Glycemic Load Worksheet



BREADS – Examples of lower GI breads (40 – 50’s):

  1. Ezekial (Food for Life) sprouted grain breads 
  2.  Shiloh Farms cracked wheat & 100% whole grain wheat
  3. Pepperidge Farms sprouted Wheat
  4. Whole grain Pumpernickel bread (41)
  5. Whole wheat Pita bread (57)
  6. Sourdough breads (~52)
  7. Dave’s Killer Bread



  1. Quaker 100% Old-fashioned oats (42)
  2. Muesli (~ 45)
  3. Oat bran (55)


  1. All-Bran (30 ~ 45)
  2. Kellogg’s Bran Buds with Psyllium (45)
  3. Special K™ breakfast cereal (54)
  4. Mini Wheats™ breakfast cereal, whole wheat (58)


  1. Milk (31)
  2. Yoghurt (~35)
  3. Custard (35)


  1. Most temperate fruits have low GI value (~20 – 60)
  2. Tropical fruits a little higher (50~60)


  1. Barley (GI=25)
  2. Bulgur (48)
  3. High amylose rice: Basmati (58) or Uncle Bens Converted rice (44)
  4. Oat bran (55)
  5. Rice bran (19)


  1. Generally medium to low GI (~40’s). Use whole grain


  1. Most low GI.
  2. Soy (20)


  1. Almost all low GI except white potatoes & beets. Other starchy vegetables:
  2. Peas (48)
  3. Corn (55)
  4. Sweet potato (44)

NUTS – All low GI

PROTEIN FOOD such as Beef, Poultry, Seafood, Eggs, Cheese have almost 0 GI.


  1. Cookies & Crackers (40 ~ 70)
  2. Ice cream (~38 for high fat to ~40’s for reduced fat to ~60’s for regular)
  3. Potato & Corn chips (40~50’s)
  4. Honey – Use in moderation (55)
  5. Table sugar – Use in moderation (61)


  1. Pizza – choose whole grain with veggies (30~60’s)


  1. Finely milled flour products such as Breads, Bagels, Croissants, Muffins, Donuts, Scones, Pastries, Waffles, Pancakes
  2. Most Commercial Cereals such as Cornflakes, Total
  3. White potatoes & Low amylose (esp. ‘sticky’ or Jasmine) rice

Healthy eating summary


This way of eating, though near optimal for most persons, is best individualized to fit the needs of each person’s situation.  While this way of eating can be used as a good starting point for most people, if you have a chronic disease, (such as diabetes), you should seek guidance of a health professional to help you tailor your eating pattern to your specific needs. It is based on years of clinical experience and study of the nutritional and medical literature.  If you find that this way of eating is far from how you are eating now (an experience shared by many persons!), don’t be discouraged. Pace yourself as you learn to change your relationship to food, allowing at least several months to accomplish the necessary changes. You will be learning how to change your eating culture.  Because none of us are perfect, and our life situations are not perfect, if you are like most persons your eating will not always be perfect.  That’s ok – there’s no need for guilt or forcing.  Rather, if and when you are ready, start making small steps towards a healthier lifestyle, allowing yourself enough time to accomplish each small goal. Most people find this is best done with the supervision of a professional with expertise in clinical nutrition and a health coach.  If you take small steps regularly, over time you will finally reach the summit of good eating!


  • Eat a variety of foods that you both enjoy and are healthy for you.  Most foods should be from localsources so that they are freshminimally processed and safeFreshness is crucial especially for foods containing perishable oils such as whole grain flour products and highly unsaturated vegetable and fish oils.  Food grown in third world countries may have unrestricted pesticide applications.  Though not mandatory, ideally try to obtain Organic produce, or at least that grown using Integrated Pest Management (IPM) methods, which minimizes pesticide use.
  • Give the selection, preparation and eating of food the value and care it deserves.   Rediscover the joy of the simple act of preparing and eating wholesome food.  Include children and family members in the preparation of food to build a healthy food culture. We all rely on ‘Convenience foods’ occasionally when our schedule is hectic, but over reliance carries a heavy price not only in lack of balanced nutrients but in lack of the meaning of food.  Don’t eat ‘on the run’.  Brown bag a lunch if there are no satisfactory choices where you work.
  • Do NOT skip meals.  Spread calories out more or less equally throughout all the meals of the day.
  • Do NOT ‘go on a diet’.  Diets, if defined as a particular way of eating for a temporary time, in general do not work! Changing your awareness and relationship with food does.
  • Be clear if you are eating ‘Celebration food’ or daily healthy food. Celebration foods are a major pleasure in life, and are consistent with health if they are occasional (e.g. once or twice a month). A quota of a small serving of a sweet (e.g. two small cookies or a small chocolate bar) a few times/week is ok, though. Celebration food includes anything deep fried (e.g. French fries, chips), pastries, sodas, sweets. Except during celebrations, eat enough to satisfy hunger but not more.  While this may seem self-evident, few of us do. This requires taking at least 20 minutes to eat to allow time for the body’s satiety (fullness) feedback and listening to this feedback.
  • Avoid processed, prepackaged and ‘convenience’ foods in general – these tend to be of poor quality and deceptively flavored to mask their lack of nutrients. Fat, salt and sugar are strategically manipulated in processed food to maximize craving (potential for becoming habit forming & addiction).
  • Any food that has ‘Partially hydrogenated vegetable oils’ (a source of unhealthy trans fatty acids that have been linked with many diseases) is usually of inferior quality and should be avoided.  Develop the habit of reading the labels of anything you buy.  Avoid fats that contain these such as margarines or commercial shortening.   Added mono- or diglycerides should also be avoided, as they are usually composed of trans fatty acids.
  • Sugar or salt in modest amounts are generally O.K.  However if sugar or salt (or one of their equivalents) is within the top few ingredients, generally avoid the food.   They are both used frequently in processed foods to compensate for poor quality and create cravings.  Sugar equivalents include sucrose, fructose, glucose, mono- and disaccharides, natural cane sweetener, cane juice, honey, molasses and high fructose corn syrup.  Even so called ‘Health food’, such as some forms of Granola or granola bars, and various ‘nutrition bars’ may have excess sugar & calories.  Buzzwords such as ‘Natural’ are often used to entice consumers to purchase poor quality food that is loaded with empty calories. 
  • Avoid ‘Industrially produced’ red meat – (the meat one encounters in most supermarkets). This usually contains excessive and poor quality fat.  If you do eat meat, do so sparingly (1 – 3X/wk.) and use free-range beef (e.g. Coleman brand), bison (buffalo) or other livestock instead.  Wild game such as venison is excellent if you have access to it.  If you must use industrially produced meats, at least choose ‘Select’ grade cuts with ‘loin’ in them (e.g. sirloin) – the leanest variety and trim away visible fat. Even better is plant sources of protein:
  • Dark leafy greens have an excellent nutrient/calorie ratio and are an underutilized source of protein. Try to eat at least ½ – 1 cup a day.
  • Soy products such as tofu/soy milk/cheese/burgers (fortified with calcium best), preferably from organically grown soybeans and traditionally made.
  • Legumes (use ‘Beano’ on these once cool enough to eat if gas is a problem).
  • Whole grains + legumes = high quality protein. These don’t need to be eaten at the same meal, just within 24 hours of each other. Examples: [brown rice or whole grain tortillas/bread/pasta] + [beans or lentils or peas].
  • Wild cold-water fish from unpolluted waters – this is an excellent source of omega 3 fatty acids (which many peoples have a relative insufficiency of).  Be sure is fresh – if it smells or tastes ‘fishy’, its not! 
  • White meat of poultry without the skin, preferably free-range can be eaten up to 2 or 3 times per week.
  • Eggs in moderation are O.K., e.g. 4 per week, preferably from free-range hens.
  • Low fat (e.g. skim or 1% milk or yogurt) dairy, preferably from cows raised on organic farms allowed to graze on grass.   Use Lactaid© drops or pre-treated milk if you have trouble digesting it. There is no requirement for dairy products in a healthy diet, but in moderation can be used.

