Poor sleep at night, more pain the next day

After one night of inadequate sleep, brain activity ramps up in pain-sensing regions while activity is scaled back in areas responsible for modulating how we perceive painful stimuli. This finding provides the first brain-based explanation for the well-established relationship between sleep and pain.
Child Development News — ScienceDaily


Scientists Seek Ways To Finally Take A Real Measure Of Pain

(AP Photo)

WASHINGTON (AP) — Is the pain stabbing or burning? On a scale from 1 to 10, is it a 6 or an 8?

Over and over, 17-year-old Sarah Taylor struggled to make doctors understand her sometimes debilitating levels of pain, first from joint-damaging childhood arthritis and then from fibromyalgia.

“It’s really hard when people can’t see how much pain you’re in, because they have to take your word on it and sometimes, they don’t quite believe you,” she said.

Now scientists are peeking into Sarah’s eyes to track how her pupils react when she’s hurting and when she’s not — part of a quest to develop the first objective way to measure pain.

“If we can’t measure pain, we can’t fix it,” said Dr. Julia Finkel, a pediatric anesthesiologist at Children’s National Medical Center in Washington, who invented the experimental eye-tracking device.

At just about every doctor’s visit you’ll get your temperature, heart rate and blood pressure measured. But there’s no stethoscope for pain. Patients must convey how bad it is using that 10-point scale or emoji-style charts that show faces turning from smiles to frowns.

That’s problematic for lots of reasons. Doctors and nurses have to guess at babies’ pain by their cries and squirms, for example. The aching that one person rates a 7 might be a 4 to someone who’s more used to serious pain or genetically more tolerant. Patient-to-patient variability makes it hard to test if potential new painkillers really work.

Nor do self-ratings determine what kind of pain someone has — one reason for trial-and-error treatment. Are opioids necessary? Or is the pain, like Sarah’s, better suited to nerve-targeting medicines?

“It’s very frustrating to be in pain and you have to wait like six weeks, two months, to see if the drug’s working,” said Sarah, who uses a combination of medications, acupuncture and lots of exercise to counter her pain.

The National Institutes of Health is pushing for development of what its director, Dr. Francis Collins, has called a “pain-o-meter.” Spurred by the opioid crisis, the goal isn’t just to signal how much pain someone’s in. It’s also to determine what kind it is and what drug might be the most effective.

“We’re not creating a lie detector for pain,” stressed David Thomas of NIH’s National Institute on Drug Abuse, who oversees the research. “We do not want to lose the patient voice.”

Around the country, NIH-funded scientists have begun studies of brain scans, pupil reactions and other possible markers of pain in hopes of finally “seeing” the ouch so they can better treat it. It’s early-stage research, and it’s not clear how soon any of the attempts might pan out.

“There won’t be a single signature of pain,” Thomas predicted. “My vision is that someday we’ll pull these different metrics together for something of a fingerprint of pain.”

NIH estimates 25 million people in the U.S. experience daily pain. Most days Sarah Taylor is one of them. Now living in Potomac, Maryland, she was a toddler in her native Australia when the swollen, aching joints of juvenile arthritis appeared. She’s had migraines and spinal inflammation. Then two years ago, the body-wide pain of fibromyalgia struck; a flare-up last winter hospitalized her for two weeks.

One recent morning, Sarah climbed onto an acupuncture table at Children’s National, rated that day’s pain a not-too-bad 3, and opened her eyes wide for the experimental pain test.

“There’ll be a flash of light for 10 seconds. All you have to do is try not to blink,” researcher Kevin Jackson told Sarah as he lined up the pupil-tracking device, mounted on a smartphone.

The eyes offer a window to pain centers in the brain, said Finkel, who directs pain research at Children’s Sheikh Zayed Institute for Pediatric Surgical Innovation.

How? Some pain-sensing nerves transmit “ouch” signals to the brain along pathways that also alter muscles of the pupils as they react to different stimuli. Finkel’s device tracks pupillary reactions to light or to non-painful stimulation of certain nerve fibers, aiming to link different patterns to different intensities and types of pain.

