American Chronic Pain Association  
March - April 2019 
Shaping Up for Spring
by Penney Cowan

It has been a very long difficult winter for most of the country. Too much rain, wind, and snow that has kept the majority of us sitting at home hoping spring is just around the corner. After a long winter, the thought of spring is a powerful motivator to get each one of us up and moving. We become energized by the thought of longer days filled with warm sunshine and gardens full of the bounty that only mother nature can provide. 

Spring is the time of year when everything seems to have a fresh look as gray fields come alive with soft tones of green. All we need to do, is feel the warmth of the sun on our skin and we begin to sense spring’s rejuvenating powers.

Well spring has arrived, but the question is, are you ready for it? Think back to a spring gone by where you didn’t do a lot over the winter months and then that first nice day in spring you got out in the yard and started removing winter's footprints. Did you overdo it?

It is a fact that for every day we spend in bed, it can take us two weeks to return to the physical shape we were in the day before we spent the day in bed. It is so sad to realize how quickly we can become deconditioned. For many of us, we hesitate to get back to our “normal routine” for fear of worsening the pain.  
The best advice is, listen to your body! When you start working in your yard, or perhaps get back to your exercise program, or doing your spring cleaning, listen to your body when you feel the first OUCH! Don’t ignore it, don’t think you can push yourself. Don’t wait until your body is screaming in pain. Stop, rest, and relax. The job will not go away. If you take a five- or ten-minute break, that might make all the difference in the world. You can even break a task into several days. 

If you are thinking about starting an exercise program there are several things you need to keep in mind.  

·         Always check with your health care professional before staring any exercise program. If you know what you can safely do, you will reduce your fear of causing any injury.

·         Start out slowly. If you are going to begin your stretching exercises, choose one and start with one or two repetitions each morning before you get dressed. Continuing doing that for a week and each week increase the repetitions.  What you are doing is establishing a routine that allows you to work your exercise program into your day.
Check to see if there is warm water pool in your area. That is a great place to start an exercise program. The warm water allows muscles to become relaxed which can then make it easier to exercise. For more information on exercising in warm water go to the American Physical Therapy Association article on 10 Exercises To Do In the Pool at:
·         Ask your family or friend to starting walking with you. It always makes it easier when you have someone to talk with and share the journey. 

·         Walk with the Doc is a wonderful national program that brings together health care providers and people to walk together. The morning starts with a five-minute education presentation and then walking with the doctor and others. The National Walking Challenge is May 4, 2019. To find out more about the program visit

There are many ways to shape up for spring. But the most important thing you have to remembers is listen to your body and take the needed breaks so that you don’t cause more pain. One step at a time, you can achieve a great deal. 
Attributes of Walking

One way to get back into shape is by walking. It is not difficult; no equipment is needed other than a comfortable pair of shoes. A few benefits include:
  •  No special skills are needed
  •  It can be done indoors or outdoors
  •   It can vary in location, speed and duration
  • It builds muscles
  •  It burns calories
  •  It improves balance
  •  It activates the leg muscles, joints, and cardiovascular system and increases the metabolism
  •  It is a weight-bearing activity and helps increase bone mass
  •  It is the best exercise for your feet.

“What lies behind us and what lies in front of us pales in significance when compared with what lies within us”
Ralph Waldo Emerson
Global Year Against Pain

IASP has launched the 2019 Global Year Against Pain in the Most Vulnerable , an international campaign by the pain community to boost awareness and education that results in better pain relief for four patient groups deemed at especially high risk for inadequate pain assessment and treatment. These vulnerable groups are children and babies, older adults, people with intellectual and development disabilities, and survivors of torture and war.
Although those populations communicate pain differently, they share a concerning trait: the frequent inability to effectively articulate their pain condition to health care providers. This communication challenge often means clinicians and others struggle to provide an appropriate diagnosis, resulting in a lack of treatment, undermedication, or over prescription. Fortunately, well-tested solutions exist, and vulnerable patients do not need to suffer, since providers spread throughout the world have been working to resolve the problems. Spreading the word of successful approaches through education, knowledge-sharing, and outreach is a primary goal of the Global Year campaign.     
The Global Year also will focus on identifying barriers to proper assessment and management of pain in vulnerable groups; exploring their most common types of pain and best assessment and management tools; understanding educational needs of health professionals who deal with pain in vulnerable populations; and targeting relevant areas for further research and development.
“IASP is well-positioned to unite and lead the diverse pain community in this year-long education and outreach campaign to generate hope and accelerate help,“ says IASP President Lars Arendt-Nielsen, whose passion to address the issue inspired him to create the theme. “Already we have partnerships with our 90-plus chapters, more than 20 special interest groups, and myriad external stakeholders such as nonprofits, patient health groups, and others in the government and medical communities that have influence and broad scope."
NIH Study of High Impact Chronic Pain in the US

