Pain clinics mostly see patients dealing with chronic pain, but these clinics are also beneficial for those dealing with pain resulting from surgery. Fortunately, many of the principles that apply to chronic pain management can also be utilized in a post-surgical situation. Post-surgical pain can be managed until it eventually subsides on its own.

KindlyMD is able to treat post-surgical pain thanks to plant-based medicines made available through Utah's Medical Card program. As a side note, plant-based medicines are one alternative to the traditional pharmacological approach to pain management. We think it’s something well worth considering if you have an upcoming surgery that could result in acute (short-term) pain.

With all of that in mind, here are five tips for successfully managing post-surgical pain:

1. Follow Prescription Recommendations

Whether surgical patients choose traditional prescription medications or plant-based medicines, their doctors will make recommendations. The most effective way to manage post-surgical pain is to follow those recommendations.

In the case of prescription medications, following the instructions on the medication label is a no-brainer. When plant-based medicines are chosen, the patient's medical provider should offer recommendations about dosage and delivery. They should be followed as well.

2. Follow Recommendations for Rest

A patient's body usually needs time to heal following surgery, and medical providers usually recommend getting plenty of rest during this recovery phase.  When patients don't get enough rest, post-surgical pain can actually feel worse. The good news is that the opposite is also true. Getting plenty of rest helps the body heal. As it does, pain tends to gradually subside.

3. Utilize Heat or Cold Therapy

It is not uncommon for surgeons to recommend either heat or cold therapy. Heat therapy, by way of heating pads and heat-generating topical medications, can reduce muscle and soft tissue pain by encouraging relaxation. Cold therapy helps to alleviate pain by reducing inflammation and numbing the general area.

One or the other is usually appropriate in the days following surgery. Patients should always ask their surgeons which therapy is the best choice. There might also be specific recommendations for implementing heat or cold therapy.

4. Exercise When Appropriate

Despite needing plenty of rest, some patients can benefit from regular exercise as well. It really depends on the type of surgery a patient has undergone. One way or another though, a patient will have to get back into the swing of things as healing progresses. Exercise can help a lot.

Exercise improves circulation. It strengthens muscles, tendons, and ligaments. As a result, it can also reduce pain. The only thing about exercising in a post-surgical scenario is overdoing it. It is important to follow a doctor's instructions.

5. Follow Up with the Doctor

The last tip for successfully managing post-surgical pain is probably the most important of all: follow up with the doctor. Follow-up visits accomplish a lot, beginning with allowing the doctor to evaluate the patient's progress. During follow-up visits, the patient can also relay how they are feeling.

Medical providers take advantage of follow-up visits to make modifications to a patient's treatment. A doctor might want to reduce a certain medication or eliminate it altogether. There may be a need to temporarily alter the patient's lifestyle choices.

Pain is a normal part of surgical recovery. If you have ever had surgery yourself, you know the deal. If you have an upcoming surgical procedure for which you expect to have a need for prescription medications, there are alternatives. Contact us to learn more about the plant-based approach to managing surgical pain.

A conventional approach to pain management usually consists of a combination of treatments, including pain medications, surgical procedures, and physical therapy. In some cases, lifestyle modifications are recommended. But here at KindlyMD, we go above and beyond the conventional approach to offer alternatives. In addition to plant-based medicines, we also recommend behavioral interventions.

Behavioral interventions are different types of treatments designed to reduce pain by helping people modify the way they think about, feel, and experience what is going on in their bodies. Behavioral interventions do not always mitigate the need for prescription medications. But they can help a great deal.

Utilizing behavioral interventions in a pain management scenario is based on an understanding that the body and mind are intrinsically linked. How a patient feels affects how they think, and vice versa. If a pain management physician can help a patient align body and mind in a positive manner, it is possible to alter the pain experience.

This is easy enough to see in a chronic pain scenario. People suffering with chronic pain are more likely to also be clinically depressed. Unfortunately, feelings of depression can enhance the pain experience. But if patients can manage to adopt a more positive outlook, their pain may be alleviated. Patients often notice a marked improvement in their quality life when they’re able to find effective treatments for pain.

