Thalasso-WHAT?

Photo via SXC.hu

Thalassotherapy shown to benefit Fibromyalgia patients.

This is something that I am happy to see! There are a really good amount of studies going around concerning Fibromyalgia and treatments that help ease the pain. Compared to years past, it’s a marked improvement, to say the least! I even keep a specific Google Alert set up to e-mail me when any news article with the word “Fibromyalgia” pops up, so I can keep on top of the latest news, research and studies going on with it. This morning, when I checked my e-mail, an article about Thalassotherapy for Fibromyalgia came up!

Thalasso-What-Now? I’ll admit, that I have never heard of Thalassotherapy until today, either. So, I threw myself into researching it, as I typically do when something says it’s going to help my pain and fatigue. Thalassotherapy is a type of alternative therapy, also considered a form of hydrotherapy, that involves soaking oneself in the ocean, seawater, or using sea products (typically algae or seaweed) on oneself. The theory is that when the water is absorbed through the body, the minerals that are found to naturally occur in seawater (which often include zinc and magnesium) will help to combat mineral deficiencies and enhance one’s health.

Research on Thalassotherapy is quite limited. However, the few that have been done have shown that Fibromyalgia patients who engage in Thalassotherapy have experienced improvements in both their physical and mental health. There is also a bit of evidence that shows that this therapy may even boost a Fibromyalgia patient’s emotional health as well.

Hey, even before we knew there was a word for it, I think we all kind of knew that a good soak in the ocean would do the mind, body and soul a world of good. Mother nature is capable of helping us in our healing, if we only let her.

Hello Doctor: A Better Way To Access Your Medical Records!

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By now, everyone here who reads our blog knows that we love to feature our favorite websites and apps that would be helpful to our readers. There are some pretty powerful tools out there to help us on our path to wellness, I’ll be the first to admit that. But there is one thing that I have seen a great lack of: services to let us access our medical records. I mean, yes, we can of course carry around a folder or a binder with our records in them, but that can get to be rather tiresome at some point. Wouldn’t it be pretty awesome if we could keep our medical records on our phone and be able to access them at the simple touch of a button? Sounds good, eh? It’s finally possible to do just that! Hello Doctor™ makes it insanely easy to keep track of your records, right in the palm of your hand. Born out of the need for a better way to keep track of everything from test results, doctors you’ve seen, hospital visits, bloodwork and more, it is set to be a game-changer in the healthcare industry.

Hello, Doctor!

This story begins with a woman named Maayan Cohen. Her boyfriend at the time was plagued by violent headaches, which usually bothered him during the evening hours, until one morning he had woken up with a terrible headache. Maayan decided it was time to take him to be evaluated by the emergency room. Coming as a shock to all, he was diagnosed with a brain tumor, and would need immediate surgery. Thus began a battle against his cancer for the next two years. As the journey progressed, Maayan realized that
many of the doctors that her boyfriend saw would only give them both about ten minutes to talk about his condition, their concerns, and of course, trying to locate any of the recent test results from her boyfriend’s medical records, which she toted around in a huge binder. Realizing that sifting through this binder wasted more time than anything, she set out to find a better way for patients to access their medical records, and even keep them in their pocket, 24/7.

Maayan Cohen, HelloDoctor's CEO

Maayan Cohen, HelloDoctor’s CEO

The Happy Ending(s)

Maayan’s story has not one, but two happy endings. The first is that her boyfriend pulled through and beat his cancer, and is in permanent remission. The two still remain great friends and talk often. The second happy ending is Hello Doctor. The frustration that she experienced during her boyfriend’s brush with cancer had inspired her to quit her job and develop the Hello Doctor application, which is set to help millions of people all across the globe have instant access to their medical records at the touch of a button, with bank-level security, so your records are totally safe. Today, their team currently consists of six people, all who have had similar personal experiences with illness and the inefficiency of today’s medical record systems.

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Organize your medical records in SmartLists, by record type! Access your records in two quick taps!

Would Hello Doctor Help Me?

