Losing Sleep Connected to CDH & Migraine

Two-thirds of kids with CDH also have sleep disturbances, reported a study presented at last week’s Annual Conference on Sleep Disorders. Although the study is about kids, the findings seem to be applicable to adults.

Researchers were surprised by their findings. Kenneth Mack, one of the researchers, said: “The number of patients who have headaches and also sleep disturbance surprised us. They also have the same sleep disturbance: a delay in sleep onset.”

Even though people with CDH and migraine are probably not astonished by this news, it’s still significant. Until someone identifies something as a problem, it’s not considered a issue, particularly in medicine. Once a topic is studied and the results are meaningful, some doctors and nurses will start treating those symptoms. Of course, the research has to be replicated to establish the connection, but it still raises awareness of the issue.

It also encourages headache sufferers to consider whether their sleep is disturbed, which, again, is the first step in treatment. Since lack of sleep is a big headache trigger, treating it may reduce the frequency and intensity of one’s headaches.

Chat Online With a Pain Expert on Tuesday

The American Pain Foundation is hosting an online chat with a pain expert on Tuesday, January 31. Preventing and managing side effects is the topic that will be discussed. You must register to participate, but there is no charge.

The announcement doesn’t appear to be on the website, so here is the text from the e-mail sent by APF.

New Expert Speaker for Online Chat!

Tuesday January 31st at 8:00 pm EST, Candace Coggins, M.S., M.A., CARN, NP, will dialogue online, focusing on the topic: Preventing or Managing Side Effects for People with Pain.

Candace Coggins is a Nurse Practitioner with certification in Pain Management Nursing (RN, C) and also Addictions Nursing (CARN). She is currently serving as President of the American Society for Pain Management Nursing, and sits on the Board of Directors for the New York State Pain Initiative. Ms. Coggins has more than thirteen years of experience in pain management and palliative care including inpatient, ambulatory and home-based care. She has more than ten years of VA service, and is currently the Coordinator of Pain Management at the Veteran Affairs New York Harbor Healthcare System in New York City. Her commitment to the VA is deeply rooted, having grown up in a military family. She went into Nursing as a result of experiences serving in Vietnam (1968-69), and her sister served as a flight nurse in Desert Storm.

Candace says, “Achieving the best quality of life despite pain involves appropriate and timely care. Too often patients and their families suffer enormously as they seek to be believed , understood and helped. Gaining access to care means not only treating the problem of pain but also anticipating, pre-empting and managing side-effects related to medications, activities, disease progression or interventional treatments. Learning a few management strategies and sharing pointers for negotiating the healthcare system can make the difference between adequate versus optimal care.”

Sunday’s 60 Minutes: Pain & Desperation

Richard Paey, a chronic pain patient who is serving 25 years in prison for his frequent refills of pain meds will be interviewed on Sunday’s 60 Minutes. He was charged with prescription forgery, unlawful possession of a controlled substance and drug trafficking.

Ironically, the same judicial system that prosecuted Paey is now supplying him with more pain medication than he took before his prison term.

The show airs at 7 p.m. EST on Sunday, January 29.

A Simple Lesson Full of Wisdom

A seemingly insignificant lesson sometimes echos throughout our lives. In her beautifully written story of the W, Maria shares her fourth grade teacher’s wisdom, which carries a powerful message for all of us.

Balancing Compassion and Cynicism in the ER

Unless a migraine is intolerable, a migraineur won’t go to the loud, bright, frenzied ER. Who would willingly subject themselves to that without desperately needing pain relief? But for most migraineurs, the visit is a harrowing back-and-forth between patient and staff. They don’t get their pain treated adequately and they leave furious with doctors and nurses who question the legitimacy of their complaints.

While patients know what their own pain is like, ER staff don’t know the individual, but the patterns of many people. Some of these patients are truly in pain and others are looking for a fix. The patterns leave an imprint so that even the most compassionate doctors and nurses struggle to be caring, not naive, and cautious, not cynical.

Using migraine patients as an example, Kim from Emergiblog, who has been a nurse for 27 years, fights to balance this contradiction. Although she is sympathetic to chronic pain patients, she can’t forget the times that she’s been fooled. She illustrates the dilemma eloquently and has terrific tips for chronic pain patients to get better care in the ER.

[from Jessica via Migrainepage]

Researchers Find Cause of Pain!?

"Cause of Chronic Pain Discovered" read the headlines this morning. Sure, I thought, this is another case where headlines glorify the findings and mislead readers. Or not. The story speaks for itself:

"In a study released Tuesday, Sally Lawson and Laiche Djouhri of the University of Bristol revealed that healthy nerve fibers are the culprits of spontaneous pain, one of three symptoms of chronic pain."

"’We really followed our noses. No one was examining this problem of spontaneous pain,’" said Lawson, a professor of physiology.

"Lawson and colleagues found healthy nerve fibers send messages of pain to the spinal cord, an unexpected discovery. Of the little research done on chronic pain, researchers had previously focused on damaged nerve fibers as pain conduits."

"Lawson and colleagues concentrated on the healthy nerve fibers of rats and found these robust cells were detecting damage and firing electrical impulses from the site of the injury to the spinal cord. These healthy nerve fibers, called nociceptors, are the tiniest of nerve fibers, about a thousandth of a millimeter across."

"The study also found that the more information these healthy fibers send, the stronger the pain."

This finding is equivalent to landing on the moon, at least in my mind. I’m definitely skeptical, but I still teared up and starting shaking when I read the articles. Is it too good to be true?

The story was released less than an hour ago, but major news sources should be digging into in the next couple days. I’ll keep you posted.

An Opioid Without a “High”

Nubain, an injectable opioid, was effective for managing chronic pain in a recent study — without euphoria, sedation, tolerance or psychological side effects. Injecting Nubain daily, participants’ with previous level 8 to 10 pain had their pain reduced to a level 2 or 30. And the drug is already on the market.

It sounds too good to be true, but my heart still leapt when I read the Reuters article. I’ve got my fingers crossed.