Category Archives: Pain Medicine

This tag is for all blog posts which discuss topics related to the master or certificate program in Pain Medicine.

Person holding lighter that lit a cigarette

Does Tobacco Impact Chronic Pain?

Person holding lighter that lit a cigarette

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 14 out of every 100 adults in the U.S. smoke cigarettes, which is around 14% of the adult population. They also report that it is one of the leading causes of preventable disease, disability, and death in the country [1]. Many of those who smoke tobacco also have chronic pain, but they may not be aware of the way the two are connected. So does smoking tobacco impact chronic pain?

Like what you’re learning?  Download a brochure for our online, postgraduate pain medicine certificate or master’s degree program in partnership with the Keck School of Medicine of USC.

 

Download a Brochure

 

 

Research Shows the Effect of Tobacco on Chronic Pain

Shared the findings from a narrative review of the literature regarding the complex interaction between smoking and chronic pain [2]. Researchers reviewed the literature on the topic that is available up to this point. Everyone who smokes should be made aware of these findings, making it important for those who have chronic pain to learn about, as well as for those who work in pain management.

The study found that tobacco smoking is a risk factor for chronic pain. This is because it involves the nociceptors, which are sensory end organs found in the skin, joints, viscera, and muscle. The nociceptors respond to something that is found to be a damaging stimuli, which is what a cigarette is.

For example, take someone who smokes a pack of cigarettes a day. That’s 20 times per day that their fingers are coming in contact with stimuli that is damaging the nociceptors. Over time, this ends up leading to chronic pain.

This is a bit of a viscous circle, however, because the tobacco acts as an analgesic. That means when the person smokes, often due to the stress of the pain, they get temporary relief from the pain. They are essentially getting short-term pain relief from the cause of the chronic pain. This makes it more difficult for them to successfully give up smoking.

The researchers suggest that it’s important for those who smoke and have chronic pain to try some holistic therapeutic strategies to try to successfully quit smoking. The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health reports that there are holistic approaches that have helped people with their smoking cessation efforts [3].

Holistic Treatments

Smoking is a difficult habit for many people to kick due to the addictive properties in cigarettes. Those who have chronic pain and smoke may want to give serious consideration to trying cessation programs until they are successful, as doing so may bring chronic pain relief.  Thus smoking tobacco does indeed have impact on chronic pain, so think carefully.

 

USC’s Online Degree in Pain Medicine

Pain Medicine online degrees provide education to a wide variety of health professionals. Consider enrolling in our online, competency-based certificate or master’s program today!

 

Get More Information

 

 

Sources

  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Current cigarette smoking among adults in the United States. March 2021.
  2. La Revue des Maladies Respiratoires. Relation between tobacco smoking and pain. February 2021.
  3. National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. Complimentary health approaches for smoking cessation. January 2021.
Business man grabbing his face in pain while trying to work

How to Manage Chronic Joint Pain in the Workplace

Business man grabbing his face in pain while trying to work

Millions of people suffer from chronic joint pain. Some have chronic knee pain, others have chronic hip pain, and still others have chronic low back pain. This can impede their ability to do their job in a sufficient manner, and may even lead them to miss days at work due to the pain. The good news is that help is on the horizon, and it may be found in a new workplace chronic joint pain program called Joint Pain Advice (JPA).

Like what you’re learning?  Download a brochure for our online, postgraduate pain medicine certificate or master’s degree program in partnership with the Keck School of Medicine of USC.

 

Download a Brochure

 

Chronic Joint Pain Relief Program

JPA was created to be used as a tool for corporations so they could help their employees who suffer from chronic joint pain find some relief. It also encourages employees in addressing their chronic joint pain while in their workplace. The program includes health and lifestyle information that is given to adults in the workplace. The program was put to the test to see whether or not it would help people in the workplace, and the results were shared in the March 2021 issue of the journal Musculoskeletal Care [1].

There were 20 organizations that took part in the study, with nearly 500 participants who received the JPA program information. To provide the information, there is one advisor who is trained from each company, and that person assesses the pain, their musculoskeletal health and function, and receives information about how many days per week the person was physically active for at least 30 minutes.

The JPA program provides participants with strategies they can use to help lessen their chronic joint pain in the workplace. They are given information about living a healthier lifestyle, how to cope with pain, how to set goals, and more. Over the course of the six-month program, they are reviewed three times, and during that meeting, the health messages are reinforced.

 

Program Results

The results of the study showed that when people were given this information in the workplace and followed it, there was significant improvement. Those who participated in it report that they were highly satisfied with the program, activity levels among participants improved, and employee absenteeism was reduced.

Considering employee absenteeism was reduced among employees, it may be a good idea for more organizations to consider implementing the JPA program. Not only did it help employees reduce their chronic pain, but that will lead to improving overall life satisfaction, and make for happier and more productive people in the workplace. Some think that that addressing chronic joint pain while in a workplace could mean their job. This program can be used in all sizes of businesses and can be administered by a health or non-health professional.

 

USC’s Online, Competency-Based Pain Medicine Degree Programs

USC’s online degree program is suitable for health professionals from a wide variety of fields to increase their knowledge in pain medicine. Expand your skills today!

 

Get More Information

 

Sources

  1. Musculoskeletal Care. Delivering NICE Joint Pain Advice in the workplace. March 2021.
Two friends walking with one arm around the other

Can a Short Walk Help Relieve Fibromyalgia Pain?

