuana Policy

We have often discussed the web of conflicts of interest that is draped over medicine and health care, and seems responsible for much of our current health care dysfunction

Vice News, which advertises itself as “an international news organization created by and for a connected generation,” has published an article by investigative journalist Lee Fang about conflicts of interest, key opinion leaders, and marijuana policy. (Article at https://news.vice.com/article/leading-anti-marijuana-academics-are-paid-by-painkiller-drug-companies)

VICE has found that many of the researchers who have advocated against legalizing pot have also been on the payroll of leading pharmaceutical firms with products that could be easily replaced by using marijuana. When these individuals have been quoted in the media, their drug-industry ties have not been revealed.

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Surprise: Olfactory receptors found in skin

Smell Turns Up in Unexpected Places – NYTimes.com

odor receptors are not solely confined to the nose, but found throughout body  where they play a pivotal role in a host of physiological functions.

our skin is bristling with olfactory receptors.

but exposing one of these receptors to a synthetic sandalwood odor known as Sandalore sets off a cascade of molecular signals that appears to induce healing in injured tissue.

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Abuse Deterrence Technology Used in Opioid Analgesics

A Pharmacist’s Guide to the Emerging Abuse Deterrence Technology Used in Opioid Analgesics

The increase in the rate of non-prescribed exposures to ER opioids prompted the development of AD (Abuse Deterrent) technologies, in an attempt to curb misuse and abuse, while allowing appropriate patient access.

Historically, the majority of chronic opioid abusers tamper with tablets in order to achieve these effects [the "high"] and ER formulations are favored by such abusers as they contain a high dose of active opioid, and ER properties are readily neutralized by crushing or dissolving. Non-oral abuse [inhaling as powder or injecting as liquid] is a serious public health issue, as it greatly increases the risk of opioid addiction, overdose, and death.

The 3 types of AD technologies:

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Media Distortions About Addiction and Seniors

Here are a couple of articles clarifying some facts about prescription drug abuse and addiction by Kenneth Anderson in Substance.com.  I suggest you read the full articles, which include several charts and graphs that illustrate the situation far better than words can.

Enough of the Media Distortions: Senior Citizens Are at Low Risk of Addiction | Substance.com

Something about addiction among senior citizens really seems to capture news editors’ imagination.

One Huffington Post article, for example, was titled “Binge Drinking: Seniors Engage Most Often, Says Study.” More recently, Next Avenue ran one called “America’s Surprising Binge Drinkers: People Over 65.” We’ve also seen USA Today’s scare head, “Older Americans hooked on Rx: ‘I was a zombie’,” while websites like AgingCare.com give dire warnings about “Seniors and Prescription Drug Addiction.”

These stories go viral on social media and leave us with a picture of addicted seniors everywhere.

These unfounded, yet irresistibly popular and profitable stories demonstrate how the media now has the power to influence not just cultural norms and popular opinion, but medical care and law enforcement actions.

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The War Over Prescription Painkillers

Radley Balko: The War Over Prescription Painkillers

This article explores the history of the crackdown on opiates and pain patients.

There’s no question that prescriptions for opioid painkillers like Oxycontin and Percocet have soared in recent years. It’s also clear that there are some rogue doctors and “pill mills” who unscrupulously hand out prescriptions, sometimes to patients who shouldn’t get them, sometimes to drug addicts and drug dealers pretending to be pain patients.

But it’s also far from certain that the painkiller abuse and overdoses are as dire as the government is making it out to be. And to the extent that there is a problem, it’s due more to a decade of aggressive policing, obstinate federal law enforcement agencies, and the encroachment of law enforcement into the practice of medicine than lax government oversight.

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Treating Doctors as Drug Dealers

Treating Doctors as Drug Dealers: The DEA’s War on Prescription Painkillers | Cato Institute

The medical field of treating chronic pain is still in its infancy. It was only in the late 1980s that leading physicians trained in treating the chronic pain of terminally ill cancer patients began to recommend that the “opioid therapy”(treatment involving narcotics related to opium) used on their patients also be used for patients suffering from non terminal conditions. The new therapies proved successful, and prescription pain medications saw a huge leap in sales throughout the 1990s.

The problem was exacerbated when the media began reporting that the popular narcotic pain medication OxyContin was finding its way to the black market for illicit drugs, resulting in an outbreak of related crime, overdoses, and deaths
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Cochrane Reviews: Pharmacological Treatments for Pain

Cochrane Reviews: Pharmacological Treatments for Pain

Here is a detailed list of 47 different medication treatments for various pain syndromes:

  1. Amitriptyline for neuropathic pain and fibromyalgia in adults
  2. Antidepressants for neuropathic pain
  3. Antidepressants for pain management in rheumatoid arthritis
  4. Antiepileptic drugs for neuropathic pain and fibromyalgia – an overview of Cochrane reviews
  5. Antipsychotics for acute and chronic pain in adults
  6. Botulinum toxin for myofascial pain syndromes in adults
  7. Carbamazepine for chronic neuropathic pain and fibromyalgia in adults
  8. Clonazepam for neuropathic pain and fibromyalgia in adults
  9. Combination pharmacotherapy for the treatment of neuropathic pain in adults
  10. Combination therapy for pain management in inflammatory arthritis (rheumatoid arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, psoriatic arthritis, other spondyloarthritis) 
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Studies from NIH on Opioids and Addiction

Here are several articles on opioids and addiction from the NIH and SB. Leavitt, MA, PhD, which illuminate the reality that pain patients continue getting relief from opioids long term (despite the lack of scientific studies) and very rarely get addicted.

Additionally, patients find ways to self-manage in order to minimize the risks and side-effects.

Opioids and Chronic Pain | NIH MedlinePlus the Magazine

Long-term daily use of opioids leads to physical dependence, which is not to be confused with addiction disorder. An addiction disorder occurs in about 5 percent of people who take these pain relievers as directed over the period of a year.

As clinicians and monitoring systems become more sophisticated, and opioids are better designed to be tamper-resistant or abuse-deterrent, healthcare providers believe that those who suffer because of a fear of addiction will receive the treatment they so desperately need.

Now it’s not the patients who fear addiction, but everyone else: the public, the government, and our doctors.

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EDS: When flexible becomes too flexible

When flexible becomes too flexible – The Washington Post

Here is an excellent and informative article about EDS for the general public:

Kelly Koep, 27, of Grant’s Pass, Ore., has Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, or EDS, a genetic disorder that interferes with the synthesis of collagen. Once thought to be extremely rare, EDS was identified at the turn of the 20th century and comes in six forms that range from mild to severe.

Evidence suggests that the most common form, which often results in double-jointedness, occurs in one in 100 people; about one in 5,000 have more severe cases, which sounds like a nightmare out of science fiction: The ligaments in the body cannot hold the bones together.

Koep’s is one of the most severe cases. Over the years, she has repeatedly dislocated elbows, knees, shoulders and — four times — her jaw.

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