Information on chronic pain and addicton

Christopher Frandrup, M.D., DABPM, FIPP

Category: Healthy lifestyle (Page 1 of 2)

Tropical Pitaya Smoothie Recipe

Tropical Pitaya Smoothie Recipe | PainDoctor.com

Tropical Pitaya Smoothie Recipe

Pitaya, or dragon fruit as it is more commonly referred to, boasts a hot pink hue and a thick outer skin that resembles the scales of its mythical namesake. The fruit is primarily found in certain regions of Asia and South America, but has recently made its way to the mainstream, popularized by restaurants that specialize in fruit-based “bowls” and smoothies, similar to this tropical pitaya smoothie recipe.

Tropical pitaya smoothie recipe (serves 2)

Dragon fruit is low in calories but high in nutrients including calcium, iron, B vitamins, and vitamin C. In this recipe, the frozen fruit is blended with coconut water and pineapple for a tropical treat. Consider this tropical pitaya smoothie recipe a vacation in a glass! You can find pitaya smoothie packs in the freezer section of most grocery stores.

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 frozen pitaya smoothie packs
  • ½ cup coconut water
  • ½ cup chopped pineapple
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened coconut flakes
  • Optional toppings: Additional coconut flakes, chia seeds, or drizzle of honey

DIRECTIONS

  1. Place all ingredients in a blender and pulse until smooth.

Would you try this tropical pitaya smoothie recipe?

10 Reasons To Try Acceptance And Commitment Therapy For Pain

10 Reasons To Try Acceptance And Commitment Therapy For Pain | PainDoctor.com

10 Reasons To Try Acceptance And Commitment Therapy For Pain

For people living with chronic pain, having someone tell them that pain is “all in their head” can be the ultimate slap in the face. In recent years, there has been research that indicates that while pain is a physically experienced sensation, how we think about pain does, in fact, affect the way we experience it. This does not mean that pain is “made up” or manufactured where it doesn’t exist. It means that patients can have more control over the way they deal with and experience daily chronic pain without using drugs. One way to work towards pain management is acceptance and commitment therapy for pain. Here are ten reasons to give it a try.

Ten reasons to try acceptance and commitment therapy for pain

1. Acceptance and commitment therapy distinguishes between structural and neural pathway pain

Structural pain is that pain which is a result of a specific, traceable cause of pain. Neural pathway pain is pain that is learned. The difference between the two is significant. While structural pain (e.g., pain that is caused by a herniated disc pressing on the sciatic nerve) has a specific treatment that often results in resolution, neural pathway pain may not be traceable to a specific cause.

Why does this matter? Neural pathway pain is very real; the brain has recreated itself in such a way that it remembers pain. But these patterns can also be unlearned. Acceptance and commitment therapy works to change the way pain patients think about their pain. The focus is not just on accepting that the patient is in pain. Patients work towards physically changing the way they think to eliminate it altogether.

2. Acceptance and commitment therapy does not believe pain is permanent

Acceptance and commitment therapy is partially based on the tenets of mindfulness. Mindfulness acknowledges that everything – good and bad – is impermanent. Many chronic pain patients and their doctors believe that unless they can find and treat a structural cause, pain is a permanent feature of life. Acceptance and commitment therapy points out that nothing in life is permanent therefore everything is subject to change. This includes eliminating pain.

3. Acceptance and commitment therapy works with cognitive-based philosophies and mindfulness techniques to reduce or eliminate pain

Acceptance and commitment therapists believe that neural pain can be eliminated or greatly reduced. By reframing the way a person thinks about pain, acceptance and commitment therapists help patients to understand how their thoughts may undermine their ability to heal themselves.

4. Acceptance and commitment therapy for pain includes action

Changing the way a person thinks is not enough. Acceptance and commitment therapy for pain works to help patients change the way they act. It encourages patients to face their pain instead of fearing it and then to take positive action. This is not an easy task, especially if patients feel deeply that their pain is incurable. Taking action in spite of fear and pain is key to this therapy, as one patient noted:

“I was in quite a bit of pain but I was also super-determined to walk in the neighborhood. I said to my subconscious mind, ‘I am walking today despite the pain. You can make it easy for me or you can make it difficult. But I am doing it!’ I walked about a half an hour and my pain lessened considerably. This was a huge breakthrough for me and I can now see that this program is working! I am astonished. I cannot believe it.”