A recent study, conducted by scientists at the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) and the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) at the National Institutes of Health as well as the Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute, aims to sharpen the focus of clinical treatment and research on high-impact chronic pain (HIPC). The concept of HICP, first proposed by the National Pain Strategy to better identify those with significant levels of life interference, describes those with pain lasting three months or longer and accompanied by at least one major activity restriction. The condition also is associated with higher levels of anxiety, depression, fatigue, and cognitive difficulty.
Research shows that disability is as likely in the chronic pain population as it is in those with kidney failure, emphysema, or stroke. According to the study, of the 50 million U.S. adults living with chronic pain, 11 million deal with High Impact Chronic Pain.  

“It is crucial that we fully understand how people’s lives are affected by chronic pain. It will help improve care for individuals living with chronic pain and strategically guide our research programs that aim to reduce the burden of pain at the population level,” said Linda Porter, Ph.D., director of the  Office of Pain Policy at NINDS . “The findings from this study are a strong step toward these goals.”
You can read the study at:

You’ve heard this before, but it bears repeating: One of the best things you can do for arthritis is to lose excess weight. According to the Centers for Disease Control, two out of three adults with arthritis are overweight or obese. Research shows that while diet and exercise combined are most effective for dropping pounds, dieting alone helps more than exercise alone. No one’s saying it’s easy, but evidence shows it pays off. Here’s how it can help. 

Reduces pressure on joints . In a study of overweight   and obese adults with   knee osteoarthritis (OA),   researchers found that each   pound lost eased four pounds   of pressure on the knees. 

Preserves cartilage.  A 2017 study found that losing weight can preserve knee cartilage in overweight people who have or are at risk of knee OA. Weight loss also may reduce the risk of damage to the meniscus, cartilage in the knee joint. Those who lost 5 to 10 percent of their weight over four years had less cartilage degeneration than those who didn’t lose weight. Those who lost the most weight had the healthiest cartilage. 

  Reduce inflammation.  In addition to the added   pressure on joints, fat tissue   releases pro-inflammatory chemicals that may have a role in systemic inflammation, says Susan Goodman, MD, associate professor at Weill Cornell Medical School and a rheumatologist at Hospital for Special Surgery in New York City. 

Prevents psoriatic arthritis.  Overweight people with   psoriasis are more likely than   those of normal weight to   develop psoriatic arthritis,   Dr. Goodman says. 
Improves the chance of RA remission.  Losing weight   may increase the chances of   achieving rheumatoid arthritis   (RA) remission, Dr. Goodman   says. In a 2017 study of   982 women with early RA, she and her colleagues found that overweight participants were 25 percent less likely and obese participants were 47 percent less likely than those of a healthy weight to achieve remission over three years. The bottom line? Weight impacts joints in multiple ways, Dr. Goodman says. “It may be that any injury to the joint – whether [a result of] sports or inflammation such as RA – may initiate cartilage loss, while the impact of excess weight increases the damage.”  —Mary Anne Dunkin.  

It's Time For A Duel With JUUL

As the Informed Families Safe Homes Smart Parents campaign kicks off, we think about all of the unhealthy trends facing our youth and what parents can do to protect their children. Right now, we are fired up about the 78% increase in e-cigarette use among high school students, as a result of JUUL Labs’ targeting of our youth. According to the U.S. Surgeon General , last year, 3.6 million U.S. youth use e-cigarettes. Talk to any teacher or parent of a teen and they will confirm the schools are overrun by JUUL and kids are showing real signs of addiction.
Some lucky ones will put away their JUULs before they’re addicted. But many are embarking on a lifelong addiction to nicotine. Many of those will continue to use JUUL for a considerable amount of time, and we simply do not know what consequences long-term use will have on their health. 

