Chronic Pain & Weather Connection

Remember the ongoing family ‘joke’ about how grandma could forecast the weather based on her knees being painful? And how accurate she was?  And now, it’s your turn to carry the torch as the family weather forecaster – sadly due to an increase or even flare up in your arthritis, bursitis, rheumatism, fibromyalgia and chronic pain causing you to be accurate with your forecast. Thing is, there is nothing supernatural about your weather predicting abilities – as there is a very real pain & weather connection!

Rain and/or Cold

When there is is a drop in the barometric pressure or a change with a cold weather front coming in, many of us are all too aware (sometimes several days before) of the change on it’s way.

For those of us living in places that get hit badly with rain, damp, wind and cold weather (so most of us!), we know it all too well how our bodies struggle in these conditions.  (I live in Scotland and my theme tune is by the Eurythmics – ‘Here Comes The Rain Again’.  It seems to sometimes be endless here.  A truly amazing country, but not the bestest place to be living when struggling with pain, unfortunately!

The Study

In 2007 a study done by Tufts University found that when the temperature drops by 10 degrees that there was correspondence with an increase in arthritis pain.

They also found that low barometric pressure, low temperatures and precipitation can be the instigator to an increase in pain.

Aching, brain fog, headaches & more can be a sign of toxicity…Take the How Toxic Are You Quiz Here!

Why?

Good question!  One that researchers are scratching their heads about. They ‘suspect’ that it has to do with certain atmospheric conditions increase swelling in the joint capsule.

What’s Low and High Barometric Pressure?

Ultimately, it is barometric pressure that cause the daily change in our weather patterns.  Low barometric pressure is the signal for an unsettled front coming in – rain, wind, storms etc.  High pressure means settled weather.  For further details on how this works, click here.

Natural Pain Relief

For me, the pain is the worst in my neck and shoulders, and one of the best things to help has to be my heating pad that moulds around my neck to give me maximum relief and coverage.

(It’s the middle of July, I have the fan on and I am on my heating pad, setting at max, due to increased costochondritis pain…and yep…the rain is on it’s way.  Again.)  I find the heat to be soothing.

Check This Out

If you are in the USA there is actually an Arthritis Weather Index to predict your pain! There’s also the Aches and Pains Map by Intellicast!

In Conclusion

Well, you might have become the latest meteorologist in your friends and family – perhaps you aren’t able to predict the EXACT temperature rolling in, but your fibromyalgia, arthritis and other chronic pain issues have made sure that you know that something is up weather wise.

You aren’t going crazy (and neither was grandma).  There is a definite connection between pain and the weather!

Alyssa Reid

Chronic Pain & Weather Connection


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Could Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME/CFS) Be a Chronic Form of Sepsis?

The next in an ongoing series of blogs on hypotheses by professionals associated with ME/CFS focuses on Dr. David Bell’s 2007 intriguing idea that ME/CFS patients could be stuck in a mild form of chronic septic shock.

In the ten years since Bell put forth his hypothesis, the hypothesis, has seemed, at least in this laymen’s accounting, to only gain currency. Find out why Dr. Bell believes that sepsis – one of the most dangerous and expensive to treat diseases – could have its counterpart in ME/CFS in this Simmaron Research Foundation supported blog:

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The post Could Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME/CFS) Be a Chronic Form of Sepsis? appeared first on Health Rising.

Cort Johnson
https://www.healthrising.org/blog/2018/01/01/chronic-fatigue-syndrome-chronic-form-sepsis/
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Is acetaminophen really safe in pregnancy?

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With up to 70 percent of pregnant American women reaching for acetaminophen to treat pain, infection, and fever, debate about the drug’s safety is ongoing. New research has brought further risks to light.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) always recommend consulting a doctor prior to using any pain medication during pregnancy.

Acetaminophen — also known as paracetamol — is a widely available over-the-counter (OTC) painkiller, used by 65–70 percent of pregnant women in the United States.

But it is also a component of many other drugs, such as those used to treat symptoms of the common cold or flu, allergies, and sleep problems.

Research into the drug’s safety during pregnancy is ongoing, with little in the way of definitive conclusions. The FDA point out that “severe and persistent pain that is not effectively treated during pregnancy can result in depression, anxiety, and high blood pressure in the mother.”

