Saturday, February 21, 2015

EMOTIONAL FIRST AID

We are all aware of our needs for the health of our body, but how much do we know about our emotional health?
EMOTIONAL FIRST AID

Thursday, February 19, 2015

THE SUICIDE DISEASE

TRIGEMINAL NEURALGIA (TN) OR SUICIDE DISEASE:

TN is called "suicide disease" because there have been multiple reports of patients who committed suicide due to severity of this chronic neuropathic pain condition. TN is one of the most painful conditions known to us. It can happen without any reason known to us, or because of degeneration, viral infection or compression of Trigeminal nerve by a tumor or an artery. Dr. Harvey Cushing has demonstrated a rate of 0.6% mortality among 123 cases of TN that were followed during the time period of 1896 and 1912. This may sound very remote and we may assume that in this day and age there must be better treatments available and patients would not become so desperate to commit suicide. But the currently available treatments are not always effective.There are some medications (anti-epileptics)  or injections (nerve blocks) to calm the nerve. There are some other procedures to kill the trigeminal nerve or it's branches (injection of a liquid that would kill the nerve like: Glycerol, Phenol, Alcohol, etc.) or use radiation or surgery to cut the nerve or decompress the pressure from the close by tumor or artery (Gamma Knife radiation therapy or Microscopic Neurovascular decompression surgery). But the problem is that like any other neuropathic pain condition, once the nerve becomes crazy and starts to function abnormally, it may not be easy to calm it down. Even with cutting the nerve the pain may continue. Sometime injections may make the pain worse by causing more irritation for the nerve. When we talk about severe pain in this condition, we need to put things into proper perspective. Any slight touch, cold, heat, wind, chewing food or any other normal life activity may trigger such  a sever pain that the patient would become totally incapacitated due to pain. This is not your usual average or sever pain. This is truly something else. It's like having dental nerve surgery without anesthetic on a daily basis, or even worse than that.

Patient self management techniques and most importantly meditation can play a significant role in reducing the level of suffering from TN. It is very easy to forget all other good things that are going on with one's life due to this one terrible condition. Cognitive therapy exercises focusing on the value of all other positive aspects of one's life can reduce the risk of catastrophic outcomes like suicide for these patients. In my opinion we need more public education and awareness about this and other neuropathic pain conditions so these patients would not suffer the pain and loneliness at the same time.


    Sunday, February 15, 2015

    WHY ARE THE PAIN PATIENTS IRRITABLE?

    To understand why are the pain patients irritable we can try a few things. We can try staying up very late or not even sleep for a few nights. We can try not to go to a few places we love the most for a while. We can try avoiding interacting with our loved ones. We can stop working for a while and deal with the financial issues that come with it. We can try to keep our weight down without being able to exercise. I am not going to suggest trying a bunch of different medications because we can't do it, but imagine having side effects of different medications like nausea, constipation, itchiness, dry mouth, impotence and depression added to the above picture. Now with having tried all of the above, try to keep a good attitude when dealing with the ongoing demands of our fast pace and needy world. We can try these for a while and see how difficult it is to keep our cool and be nice at all times. Now imagine if we have all of the above, all the time, with no end at our horizon to reach. We should be able to get the picture.  This is why the pain patients are irritable. This is not a comprehensive explanation, but it can give us an idea of what is going on with a pain patient's life.

    Thursday, January 29, 2015

    THE POWER OF CONTROL

    What does hurt more? Our pain or being controlled by it?
    When every aspect of our life is being affected by pain, we live under the shadow of pain. Pain or any other problem in our life can take over our control. We are affected by it. It does change our ability to be who we are.
    We as humans have different abilities which are very interesting as some of them are opposite abilities. The same way that we have the ability for aggression, we are capable of submission as well. Many times we submit to the forces around us. But the worst battle we can lose in is submitting to the negative forces within us. Chronic pain or any other major problem for that matter can turn into catastrophe the moment we lose control to them. Now the real good news is:
    WE CAN TURN THE TABLE AROUND!
    Do you know why self management techniques like meditation, relaxation, guided imagery, cognitive therapy, etc. are so important and in many cases very effective? It is because You Gain Control. People who stand up to the daily fight of chronic pain know that none of these techniques really cure you of chronic pain, but all of them can help you to gain control of the situation instead of the situation stay in control. This turns the table and makes you as an observer of the situation, instead of being totally affected by it. Our views are different when we are  inside of a space or looking at it from above. The eagle eye vision is so effective because it is looking from above into the landscape and is not trapped inside it. We would feel much better when we feel our whole existence is not being controlled by anything but our own decision. We may still have the same level of pain, but we would certainly suffer much less than before.
    TURN THE TABLE, TAKE CONTROL.