Recently in Wellness studies Category

Hormones May Provide Relief from Chronic Pain

March 24, 2014

Persons who suffer from chronic pain may find that their symptoms are so extreme that they are unable to perform normal, routine day-to-day activities. According to a small study conducted recently, a combination of two hormones could provide some relief to people who suffer from such chronic pain.

The study was conducted on nine patients, who were given doses of oxytocin and human chorionic gonadotropin. The researchers found that seven out of the 9 patients, reported a decrease in pain of up to 40% after using the hormone combination. In addition, the levels of painkillers that these patients needed in order to deal with the chronic pain also dropped by as much as 40%. The patients also reported that there was a much longer time period between flare-ups of pain, and much lower pain intensity.

This was a very small study of nine patients, and therefore the findings are not conclusive enough to actually confirm whether this combination of hormones could actually have a long-term positive effect in controlling chronic pain. Researchers say that their next step will be to study whether these hormones could act as an alternative treatment for chronic pain.

Often times, persons who qualify for Social Security disability benefits are those whose ailments or medical conditions may not be visible from the outside, or may not include external symptoms. For example, persons who suffer from chronic pain may look perfectly healthy, and may not even be able to pinpoint the exact cause of the pain. But that doesn't mean they are symptom free.

Chronic pain is not listed as a separate category by the Social Security Administration for benefits, but patients who suffer from chronic pain may be eligible for benefits if their symptoms closely mirror a condition that is included in the listings.

Chronic Pain Often Accompanied by Emotional Challenges

January 16, 2014

Millions of Americans suffer from chronic musculoskeletal pain, which often leaves them in deep discomfort, and often unable to perform even routine daily activities. New research finds that such chronic pain may have other unfortunate consequences. Individuals who live with such chronic pain often suffer from a number of emotional health issues, including reduced self-esteem.

According to the study which was conducted in the United Kingdom by the National Institute for Health Research Health Services and Delivery Research Program, patients who suffer from chronic pain very often struggle with feelings about their bodies. They were also very often likely to feel uncertainty about the future, and trapped by the restrictions imposed by their bodies.

The study also found that many of these people were also likely to be disillusioned by the health care system, which they felt had failed them. They were also prone to feelings of helplessness. One of the more serious consequences that these individuals struggled with struggling with inability to explain their pain to others or prove their pain existed. Overall, these individuals had a much lower quality of life, compared to persons who did not suffer from chronic pain.

Experts believe that individuals who suffer from chronic pain benefit emotionally from participating in support groups. These are designed to connect them with other individuals who also suffer from such chronic pain, and have gone on to live happy and fulfilling lives. It is important for people to understand that it is possible to move on with their lives in such a situation, and to take any steps they can to avoid feelings of helplessness.

People with Disability at Greater Risk of Obesity

October 1, 2013

According to new research, people who suffer from a disability are at a much higher risk of obesity than non-disabled persons. This indicates that obesity may be a much greater physical health challenge for the disabled than earlier believed.

The study found that approximately 42% of American adults who suffer from a disability also suffer from obesity. About 9% also suffer from extreme obesity. In comparison, among adults who did not suffer from any disabilities, nearly 29% were found to be obese, and 3.9% were found to be extremely obese.

The results of the findings were published recently in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine. This is believed to be the very first time that obesity has been strongly linked to disability.

Earlier research has also tried to link disability to obesity, but there had been deficiencies in those studies, and the findings were based on an obesity prevalence among people with a disability that was at just between 39% and 31%. The new study put that number closer to 42%.

Data for the study came from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, which includes data collected from physical examinations of Americans as well as interviews about diet and nutrition. Obesity rates, as well as health information from more than 11,000 American adults who suffer from a disability, were compiled as part of the research, and then compared to data involving more than 20,000 people without disabilities.

Apart from the higher risk of obesity, disabled persons were also found to be much more likely to suffer from chronic illnesses like diabetes, high cholesterol levels as well as hypertension. In addition, many were likely to be on high blood pressure medication, as well as medications to lower lipid levels.

Our law firm helps clients receive disability benefits, as well as work through other health challenges such as obesity and high blood pressure.

Study Finds Steroid Injections to Treat Back Pain May Increase Risk of Spinal Fracture

August 29, 2013

Back pain is one of the most disabling conditions that a person can suffer from, and very often the pain is so debilitating that it no longer allows the person to work. A recent study, however, showed evidence that some back pain sufferers may also be at risk of a spinal fracture if they are taking steroid injections for pain.

The study was published in the Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery, and suggests that older patients who suffer from low bone density should be particularly cautious when receiving steroid injections.

At issue are lumbar epidural steroid injections, which are injections into the spine where the nerve is being compressed, usually due to a spinal stenosis or herniated disc. While it has been widely accepted in medical literature for years that the use of steroid injections over a period of time can lead to a decrease in bone mineral density, this new research goes a step further by linking this lowered bone mineral density to the more serious spinal fracture.

As part of the study, more than 3,000 patients who had been given steroid injections for back pain were analyzed. The patient group was then compared to another group of 3,000 patients who received alternative treatment for their back pain. Researchers found that approximately 150 patients from the injection group were later diagnosed with a spinal fracture.

More research will be necessary to determine whether the risks of spinal steroid injections outweigh the benefits. However, the lesson we can all take is to make sure that you are not only receiving treatment for your conditions, but also that you are receiving the right treatment based on your unique circumstances. It's also very important to know the risks associated with any treatment plan, and how you can alter your activities and lifestyle to minimize them.

ACCESS TO HEALTHCARE SAVES LIVES

July 16, 2012

Frequently, someone contacts me who is recently disabled due to a traumatic accident and has no access to healthcare. A similar scenario was depicted recently in a New York Times article on healthcare. Oregon resident Wendy Parris shattered her ankle. Because she was uninsured, the emergency room doctors did not operate on it, but rather placed the ankle in an air cast and discharged her. For four years, she hobbled on the broken foot becoming less mobile and gaining weight.

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In 2008 Oregon participated in a study where it opened its Medicaid rolls to some working adults living close to the poverty level. Oregon provided healthcare insurance to these uninsured via a lottery system. This allowed Oregon to test a hypothesis on how having healthcare effects individuals and whether having healthcare actually saves money. The study showed that having health insurance made people happier, healthier and more financially stable. The study also dispelled the myth that Medicaid does not help people and that people can get care in ways other than through Medicaid. In fact, the chronically ill or traumatically injured have trouble navigating the healthcare maze of community clinics and charity hospitals. Frequently, they go without care.

Wendy Parris won insurance in the lottery. When she did she was able to have her foot surgically repaired. She was also able to get treatment for her depression, help with her mobility and help losing weight. According to Wendy, "it saved my life."

The study did show, also, that those with insurance coverage spent more on healthcare. Insured individuals spent about 25% more on healthcare than those who did not win insurance in the lottery. Thus, the same study also dispelled the idea espoused by preventative care advocates that access to preventative care reduces healthcare costs as it keeps the chronically ill out of emergency rooms. Thus, the benefits of expanded access to healthcare coverage also created budgetary concerns for government.

Federal and state governments continue to look for ways to fund Medicaid. In Georgia, state residents have high rates of obesity, infant mortality, cardiovascular deaths, diabetes and asthma. Access to health care does help those who must fight chronic diseases.