“However, it is important to carefully weigh the benefits and risks of using prescription and OTC pain medicines during pregnancy,” the statement continues.

As an expectant mother myself, I’ve been keeping a close eye on any studies into the drug’s effect. Evidence of a link between attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and the use of acetaminophen during pregnancy has been steadily mounting over the past few years.

In the past week, two new studies have joined the ranks, and they point to the potential effects on fertility and language development after acetaminophen use.

Here is what you need to know.

ADHD and behavioral problems

While there have been many efforts in the past to untangle a possible link between ADHD and acetaminophen use, the FDA have been critical of many of these.

According to their latest statement, from 2015, “[W]e found all of the studies we reviewed to have potential limitations in their designs; sometimes the accumulated studies on a topic contained conflicting results that prevented us from drawing reliable conclusions.”

Last November, we brought you a study from the journal Pediatrics that asked nearly 100,000 mothers about their acetaminophen use during pregnancy.

Almost half of the participants had used the drug. The researchers revealed that the risk of having a child with ADHD symptoms significantly increased when mothers took acetaminophen for more than 7 days.

Use of the drug for 29 days or longer doubled the risk of having a child with ADHD, regardless of whether the reason for taking the OTC drug was fever, infection, or pain.

These results are in line with a study we covered in 2016 that showed that acetaminophen use was linked to behavioral problems. The team — from the University of Bristol and Cardiff University, both in the United Kingdom — found that when mothers took acetaminophen at 18 weeks of pregnancy, their children were more likely to have conduct problems and symptoms of hyperactivity.

When the drug was used later on in pregnancy — at 32 weeks — these same traits were observed, but the risk of emotional symptoms and total behavioral difficulties was also higher.

New research published in the past week further incriminates acetaminophen, but this time, the effects are on fertility and language development.

Fertility affected across generations

A few years ago, we reported on a study that showed a potential link between acetaminophen use and fertility problems in male offspring in a mouse model.

The research team — from the University of Edinburgh in the U.K. — showed that three daily doses of acetaminophen over 7 days caused the levels of testosterone in male mouse babies to drop by nearly half.

Last week, a review of studies looking at the effects of acetaminophen use and fertility in female offspring concluded that the last weeks of the first trimester may be a critical time window.

Data obtained from rodent studies indicate that acetaminophen may disrupt normal development of the female reproductive organs, causing symptoms similar to premature ovarian insufficiency syndrome in humans.

Data from three independent studies, cited in the review, revealed that when rodents received acetaminophen, their offspring produced fewer eggs.

What is more, in one of the studies, this was passed on to the next generation, even if no more exposure to acetaminophen took place.

Senior paper author David Møbjerg Kristensen, Ph.D. — an assistant professor at the University of Copenhagen in Denmark — says, “[A]lthough this may not be a severe impairment to fertility, it is still of real concern since data from three different labs all independently found that paracetamol may disrupt female reproductive development in this way, which indicates further investigation is needed to establish how this affects human fertility.”

Prof. Kristensen urges that further research is needed.

[…] by combining epidemiological data from human studies with more experimental research on models, such as rodents, it may be possible to firmly establish this link and determine how it happens, so that pregnant women in pain can be successfully treated, without risk to their unborn children.”

Prof. David Møbjerg Kristensen

Acetaminophen and language delay

A new study — published just yesterday — adds another dimension to the potential hazards that acetaminophen may cause.

Shanna Swan, Ph.D. — who is a professor of environmental and public health at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City, NY — and team studied early language development in children whose mothers took acetaminophen during the very early stages of pregnancy.

Writing in the journal European Psychiatry, Prof. Swan used data from the Swedish Environmental Longitudinal, Mother and Child, Asthma and Allergy study.

This included self-reported data on acetaminophen use in early pregnancy — meaning between the point of conception and enrolment in the study, which typically occurred at 8–13 weeks of pregnancy.

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Is acetaminophen really safe in pregnancy?


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Fibromyalgia is death disease

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Fibromyalgia

While there is a lot of ongoing speculation about what triggers fibromyalgia, its causes have yet to be definitively identified and confirmed. Recent research has generally found that fibromyalgia is most likely a result of what scientists call central sensitization, or unusual responses in the nervous system with regard to pain perception.