Examples of Behavioral Interventions

Behavioral interventions are utilized in pain management as a tool for aligning body and mind in a positive direction. One of the most well-known examples is cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT).

Although CBT is utilized for a variety of physical and mental health conditions, its usefulness in pain management is rooted in helping patients identify and challenge their negative thoughts and feelings about pain. Learning coping skills is also part of CBT.

Other examples of behavioral interventions include:

There are many other behavioral interventions utilized by pain management physicians. The four mentioned in this post are only meant to give you an introduction to the concept. Here's the takeaway: medication isn't the only option for treating chronic pain. It might not even be the best option in some cases.

Patients Need More Options

One of the driving forces behind establishing KindlyMD is our medical providers’ firm belief that patients need more options. For far too long, prescription medications and surgical procedures were the only choices chronic pain patients had to work with. But years of treating chronic pain through these means have clearly demonstrated that other means need to be found.

We offer alternative treatments along with some of the conventional options. Our treatments include both plant-based medicines and behavioral interventions. If you have tried conventional treatments without success, we invite you to come see us at KindlyMD.

Behavioral interventions might seem a little odd to you. We get it. They are not something most people have experienced. But we can tell you that they are amazingly effective for many of the patients we treat. They might help you.

In the pursuit of improved healthcare and holistic well-being, the medical community is increasingly recognizing the importance of reducing opioid and harsh prescription medication usage. As a healthcare company committed to fostering health, vitality, and longevity, we are excited to explore the remarkable benefits that come with this positive shift. In this article, we'll delve into how reducing opioids and adopting alternative approaches can lead to better outcomes for individuals seeking relief from pain and discomfort.

What Happens When You Reduce Opioid Use?

1. Enhanced Pain Management

Pain relief is a crucial aspect of healthcare, and there's a growing realization that relying solely on opioids and harsh prescription medications might not always be the best solution. By exploring alternative methods such as physical therapy, Medical Cannabis, and mindfulness practices, individuals can experience pain relief that addresses the root causes, rather than masking the symptoms temporarily. These approaches empower patients to manage their pain in a way that aligns with their overall well-being.

2. Minimized Risk of Dependency

One of the most significant concerns surrounding opioid usage is the potential for dependency and addiction. By reducing opioids and opting for non-opioid pain management strategies, individuals can significantly lower their risk of falling into the trap of addiction. This shift not only benefits the patient but also contributes to creating a healthier society at large.

3. Improved Mental Health

Opioid medications can have a notable impact on mental health, potentially leading to mood swings, depression, and anxiety. By embracing alternative methods like cognitive-behavioral therapy and meditation, individuals can manage pain while maintaining their emotional equilibrium. A holistic approach to health considers both the physical and mental well-being of each person, promoting a higher quality of life.

4. Empowerment Through Education

Reducing opioids opens the door to educating patients about their treatment options. When individuals are aware of alternative therapies available to them, they can actively participate in their own healing journey. By collaborating with healthcare professionals, patients can co-create personalized treatment plans that align with their goals and values.

5. Personalized Care and Treatment

Every individual's body responds differently to medications and therapies. Reducing reliance on opioids allows healthcare providers to offer more personalized care. By tailoring treatments to the unique needs of each patient, healthcare professionals at KindlyMD can optimize outcomes, minimize side effects, and enhance the overall healing experience.

Embracing a Brighter, Healthier Future

As advocates for comprehensive health and compassionate care, we firmly believe that reducing opioids and harsh prescription medications is a significant step towards a brighter, healthier future. By embracing alternative methods of pain management, we empower ourselves and our loved ones to take control of our well-being. Through education, collaboration, and a holistic approach to healthcare, we can pave the way for improved pain relief, mental well-being, and overall vitality.

At KindlyMD, we are dedicated to guiding you on this journey toward health and healing. Our compassionate team is here to provide the support, education, and expertise you need to make informed decisions about your well-being. Together, let's reduce opioids, nurture holistic health, and build a community that thrives on well-rounded, sustainable healing. Schedule your appointment today.

