PTSD An Approved Condition For Medical Marijuana In Minnesota

PTSD medical marijuanaThe Minnesota Department of Health added post-traumatic stress disorder as a qualifying condition under the state’s medical marijuana program on Thursday.

“PTSD presented the strongest case for potential benefits and a … lack of treatment alternatives,” said MDH Commissioner Dr. Ed Ehlinger.

PTSD comes in many forms, and there’s no one-size-fits-all treatment for individuals who are dealing with the psychological condition. Medical marijuana will not work for everyone, but like we mentioned in our post on Daith piercings for migraines, medical marijuana will provide another potential low-cost treatment option. Medical marijuana is by no means cheap, but trying the initial treatment is much less costly then certain therapy sessions or countless doctor visits, so it opens a new door for individuals with PTSD.

Coming In 2017

Although PTSD has been added to the list of approved conditions for medical marijuana in the state, it was not granted immediate approval. PTSD won’t be considered an active condition until August 1, 2017. However, this doesn’t mean that it will be easy to get clearance from a doctor for PTSD. Military veterans will need to get a doctor’s diagnosis and approval in order to be eligible, but that recommendation cannot come from any Veterans Affairs hospital because marijuana is considered illegal under federal guidelines. They will need to get approval from another physician, and oftentimes it’s difficult to get a new physician to declare you eligible for the medical marijuana program, as doctors are leery of patients jumping from doctor to doctor to try and find a doctor that will grant them approval.

PTSD was the only condition added to the list of approved conditions on Thursday, as Ehlinger and the Minnesota Department of Health shot down proposals for other conditions like arthritis and depression.

Chronic Pain in the Fall

Autumn and Chronic PainThe changing seasons can make inflammation and chronic pain flare up, and autumn is no different. Fall brings a host of new activities, like cleaning out the gutters, raking the leaves and putting up Halloween decorations. All of those activities are difficult on their own, let alone if you’re battling chronic pain.

Today, we’re going share some tips for managing chronic pain in the fall.

Autumn and Chronic Pain

Here are some ways to prevent chronic pain flare ups this season.

Stretch and Exercise – Before you jump into an activity, make sure your body is warmed up. If you don’t give your body time to get ready for physical activity, you’ll notice it in your joints. Even it’s something as simple as walking around your house or yard for five minutes before you begin, give your body time to warm up.

Dress Warm – Speaking of warming up, make sure you dress appropriately for the weather. As we saw in the last few weeks, autumn can bring 90 degree temperatures and 50 degree weather, so don’t just assume you’ll be warm enough with a T-shirt and shorts. It’s always easier to overdress and take a layer off than to find more layers if you’re away from your home. Keeping your appendages warm will ensure your blood circulates properly and your fingers and toes get the oxygen they need to avoid cramping or pain.

Ask For Help – If you’re having a particularly painful day, don’t be afraid to ask a friend or family member for help. Attempting to rake the whole yard can exacerbate pain if you overdo it. Additionally, it’s always nice to have a friend nearby if you have to get up on a ladder to reach the gutters or put up decorations. Not only can they stabilize the ladder, but they can take over if the pain is too great.

Pain Relievers – If you know you’re in for a day of physical activity, consider an over-the-counter pain reliever. Ibuprofen, Aspirin and Naproxen can help control inflammation, which is often the root cause of chronic pain. Be sure you know how your body reacts under these medications, and consult with your doctor if you are currently on any prescription medications before taking anything else.

Stop if you Feel Pain – If you’re dealing with chronic pain, odds are physical activity will bring about some discomfort, and that’s actually a good thing. You’re strengthening your muscles and naturally combating chronic pain, but if you start to feel dizzy, nauseous or sharp pain, stop what you’re doing. Take a break for a bit and see if a little rest helps the pain subside. If pain is just too much, schedule a consultation with a pain specialist.

September is Pain Awareness Month

Chronic Pain in St. CloudSeptember is Pain Awareness Month, and as the name implies, the goal of the month is to help raise awareness and spread the word about chronic pain. As we’ve stated before, more than 100 million Americans suffer from chronic pain. We want to help share their stories and explain what they go through on a regular basis, so here’s more information about one of the leading causes of disability in America.

