Poisonous Painkiller

Remember Wrinkle Venom?


It appeared as a wonder cream against wrinkles a couple of years ago. It was made from a synthetic form of snake venom. I’m sure it’s still around (there’s a jar on my shelf) but it doesn’t seem to create quite the same hype anymore.

A new study suggests that the real thing (yes, real snake venom) may be the next big thing in pain relievers. Good luck, advertising executives!

Researchers say certain compounds isolated from the venom of the deadly black mamba snake are actually potent painkillers. The black mamba snake is Africa’s longest venomous snake and grows up to 14 feet in length. Its aggressive nature and lethal venom has given it a reputation as the world’s deadliest snake.

In the study, these compounds produced pain relief as strong as morphine in mice, without the unwanted side effects associated with opioid pain relievers.

It’s too early to say whether the same will hold true in humans – but keep an eye out, people!

But researchers say the results suggest the snake venom compounds relieve pain by targeting a different pain pathway in the brain. And that could eventually lead to a new generation of pain killers for people, which is something we (FM sufferers) are definitely searching for.

“It is essential to understand pain better to develop new analgesics,” researcher Sylvie Diochot of the Institut de Pharmacologie Mole ́culaire et Cellulaire, in Valbonne, France, and colleagues write in Nature. The black mamba findings, she says, help with both of those goals.

Previous studies have shown that compounds in snake venom can cause pain by activating what’s called specific acid-sensing ion channels (ASICs).

In this study, researchers found that a newly discovered class of compounds in black mamba snake venom called mambalgins can relieve pain by targeting and blocking these channels. Their experiments in mice show the mambalgins are not toxic and have fewer side effects than traditional pain killers like morphine.

Researchers say their results should lead to a better understanding of pain and introduce natural compounds that may lead to the development of new painkillers.

We’re ready for better pain relief!

Dance Like No One is Watching

Belly dance (also known as Middle Eastern dance, Danse Orientale, Raqs Sharki, Ciftetelli, Rakkase, Danse du Ventre) is a celebration of a woman’s body.  It is a unique style of world dance that intertwines improvisation originating from ancient folk and gypsy movements with trained professional choreography originating in the harems.

There is no definite origin of belly dance, but one can see traditional associations with many fertility rituals of the ancient world and the dances in the ancient Indian temples. The fertility rituals were meant to celebrate the reproductive aspects of life, both human and in nature. The movements developed into being used by female only groups for strengthening muscles and spirit for birthing. In this sense, the dance was seen as a private, sacred art. The undulating movements strengthen muscles and breathing techniques, making it easier to control your body.

The common people and travelling gypsy groups later performed belly dance movements on the street (the higher class did not dance in public). Eventually this moved into the harems, where beautiful slaves and dancing-girls learned to entertain their host.

With harem girls began sophisticated dance and music training, incorporating choreography and “props”, and the dance was also taught to the higher-class female family members, who also lived and were educated in the harems.

So, it’s kinda weird that it was researchers from Brazil who found that, after beginning a belly dance program, FM sufferers reported reduced pain and improved functional capacity, quality of life and self-image.

Researchers studied 80 women with FM who were randomly assigned to either a dance group or control group. The dance group participated in 1-hour belly dance classes twice a week for 16 weeks, with movements involving the upper limbs, scapular girdle, trunk and hips. A masked physiotherapist evaluated pain assessment, functional capacity, quality of life, depression, anxiety and self-image at the beginning, 16 weeks and 32 weeks.

The dancing FMers significantly improved from baseline to 32 weeks in pain, emotional aspects and mental health scales.

Health benefits of Belly Dancing (not just for FM sufferers)

  • Stress reduction

Belly dancing requires tremendous relaxation and concentration, as you must focus on isolating various parts of your body. The flowing movements of belly dance help to calm and soothe the mind. The repetitive movements of the dance and the concentration needed to do them can help a mind filled with daily stress to “let go” for a while and relax. It’s hard to worry about deadlines at work when you are thinking about getting that next drop just right, or while making sure that you are in time with the music.

One effect of stress is that our bodies tense up, causing contractions or spasms in muscle groups, such as those in the neck, shoulders, or back. Belly dance, on the other hand, gently stretches and uses these vulnerable muscle groups, and as they are utilized, blood flow increases and lactic acid is flushed away. Stressed muscles relax as they are gently exercised, relieving the “clenched” muscles often seen in FM sufferers. The body becomes supple and limber, and practitioners frequently report that pain diminishes in the back and neck areas.