Total amount of high protein foods per day is generally 6 to 7 exchanges per day for most people, and should be mainly from plant sources.  (Remember, an exchange is counted as only 1 oz. of lean meat, so 3 exchanges = 3 oz. of meat = the size of a deck of cards = 1 small hamburger = 1/2 of a whole chicken breast = 1 fish fillet = 1 1/2 cup tofu or beans.) View animal products more as ‘garnishes’ rather than the centerpiece of a meal.

  • Be sure to get 2 to 3 exchanges of a high calcium food.  Vegetarian sources include dark leafy greens of the Brassica family (e.g. kale, collards, bok choy & broccoli), calcium-fortified soy products, corn tortillas processed with lime and dried beans, nuts and seeds (almonds, brazil nuts, sesame seeds). Note: certain vegetables high in oxalic acid such as spinach actually impair calcium absorption. Low fat dairy has high amounts of calcium. Fish with small bones such as salmon & sardines are a good source. Teens, young adults and pregnant or lactating women need 3 exchanges per day.
  • Include cultured foods in your diet. These contribute probiotics (‘friendly bacteria’) to the gut, which appear essential for health. Examples: Live culture yoghurt, kefir, tempeh, miso, etc.
  • Try to eat a minimum of 3 but better 4 to 7 exchanges of vegetables per day.  (This is in addition to fruit!). Choose vegetables that are different colors – this will help ensure you receive the range of nutrients they offer.  Include at least 1 exchange of a dark leafy green vegetable each day.  These include Kale, Collards, Chard, Spinach, and Broccoli. 
  • Fruit is best eaten whole (better than juice or ‘juice drinks’). Minimum is 2, but 3 – 4 whole fruit exchanges/day are optimal for most people.
  • Carbohydrate (starch) sources should be unrefined and complex with low to medium glycemic index, so they are absorbed gradually into your system and don’t lead to insulin surges.  Examples of these include:
  • Legumes such as beans & lentils (also double as protein source)
  • Whole grains such as brown rice (basmati rice is good), wheat or oat berries, 
  • Whole grain sprouted or 100% stone ground flour products (avoid finely milled white or ‘enriched’ or even whole wheat flour products in general, as these have a high glycemic index).
  • Starchy tubers – e.g. yams & squash. Potatoes are less nutritious – eat less often (<3 X/week).  Starchy vegetables are best if eaten whole, rather than in their more processed forms such as commercial French fries or chips.
  • Have 1 – 3 carbohydrate exchanges/meal. You can be more liberal with carbs if you exercise after eating them, or within 2 hours post-vigorous exercise. Vigorous exercisers who need to maintain or gain weight may need even more.
  • ‘Healthy fats’ include:
  • For any use involving heating, use OliveCanola or Sesame oil in small amounts only. (Extra virgin, expeller- expressed best for all oils).  Never overheat any oil (i.e. until it smokes)!  A small amount of butter, lard or coconut or palm oil can occasionally be used, but do not overuse these saturated fats.
  • For unheated purposes such as salad dressings, use Polyunsaturated oils such as Sunflower, soy or nut oils.  Even ‘healthy oils’ are a refined food with high caloric density, so use only in small amounts. Keep in refrigerator and use within a few weeks to ensure freshness.  Avoid cottonseed and peanut oil.
  • Flaxseed oil or freshly ground flaxseeds are a source of the essential omega 3 fatty acid linolenic acid.  Many persons have a relative insufficiency in omega 3’s.  Use in salad dressings or for any unheated use.  Buy this very perishable oil in smallopaque bottles that are ideally nitrogen packedand stabilized with antioxidants such as Vitamin E.  Try to use it up within a few weeks.  Keep flaxseed oil in the refrigerator, not in a cabinet.  Keep flaxseeds in a small container in the freezer door and get in the habit of freshly grinding them and sprinkling them on salads, cereals, etc. Fresh flaxseeds are in general preferred to the oil, since they also contain healthy substances such as lignans.
  • Fish oils as noted above.  These also must be very fresh and protected from oxidation like all highly unsaturated oils.
  • Spectrum spread’ or similar brands can be used as a fat spread instead of butter or margarine.  This is found in health food stores.
  • Nuts & seeds or ‘butters’ made from these in moderation are a source of both protein and fats.  
  • Drink plenty of fluid –8-glasses/day– water or ‘flavored waters’, or teas are better than fruit juice, juice drinks or sodas.
  • Observe the following maximum limits per day:
  • Coffee or strong tea:  Two cups (8 oz. each – not large mug size!) total
  • Sodas:  One 12 oz. can (best to avoid completely)
  • Sweets:  1 serving (e.g. slice of pie or cake or 2 small cookies). Eat sweets slowly and mindfully so you can savor and really enjoy them.  Do not eat sweets while distracted with something else such as watching TV, as this often leads to eating a much greater quantity.  Do not deprive yourself of sweets/ deserts – doing so often triggers a reactive eating binge later.
  • If you do drink, do so in moderation: Maximum of 2 drinks/day for men and 1 drink/day for women.  Pregnant & lactating women should not drink any alcohol.  1 drink=12 oz. can of beer, 4 oz. of wine or 1 oz. (1 shot) of distilled spirits.
  • Avoid going to fast food/ cheap restaurants such as McDonald’s©, Burger King©, Wendy’s©, Friendly’s©, Pizza hut©, Taco Bell©, etc., since the food is generally low quality and is designed to create cravings that are habit forming. 


