When Dan Bawden teaches contractors and builders about aging-in-place, he has them get into a wheelchair. See what it’s like to try to do things from this perspective, he tells them.
That’s when previously unappreciated obstacles snap into focus.
About 2 million older adults in the U.S. use wheelchairs, according to the U.S. Census Bureau; another 7 million use canes, crutches or walkers. Twenty years from now, 17 million U.S. households will include at least one mobility-challenged older adult, according to a December report from Harvard University’s Joint Center for Housing Studies. Continue reading
A recent blog post on a Republican threat to the Social Security disability fund elicited comments about disability fraud, implying that the fund is not worth protecting until ways are found to stop healthy people from gaming the system.
There is fraud, no doubt. But there is no evidence it is rampant. The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities explains the disability system in an excellent policy brief.
Some facts: Continue reading
Below are four sources of the unexpected finding that significant alcohol consumption lowers pain and disability from the pain:
Treating chronic pain with a glass of wine or beer may not sound like a good idea, but an intriguing new study in the U.K. found that alcohol consumption is associated with lower levels of disability in pain patients.
- Drinkers overall reported less disability than people who never drank alcohol, but
- it was the heaviest drinkers who reported the least disability.
- They were 67% less likely to experience disability than the teetotalers.
When I recently read the phrase, “I’m embarrassed to be sick”, it made my stomach clench and my breath catch. That’s exactly what I’ve been feeling: this vague sense of social unease even with close friends, a reluctance to be seen or even talk to people-–especially those that knew me before I became chronically ill.
At the age of 55, after a lifetime of seemingly unrelated physical complaints and inexplicable pains that kept worsening, I was finally diagnosed in 2012 with Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, a genetic flaw which leads to defective connective tissues. This results in chronic pain and many other health problems, as body parts aren’t held together properly, joints dislocate spontaneously, tissues stretch or tear, lose elasticity, and wear out early.
I am ashamed of being sick. I spent my previous life trying to prove how tough I was, declared my independence early, made my own way successfully… and now I’ve lost it all. Continue reading
I was confused by these terms and I found several perspectives before I grasped the difference. I don’t agree with the usage because it’s contrary to our usual grammar, but I learned it’s important to use the technically correct word.
First, a couple of definitions adopted by the World Health Organization and the United Nations. Then an explanation of the Stigma associated with the word “Handicapped” and the proper Etiquette.
The differences apparently have Medical Significance, yet are often incorrectly used because they are contrary to our usual Grammar. Finally, the Best Example I found to demonstrate the difference. Continue reading
Is it frustration,
the thwarted desire
to do what I can do no longer,
or the loss of desire
to do it at all,
that torments me most?
Chronic Pain: End Stage
Past the stage of struggle,
of trying to do what I like,
past the stage of grief,
over not being able to do it,
I’m finally at rest, and free
of desire to do anything at all.
A curious emptiness surrounds me, vague,
insubstantial as I myself have become,
thwarted by constraints wherever I turn,
I’ve been imprisoned by pain and stripped
of my previous ease and abilities,
so naively claimed as my birthright.
A number of researchers have linked bipolar disorder with chronic pain syndromes like fibromyalgia and migraine headaches. Pain management of these patients requires a multidisciplinary approach to improve their outcomes.
Bipolar disorder is one of the 10 most debilitating illness worldwide, with a prevalence of 1.4%. The onset of bipolar disorder is usually between 15 and 30 years of age; the lifetime risk for bipolar is 5% to 10% for a first-degree relative. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, the lifetime prevalence of bipolar disorder is 3.9% of the US adult population (or approximately 9 million Americans). Continue reading
I’ve been disabled by chronic illness and increasing pain since 2008 (Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome). All day, every day, my body makes me aware of my loss of self-sufficiency and independence: I need significant physical (not just emotional) help from my family and friends, I need doctors and their prescribed medications, I need financial assistance from the government.
Always needing accommodations is demoralizing, guilt-inducing, and something I try to hide or avoid. Commonly viewed as “special treatment”, it makes some people resentful, and some even openly question why I “get to have things my way” all the time. To them, my limitations seem more like a privilege and a way to manipulate others to do what I want.
Even if unspoken, I can feel their resistance to my requests. When they question my need for help, I start doubting myself: “Do I really need this? Am I really worth the extra effort and hassle?” Continue reading
Once I was whole. No, better
than whole, possibilities
strewn at my feet, choices
all mine for the making.
Then I got sick, and broken.
Now I struggle to fly with broken wings.
Old ambitions and desires
irrelevant, crashing down
to earth with new humility.
Psychological therapies for the management of chronic pain – very long and excellent Free full text PubMed article
Pain is a complex stressor that presents a significant challenge to most aspects of functioning. As medical intervention frequently cannot resolve pain completely, there is a need for management approaches to chronic pain, including psychological intervention. Psychotherapy for chronic pain primarily targets improvements in physical, emotional, social, and occupational functioning rather than focusing on resolution of pain itself
These therapies fall into four categories:
- operant-behavioral therapy,
- cognitive-behavioral therapy, (CBT)
- mindfulness-based stress reduction therapy, and (MBSR)
- acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT)
The current article explores the theoretical distinctiveness, therapeutic targets, and effectiveness of these approaches as well as mechanisms and individual differences that factor into treatment response and pain-related dysfunction and distress. Continue reading