5. Acceptance and commitment therapy acknowledges the struggle and suffering of pain patients and helps them through it

Pain is a complex process that has roots in the brain and expression in the body. Every experience in a lifetime marks a person neurologically, for better or for worse. Acceptance and commitment therapy goes deep into the roots of physical pain, looking at a person’s experiences overall, not just in the painful present. Research has acknowledged the strong mind-body connection. This type of therapy explores that connection and unravels the knots of pain that life can create by exploring and expressing painful or difficult parts of the past.

6. Acceptance and commitment therapy for pain is a process, not a product

While not a quick fix for pain, acceptance and commitment therapy may help pain patients develop a deep and satisfying understanding of themselves as they work to change the way they think about their pain. Unlike taking a pill to relieve the symptoms of pain, acceptance and commitment therapy gets at the neurology of pain to heal and connect patients to themselves.

7. Acceptance and commitment therapy for pain has no side effects

Unlike experimental treatments, implanted devices, and pharmaceutical interventions, acceptance and commitment therapy is 100% side effect-free.

8. Acceptance and commitment therapy works in conjunction with other treatments

Insinuating that pain can be removed by simply changing the mind may seem to dismiss the reality that pain patients face, but that is not the goal of acceptance and commitment therapy. This therapy acknowledges that pain exists and works to help patients address it constructively and with an action plan that goes beyond symptom relief. While patients work to address physical or structural issues, they also begin to change their mind and the way they think about their pain. This can truly change their lives in more ways than one.

9. Acceptance and commitment therapy encourages participation in life

Chronic pain can be an isolating condition. Many patients find themselves withdrawing from their daily lives, even activities that they previously enjoyed. Acceptance and commitment therapy for pain encourages patients to re-engage and re-commit to doing the things they love and offers tools and techniques to help them do that.

10. Acceptance and commitment therapy believes changing behavior can change the mind

Changing behavior to change the mind is at the root of acceptance and commitment therapy. This approach requires work and is not easy, but there is a strong research basis that this technique of action can change how a person experiences pain.

Does Pilates For Back Pain Work?

Does Pilates For Back Pain Work? | PainDoctor.com

Does Pilates For Back Pain Work?

Back pain patients across the globe are always on the lookout for ways to both prevent and treat recurring pain. As more people look to exercise to keep their backs healthy, the discussion centers around which exercises are most effective. Recently there has been a trend towards yoga for back pain, but another contender in the exercise world has come to the forefront – Pilates. But does Pilates for back pain work?

Pilates for back pain

Pilates is a series of exercises that can be completed using bodyweight, a special apparatus, or a variety of props. Joseph Pilates developed this method of exercise to focus on the area of the body he calls “the powerhouse.” The powerhouse includes the abdomen, including the obliques, plus the inner and outer thighs and muscles of the rear end. The goal of Pilates is to build and balance strength, flexibility, endurance, coordination of muscles, and good posture.

Pilates emphasizes proper form in completing the exercises over pushing for more repetitions. Because of this, Pilates for back pain offers less chance of injury than many other forms of exercise for back pain.

Exercise in real life

A key feature of Pilates for back pain is that the exercises aren’t confined to the gym. Each exercise requires attention to how each muscle is moving, both by itself and in relation to other muscles.

Pilates teachers ask that each person pay attention to the movements and try to replicate that in their daily lives. This way of thinking can be very helpful when preventing back pain. It asks participants to use each muscle consciously to move their bodies both in and out of the gym.

Research on Pilates for back pain

There is copious research on the effectiveness of exercise for relief and prevention of back pain, but less focuse specifically on Pilates for back pain. One small study from Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario looked at 39 men and women ages 20 to 55 who suffered from back pain. They found that those patients who used Pilates for back pain had significantly less pain and debilitation than a control group who underwent standard protocols for lower back pain treatment. These individuals were also able to maintain these results at a one-year follow-up.

A recent systematic review of 14 randomized controlled trials of Pilates for back pain found that Pilates was a superior treatment to traditional treatments for chronic lower back pain. In the short term, Pilates was more effective than other traditional treatments. Pilates was about as effective in the short term as massage or other forms of exercise. The results were mixed for long-term results. Reviewers did indicate that some people may find more benefit than others and recommended follow-up studies to confirm those results.

Equipment used for Pilates for back pain

While many Pilates exercises can be completed with just a mat, there are other pieces of equipment that can be helpful and are often used in a gym.

