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Pain Relief Advice

The Support of Others Can Help With Chronic Pain
Wednesday nights are Chronic Pain Support Group Night at the Scottsdale Arizona Pain Specialists location. We meet at 5 p.m. every Wednesday evening, and everyone is welcome!
The support of others can be incredibly beneficial to those who suffer from chronic pain. Knowing that someone else cares and is going through exactly what you are going through creates a sense of community you can’t get anywhere else. We hope to see you there!
-Dr. Paul Lynch

Meditation
Meditation is known as a period of extremely focused thought that can lead to a possible deep reflection and/or awareness. Most chronic pain patients often feel out of control, and meditation can lend to a state of calm and well-being. By meditating, the body often will perform the completely opposite response to when it is specifically experiencing pain. When experiencing pain, the heart and respiratory rate may be elevated, the body may perspire, and a sense of panic may be present. Meditation brings about a focused attention – and often can lower the heart and respiratory rate, and give you an overall state of calm.
-Dr. Tory McJunkin

Water-cize!
With summer here, more people are hitting the pool for “water-cize,” exercise you can perform in the pool! There are many effective workouts you can do in the pool, no matter your fitness level. In fact, for those with chronic pain conditions, workouts performed in the pool are highly recommended. Since workouts in the pool are low impact, they are perfect for those with conditions worsened by impact, such as arthritis and fibromyalgia. Weights for use in the pool can be purchased, or “running” in the pool makes for a great low-impact workout! Don’t forget – you’re not a fish, you can’t hydrate through your skin. Keep drinking water even though you’re in the pool!
– Arizona Pain Specialists

Benefits from Video Games?
It may surprise you, but there is research that shows video games may have a pain relieving effect for those with chronic pain conditions. By becoming completely immersed in the fun and activity of a video game, studies have shown that many who suffer from chronic pain are, at least temporarily, distracted from their pain. While video games certainly can’t cure pain (yet!), the benefits seem to be some relief from constant, chronic pain.
-Dr. Paul Lynch

Double the Endorphins!
By buddying up and walking, you may be receiving twice the endorphins than by walking alone! Exercise, no matter how low impact, creates endorphins, the body’s natural pain killer and mood lifter. By going for a daily walk with a family member or friend, you not only gain the benefit of low-impact exercise, but you can create even more endorphins by being in the company of someone else.
-Dr. Patrick Hogan

Barefoot is In!
Recent studies show that for those suffering from pain due to arthritis in the knees, going barefoot may alleviate some of that pain. Many stability shoes (often recommended to those with arthritis) have a raised heel. It is this raised heel that may be the cause of more pain in the knees of the arthritic. I’d recommend you try walking around your home barefoot a little more often – you may find that it helps with that chronic arthritis pain!
- Arizona Pain Specialists

Journaling for the Chronic Pain Patient
Writing can be cathartic, and journaling about your pain can help a chronic pain patient tremendously in many ways. In the past, if you wanted to journal, you would need to break out the ol’ pen and paper. And while this is still the preferred method for many, the internet offers many tools for those who want to journal and suffer from chronic pain. One major benefit in journaling chronic pain is the “business” portion of your journal. By keeping track of your highest pain days, the activities you have done that day, how you relieved the pain (at least somewhat), and what your stress level is, you can report these findings back to your doctor, and he may be able to identify triggers for your pain. In your personal portion of your journal, write down your thoughts, emotions and feelings. By writing it down on paper (or typing it into a computer), chronic pain patients often find they feel better just by getting those thoughts off their minds.
-Dr. Tory McJunkin

The Building Blocks of Bones
We all know calcium is good for the bones, but do you know the other crucial compound your body needs for healthy bones? Calcium certainly is important for your body, but it is somewhat ineffective if there is a lack of vitamin D. Working as building blocks, vitamin D and calcium go hand-in-hand. The body needs vitamin D to absorb calcium. Without adequate vitamin D levels in the body, minimal calcium absorption occurs. Vitamin D can be obtained from fortified foods and drinks, and, in the sunny Arizona climate, just fifteen minutes in the sun per day. Your skin absorbs vitamin D from the sun!
-Dr. Paul Lynch

The Perils of Carbonation
The carbonation found in soda and other bubbly drinks can actually be fairly detrimental. The carbonation in bubbly drinks come from phosphoric acid. While the body naturally contains phosphorus, too much can lead to bone loss. In addition, when you’re drinking soda, you often replace water or milk – which is what you should be drinking. Caffeine has also been shown to inhibit calcium absorption, which is what makes bones strong.
Dr. Patrick Hogan

