Thursday, May 26, 2011

The "Ugly" Truth about Myofascial Pain Syndrome

To explain this Myofasical Pain Syndrome further in terms we can all understand, I was reading one of my books entitled "Fibromyalgia and Chronic Myofascial Pain. A Survival Manual. 2nd Edition" by Devin Starlanyl and Mary Ellen Copeland. Mind you this is the only book I've ever found of the two subjects mixed together. Anyways, point being that, if you imagine a piece of uncooked chicken. The skin is slimmey and slippery and moves about very easily. Now imagine your neck for example is made of human skin, underneath is "chicken skin", (I know lots in between), then bone, then more "chicken skin" then human skin again. Everyone without Chronic Myofascial Pain Syndrome moves that "chicken skin" around very easily. You don't have an issue checking your blind spot while driving, or turning your head when someone yells your name out in a crowd. Then there's me, and maybe you, if you have this unfortunate diagnosis. This "chicken skin" has turned into concrete. Yep, hard as a rock, can't hardly move an inch, rebar and all...Concrete. Now you add in good old Fibromyalgia which most of you are now familiar with and what do we have? A very painful experience my friends, So, next time you ask why I hurt so bad...thank your lucky "Chicken Skins"

Amanda Lakso
May 26 2011 7:47pm

Myofascial Pain Syndrome

Myofascial pain syndrome (MPS), also known as Chronic myofascial pain (CMP), is a condition characterized by chronic and, in some cases, severe pain. It is associated primarily with "trigger points", localized and sometimes extremely painful lumps or nodules in any of the body's muscles or connective tissue known as fascia. Other symptoms include referred pain, restricted movement, and sleep disturbances.


Myofascial pain can occur in distinct, isolated areas of the body, and because any muscle or fascia may be affected, this may cause a variety of localized symptoms. More generally speaking, the muscular pain is steady, aching, and deep. Depending on the case and location the intensity can range from mild discomfort to excruciating and "lightning-like". Knots may be visible or felt beneath the skin. The pain does not resolve on its own, even after typical first-aid self-care such as ice, heat, and rest.

Further Info:

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Zen Meditation Can Help Bring Pain Under Control

People who engage in Zen meditation do feel pain, new research reveals, but they don't think about it as much.

The observation could have a bearing on the treatment of chronic pain among patients struggling with the impact of conditions such as arthritis and back pain.

Pierre Rainville, a researcher at the University of Montreal, and his colleagues report their findings in the journal Pain.

"Our previous research found that Zen meditators have lower pain sensitivity," said senior author Rainville in a news release from the journal. "The aim of the current study was to determine how they are achieving this."

"Using functional magnetic resonance imaging [MRI], we demonstrated that although the meditators were aware of the pain, this sensation wasn't processed in the part of their brains responsible for appraisal, reasoning or memory formation," Rainville noted. "We think that they feel the sensations, but cut the process short, refraining from interpretation or labeling of the stimuli as painful."

The authors' observations stem from work with 13 Zen meditators exposed to a painful heat stimulus.

Functional MRIs were conducted of the meditators' brains as the team gathered their self-reported perceptions of pain.

Compared with an equal number of non-meditating study participants, the researchers found that highly experienced meditators reported lower pain responses, as well as less activity in those parts of the brain (the prefrontal cortex, amygdala and hippocampus) that are linked to cognitive processes, emotion and memory.

"Our findings lead to new insights into mind/brain function," study first author Joshua Grant, a doctoral student at the university, said in the same news release. "These results challenge current concepts of mental control, which is thought to be achieved by increasing cognitive activity or effort. Instead, we suggest it is possible to self-regulate in a more passive manner, by turning off certain areas of the brain, which in this case are normally involved in processing pain."

"The results suggest that Zen meditators may have a training-related ability to disengage some higher-order brain processes, while still experiencing the stimulus," added Rainville. "Such an ability could have widespread and profound implications for pain and emotion regulation and cognitive control. This behavior is consistent with the mindset of Zen and with the notion of mindfulness."

