Art Imitates Pain

 

Every day I must ask patients how they rate their pain.  It seems stupid and patients are frequently stumped.

ME: Where is your pain on a scale from zero to ten with ten being the worst pain you’ve ever experienced and zero being no pain.

THEM: It hurts.

ME: I know, but can you put it on that scale?

THEM: It freakin’ hurts a lot.

ME: So like an 8?

THEM: Whatever.  Can you fix it?

A patient recently told me about the PAIN exhibit www.painexhibit.com  The PAIN Exhibit is an educational, visual arts exhibit from artists with chronic pain with their art expressing some facet of the pain experience. The mission of the PAIN Exhibit is to educate healthcare providers and the public about chronic pain through art; and to give voice to the many who suffer in abject silence.

Some of the pieces on the website are awe-inspiring.  Some truly disturbing.  Most are poignent.  Many are worth seeing.

Perhaps instead of pressing patients for a pain rating, we should hand some of them a box of crayons.

Dr. Brett Kinsler is a chiropractor in Rochester, NY

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Flip-Flop Problems

Auburn University researchers have found that wearing thong-style flip-flops can result in sore feet, ankles and legs. The research team presented its findings at the recent annual meeting of the American College of Sports Medicine in Indianapolis.

The study found that when people walk in flip-flops, they alter their gait, which can result in problems and pain from the foot up into the hips and lower back.  Variations like this at the foot can result in changes up the kinetic chain, which in this case can extend upward in the wearer’s body.

Thirty-nine college-aged men and women were recruited for the study. Participants, wearing thong-style flip-flops and then traditional athletic shoes, walked a platform that measured vertical force as the walkers’ feet hit the ground. In addition, a video camcorder measured stride length and limb angles.

It turns out that flip-flop wearers take shorter steps and that their heels hit the ground with less vertical force than when the same walkers wore athletic shoes. When wearing flip-flops, the study participants did not bring their toes up as much during the leg’s swing phase, resulting in a larger ankle angle and shorter stride length, possibly because they tended to grip the flip-flops with their toes.

The research does not suggest that people should never wear flip-flops. They can be worn to provide short-term benefits such as helping beach-goers avoid sandy shoes or giving athletes post-game relief from their athletic shoes, but are not designed to properly support the foot and ankle during all-day wear.  Improper foot and ankle support frequently leads to knee, hip and lower back problems as well.

Don’t let bad footwear cause you to have a painful summer.

Cold Laser Therapy

The term cold laser refers to the use of low-intensity or low levels of laser light. Laser therapy can reduce pain and inflammation and promotes wound healing. These lasers are used directly on or over the affected area. New research is being produced daily and the results are encouraging.  Cold laser threapy is certainly emerging as a valuable, safe and effective adjunct to non-surgical musculoskeletal care.

Cold lasers can also used for acupuncture, with laser beams to stimulate the body’s acupoints rather than needles.  This treatment regimen appeals to those who want acupuncture but who fear the pain of needles.  Despite claims to the contrary, scientific evidence does not appear to support claims that cold laser acupuncture is an effective method of helping people stop smoking. (For a truly excellent approach to smoking cessation, visit www.whyquit.com )

Well-controlled scientific studies are rapidly accumulating using low level laser devices for pain, wounds, injuries, and other conditions.  This method should not be confused with conventional laser surgery, which is used as a surgical treatment for some cancers. Such hot lasers may be used to shrink or destroy tumors on the skin or on the surfaces of internal organs and are sometimes used to remove colon polyps or tumors.  Cold laser therapy produces no or little warmth and has minimal side effects.

In our office, we are using cold laser therapy as a treatment for tendonitis, tendonosis, rotator cuff syndromes, frozen shoulder, pain relief from active fractures, neck pain, back pain, bursitis, carpal tunnel syndrome, cold sores, speeding open wound healing.  We are seeing excellent results with many of these conditions.  It appears that the sooner cold laser is applied following the injury, the better the chance for a good outcome.  Perhaps you have a condition for which you’d like to try cold laser therapy? 

Dr. Brett Kinsler uses cold laser therapy or low level laser therapy (LLLT) in his chiropractic practice in Rochester, NY.  Visit his website at www.RochesterChiro.com

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