1.  Vegetables:  Best is steaming or light sautéing.  Microwave ok.  Avoid boiling (loses a lot of the water-soluble vitamins).  Try to eat both raw and cooked veggies.

  • Meats:  Boiling, baking or light sautéing ok.
  • Generally avoid grilling, charbroiling, or deep fat frying.  Marinating meats in a vinegar or lemon juice – based marinade and avoiding ‘flare-ups’ or high temperatures will minimize cancer-causing substances being formed if you want to grill.


  • Fresh is always best, but freezing is next best.  Be careful of excess sodium in canned foods.


  • Carbohydrates: 1 slice of bread, or 3/4 cup dried prepared cereal or 1/2 cup cooked cereal, pasta or grain dish, or 1 small cooked potato or corn on the cob or 1 small fruit (fruit counts as both a carbohydrate and a fruit exchange).
  • Vegetables:   1/2 cup cooked or 1 cup raw (e.g. salad).
  • Fruit:  1 medium apple or similar fruit, or 1/2-cup fruit juice.
  • High protein foods: 1/2 cup of cooked beans, peas or lentils or tofu or 1 oz (~28 grams) of fish, poultry, red meats, cheese or 1 egg.
  • Soy/ Dairy: 1-cup soy/ rice milk or dairy milk or yogurt or 1 oz. cheese.
  • Sweets/ treats: 1/2-cup ice cream or 2 medium (2 – 3” diameter) cookies or small wedge of pie/ cake.
  • While supplements have their place, they should always be a far second to eating real whole foods. Very few supplements have been shown in scientific studies to improve health. Some exceptions in certain situations include multivitamins, Vitamin D, Fish oil (omega 3 fatty acids), Calcium, Magnesium and Iron (especially in women). Even these are better obtained naturally if possible. Relying on supplements is a form of reductionism – the opposite of holism. Seek competent medical advice before using supplements.
  •  Nutrients in foods work together, analogous to musicians in a symphony working together to create beautiful music. When you take a single nutrient, or even a collection of similar nutrients, especially if you mega dose, the result may be analogous to the oboe in the symphony playing 10 times louder – it does not necessarily help the music!  Even a mixture of supplements cannot possibly hope to simulate the vastly complex interactions inherent in whole foods.
  • Avoid any health care practitioner or health advice resource that makes promoting or selling supplements (or drugs/ procedures for that matter) a centerpiece of their advice instead of prioritizing whole foods and a balanced lifestyle. 


  • American Wholefoods Cuisine (Plume Publishers) by Nikki & David Goldbecks. Excellent basic guide on how to create appetizing whole plant based meals. 
  • The New Laurel’s Kitchen (Ten Speed Press Publishers) by Laurel Robertson, Carol Flinders, & Brian Ruppenthal..  A vegetarian approach, but helpful for everyone who wants to learn how to prepare these foods in a delicious and healthy manner. The introduction has a nice primer on basic good nutrition that can be useful for even non-vegetarians.
  • Picture Perfect Weight Loss  (Warner Books) & Picture Perfect Weight Loss Cookbook (Rodale) by Dr. Howard M Shapiro. Excellent, scientifically sound Food Awareness program and accompanying cookbook useful for all, not just those who want to lose weight.
  • Amazing Soy (William Morrow Publishers) by Dana Jacobi.  If you want to include healthier and delicious soy based foods in your meals, this book will show you how.
  • Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone by Deborah Madison. Publisher: Broadway Books, 1997.  An excellent guide to cooking vegetables in interesting and tasty ways that can be used by vegetarians and non-vegetarians alike.
  • The Omnivore’s dilemmaIn Defense of Food Food Rules by Michael Pollan.  Penguin Books. These books explain where our food comes from and the strengths, weaknesses and toxicities of American food culture. 
  • Eat to Live by Joel Fuhrman, MD. Little, Brown & Co. 2003. Focuses on Nutrient/Calorie ratio as a key to successful weight loss. Useful to all to further understand a healthy diet.
  • Mindless Eating by Brian Wansink, PhD. Bantam Books, 2006. Explains how we all eat for reasons other than to satisfy hunger and what to do about it.
  • Salt, sugar, fat: how the food giants hooked us by Michael Moss. 2013 Random House Publishing Group, NY. Primer on processed food defense.


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Copyright 2003 Revised 9/2019 Alan Remde MD, FABFM , Fellow and board certified in Integrative Medicine

Assistant Director SLUHN FP Residency @ Warren

Coventry Family Medicine, 755 Memorial Pkwy #300, Phillipsburg, NJ 08865

OFFICE Tel: 908 847-3300

Integrative management of chronic pain

Integrative Chronic pain summary

The following are my own notes on chronic non-cancer pain derived from extensive reading of the medical literature and my own experiences treating chronic pain patients. As with all posts on this web site, for general education only and does not constitute medical advice to either patients or practitioners. 

