Monday, November 12, 2007
Medical Reports: Pain Killer
People who live with chronic pain often spend years on strong medication that makes them tired or loopy, but some doctors have found ways you can trick your body and brain into being its own Pain Killer.
WSVN -- Aching shoulders, throbbing knees, for some people chronic pain is part of their daily lives. Both Caroline and Ethel had trouble with their lower backs.
Caroline Bauer: "I first had surgery, and then I still continued to have some low back pain."
Ethel Dunne: "I used, of course, any Bengay, any lotion that I could, you know, to diminish pain."
Both took strong narcotic pain killers, but the pills didn't touch the pain.
Ethel Dunne: "I was at my wits' end, just needed to do something."
When regular doctors couldn't help, Ethel decided to try holistic medicine.
Patty Hutchison: "I would say everyone can benefit from this type of therapy."
Patty Hutchinson worked with Ethel for months. First, she did acupuncture to get the pain under control, then worked on a long-term solution fixing Ethel's posture, and it didn't involve therapy. Instead, Ethel turned to Post-It notes.
Patty Hutchison: "You could have Post-Its that remind you to sit down periodically and take a load off if you've been up for long periods of time."
Craig Stevens: "Believe it or not just having little reminders around the house helps you stay focused on what you need to do to make yourself better. In fact, recent studies say focusing on your brain can be the best pain killer around."
Dr. Jeffrey Steinberg: "There's definitely a mental aspect or physiological aspect to people's pain, and the mind/body connection is very powerful."
Neurologist Jeffrey Steinberg says teaching the body to outwit pain works for a lot of his patients.
The first step is to learn about your pain. When does it happen? Who are you with? And what are you doing when the pain strikes? Write it all down in a journal.
Patty Hutchison: "You're going to find a pattern that's going to come about and that you can help, then, to manage your pain better."
Next, experiment with simple techniques. The idea is to teach your body and brain to ignore the pain. Doctor Steinberg says a lot of patients find relief from simple relaxation.
Dr. Jeffrey Steinberg: "Telling them to relax, to breath, to meditate, to stretch. It's very important."
Studies have shown listening to music can reduce pain by 50 percent, and it can be any kind of music.
Patty Hutchison: "I want you to listen to things that are very different. We want something that your mind has to think about."
And, believe it or not, those video games your children spend hours playing could help you too.
Patty Hutchison: "Games are very good because they distract, so using video games when your at home is a good way in distracting one from their pain."
The bright flashing lights of the video game is apparently what helps trick the mind into not feeling pain. Both Ethel and Caroline say learning to distract themselves has been a crucial pain killer.
Ethel Dunne: "You don't have enough time to dwell on that pain, and it's not that it goes away. You simply aren't dwelling on it, and you're not feeling it."
Caroline Bauer: "Mind over matter, keep myself busy. I don't let it get the best of me."
Which means she can get the best out of every day, pain free.
Craig Stevens: "Most of these treatments have been shown to work for other pains like fibromyalgia and migraines."
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
Dr. Jeffrey Steinberg
Sunrise Medical Group
4925 Sheridan Street, Ste. 200
Hollywood, FL 33021
3663 South Miami Ave.
Miami, FL 33133