National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. "Chronic Pain: What You Need to Know." NCCIH, 2021,

Chou, et al. "The Effectiveness and Risks of Long-Term Opioid Therapy for Chronic Pain: A Systematic Review for a National Institutes of Health Pathways to Prevention Workshop." Annals of Internal Medicine, 2015,

The Gate Control Theory of Pain: What It Is and Why It Matters

Medical science knows a lot about pain. But truth be told, there is a lot more we don't know. We do not know why people perceive pain differently, for example. No doubt we have some educated guesses. But we can't offer a concrete explanation. One possible explanation is known as the Gate Control Theory of Pain (GCTP).

The GCTP's origins go back nearly 60 years. It was first posited in 1965 as an explanation for how pain signals make it to the brain. The theory focuses on two different types of nerve fibers referred to as “gates.” Opening and closing these gates is the key to reducing pain sensations.

We still call the GCTP a theory nearly six decades later because it has never been scientifically proven. However, there is value in considering its merits. Even if the actual gates discussed by the theory don't exist, the principle behind it is worth further attention.

Pain Isn't a Static Thing

We tend to think of pain as a static mechanism that remains consistent across the board. If you touch your hand on a hot stove, nerves in the skin sense danger and send pain signals to the brain. Those signals are designed to get you to pull your hand away. They act as a mechanism to protect you.

That said, there are other types of pain that do not offer the same benefit. The pain caused by osteoarthritis is by no means a safety mechanism. It doesn't protect you from anything. Instead, it lets you know that the cartilage between your joints has worn away to the point that the bones are grinding on one another. It is a different kind of pain that exists for an entirely different reason.

Opening and Closing the Gates

Knowing that pain isn't static leads us to believe that there is more to pain perception than just signals traveling up the spinal column to the brain. That is exactly what GCTP posits. The theory is rooted in two different types of nerve fibers in the human body.

Larger nerve fibers, like those found in the skin, transmit sensory information that may or may not have anything to do with pain. Smaller nerve fibers, located internally, are more likely to send signals related to tissue damage, inflammation, etc. The thinking is that opening the larger gates while closing the smaller ones reduces the perception of pain.

It stands to reason that the larger nerve fibers are more responsive in some people than their smaller counterparts. These types of people would be more sensitive to tactile experiences – like massage, for example. Likewise, other people have more active smaller fibers.

What It All Means

So, what does all this mean from a pain management standpoint? Let us assume the theory is true. People with naturally higher activity in the larger fibers should have a higher tolerance for pain. Those with more activity in the smaller fibers would have a lower tolerance. If we could manipulate both fibers, we could influence pain perception.

It is an interesting theory that demands more research. Until such research is undertaken, we cannot say for sure how legitimate Gate Control Theory of Pain really is. However, we can say for certain that people perceive pain differently. That much is true.

Regardless of your particular pain perceptions, the professionals here at KindlyMD want to help. Our pain clinics are staffed by trained professionals who take a holistic approach to pain management. We don't want to just treat you; we want to be equal partners with you on your journey to feeling better.

At KindlyMD, we believe in holistic healthcare that encompasses not just the physical aspects but also the emotional and mental well-being of our patients. Today, we want to discuss a topic that often gets overlooked but is of paramount importance: the intersection of chronic pain and mental health. Emerging research is shedding light on the profound impact that mental health support can have on managing chronic pain effectively. Join us as we explore the connection and the benefits of a comprehensive approach to your well-being.

The Mind-Body Connection

Chronic pain isn't just about physical discomfort; it can take a toll on your mental and emotional state. Studies have shown that individuals dealing with chronic pain often experience increased levels of stress, anxiety, and depression. This complex relationship creates a vicious cycle where the pain exacerbates mental health issues, and those issues, in turn, intensify the perception of pain.

A 2019 study published in the "Journal of Pain Research" found that chronic pain patients with comorbid anxiety or depression reported higher pain intensity and reduced quality of life compared to those without these mental health conditions. This highlights the need to address not just the physical symptoms but also the emotional well-being of chronic pain sufferers.

