You know that old saying about exercise—no pain, no gain? Well, it’s wrong.

We encourage all our patients to exercise. It can help keep your heart strong, relieve depression, help you maintain a healthy weight, strengthen the muscles that support your joints, build bone strength, and improve sleep. 

But what if when you try to exercise, your pain gets worse? For chronic pain sufferers, that’s a real issue. There are no surefire answers to that problem, but we do have some tips that may help you increase your activity level more comfortably.

Start slow. If you’ve been completely sedentary, start with a leisurely 5 or 10-minute walk or something similar. Build up slowly to faster and longer bouts of exercise. If you’re... Read more

If you suffer from chronic pain, are your kids also more likely to? The answer seems to be yes, although it’s certainly not inevitable. 

Increasingly, research is showing that our genes may play a role in causing certain conditions that cause pain. Our genes may also help determine how intensely we feel pain. 

For instance, researchers in Utah found that deterioration of lumbar discs—which is one of the most common causes of low back pain—seems to have a genetic component. Studies have shown that fibromyalgia seems to run in families. And research has also shown that teens whose parents had chronic pain were more likely to suffer chronic pain themselves.

What's more, researchers have discovered that chronic pain... Read more

You’re tired and you ache all over. Could it be fibromyalgia? You may need a series of tests and a thorough discussion with your doctor to find out. Diagnosing fibromyalgia can be tricky because many of the symptoms are similar to other diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, or hypothyroidism. 

Not everyone with fibromyalgia will have all the symptoms below, but here are some common ones:

Widespread pain. Patients describe muscle and joint pain that’s spread throughout the body. Tender points. These are points around your joints that hurt when you put pressure on them. Fatigue. Fibromyalgia patients may feel exhausted even after getting a good night’s sleep, and small household tasks may wear them out. Difficulty... Read more

As we hear more and more about problems with opioid treatments for pain, many patients with chronic pain are wondering if marijuana is a better option.

Research shows it can be effective at treating certain types of pain, although it’s not a perfect solution for all patients.

New guidelines in Canadian Family Physician, based on an in-depth review of clinical trials involving medical cannabis, say there is solid research to support using cannabis to treat four conditions:

Chronic neuropathic pain Palliative cancer pain Nausea and vomiting from chemotherapy Spasticity from multiple sclerosis or a spinal cord injury

There can be side effects, however, such as sedation, dizziness, and confusion. The group didn’t find... Read more

Gardening can be such a satisfying experience—digging in rich soil and nurturing tiny seeds into delicious vegetables and beautiful flowers. Some studies say it can even ward off depression.

But gardening can also leave you with an aching back, knees, wrists, and more. If you suffer chronic pain but love to garden, how do you work the soil without making your pain worse?

Try these 10 suggestions:

Warm up and stretch. Before you start, go for a brisk walk and do a few stretches to get your body ready for work. Use the right tools. By using long-handled tools, you can reach your beds without having to stoop down as much. Sharp tools with good grips can also help, by letting you do more with less exertion. Take frequent... Read more

Shingles, also known as herpes zoster, will affect about 1 in 3 Americans during their lifetime. For most, the itching and painful rash will run their course over two to four weeks, and that will be the end of it.

Unfortunately, about 10-13 percent of people who develop shingles will continue to have pain after the other symptoms are gone.

This pain, called postherpetic neuralgia, or PHN, usually lasts only a few weeks or months. But for some people, the pain can persist for years. PHN can afflict anyone who’s had shingles, but the risk of developing it increases with age.

If you’re one of the unfortunate PHN sufferers, your doctor may recommend one of several treatment options:

Over-the-counter capsaicin creams... Read more

Get tips on managing pain in the latest edition of Pain News