Tag Archives: Chronic pain

Could common painkillers cause high blood pressure?

pain, over the counter, medicineWhen you take a medicine over the counter, you likely focus mostly on the  benefits it can provide you.  However, it’s possible to experience some harmful health effects from use of over-the-counter medicines.  A recent study has found that some common painkillers used by those with arthritis may cause high blood pressure.

What is arthritis?

Arthritis is the inflammation of the tissue lining the joints. It can cause pain, redness, and swelling as well as joint damage, if not treated.  These symptoms can arise due to the rubbing of bone to bone together when the tissue lining the joints is worn down.The two most common types of arthritis are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Osteoarthritis affects mostly the fingers, knees, and hips, while RA is an autoimmune disorder that affects hands, feet, as well as internal systems. Many people with arthritis find relief with common pain medicines such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).

NSAIDs, help to decrease pain by blocking the production of body chemicals that cause inflammation and swelling. Some side effects of taking NSAIDs can include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, gas, and bloating. However, in some people, long-term use of NSAIDs can also cause high blood pressure.

High blood pressure occurs when the systolic pressure of the contraction is around 140 or higher and the diastolic pressure, or the pressure in between heart beats, is above 90. A study in the European Heart Journal looked at over 400 patients with arthritis.  Study subjects were given either the prescription pain reliever Celebrex, the NSAIDS naproxen or ibuprofen, or placebo.  With the use of NSAIDs, both systolic and diastolic pressure were increased.

Other ways to reduce arthritis pain

  • Keep your weight down since extra weight can place unnecessary pressure on your joints. Losing weight through diet and exercise can release some of this pressure and prevent damage to joints that may occur with prolonged pressure.
  • Exercise can reduce joint pain caused by arthritis. Low-impact exercises such as walking and water aerobics can aid in such pain relief.
  • See your doctor regularly. Your healthcare provider can adjust medications or supplements as necessary to help reduce any symptoms you may have.
  • Use pain-reducing supplements such as Flexova by Vita Sciences. Flexova contains powerful ingredients such as glucosamine and chondroitin, which can help support joint flexibility and ease of movement.

-written by Staci Gulbin, MS, MEd, RD, LDN

Sources:

Cleveland Clinic (2016) “Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs)” https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/articles/non-steroidal-anti-inflammatory-medicines-nsaids

Dallas, M.E. (August 30, 2017) “Common Painkillers May Boost Blood Pressure in Arthritis Patients” https://medlineplus.gov/news/fullstory_168117.html

National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (April 2017) “Living With Arthritis: Health Information Basics for You and Your Family” https://www.niams.nih.gov/health_info/arthritis/default.asp

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Can Yoga Soothe Back Pain?

Yoga may bring images of flexible lean figures bending their bodies in all different directions. Therefore, yoga may not come to mind when it comes to a solution for back pain.  yogaHowever, research shows that yoga can soothe back pain as well as physical therapy.

According to the National Institutes of Health, yoga is a mind and body practice that involves physical postures, breathing techniques, as well as methods of meditation and relaxation.  Yoga is good for improving muscle tone and strength, improving respiration, and reducing weight, among other things.

A recent study at Boston Medical Center looked at 320 patients that had persistent back pain for 12 weeks. The patients were assigned to either 12 weekly yoga classes, 15 physical therapy sessions, or  a book on how to manage back pain.  Nearly one-half of those who took yoga classes had “clinically meaningful” improvement. Also, 37-percent of physical therapy patients and 23-percent of book group patients, respectively felt similar improvement. The difference between the yoga and physical therapy results was not considered significant.

The lead researcher noted that both the yoga and physical therapy patients had pain relief for 12 months. However, he also suggests that not all forms of yoga are appropriate for those with back pain. The gentle yoga used in the study offered chairs and props. Therefore the study yoga was easy on the joints versus other types of yoga.

Yoga, however, is not effective for everyone with pain issues.  Acupuncture, massage, or natural supplements such as Vita Science’s Relocane can also help relieve pain.  Relocane contains natural ingredients such as turmeric and ginger that can decrease inflammation and help relieve minor aches, pains, and muscle cramps.  Use this supplement by Vita Sciences as part of your daily health regimen to feel your best. However, be sure to talk to your healthcare provider before starting any new supplement or exercise program.

-written by Staci Gulbin, MS, MEd, RD, LDN

Sources:

American Osteopathic Association (accessed June 26. 2017) “The Benefits of Yoga” http://www.osteopathic.org/osteopathic-health/about-your-health/health-conditions-library/general-health/Pages/yoga.aspx

Medline Plus (June 19, 2017) “Yoga Soothes Back Pain” https://medlineplus.gov/news/fullstory_166742.html

National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (August 26, 2016) “Yoga” https://nccih.nih.gov/health/yoga

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7 Tips for Relieving Joint Pain in the Knees

Joint pain in the knees, ankles, hips, or shoulders can indicate arthritis, damage to the cartilage that rests between your bones, making it hard to bend, twist, or kneel without suffering from immense pain. To relieve joint pain, it’s important to learn how to treat the inflamed areas at home, while also visiting your doctor to rule out serious injuries that may require surgery.

joint pain in the knees

What causes joint pain in the knees?