How Does Mental Health Support Make a Difference?

  1. Pain Perception and Coping Mechanisms: Our mental state can significantly influence how we perceive pain. Learning effective coping strategies through mental health support can help individuals better manage their pain, making it feel less intense and more manageable.
  2. Medication Dependency: While medications play a crucial role in managing chronic pain, overreliance can have adverse effects. A 2020 study from the "Journal of Clinical Medicine" showed that patients who received cognitive-behavioral therapy alongside pain medication reported decreased medication usage and improved pain outcomes compared to those solely relying on medication.
  3. Overall Well-Being: Mental health support not only alleviates the emotional burden of chronic pain but also enhances overall well-being. It empowers patients to regain control over their lives, fostering a sense of hope and positivity.

A Collaborative Approach Is Key

At KindlyMD, we understand the intricate connection between chronic pain and mental health. Our compassionate team of healthcare professionals is committed to providing comprehensive care, addressing both the physical and emotional aspects of your pain. Our personalized treatment plans include a combination of traditional medicine, alternative treatments, and mental health support to ensure you receive the holistic care you deserve.

Chronic pain is more than just physical discomfort; it's a complex experience that impacts every aspect of your life. The KindlyMD team is here to support you on your path to healing. Remember, you're not alone, and a comprehensive approach that includes mental health support can make all the difference. Let's work together towards a brighter, pain-free future. We can break the cycle of chronic pain and help you regain the quality of life you deserve. Contact us today or schedule now to embark on a journey toward healing, where your mental well-being is just as crucial as your physical health.

6 Tips for Taking Control of Your Own Healthcare Journey

We do things a little bit differently at KindlyMD. For instance, we consider healthcare a journey rather than a service or business. We also believe patients should be able to take complete control of their respective journeys, should they decide to do so. Ultimately, each patient must decide how to utilize healthcare services, advice, treatments, etc.

That is one of the reasons we help patients looking to obtain their Utah Med Cards. Our position on the Med Card is simple: the plant-based medicines they provide access to are an alternative to other treatments for pain, PTSD, seizure disorders, etc.

If you have been feeling like you are not in charge of your healthcare journey, we can help you change that. Make an appointment at any one of our clinics to get started. In the meantime, here are six tips you can put to use right away:

1. Educate Yourself

Education is by far the best healthcare tool. And thanks to the internet age, we have more information at our fingertips than ever before. Take advantage of it. Educate yourself about those health concerns you have. Learn about the conditions that affect your daily life.

There is a caveat here: just because something is on the internet doesn't make it true. The best way to verify accuracy is to look for multiple sources (reputable sources, by the way) that agree.

2. Find a Provider Who Gets You

Healthcare providers come in all shapes and sizes, so to speak. There are doctors, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, etc. The key to taking control of your healthcare journey is to find a provider who gets you. Look for a provider who is on the same page and is willing to work with you as an equal partner. When you find such a provider, don't just “see” him or her. Establish a relationship with that person.

3. Keep Your Own Records

Records are a big part of taking control. We advise keeping track of everything. For example, you might come to us for assistance obtaining your Utah Med Card. Keep a record of that assistance. But in addition, also start tracking your use of plant-based medicines. Write down every product you buy with your Med Card. Write down every time you use it, how much you use, and how it makes you feel.

4. Be an Active Communicator

Whether you are looking to get your Med Card or you need help with an unrelated issue, make a point of being an active communicator. Your healthcare provider can only help you if you are willing to be open and honest about everything. The better you communicate, the better that relationship with your healthcare provider will be.

5. Learn to Be an Advocate

We always say that patients are their own best advocates. It's something we believe in very passionately. If you want to take control of your own healthcare journey, learn how to be an advocate for yourself. Speak up for yourself. Make your desires and goals known. Insist on being heard, because you should be.

6. Practice Prevention

Last but not least is practicing prevention. Take control of your journey by making healthy lifestyle changes. Take advantage of preventative screenings and regular checkups. Being proactive with prevention is all about avoiding as many problems as you can by being as healthy as you can.

