Pain and the brain

Pain is complicated. It is a result of much more than the initial disease or injury that set it off. In the past, people believed that pain signals traveled only one way – from a nerve injury up to the brain. Scientists have now learned that the brain has the ability to act like a… Read more »

Getting rid of unneeded medicines: Out of sight is not out of mind

When Kate agreed to help clean her grandmother’s house, she had no idea that she’d find so many pill bottles! There seemed to be prescription drugs everywhere: one for high blood pressure, one for glaucoma, another for chest pain. . . it was a long list. By the time she was done cleaning, Kate had… Read more »

‘Off-label’ use of medication

What is a medication label? Before a new medication can be sold on the market, the law requires that the manufacturer prove to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that the medication is an effective and safe treatment for a particular medical condition. This is done through months, and sometimes years, of costly scientific research,… Read more »

Interventional procedures to help back pain: Pros and cons

If you are reading this article, you probably have back pain that has not responded to conservative treatments, such as physical therapy, or medications. You are still in pain and you feel that you need more help.   The options described in this article take pain management to a higher level. They are called procedural or interventional treatments because… Read more »

Understanding your medications: Triptans

What are triptans? Migraine headaches are treated using a variety of medications, sometimes alone, or sometimes in combination with each other. One group of medications, called triptans, is often used to treat debilitating recurring migraine headaches, and work in a unique way. Rather than trying to temporarily relieve headache pain, triptans work to abort (or stop)… Read more »

Overusing your medications: What can happen

When you feel a migraine headache coming on, you naturally reach for your usual medication, even if it’s more often than you should. If your headaches are frequent, occurring 15 or more days a month and requiring more frequent medication than intended, you may become at risk of developing medication overuse or “rebound” headaches. This… Read more »

Back at work: Managing pain on the job

Work is a big part of our lives. When chronic pain and work coincide, there are consequences. Sometimes the consequences of a chronic pain condition lead to choosing another line of work, or stopping work altogether. However, a study published by the Harris Allen Group found that 29% of employees work with ongoing problems with… Read more »

Pain in the wallet: Affording back pain care

Chronic back pain often not only affects your physical health but also your financial health. Medical expenses and lost wages can impact your income and lifestyle and cause more stress and worry than dealing with your health problems. It’s easy to forget this fact when you are focused on immediate medical needs, but the sooner… Read more »

Pain relief through exercise

Exercise is the last thing you want to do when you feel pain, right? Consider this: exercise may reduce pain. It gets adrenaline flowing, the endorphins kick in, and fresh oxygen is delivered to the muscle groups. All of this can do both your body and mind a world of good. If you have let your… Read more »

Too much too soon? Pacing your activities

Having back pain may limit your activities but it doesn’t mean you have to be a couch potato. On the contrary, back specialists recommend doing as much physical activity as your pain allows. Too little activity weakens the muscles and reduces flexibility. Even walking a few feet or a few blocks, if that is all… Read more »