September 8, 2016 |
Pain is a more terrible lord of mankind than even death itself. - Dr. Albert Schweitzer, 1931 . By Wade Berrettini Two wonderfully talented artists, Prince and Philip Seymour Hoffman, died in the recent past of opioid overdoses. Opioids are medications (Oxycontin, Vicodin, Dilaudid, Fentanyl, morphine) that relieve severe pain and produce a highly addictive powerful feeling of well-being (euphoria). About 20 years ago, physician prescribing habits for opioids started to become more liberal, from studies indicating that more aggressive treatment of persistent pain was needed.
September 4, 2016 |
Question: I've gone through some health challenges. Nothing that is likely to kill me, but I've spent literally years in pain, and my life is far from what I had wished it would be. It's a grief process, and it stinks. However, I feel like I can't express grief, or give a realistic (but not gross) depiction of my symptoms, without hearing that I should "stay positive" or "be strong. " I feel brushed off, or almost bullied into putting on this chipper exterior in order to make others feel better about my illness.
August 28, 2016
Courtenay Harris Bond, journalist in residence, Scattergood Program for Applied Ethics of Behavioral Health Care at Penn's Perelman School of Medicine, wrote this for "The Public's Health" blog at philly.com/publichealth. You've heard the statistics: A record 28,000 Americans fatally overdosed on opioids - prescription pain relievers or heroin - nationwide in 2014. The next year, overdose deaths involving all drugs rose 23 percent in Pennsylvania. The National Institutes of Health has concluded that "drastic increases in the number of prescriptions written and dispensed, greater social acceptability for using medications for different purposes, and aggressive marketing by pharmaceutical companies" are contributing to the epidemic in opioid-related deaths.
August 14, 2016 |
In a drab meeting room in West Philadelphia, a group of aging veterans with chronic back pain gathered for a dose of what their teacher called "breath as medicine. " Psychologist Lisa Rambaldo led the mostly male group through a series of gentle yoga positions that improve balance and strengthen muscles that support the spine, along with breathing exercises that free the mind. While they lay on the floor hugging their knees to their chests, she told them to notice any tension.
August 14, 2016 |
C.J. Rhoads imagines she might have had two futures after the car accident 14 years ago that left her with ongoing memory problems and chronic back pain. In the one she seemed to be headed for, she'd still be overcome by pain, taking oxycodone, and lying in bed much of the time. She'd probably be on disability, but couldn't afford to keep her Berks County home. In the other one, the one she actually got, she still hurts, but she rarely takes medicines. She's taken charge of her pain with an intense, holistic approach that includes exercise, diet, stress reduction and therapy.
May 8, 2016
Q. I've read so much about people overdosing on prescription pain medicines (opioids) that I'm afraid to take them even as directed by my doctor. Are they bad drugs? A. Opioids such as morphine, oxycodone and fentanyl are excellent drugs for treatment of many types of severe pain. They can be prescribed for short- or long-term use, or somewhere in between. When used properly - following a prescriber's directions and subsequent proper monitoring by a healthcare professional - this class of therapeutics can greatly benefit a patient.
April 20, 2016 |
After working as a nurse for 25 years, Theresa LaMonaca woke up one morning in the summer of 2002 not able to move. "I was incredibly ill, I swelled," LaMonaca, 57, of Washington Township, recalled. "I was in awful, awful pain. " More than six months of uncertainty about her ailment followed before LaMonaca was diagnosed with lupus. "If you knew me before I was sick," LaMonaca said. "They used to call me the Energizer Bunny. I would do amazing things. " She remembers the severity of her symptoms during that time and the years that followed, including blood clots, chronic pain, infections, and intense headaches.
March 22, 2016 |
About half the states have legalized marijuana for medical use, and Pennsylvania appears ready to join them. Most patients who sign up for the drug indicate they're taking it for pain. But is there evidence that it works? Simple question, complicated answer. Turns out it works for some kinds of pain, but not others, and helps some people more than others. "The short answer is yes," said David Casarett, director of palliative care for Penn Medicine and author of Stoned: A Doctor's Case for Medical Marijuana.
December 6, 2015 |
Oh, that winter-dry skin. (Itch, itch.) That welt from a mosquito bite. (Scratch, scratch.) The plague of itching has many sources, and it's the mission of the Temple Itch Center to sort everything out and bring itchers much-longed-for relief. Among many different itches, the center focuses especially on chronic itching - any itch that lasts longer than six weeks. We spoke recently with its founder and director, Gil Yosipovitch, chair of the dermatology department at Temple University Medical School and widely considered a world itch expert.
July 12, 2014 |
State and medical organization officials released new guidelines Thursday for prescribing opioids, one of the first concrete steps that Pennsylvania has taken to address an overdose death rate that ranks among the worst in the nation. After months of discussion, collaboration, and compromise, a large task force requested by Gov. Corbett last fall announced the recommendations to help doctors responsibly prescribe narcotic painkillers. "The guidelines have a twofold mission," said Physician General Carrie DeLone, a task force cochair.