Often, arthritic joint pain occurs in the knee when the soft cartilage of the knee cap becomes weak and fragile. Pieces of cartilage may become lodged into your joint area, causing severe aches and dull pain all around your knee area.

Joint pain in the knees can occur because of a sports injury, poor posture, or occupations that require standing or sitting in one position for long hours.

Symptoms include a constant ache in the front of the knees, limited movement and buckling.

What are the best treatments for joint pain?

First, see a doctor. You may need to take some x-rays. If there is extensive damage, then your doctor may suggest surgery.

The most important treatments are the ones that you can do at home to reduce swelling, alleviate pain, prevent further damage to the knee and begin the healing process.

1) Apply ice.

The moment you notice the beginnings of pain in your joints, sit down, put your feet up, and put an ice pack on the inflamed area. This will reduce swelling and cut down on most of the pain.

2) Rub on pain relief cream.

Use a safe, gentle non-irritating pain relief lotion that contains natural  ingredients that soothe the muscles surrounding the joint and produce a cooling effect.

3) Use over-the-counter medications.

Pain relievers (such as acetaminophen) and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (such as ibuprofen) can go a long way towards relieving joint pain and swelling in the knees.

4) Build up the muscle.

Visit a physical therapist to get a schedule of muscle-strengthening exercises that will help to speed up recovery and prevent further knee injuries.

5) Protect the swollen joints.

It may help to wear a brace or tight-fitting sock around your kneecap to sustain good alignment.

6) Take it easy.

If you’re used to exercising regularly, then this is a good time to take a small break. Until you’re feeling much better, avoid bending down to pick something up or sitting down on the floor.

7) Wear proper footwear.

Poor posture can cause joint pain in the knees, even if you don’t realize it. Cheap shoes that don’t cradle the foot properly can cause body aches and pains in the feet, legs, hips, and even the shoulders and back. Many people don’t realize the damage they’ve been doing to their spine until they finally sample orthotic inserts paired with good sturdy shoes that provide ankle support. And then, comes the relief…

joint pain in the knees lotion

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Do you have any other great tips for relieving joint pain in the knees, or elsewhere in the body? Please feel free to comment below.

Image by Praisaeng

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Vitamin B12- Essential for Chronic Pain Management

According to chronic pain management experts, painful joints and muscle soreness could mean vitamin B12 deficiency. When vitamin B12 levels are down, symptoms similar to fibromyalgia, multiple sclerosis, and rheumatoid arthritis become more common… and debilitating. Listed are some typical chronic pain symptoms that occur with vitamin B12 deficiency.

Muscle numbness, tingling, and spasms

If you get painful “pins and needles” sensations whenever you sit down, then you may need to up your vitamin B12 intake. Vitamin B12 is  important for healthy nerve cell.  When  vitamin B12 levels suffer, so does your nervous system.

Peripheral neuropathy (nerve damage) happens with vitamin B12 deficiency anemia (pernicious anemia) and multiple sclerosis (MS). That’s because both conditions involve destruction of myelin, a fatty layer that protects your nerve cells.

Symptoms include painful tingling and numbness in the hands and feet, burning sore tongue, and muscle twitches.

Slower reflexes

Another sign of vitamin B12 deficiency from nerve damage is slow nerve reflexes. You may have difficulty walking in a straight line, controlling arm movements, or sitting up straight.

Pain and feebleness

Sore muscles, weak joints, and constant fatigue are symptoms associated with vitamin B12 deficiency , and they worsen chronic pain for people diagnosed with fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, lupus, or other autoimmune disorders.

Vitamin B12 deficiency causes low oxygen from poor red blood cell production, which in turn causes crushing fatigue, dizziness, and muscle pain.

Comorbid pain conditions

Many people with chronic pain also suffer from vitamin B12 deficiency. This makes it difficult to  diagnose and treat low B12, as people (and sometimes doctors) assume that all pain symptoms are part of their chronic condition, when, really, they are suffering from a combination of chronic pain and comorbid vitamin B12 anemia.

Chronic pain illnesses that are often comorbid with vitamin B12 deficiency include:

  • Fibromyalgia
  • Chronic fatigue syndrome
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Migraines
  • Crohn’s disease
  • Lupus
  • Complex regional pain syndrome

To find out if chronic pain is related to low vitamin B12, try taking large doses of highly-digestible vitamin B12 supplements. Many pain patients are surprised to find out that much of their suffering can be reduced just by replenishing vitamin B12 in their blood supply.

More signs of low B12

In addition to chronic pain and fatigue, other signs of vitamin B12 deficiency include:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Memory problems
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Brain fog
  • Dizziness, vertigo
  • Tinnitus (ear ringing)
  • Heart palpitations

Chronic pain management

Vitamin B12 should be a regular part of your chronic pain management, especially if you’re a risk factor for autoimmune disorders- a common cause of pernicious anemia.

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