For more on meditation, visit the U.S. National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine.


Sunday, May 8, 2011

Why It's Important to Keep a Pain Diary

Why It's Important to Keep a Pain Diary and resources to keep track of it. Both old fashion and phone apps.

Your doctor needs detailed data to plot out the causes and triggers of your chronic pain and build a treatment plan. When she asks how you have been in the past month or two, you need to be ready to provide specifics.

"My back is bothering me worse than ever" won't help your doctor. One solution pain doctors recommend is keeping a pain diary, a consistent record of your pain experience.

Your doctor will be looking for triggers, stresses, and patterns. The more detailed you can be about the factors that seem to influence your pain, the better. 

  • Rate your pain on the pain scale at different times of the day.
  • Indicate whether your pain interrupts daily activities like walking, working, or sleeping.
  • Note what meds you took, when you took them, how much relief they provided, and for how long.
  • Describe other treatments you may have tried (yoga, herbal remedies,nonprescription drugs), and whether they provided any relief.
  • Note any side effects of pain medicine.
  • Keep track of anything that makes the pain improve (better when you are sitting instead of standing, better after a hot shower, etc.)
Consistency is the key. If you make notes in your diary on a regular basis (several times a week), you'll have a complete picture of your pain experience and patterns will emerge. 

Watch for surprises and patterns
You may notice some unusual connections. The stress of making dinner in the evening may cause that stabbing pain to return, or an argument with your daughter may make your back hurt more than usual.

Andrea Cooper, 52, of Phoenix, Md., has found her pain diary invaluable for keeping track of her fibromyalgia. "I saw that my pain would peak at certain times of the day," she says. "Even when I was on pain medication, I still found the pain had an upward climb at the end of day. I was able to take that to the doctor, and when he looked at it he said 'Gee whiz, your pain medicine is not getting you through the day. We need to do something about that spike.' He changed my medication and things improved."

Don't get addicted to the pain diary
Cooper does warn, however, of the danger of focusing so much on your pain that you obsessively fill in an entry every hour of the day. "That can backfire," she says, because "we all know that focusing on something that's bothering us will make it worse."

Cooper takes quick notes during the day and then writes a longer entry at the end of the day.

Download a pain diary
The not-for-profit American Pain Foundation has an excellent pain notebook that you can download for free. Also check out our print-and-carry list of what to keep in your pain diary.

Other recourses for pain dairy's:

Free Pain Diary Worksheet:

iPhone or iPad Apps to track your pain:
This is my favorite app. You can do SO much with it and even send the data to yourself or your doctor in spreadsheets. It's amazing! I use the free one. Not sure what the paid one has in addition.

iPhone Screenshot 1

Here's another favorite:
iPhone Screenshot 2

One more also has reports and tracking for long term for your doctor:

iPhone Screenshot 1
iPhone Screenshot 2
I don't have an Android, but here are some apps I found that look pretty good:

Pain care as mentioned above on iPhone apps but for Droid:

Symptom Tracker Pro:

Hope these tools are useful. Do what works for you. Good luck!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Highly recommended if you have a lot of medications. It keeps track of your meds. Shows interactions, date you began med, health conditions, risk ratings and more. Here's there about us section:

MediGuard: Safer medicine, healthier you.

MediGuard was created by professionals with decades of experience in healthcare market research, clinical drug development, and drug safety. Initially funded by Quintiles Transnational, the world’s leading provider of clinical research services, the primary purpose of MediGuard is to promote better communication and research about drug safety. Specifically, the goal was to create a community of patients profiled by medication and condition that are both accessible and motivated to participate in research.
We believe that the patient can play an important role in improving drug safety. Today, public and private organizations spend millions of dollars on drug safety research and risk management programs-often with disappointing results. At MediGuard, we feel strongly that connecting patients and researchers will allow us to conduct better, faster and more cost-effective research. Our end goal is to publish data that ultimately improves patient satisfaction, safety, and health.