 

 

Fibromyalgia’s Biochemical Triggers

“The [current] consensus is that fibromyalgia is not a problem with the muscles, joints, or tendons, but rather a problem with the central nervous system,” says Dr. Bruce Solitar, clinical associate professor of medicine in the division of rheumatology at NYU Medical Center/Hospital for Joint Diseases in New York. While it’s easy to think that pain felt by someone who has experienced no physical damage to the body might be categorized as purely psychosomatic, the sensations that a fibromyalgia patient experiences are as real as any other pain.

This was clearly demonstrated when researchers did MRI imaging of patients with fibromyalgia. When they pressed on certain areas of the participants’ bodies, they found dramatically increased activity in the pain center of the brain. One theory attributes this phenomenon to an increased release of substance P, the chemical that activates nerves when there is a painful stimulus. “In fibromyalgia patients, substance P is being released even in the absence of a painful stimulus. And there seems to be an amplified release when there is a painful stimulus,” explains Dr. Solitar. In addition, the brain’s regulatory effect, which sends “down signals” to turn off pain, also appears to be abnormal in people with fibromyalgia — so when a painful stimulus does occur, it gets amplified rather than dampened.
Fibromyalgia’s Physical and Emotional Triggers

So what causes the nervous system to malfunction in such a way? Scientists aren’t sure, but a number of conditions have been linked to the development of fibromyalgia. These include:

Infection. The Epstein-Barr virus, and the viruses that cause influenza, and hepatitis B and C have all been implicated in the development of fibromyalgia. “These viruses may have [long-term] effects on the immune system. It’s also possible that viral particles attach to glial cells, which are cells within the brain that affect neurotransmission [and influence the pain response],” says Dr. Solitar. Additionally, there is a well-established connection between Lyme disease (caused by a bacteria called Borrelia burgdorferi) and fibromyalgia: Some patients who have been treated for Lyme — and ostensibly recover from it — continue to experience the unusually high frequency of unprovoked pain that characterizes fibromyalgia.

Trauma. Sometimes the development of fibromyalgia is linked to physical injury, especially in the upper (cervical) spine. In other cases, it’s associated with great emotional stress, like the death of a family member or the loss of a job. The possible link between these unrelated types of trauma is the neurohormonal change that both physical injury and emotional stress can trigger. Psychological processes can change — and can be changed by — alterations in the function of hormone-regulating centers like the hypothalamus and the pituitary and adrenal glands, which in turn can affect the nervous system.

Fibromyalgia’s Other Common Threads

“Fibromyalgia has been associated with all age groups, though women between the ages of 30 and 50 have a higher incidence of the disease,” says Dr. Solitar. While this increased prevalence among younger females suggests a hormonal connection, he says it’s also possible that it’s related to diagnosis. “Women tend to [naturally] be more tender [or sensitive to pain] than men, so if you base your diagnosis on tender points, you’re likely to diagnose more women with fibromyalgia than men.”

Also, fibromyalgia often develops in multiple members of the same family, although it’s not clear if this is the result of genetic or environmental effects. “Family members of people with fibromyalgia seem to be more tender than others,” says Dr. Solitar, “but there isn’t a lot of conclusive genetic research out there.”

In many cases, why fibromyalgia strikes is still largely unknown. “For a lot of patients, we don’t come up with a good explanation for the development of fibromyalgia,” Dr. Solitar notes. “We all get exposed to stress regularly. And while trauma and infections do seem to be a common [fibromyalgia] theme, there are a lot of people who just slowly develop a sense of feeling poorly.”

and its varying array of symptoms often baffle patients and physicians alike. There is still no widely accepted diagnostic blood test or biomarker for the disease, even though sufferers report life-altering physical limitations. Now, new research at the University of Michigan is linking the broad range of fibromyalgia symptoms to a brain molecule called glutamate, opening the door to new treatment options and more precise methods of diagnostic testing.

Fibromyalgia: New Evidence May Help With Diagnosis
Symptoms of fibromyalgia run the gamut from extreme fatigue and flulike body aches to digestive ills and migraine headaches. Due to the absence of a specific quantitative or qualitative test, however, physicians have long been forced to rely on a patient’s self-report to help diagnose this elusive condition. For this reason, some doctors didn’t take the malady seriously.