  • Fitness and Muscle Building

Belly dancing is vigorous and will make you break a sweat. The fast movements of the hips and shoulders are enough to really get your heart pumping, offering tremendous cardiovascular benefits. When performed as exercise, belly dancing can be compared to any other aerobic workout.

Belly dancing is also a wonderful way to strengthen the major muscles of your body. When performed correctly, belly dancing can also stretch and release tension in the back. Because it is a low-impact form of exercise, belly dancing won’t jolt or jar your body.

  • Weight loss

Belly dancing can have a positive impact on your weight, improving your self-image. If performed regularly, belly dancing can actually encourage weight loss, as it burns calories as well as increases your metabolic rate. According to Dr. Carolle Jean-Murat, M.D., belly dance can burn up to 300 calories per hour. This estimate will vary, of course, depending on the intensity of your dancing.

Belly dancers come in a variety of body types and sizes. Belly dancing will make you more aware of your posture, grace, body language and facial expressions, all helping to improve your self-image. If you attend a belly dancing class, you will probably see several different sizes of bodies, all just as beautiful as the others.

  • An Internal Massage

Belly dancing can be very beneficial to the health of your internal organs. It is sometimes said that belly dancing was developed as a way to prepare the body for childbirth. Since belly dancing centres around controlling the muscles of the abdomen, it may make carrying and delivering a baby easier on your body. For women who desire natural childbirth, this form of exercise through dance, with its emphasis on muscle control not only facilitates natural childbirth, but also makes an excellent post-natal exercise that helps encourage abdominal tone.

Also, many women notice that belly dancing helps to relieve menstrual cramping.

Belly dance seems like a fun, healthy way to exercise. As we are continually being told, exercise is important in the treatment of FM. The Brazilian researchers concluded, “Patient education regarding how to initiate and continue exercise is crucial to the success of treatment. … Belly dance leads to improvement in pain, sleep pattern, functional capacity and self-image in patients with fibromyalgia. [It is] a safe, effective therapeutic strategy for women with fibromyalgia.” It can be a creative outlet that conditions, tones, and allows a woman to tune into the natural movements of her body. It can refresh, relax, and/or exhilarate. So why wait?

Caution: Many doctors have suggested belly dancing classes as part of rehabilitation from injury; it is, however, important to check with your own medical provider before starting any new form of exercise.

 

WANTED: Trusted Body Work Shop

People use bodywork to promote relaxation, relieve stress, and reduce pain associated with FM. Bodywork and manual therapy are general terms that refer to body manipulation therapies used for relaxation and pain relief. Massage and chiropractic care well-known forms of manual therapy.

The idea behind bodywork is that people learn – or are forced by injury or stress – into unnatural ways of moving or holding their bodies. This unnatural movement or posture changes the natural alignment of bones, which in turn causes discomfort and may contribute to health problems.

The aim of bodywork is to realign and reposition the body to allow natural, graceful movement. Bodywork, along with identifying possible contributing causes of unnatural movement and posture, is thought to reduce stress and ease pain.

Some of the most common forms of bodywork are:

  • images (1)The Alexander technique, which focuses on proper alignment of the head, neck, and trunk. It emphasizes improving health by increasing awareness of proper posture.
  • The Feldenkrais method, a gentle form of bodywork that increases flexibility and coordination. Feldenkrais exercises are intended to help increase a person’s awareness of body movement and develop new patterns of movement.
  • brochure_pic_1The Trager approach, which people use to help relearn natural movements and exercises so their bodies can function better. Practitioners teach gentle, rhythmic motions to improve flexibility and promote relaxation (called psychophysical integration) and dance-like exercises to increase awareness of body movement (called Mentastics).
  • Deep tissue massage, which attempts to treat chronic tension in deep muscles of the body. Deep tissue massage is thought to relieve pain and increase flexibility.
  • Rolfing, a form of deep tissue massage that practitioners use to realign the tissues that cover and connect all muscles and body organs (fascia). Bringing the body back into proper alignment is thought to reduce pain, improve flexibility and energy, and reduce muscle tension.
  • Dance/movement therapy, which has many of the same characteristics as the types of bodywork described above with the addition of creative and expressive art elements.

Bodywork can be a safe form of therapy when a qualified and experienced practitioner performs it. Talk with your doctor before you start any bodywork program, so you can choose the most appropriate form of bodywork for your specific condition. It may not be safe to forgo your conventional medical treatment and rely only on an alternative therapy.

