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Friday, January 29, 2010

Review Shows Opioids Relieve Chronic Pain With Little Addiction Risk

by Karen Lee Richards
Chronic Pain Connection

Monday, January 25, 2010
A new review supports what those of us who have worked in the area of chronic pain have long known – people who take opioids for real chronic pain problems rarely become addicted to them.
Read the rest of this article at

Alternative Solutions for Arthritis: Study Results On Tai Chi Benefiting Older Adults With Knee Osteoarthritis

Knee osteoarthritis (OA) is an increasing problem among older adults, causing pain, functional limitations, and reduced quality of life. The traditional Chinese practice of tai chi, with its combination of physical and mental components, seems promising for OA patients; however, scientific evidence to support its use for this purpose has been limited. To strengthen the evidence base on this topic, NCCAM-funded researchers at Tufts Medical Center recently conducted a long-term, randomized, controlled trial comparing tai chi and conventional exercise in a group of 40 adults (mean age 65) with symptomatic knee OA.

The study participants were assigned to a tai chi group or a control group. Both groups attended 60-minute classes twice a week for 12 weeks. The tai chi group learned and practiced Yang-style tai chi, modified slightly to eliminate excess stress on the knees. The control group received wellness education and did stretching exercises. Participants were also instructed to perform tai chi or stretching exercises between classes, and to continue this at-home activity after the classes were finished. The researchers used several measures to monitor the subjects at 12, 24, and 48 weeks.

Compared with the control group, tai chi patients had greater improvement in measures of pain, physical function, self-efficacy (belief in one's own abilities), depression, and health-related quality of life. Although most differences between the two groups were statistically significant only at 12 weeks, the differences for self-efficacy and depression remained statistically significant at 24 and 48 weeks. No serious adverse events were reported.

The researchers recommend additional studies of biologic mechanisms and approaches of tai chi, so its benefits can be extended to a broader population.

Wang C, Schmid CH, Hibberd PL, et al. Tai chi is effective in treating knee osteoarthritis: a randomized controlled trial. Arthritis & Rheumatism. 2009;61(11):1545–1553.
Additional Resources
Tai Chi
CAM and Arthritis
Osteoarthritis National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases

Researchers Find "Master Switch" Gene For Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis

The outcome of this research was reported in the July 2008 issue of Arthritis and Rheumatism and supported by an Institutional Research Development Award from Children's Hospital and development research awards from the Cotswold Foundation, the Nickolett Fund, and the Arthritis Foundation of Eastern Pennsylvania.

Researchers found evidence that there is a "master switch" gene that may help "turn on" Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis (JIA), also known as Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis (JRA).

Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis causes joint inflammation and begins in children younger than 16, but it can continue into the adult years. This type of arthritis takes on many forms, and in some cases affects the internal organs as well as the joints. There are an estimated 300,000 children in the U. S. that have Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis.

At The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia researchers looked at 67 people with Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis and 1,952 without Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis. They found that those with all types of Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis were more likely than the other group to have a particular genetic variant in the in the region on chromosome 9 where the TRAF1 and C5 genes sit. This very same gene region plays a role in some cases of adult rheumatoid arthritis as well. The researchers didn't know which of the two genes is the "master switch," but they speculate that when it is "turned on," it interacts with other genes and with environmental factors to bring about Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis.

The researchers are hoping that a better understanding of the genetic factors underlying Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis can help them develop more targeted treatments that have fewer side effects.

If You Have Lupus It Greatly Increases Your Risk For Heart Disease

There are many people who do not realize that having Lupus will greatly increase their risk of heart disease. At least that's the conclusion of a study published in Arthritis & Rheumatism, which found that only 31% of Lupus patients even know that it is a definite risk factor for heart disease. And get this, there was 58% of those surveyed that said their doctors didn't even discuss the risks with them.

Lupus is an autoimmune condition where the immune system turns against the body's own tissues. And the symptoms are swollen joints, skin rash, fever, and fatigue, but lupus can also affect the heart, lungs, blood vessels, and kidneys. Those with Lupus have a five to nine times greater risk of heart disease than the general population. The term heart disease refers to a variety of conditions that affect the heart, the most common being coronary artery disease, that may lead to heart attacks.

Most of us know that rheumatoid arthritis is also an autoimmune condition that increases the risk of heart disease. This study,however, shows the link between heart disease and Lupus is not quite so recognized. It is extremely important for those who have Lupus to know about these risk so that they can speak to their doctors about what steps to take to reduce it. These steps may include changes to their diets, an exercise program, and medication.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Free Press Release

Take Control of Your Health NOW!! Arm Yourself With Up-To-Date Information On Your Health Issues, Medications, And Alternative Solutions - Free-Pres

Take Control of Your Health NOW!! Arm Yourself With Up-To-Date Information On Your Health Issues, Medications, And Alternative Solutions -

Smokers More Prone to Long-Term Prescription Painkiller Use


THURSDAY, Jan. 21 (HealthDay News) Smoking, as well as the medicinal use of opioid painkillers such as oxycodone, are independent predictors of longer-term opioid pain medication use among patients with chronic back pain caused by lumbar spine conditions, a new U.S. study finds.

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The study included over 2,100 patients recruited from 13 spine specialty centers in 11 states. Of those patients, 42 percent said they used opioids for their back pain and one-third said they take opioids every day.

The researchers analyzed the medical, social and demographic characteristics of the participants and concluded that smoking and nonsurgical treatment independently predicted long-term opioid use, but pain severity did not.

Smoking can be a marker for substance abuse disorders, the researchers noted.

They said that, for some patients, the risks associated with long-term use of opioids to manage back pain may outweigh the risks of surgery. The researchers suggested this may be a factor to consider when doctors make decisions about surgery for patients with herniated discs or stenosis, especially those with a history of substance abuse.

The study was published in the January issue of the Journal of Pain.

-- Robert Preidt

SOURCE: American Pain Society, news release, January 2009

Revamping blog

Hey Everyone,

I have been doing a lot of reading about blogs and so I decided create a Blogging Strategy but the first thing I want to do is to tell you a little about myself.

I was diagnosed with osteo-arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue and all the goodies that go along with all of these diseases, in 1999. I thought my life as I knew it was over. When I left the doctor's office, I wasn't even at my car, and I busted out in tears. I cryed all the way home and for a few more hours when I got home. I kept wondering how I was going to tell my husband of 2 years. We were still considered newlyweds, still on the honeymoon. Lost were all those weekend trips we would take at the drop of a hat. Lost were the night rides on the motorcycle, the nights with friends, pretty much everything to do with a normal life. Gone! Or so I thought at that time. Later I would find out that my life wasn't over it just need to be tweaked a little.

For the next 12 years I spent my time researching each and everyone of those diseases trying to find out just what they were, what the known therapies were, what medications there were that would help me to have a somewhat normal life, until I figured out that by changing my diet, exercising, journaling, and taking supplements was what I needed to do. Until several years ago there were no medication specifically for fibromyalgia so all I could do was take Tramadol for my pain. Then Lycria came along and I tried it, but my tongue and throat swelled up (that is part of the side effects) and the pharmacist told me to go off of it because I was schedule to go in for surgery in a week and he thought it would create complications for me. Then in January of 2009 the FDA approved a medication called Savella. It is the best thing going for me right now. For 12 years I knew only pain, now, I am almost back to the way I was before all h____ broke out.

I have a strong belief that everyone can beat their health issues by staying informed and getting as much information as they can about whatever is wrong with their health. That way when you do go to the doctor you will know your options and you will be able to talk to them better. Taking control of your health is a choice. A choice that can be better made when you arm yourself with information.