How Treatment for Chronic and Acute Pain Should Differ

Tooltip TextI had previously written about the distinction between illness and disease and why that distinction is an important one to make. I want to now apply that distinction to chronic pain.

Defining Chronic and Acute Pain

I would argue that acute pain is related to disease, and chronic pain is related to illness. Pain as defined by the International Association for the Study of Pain (IASP) is: “an unpleasant sensory and emotional experience associated with actual or potential tissue damage…”. Chronic pain is typically differentiated from acute pain based on its persistence. Generally, pain that persists beyond (more…)

Illness Vs. Disease

Illness Vs. Disease

Diseases are to be cured (think traditional medicine) and illnesses are to be managed (think alternative treatments and lifestyle changes).

Defining Illness and Disease

While almost the same thing, they are not. Let’s discuss what is illness vs. disease. There is a distinction that is being made in some medical circles (e.g., the treatment of pain) that, in my opinion, should be more widely known and circulated. The distinction hearkens back to a differentiation made by Eric Cassell in the late 1970’s: “Disease, then, is something an organ has, illness is something a man has.” According to this way of thinking, disease is something that needs to be cured, such as infection, injury, toxic exposure, cell degeneration, etc. Illness is something that needs to be managed such as feelings of pain, discomfort, distress, weakness, fatigue, etc. Obviously, these two things are not mutually exclusive, and they often occur together.

Fully understanding the difference between illness and disease, as well as how they can be treated, will help you understand how alternative treatments such as EEG biofeedback fit into a holistic treatment plan for disease and illness. (more…)

Alternative Treatments to Suspend Medication Use During Pregnancy

Research on Decreasing Migraine Medication During Pregnancy

The Northeast Region Biofeedback Society (NRBS) Conference was held in November 2015. As always, it was a great Conference. I learned from all of the speakers, but one speaker made a particular impression on me; Dr. Jeff Carmen talked about the use of biofeedback, specifically pirHEG which he invented, in the treatment of migraines for women who were looking to get pregnant or who were pregnant. He made the point that the typical approach for such women was to be told by their physicians to stop their migraine medication and to “tough it out” during the course of their pregnancy.

This was, of course, suggested to avoid exposing the developing fetus to the chemicals that comprise the migraine medications. (more…)

Bioresonance Biofeedback

Two weekends ago we were visited by two colleagues/friends from Florida, Mike and Carolyn Cohen.  They brought with them their bioresonance equipment and program (the Lenyo CellCom unit).  They had been telling us about their positive experience with this equipment, and they were kind enough to bring it up so we could see it in use.   We had lined up several of our patients who were willing to act as subjects in a trial use of the bioresonance training.  Our emphasis was on chronic pain, although the training has reportedly been used successfully with a host of medical and psychological issues. (more…)

New Ideas About Pain

How We Understand Pain

Previous theories about pain are being challenged by new technology and research.  The previous idea about pain involved terms like: “pain receptors”, “pain nerves” or “pain pathways”.  The idea was that there were nerves all throughout our bodies and, when one of these was stressed or triggered, a message of pain was sent to the brain.  This idea always had some problems because it could not explain certain occurrences.  For example, we know that the amount of pain we experience does not necessarily relate to the amount of tissue damage.  Then there is the phenomenon of phantom limb pain, where a body part gets severed from the body, but the person still experiences pain in the absent body part.  And, of course, people with chronic pain grow tired of hearing that all the tests indicate there is nothing physically wrong, but yet they continue to experience pain.  There are numerous other examples, but I think you get the idea. (more…)