Not a Minute Too Soon

Remember trying to get your diagnosis? During the process, you receive all kinds of comments from family, friends and even doctors: ‘It’s just you getting older,’ ‘it’s all in your head,’ ‘do you really think there is something wrong with you?’ Finally, a long time later (for most people)and an exorbitant amount of money, because a correct diagnosis involves at least 3 months of pain and the exclusion of everything else (that’s a lot of tests).

Wouldn’t you have loved to have circumvented that step?

study from the Journal of Evaluation in Clinical Practice was conducted to help primary-care physicians become more skilled at correctly identifying fibromyalgia. According to the study, half of all primary-care providers from the U.S., Asia, and Europe did NOT know how to diagnose fibromyalgia.

The purpose of this study was to evaluate the potential usefulness of a new screening method using simple measures (achilles tendon tenderness, BP cuff-evoked pain, in tandem with a single patient question).

Patients with FM showed significantly greater sensitivity to digital pressure and BP-evoked pressure pain compared to patients with chronic pain but no fibromyalgia. Further, the patients who had right Achilles tenderness and who endorsed the deep-aching question had an 11 times greater chance of having fibromyalgia.

These results suggest that 2 tests, taking less than 1 minute, can indicate a probable diagnosis of fibromyalgia in a chronic pain patient. In the case of a positive screen, a follow-up examination is required for confirmation or refutation.

 

 

Beating Fibromyalgia?

I was directed to a link to a documentary by producers Living Whole Body Health and Dr. Tim Weeks called Beating Fibromyalgia

This documentary focuses on the life of Prasad Moss, a 37 years old man who has suffered from Fibromyalgia for over 20 years causing him great pain and disabilities. This 61 minutes long documentary shows Dr. Tim Weeks and Prasad Moss take up a 21-day intensive natural healing protocol to help Prasad find relief from his pain and fatigue, and after the 21 days Prasad becomes pain-free.

This film is available on Amazon Prime Video and can be viewed for free by Amazon Prime Members. It can also be rented for as low as $0.99 for those who don’t have an Amazon Prime membership. (This is NOT me advertising or endorsing this film as) it seems that it cannot be viewed in my area (Melbourne, Australia) so I can’t review it.

I’d love to hear some of your (objective) opinions below.

 

It’s a Very #Fibro Christmas Sing-a-Long

sing

84. maxine_stressOn the first day of Christmas, FIBRO gave to me:
A bout of Anxiety

 

On the second day of Christmas, FIBRO gave to me:
Two New Trigger Points
and A bout of Anxiety

 

On the third day of Christmas, FIBRO gave to me:
Three Days of Heartburn
Two New Trigger Points
A bout of Anxiety

 

223. fibro

On the fourth day of Christmas, FIBRO gave to me:
Four Doctors’ Visits
Three Days of Heartburn
Two New Trigger Points
and A bout of Anxiety

 

On the fifth day of 86. crawl into bedChristmas, FIBRO gave to me:
Five Sleepless Nights
Four Doctors’ Visits
Three Days of Heartburn
Two New Trigger Points
and A bout of Anxiety

 

On the sixth day of Christmas, FIBRO gave to me:
74. prescriptionsSix Medications
Five Sleepless Nights
Four Doctors’ Visits
Three Days of Heartburn
Two New Trigger Points
and A bout of Anxiety

 

 

 

On the seventh day of Christmas, FIBRO gave to me:
68. HatSeven Tension Headaches
Six Medications
Five Sleepless Nights
Four Doctors’ Visits
Three Days of Heartburn
Two New Trigger Points
and A bout of Anxiety

 

 

 

On the eighth day of Christmas, FIBRO gave to me:
205. centredTotal Disequilibrium
Seven Tension Headaches
Six Medications
Five Sleepless Nights
Four Doctors’ Visits
Three Days of Heartburn
Two New Trigger Points
and A bout of Anxiety

 

On the ninth day of Christmas, FIBRO gave to me:
292.FM LovesongNine Painful Cuddles
Total Disequilibrium
Seven Tension Headaches
Six Medications
Five Sleepless Nights
Four Doctors’ Visits
Three Days of Heartburn
Two New Trigger Points
and A bout of Anxiety

 

On the tenth day of Christmas, FIBRO gave to me:
Paresthesia in my (ten) Fingers
Nine Painful Cuddles203. acupuncture
Total Disequilibrium
Seven Tension Headaches
Six Medications
Five Sleepless Nights
Four Doctors’ Visits
Three Days of Heartburn
Two New Trigger Points
and A bout of Anxiety

 