Inversion Tables
Inversion tables? What exactly is that?
An inversion table is just that – a device that inverts you. As you go about your day, the discs in your spine that act as cushioning between your vertebrae compresses and can become dehydrated. By inverting your body, you give your discs a “break,” essentially. By giving them this break, they have the opportunity to re-hydrate and expand. In addition, inversion has been found to strengthen ligaments, relieve stress and help with stimulation.
- Arizona Pain Specialists

The Pain Show
In our ongoing effort to continue to educate patients, we bring you The Pain Show. A show hosted by myself and my partner, Dr. Paul Lynch, The Pain Show is our way of helping patients out in another outlet. We created The Pain Show to bring the latest in pain news, pain management techniques and tips and tricks to use at home to help patients alleviate their pain. We also include step-by-step explanations of procedures you may receive, as well as include live procedure footage. You can find episodes of The Pain Show by clicking here. We hope you find them educational!
-Dr. Tory McJunkin

Discectomy
A procedure to help relieve pain caused by a herniated or bulging disc. For those with herniated or bulging discs, the pain is often searing and insufferable. However, they don’t have to suffer – there is a minimally-invasive procedure known as a diskectomy that may help. A herniated or bulging disc is characterized by the fluid from the disc leaking into the space surrounding it. This causes pain as the caustic inner material from the disc irritates the nerves surrounding it.
A diskectomy removes that fluid, thus effectively relieving pain. Learn more about the diskectomy procedure by clicking here.
-Dr. Paul Lynch

Picture Albums and Endorphins
As a chronic pain patient, you should always be on the lookout for things that make you smile – and create those positive, pain blocking endorphins! Flip through old albums. Memories of times past can make you smile and perhaps even laugh. Dig deeper – look at old yearbooks! Remember your prom date? Your crazy hair during your senior year? No matter what the pictures are of, just get them out and enjoy!
-Dr. Patrick Hogan

Find a Community
Did you know Arizona Pain Specialists sponsors a chronic pain support group? Utilizing Facebook, Arizona Pain Specialists offers you an online chronic pain support group. Working toward 100,000 strong, this group has three main purposes: to give those who suffer from chronic pain a voice; to allow those with chronic pain to give advice to others; and for those in chronic pain to find support from others who explicitly understand what they are going through.
Join us in being 100,000 strong. Chronic Pain Support Group
-Dr. Tory McJunkin

What Can A Shark Do For You?
As interventional pain management physicians, we are excited about what sharks contribute to our field. While it is naturally produced in the body, some do not produce enough of the vitamin known as chondroitin. Part of the building blocks of cartilage (the cushioning between your bones), chondroitin is an important substance for the chronic pain patient. Luckily, you can take a chondroitin supplement! While originally produced from shark cartilage, chondroitin is now able to be produced in labs. However, we can thank sharks for the advent of this supplement!
- Arizona Pain Specialists

Green Tea?!
This unassuming drink has more benefits than you may know! Green tea has been shown to not only have excellent antioxidant properties and to be an appetite suppressant, but studies have shown green tea to also have anti-inflammatory properties. Hot or iced, green tea has great benefits for the chronic pain patient!
-Dr. Paul Lynch

Arizona Pain Monthly
Have you read this magazine distributed by Arizona Pain Specialists? This month’s issue features the inspiring story of Elizabeth Arant, a patient who suffered from chronic, debilitating headaches for years. With the use of a technology called occipital nerve stimulation, she is now pain free and completely functional. Also included – the reader favorite “Chiro Corner” and recipes for anti-inflammatory foods, the new issue is full of useful information for the chronic pain patient.
- Arizona Pain Specialists

Vertebroplasty
Do you know what a vertebroplasty is? A compression fracture usually occurs one of two ways. A major trauma such as a vehicle accident or a fall can cause a compression fracture. For those with osteoporosis, depending on the severity, a compression fracture can occur over time, or from something as small as a sneeze. If you suffer from chronic pain due to a compression fracture, ask your pain physician about a vertebroplasty. A procedure that consists of injecting medical grade cement into the fracture to create an internal cast, a vertebroplasty can cause instant pain relief for the pain patient.
-Dr. Patrick Hogan

