Migraine, headache, and cluster diseases affect more than 38 million Americans. To increase understanding and empathy for those with these disorders, U.S. Pain Foundation and CHAMP (the Coalition For Headache And Migraine Patients) need your help during National Migraine & Headache Awareness Month (#MHAM). The theme this year is #SowingtheSeeds.

MHAM began June 1, so jump in as soon as you can! You can get involved in the following ways:

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We all know that people react differently to different medications–what works for one patient can sometimes cause an adverse reaction in another.

But why is that? And how can you figure out which medications work well for you?

At our next Pain Education Portal (PEP) Talk webinar on May 21 at 1 pm EST, we’ll learn about all this and more with Dan Doherty, an expert in drug sensitivities with Genelex.

Dan will talk about the science of how medications work in the body, why we react differently to them, and how pharmacogenetic testing can help.

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U.S. Pain Foundation has partnered on a survey with Tamadé, a Virtual Reality (VR) company that has developed a program for chronic pain, to learn more about how pain impacts your life and how VR might help.

The survey takes approximately 20 minutes to complete. Everyone who takes it will be entered to win one of 30 $10 gift cards to Amazon. (Remember to use Amazon Smile, which automatically donates 0.5% to a charity of your choice, if you win!)

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Full name: Nancy Harris Bonk

City & state: Buffalo, NY

Age: 56

Pain warrior role: U.S. Pain advocate since 2014

Type of health conditions: Migraine disease, intracranial hypertension, fibromyalgia to name a few!

Favorite tip for others with chronic pain:  Living with migraine, a neurological brain disease, can be overwhelming and frustrating but, accepting our diagnosis is important and doing so enables us to become educated and empowered patients!

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Rare Disease Day is Feb. 28

The National Organization of Rare Disorders’ (NORD) yearly Rare Disease Day will be observed on Feb. 28, 2019. Rare Disease Day is an annual celebration the 25-30 million Americans living with one of the over 7,000 rare or orphan diseases. One in ten Americans suffers from a rare disease, a disease affecting less than 200,000 people.

This year’s campaign, “Show Your Stripes,” calls for the rare disease community to proudly dawn stripes on Rare Disease Day. Patients with rare diseases are sometimes referred to as “zebras.” The term comes from the aphorism coined in the late 1940s by a clinician who instructed his medical interns: “When you hear hoofbeats, think of horses not zebras,” meaning that they should consider the most likely or common condition when diagnosing patients. With rare disease patients, however, clinicians must think of more rare conditions, or zebras.

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Location: North Royalton, OH

Pain warrior role: U.S. Pain ambassador since 2013

Pain conditions: Full body reflex sympathetic dystrophy, migraine, trigeminal neuralgia, fibromyalgia, dysautonomia, chronic fatigue syndrome, thoracic outlet syndrome, dystonia, gastroparesis, diabetes, narcolepsy, myoclonic jerks, deep vein thombosis, and neurovascular dystrophy.

Favorite tips for living with chronic pain: “I start off my support group with some advice to our newbies. I tell them and remind ourselves that we need to grieve for the old you. Most of us, especially those with debilitating injury or illness, those of us whose lives changed dramatically find it very difficult to accept these changes. To ask for help. To NEED help daily and to those who are extremely independent. LET IT GO! The quicker you do, you will have enough energy to find the NEW and IMPROVED YOU!”

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You shop, U.S. Pain benefits!

Now through Nov. 2, AmazonSmile is donating 5% of all purchases back to a charity of your choice, including U.S. Pain Foundation! AmazonSmile offers all the same products, at the same prices, as Amazon.

“If you’ve ever wanted to donate to U.S. Pain and give back to our programs for people with pain–from support groups to the INvisible Project–but couldn’t afford it, this is a great, free chance to help,” says Nicole Hemmenway, Interim CEO.

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City & state: Allentown, PA

Age: 42 years old

Pain warrior role: U.S. Pain advocate since 2017

What type of health conditions you live with: Fibromyalgia, Tourette’s syndrome, small fiber neuropathy, migraine disease, trigeminal neuralgia, occipital neuralgia, chronic back pain, and Raynaud’s phenomenon.

What is your favorite tip for others with chronic pain: “I want everyone to know that neither you or your diagnoses are invisible. There are people out there who understand what you are going through. If you are still undiagnosed, I urge you to not give up. There is a ton of information and resources out there that can help you and the doctors you are working with to assist you get answers.”

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It’s that time of year! Nominations are now open and being accepted now through Nov. 30 for the 2018 Joselynn Badman Ambassador of the Year Award. Do you know someone who has gone above and beyond in spreading pain awareness this year? Help U.S. Pain recognize pain warriors who actively spread awareness while inspiring others to educate and empower their pain community.

Nominees must be a pain ambassador or advocate with U.S. Pain. In addition, nominations must be made by someone other than the nominee; self-nominations will not be accepted.

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#PainWarriorsUnite was one of U.S. Pain’s most successful Pain Awareness Month campaigns to date! Ambassadors, advocates, and volunteers worked hard all month to create awareness on behalf of pain warriors across the country. Initiatives included the 30-Day Social Media Challenge, Daily Partner Pain Facts, proclamations, Light up the Landmarks, Beautify in Blue, awareness tables, fundraisers, and educational webinars.

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