Personally, I think this application is amazing. As a Fibromyalgia patient who experiences terrible brain fog and cognitive impairment most of the time, I’m lucky if I can remember to grab my purse before I run out the door, let alone make sure I have all the proper medical documents and test results with me before I go to a doctors appointment. I’m also loving the clean and streamlined design of the application itself, no muss, no fuss and easy navigation so you won’t get confused using the application. You are even able to share all of your medical records with physicians e-mailing, faxing, or posting.

Hello Doctor is proving to be an extremely valuable tool to patients everywhere. There has even been quite a buzz in the media about it, with the likes of ABC News, Fast Company, The Mayo Clinic’s Cancer Blog, Forbes and TechCrunch all reporting on this new and vitally needed healthcare tool. It even won the prestigious 2013 DEMO award in Silicon Valley.

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I think that it’s high time that we spend a lot more of our time taking care of ourselves, nourishing our bodies and feeding our spirits, and less time on the never-ending drab and dull paperwork.

I think it’s time for Hello Doctor™.

 

Click Here To Download The Hello Doctor App!

Bendi’s Magnetic Jewelry – Pretty AND Powerful Pain Relief!

As a Fibromyalgia patient for the past ten years or so, I’ll admit that to many people trying to “sell” me a cure for my Fibromyalgia, I’ve become jaded. It’s a natural reaction, and I think that many Fibromyalgia sufferers are the exact same way. I mean, I’ve heard stories where people have actually taken the bait that these companies are dangling in front of us. It’s sad. We all want so badly to feel at least a little bit better. To me, it’s heartbreaking and terribly cruel for companies to try and make a fast buck off of the chronically ill. But I digress.

We all know that as of this day, this moment, there is no cure for Fibromyalgia yet. Perhaps somewhere in the future, but it will take time. The best thing that we can do is learn to manage our symptoms, find what works for relieving our pain, even temporarily. Of course, I haven’t found any miraculous product that has taken my pain away, or ridden me of my fatigue. I would be lying if I said that. I’m still the same old hurt-y and pain-y Jenn. But like I mentioned above, I am attempting to learn to control my symptoms, so my life doesn’t feel so incredibly out of my control when a flare decides to peek it’s ugly head in.

Along with Fibromyalgia, I have Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, among a whole host of other chronic illnesses as well, but that’s a whole other blog post. Because my profession is writing, my wrists are often achy, with the rest of my arm and my fingers becoming numb after awhile. It is not a pleasant feeling. I have to get up and shake my arm around spastically to try and get some of the feeling back into it. I’ve tried pain creams, I have tried wearing the wrist braces that my doctor suggested that I sleep in. Those were terribly uncomfortable and scratchy, so scratchy. I still try to wear them at times when it gets really bad. I know that eventually, I have to go see a doctor for it, but with my step-dad in the midst of getting his cancer treatments, there is seldom time for much else as of lately.

I’ve heard some good things about magnetic jewelry. I’ll be honest though, like I said, I’ve become jaded, so at first I was quite skeptical as to the supposed benefits of these bracelets. But, I’m willing to try almost anything once. So, I actually was really excited to pick out two bracelets, one for each wrist. Bendi’s Magnetic Jewelry offers a bunch of amazing styles of magnetic jewelry, really anything to suit anyone’s tastes! Ultimately, here is the first one I chose:

Rainbow Brite Magnetic Hematite Bracelet

and then this one….

Hematite and Pewter Bracelet

I squealed myself silly when they arrived in the mail. They are so pretty! The even have Fibromyalgia awareness bracelets! They also offer anklets, earrings, necklaces and more! But anyway, each bracelet can be custom sized so it’s totally unique to you, and the best part is, their jewelry is totally affordable. When I slipped them on, I’ll admit that I did so with some skepticism. After an hour or so I hadn’t felt any different. I couldn’t pinpoint a big change, but I also didn’t expect these to take away the pain entirely. But I did start to notice little tiny changes, especially when I was typing. When my arm would normally go numb with the carpal tunnel, I noticed that it wouldn’t any longer. Where my hands would often swell because the pain was so bad, they no longer did.

