Year: 2010

When pain doesn’t let you sleep

Sarah waited until midnight before she turned off the TV, and then she slowly walked down the hallway to her bedroom. Why go to bed any earlier, she thought, when I won’t have a good night’s sleep anyway? With each step, Sarah tried to ignore the pain shooting through her feet. It felt like she was walking… Read more »

Sharing stories: Understanding our differences

Have you ever felt like there were invisible barriers between you and your health care provider?  Dealing with chronic pain is difficult enough, and it gets even harder when you feel like your provider doesn’t understand you.  In an ideal world, everyone understands each other and everyone gets equal treatment, but this is not always… Read more »

Communication: Improve your game

Would you like to improve your communication skills? Effective communication involves both talking and listening. It can be compared to a game of catch in which the words are the ball. This article will try to give you a different way to think about your “communication game.” The pitcher and the catcher If communication is the game… Read more »

Taking my life back from pain, finding support

painACTION asked Max to write his biography and personal story as an example of how finding social support can help. Max lives near Detroit and runs an American Chronic Pain Association support group. I am a 53-year-old man, now divorced after 30 years, a statistic too common with chronic pain.  I have two daughters, and… Read more »

Pain that continues after breast cancer surgery

Pain and breast cancer It has been known for a long time that only one out of three people who are newly diagnosed with cancer experience pain.  However, one out of two people who are undergoing cancer treatment, and more than three out of four who have advanced cancer, experience pain. Now, because of medical… Read more »

Diagnostic tests for peripheral neuropathy

Your nervous system and peripheral neuropathy Your nervous system is divided into the central nervous system (made up of your brain and spinal cord) and your peripheral nervous system. Your peripheral nervous system sends messages back and forth between your brain and the rest of your body; it helps to control your muscle movements and… Read more »

Medication agreements: Why don’t you trust me?

Emily, a 45-year-old senior analyst at a major software company, had been suffering with chronic back pain for months. She tried rest and mild exercise, but nothing was helping. Her longtime health care provider suggested adding a trial prescription opioid (narcotic) pain medication to help her better manage the pain. Emily was shocked when he… Read more »

Why aren’t there better treatments for neuropathic pain?

Neuropathic pain is pain that serves no purpose: You keep feeling pain even when an injured part of your body has already healed. It’s caused by a problem with the body’s pain system. Like a broken alarm clock, this faulty system broadcasts non-stop, incorrect, and annoying signals that can’t be turned off. Research is shedding… Read more »

Understanding complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS, RSD)

Complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS) is a chronic pain condition. CRPS is also known today as reflex sympathetic dystrophy (RSD) and was known in the past as causalgia. The often-excruciating and non-stop “burning” pain of CRPS may be triggered by any injury, such as surgery, broken bones, or car accidents. Even minor injuries like sprains may lead to overwhelming… Read more »

The emergency department: A last resort?

Lisa had been dealing with chronic pain for years, but her medication and other treatments usually kept it under good control.  One Sunday, Lisa’s pain began getting much worse. She panicked, thinking that something really bad was happening to her and that the pain would continue to get worse.  When she couldn’t reach her health… Read more »