  1. Introduction
    1. In the US, chronic pain affects over 116 million people, more than the total affected by cardiovascular disease, diabetes and cancer combined.
    1. Acute pain serves us well as a warning sign of danger and potential (or actual) tissue damage. 
    1. Chronic pain has the vague definition of pain that has persisted beyond the time of healing. Chronic pain is often a maladaptive expression of learned hypervigilance: fear of pain leads to feed-forward loop generating more pain, culminating in self-sustaining central sensitization that can be difficult for the patient to escape.
    1. The biggest predictor of chronic pain is the emotional charge – high risk if depressed, anxious, past trauma. Can highly predict who will have chronic low back pain (CLBP) based on psychosocial factors.
    1. Stress-Appraisal-Coping Model: 
      1. We are wired for negativity bias as a survival mechanism, amplifying negative experiences.
      1. Negative appraisals of threat and loss lead to hypervigilance, fear and eventually depression.
      1.  Avoidance leads to deconditioning with less musculoskeletal adaptive capacity and increased irritability.
    1. Chronic pain becomes a disease in itself.
    1. Very isolating, with familial, vocational, social, and community disruption as well as adverse effects from the long-term use of analgesics, especially NSAIDs and opioids. 
    1. Stress, hopelessness, fatigue, depression, anxiety, decreased concentration, and sleep disturbances and chronic pain feed on each other.
    1. Even with the brain’s intrinsic negativity bias, with directed mindful attention, the brain can be rewired for positive valences such as joy and safety. Meditation, mindfulness and hypnosis, Tai chi — all of these types of therapies create neurologic fitness, just as physical exercise creates physical and cardiovascular system fitness. The neurological remodeling occurs because of will and focused attention, which need to be sustained and consistent.
    1. Chronic stress may fatigue adrenals, depressing cortisol and no longer suppressing inflammatory mediators. Chronic stress selectively increases the number and activation of microglia in certain stress-sensitive brain regions, which may play a role in visceral hyperalgesia.
    1. Only 36% of the population reports no Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs). Rates of self-reported histories of emotional, sexual, and physical abuse are 10.6 %, 20.7% and 28.3% respectively.
    1. The interconnectedness of the pain processing regions along with their affective and cognitive regions are more like an orchestra — the instruments are the same but what music they make together depends on:
      1. The composer (individual history and genetics)
      1. The musicians (physiology and health)
      1. The conductor (individual interpretation)
    1. Brain areas involved in pain and in mind-body integration practices such as meditation have strong overlap.
    1. Patients vary considerably in their self-efficacy and patients reporting higher levels of self-efficacy have lower levels of pain and lower levels of psychological distress and more positive medical outcomes.
    1. Improvements in self-efficacy are related to positive short- and long-term outcomes of pain coping skills training and educational self-help interventions. Integrative medicine offers a vast menu of arenas for supporting self-efficacy from mind-body approaches, to nutrition, to various exercises and ways of engaging conventional and alternative medicine systems.
    1. The challenge for the practitioner is to dismantle the fear of pain that keeps sufferers from pursuing therapies, and to ignite the patients’ trust in their intrinsic health that can be used to regain some quality of life. Hope needs to be rekindled, as the most important outcome of the early appointments. Then the engagement of the patient’s internal healing potential will provide the power for healing. After all, there is much health in a person, even if s/he is in pain.
    1. The goal is to remove obstacles to regaining health and to harness and support the unfathomable power of the body, mind, heart and spirit to heal.
  2. Non-pharmacologic treatment of chronic pain: Fortunately, there are many effective interventions: Stress & inflammation may be treated using mind-body, nutritional, and botanical modalities. Anatomic malalignment as a result of altered biomechanics (from trauma, compensation, overuse or deconditioning) may, over time, lead to physiologic dysfunction, including edema and inflammation. This somatic dysfunction may be treated using both exercise and manipulation.
    1. Reframing of painful stimuli allow patients to unlearn, manage, and even heal from chronic rheumatologic pain syndromes. Chronic pain is mainly central sensitization, though peripheral sensitization can also contribute to chronic pain. HURT DOES NOT NECESSARILY EQUAL HARM. Central sensitization means pain felt in the tissues is no longer being (primarily) generated by the tissues. Because the tissues are no longer the issue, it is not helpful for patients to seek a greater understanding of the diagnostic label they may have been given—like a patient learning all he or she can about fibromyalgia. Rather, it is more important for patients to gain an understanding of the presentation of their particular symptoms. Let go of trying to forcibly control pain: the more a patient expects and comes to hate his or her pain, the more he or she unwittingly participates in its continuance. Teach a pain patient to stop hating their pain, which includes wishing that it would go away. A full understanding of central sensitivity is thus a first step in reducing fear so that healthful movement strategies may be adopted. Mindful use of language – has powerful influence in both positive and inadvertent negative clinical outcomes.
    1. Specific modalities with efficacy supported by research:
      1. Mindfulness-Oriented Recovery Enhancement (MORE) 
        1. Combines Cognitive beharioral therapy (CBT), Mindfulness and positive psychology. MORE led to significant reductions in pain severity (= .014) and pain-related functional interference (= .002) that were maintained for 3 months following the end of the treatment groups. Although the magnitude of changes in pain severity was modest, participation in MORE reduced the impact of pain on daily functioning by nearly one quarter from pretreatment levels of impairment. Journal of Pain & Palliative Care Pharmacotherapy. 2014; 28:122 –129. DOI: 10.3109/15360288.2014.911791
      1. Biofeedback: effective for tension & migraine headache, muscular neck & back pain, chronic pelvic pain, proctalgia, neuropathic pain. 
        1. Headache: QEEG biofeedback or computer animated relaxation biofeedback
          1. SS anemia in children – biofeedback assisted relaxation
      1. Clinical hypnosis Patient can be taught self-hypnosis to support self-efficacy. (See: The Role of Suggestions in Hypnosis for Chronic Pain: A Review of the Literature. The open pain journal 3(1):39-51 2010 Dillworth T, Jensen MP; PMID: 21686037). Effective for many conditions, including:
        1. LBP, arthritis, TMJ, fibromyalgia
        1. Cancer pain, sickle cell disease
        1. Anticipatory anxiety during painful medical procedures, with anesthesia & surgery. 
        1. IBS: Gut-directed hypnotherapy 
      1. Guided imagery– often combined with other modalities.
        1. Pediatric chronic functional abdominal pain
