Author: Jennifer Kain Kilgore

Contributor: Daith Piercings and Acupuncture: Do They Help Migraines?

Someone who suffers episodic or chronic migraines may be willing to try almost anything to make the pain go away and never come back. When medication or other options are not providing relief, a popular alternative for many people is the complementary medical practice of acupuncture or a treatment called daith piercings. What are these treatments, how are they supposed to rid you of migraine pain and mitigate attacks, and how well do they work? Defining Acupuncture Acupuncture has been used for millennia. Developed in China, the practice has been studied and adopted in Europe and the United States as a complementary treatment for a host of physical and mental issues. Acupuncture is performed by inserting one or more fine needles shallowly into the skin at so-called stimulation points on the body to balance its energies. Practitioners follow a map of regions of the body that shows where to place acupuncture needles to affect the specific issue. For example, needles inserted into the skin of the arm may stimulate the nerves in such a way …

Dr. Death — IE, What Happens When Your Spine Surgeon has a God Complex

“I can fix you.” No doctor worth their degree says, “I can fix you.” It is a promise that no one can keep. The beginning of “Dr. Death,” a relatively new podcast from Wondery, speaks to that resigned place in the soul of someone weary with suffering, and this doctor said the words all pain patients are so desperate to hear. “Imagine. You’re struggling with back pain for months. No one can tell you what’s wrong. Then, you find a doctor, and the words that he said that I wanted to hear were, ‘I can fix you.’ Those are magic words. I was in pain.” — via Wondery My gorge rose while listening to the vivid details of a patient’s head literally being separated from his cervical spine by this surgeon’s sheer ineptitude. Another patient’s esophagus was cut and a sponge left inside to fester. Yet another’s vocal cords were destroyed, rendering her voice a strangled, raspy whisper. Nerve roots severed. Bone fragments digging into muscle and even the spinal canal. All of them suffering …

Boston Herald, Quell 2.0, Pain Awareness Month (and Some Thoughts)

Hey kids! It’s been a while. Things have been busy with a new part-time job, so my attention has been diverted. Much has been happening. September came and went without me even mentioning Pain Awareness Month. Good job, me. My only contribution was being quoted in this Boston Herald piece about the Quell’s newly-released version 2.0. I think it explains wearables in a good way and how they can be added to a patient’s self-care toolbox. It won’t end the opioid epidemic, but it might help. Read the Boston Herald article here. Chronic pain patients are (rightly) suspicious of anything available over the counter. It always seems like someone is trying to take advantage of our suffering and pull a fast one on us. Considering Stephen Colbert’s recent pointed slap to the Sackler family, there is a basis to this collective suspicion. For those unfamiliar, the Sacklers own pretty much all opioids in the universe (OxyContin, most importantly, a drug for which they pushed a hellishly inaccurate marketing campaign), and they also manufacture generics of …

Contributor: Conquering The Pain Of Rotator Cuff Injuries

Rotator cuff injuries (RCIs) are one of the most common causes of shoulder pain for people of all ages. They occur when damage is done to the group of muscles and tissues that surround the shoulder joint and are most prevalent in groups of people who perform frequent overhead motions. Examples include carpenters, painters, and baseball and tennis players. However, injury can also occur because of age. When the tendons are worn down, they can even tear. If you notice sudden pain or you have been battling pain for a while, take a proactive stance to injury and find the best combination of treatments so you can get back to normal life as soon as possible. Rotator cuff injuries can cause chronic pain The pain from an RCI can be acute or chronic. When the injury is caused by a sudden blow or brusque movement, acute pain can ensue but when damage is caused by wear and tear (which occurs in jobs that require frequent lifting, for instance), pain can be chronic. Symptoms that indicate injury or worn-out …

CBD Oil for Pain Relief: Legal Status, Side Effects, Drug Tests, Traveling, and More

I recently took a trip to the Dominican Republic. It was a 30th birthday bash for a friend at an all-inclusive resort, possibly one of the greatest vacations I’ve ever experienced. Rather than actually be excited for the trip, however, I spent months fighting crushing anxiety. I hadn’t traveled internationally in years, since before my first car accident. I figured I could handle this because we wouldn’t be doing much besides sitting on the beach or by a pool. Despite this knowledge, I was frightened. What on earth could I do to handle what I knew would be increased pain, much less participate in fun activities with 15 friends? I wanted to go, and I was determined to go. I knew there would be few chances to travel with my friends like this again, and if I didn’t go, I’d regret it on my death bed. How can anyone not want to go here? So, how could I enjoy this trip?  My husband is a fan of Instagram. (Stay with me, this is relevant.) He follows …

Guest Contributor: The Pain Companion by Sarah Anne Shockley

  As many of you know, I write an occasional column for the Pain News Network. One of my compatriots there, Sarah Anne Shockley, recently published a book called The Pain Companion: Everyday Wisdom for Living With and Moving Beyond Chronic Pain that everyone who experiences pain or chronic illness should read. She was diagnosed with TOS (thoracic outlet syndrome) in 2007 and has lived with intractable nerve pain ever since. It’s a very easy read and covers the necessary topics for a chronic pain lifestyle manual, such as anger, acceptance, relationships, self-image, and more. It’s the way Sarah writes that stands out; she is accessible, not only because she’s lived it, but also because she can relate her unique experience to other types of pain and offer constructive guidance. My pain isn’t her pain, but she showed me that we’ve been in the trenches together. This talent always stood out to me in her columns for PNN, and it’s translated very well to book form. Since Sarah can say it better than I can, here is …

Contributor: How to Maintain a Fulfilling Lifestyle When You Have Chronic Pain

Approximately 11 percent of the U.S. population suffers from chronic pain, a condition that’s defined when discomfort lasts more than six months. An initial injury or illness morphs into a drawn-out period of physical and mental suffering with symptoms such as decreased appetite, mood swings, fatigue, disrupted sleep, and mobility issues due to pain. It can be difficult to enjoy old activities or keep up with simple, routine-based tasks, but it’s not impossible. By making a few lifestyle changes, chronic pain sufferers can maintain a fulfilling lifestyle without feeling restricted. Get Help for Regular Tasks Fatigue and pain can make it difficult to keep up with chores like cooking, cleaning, and pet maintenance. While physical activity should not be avoided, make things easier on yourself from time to time—especially if you’re going through a rough patch. Hire a cleaning service to do a deep clean so home maintenance is easier to manage. Use a grocery or meal-delivery service so you don’t rely on unhealthy food delivery as a source of nourishment. Hire a dog walker …

New Report: Flipping the Script: Living with Chronic Pain amid the Opioid Crisis

The folks at Neurometrix just published a new report regarding their survey of 1,500 Americans living with a variety of chronic pain conditions. The results were startling (and hey hey, I’m quoted on pg. 7!): As the opioid crisis continues to make headlines, the chronic pain community has found themselves in the midst of this chaos – grappling with how to manage their conditions under increased scrutiny. We wanted to get a better understanding of how the opioid epidemic is impacting this community, so we partnered with Vanson Bourne to survey 1,500 Americans living with a wide range of chronic pain conditions about their feelings around the opioid epidemic, opioid use and their ongoing search for alternative treatments. We’ve compiled the findings in our latest report, “Flipping the Script: Living with Chronic Pain amid the Opioid Crisis.” Below are just a few of the top findings you’ll see in the report: The unfair stigma as a result of the opioid epidemic: The majority of respondents (84 percent) believe a stigma exists, and as a result, 50 percent …