Groundbreaking research done in 2002 by Daniel Clauw, M.D., professor of medicine and associate dean at the University of Michigan Medical School, provided the first solid biological and physical evidence that fibromyalgia patients really felt intense pain when they said they did. A form of brain imaging called a functional MRI (fMRI) showed that those with fibromyalgia were much more sensitive to pain than those in a control group; similar levels of pain also caused different areas of the brain to light up on the scans of the FM group than those of the control group.
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The widespread nature of the chronic pain associated with fibromyalgia — pain not specific to any one group of muscles or joints — is currently under investigation. “Most physicians believed fibromyalgia was a peripheral issue, involving the muscles and joints, because that’s what patients experienced and reported,” says Richard Harris, Ph.D., research investigator in the Department of Internal Medicine’s Rheumatology division at the University of Michigan Medical School, as well as a researcher at the university’s Chronic Pain and Fatigue Research Center; and a colleague of Dr. Clauw. “Findings from our new research suggest that fibromyalgia may be more of a central nervous system condition. This makes it harder for critics to explain away the findings—patients can’t fake an MRI test result.”

Fibromyalia: Glutamate Linked to Pain
Dr. Harris and other University of Michigan researchers found that pain levels in fibromyalgia patients correlated positively with the levels of glutamate, an amino acid and neurotransmitter (brain chemical) responsible for stimulating nerve cells. “When patients were given treatments designed to reduce their pain, glutamate levels went down in a corresponding way,” Harris explains.

Earlier research showed a link between activity in a part of the brain called the insula (insular cortex) and pain in fibromyalgia sufferers. The insula region is also involved with stimuli from muscles and skin in addition to internal sensations like those from the bowel. This association may help explain the higher incidence of digestive problems, such as irritable bowel syndrome, in fibromyalgia. Other fibromyalgia-associated conditions, such as anxiety and migraine headaches, may also be linked to the central nervous system’s involvement, according to Andrew Holman, M.D., rheumatologist and assistant clinical professor of medicine at the University of Washington.

Fibromyalgia: Research Leads to New Medications
New medications are now available for use in treating fibromyalgiasymptoms thanks to this research. “The Food and Drug Administration recently approved pregabalin (Lyrica) and duloxetine (Cymbalta), two medications that both work centrally, as a direct result of the new research,” says Dr. Holman. “Fibromyalgia has its own process, but the problems of the autonomic nervous system that cause Stage 4 sleep deprivation [a symptom of fibromyalgia] originate in the same areas of the brain that are responsible for such issues as bowel motility [which relates to IBS] and the basic fight or flight syndrome [which relates to anxiety symptoms].”

Although these findings validate many of the more subtle symptoms experienced by fibromyalgia patients, more research is needed before fMRI scan testing becomes part of a routine diagnosis, says Harris. Until then, Harris stresses the importance of being aware of your symptoms and managing them appropriately. “Fibromyalgia is not one of those conditions where you can do one thing and then you’re done,” he notes. “It’s a matter of managing symptoms through a multifaceted approach.”

  • MedicaFibromyalgia tions

The precise causes of fibromyalgia remain a matter of speculation, so today’s treatments, even those approved by the FDA, are non-specific at best. Many pharmaceutical options, however, are available for treating fibromyalgia’s diverse symptoms, which can range from muscle pain and sleep problems to depression and anxiety.

To date, the antidepressants duloxetine (Cymbalta) and milnacipran (Savella), and pregabalin (Lyrica), an antiseizure medication that’s also used for certain types of pain, are the only prescription medications approved by the FDA specifically for the treatment of fibromyalgia. But doctors employ many other drugs, approved for related conditions, to treat specific symptoms of fibromyalgia. Many of these medications address more than one fibromyalgia-associated problem. As with all drugs, many of the medications listed here have significant side effects and interactions. You should discuss any medicines you are prescribed with your doctor and your pharmacist before taking them. This will help you know what to expect and when you need to report a problem or look for a substitute drug.

Pain relief and improved sleep are the primary goals of fibromyalgia treatment and medications, but doctors also prescribe various drugs to treat depression and fatigue.
The following medications are commonly used in the treatment of fibromyalgia.

Pain relievers
Most over-the-counter analgesics don’t work very well for fibromyalgia, because the disorder doesn’t involve much inflammation. Prescription opioids and localized injections can sometimes be helpful, depending on the specific symptoms.