The changes were subtle, but they definitely were there. I was rather pleased. I wear them everywhere I go, but especially when I am working on the computer. Nothing helps like these bracelets.

Seriously Go Check Out Bendi’s Magnetic Jewelry!

More Humor Required

Now that I’ve had a couple of visits with Dr. R, I think he may understand me a little better….maybe.

I did the shoulder X-ray, the one he thought would reveal a torn rotator cuff. I got the MRI that he thought would show something other than fibro. I went in for the results, after of course, requesting more time off from work. So, the X-ray, he says didn’t show anything. Well there you go Captain Obvious, because I didn’t tell you that from the get go! So, I decided to play his game. “Maybe it’s osteoarthritis” I say, “because I have it in my neck”. He replies with “Nope, I think it’s your Fibromyalgia.” Y’all could probably hear my mental head smack from where you are. So, then we move on to the MRI. “Remind me”, he says, “Which leg and side of your back hurts the worst?” To which I reply “well, they both hurt, but my left side is the worst.” “Are you sure it’s your left?” He asks me. Mentally I’m fighting back my flippant responses. Mmm, wait!! I’ve had my left and right confused since I was three years old!! Wow, I’ve been so confused, I was feeling pain on the right side and didn’t even know it! After him asking three different ways and me assuring him that it was indeed my left side that hurt the worst he informed me that I have a bulging disc in either L1 or L2, I failed to retain which it was, on my right side. Boy, that says something, fibro hurts worse than a bulging disc in my lower back. He sent me off with a shot of steroid in my shoulder, and a two new prescriptions.

Those two prescriptions had phenomenal effects. The first one didn’t do much it seemed, so as per his directions I started the other new medication. I don’t know if it was the second pill or the combination of the two, but I became “lazier” than usual. My boss sent me home from work early two days that week, and that never happens. I went straight home and slept…until dinner time when my husband woke me up and wanted me to eat. I told him thanks but sleep was much more enticing than dinner, and that’s saying something because, he is a really, really good cook. He insisted I eat something, so I ate and went back to bed…until morning. Days 1 and 2 were carbon copies of each other. Then I was 45 minutes late going in on the third day. I emailed my boss, who only works in the afternoon, and told on myself. Luckily she was very understanding. So, I quit taking the second one, which helped some. Dr. R told me he wanted to up the dose on the first med. The new dose isn’t doing much, just keeping me on the sleepy, or dopey side of things.

It sure was a crazy ride. Tomorrow I get to try it again and go see what Dr. R has in store for me this month. I’m sure I get cast in the part of lab rat for Act 2. Stay tuned!

New Biotech Company On Verge of Finding A Cure?

New Biotech Company Possibly Found Cause AND Cure For Fibromyalgia? Photo via StockFreeImages

New Biotech Company Possibly Found Cause AND Cure For Fibromyalgia? Photo via StockFreeImages

Over a decade of medical research has yielded some promising results in terms of finding something to finally ease our pain and suffering with Fibromyalgia. Dr. William “Skip” Pridgen has been researching Fibromyalgia for the past 15 years while simultaneously working in this full-time surgical practice, Tuscaloosa Surgical Associates PC. Through his research, he has developed a new drug and a treatment that may one day actually provide a cure for Fibromyalgia! His research has also led him to create Innovative Med Concepts, which is a biotech company that one day hopes to bring forth the medical discoveries to the marketplace.

While there are currently various drugs on the market to treat the symptoms of Fibromyalgia, there is no definitive cure for the illness itself. Pridgen, along with Carol Duffy, who holds a doctorate in virology as well as being an assistant professor of biological sciences at the University of Alabama, have together developed a drug that both believe will cure the problem. So far, two trial phases to test their new drug and treatment have yielded some incredibly promising results. Both researchers hope to soon move on to the final phase of the testing, but that’s a process that could take several years. However, if the results from the trial phase prove to be successful, the United States Food and Drug                      Administration could approve the drug for widespread use in humans.