We can help you begin taking control over your own healthcare journey by assisting you in getting your Utah Medical Card. If you would like to know more information, do not hesitate to reach out.

How Taking an Active Role in Your Healthcare Visits Can Help | Pain management physicians

Pain management physicians and their patients ideally work together to come up with treatment plans and follow through on them. The Kindly MD way is to work with our patients as partners in better healthcare. We invite them to take active roles in their healthcare journeys. Taking an active role starts with routine visits.

Regardless of where you are on your particular journey, taking an active role in your healthcare visits can help a lot. If you are not sure why, keep reading. The remainder of this post offers invaluable information.

What Taking an Active Role Looks Like

Let us start by discussing what taking an active role in healthcare visits actually looks like. Bear in mind that a “visit” is any interaction you have with a pain management physician. It could be an annual physical, a routine maintenance visit, or any other type of interaction.

Taking an active role is characterized by several things:

Think of taking an active role in terms of establishing a relationship. For any relationship to work, both people need to be present. They need to communicate freely, being willing to be open and honest about everything. Both need to be willing to engage in questions and answers, problem-solving, coming up with new ideas, etc.

Your Provider Relies on You

As for how all of this helps, remember that your healthcare provider relies on you as a guide. Whether it is a doctor, physician's assistant, or nurse practitioner, your provider can only offer advice based on available information. Your being an active participant in your visits gives your provider much more information to work with.

If your doctor is trying to help you better manage chronic pain, for instance, he needs to know how you feel. He needs to know your level of pain today as compared to when you saw him last month. The same is true for any condition. We aren’t limiting ourselves to pain management here.

Your Expectations Matter

Taking an active role in your healthcare visits helps your provider understand your expectations. Again, let us use chronic pain as an example. A nurse practitioner may wonder why you're not responding to a particular treatment. She may ask all sorts of questions designed to better understand your expectations. Why? Because maybe the biggest issue you're having is a misunderstanding of how a particular treatment helps.

Maybe your expectations don't match up with treatment realities. And if that's the case, your pain management physician would want to know what your expectations are so that she can make appropriate recommendations. Perhaps your current treatment isn't the best option based on your expectations. Maybe there is something else you can try.

It Is Ultimately Your Journey

If we could drive home just one point here it would be this: the healthcare journey you are on is ultimately your journey. Pain management physicians can only help you along that journey. We cannot travel it for you. That's why we want you to be an active partner in determining where it goes.

If you've never tried it before, we encourage you to take an active role in all your healthcare visits. Ask questions. Talk about your concerns. Let your provider know your expectations for treatment. By becoming an active participant rather than a passive patient, you can help direct your healthcare journey to a more positive outcome.

5 More Things About Chronic Pain Most People Do Not Know

We recently published a post discussing five things about chronic pain most people don't know. We couldn't discuss everything we wanted to in that post, so we decided to publish a follow-up. We hope you get a better understanding of chronic pain after reading them.

Below are five more things about chronic pain you might not be aware of. As you read, remember that KindlyMD exists to help Utah pain patients feel better. We offer tailored treatments, plant-based medicines, help to obtain a Utah medical card, and additional services. You can contact us at any time to make an appointment at one of our clinics.

With the preliminaries out of the way, here are five more things about chronic pain most people do not know:

1. Chronic Pain Can Be Felt Anywhere in the Body

Given that pain is almost always a symptom of another condition, it is not limited to specific parts of the body. It can be felt anywhere. Even more interesting is the fact that some types of pain can be felt in one part of the body while the root cause is found elsewhere.

Take sciatica. It occurs when a nerve in the lower back is pinched. A patient can feel sciatica pain through the hip and all the way down the leg. Hip and leg pain can be felt even if there is no sensation of pain in the patient's back.

2. The Number of Causes Is Nearly Limitless

Unfortunately, the number of possible causes of chronic pain is nearly limitless. Nerve damage can cause neuropathic pain that lasts a lifetime. Arthritis can cause pain in the joints. Fibromyalgia can cause body-wide pain that never goes away. The list goes on and on. Hopefully, you get the point.