Consider the shooting hip and leg pain of sciatica: “Everyone knows someone who’s been started on oxycodone for their sciatic nerve pain. And they’ll tell you that they feel it — it still hurts — and they just don’t care,” Finkel said.

What’s going on? An opioid like oxycodone brings some relief by dulling the perception of pain but not its transmission — while a different kind of drug might block the pain by targeting the culprit nerve fiber, she said.

Certain medications also can be detected by other changes in a resting pupil, she said. Last month the Food and Drug Administration announced it would help AlgometRx, a biotech company Finkel founded, speed development of the device as a rapid drug screen.

Looking deeper than the eyes, scientists at Harvard and Massachusetts General Hospital found MRI scans revealed patterns of inflammation in the brain that identified either fibromyalgia or chronic back pain.

Other researchers have found changes in brain activity — where different areas “light up” on scans — that signal certain types of pain. Still others are using electrodes on the scalp to measure pain through brain waves.

Ultimately, NIH wants to uncover biological markers that explain why some people recover from acute pain while others develop hard-to-treat chronic pain.

“Your brain changes with pain,” Thomas explained. “A zero-to-10 scale or a happy-face scale doesn’t capture anywhere near the totality of the pain experience.”

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Life & Style – Black America Web


‘The Pain Is Too Much.’ Andy Murray Says Australian Open Could Be His Last Tournament

(MELBOURNE, Australia) — A tearful Andy Murray says the Australian Open could be his last tournament because of a hip injury that has hampered him for almost two years.

The three-time Grand Slam champion says he plans to start his opening match against No. 22-ranked Roberto Bautista Agut at the Australian Open, where he has reached the final five times but never won the title.

“I’m going to play (in Australia) — I can still play to the level,” Murray said. “Not a level I’m happy playing at — but also, it’s not just that. The pain is too much really.”

Murray had right hip surgery in January 2018 and, after two brief attempts to return to the tour, played only 12 matches in the year.

He returned at the Brisbane International last week, where he won his opening match but lost in the second round to Daniil Medvedev, showing visible signs of limping between points.

The 31-year-old Murray, who ended long Grand Slam droughts for British men and also won the Olympic gold medal, had hoped to play the first half of 2019 and make a run at Wimbledon.

“That’s where I’d like to stop playing … but I’m also not certain I’m able to do that,” Murray said. “I don’t want to continue playing that way. I’ve tried everything I could to get it right and that hasn’t worked.”

Murray held a news conference Friday at Melbourne Park, and had to leave the room for a while soon after it started to compose himself as he fronted the media.

He said he’s considering another hip operation, more to improve his quality of life than as a way to return to the top level in tennis.

The Australian Open starts Monday.

Sports – TIME


Up To A Third Of Knee Replacements Pack Pain And Regret

Danette Lake thought surgery would relieve the pain in her knees.

The arthritis pain began as a dull ache in her early 40s, brought on largely by the pressure of unwanted weight. Lake managed to lose 200 pounds through dieting and exercise, but the pain in her knees persisted.

A sexual assault two years ago left Lake with physical and psychological trauma. She damaged her knees while fighting off her attacker, who had broken into her home. Although she managed to escape, her knees never recovered. At times, the sharp pain drove her to the emergency room. Lake’s job, which involved loading luggage onto airplanes, often left her in misery.

When a doctor said that knee replacement would reduce her arthritis pain by 75 percent, Lake was overjoyed.

“I thought the knee replacement was going to be a cure,” said Lake, now 52 and living in rural Iowa. “I got all excited, thinking, ‘Finally, the pain is going to end and I will have some quality of life.’”

But one year after surgery on her right knee, Lake said she’s still suffering.

“I’m in constant pain, 24/7,” said Lake, who is too disabled to work. “There are times when I can’t even sleep.”

Most knee replacements are considered successful, and the procedure is known for being safe and cost-effective. Rates of the surgery doubled from 1999 to 2008, with 3.5 million procedures a year expected by 2030.

But Lake’s ordeal illustrates the surgery’s risks and limitations. Doctors are increasingly concerned that the procedure is overused and that its benefits have been oversold.

