Relief.News: Pain Research News, Insights and Ideas

New trustworthy website created:
Relief.News: Pain Research News, Insights and Ideas – brought to you by the Pain Reserach Forum


Launched in January 2016, RELIEF exists to fill this void. RELIEF provides news summaries, feature articles, interviews, webinars and podcasts covering the latest findings in pain research for a general audience, including people living with chronic pain and others interested in gaining understanding of this area of scientific investigation.

Our goal is to give people the knowledge they need so they can spark and meaningfully contribute to a national and international conversation about how to move pain treatment and care forward.

RELIEF is a project of the Pain Research Forum (PRF). Based at the Harvard NeuroDiscovery Center at Harvard Medical School, PRF is an interactive web site for investigators working to translate new knowledge about pain neurobiology into novel treatments for chronic pain.

I’m dependent on narcotics; that doesn’t mean I’m an addict

I’m dependent on narcotics; that doesn’t mean I’m an addict. – | 

I started taking opioid painkillers not long after my third and last child was born. …things started, literally, to fall apart.

To continue to climb up and down stairs, clean and cook, do my work, and care for my family, I rely on long-acting opioids, combined with high doses of Vitamin D, ibuprofen, hot baths, low-impact exercise (especially swimming), a produce-heavy anti-inflammatory diet, and rest.

In the years that I’ve been using opioids, their use has become more restricted and controversial. Continue reading

Legislation to protect access to effective drugs

Column: Protect patients’ access to effective drugs | Tampa Bay Times | Michael Ruppal | January 8, 2016

Imagine for a moment that you’re living with a serious chronic illness or a rare medical condition.

Finding an optimal treatment has been a challenge for you and your doctor. You’ve tried a few medications, and you both have finally found a treatment that works especially well for you — the drug is well tolerated, you’re getting relief from your condition, and your doctor is pleased with the clinical results. Plus, the drug is covered by your health insurance plan, and you can afford the co-payments.

Now imagine that — for no medical reason — your insurance plan suddenly removes a drug from its list of covered medications, or even moves that drug to a higher tier, increasing your co-pay and making it unaffordable for you.   Continue reading

Toxic exposures caused illness in Gulf War veterans

Toxic exposures caused illness in Gulf War veterans, new report says — ScienceDaily

Contrary to what the military insisted for so long, “Gulf War Illness” is a real physical, not mental, illness. 

This situation shows how important it is that patients not allow our symptoms to be brushed off or denied, how critical it is to stubbornly refuse to “shut up and go away”.  

Many patients, especially those with invisible pain, have to fight for decades to be validated, for the medical profession to believe and investigate their pain. Without such steadfast persistence, pain and other troubling symptoms are routinely disregarded.   Continue reading

State by State Rules for Pain Management

State by State Laws, Regulations, and Guidelines for Pain Managment

This state-by-state research illustrates that policies related to pain management and opioid prescribing are inconsistent, both within and across states.  This inconsistency creates significant challenges for healthcare providers and patients in understanding their options for care, as well as in understanding their rights and responsibilities related to that care.

To be eligible for inclusion, policies had to either

  1. have the force and effect of law at the time of analysis (statutes and regulations), or
  2. be the currently-adopted guideline or policy statement of a State Medical Board or other similar agency responsible for licensing and disciplining physicians.

You can see the spreadsheet here.

Reason to Be Wary of Some Reflux Drugs

Study Finds Growing Reason to Be Wary of Some Reflux Drugs – The New York Times

Since their introduction in 1990, the drugs collectively known as proton pump inhibitors (common brand names: (Nexium, Prevacid, Prilosec) have become among the most frequently prescribed in the country; they are also available over the counter. They suppress stomach acid more effectively than a previous class of drugs called H2 blockers (Zantac, Tagamet, Pepcid).

They have also given users reason to be wary. In recent years, scores of studies have reported associations between prescription P.P.I. use and an array of health problems, including

  • bone fractures,
  • low magnesium levels,
  • kidney injuries and
  • possibly cardiovascular drug interactions.

They are also linked to infections, like the stubborn Clostridium difficile and pneumonia. Reducing the acidity of the stomach, researchers believe, allows bacteria to thrive and then spread to other organs like the lungs and intestines.   Continue reading

Risk of opioid misuse among cancer patients is substantial

Risk for Opioid Misuse Among Emergency Department Cancer Patients |  JAN 2016

Now, the anti-opioid folks are going after cancer patients. Perhaps this will finally make it clear how exaggerated, hyped, and abusive this anti-opioid campaign has become.

Cancer pain has always been considered “special”, somehow different than all other pain, and this was used as justification to exempt cancer patients from the increasingly draconian restrictions on opioid pain relief.

But even cancer patients are now being accused of faking their pain to get opioids. 

This study concludes that the “Risk of opioid misuse among cancer patients is substantial”
Continue reading

A Better Understanding of Depression

A Better Understanding of Depression – Neuroscience News

A new scientific model that incorporates the myriad drivers of depression could lead to more precise treatment for an illness that affects 350 million worldwide.

Developed by scientists at Michigan State University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and funded by the National Institute of Mental Health, the model provides a better understanding of depression and the foundation for creating a pioneering tool to attack the complex disorder.

Clinicians who treat depression tend to work on a trial-and-error basis, whereas this model could give them a more systematic and effective method for making decisions about treatment   Continue reading

Neurontin and Lyrica being abused to get high

Lyrica and Neurontin Face UK Restrictions | January 31, 2016 | Pat Anson, Editor

Abusers and addicts are now abusing the very medications that are the preferred alternatives to opioids in the CDC guidelines. 

“the prescription drugs pregabalin and gabapentin are being used by drug abusers to get high, resulting in dozens of overdose deaths.”

Here we go again. Since addiction isn’t caused by a particular drug (contrary to arguments by PROP), any drug with psychotropic effects can feed an addiction.

For pain patients, these are drugs that either work well or not at all, and they have horrible side effects for many. But these same horrible side effects, which can make a person feel uncontrollably drunk, seem to be a desirable quality for drug abusers.

Will the CDC now create guidelines restricting the prescribing of their own preferred pain relief drugs?  Will law enforcement start harassing doctors who are prescribing them?
Continue reading

10 rules every primary care doctor should read

10 rules every primary care doctor should read | KevinMD | Peter Elias, MD | January  2016

If only these were really rules, not just wishes of how we’d like to be treated and what kind of people we’d like our doctors to be. I’ve been fortunate to have worked with and greatly benefitted from several such healers, but I’ve also seen the other side.

1. It’s always about the patient. Never forget that the health of the patient is at stake. The patient, who lives both the process and the outcome, owns the appointment.

2. Patients are people. Person and people are words that refer to individuals and groups of individuals. Patient refers to a role people play and the concept of patienthood, and should not used to turn an individual into a generic stereotype   Continue reading