        1. Can add music, Progressive muscular relaxation (PMR). Effective for cancer pain, others.
      1. Mindfulness based Stress reduction (MBSR) effective in wide variety of pain syndromes, including breast cancer pain, fibromyalgia
      1. Yoga shown effective for labor pain, cancer, functional abdominal pains, others
    1.  Somatic dysfunction treatment: crucial component of integrative pain management. Body has incredible ability to compensate for trauma, both physical and emotional, splints around the injured areas, often even after acute injury has healed. Adhesions inhibit normally fluid tissues from freely sliding over one another, creates layers of abnormal biomechanics, until finally, sometimes years later, the end of the body’s ability to compensate may be reached and pain results. Cells sense and respond to mechanical stress via mechanotransduction.  Biomechanical dysfunction may possibly lead to less-than-optimal cellular function. Correcting biomechanics can have far-reaching beneficial effects, including decreased pain, better postural alignment, improved autonomic function and tissue perfusion.
      1. Neuromuscular Medicine (NMM)
        1. Effective for LBP, headache (including migraine), Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and may be more cost-effective than allopathic tx.
      1. Chiropractic
        1. Effective LBP, headache
      1. Massage– may be relaxation or structural type, e.g. weekly
        1. Effective for LBP, knee osteoarthritis (OA)
        1. Small studies suggest efficacy for various chronic pelviperineal pains (such as vulvadynia and dyspareunia)
      1. Meditative movement therapies (MMT) of tai chi, qi gong and yoga
        1. Effective for fibromyalgia
        1. Helpful for various pain syndromes, e.g. back pain, rheumatoid arthritis, headaches/ migraine and other pain
        1. Prevention: yoga instructors have significantly less degenerative disc disease than the matched control group
        1. Tai Chi effective for LBP, possibly knee OA.
      1. Feldenkrais & Alexander technique
        1. Effective for LBP, neck, shoulder pain
      1. Acupuncture– attempts to correct blocked or deficient bioenergy or ‘chi’
        1. Much safer than many conventional pain treatments, such as NSAIDs.
        1. Difficult to study scientifically. Traditional empiric evidence of efficacy
      1. Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (PM&R) – focuses on function
    1. Graded and progressive exposure to movement and exercise: ‘Movement is the medicine’. Healing from almost any physical pain syndrome is facilitated by movement (of course done carefully and appropriately). Reconditioning requires thoughtful planning and consistent, appropriate and skillful execution. Functional fitness evaluation & goal setting. Assess hobbies and leisure activities. Functionally specific movements and exercises are top priority, broken down into graded, stepwise progressions. Simplified example: walking before running Assess irritability:  low – able to withstand significant movement and exercise without a flare-up. High irritability – flares with only minimal movement or exercise. Progression plan: Once baseline fitness and irritability level established, plan the progression of the movement/exercise program. This involves juggling the variables of time, volume and intensity. Progress time first. If highly deconditioned & irritable patient, start with very low volume and intensity movements.  Example – patient with OA can sit and spin on a stationary bike for 5 minutes without flaring-up, plan to increase the time spent riding by 15 to 30 seconds per day. In a very short time your patient can be riding comfortably for a half hour or more, thus achieving his or her goals for increasing tissue fitness and pain reduction. Next increase repetitions (reps). Lastly increase intensity, e.g. weight or load. When increasing load, lower the repetitions of the exercise. Goal: Generally a rheumatologic patient can find a balance between these three variables that allows for 30 minutes of exercise per day, 3 to 5 times per week. Such a program should help with pain reduction while increasing their tissue fitness. 
    1. Healthy attitude towards pain during rehab: 
      1. Patience: in early stages of recovery even light movement or exercise is often painful, and therefore misunderstood by the patient as harmful. To that extent, the patient’s sensitized nervous system sets pain thresholds very low and does not accurately sense actual threats to tissue damage. 
      1. Pain spread is just a false signal: there are no segregated parts of the nervous system, so more and more of the neural network may begin to participate in a persistent pain experience. As a result, the patient may feel as if the pain is spreading to other body parts. Knowing this is very helpful in reducing fear, catastrophizing and hypervigilance. 
      1. Pain may worsen but still safe: a sensitized nervous system then is merely increasing its warning in a misguided effort to stay safe. It is often helpful to teach a patient to talk to his or her nervous system, saying things like “thanks for the warning, but I’m okay.” This is a primary form of reframing pain signals. 
      1. Accept pain unpredictability – due to the myriad ways thoughts, emotions and activities sum to create pain experiences. Don’t spend too much energy puzzling out the exact reasons why the pain is high on a given day. Often, there is no explicit explanation accessible to rational thought and they may draw false conclusions that end up further restricting their activity and worsening the pain. Teach them to allow the pain to arise and pass without strong emotion. Rather than feeling compelled to figure it out or heal it in the moment, learn to manage reactions to it. Over time, as one’s emotional reactivity decreases, so too will one’s overall sensitivity, and thus the unpredictability of the pain. Support from a physical therapist (PT) (or certified strength and conditioning coach) who understands pain from both the tissue and emotional perspectives is critical to guide pain patient through progressive movement and exercise. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) to assist in reframing and emotional support. Social support: warmth, touch and positive social interactions activate oxytocin release. This hormone may have an anti-stress effect and increase pain threshold. Positive effects of social interactions also include lower levels of inflammatory cytokines and lowered stress reactivity.
    1. GI health & Nutrition. Normalizing GI function is essential in treating chronic pain. Often the pain patient is so fatigued or physically or emotionally limited that nutrition is less than optimal, with convenience foods that may have high glycemic index, be pro-inflammatory or nutrient poor as the primary source of food. Doing a thorough intake, diet history, and addressing nutrition with these patients is vital.
      1. GI Disrupting factors to address include stress, poor diet, antibiotics, corticosteroids, infections & parasites, food intolerances and allergies
      1. Stress from any cause, such as excess life demands, early abuse or chronic pain, can dramatically change the gastrointestinal environment, altering microbiota which are necessary for stressor-induced increases in circulating cytokines. Altered GI function may predispose to anxiety.