Danette Lake walks her dogs, Zoe and Chloe, in her rural Iowa neighborhood in early December. One year after having knee replacement surgery to treat arthritis, she says she’s “in constant pain.”(Rachel Mummey for KHN)

Research suggests that up to one-third of those who have knees replaced continue to experience chronic pain, while 1 in 5 are dissatisfied with the results. A study published last year in the BMJ found that knee replacement had “minimal effects on quality of life,” especially for patients with less severe arthritis.

One-third of patients who undergo knee replacement may not even be appropriate candidates for the procedure, because their arthritis symptoms aren’t severe enough to merit aggressive intervention, according to a 2014 study in Arthritis & Rheumatology.

“We do too many knee replacements,” said Dr. James Rickert, president of the Society for Patient Centered Orthopedics, which advocates for affordable health care, in an interview. “People will argue about the exact amount. But hardly anyone would argue that we don’t do too many.”

Although Americans are aging and getting heavier, those factors alone don’t explain the explosive growth in knee replacement. The increase may be fueled by a higher rate of injuries among younger patients and doctors’ greater willingness to operate on younger people, such as those in their 50s and early 60s, said Rickert, an orthopedic surgeon in Bedford, Ind. That shift has occurred because new implants can last longer — perhaps 20 years — before wearing out.

Yet even the newest models don’t last forever. Over time, implants can loosen and detach from the bone, causing pain. Plastic components of the artificial knee slowly wear out, creating debris that can cause inflammation. The wear and tear can cause the knee to break. Patients who remain obese after surgery can put extra pressure on implants, further shortening their lifespan.

The younger patients are, the more likely they are to “outlive” their knee implants and require a second surgery. Such “revision” procedures are more difficult to perform for many reasons, including the presence of scar tissue from the original surgery. Bone cement used in the first surgery also can be difficult to extract, and bones can fracture as the older artificial knee is removed, Rickert said.

Revisions are also more likely to cause complications. Among patients younger than 60, about 35 percent of men need a revision surgery, along with 20 percent of women, according to a November article in the Lancet.

Yet hospitals and surgery centers market knee replacements heavily, with ads that show patients running, bicycling, even playing basketball after the procedure, said Dr. Nicholas DiNubile, a Havertown, Pa., orthopedic surgeon specializing in sports medicine. While many people with artificial knees can return to moderate exercise — such as doubles tennis — it’s unrealistic to imagine them playing full-court basketball again, he said.

“Hospitals are all competing with each other,” DiNubile said. Marketing can mislead younger patients into thinking, “‘I’ll get a new joint and go back to doing everything I did before,’” he said. To Rickert, “medical advertising is a big part of the problem. Its purpose is to sell patients on the procedures.”

Rickert said that some patients are offered surgery they don’t need and that money can be a factor.

Knee replacements, which cost $ 31,000 on average, are “really crucial to the financial health of hospitals and doctors’ practices,” he said. “The doctor earns a lot more if they do the surgery.”

Ignoring Alternatives

Yet surgery isn’t the only way to treat arthritis.

Patients with early disease often benefit from over-the-counter pain relievers, dietary advice, physical therapy and education about their condition, said Daniel Riddle, a physical therapy researcher and professor at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond.

Studies show that these approaches can even help people with more severe arthritis.

In a study published in Osteoarthritis and Cartilage in April, researchers compared surgical and non-surgical treatments in 100 older patients eligible for knee replacement.

Over two years, all of the patients improved, whether they were offered surgery or a combination of non-surgical therapies. Patients randomly assigned to undergo immediate knee replacement did better, improving twice as much as those given combination therapy, as measured on standard medical tests of pain and functioning.

But surgery also carried risks. Surgical patients developed four times as many complications, including infections, blood clots or knee stiffness severe enough to require another medical procedure under anesthesia. In general, 1 in every 100 to 200 patients who undergo a knee replacement die within 90 days of surgery.

Significantly, most of those treated with non-surgical therapies were satisfied with their progress. Although all were eligible to have knee replacement later, two-thirds chose not to do it.

Tia Floyd Williams suffered from painful arthritis for 15 years before having a knee replaced in September 2017. Although the procedure seemed to go smoothly, her pain returned after about four months, spreading to her hips and lower back.

