Category Archives: Chronic Pain

Chronic Pain in Brain: Structural and Functional Changes

Chronic Pain: Structural and Functional Changes in Brain Structures and Associated Negative Affective States – free full-text article /PMC6650904/ – Jul 2019

This is an extremely thorough article covering many aspects of chronic pain. I’ve tried to cover only key parts and avoid lengthy descriptions of scientific details. After each section, I show a link to the complete section with all its details.

Abstract

Chronic pain is a condition in which pain progresses from an acute to chronic state and persists beyond the healing process.

Chronic pain impairs function and decreases patients’ quality of life.

In this review, we summarize the results of previous studies, focusing on the mechanisms underlying chronic pain development and the identification of neural areas related to chronic pain.   Continue reading

Massage Harmful for Atlantoaxial Instability

Atlantoaxial Instability: What Happened To My Barber? – by Paul Ingraham – Apr 2017

Either atlantoaxial instability or vertebrobasilar insufficiency causes severe dizziness and vomiting after massage therapy, with lessons for health care consumers.

My barber has this story: he had an incredibly severe negative reaction to the first and last massage he’d ever had.

This is similar to my experience when I received a wonderfully skilled massage to loosen the tight muscles in my neck and upper back. After leaving the office and driving partway home, a blinding headache forced me to pull over. I had to take extra pain medication and wait almost an hour for it to take effect before I could drive the rest of the way home.  Continue reading

Chronic Pain Patients at Higher Risk for Coronavirus

Chronic Pain Patients Are at Higher Risk for CoronavirusBy Lynn Webster, M.D. – Feb 2020

In this article Dr. Webster makes an important point: the ravages of chronic pain affect our susceptibility to other illnesses because our whole bodies, including our immune system, are affected by the constant stress brought about by this constant biological state of high alert.

It might be worthwhile showing this article (link above) to your doctor, including the scientific article explaining the research (link below).

The people with increased risk for experiencing severe symptoms, and possibly dying of COVID-19, are seniors and those with chronic illness.   Continue reading

Effect of Estrogen on Musculoskeletal Performance

Effect of Estrogen on Musculoskeletal Performance and Injury Risk –  free full-text /PMC6341375/ – Jan 2019

Estrogen has a dramatic effect on musculoskeletal function.

Beyond the known relationship between estrogen and bone, it directly affects the structure and function of other musculoskeletal tissues such as muscle, tendon, and ligament. In these other musculoskeletal tissues, estrogen improves muscle mass and strength, and increases the collagen content of connective tissues.

However, unlike bone and muscle where estrogen improves function, in tendons and ligaments estrogen decreases stiffness, and this directly affects performance and injury rates.

This can be important for those of us with EDS or HMS (or perhaps some other connective tissue problem) because it affects tendon & ligament function by decreasing stiffness. Continue reading

Anatomical changes correlated with chronic pain

Anatomical changes correlated with chronic pain in forensic medicine – Free full-text /PMC6197126/ –  Jun 2017

This article from the NIH has a good summary of physical changes that come about due to chronic pain, not just psychological “problems”, but numerous physical harms resulting from unrelieved pain.

This study was performed to determine the relationships between chronic pain and anatomic changes that may occur in the body.Autopsies were performed on fatalities that required death investigation in Linn County, IA, or adjacent and nearby areas.

Certain causes of death may also have been related to chronic pain. The heart, lungs, liver, spleen and kidneys were significantly heavier in persons with chronic pain; emphysema and pleural and abdominal adhesions were more common in persons with chronic pain.   Continue reading

Pain and Suicide: The Other Side of the Opioid Story

Pain and Suicide: The Other Side of the Opioid Story | Pain Medicine | Oxford AcademicLynn R. Webster, MD – Mar 2014

A former patient whom I’ll call Jack came to me for help after three back operations. He was on disability because of his pain

I treated him for about four years, struggling all the while to get his insurance to cover his therapies. I tried to get him to see a psychologist, but his insurance would not pay for the service.

He was on what most physicians today would term a high dose of opioids and other medications. I wasn’t convinced that the higher dose was any more effective than a lower dose. He was mostly inactive and reported little improvement in pain or function while on his medication.    Continue reading

Sudden, Unexpected Death in Chronic Pain Patients

Sudden, Unexpected Death in Chronic Pain Patients – By Forest Tennant, MD, DrPH Sep 2012

Sudden, unexpected death may occur in a severe, chronic pain patient, and the terminal event may be unrelated to medical therapeutics. Fortunately, sudden death is not as commonly observed in pain patients as in past years most likely due to better access to at least some treatment. Sudden death still occurs, however, and practitioners need to know how to spot an “at-risk” patient.

For observers, pain is merely a “harmless nuisance”. For those suffering from it, it’s a”physiologic calamity”. Continue reading

Update: Bodily Harm from Chronic Pain Part 2

Chronic pain, unmedicated and just by itself, causes measurable biological damage affecting our physical and mental health. I wish more people knew this so they’d stop assuming that “pain won’t kill you, but opioids will”.

The opposite is true: Constant pain, in addition to causing physical harm,  impairs and eventually destroys your Quality of Life (see tag “suicide” for more links to chronic pain).

Chronic pain will make you wish for death, but opioids will only kill you if you take much more than prescribed.

So I decided to update the older list/reference page of posts about various kinds of Bodily Damage from Uncontrolled Chronic Pain by starting a second page:

Bodily Damage from Uncontrolled Chronic Pain Part 2  has more recent posts starting September 2017 up to December 2019

(You can also use tag ‘PAIN-DAMAGE‘ to find them all posts on this topic)

The role of genetics in estrogen responses

The role of genetics in estrogen responses: a critical piece of an intricate puzzle – free full-text article /PMC4232287/ – Dec 2014

The estrogens are female sex hormones that are involved in a variety of physiological processes, including reproductive development and function, wound healing, and bone growth.

In addition to the role of estrogens in promoting tissue growth and development during normal physiological states, they have a well-established role in determining susceptibility to disease, particularly cancer, in reproductive tissues.

As with so many other biochemical components at work in our bodies, estrogen has both positive and negative effects and we each react differently depending on how the rest of our body is built.  Continue reading

Microglia and Pain

Microglia may be the missing clue to solve the opioid epidemic – Sara WhitestoneNeuroscience – Université de Bordeaux – May 2019

neuroscientists have discovered a new therapeutic target for managing pain: microglia.

Pain, as an acute sensation, serves as a warning to help your body prevent injury or avoid further harm.

the message from your stubbed toe is forced to go through a series of checkpoints—or gates—which will either open or shut to control the intensity of pain you perceive.

When pain becomes chronic, this signaling and the gate controls go haywire. Nerves become hyper-sensitive, firing off messages to the brain even in the absence of an injury.   Continue reading