On the eleventh day of Christmas, FIBRO gave to me:
Eleven ‘New Cures’ proffered
Paresthesia in my (ten) Fingers
Nine Painful Cuddlesxmas
Total Disequilibrium
Seven Tension Headaches
Six Medications
Five Sleepless Nights
Four Doctors’ Visits
Three Days of Heartburn
Two New Trigger Points
and A bout of Anxiety

 

On the twelfth day of Christmas, FIBRO gave to me:
Twelve Judgmental Relatives
Eleven ‘New Cures’ proffered
Paresthesia in my (ten) Fingers
Nine Painful Cuddles
Total Disequilibrium
Seven Tension Headaches
Six Medications124. indifferent friends
Five Sleepless Nights
Four Doctors’ Visits
Three Days of Heartburn
Two New Trigger Points
and A bout of Anxiety

How Many do You do?

Q. What do talking, showering, and doing laundry have in common?

A. They’re all activities that seem simple to most people, but can be thoroughly exhausting for us.

TheMighty.com partnered with the National Fibromyalgia Association to discover what everyday activities we engage in (or don’t engage in) because of fibromyalgia. How many do you do? Got any to add?

  1. “Not showering every day or keeping up with laundry. People see widget 5me as lazy but in reality, I’m prioritizing what I can do each day. Otherwise I’d be out for a month. It’s hard for people to understand how much energy and effort it takes to do the most simple tasks.”
  2. “I keep a lot of my curtains closed and the brightness on devices on lowest; when I’m having a flare light hurts me so much. My smell and hearing are too sensitive. Repetitive noises are agony to me.”
  3. “Napping. I hate sleeping during the day. I feel miserable when I nap, but if I don’t lie down, I will fall down. Some of my friends love to nap and envy me when I tell them I spent the afternoon in bed. To me, though, napping is just one more way my life is not my own now.”
  4. I clench my jaw really tightly when in pain (probably just looks like I’m pulling weird faces!). Also people think I’m strange for not drinking alcohol, but it reacts with my meds and a hangover feels a million times worse!”
  5. “I rub my hands a lot and sometimes my feet. Most people don’t think this is anything more than self-comfort. The reality is, the weakness and pain in my hands, arms and legs is something I deal with every day.”
  6. “This weekend I was at a wedding. Most people at my table were dancing and were trying to tell me to join them. They don’t know I was bravely smiling through the pain and that it was a two-hour battle just to get dressed up and show up. There was no strength left for dancing.”
  7. “Google-Earth-ing everywhere I have to go (or am considering going) and have never been before to assess if the building would have stairs (inside and out) and a parking spot nearby.”
  8. “I wear a lot of fuzzy socks because I have cold feet issues. Having fibromyalgia means when I get cold my pain gets elevated even worse. Ugg boots are also helpful because they are soft and warm.”
  9. “Avoiding family gatherings as much as possible. I come from a very big and loud family who likes to hug. I’m surrounded by all of them and the kids are running a round and everyone is talking laughing and having a good time. No one realizes how huge that sensory overload is for me.”
  10. “A prime example is ‘test-driving’ chairs to find the most comfortable one. At work, there are several office chairs in the main work area that are used by various people on all shifts, so they get moved around and swapped for each other pretty often. When I’m working in that area, I sit in each chair for a few seconds to see which one is going to cause me the least amount of pain throughout the day (the chairs are identical, but some are older/used more than others). People who don’t know I have fibro may find it odd or humorous, but I think even people who do know seem to find it ‘amusing’ at times.”
  11. 119-fibro-fog“I’m soon to be 27 and have the memory of a goldfish. I mix up words and stutter so bad. People don’t realize I have fibromyalgia and this is why I do this.”
  12. “Taking a deep breath as I reach the entrance door at work, putting a massive smile on my face. Chest out, shoulders back… keeping on my ‘I’m OK’ face until I crumble back into my car at the end of the shift.”
  13. “I really don’t talk much because I have fibro fog and find it hard to carry on a conversation. So this sometimes makes me appear disinterested in others, but that isn’t the case at all. I find it hard to find the words to say.”
  14. “When I have to stand for more than a couple of minutes I rock back and forth to distract myself from the pain. Most think it’s just a nervous habit, but in essence it’s my pain control.”
  15. Giving up my social life. I go to work, and I come home. That’s all I can manage to do. I have to choose between going to church, family activities, and meeting with friends over rest. And lately, rest wins.”
  16. “Sometimes I’m having a really bad flare and can’t get out. Rather than admitting my weakness, I say the kids are sick or something, so no harm, no foul. It makes me uncomfortable admitting it, and it makes them feel even more uncomfortable/angry/disappointed, etc.”
  17. “I walk out of work when my shift ends and drive right home. I don’t say goodbye to anyone because if we end up chatting it’ll be even longer until I get to lounge at home and rest.”
  18. “Turning down TVs and radios when people come in the room. The noise sensitivity makes sounds get louder the more there are different sounds. Each added person, instead of making it harder to hear something, amplifies the sounds.”
  19. “When you take an extra day off work from a holiday weekend. It’s not to just play around and be lazy. It takes me days to recover from travel, from cooking the Thanksgiving turkey, from Christmas shopping, even from just sitting in an uncomfortable chair eating a holiday meal with family and friends.”
  20. “In college, people don’t realize I always tell them, ‘I have to go to the bathroom, be right up with you guys’ because I don’t want anyone looking at me me while I slowly climb my painful way upstairs. So I always make up an excuse to be the last one to go up, and alone.”
  21. “I text instead of calling because I’m not sure how I’ll sound over the phone, and I can make the text sound positive without acting.”
  22. “I take a few minutes every so often when I’m out, like when I go to the bathroom or pop to the kitchen, and just sit and gather myself. Allow myself to feel the exhaustion and pain then breathe and go back in.”