She was told she needed a second, more extensive surgery to put a rod in her lower leg, said Williams, 52, of Nashville.

“At this point, I thought I would be getting a second knee done, not redoing the first one,” Williams said.

Other patients, such as Ellen Stutts, are happy with their results. Stutts, in Durham, N.C., had one knee replaced in 2016 and the other replaced this year. “It’s definitely better than before the surgery,” Stutts said.

Making Informed Decisions

Doctors and economists are increasingly concerned about inappropriate joint surgery of all types, not just knees.

Inappropriate treatment doesn’t harm only patients; it harms the health care system by raising costs for everyone, said Dr. John Mafi, an assistant professor of medicine at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA.

The 723,000 knee replacements performed in 2014 cost patients, insurers and taxpayers more than $ 40 billion. Those costs are projected to surge as the nation ages and grapples with the effects of the obesity epidemic, and an aging population.

To avoid inappropriate joint replacements, some health systems are developing “decision aids,” easy-to-understand written materials and videos about the risks, benefits and limits of surgery to help patients make more informed choices.

In 2009, Group Health introduced decision aids for patients considering joint replacement for hips and knees.

Blue Shield of California implemented a similar “shared decision-making” initiative.

Executives at the health plan have been especially concerned about the big increase in younger patients undergoing knee replacement surgery, said Henry Garlich, director of health care value solutions and enhanced clinical programs.

The percentage of knee replacements performed on people 45 to 64 increased from 30 percent in 2000 to 40 percent in 2015, according to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.

Because the devices can wear out in as little as a few years, a younger person could outlive their knees and require a replacement, Garlich said. But “revision” surgeries are much more complicated procedures, with a higher risk of complications and failure.

“Patients think after they have a knee replacement, they will be competing in the Olympics,” Garlich said.

Danette Lake once planned to undergo knee replacement surgery on her other knee. Today, she’s not sure what to do. She is afraid of being disappointed by a second surgery.

Sometimes, she said, “I think, ‘I might as well just stay in pain.’”

Kaiser Health News


Medieval Remedies to Fight Flu, Stomach Aches, Pain, and Pandemic Problems 

Holistic pharmacist Sherry Torkos is an author and health enthusiast with a passion for prevention. She graduated with honors from the Philadelphia college of pharmacy and science in 1992.

She has been practicing pharmacy using an integrative approach, combining conventional and complementary therapies to optimize health and prevent disease.

As a leading health expert, she has delivered hundreds of lectures and has authored 18 books and booklets.


A: Medicine in the Middle Ages was rooted in ancient Greek tradition and the greatest physician of that time was Hippocrates, known as the founder of medicine, who based his practice on observations and study of the human body with the belief that illness has a physical and rational explanation.


A: Last year’s statistics show the highest number of deaths from flu or complications with the virus since the dawn of modern tracking (an estimated 80,000 Americans died).


A: Colloidal Silver, Mint and Turmeric


A: Historically, silver has been used for thousands of years as one of the world’s strongest antimicrobial agents. Many physicians from ancient times used silver, including Hippocrates, the “father of medicine,” who used silver to treat an endless series of conditions. In the Middle Ages, silver spoons were given by wealthy godparents to babies as christening presents. It is often said that those “born with a silver spoon in their mouth” benefited from silver’s purifying and antimicrobial properties. During the bubonic plague, the “Black Death” of the 14th century, it was suggested that the poor may have been disproportionally affected in part because the rich were afforded extra immune support from their silverware and plates. Silver has also been used throughout the 20th century as the standard of care in burn centers, and NASA has used silver ions to purify the water for both its space shuttle program and International Space Station. In 1999, entrepreneur Stephen L. Quinto made breakthrough discovery with colloidal silver hydrosol by finding a particle size so fine that not even an electron microscope could detect, advancing colloidal silver technology by 120 years. Today, Sovereign Silver (Bio-Active Silver Hydrosol) health care products are the No.1 selling silver in North America, accomplishing Quinto’s mission to produce the finest mineral hydrosols as the first line of defense in the quest for health sovereignty with the world’s ever- increasing immune challenges (https://sovereignsilver.com)


A: There are two types of well-known mint: spearmint and peppermint, but they are not the same plant as peppermint actually is a natural hybrid of spearmint and is the more potent of the herbs. Peppermint aids in digestion and can settle the stomach due to its properties that dispel gas and relieve cramping. Oil of peppermint contains up to 78 percent menthol, capable of killing myriad microorganisms that are associated with digestive and other problems such as irritable bowel syndrome.