  • Magic circle: This piece of equipment was invented by Joseph Pilates. Essentially a large, flexible ring with two pads opposite each other to hold, the magic ring is intended to provide additional resistance. This resistance helps identify which muscles are being used.
  • Large apparatus: The ladder barrel and Pilates chair are two larger pieces of Pilates equipment. The ladder barrel helps work with flexion and extension in the lower back, while the Pilates chair builds strength.
  • Pilates reformer: This apparatus is a classic piece of Pilates equipment that is what many people envision when they think about Pilates for back pain. The Pilates reformer is a versatile machine that is usually only found in Pilates studios.
  • Pilates tower and Pilates Cadillac: Both of these large apparatus add gravity to the workout and are expensive pieces of equipment that require a trained teacher’s help to use correctly. These resemble traditional workout equipment, minus the added weights (you use your bodyweight instead).
  • Small Pilates equipment: These pieces of equipment include various balls and bands designed to add resistance and challenge to each workout. The magic band could be placed in this category.

Pilates for low back pain at home

Even though the Pilates machines and a personalized session with a trained instructor can be helpful, there are workouts you can do at home without equipment. If you are experiencing back pain in its acute phase, it is best to begin with some fundamentals of Pilates. These are small movements that teach the basic principles. If your back is hurting and feeling delicate, these exercises are gentle and easy. They serve as the basis for more complex movements.

Once the acute phase of pain begins to end, more involved Pilates exercises for back pain can be initiated. Many of these are very similar to yoga. They have similar guidelines for execution, including:

  • Breathe: Breath helps keep the muscles of the body relaxed and open.
  • Move slowly: Don’t rush through each exercise. The emphasis here is on feeling each movement in each specific muscle.
  • Mind your form: Only complete as many exercises as you can execute with proper form. Pilates for back pain is not about pushing for quantity. It’s about quality of movement.
  • Be gentle with yourself: If something hurts, back off and stop for the day, at least that exercise. This is meant to be healing exercise.
  • Imagine the box: Think about your shoulders and hips as four corners of a box and strive to keep them level and even.
  • Lengthen the neck: Keep your neck extended and shoulders relaxed away from the ears as you do Pilates for back pain.

If you don’t have access to an instructor, watching a video of basic Pilates exercises for back pain can be very helpful, too.

Exercise is one of the first-line recommendations for preventing and healing back pain. Have you ever tried Pilates for back pain?

Does Pilates For Back Pain Work?

Does Pilates For Back Pain Work? | PainDoctor.com

Does Pilates For Back Pain Work?

Back pain patients across the globe are always on the lookout for ways to both prevent and treat recurring pain. As more people look to exercise to keep their backs healthy, the discussion centers around which exercises are most effective. Recently there has been a trend towards yoga for back pain, but another contender in the exercise world has come to the forefront – Pilates. But does Pilates for back pain work?

Pilates for back pain

Pilates is a series of exercises that can be completed using bodyweight, a special apparatus, or a variety of props. Joseph Pilates developed this method of exercise to focus on the area of the body he calls “the powerhouse.” The powerhouse includes the abdomen, including the obliques, plus the inner and outer thighs and muscles of the rear end. The goal of Pilates is to build and balance strength, flexibility, endurance, coordination of muscles, and good posture.

Pilates emphasizes proper form in completing the exercises over pushing for more repetitions. Because of this, Pilates for back pain offers less chance of injury than many other forms of exercise for back pain.

Exercise in real life

A key feature of Pilates for back pain is that the exercises aren’t confined to the gym. Each exercise requires attention to how each muscle is moving, both by itself and in relation to other muscles.

Pilates teachers ask that each person pay attention to the movements and try to replicate that in their daily lives. This way of thinking can be very helpful when preventing back pain. It asks participants to use each muscle consciously to move their bodies both in and out of the gym.

Research on Pilates for back pain

There is copious research on the effectiveness of exercise for relief and prevention of back pain, but less focuse specifically on Pilates for back pain. One small study from Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario looked at 39 men and women ages 20 to 55 who suffered from back pain. They found that those patients who used Pilates for back pain had significantly less pain and debilitation than a control group who underwent standard protocols for lower back pain treatment. These individuals were also able to maintain these results at a one-year follow-up.

A recent systematic review of 14 randomized controlled trials of Pilates for back pain found that Pilates was a superior treatment to traditional treatments for chronic lower back pain. In the short term, Pilates was more effective than other traditional treatments. Pilates was about as effective in the short term as massage or other forms of exercise. The results were mixed for long-term results. Reviewers did indicate that some people may find more benefit than others and recommended follow-up studies to confirm those results.