3. Chronic Pain Impacts Quality of Life

This next point is one that many people who have never experienced chronic pain have trouble wrapping the brains around: chronic pain affects quality of life. For starters, trying to maintain a normal routine when pain is always present is challenging – even on the best days.

Just getting through the day can be hard enough. And when this is the case, patients have a tendency to limit their activities. They stop doing the things they love. They stop spending time with friends and family. They might not get out of the house very often. Losing such things can ultimately lead to depression or other mental health concerns.

4. The Treatments Are Many and Varied

Possible treatments for chronic pain are many and varied. Doctors will consider the root causes, the severity of the pain, how often the pain is experienced, and other factors when treating a patient. Treatment options run the gamut from prescription medications to physical therapy to plant-based medicines.

5. A Cure Is Not Always Possible

A general rule says that pain must persist for at least three months to be considered chronic. This further suggests that some cases of chronic pain can be cured along with the underlying condition. Unfortunately, a cure is not always possible. There is no cure for fibromyalgia, for example. Fibromyalgia pain can be managed for the most part, but it never fully goes away.

Chronic pain is a complex condition, to say the least. We are here to help you find relief if you live in Utah and traditional treatments haven't helped you. Contact us to learn more about services related to plant-based medicine and Utah Medical Cards. Our number one priority is helping you feel better in a safe and manageable way.

5 Things About Chronic Pain Most People Do Not Know

Chronic pain affects just over 20% of the U.S. adult population. That works out to about 50 million people. It has been our experience that many people know very little about chronic pain, especially those who have never experienced it. But even many chronic pain patients know little about their condition other than that it hurts.

Pain clinics like ours specialize in helping chronic pain patients feel better. They are staffed by pain management physicians with access to a variety of treatments not normally available through GPs and family doctors. Anyone suffering from chronic pain and unable to find relief through standard treatments is a good candidate to visit a pain clinic.

While you think on that, here are five things about chronic pain most people do not know:

1. How It's Defined

From a medical standpoint, chronic pain is not arbitrary. We define it as pain that is felt either daily or on most days, for a period of time longer than would otherwise be normal for the condition behind it. As a general rule, chronic pain persists for at least three months.

2. Pain Can Be a Symptom or a Condition

In the majority of chronic pain cases, pain is a symptom of something else. Cancer patients experience pain related to both the disease itself and its treatments. Diabetics are known to experience neuropathic pain as a direct result of nerve damage in their limbs.

However, there are cases when pain cannot be traced to some other condition. Test after test indicates an otherwise healthy person. In such cases, pain is the only condition. Science doesn't quite understand how this is possible, but it cannot be denied in the face of so many patients who exhibit this sort of pain.

3. Pain Can Be Specific or Nonspecific

Playing off the previous point, pain can be specific or nonspecific. Specific pain can be traced back to a verifiable condition. Arthritis pain is specific; we know what is causing it. On the other hand, nonspecific pain is pain for which we have found no root cause. This does not necessarily mean there is no root cause. It just means that testing hasn't revealed it.

4. Chronic Pain Is Often Accompanied by Other Symptoms

People who have no experience with chronic pain often think of it in isolation. Their own experience with temporary pain doesn't allow them to make the connection between pain and other symptoms. But truth be told, chronic pain is almost always accompanied by other things, including:

The thing about chronic pain is that it is physically and mentally draining. A patient doesn't just hurt; the constant battle of trying to live a normal life wears them down when pain is always present.

5. Chronic Pain Is Challenging to Diagnose

From a clinical perspective, chronic pain is often challenging to diagnose. We know chronic pain is an actual condition. What we are not quite sure about is why it persists in so many cases. Not having a full understanding of chronic pain makes things difficult for medical providers who sincerely want to help.

There is a lot more about chronic pain we have not discussed in this post. Perhaps a second post will follow. At any rate, chronic pain is as much a mystery as it is a reality. If you are living with it and haven't found adequate relief yet, consider visiting one of our clinics. KindlyMD specializes in helping chronic pain patients feel better.

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