A: Curcumin is the main active ingredient in turmeric and has powerful anti-inflammatory effects. Studies have shown that turmeric may have pain-reducing power equal in some cases to that of prescription and over-the-counter medications. You can take it as a supplement, use it as an ingredient in your food or consume it as a tea.


A: In a report from the CDC, a new program for testing suspect bacteria turned up unusual antibiotic-resistance genes 221 times in 2017, and 11 percent of people screened positive for these superbugs even though they had no symptoms. Inappropriate use of antibiotics has escalated the threat of these nightmare bacteria known as superbugs.


A: For more visit: http://www.sherrytorkos.com and http://www.facebook.com/holistic.sherry.


Life & Style – Black America Web


Gently stroking babies before medical procedures may reduce pain processing

Researchers found that gently stroking a baby seems to reduce activity in the infant brain associated with painful experiences. Their results suggest that lightly brushing an infant at a certain speed — of approximately 3 centimeters per second — could provide effective pain relief before clinically necessary medical procedures.
Child Development News — ScienceDaily


I have three healthy kids, but I’ll never forget the pain of my miscarriage

I have three healthy kids, but I’ll never forget the pain of my miscarriage

I have three healthy kids, but I’ll never forget the pain of my miscarriage

Trigger Warning: This essay describes graphic memories of a miscarriage.

When I gave birth to my son, I was certain it was the biggest accomplishment of my life. When anyone asked me how I liked motherhood, I proudly said it was the greatest thing I’d ever do. So, 10 months after our son made us parents for the first time, my husband and I decided we were ready for baby number two. Effortlessly, I became pregnant within a month. I was ecstatic. Yes, I’d have two babies in diapers at the same time, but the unconditional love was addictive. Creating that love by adding to our family made all the sense in the world.

My first doctor’s appointment confirming my pregnancy was exciting. My son had been unplanned, so my anxiety about being pregnant and unwed had prevented me from enjoying the first stage of that pregnancy. I was eager to enjoy every moment this second time around. After some lab work, I was confirmed to be officially pregnant.

My husband accompanied me to my next appointment a week later; he was as excited about our newest addition as I was. I slipped into my hospital gown while my husband and I flirted and laughed. Soon, we excitedly watched our baby show up on the screen for the first time. We were so eager that it took a moment to realize what the ultrasound machine revealed: A small 7-week-old fetus with no heartbeat.

My doctor seemed unperturbed as she instructed me to get dressed before leaving the room. I put on my clothes in silence. The joyful atmosphere from before was completely erased while we waited for the doctor to say what we already knew. Like one in four pregnancies, mine had ended in miscarriage.

My doctor confirmed it, and there was no explanation for what happened. There were no condolences given. She only stated the simple facts and told me the fetus should pass soon without trouble. I was too numb to respond.

That weekend was spent in tears as I experienced bleeding. I tried to rationalize the miscarriage. Why did it happen? What did I do to cause it? I wanted answers, but there was no way to find them.

I returned to work the following Monday, knowing that everyone was aware of my miscarriage. But I was relieved—having someone innocently ask about my pregnancy would set me off all over again. Instead, I was handled with kids gloves and I couldn’t bring myself to resent it. I felt more fragile than ever.

I was processing the weekly payroll in my office, and that’s when I felt it happening. I excused myself to a private bathroom and sat heavily on the seat. To this day, I can’t explain how it felt, but I could feel my body passing something more than blood. I knew my body had to release the remainders of the fetus, but I had no understanding of how physically substantial a miscarriage can be. I thought my bleeding over the weekend would be the end of it, but now I knew I was wrong. I affixed an oversized pad to my underwear and went back to my desk.

