Is Chronic Pain Changing Your Personality?

In 1985 when quarterback Joe Theismann had his fibula and tibia shattered by a tackle, it ended his NFL career — a career in which he'd suffered seven broken noses, a broken collarbone, and broken hands and ribs. "People would say that it was a tragedy… but…it was a blessing," he's said. "I'd become somewhat of a self-absorbed individual and didn't really care much about a lot of things except myself. And ever since that day…I've tried to be a better person."

Yes, Chronic Pain Alters Your Personality

All that physical pain can make it difficult to be your best self. That's been confirmed by a study in the European Journal of Pain. Seems people with chronic pain, have very low levels of the personality-influencing neurotransmitter glutamate in their frontal cortex, triggering emotional dysregulation and increasing anxiety.

If you're one of the 50 million Americans who live with chronic pain and the emotional changes it triggers, the good news is you don't need opioids for relief (whew!).

Chronic Pain Relief

Non-opioid pain relievers: To handle chronic back pain or osteoarthritis, one study found non-opioid medications deliver as much relief as opioids. Anti-seizure medications ease fibromyalgia pain; antidepressants can help with migraine; and NSAIDs and topical creams can soothe aching joints, muscles and some nerve pain.

Alternatives to medications: Massage, acupuncture and high-tech radiofrequency ablation and transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) also ease pain effectively.

Altered pain response: Pain causes tension and that increases pain. An anti-inflammatory diet, and stress-reducing meditation, deep breathing and visualization, plus plenty of exercise can quiet the brain's pain-response center.

Here's Dr. Oz's Mom's Regimen for Fighting Her Alzheimer's

Here are the tools she uses to help manage the progression of the disease.

Personal photos courtesy of Dr.Oz

When Dr. Oz found out in September 2019 that his mom, Suna, then 81, was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease, he was gutted. He wondered how he missed the signs and what he could do next. Like so many caregivers, he had to recognize that his mom was not going to get better. But he also knew that he wasn't alone: There is an Alzheimer's diagnosis every 65 seconds.

Dr. Oz immediately contacted his friends and colleagues and crafted a treatment plan with two of the country's top experts in the field: Richard S. Isaacson, MD, a neurologist at NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center and the founder of the Alzheimer's Prevention Clinic, and Dr. Rudy Tanzi, a professor of neurology at Harvard and the founder of the "Alzheimer's Genome Project," who co-discovered the first Alzheimer's gene.

Keep Reading Show less