Equipment used for Pilates for back pain

While many Pilates exercises can be completed with just a mat, there are other pieces of equipment that can be helpful and are often used in a gym.

  • Magic circle: This piece of equipment was invented by Joseph Pilates. Essentially a large, flexible ring with two pads opposite each other to hold, the magic ring is intended to provide additional resistance. This resistance helps identify which muscles are being used.
  • Large apparatus: The ladder barrel and Pilates chair are two larger pieces of Pilates equipment. The ladder barrel helps work with flexion and extension in the lower back, while the Pilates chair builds strength.
  • Pilates reformer: This apparatus is a classic piece of Pilates equipment that is what many people envision when they think about Pilates for back pain. The Pilates reformer is a versatile machine that is usually only found in Pilates studios.
  • Pilates tower and Pilates Cadillac: Both of these large apparatus add gravity to the workout and are expensive pieces of equipment that require a trained teacher’s help to use correctly. These resemble traditional workout equipment, minus the added weights (you use your bodyweight instead).
  • Small Pilates equipment: These pieces of equipment include various balls and bands designed to add resistance and challenge to each workout. The magic band could be placed in this category.

Pilates for low back pain at home

Even though the Pilates machines and a personalized session with a trained instructor can be helpful, there are workouts you can do at home without equipment. If you are experiencing back pain in its acute phase, it is best to begin with some fundamentals of Pilates. These are small movements that teach the basic principles. If your back is hurting and feeling delicate, these exercises are gentle and easy. They serve as the basis for more complex movements.

Once the acute phase of pain begins to end, more involved Pilates exercises for back pain can be initiated. Many of these are very similar to yoga. They have similar guidelines for execution, including:

  • Breathe: Breath helps keep the muscles of the body relaxed and open.
  • Move slowly: Don’t rush through each exercise. The emphasis here is on feeling each movement in each specific muscle.
  • Mind your form: Only complete as many exercises as you can execute with proper form. Pilates for back pain is not about pushing for quantity. It’s about quality of movement.
  • Be gentle with yourself: If something hurts, back off and stop for the day, at least that exercise. This is meant to be healing exercise.
  • Imagine the box: Think about your shoulders and hips as four corners of a box and strive to keep them level and even.
  • Lengthen the neck: Keep your neck extended and shoulders relaxed away from the ears as you do Pilates for back pain.

If you don’t have access to an instructor, watching a video of basic Pilates exercises for back pain can be very helpful, too.

Exercise is one of the first-line recommendations for preventing and healing back pain. Have you ever tried Pilates for back pain?

Blueberry Kefir Cake Recipe

Blueberry Kefir Cake Recipe | PainDoctor.com

Blueberry Kefir Cake Recipe

Sometimes billed as the “drinkable yogurt” kefir is not only a snack that works on the go, but also an ingredient that you can use in place of yogurt in the kitchen. Here kefir is mixed with coconut oil to form the base of a healthier-than-most blueberry kefir cake recipe.

Blueberry kefir cake recipe (makes 8-10 servings)

Kefir is a fermented milk product that, like yogurt, has a tart taste to it. It can be made from cow, goat, or sheep milk, depending upon the brand that you choose. The drink is loaded with calcium and magnesium, as well as probiotics, which help to improve the processes of digestion and detoxification in the gut. This blueberry kefir cake recipe adds a burst of antioxidant power in the form of the blueberries that are studded throughout the cake.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 ½ cups + ½ tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 cup kefir
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • ¾ cup coconut oil
  • 1 cup fresh blueberries

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Using a piece of parchment paper, line the bottom of a loaf pan to ensure that the cake does not stick. Lightly grease the entire pan and the parchment paper with a bit of coconut oil.
  2. Combine 1 ½ cups of the flour, baking powder, and salt in a small bowl. In a separate (larger) bowl, whisk together the kefir, sugar, eggs, vanilla extract, and coconut oil. Working slowly, whisk the flour mixture into this bowl until all of the ingredients are combined.
  3. In another small bowl, toss the remaining ½ tablespoon of flour with the blueberries. Gently fold the berries into the cake batter.
  4. Bake for approximately 45-50 minutes, until a toothpick (or a cake tester) inserted in the center of the loaf comes out clean.
  5. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for at least 15 minutes, and then remove the cake from the pan. Slice and serve warm, or at room temperature.

Would you bake this blueberry kefir cake recipe?

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