But I still felt it—those telltale uncomfortable signs of bleeding through my pad. I went back to the bathroom; it was like I’d entered a scene from a bloody horror movie. I quickly changed my pad, shaking as I cleaned myself as much as I could.

But I bled through the second pad, and this time, I was frantic. The bleeding wouldn’t stop. I was traumatized. Not knowing what to do, I took out my phone and called my boss. He answered with a chipper voice, no doubt expecting a payroll question.

“I’m miscarrying in the bathroom,” I told him. “Help me.”

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I don’t know if it was my words or the panicked way I said them, but he and our team’s head of HR knocked at the bathroom door almost instantly. Through the door, I explained what was happening. They wanted to call an ambulance; I wanted my husband. I wanted my parents. I didn’t want to experience this there.

They coaxed me out of the bathroom and I waited for my ride to the ER. I continued bleeding uncontrollably, shaking violently as my boss tried to keep me alert. I remember his comforting words, but they were overshadowed by the horrified look in his eyes.

Mumbled apologies tumbled from my lips—but I wasn’t even sure what I was sorry for. Scaring them? Bleeding all over the place? Bringing my trauma to work? Failing this baby as a mother?

My husband met me at the ER. We were ushered to a triage where we waited for far too long, and I felt the final drop of a heavy mass. Suddenly, the proof of my unborn second child laid on the floor of the triage. I couldn’t look at it.

Just like my OBGYN, the ER doctor walked in, gave me the facts of my miscarriage, and sent me away.

I wasn’t sure what was worse: leaving the fetus that had been in my womb behind or enduring heartless treatment from doctors in the most harrowing time of my life.

It took me years to talk about my miscarriage.

Instead, I did all the things you’re supposed to do. I named her June Jose for the month she was lost and for my father. My dad planted a flowering bush in her honor. I waited to have another child. I spent my third and fourth pregnancies doing everything I could to grow healthy babies—and I did. Still, there was a pain I couldn’t shake, that I still can’t.

In a strange way, I don’t think I’m meant to forget that pain. Living children spend their entire existences are spent filling us with joy, love, worry, frustration, and a litany of other feelings. We love them more each day, and they teach us in both subtle and grand ways. Children lost in pregnancy or infancy aren’t exempt from inspiring these feelings—they just do it in a different way. The what-ifs intensify those feelings. These children who were lost are simultaneously infinite in their possibilities and finite in their reality. I’ll never know for sure that my child was a girl. I’ll never know if she had my eyes or my husband’s smile. I’ll never know what it feels like to hold her.

No matter how full my heart is, there will always be a smaller corner of it that aches just for her, and I’ve accepted that it is supposed to be that way. My sorrow is never ending, but so is my love for the child I lost.

If you have suffered a pregnancy or infant loss, you can find your local chapter of Share Pregnancy and Infant Loss Support here, and get their help during this time.

The post I have three healthy kids, but I’ll never forget the pain of my miscarriage appeared first on HelloGiggles.



Patients shocked, burned by device touted to treat pain

Spinal-cord stimulators are more dangerous than many patients know.
ABC News: Health


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Persistent Back Pain Is A Serious Warning Sign

Persistent Back Pain Is A Serious Warning Sign

New research has found that older women who experience frequent back pain may have a higher risk of death.

Carried out by researchers at Boston Medical Center, the study is the first to investigate the effect of persistent back pain on mortality, with previous researchers only focusing on the impact of back pain on disability.

For the new study, the researchers followed 8,321 women aged 65 or…

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Giant baby born to mom without pain relief

Whoa, baby!

If any mom deserves a push present, it’s this one.

Sydney, Australia mother Nikki Bell gave birth to a 12-pound, 6-ounce boy named Parker last Thursday without the help of pain relievers. The big bundle of joy’s weight was a record-breaker at Blacktown Hospital, according to its midwife…

Life Style – New York Daily News


Bob Barker reportedly rushed to hospital with back pain

Bob Barker was reportedly hospitalized Monday after complaining of severe back pain.

Paramedics responded to the Hollywood Hills home of the “Price is Right” icon around 1 p.m. after he called 9-1-1, according to TMZ.

Barker’s manager told the gossip site that the 94-year-old former game show host…

/entertainment – New York Daily News