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    Cloudy with a Chance of Pain: latest research links weather to chronic pain

      As an expert in chronic pain I spend a fair amount of time at conferences or networking with others in my field. And then of course there is the day job, and that is where I learn the most. Talking to my clients about their experiences and what works for them teaches me the most. One thing which I have always just felt was true, instinct if you like, is that damp miserable weather makes people’s experience of pain worse.  If you suffer from chronic pain you may well agree. You may even be getting images and thoughts about this as you read. A raw grey day, perhaps a cold wind, a bit of drizzle, wet pavements. It almost hurts just thinking about it,…

    Top Tips to Manage Your Chronic Pain in Autumn

    Controlling your pain as autumn comes When the weather changes as autumn arrives, the number of clients at my psychology/hypnotherapy for pain clinics goes up. Many of us believe that colder, damper weather makes chronic pain worse. There is not a great deal of scientific proof that colder weather causes conditions such as rheumatic arthritis, which can lead to chronic pain, but chilly conditions can make pain feel worse. There are physical reasons why this happens. Bonita Libman, a professor of medicine at the University of Vermont thinks she may have an explanation. She says that muscle spasms may be worse in colder weather and this can worsen pain and stiffness. Blood circulation can reduce in the cold, and this can lead to pain, especially…

    People with chronic pain and other long- term health conditions – Do you know the difference between Radiators and Drains? And which are you (most of the time!)

      We all know people who make us feel better, those people who when they walk into a room make you think ‘I’m so pleased she’s here; I know we’ll have a good chat.’ Then there are their opposites, those people who if you see coming towards you on the street make you quickly duck into a shop until they have gone past. Oprah Winfrey, who often says things which make sense, has a good phrase for these different sorts of people. She calls them radiators and drains.  Radiators radiate good things: warmth, kindness and enthusiasm. This lifts your mood and makes you feel happy. Drains on the other hand suck the good stuff away. Their negative and often self-absorbed attitude ends up draining your…

    Breaking the taboo of talking about chronic pain –  September is Pain Awareness Month.

      Pain awareness month has been going in the United States since 2001. It’s good to have a time when the wider world is focused on the issue of pain and I often get invited to talk to groups in this month.  I also find it very useful in my psychology and hypnotherapy for chronic / persistent pain clinics in Milton Keynes and Bedford. Not only does it raise the issue, it also helps to break the taboo about talking about chronic / persistent pain. We know that a positive attitude and good support can make a real difference to how we perceive pain. We also know that there are treatments and techniques which can help without the use of drugs. I want to take…

    Effects of sleep deprivation on psychological wellbeing

      Your central nervous system is the information highway of your body. Sleep is necessary to keep it functioning properly, but sleep deprivation / chronic insomnia can disrupt how your body usually sends information.  During sleep, pathways form between nerve cells (neurons) in your brain that help you remember new information you’ve learned. Sleep deprivation leaves your brain exhausted, so it can’t perform its duties as well despite working harder. This has been demonstrated in brain imaging studies which show the brains of the sleep deprived desperately pumping energy into the prefrontal cortex, trying to overcome the effects of sleep deprivation Lack of sleep causes memory problems You may also find it more difficult to concentrate or learn new things. Lack of sleep causes sharp…

    Pets and Chronic Pain – can they help?

      In this blog I want to talk about how pets can help control pain. I know this works. I have seen the evidence in my own psychology pain clinics in Bedford, Milton Keynes and video link. But now I can show you some hard science to prove it. Pets can reduce reliance on pain medication  There is evidence that pet therapy can reduce reliance on pain medication. Back in 2007 a clinical trial monitored pain medication in adults undergoing rehabilitation for injury degenerative disease or physical disability. The facility where they were being cared for had a therapy dog, a collie called Neil. After Neil’s arrival on the team pain medication dropped by non-less than 48 percent. https://www.ingentaconnect.com/content/ascp/tcp/2007/00000022/00000007/art00003 How do pets help chronic pain?…

    Pain and anxiety: can we worry ourselves into pain and physical problems?

    I write a lot here about how we can cope with chronic pain by using non-drug methods using various psychological approaches and  hypnotherapy. This time I am going to take a bit of a different angle. I am going to look at how our mental states can make pain worse and in some cases even create it. There is a lot of evidence that people who have persistent anxiety are at more risk of developing physical illnesses. Specially, they are more likely to develop chronic conditions. Let’s start be looking at why this is. What happens when we are anxious? We know that anxiety feelings are closely linked to activity in the amygdala region of our brains. This is the region which generates our emotional…

    Get together with your friends. You will find it easier to manage your pain.

    If you suffer from chronic pain, then it is easy to drift into never seeing your friends. You may feel you just cannot face going out or that you are too much trouble at social occasions. Or perhaps it is just too hard to get dressed up and get out. I am not going to make light of this. It can feel like an impossible aspiration. But although it may be hard, I cannot stress how important it is. If you can manage even a short time with people you like being with you will feel better.  I am saying much more than, get out it will take your mind off things. I know the evidence to back up what I am saying. There is…

    Is it possible to live a happy life with chronic pain?

    his is a question which clients who come to my chronic pain management clinic in Milton Keynes and Bedford, or even via video call often ask me.  It usually springs from desperation, from a wish to get back to a previous life, or from a feeling that life has changed irrevocably for the worse. I think it might be helpful to run through with you what I say to my clients who raise this. I believe that you can change the way you look at things and find control and happiness even if you have chronic pain. And by doing so, you will often find that the pain lessens. It is all about using your powerful mind. Power I try to start by steering my…

    Pain coverage on the radio: the good and the bad

    Hi everyone, I often listen to the radio whilst travelling between my clinics, so, this is a bit of a radio blog this time. Both the bad and the good from BBC Radio 4. Opiate danger: three things all GPs should do First the bad, I heard a horrific story on the Radio 4 Today programme recently. It was about how opiate problems are spreading to the UK. It focused on an interview with a lady who had suffered an injury, been in chronic pain, and was prescribed morphine. No doctor ever explained to her how addictive morphine could be. She went to the same GP practice but no-one seemed to consider that she should be looked after in any other way. When she became…

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