Two friends walking with one arm around the other

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, around 2% of the adult population in the country has fibromyalgia [1]. The condition causes widespread chronic pain all over the body. As well as impacting one’s quality of life and sleep, it can cause emotional and mental distress. For those with this type of chronic pain, it’s important to have many tools they can turn to in order to find some relief. One of them is taking a six-minute walk each day.

Like what you’re learning?  Download a brochure for our online, postgraduate pain medicine certificate or master’s degree program in partnership with the Keck School of Medicine of USC.

 

Download a Brochure

 

New Research Findings

Shared findings from a study conducted in which those with fibromyalgia engaged in a program of exercise and receiving information [2]. They started the study with 75 participants who had fibromyalgia. Each participant was given information regarding the condition and put on a program in which they would walk for six minutes per day for a period of six weeks.

When the program ended at the six-week mark, there were 43 people who were still participating in the program. They found that there was a small-to-moderate improvement. Those who participated for the whole program did have short-term benefits from their efforts.

Six months later, researchers followed up with the participants to see if there was any difference. Of those who finished, there were two who had what is considered a minimal clinically important difference at the six-month mark.

 

Physical Exercise Provides Relief

Prior research backs up this idea that physical exercise can help bring some relief from the chronic pain associated with fibromyalgia. In a 2017 study published in the Cochrane Database of Systematic Review, researchers concluded that evidence indicates that aerobic exercise probably provided people with an improved quality of life [3].

Additionally, a study published in the March 2018 issue of the journal BMJ found that engaging in tai chi regularly had helped to improve fibromyalgia symptoms. Those who engaged in it for longer periods of time had the most benefit from it [4].

These studies are good news for those who have chronic pain due to fibromyalgia. By engaging in regular exercise, they can expect to have at least slight improvements in symptoms, and they may experience a better quality of life.

There are plenty of options to choose from, including taking a daily six-minute walk or doing some tai chi to help fibromyalgia. The more options that people have, the more they will be able to find relief from their pain.

 

Sources:

  1. Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Fibromyalgia.
  2. Disability and Rehabilitation. The effects of a group exercise and education programme on symptoms and physical fitness in patients with fibromyalgia. March 2021.
  3. Cochrane Database of Systematic Review. Aerobic exercise training for adults with fibromyalgia. June 2017.
  4. BMJ. Effect of tai chi versus aerobic exercise for fibromyalgia. March 2018.

 

USC’s Online Degree in Pain Medicine

Pain Medicine online degrees provide education to a wide variety of health professionals. Consider enrolling in our online, competency-based certificate or master’s program today!

 

Get More Information

 

Person driving from the back angle

Effects of Chronic Low Back Pain on Driving

Person driving from the back angle

Most adults around the country take driving for granted. It’s something they do on a regular basis, whether it’s just to go to work or to run errands and do the grocery shopping. But for the millions of people who suffer from chronic low back pain, driving may pose some challenges. This is exactly what researchers set out to explore in a recent study.

Continue reading Effects of Chronic Low Back Pain on Driving

Person riding a horse with helmet on for equine-assisted therapy

Can Equine-Assisted Therapy Relieve Chronic Pain?

Person riding a horse with helmet on for equine-assisted therapy

Many people love horses. They enjoy watching their grace and beauty, and many will even try riding them. For years, people have touted the benefits of horseback riding or spending time with horses for those with a myriad of conditions, including autism, Down syndrome, emotional disabilities, learning disabilities, spinal cord injuries, and more.

Continue reading Can Equine-Assisted Therapy Relieve Chronic Pain?

A person walking on a track with good shoes for exercise

Walking vs. Yoga: Which Helps Chronic Low Back Pain?

A person walking on a track with good shoes for exercise

Millions of people suffer from chronic low back pain. They are often looking for alternative or natural ways to get some relief. Two options that have been touted over the years are walking and doing yoga. While there have been studies that showed they were both beneficial, they were not sure which is more effective, until now.

Continue reading Walking vs. Yoga: Which Helps Chronic Low Back Pain?

Women reaches for her toes to stretch

Aerobic Fitness and Chronic Low Back Pain

Women reaches for her toes to stretch

Millions of people suffer from chronic low back pain. Many of them tend to shy away from aerobic exercises because they fear their back will hurt more or that the exercises will be too difficult. The good news is that research supports the idea that aerobic fitness helps to alleviate some of the low back pain. In addition, a new study points to the fact that those who have chronic low back pain tend to compare with healthy individuals in aerobic fitness assessments. Continue reading Aerobic Fitness and Chronic Low Back Pain

Mother and father caring for and gazing at their infant child

Parents’ Adverse Childhood Experiences & Children’s Chronic Pain

Mother and father caring for and gazing at their infant child

Adverse childhood experiences (ACEs), according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, are common. In fact, around 61% of adults report that they had at least one ACE, while 1 in 6 adults report that they experienced at least four of them (1). There are numerous problems that such experiences can lead to, including impacting their own children when those people become parents.

Continue reading Parents’ Adverse Childhood Experiences & Children’s Chronic Pain

A Chart Describing BMI - Weight vs. Height

As BMI Increases, So Does Chronic Pain

A Chart Describing BMI - Weight vs. Height

It’s widely known that obesity and chronic pain often go hand in hand. Many people who are obese also experience chronic pain, although we don’t always know which condition came first. What we can do is look at if the number of people who experience chronic pain has been trending up along with the number of people who are becoming overweight or obese. Continue reading As BMI Increases, So Does Chronic Pain