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What is Lady Gaga’s Chronic Pain? Fibromyalgia Explained

from Billboard

It's been an incredibly tough month for mother monster, Lady Gaga, who has very recently opened up about the battle she's facing with a chronic pain condition known as fibromyalgia. On Friday (Sep. 15) the singer began posting a series of photos from a hospital in Rio, Brazil explaining that she was unable to continue touring due to agonizing and severe physical pain. And while Gaga's Netflix documentary, Gaga: Five Foot Two, was supposed to look at her battle with pain, the actual reveal of her chronic illness came Monday (Sep. 18) on Instagram.

"I have always been honest about my physical and mental health struggles. Searching for years to get to the bottom of them. It is complicated and difficult to explain, and we are trying to figure it out. As I get stronger and when I feel ready, I will tell my story in more depth, and plan to take this on strongly so I can not only raise awareness, but expand research for others who suffer as I do, so I can help make a difference. I use the word "suffer" not for pity, or attention, and have been disappointed to see people online suggest that I'm being dramatic, making this up, or playing the victim to get out of touring. If you knew me, you would know this couldn't be further from the truth. I'm a fighter. I use the word suffer not only because trauma and chronic pain have changed my life, but because they are keeping me from living a normal life. They are also keeping me from what I love the most in the world: performing for my fans. I am looking forward to touring again soon, but I have to be with my doctors right now so I can be strong and perform for you all for the next 60 years or more. I love you so much," Lady Gaga said, announcing she needs to reschedule the European leg of her tour. 

The news brings back into the spotlight a disease that has been often misunderstood by the public, one that is characterized by chronic pain and excessive fatigue with no known cause. Billboard spoke with the Mayo Clinic’s Dr. Arya Mohabbat and Connie A. Luedtke, R.N., nursing supervisor of the hospital’s Fibromyalgia Clinic, about what people should know.

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Where pain lives

from AEON:

In the US, about 80,000 spine procedures fail each year , and one in five patients returns for another operation. Typically, second, third and fourth attempts have an even lower chance of success, and patients continue to require painkillers over the long term. Even the procedures that surgeons deem successful, because the bones fuse and look perfect on a scan, are often unhelpful to patients. In one study, two years after spinal fusion, patients’ pain had barely been reduced by half, and most patients continued to use painkillers. Given such unimpressive outcomes, the cost of treating back pain is unacceptably high. Spine surgery costs a fortune, but other approaches, including epidural steroid injections, physical therapy and chiropractic treatment, are also expensive.

Including direct medical expenses and indirect expenses such as lost earnings, spine care costs the US about $100 billion a year. In the UK, that tab is about £10.6 billion (c$13.6 billion). InAustralia, it’s A$1.2 billion (c$950 million). Many of these costs derive from the loss of productivity, as people take time off from work. Others result from the devastation wrought by addiction to prescription opioids. In Australia, between 1992 and 2012, prescription opioid dispensing increased 15-fold, and the cost to the Australian government increased more than 32-fold.

Pain falls into four basic categories. There’s nociceptive pain, the normally short-lived kind you feel when you accidentally slam your finger in the car door. There’s inflammatory pain, a response to damage or infection, resulting in a rush of small proteins called inflammatory cytokines to the site of the casualty. That pain has a habit of spreading, to affect everything in the vicinity. Beyond that, there’s neuropathic pain, known as ‘radiculopathy’. It results, usually, from an insult to a nerve, culminating in burning, tingling or shock-like sensations that travel the length of the affected nerve (sciatic pain is a good example).

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$5.7 MILLION ALLOCATED TO STUDY HOLISTIC THERAPIES AS ALTERNATIVE TO OPIOIDS

from Massage Magazine:

The medical profession might be waking up to the potential of such holistic therapies as massage, chiropractic, yoga, acupuncture and others to serve as an alternative to opioid use for pain, based on the announcement of research to compare such therapies to prescription drugs.

In the U.S., opioid addiction and overdose deaths, and similar outcomes related to heroin, have both reached epidemic proportions, according to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services.

More than 30,000 Americans died from opioid drugs in 2015, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, and a compilation of information from leading public health experts indicates that up to 650,000 Americans could die from opioid addiction over the next decade.

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Less Talk, More Therapy

from the NY Times:

My first session with Ann E. began as they all would: I stood against a wall wearing only a sports bra and underwear while she stood against the opposite wall, looking me over. She had me face north, south, east and west, and each time her eyes seemed to be tracing invisible lines down my body.

Being with Ann E. feels a little like being in psychotherapy, except you’re usually lying on a massage table in your underwear. It costs about the same for a session, although it lasts a lot longer and she doesn’t care if you doze through most of it.

Settled on her table that first day, I explained to her that I’d had many intractable physical problems in the last several years, the most recent being a pain in my knee that no medical professional could make heads or tails of. I couldn’t sit cross-legged on the floor or rise up out of a full squat, and I’d feel a sharp stab whenever I slipped that leg into my jeans. Some yoga practitioners that my husband knew had recommended I see her about this.

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Want A Reason To Get A Massage? We Have Fifty.

from www.longevitylive.com:

Massage has many benefits for the body, including increasing circulation, relaxing tense muscles, and giving an overall feeling of well-being. Massage can range from light touching to deep pressure on muscles and tendons. Swedish massage applies gentle strokes and kneading with circular motions, as well as tapping to relax the body and give energy.

Deep massage is typically used to help repair damage to muscles and connective tissue. It uses more forceful strokes. Sports massage is a lighter touch to help prevent injuries. Trigger point massage focuses on specific areas of tightness within the body, to help with relaxation.

Massage is now considered an alternative form of medicine rather than just a luxury spa treatment. Many medical practices use it help patients recover from various conditions. Listed below are some of the health benefits of Massage. It can help:

Stimulates lymph fluid flow enhancing the immune system: By stimulating the lymphatic system in the body with regular massage, the body’s immune system is improved. The lymph fluid is the body’s primary defense against bacteria and other unhealthy substances. Massage increases the flow of blood and other bodily fluids like lymph fluid, giving the body more immunity to viruses, bacteria and other pathogens. Without the lymph fluid moving smoothly, disease and illness would result.

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