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pain management | Danny van Leeuwen Health Hats

Partner with People at the Center End-to-End

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Despite what anyone tells you, Clinical Decision Support (CDS) is an experiment. It only gets better with use. We, patients and caregivers, should try it, whatever it is, and learn. Learn what helps us make decisions and what doesn’t.

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Overtreated, Untreated, and Mistreated

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Before her auto accident that caused chronic pain and subsequent surgeries, Barby Ingle was no stranger to pain. After her accident, Barby felt overtreated, untreated, and mistreated. She took control of her medical management and replaced drug pain solutions with physical pain solutions. She repurposed her media savvy to heal herself and engage others.

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Stories, Not Noise, for You – the CEO of Your Health

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Chat with Jan Oldenburg, a nationally recognized thought leader on personal health engagement focused on transforming healthcare and the physician-patient relationship through digital tools. In this podcast episode, we spoke about the language of goals and preferences, situational leadership, making a story from the noise of data, contextual education, and drinking from both ends of a fire hose.

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Pain: The Solution – Many Solutions

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You’re in for a treat. Amy Baxter, pediatric emergency physician, pain researcher, and device manufacturer, is the CEO and Founder of Pain Care Labs. We talked about:

  • Pain is inevitable, it’s life. Unnecessary pain is wasteful and it sucks.
  • Doctors’ superpower is writing prescriptions. While lots of research has been done about non-pharm pain, doctors aren’t familiar with it.
  • Public policy doesn’t support non-drug solutions. It funnels people to doctors and medication.
  • Attitude and attention impact pain. If you focus on life rather than pain, the pain can be more manageable. We’re in control.
  • The 1-10 pain scale has limited value unless you’re evaluating what’s not working for acute pain.
  • We could teach our kids about pain differently. Think, dancers and other athletes.
  • While cannabis may be helpful for chronic pain, it’s not a panacea, especially for young brains.

We learned about TENS units, Buzzy, the Meissner Corpusle, the thalamus (the brains CPU/microprocessor), the Schmidt Sting Pain Scale, the IKEA bias,  beta nerves and mechanoreceptors, and more. My head spins.

I think the most important lesson I’ve learned from Amy is that it’s not about the pain, it’s about what we want to do with our lives and how we manage the challenges we face that get in the way, including pain. Let’s take control. It’s the most powerful tool we have.

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Fibromyalgia. Managing Pain. Doing the Work.

By | Advocate, ePatient, Podcasts | 3 Comments

When I examine the puzzle of pain management and opioid use, I often see Melissa Reynold’s words in my mind’s eye. She lives with, struggles with pain. She’s so sensible about pain. Melissa writes about Fibromyalgia, chronic pain, and pregnancy, separately and together. I read her faithfully and comment more than I do with most. She has inspired me from the start. Please allow me to share Melissa’s wisdom with you here.

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Salt in My Soul. An Unfinished Life

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Mallory Smith lived and died with Cystic Fibrosis. Mallory wrote, “Salt in My Soul: An Unfinished Life.” In this fifteen episode of Young Adults with Complex Conditions, I speak with mother, Diane. Mallory was Captain of her own ship, lived HAPPY, and shares many lessons with us. Heart-warming affirmation! Tragic, tragic, tragic!

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Time. I Need Some More

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A conversation with Dr. Tanilla Brown, a pediatrician and Internal Medicine doc who thinks about the challenges of enough time with patients, family-focused care, and the lifespan of transition. 

Welcome to this eleventh episode in a series about Young Adults with Complex Medical Conditions Transitioning from Pediatric to Adult Medical Care.

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I’m not drug-seeking. I’m in pain.

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This episode concludes the conversations with Fatima Muhammed-Ighile, a mother with two young children, and her mother, Esosa, navigating Sickle Cell Disease. These conversations have been different as Fatima and I are friends. We are familiar with each other’s families. We have shared some of life’s milestones. In this episode, Fatima finds that she’s turning into her mother and describes her experiences as a young mother of color seeking pain relief from a sickle cell crisis as the opiate crisis heats up. Hang on.

Welcome to this tenth episode in a series about Young Adults with Complex Medical Conditions Transitioning from Pediatric to Adult Medical Care.

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Lessons from the Clowns When Going to the Doctor’s

By | Caregiver, Clinician, ePatient, Family man, Podcasts | No Comments

What can the clowns can teach us as patients and caregivers about relaxing, reading the room, figuring out what you’re there to do, and not ending up more stressed than you went in. Maybe even having a bit of fun. In this podcast we will speak with Jason Stewart, a clown at Boston Children’s and listen in on a working session I led at the National Caregiving Conference in Chicago this past November, entitled, Reading the Room and Yourself. Lessons We Can Learn from the Clowns When We Go to the Doctor’s Office.  Lessons from the clowns? Humor, humanity, failure. Reading the room. You are not alone. Read More

Pain Management Choices: One Person’s Point-of-View

By | Advocate, Caregiver, Clinician, ePatient, Informaticist, Leader, Researcher | No Comments

Pain and choices mix, but not too well. A sudden new pain requires professional attention and a pill – I gotta get over this. With severe chronic pain, I pray for some choices that I know might work. I want choices to prevent the pain – a routine. When the pain breaks through I want at least four things I can try. First non-drug that I can do myself (like heat, cold, vibration, meditation), then non-drug help from others, (say, massage, chiropractic), then less side effect drugs (Tylenol, cannabis…).  Finally, pocket therapy – something I’d rather not take, but it’s good to have in my pocket, just in case. So, that’s me in particular circumstances.

Almost everyone with chronic illness experiences chronic pain. Chronic pain in the US costs more than $600 billion annually in health care costs and lost worker productivity. I attended and presented at the Agency for Healthcare Quality and Research (AHRQ)-supported Patient-Centered Clinical Decision Support (PCCDS) Learning Network annual meeting (phew, a mouthful!) focused on decision-making in pain management and reducing opioid use. My job was to keep it real.

Please find the audio and slide deck here on my YouTube channel. It’s 44 minutes long with the Q&A portion. Here you can find my web resource page with other pain management resources. It’s a work in progress and will grow over time. Feel free to use any or all of it. I operate under Creative Commons. That means: please give me credit (attribution by Danny van Leeuwen/Health Hats). You can stop reading here or read a brief summary of the talk below. Read More