  • OTC analgesics. Tylenol (acetaminophen) and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) and naproxen (Aleve, Anaprox) may help in some patients. However, they are generally recommended for patients experiencing peripheral pain syndrome (involving muscles and connective tissue and/or the peripheral nervous system as opposed to fibromyalgia, which is a disorder of the central nervous system) in addition to fibromyalgia.
  • Opioid therapies. Some relief of pain has been reported with opiates such as tramadol (Ultram), and with the combination of tramadol and acetaminophen (Utracet)— both of which may also relieve sleep problems. While effective for acute severe pain, opioids such as hydrocodone/acetaminophen (Vicodin), propoxyphene/acetaminophen (Darvocet), oxycodone/ acetaminophen (Percocet), and oxycodone (OxyContin) don’t work as well on long-tem chronic pain, generally speaking. Additionally, they carry the risk of addiction and have been linked to other side effects — for example, increasing the body’s sensitivity to pain, as well as to drowsiness and constipation.
  • Trigger point injections. Injections of local anesthetics (such as lidocaine and procaine) and/or cortisone (a steroid medication) may help treat painful muscles, tendons, or ligaments and break cycles of pain and muscle spasm.

Antidepressants
These medications help regulate certain chemicals in the brain, called neurotransmitters, that are implicated in various fibromyalgia symptoms, including muscle pain, sleep problems, and fatigue. To achieve the best results, they are sometimes used in combination. Those commonly prescribed include:

  • Tricyclic antidepressants. Amitriptyline (Elavil, Endep), nortriptyline (Pamelor), and doxepin (Sinequan) as well as the tetracyclic antidepressant trazodone (Desyrel), increase the levels of norepinephrine and serotonin, brain neurotransmitters that affect pain signals and depression, and often have a sedative, sleep-inducing effect.
  • Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). Included in this group are citalopram (Celexa), escitalopram (Lexapro), fluoxetine (Prozac), sertraline (Zoloft), fluvoxamine (Luvox), and paroxetine (Paxil).
  • Selective serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SSNRIs). This newer class of antidepressants, also known as dual uptake inhibitors, helps regulate the neurotransmitters serotonin and norepinephrine. They include venlafaxine (Effexor), desvenlafaxine (Pristiq), duloxetine (Cymbalta), and Savella (milnacipran).

Muscle relaxants
Medications such as cyclobenzaprine (Flexeril, Cycloflex, and Flexiban), carisoprodol (Soma), and methocarbamol (Skelex) are often prescribed to treat painful muscle spasms; they are usually used for short-term relief.

Anticonvulsants
This class of drugs is used for fibromyalgia because these medications also help treat neuropathic pain, which occurs when nerves are overexcited and need to be desensitized. Drugs in this category include pregabalin (Lyrica), as well as carbamazepine (Carbatrol, Epitol, Equetro, Tegretol, and Tegretol-XR) and gabapentin (Gabarone, Neurontin).

Sedatives/Hypnotics
Restful sleep is critical for easing the symptoms of fibromyalgia. If other medications (specifically, muscle relaxants and antidepressants) are not effective, doctors may prescribe short-term sleep aids such as zolpidem (Ambien), zaleplon (Sonata), and eszopiclone (Lunesta), which work by slowing brain activity to permit sleep. Such medications often lose their effectiveness over the long term, however.

Stimulants
Some doctors are now prescribing medications used for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, such as methylphenidate (Ritalin), dextroamphetamine sulfate (Dexedrine), and modafinil (Provigil) to ease symptoms of fatigue and “brain fog” (difficulty thinking and concentrating) that patients with fibromyalgia often experience.

On the horizon
Among new medications being researched for the treatment of fibromyalgia is sodium oxybate (Xyrem), also known as GHB. This central nervous system depressant is currently approved for the treatment of narcolepsy, but has shown promise for pain relief and improved functioning in patients with fibromyalgia. An application for approval was submitted to the FDA on December 15, 2009.

Finally, in addition to prescription medications, doctors often recommend thatother pain management therapies be explored. Among the most effective are therapeutic massage and myofascial release therapy, a specialized technique used to ease tension in the body, which can help relieve muscle discomfort and reduce spasms.

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Fibromyalgia is death disease


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