Reconnect With Old Friends
As a chronic pain sufferer, have your old friendships gone by the wayside? Try reconnecting with old friends. Catch up with them and find out what they have been up to since you last spoke. Tell them positive things about yourself. By smiling, laughing and talking with them, you’ll create some great, feel-good endorphins!
- Arizona Pain Specialists

Healthy Steps
Do you know what a pedometer is? A pedometer is a device that is used to measure how many steps you take in one day. I want to challenge you to buy a pedometer and wear it – see how many steps you take the first day. Then push yourself a bit – try to take 100 more steps the next day. Chronic pain patients will often find that just a little bit of exercise can have great benefits and go a long way!
-Dr. Paul Lynch

Inflammatory Foods!
Conversely, there are foods that are bad for the body’s inflammatory process. Any foods of the nightshade family (potatoes, tomatoes, bell peppers) actually increase the body’s inflammatory process. The exception to this rule are sweet potatoes – they are the only potato that is actually an anti-inflammatory!
- Arizona Pain Specialists

Anti Inflammatory Foods!
Did you know that some foods are natural anti-inflammatory agents? It’s true! The best source for anti-inflammatory properties from food are fish rich in Omega-3 fatty acids. Salmon, tuna and halibut are easy additions to any diet. For chronic pain patients, anti-inflammatory foods can be of great help, as they can reduce the processes that cause painful inflammation in the body.
-Dr. Tory McJunkin

Sleep and the Chronic Pain Patient
Chronic pain sufferers often find their sleep patterns to be disturbed. Avoiding prescription sleep aids may be wise for some, as they can cause unwanted side effects. There are natural remedies that have shown to be useful for those that find their sleep to be interrupted by chronic pain. 5-HTP is a natural supplement and contains tryptophan – yes, that famous chemical found in turkey that makes everyone so drowsy on Thanksgiving! This natural supplement can aid in bringing about restful sleep.
-Dr. Paul Lynch

Fresh Flowers
Fresh flowers can bring a smile! In the spirit of constantly finding ideas to create those endorphins for chronic pain patients, I want to suggest fresh flowers. Placed in a spot where you can see them throughout your day, flowers can bring a smile!
-Dr. Patrick Hogan

Acupuncture?
Have you tried acupuncture? Many are wary to try acupuncture, mainly because they are afraid it may hurt. Rest assured, chronic pain patients who have experienced acupuncture report that they found the treatment to be painless. In fact, if they had their eyes closed when the therapist placed the needles, they weren’t able to correctly say where they were located! Read more about acupuncture and chronic pain in the pain knowledge center
- Arizona Pain Specialists

Get Fancy!
For a chronic pain patient, sometimes the best therapy is creating a major distraction from your pain. Here’s your challenge – if you usually go out to dinner in shorts and a tank top, get a little fancy! Ladies, do your hair, put on makeup and pick an outfit that makes you feel beautiful; gents, wear nicer pants and a button down shirt. The tie isn’t necessary, but just the little bit of effort can make a world of difference – and possibly take your mind off your pain for the evening.
-Dr. Paul Lynch

Happy Sunday!
Is it time for a day off? Even though we encourage the chronic pain patient to remain active and busy, sometimes, everyone needs a day off. Enjoying a day of relaxing can add to your well-being. Read a great book, spend time with family and friends, or go for a walk. No matter what you do, just enjoy your day!
Dr. Tory McJunkin

Take Your Vitamins!
Your mom always said, “take your vitamins!” Turns out, she was right! Daily supplements are invaluable for a chronic pain patient. Calcium and vitamin D work together as the body’s “building blocks” – without one, the other is ineffective. Calcium can be derived from supplements or food products. Vitamin D is known as the “sunshine vitamin” and it takes just 15 minutes a day in the Arizona sun to get the adequate daily level of vitamin D, however, it can also be found in a supplement.
-Dr. Patrick Hogan

Bring Back A Favorite Activity
When you’re a chronic pain patient, you’re focused so much on your pain, a lot of your favorite activities may have fallen by the wayside. Did you used to scrapbook? Knit? Go fishing? Try bringing back these activities. Even if you feel some pain when you start them, try to continue. By focusing on your activity and not your pain, you may be able to take your mind off your chronic pain for long enough that you begin to enjoy the activity. And once that happens, you’re not focused on your pain at all!
Dr. Tory McJunkin

