Pain Management

Carolyn Schatz

Painful, disabling interstitial cystitis often goes undiagnosed

Millions of Americans—most of them women—suffer from a bladder condition known as interstitial cystitis. According to a new study of this disorder, fewer than 10% of women with symptoms of interstitial cystitis are actually diagnosed with the disorder, even though it severely affects their lives. Without a proper diagnosis, women with interstitial cystitis are missing […]

Patrick J. Skerrett

Study renews caution on painkiller use after heart attack

A new study linking painkiller use by heart attack survivors to increased risk of heart attack or death generated some pretty scary headlines, like “NSAIDs following a heart attack greatly increase risk of a repeat heart attack” and “Painkillers risky for heart attack patients.” Although correct, they overstate the danger. Taking a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug like ibuprofen, diclofenac, or Celebrex increased the chances of having a heart attack or dying from 3 to 4 per 10,000 people per year to 5 to 6 per 10,000 people per year. The results are in line with an American Heart Association recommendation to limit the use of NSAIDs if possible.

Julie Corliss

Try exercise to ease arthritis pain, stiffness

If you have arthritis, exercise can help keep your joints mobile and your muscles strong. Swimming and other water-based exercise are especially good because they’re easy on the joints. Harvard Health editor Julie Corliss discusses ways in which exercise can help you cope with—and even improve the symptoms of—arthritis.

Peter Wehrwein

The safety of painkillers

Perhaps as many as one in every 5 American adults will get a prescription for a painkiller this year, and many more will buy over-the-counter medicines without a prescription. These drugs can do wonders—getting rid of pain can seem like a miracle—but sometimes there’s a high price to be paid. Remember the heavily marketed COX-2 inhibitors? Rofecoxib, sold as Vioxx, […]

Ann MacDonald

Painkillers and drug addiction: An ongoing dilemma

On October 16, 1846, Dr. John Collins Warren, a renowned surgeon at Massachusetts General Hospital, removed a tumor from a printer named Gilbert Abbott. The operation was noteworthy for one reason: Abbott did not scream out in pain, as virtually every surgical patient did in those days. The age of anesthesia was born. A Boston […]