What we do know is that e-cigarettes are not safe. And we know that nicotine use by children and teens negatively impacts their brain development. Among other things, it makes them more susceptible to addiction in general. The larger fear is they switch entirely to cigarettes and other tobacco products that are even more dangerous.
Shades for Migraine Awareness Campaign

For the past two years, the Shades for Migraine awareness campaign has taken social media by storm. With the help of 30 international patient advocacy organizations and bloggers , the initiative was brought to more than 2,600,000 people and was supported in more than 16 countries and hashtagged 1,300+ times. In 2019, we are continuing our goal to raise awareness and we want you to be a part of it!
Shades for Migraine is a social media campaign that brings public attention to migraine. The objective of the campaign is for people to show they care by wearing a pair of sunglasses on Migraine Solidarity Day, June 21. Participants prove their support by posting their photos on social media with the hashtag #ShadesForMigraine. To keep the support going, supporters are asked to challenge others to do so, too! Click here to see people showing off their #ShadesForMigraine in 2018 .

The campaign is a fun and easy way to bring positivity to a normally dark and dismal situation. Our coalition has proven that there is power in numbers and we would be delighted if you would join in too!

Being a member is simple, here’s how you can help:

  • Share the official Shades for Migraine animated film (Versions are available in a number of languages)
  • Like/follow Shades for Migraine on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter
  • Official SFM graphics, videos and copy is provided to members. We ask that coalition members share this content during the month of June on a regular basis.
  • Post photos of your team showing their #shadesformigraine
  • Promote the event in your emails and on your website
  • Provide suggestions and feedback on how to enhance and grow Shades for Migraine
As a member, your organization’s name and description, including a link to your website, would be listed on the Shades for Migraine website.
The past two years have shown us the potential the campaign has to make migraine a viral topic. This year, we are hoping to double last year’s reach and we believe with your help that can be possible. When we work together, we reach more people to raise the general public's awareness of migraine disease and its impact to the level that it deserves. If you are interested in becoming a coalition member, please let us know as soon as possible so we can add you to our website and content distribution list. 
Virtual Medicine: the Patient’s Viewpoint

Tom Norris, American Chronic Pain Association Regional Director, Member Advisory Committee Chair, and Facilitator of several groups in Los Angeles, took part in a patient panel about the use of virtual reality (VR) as a tool to manage pain. 

“I will admit that I’m a nerd,” Tom said. “I’ve been an avid reader since I learned to read.”

One of his favorite series, he added, was Nick Carter, Master Spy . And Nick was able to use yoga breathing.

Inspired, Tom taught himself to do yoga breathing by from reading about it. The breathing, he said, helped him deal with traumatic events in his life.

Then, one day, he was talking with Cedars-Sinai Director of Health Services Research Dr. Brennan Spiegel, who is also co-director of the Virtual Medicine Conference.

“One of the things Dr. Spiegel said was, ‘Are you interested in VR?'”

Dr. Spiegel gave him a headset, which he took home. The VR, Tom said, helped him through the pain of breaking four ribs and helped him deal with stress.
Pain Reduction

Lifelong complaints of suffering and pain,
But I choose not to live the rest of my life in vain.
If I wasted my precious time and the energy that I need,
I’d waste my positive efforts to succeed.

Legal, medical, and insurance exam horrors to tell,
But how is that to get me well?
Caring for my health is what I can do!
Relaxations, nutrition, exercise – forget complaining to you!

Teach me the skills so I can do my part
In order to have a better life at the very start.
Hard work, you say, will get me there.
Not life-threatening? That cost is fair.
So, you see, there’s no need to complain,
Education and hard work will reduce my pain . . .

Beverly Sweeney
Moorestown, NJ 
Charles Dingman
Given by Ron Perlik
Marco Zingarelli
Given by William Schaff
Ann McEntee
Given by Betsy Nicholson, Lisa Arnold, Elsa Redding and Families
Patricia M Bridge
Given by Neil & Kathleen Rhodes
Given by Helen, Theresa, Cindy and families
Given by Michael Seeley
Given by Linda Sullaway
Kendrick Fuller
Given by Janis Allen
Given by Heidi Vonderhellen

Honoring James Weil - Facilitator for the Redwood City CA Chapter

The ACPA has new groups:

Brian Murray - Oakland, MD Chapter
Kera Hoagland, Tigard OR Chapter
Diane Kinsella - Cincinnati OH Chapter
Heather Love - Newark, DE Chapter

ACPA Corporate Members
Fall 2019 Combined Federal Campaign (CFC)
Consider directing your donation to the
 American Chronic Pain Association this year.
CFC Code number is:

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If you use Amazon for your on-line shopping, you can now support the ACPA. It is simple just go to AmazonSmile and select American Chronic Pain Association as your charity from the dropdown menu.  
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