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The '5 S's': Easing baby pain after vaccine shots
The "5S's" include swaddling (tightly wrapping a baby in a blanket almost like a burrito) and a side/stomach position such as this.
April 16th, 2012
12:01 AM ET

The '5 S's': Easing baby pain after vaccine shots

For most parents -  even the strongest believers in the benefits of vaccines - anticipating how their newborns' facial expressions will turn from curious to shock before they burst into tears from the needle stick, can make the next well-baby check-up something they would love to skip.

But doctors at Children's Hospital of the King's Daughters in Norfolk, Virginia, have found an easy way - actually five easy ways - to help calm a baby's pain (and anxiety), without any medication.

It's called the "5 S's":  swaddling (tightly wrapping a baby in a blanket almost like a burrito), side/stomach position, shushing sounds, swinging and sucking.

If babies were doing four out of five of these "S's," they would usually stop crying within 45 seconds after the shot, according to a new study published in the journal Pediatrics. FULL POST


March 6th, 2012
05:21 PM ET

Veterans with PTSD more likely to be be prescribed painkillers

As veterans return from Iraq and Afghanistan, they continue to experience pain at home. And those who are diagnosed with mental health issues, including PTSD, are most likely to be prescribed opioid painkillers, according to a new study.

When surveying more than 140,000 veterans from Afghanistan and Iraq who had been diagnosed with some sort of pain, the study’s authors found that veterans with any mental health diagnosis, including depression, anxiety disorders, or drug and alcohol abuse, were 2.4 more times likely to be prescribed opioid painkillers, like oxycodone and hydrocodone, than veterans without any mental health diagnosis.

When looking at veterans diagnosed with PTSD, in particular, that rate was even higher. 17% of those with PTSD were prescribed opioids compared to just 6.5% of veterans without any mental health diagnosis.
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Filed under: Medications • Pain • PTSD

Do women feel more pain than men?
January 23rd, 2012
03:01 AM ET

Do women feel more pain than men?

The ache, the hurt, the burn, the stab. We use all kinds of words to describe pain, but the truth is that there’s no way to know if what you experience as pain differs from anyone else’s – it’s a matter of individual perception.

Scientists are honing in on a disparity between men and women that may exist in that perception. In the largest study of its kind, Stanford researchers analyzed electronic medical records for ratings of pain, and found that women tend to report greater amounts of pain in a variety of diagnoses. They report their results in Monday in the Journal of Pain.

FULL POST


Researchers closer to developing a ‘pain-o-meter’
September 13th, 2011
06:07 PM ET

Researchers closer to developing a ‘pain-o-meter’

Your arm hurts, but it's difficult for someone else to say just how much it really hurts. Scientists have been searching for a way to measure pain and new research suggests they are getting closer.

Researchers at Stanford University trained a computer algorithm to interpret magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) data of the brain and determine the presence of pain, according to a new study published Tuesday in the online journal PLoS ONE.

Researchers applied heat directly to the forearms of 8 study participants.  The subjects  reported a pain score of 7 out of 10 pain, when the temperature their skin was exposed to reached about 115 degrees Fahrenheit.

While the participants were undergoing this heat exposure, MRI scanners tracked their brain activity.  Then the computer compared data when participants were undergoing MRIs without experiencing any pain.

The computer algorithms effectively learned how to recognize the difference between pain and non-pain in the human brain. FULL POST


Self-injury: A silent epidemic
August 23rd, 2011
12:08 PM ET

Self-injury: A silent epidemic

Editor's note: Ethnographers Patricia and Peter Adler drew on 150 interviews with self-injurers from all over the world, along with 30,000 to 40,000 internet posts in chat rooms and communiqués to write "The Tender Cut: Inside the World of Self-Injury."

For the last 10 years we have been studying self-injury: the deliberate, non-suicidal destruction of one’s own body tissue, such as self-cutting, burning, branding, scratching, picking at skin, re-opening wounds, biting, head-banging, hair-pulling, self-hitting, swallowing or embedding objects, breaking bones or teeth, tearing or severely biting cuticles or nails, and chewing the inside of the mouth.

When teens embed objects in their skin

Our research, just published as "The Tender Cut," offers the widest base of knowledge about this behavior, based on over 135 in-depth life history interviews with self-injurers located all over the world and tens of thousands of Internet messages and e-mails including those posted publicly and those written to and by us.
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Get Some Sleep: Avoid frequent leg cramping
Leg cramps usually involve sudden, intense pain, unlike RLS, which is usually a steady, uncomfortable feeling that lasts for hours.
August 2nd, 2011
12:19 PM ET

Get Some Sleep: Avoid frequent leg cramping

Lisa Shives, M.D., is the founder of Northshore Sleep Medicine in Evanston, Illinois. She blogs regularly on The Chart. Read more from her at Dr. Lisa Shives’ Sleep Better Blog.

It is frustrating, to both patients and doctors, that modern medical science often lacks understanding of or treatment for common, everyday ailments.

One such ailment, leg cramps, is very common and yet poorly understood. It often plagues people at night, and therefore “sleep-related leg cramps” is recognized as a bona fide sleep disorder by the International Classification of Sleep Disorders.

Most people have had a “charley horse” and know that leg cramps can be quite painful. Leg cramps result from the sudden, intense and involuntary contraction of a muscle or muscle group. They usually occur in the calf muscle or the small muscles of the feet.
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Filed under: Pain • Sleep

Tylenol maker sets new, lower doses
July 28th, 2011
06:17 PM ET

Tylenol maker sets new, lower doses

The manufacturer of Tylenol announced new, lower dosing instructions for the painkiller on Thursday in an effort to reduce accidental overdose from acetaminophen, the product's active ingredient.

McNeil Consumer Healthcare, a division of Johnson & Johnson, is recommending the maximum dosage for extra strength Tylenol be lowered to six pills - or a total of 3,000 milligrams (mg) a day, down from eight pills or 4,000 mg which is the current maximum daily dose.

FULL POST


July 6th, 2011
12:01 PM ET

Could bump on my wrist be a ganglion cyst?

Every weekday, a CNNHealth expert doctor answers a viewer question. On Wednesdays, it's Dr. Otis Brawley, chief medical officer at the American Cancer Society.

Question asked by Rebecca from Toledo, Ohio

Something is wrong with my left wrist. When I bend it or touch the area or put pressure on it, it hurts really badly. Could this be a ganglion cyst? What should I do about it?
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Don't blame people for their pain, report says
June 29th, 2011
01:38 PM ET

Don't blame people for their pain, report says

Chronic pain – no matter where it strikes – is a problem not many of us really understand.

It can sometimes be dismissed and not effectively managed by health care professionals.

Pain is widespread, but underdiagnosed and undertreated, according to a report released Wednesday by the Institute of Medicine.  The independent, nonprofit organization that gives advice to decision makers and the public focused on pain as a public health issue.

FULL POST


June 8th, 2011
01:28 PM ET

Can my tailbone pain be cured?

Every weekday, a CNNHealth expert doctor answers a viewer question. On Wednesdays, it's Dr. Otis Brawley, chief medical officer at the American Cancer Society.

Asked by Will of Denver, Colorado

I am an average person - good health and slightly overweight. Last year on a dare/challenge from a friend I rode my bicycle 50 miles without any previous training. I successfully completed the 50 miles, although I had extreme pain in my tailbone following the ride. I assumed this was temporary and continued to live my life. However, a year or so later it still has pain when I sit down. I'm not sure where to start besides seeing my normal doctor. Is this something that can be cured or could I have done lifelong damage to my tailbone?
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About this blog

Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.

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