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Non-pharmacologic Options to Reduce Kid's Pain

Hugs may help reduce kid's pain!

What can be done when a child is in pain--and medications are not the best solution? Presenters at the Pain Week conference suggested that physical  interventions, distraction, and relaxation may be very useful techniques. For an infant, a pacifier dipped in sucrose, or a warm blanket, or ice for injuries may help. Distraction may reduce pain up to 25%. For the older child, stories, games, and interacting with an electronic device maybe helpful.

PositiveTip: Being patient, loving, and creative may help kids in pain deal with the trauma without medications.

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Knee OA Pain and Weight Loss

A weight loss of more than 10% resulted in significant improvements in knee OA pain.

A community-based study found a clear dose-response relationship in symptom improvement in overweight and obese people suffering with knee osteoarthritis (OA). Each subject was likely to require referral to an orthopedic surgeon for possible knee joint replacement. Those who lost more than 10% of their body weight saw the greatest improvements in knee pain and function. 

PositiveTip: Dietary intervention, appropriate exercises and motivational support can lead to significant quality of life enhancements in knee OA pain.

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Simple Ways to Improve Osteoarthritis

Exercise and physiotherapy enhance typical osteoarthritis care.

New Zealand researchers studied 206 patients suffering from osteoarthritis, a joint disease the leads to pain, swelling and reduced joint function. All patients received standard medical care, but some exercised regularly, some received physiotherapy treatments and others received combined exercise and physiotherapy treatments. After 2 years, both the exercise group and the physiotherapy group had similar significant improvements in pain and joint function. Combined therapy trended positively but wasn’t statistically significant.

PositiveTip: Make exercise your first choice to help alleviate osteoarthritis pain, it’s cost-effective and brings a host of other health benefits.


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Exercise and Diet Helps Knee Pain

Reducing calories and exercise improves knee osteoarthritis symptoms.

An 18 month study found diet and exercise combined resulted in better outcomes for knee osteoarthritis than either alone for overweight and obese patients. Pain, inflammation, quality of life and pain strongly favored the combined approach. All subjects were sedentary at baseline. The diets focused on reducing calories to encourage weight loss. Those on the combined program lost an average of 11.4% body weight.

PositiveTip: Reduce weight through diet and exercise to lighten knee strain.

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Moderate Exercise Reduces Onset of Arthritis Symptoms

Moderate exercise reduced the onset of arthritis symptoms in women age 72-79 by 46%.

The Australian Longitudinal Study of Women followed two groups of women (ages 48-55 and 72-79) for three years who had reported no arthritis symptoms. Those exercising 1.5 hours per week experienced significantly less arthritis symptoms, and 2.5 hours per week showed an even greater preventive effect. Moderately active middle age women reduced their risk by 29% while the older age group reduced it by 46%.

PositiveTip: The older we get the greater the benefit of exercise. It helps prevent arthritis symptoms and aids in better management of the pain and stiffness.

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Love Can Reduce Feelings of Pain

Loving relationships reduce the perception of pain and stress.

Researchers investigating pain responses found that when women are able to view a picture of their partner, as opposed to photos of an object or a stranger, they experienced a lower perception of pain. The longer the women had been in the loving relationship, the stronger the brain activity where they sensed feelings of safety -- an area that can inhibit signals of fear and anxiety. Also, brain activity was lowered in the area responsible for a stress response.

PositiveTip:  Love can heal a host of problems. Everyone gets sick and has pain, but strong, loving relationships will make life less stressful and painful.

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Popular Joint Supplements Found Wanting

Glucosamine, chondroitin and the combination are no better than a placebo for joint pain.

A meta-analysis of 10 randomized controlled trials of glucosamine and chondroitin alone or in combination and placebo has found these products give no benefit over the placebo for the relief of hip or knee pain. Six of these trials also found they had no effect on joint-space narrowing.

PositiveTip: While apparently safe, strong evidence suggests taking glucosamine and chondroitin supplements is a waste of hard earned money.

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Skin-to-Skin Contact Effective for Pain Control in Newborns

Procedural pain control improved by skin-to-skin contact with mother!

A randomized clinical trial of 640 healthy full-term newborns in Brazil studied what method reduced the pain of an intramuscular vaccine injection the most. A validated facial pain expression score was determined at the time of injection. Skin-to-skin contact with the mother plus 25% oral dextrose was found to control the pain most effectively. Several reader comments suggested the investigators should have included skin-to-skin contact with breast feeding instead of the oral dextrose.

PositiveTip: Most mother's have intuitively known that skin-to-skin contact and breast feeding makes an infant's life better--but it is good to see science confirm it!