From Japan With Love

007 willingly falls into an assassination ploy involving a naive Russian Japanese pharmaceutical company in order to retrieve a cure for Fibromyalgia that was stolen by SPECTRE.

russia

I’ve been keeping an electronic diary for the research study. Each morning, it asks me what is the highest level of pain I have experienced over the past 24 hours. Yes, I hate that question…and now I get to answer it at least once a day.

By the time I started the diary, I had not had any pain meds (except Panadol) for 4 days. Bloody! Bloody! I had forgotten about the stiffness and inability to sleep so on Friday, after 3 hours sleep, I thought: well, I haven’t been in this kind of pain in a very long time (it’s funny how I forget how bad the pain actually was at its worse) but it’s not a 9 or 10 – I’m not in hospital so I answered:

pain

On Saturday, the mind-blowing headaches in the bones above and below my eyes were back. Bummer! I had forgotten about those; but, I thought: well, I haven’t been in this kind of pain in a very long time but it’s not a 9 or 10 – I’m not in hospital so I answered:

pain

On Sunday, the costochondritis returned. I lay on my couch all day under a heated blanket; but, I thought: well, I haven’t been in this kind of pain in a very long time but it’s not a 9 or 10 – I’m not in hospital so I answered:

pain

On Monday, my stomach and lower back began spasming. Oh, here comes the irritable everything syndrome. I thought: well, I haven’t been in this kind of pain in a very long time but it’s not a 9 or 10 – I’m not in hospital so I answered:

pain

On Tuesday, I had a funeral so I didn’t fill in anything all day – I was afraid to take my electronic diary with me because I couldn’t work out how to turn off the alarm.

On Wednesday and Thursday, my hands and feet felt (but didn’t look) swollen and full (I can’t think of any other word), so uncomfortably full so, I thought: well, I haven’t been in this kind of pain in a very long time but it’s not a 9 or 10 – I’m not in hospital so I answered:

pain

Each day the pain had gotten worse but I had started too high on the scale. It was never the worst pain I have ever experienced but, each day should have been higher than the day before.

Maybe it’s time to consider a different way to ask the question? Maybe it should be, if yesterday was a 5, how much pain have you experienced in the last 24 hours? And then, is it more (or less) pain than yesterday?

NOTE: Emeritus Research is still recruiting for the study, if anybody is interested. Click for  the Consent Form and information. Contact Daiichi using this email address – SM_DS5565_FM_Info@incresearch.com.

As well as the 1000 person study in the US and Canada, Daiichi is also recruiting in:

  • Campse and Coffs Harbour, NSW, Australia;
  • Maroochydore, Sherwood and Southport, Queensland, Australia;
  • Hobart, Tasmania, Australia;
  • Malvern East, Victoria, Australia;
  • Tallin and Tartu, Estonia;
  • Baldone, Jekabpils, Liepaja, Ogre and Riga, Latvia;
  • Auckland, Hamilton, Nelson, Tauranga and Wellington, New Zealand;
  • Banska Bystrica, Bratislava and Dubnica Nad Vahom, Slovakia; and,
  • Reading, Berkshire; Chesterfield, Derbyshire; Wellingborough, Northamptonshire: Atherstone, Warwickshire; and
  • Belfast, United Kingdom.

Posts in this series:

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