Stretch It Out!
If you have a chronic pain condition like osteoporosis, fibromyalgia or arthritis, a good daily stretch can help! Studies have shown that stretching and moving muscles surrounding painful joints can not only alleviate current chronic pain, but can also prevent against future pain. By keeping muscles and joints limber, they will stay usable longer. Check out previous issues of Arizona Pain Monthly for some ideas to get you started!
Dr. Patrick Hogan

Sing Along Challenge!
I am challenging you to sing along! Singing your favorite song at the top of your lungs – especially if you don’t feel like it – can get your blood moving and those endorphins going! I know that if I’m tired or feeling down, singing a little Bob Marley gets me in a great mood! For a chronic pain patient, taking the focus off your pain and creating endorphins can help greatly. So give it a try!
- Arizona Pain Specialists

Positive Thought Challenge
As chronic pain sufferers, trying to come up with positive thoughts can be extremely hard. It can also be extremely beneficial. By thinking positive, you can take the focus off your pain. So I want to challenge you to come up with three positive thoughts. It can be things you are thankful for, things that make you happy, or just positive thoughts in general. No matter what they are, think positive!
Dr. Paul Lynch

It’s a New Week!
I hope you all had a nice weekend! It’s the start of a new week, and time for a new goal. With the beginning of each week, chronic pain patients can look at it as another fresh start. Sometimes, the previous week doesn’t go as planned – but here’s your chance to start over! So make it a positive week!
Dr. Tory McJunkin

Play A Game
Remember how much fun Candyland or a game of cards used to be? Play a game! Gather up some friends or your kids and just enjoy the game. It doesn’t matter what it is – card games are easy since all you need is a deck of cards. Board games can be fun too, or work on a puzzle! If you enjoy playing games, you can bring a smile to your face and to those that play the game with you!
- Arizona Pain Specialists

Cook Your Favorite Food
Sometimes, our favorite food can bring up a happy memory for us. By cooking your favorite food, the smell and the motions of cooking it can bring back great memories. Did you always love to bake cookies with your mom? Did your family have pancakes every Saturday morning? Try making your favorite food and see how you feel – you may just find yourself smiling and creating those good endorphins!
-Dr. Patrick Hogan

Exercise for the Chronic Pain Patient
Exercise for the chronic pain patient is actually extremely beneficial. For those suffering from chronic pain, and especially conditions like fibromyalgia and arthritis, gentle exercise can be the absolute best for you. If joints and muscles are used and moved as much as possible, it keeps them more flexible, and can keep them functioning longer than without any exercise at all. Recommended exercise for pain patients include water activities, yoga, walking and stationary bicycling. It is important to get into a routine and keep up your routine, even if you are in pain that day. By getting up and getting moving, you can help your body and possibly avoid some stiffness.
Dr. Tory McJunkin

Have You Ever Tried Chiro?
At Arizona Pain Specialists, we offer full chiropractic care at each office. Chiropractic care is a complementary method that has proven extremely helpful in treating chronic pain. We offer chiropractic manipulations, acupuncture, and the use of other basic chiropractic modalities. For more about acupuncture, see the latest issue of Arizona Pain Monthly in our regularly featured Chiro Corner column.
-Dr. Paul Lynch

Pets and Pain
In the spirit of continuing to find simple things to make you smile, I wanted to bring up pets. Pets have been proven to make their owners more relaxed, happy and at peace. In fact, many believe that owning a pet can lengthen the owner’s life. Dogs especially offer unconditional love – have you ever seen a dog that was unhappy to see you after a long day at work? Cats can be pickier, but studies have shown that cat owners actually have less instances of heart attacks than non-cat owners. If you have a pet, make sure you let them know they are appreciated!
Dr. Patrick Hogan

Have an amazing weekend…
This weekend, I want to challenge you to find something that makes you happy. Yesterday, Dr. McJunkin talked about how a smile can positively affect chronic pain, so I want to challenge you to actively look for something that makes you smile. It can be anything, from spending time with family and friends, to having your favorite food, to spending time doing your favorite activity. Just find a reason to smile!
- Arizona Pain Specialists

Just smile!
The act of a smile may seem simple, but can have gigantic impact. Smiling can produce an instantaneous uplift in your mental, emotional and physical state. Smiling releases endorphins, the body’s natural pain defense mechanism.
Smiling has been shown to relieve stress, which is usually a byproduct of chronic pain syndromes. Most of all, smiling is contagious – when you smile at someone, you often receive a smile in return. Maybe the person you smile at is in pain or having a bad day – and by your simple smile, you may make them feel better.
So just remember – smile!
-Dr. Tory McJunkin