      1. Lipopolysaccharide found in the outer membrane of Gram-negative bacteria is a potent stimulator of immune (and therefore inflammatory) responses. The imbalance of gram negative bacteria has been linked to hyperalgesia as well as to sensitization of trigeminal sensory neurons
      1. Beneficial bacteria can displace potentially pathogenic bacteria, influence nutrient and vitamin production, help remove toxins and stimulate the gut associated lymphoid tissue (GALT).
      1. Correct dysbiosis of the gut microbiome in chronic pain patients, for example with a plant predominant whole foods diet and cultured foods (yoghurt, kefir, miso, etc.). At this time this remains a conceptually derived approach – clinical trials proving efficacy are not yet available.
    1. Encourage all chronic pain patients to quit tobacco use (smoking, vaping, chewing). Smokers have increased pain, worse function and increased risk of abusing prescribed opioids.
    1. Optimize ‘pillars of health’ – healthy eating, sleeping, exercise, stress management, relationships, spirituality in all chronic pain patients
    1. ‘Diabesity’ (visceral obesity and insulin resistance syndromes such as DM2) is associated with chronic pain, multiple aggravating comorbidities such as sleep apnea, depression, cognitive impairment, OA, CVD, etc.  A plant-predominant (at least ½ plate veggies of different colors) whole foods eating pattern and regular exercise are important in all chronic pain patients, but especially in these patients.
  3. Botanicals & supplements with at least preliminary research supporting efficacy in pain syndromes. Use these only under the guidance of a properly trained health care practitioner and please review proper use and cautions on all these from standard references such as Integrative medicine textbooks, Natural Medicine database, etc.):
    1. 5-hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP):
      1. Fibromyalgia & insomnia
      1.  Chronic headache
      1. Typical dose: 100 mg po TID or 300 mg qHS
    1. Ashwagandha (with other botanicals such as ginger, turmeric, boswellia): OA, RA.
      1. Typical dose of powdered root is 2-3 grams per day, or equivalent in tincture form. There are standardized extracts available containing 2.5% withanolides and taken at a dose of 500 mg 2-3 X/day
    1. Avocado soybean unsaponifiables (ASU) 1/3 avocado, 2/3 soybean oil ASU contains various compounds, including phytosterols, β-sterols, stigasterol and campestrol, and it may improve articular collagen synthesis while also serving as an anti-inflammatory.
      1. 3 studies show efficacy of ASU for knee and/or hip OA with less pain and swelling after 3-6 months of 300-600 milligrams of ASU daily, using the proprietary formula Piascledine®300. SEs seem rare, possible rash, GI upset, LFTs (causality unclear).
    1. Boswellia serata– inhibits the synthesis of the pro-inflammatory enzyme, 5-lipoxygenase, improves OA sx. Research supported brands:
      1. 5-Loxin®, 100-250 milligrams daily
      1. Alfapin® 50 mg BID
      1. Boswellia extract 333 milligrams three times daily
      1. SEs low
    1.  Butterbur (Petasites hybridus) – natural anti-histamine for allergic rhinitis and for migraine headache prophylaxis. Its use in migraines is likely due to smooth muscle relaxation and leukotriene inhibition
      1. a standardized butterbur extract (Petadolex®) 50-75 milligrams BID decreases # migraine attacks/month and decreased med use.
      1. CAUTION: A standardized extract (e.g. Petadolex) free of the hepatotoxic pyrrolizidine alkaloids must be used; whole plant butterbur should not be ingested.
    1. Cat’s claw (U. tomentosa and U. guianensis)
      1. Arthritis
        1. RA: Krallendorn (U. tomentosa root extract brand) 20 mg po TID decreased joint pain in DBRCT. Krallendorn is a patented brand name of IMMODAL Pharmaka GmbH and refers exclusively to the preparation containing a standardized extract from the root of the pentacyclic chemotype of Uncaria tomentosa.
        1. OA: freeze-dried preparation of U. guianensis bark 100 mg po daily
        1. Serious adverse effects are listed but likely rare, include GI upset, kidney failure, neuropathy, altered heartbeats, immunostimulation, hypotension, decreased estrogen and progesterone levels, and increased bleeding
        1. CAUTION: may inhibit the cytochrome P450 CYP3A4 enzyme
    1. Harpagophytum procumbens (Devil’s claw) standardized to 50-100 milligrams harpagoside daily which inhibits various inflammatory mediators via NF-kappa-B and COX-2 inhibition.
      1. Effective in arthritis – should provide 50 – 100 mg harpagosides/d
        1. Harpadol (Arkopharma) 1 – 2 caps (435 mg each) po TID (maximum dose of 2.6 grams/day provides a total of 57 mg of the harpagoside constituent and 87 mg of total iridoid glycosides. Each 435 mg capsule contains 2% harpagoside (9.5 mg per capsule) and 3% total iridoid glycosides (14.5 mg per capsule).
        1. Doloteffin, Ardeypharm) Dose: total of 2400 mg/day providing 60 mg/day of the harpagoside constituent.
      1. Other reputable brands:
        1. Nature’s Way Devil’s Claw: Take 1 tablet (480 mg) 2 -3X/d with food.
      1. Adverse effects mainly minor, GI upset
      1. CAUTION: Devil’s claw may increase stomach acidity, lower blood sugar, and interact with anti-coagulants and digoxin
    1. Feverfew (Tanacetum parthenium)
      1. Migraines: use C02 extract (MIG-99), dosed at 6.25 mg TID
      1. Adverse effects: GI upset
    1. Ginger (Zingiber officinale) rhizome contains numerous compounds that inhibit pro-inflammatory prostaglandins and leukotrienes.  Often combined with other botanicals such as turmeric, boswellia. Modest efficacy alone for:
      1. OA
      1. Dysmenorrhea
      1. Adverse effects uncommon. Mild GI upset.
      1. Extracts typically sold as anti-inflammatories are too potent for use during pregnancy
    1. Glucosamine and chondroitin
      1. Mixed evidence, recent major trial showed no benefit. GAIT trial found insignificant trends for improvement in joint pain with celecoxib 200 milligrams daily and glucosamine hydrochloride 1500 milligrams daily; and very little effect with chondroitin sulfate and the glucosamine-chondroitin combination
      1. Possible Glucosamine sulfate better than the HCl salt.
      1. Bioavailability of Glucosamine sulfate and Chondroitin sulfate may be improved by taking them separately as opposed to as a combination pill (preliminary evidence)
      1. Pharmaceutical grade formulations such as InvigoFlexD (distributed by WynnPharm) may be more efficacious
    1. MSM(Methylsulfoylmethane) is found naturally in veggies & fruits, sulfur moiety may scavenge free radicals, thus decreasing inflammation.
      1. 1 RCT shows less pain in knee OA.
      1. Adverse effects minimal
    1. Magnesium– Deficiency alters neurotransmitter release, hyper-aggregates platelets, vasoconstricts, activates NMDA receptor with resultant glutamate release into the synapse. Mg blocks spreading cortical depression induced by glutamate. Stress reduces Mg availability.
      1. Migraines, especially menstrual migraines: 2 double blind randomized controlled trials (DBRCTs) show 600 mg/d Mg decreased frequency of migraines (1 other trial was negative). Intracellular Mg low in ½ of women with menstrual migraine attacks, even if serum Mg is normal.
      1. Dose typically 600 mg/d, can increase to 1 G/d. Use Mg chelates or Slo-Mg
        1. IV MgSO4 1 gram can terminate migraine with aura or if low ionized Mg