Pridgen says “We feel we are on the right track and feel this is a real game changer, it is the tip of the iceberg. What we are discovering will accomplish so much more.” Duffy and Pridgen have thus far completed the first two test phases which must be completed in order for the new drug to come to market. In the first phase, the drug was tested on lab animals, whereas phase two had involved limited tests on Fibromyalgia patients, half of which were given the drug, and the other of the half were given a placebo. Those phase two results are now coming in. Pridgen comments “We got 90% of the results back and they are very positive. In the next couple of weeks we will see all the data.”

Thus far, Pridgen has raised about $5 million dollars for the tests, but additional funding will be needed for phase three testing. Pridgen is looking to various funding sources, which may include partnering with another biotech company or seeking financial backing from investors. The third phase of testing will take approximately 2-3 years to complete and will start with a thorough toxicology study to make certain that the higher doses of the drug will be safe for the Fibromyalgia patients taking it. If the toxicology study results satisfy the FDA, they would give the OK to start testing.

Pridgen first got started with his Fibromyalgia research while he was attempting to help his patients that were dealing with pain from irritable bowel syndrome. He had first discussed the problem with his mother, who is a biotechnologist at St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee.  As the two continued to talk about the subject, they began to theorize that Fibromyalgia may be caused by a herpes virus that weakens one’s immune system. That was when Pridgen began extensively researching Fibromyalgia. Pridgen also states that he didn’t get serious about it until he had accompanied his daughter on a medical mission to the country of  Honduras. Pridgen’s daughter is fluent in Spanish, and she served as his translator in treating his patients. He learned that many of them were suffering extreme pain bought on by Fibromyalgia.

Pridgen says that seeing the suffering first hand of those Honduran patients drove him to devote more of his time to researching the condition. It also had meant working two jobs, medical researcher and surgeon. Pridgen admits that working both jobs made life with his family and office personnel tough at times. Pridgen also adds that many people think that the development of any new drug or medical treatment often occurs in a pharmaceutical company, but that it indeed has been happening lately in smaller start-up biotech companies like Innovative Med Concepts.

Pridgen says “The ultimate goal if the drug succeeds will be to get people suffering the pain caused by Fibromyalgia back into the workforce and back to where they can enjoy life.”

Music Reduces Pain In Fibromyalgia Patients

New research shows that music can help to reduce pain in Fibromyalgia patients.

New research shows that music can help to reduce pain in Fibromyalgia patients.

Ah, music. There probably isn’t a better feeling then snuggling into your pajamas, turning up your MP3 player and blasting your favorite song. It can be incredibly uplifting, and have almost an ethereal quality to it. There was never any doubt in my mind that music is one of the tools that has helped me to cope with my pain on a personal level. There’s a bit of a mantra that I like to live by when my pain is really bad, “When the headphones are on, the world is off.” 

Music As A Painkiller?

New research indicates that music can actually reduce the pain of Fibromyalgia and even increase our mobility. Researchers studied 22 Fibromyalgia patients, who were passively exposed to two different auditory conditions. The first auditory condition was self-chosen, soothing and pleasant music. The second auditory condition was a “control” auditory condition, being pink noise. The patients were then asked to rate their pain and perform a “timed-up & go task (TUG for short)” The TUG exercise was performed in order to measure their functional mobility after each respective auditory condition. By listening to the relaxing and pleasant music, the subject’s pain was greatly reduced, and their functional mobility increased as well. 

Is Music An Analgesic?

Granted, every person is different, and what works for some may not work for others. Perhaps you’re not really a music person. I’ve always spoken about the importance of distraction. What is your “thing?” A hobby that you like to do? I truly believe that it’s all about re-focusing our minds and putting that energy into something else.
But perhaps more research will be done into this! I am curious to see what else could come of it. It’s just nice to know that Fibromyalgia is being studied and researched!