Chronic Pain Problems

Chronic pain can affect any part of your body. Below is a closer look at some areas that are commonly affected by chronic pain, and some of the symptoms that accompany those painful areas.

Chronic Arthritis – Arthritis pain is caused by inflammation in your joints, and millions of Americans suffer from chronic arthritis in their fingers, knees and toes. Most people associate arthritis pain with older individuals, but nearly 300,000 children suffer from juvenile rheumatoid arthritis.

Chronic Headaches – Headaches and migraines are another chronic condition that can make it hard to go about your daily routine. Crippling or shooting pain in your head can be caused by a chemical imbalance or a poor diet. If exercise and diet modifications don’t stop the headaches, pain injections or other treatment options can provide temporary relief.

Chronic Back PainChronic back pain is probably the condition I treat most at my clinic. Whether chronic pain develops from overuse or acute injury, it can make life extremely painful for the patient. Luckily, modern medicine continues to improve how we diagnose and treat back injuries. Through physical therapy, injections or even surgery, most people find some sort of pain relief.

Chronic Leg Pain – Chronic leg pain typically occurs when there is an issue with nerves in your legs and feet. Nerve issues in your leg can cause shooting pain in your legs and spine. Again, physical therapy and injections can help treat the issue, as well as surgery to remove the damaged nerves.

Chronic Neck PainChronic neck pain typically sets in after an acute injury, like whiplash from a car accident or a sports injury. Neck pain can make it extremely painful to turn your head or preform routine activities. Treatment of whiplash typically involves rest, physical therapy, injections and strengthening exercises.

If you or someone you know deals with chronic pain on a regular basis, encourage them to seek out professional help. You shouldn’t have to live life in pain, so speak to a pain specialist today.

Could A Pinched Nerve Be Causing My Pain?

A pinched nerve is one of the more common reasons people experience back pain. Because your back is such a complex structure, it doesn’t take much for it to get out of whack. When there’s too much pressure on the nerve – be it from bones, cartilage, muscles or tendons – it can get compressed and cause pain. Although your back is one of the more common places for a pinched nerve to occur, compressed nerves aren’t isolated in your back. You can also suffer pinched nerves in your neck, legs and arms.

Symptoms of Pinched Nerve Pain

Common symptoms of a pinched nerve include:

  • Numbness or decreased sensation in the affected area.
  • Sharp, tingling or burning pain in the area.
  • A tingling or a “pins and needles sensation” in the area.
  • Muscle weakness.
  • Shooting pain or sensation in the back, neck, arm or leg.
  • Worsening pain while sleeping.

Movement can exacerbate or alleviate symptoms, but exercise and activity is almost always recommended. Movement will usually help loosen the tissues that are pressing on the affected nerve. As we’ve mentioned before, exercise and physical activity is great for combating pain-related conditions.

Pinched Nerve

Treating Pinched Nerves

Unless pain is severely debilitating, most people try to let the condition heal on its own. As you might have guessed based on the above paragraph, physical therapy is one way people try to correct their pinched nerve. A PT can teach you specific exercises to strengthen and stretch muscles to relieve pressure on the nerve.

In additional to physical therapy/activity, a common treatment option for those suffering from a pinched nerve is anti-inflammatory medications. If inflammation is the root cause of the pressure, NSAIDs can be the perfect remedy. More often than not, though, anti-inflammatory medications need to be paired with other treatment options to fully fix the issue.

One final non-surgical treatment option for pinched nerves is a corticosteroid injection. The injection can minimize pain and discomfort as well as reduce inflammation in the area. If you have a fear of needles, the steroid can be taken orally as well.

Pinched Nerve Surgery

If your pinched nerve doesn’t improve after several weeks of conservative treatment, surgery may be your best bet. Surgery will free the nerve from its compressed state, and your doctor can remove scar tissue or problematic bones spurs that might be causing the condition.

As you might have guessed, the type of operation depends on where the nerve is located and what’s causing the compression. For example, a pinched nerve in the arm could be relieved by removing bone spurs, a compressed nerve in the back could be alleviated by removing a herniated disc, while a nerve issue in the wrist could be treated by cutting ligaments to give nerves more room to “breathe.”

If you have pain in your back, or you are experiencing similar symptoms in another part of your body, swing into a physical medicine specialist right away!