      1. Adverse effects: diarrhea is rate-limiting SE.
      1. CAUTION in poor renal function
    1. Omega 3 fatty acids.  EPA and DHA compete with dietary or n-6-derived arachidonic acid as substrates for metabolism by cyclo-oxygenase and lipoxygenase enzymes. Arachidonic acid leads to the formation of series 2 prostaglandins (PGs), series 4 leukotrienes (LTs), and thromboxane A2, all of which are pro-inflammatory in the human body, while n-3 fatty acids lead to the formation of series 3 PGs, series 5 LTs, and thromboxane A3, which are less inflammatory, probably accounting for the benefits of omega-3s in arthritis
      1. RA – reduces joint inflammation and med use.
      1. Dose: EPA 2 – 4 G, DHA 1-3 G
      1. Adverse effects low. Freeze capsules to lessen fishy burp.
    1. S-adenosylmethionine (SAMe) used in supraphysiologic doses for pain associated with fibromyalgia and osteoarthritis. Broad physiological effects, including centrally-acting changes in neurotransmitter concentrations
      1. Fibromyalgia
      1. OA
      1. Dose for above typically 200 – 600 mg/day
      1. Adverse effects generally mild & self-limiting: GI upset. (Note: higher doses used for depression are contraindicated in bipolar because of concerns might induce mania)
    1. Baikal, or Chinese, skullcap (Scutellaria baicalensis/barbata)
    1. Turmeric (Curcuma longa) contains curcuminoids, one of the principal being curcumin, which has been shown to inhibit numerous inflammatory mediators.
      1. RA – 1200 milligrams of curcumin daily decreases inflammation and improves walking time. In 1 trial 500 mg curcumin po daily improved Disease Activity Score (DAS) more than diclofenac.
      1. OA – propriety curcumin/phosphatidylcholine extract (Meriva, Indena SpA) at doses of 200 mg per day the global WOMAC score decreased by 58% (P<0.05), walking distance in the treadmill test was prolonged from 76 m to 332 m (P<0.05), and CRP levels decreased from 168 ± 18 to 11.3 ± 4.1 mg/L in the subpopulation with high CRP when compared to the control group (Belcaro 2010).
      1. 1 trial turmeric extract (from Curcurma domestica) 500 milligrams of curcuminoids four times daily helped to control knee arthritis pain as well as 400 mg twice daily of ibuprofen
      1. Adverse effects minimal:      GI upset
      1. Note: needs to be complexed with phosphatidylcholine or piperine from black pepper to have adequate bioavailability.
    1. Willow (Salix alba, or white willow) contains several glycosides (salicin, salicortin, fragilin, and tremulacin) and the primarily metabolite, salicylic acid, that act as nonselective COX-1/COX-2 inhibitors
      1. LBP – 120-240 mg salicin daily
      1. Note: Estimates are that 240 milligrams of salicin is equivalent to 50 milligrams of ASA, leading most experts to consider Salix alba as an adjunctive therapy for pain, at best.
      1. Adverse effects: GI distress
    1. Cannabis and derivatives?  Many different cannabinoids, some with relaxant properties. Research is preliminary.
    1. Topicals:
      1. Capsaicin cream or patches.
        1. OA e.g. knees, hands: Modest benefit with creams containing 0.025%- 0.075% capsaicin applied 3-4 times daily – adjunctive tx.
        1. For neuropathic pain, the 0.075% cream helps
        1. PHN: a single, 60-minute application of 8% capsaicin patches (Qutenza) provides up to three months relief from pain associated with post-herpetic neuralgia (PHN).  Can try off label for HIV-related neuropathy and other cases of peripheral neuropathy.
        1. CAUTION: always use gloves when applying. Local cooling or oral analgesics if burning is an issue. Don’t touch eyes, genitals or other sensitive tissues after applying!
  4. Other botanical uses
    1. Nervines can help with sleep and anxiety in chronic pain: Valerian, Passionflower, hops, Chamomile
    1. Oral mucositis, lichen planus responds to chamomile
    1. Rhodiola helps fatigue, some mood elevating effects. May be good for fibromyalgia
    1. Migraines– use Petadolex (Butterbur) LOE A & Magnesium
    1. Curcumin at sufficient dose (e.g. 1500 mg/day) has analgesic benefit
  5. Pharmacologic: Often as a treatment program begins, immediate pain control is needed to ease suffering and to allow the patient enough relief and free sufficient psychic (emotional) energy to devote him/herself to the usually more labor-intensive integrative approaches. And sometimes, integrative approaches cannot resolve chronic pain completely, so some medication may be needed long term. Below are some brief comments. Please reference standard resources for full information on proper use. 
    1. Acetaminophen: max. officially 4 G/d but in chronically ill such as many pain patients consider max. 3 G/d. Consider adding N-acetylcysteine (NAC) if higher range and liver risk.
    1. NSAIDs: Topical NSAIDs are best when used for acute musculoskeletal pain. Because of the route of administration, there are localized effects and no gastrointestinal concerns. Avoid long term use of systemic NSAIDs as first line chronic tx whenever possible. The main adverse effects are inhibition of platelets, gastrointestinal injury, hypertension, renal injury and increased risk cardiovascular events.
      1. Do prevent platelet inhibition by aspirin in vitro (therefore consider avoiding e.g. if h/o CAD on ASA): ibuprofen, naproxen, nimesulide, oxaprozin, piroxicam, flufenamic acid, dipyrone and celecoxib
      1. Do not prevent platelet inhibition by aspirin in vitro: diclofenac, ketorolac and ketoprofen. 
      1. Sometimes if one class of NSAID doesn’t work well, switching to another class works better:
        1. Salicylates: Aspirin, Diflunisal, Salsalate
        1. Acetic acid derivatives: Diclofenac, Etodolac, Indomethacin, Ketorolac, Nabumetone, Sulindac, Tolmetin
        1. Enolic acid (Oxicam) derivatives, Meloxicam, Piroxicam
        1. Propionic acid derivatives: Ibuprofen, Naproxen, Ketoprofen, Fenoprofen: Flurbiprofen, Oxaprozin
        1. Anthranilic acid derivatives (Fenamates): Mefenamic acid:
Selective COX-2 inhibitors (Coxibs): Celecoxib
    • Tramadol
      • Weak activity at mu (opioid) receptors and also has some inhibition of serotonin and norepinephrine uptake. Similar side effect profile to mild opioids but has been shown to relieve both neuropathic pain (Duhmke, 2004) as well as fibromyalgia.
      • Potentially habit forming like opioids, therefore use with caution
      • Decrease the seizure threshold especially with neuroleptics and antidepressants. Caution if co-morbid psych.
    • Opioids
      • Background:
        • Endogenous opioid system normal functions include stress-induced analgesia, social affiliation/bonding including maternal-infant bonding, rewards for natural pleasures such as sex and eating. Opioids often used as a substitute for social connection.
          • Emotional pain such as social rejection has similar neurobiology to physical pain on fMRI, etc.
      • Very effective for acute severe pain.
      • Chronic pain is not very satisfactorily managed with opioids because of peripheral and central sensitization. 
      • Problems with opioids: Chronic opioids (especially morphine & fentanyl) lead to tolerance and may lead to opioid induced hyperalgesia (OIH). OIH is apparently uncommon & a dx of exclusion, but some pain specialists believe is very common. Hypothetical mechanisms of OIH: activation of spinal dynorphin, bradykinin receptor, toll-like receptor-4 on glial cells, resulting in a pro-inflammatory state that manifests clinically as increased pain. Opioid-overuse headache is a phenomenon similar to opioid-induced hyperalgesia, which derives from a cumulative interaction between central sensitization, due to repeated activation of nociceptive pathways by recurrent headaches, and pain facilitation due to glial activation. Hypogonadism is especially common in chronic long-acting opioid use. Chronic opioids associated with multiple other adverse effects including increase MI.
      • OIH tx strategies: wean down analgesics. Clonidine, buprenorphine. Early studies that curcumin may benefit (UI: 23273833).
      • Issues with opioids:
        • Research sparse and does not support long-term efficacy, but strongly documents harm.
          • Long-term opioid therapy is associated with lower rates of recovery from chronic pain and return to work.
          • Aversive selection– patients at highest risk of misuse such as h/o psych & substance abuse disorders are most likely to be prescribed high risk long term opiates
          • Lots of diagnoses that don’t necessarily correlate with a patient’s pain. For example, a patient may have documented disc bulges and degenerative disc disease on x-ray/MRI, but the actual main driver of their pain is para-lumbar myofascial dysfunction with poor eating and gut dysbiosis, sedentary habits with deconditioning and disturbed mood and sleep habits and high stress all leading to central sensitization. Doctor’s visits are short and careful psychological and lifestyle evaluation is often minimized. Patients get attached to their diagnoses such as ‘arthritic spine’ and come to believe the locus of control for healing their pain is external-a pill or procedure – and out of their control, leading to low self-efficacy. 
          • Dramatic increase in misuse/abuse/deaths with increased prescription of opiates, which is proportional to mainly length of use but also dose of opiates – odds ratio for misuse/abuse increases >100X in high dose chronic opioid use! Most heroin addicts started their habit with a prescription opioid.
          • Immunosuppression
          • Brain inflammation: glial cells that surround neurons produce inflammatory cytokines, will react to trauma with an inflammatory state in their neocortex which may predispose to psychological disorders such as depression and anxiety. Opioids may aggravate this.
          • Opiate use associated with double fractures incidence in > 60 y/o.
          • Maternal use associated with neonatal abstinence syndrome, low birth weight
          • Monitoring of opioid use:
            • Use ‘Comprehensive urine drug screen’ and follow CDC and state guidelines
    • Anti-epileptics
      • Gabapentin
      • Pregabalin
      • Carbamazepine
    • Neurohormone reuptake inhibitors
      • TCAs
        • Amitriptyline: strong anti-cholinergic effects. Start at 10 mg qHS and slowly titrate as needed
      • SNRIs
        • Duloxetine
        • Venlafaxine
    • Muscle relaxants
      • Cyclobenzaprine
    • Addiction opioids
      • Methadone – can prolong QT – monitor EKG
      • Buprenorphine (requires special certification to prescribe for addiction, but NOT for general treatment)
    • Topicals
      • Lidocaine patch
      • Capsaicin
      • NSAID topicals
    • Compounded mixtures, e.g. gabapentin, ketoprofen, ketamine, amitriptyline
  • Summary on Integrative chronic pain treatment:
    • Highly recommend Integrative Medicine pain specialist consultation for all chronic pain patients
    • Pain specialists invaluable for specific pain generator issues, e.g. epidural for discogenic CLBP and to guide/take over if need high dose opioid pain meds
    • Palliative care specialists also invaluable for many non-curable pain situations
    • Minimum 30 minute visit
    • Gather a team
    • Nutrition consult in all chronic pain patients. Assess and correct dysbiosis.
    • Consult movement specialists, especially mind-body integration experts, e.g. Tai Chi, Yoga teachers
    • Mindfulness based programs should be core in chronic pain treatment protocols. Encourage daily meditation in all chronic pain patients.
    • Treat using chronic opioids like using chronic steroids – only with great caution and if clear, robust benefits compared to risks
  • Further questions to be explored:Do chronic opioids lead to dysfunction, atrophy of or even damage to the endogenous pain control mechanism, similar to how corticosteroids lead to secondary adrenal insufficiency?How common is opioid induced hyperalgesia, and what are factors increasing the risk?
  • Special situations and conditionsComplex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS)– potentially devastating and difficult-to-treat chronic neurological pain syndrome that arises from an abnormal response to an often innocuous injury. Prolonged versions of the normal injury response. Most cases however, are not diagnosed for years. Though may resolve, sometimes the pain is so severe that lives are destroyed, and suicides are not uncommon. Primary care physicians often miss it. Type 1 is RSD; Type 2 is causalgia after a nerve injury.Key questions to pick up CRPS:Is the breeze from the heat/ air conditioning/ fan intolerable?Does the weight of a bed sheet bother your foot/ leg/ arm/ hand?Does the arm/ hand/ leg/ foot have severe, constant, burning and/or deep aching pain?Is there a prolonged after-sensation of pain (hyperpathia)?If the answer to any of these is ‘yes,’ and the pain has been there for less than 3 – 6 months, immediately start aggressive treatment: double dose Medrol dose pack, PT including desensitization, and mirror therapy, analgesics. Once the ‘grace period’ is over, CRPS signs and symptoms include:Skin, hair and nail changesVasomotor and sudomotor changesSwellingSensory changesAbnormalities in X-ray (patchy osteoporosis) and triple phase bone scansBiomechanical and movement abnormalitiesSpreading of the pain, either in the same limb, to the opposite limb, or anywhere in the bodyIf not treated in the first 3 months, the changes can rapidly render this a decades-long pain syndrome.  Can try Serotonin norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs), Pregabalin, gabapentin, Tricyclic anti-depressants (TCAs), topical Lidocaine, opioids, tramadol, baclofen, amantadine 100 mg BID, ketamine. Refer to specialist who does interventional procedures such as stellate ganglion blocks may be appropriate. Barriers to the healing of nerves and blood vessels, including tobacco use, excess alcohol, hyperglycemia or diabetes, cardiovascular impediments, malnutrition, and subclinical polyneuropathy, may require treatment.
    • Good resources for patients:
      • Butler, D. and Moseley L., Explain Pain, NIO Group Publications, 2003. An evidence-based book written for the purpose of teaching patients the nature and better management of chronic pain.
      • Melzack, R. and P.D. Wall, The Challenge of Pain, 2nd ed., London: Penguin. 1996. Another fantastic book written for the public on the nature of pain.
      • Nicholas, M., et al., Manage Your Pain. Sydney: ABC Books. 2000. This is a self-help book written by the pain management team at Royal North Shore Hospital in Sydney, Australia.
      • Sopolsky, R. M., Why Zebras Don’t Get Ulcers: An Updated Guide to Stress, Stress Related Diseases, and Coping. A still timely classic. New York: W.H. Freeman and Co. 1998.
  • Abbreviations: CLBP = Chronic low back pain, LBP = Low back pain, SS = Sickle cell disease, RA = Rheumatoid arthritis, Tx = treatment