Opioid Addiction Increases Post Surgery

29 Jun

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A new study has linked those who have had a back surgery or joint replacement surgery to a higher risk of opioid use and dependence post surgery. The study shows that a significant percentage of patients who have gone under the knife continue to take very potent prescription opioid painkillers for months even years after their initial procedure.

These findings help to prove that when joint replacement surgery is increasingly common there is a correlation in quickly rising rates of opioid overdoses in the United States. The most common prescription opioid painkillers include drugs such as OxyContin, Vicodin, fentanyl and Percocet.

A recent autopsy report showed that music legend, Prince, died after taking fentanyl, a powerful synthetic opioid painkiller. The artist was said to have suffered from severe hip pain and used the synthetic opioid to alleviate his pain after years of performing intense acrobatics during his stage performances.

In this study, researchers followed 574 patients who were undergoing knee or hip replacement surgery. Approximately 30 percent of these patients were taking potentially addictive opioid painkillers before their surgery. Among this group, 53 percent of knee patients and 35 percent of hip patients were still taking the narcotics six months after their surgery.

This study also found that among patients who refused to take opioids prior to having surgery, 8 percent of knee surgery patients and 4 percent of hip surgery patients were still taking the painkillers six months after receiving their joint replacement.

The strongest predictor of long-term opioid use and dependence among the study participants came from those patients who were taking high doses of the opioid painkillers before joint replacement surgery.

The results show clearly that some patients will continue to use opioids despite improvements in their pain.

Some patients who did not use opioids before joint replacement will still become chronic users after the surgery. And continued opioid painkiller use post joint replacement surgery is much more common than previously believed.

Stay positive and exude gratitude!

11 May

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Happiness is an active choice that we make each moment of every day. Abraham Lincoln once said: “Most people are about as happy as they make their minds to be.” It is true that your family genetics, general health, brain structure, exercise levels and other external factors play into your happiness, but a positive mental outlook can make all the difference. In your everyday personal life and in the workplace when you make a serious effort to increase positive emotions and self-perception you not only help yourself but your help all of the people close to you as well. Tell people how much they mean to you more often, say ‘thank you’ more, smile and live in the moment. Dwelling on the past or worrying about the future are not only unhealthy but they are unproductive ventures as well.

Do all you can each day to reframe negative thinking into a new positive outlook. It’s all in how you look at things! When asked if the cup is half empty or half full respond with, “At least I have a cup!”

Create opportunities to express gratitude as much as you can.  Help yourself and others by shifting focus to what works in life and appreciating it instead of dwelling on what doesn’t. Creating a personal culture of gratitude and appreciation can dispel doubts and negativity in your environment. This allows you and those around you to shift perspectives on life and stay on the bright side.

Try a simple method to stay positive:  reflect on the past day, week, or month and think about three people who have helped you during that time. Maybe they have done something for you that you could not have done for yourself. Maybe they said something helpful or insightful. Or they just listened and acted as a sounding board. Sit for a few minutes and notice the feelings that emerge when you focus on the kind and generous contributions others make in your life. Acknowledge the interdependence between your current level of well-being and success, and the generosity and contribution of those around you. This will help open everyone’s eyes to the natural reality of gratitude leading to happiness.


6 Apr

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Many of us make new year’s resolutions at the end of each year and find that a few weeks into our new gym routine or diet regimen we begin to falter and fade back into our old unwanted habits. One of the very best ways to stay on track with your new goals, especially when you are an addict in recovery, is to create a plan that will help keep you motivated. There will always be struggles and moments when you aren’t sure you can go on but when you have a plan you can quickly regain your footing. Read on to learn a few great tips on how to make a plan and stick to it!

Make a list of the reasons why you are making the change:

You have committed to making a change. Great! Now you need to stay motivated. First thing you need to do is make a list of all the positive reasons why this life-change will benefit you and what those benefits are. Make a few copies of this list and put them in different places that you know you will see every day. Some reasons don’t need to be written down but instead could be represented by a picture of someone you love or the person who motivates you to stay with your goals. These images and your list will keep you focused on the positive benefits your new goals will create in your life.

Make another list of things that encourage you:

What motivates or encourages you? Is it a song or a short video? Maybe someone famous or someone who has accomplished the very same goal you are in the process of achieving? Make a habit of listening to the song that pushes you or watching the video that encourages you whenever you are struggling. I have found that Youtube.com has thousands of inspirational videos that will motivate you. Here are a few of my favorites:

Lean on your friends, family and your sponsor:

Everyone needs a healthy support system of family and friends, whether you are in recovery or not, who will help you along the way. Remember who will push you to be better in this group and make a point to speak to them regularly about your progress or even your lack of progress. Your sponsor is an excellent well of strength and encouragement, so use them as much as you feel the need to. They will give you the pep-talk that you need to correct your course and realign with your commitments. You can even schedule when you plan on interacting with your sponsor or motivators each week to stay honest.

Start writing in a daily journal:

There will be hills and valleys along your path to change. Writing your daily gains and losses is a healthy way to keep track of how you are doing on a daily basis. This action also makes you much more accountable for your actions and inactions. You will see when you miss an activity or a goal and will be more inclined to make up the activity at a later time instead of just forgetting about it. Listing the reasons why you missed doing something you were supposed to do can be an eye opener in and of itself. You will learn what works for you and what doesn’t, what triggers you and what doesn’t.

Find a home group and attend regularly:

Our family, friends and sponsors are an excellent start to a strong support group but attending a regular group AA meeting is also a major step in the right direction. Listening to the hardships and accomplishments of your peers in recovery is a powerful thing that will push you even more. Sharing your own losses and gains with others is another great way to stay focused.

Treat yourself the in the best way possible every day. Your goal is not to be perfect but rather to consistently strive to improve your physical and mental health, your quality of life and your personal relationships. Stay sober and take the next indicated step and all else will to fall into place. Everything is NOT going to go the way you planned, but if you can continue to strive towards your goals, you will be succeeding on your path every single day.

Tips to tame stress

25 Mar

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Are you irritable and frustrated due to too much stress in your life? Our case managers here at Cornerstone have come up with a few simple tips to reduce your stress level and restore serenity. These tips won’t take a lot of time and can help to bring your life back into balance.

Get out and get active

Any form of physical activity will work for you as a stress reducer. You do not have to be an athlete and it doesn’t matter if you are out of shape – daily exercise is always good for you and will relieve your stress.

When you are active your endorphins will naturally increase and in turn will enhance your overall sense of happiness and well-being. Being active also naturally helps your mind to focus on your movements which takes your mind off of all the other things that may be ‘stressing you out’. Simple forms of exercise include walking, running, swimming, gardening, biking or lifting weights.

Laugh and be silly

We all know how good it can feel to have a good belly laugh. Laughter also releases endorphins that make you feel more positive and happy. So tell a few bad jokes or watch a good comedy – it will definitely make you feel better.

Connect with friends and family

Our instinct when stressed may be to isolate from others in order to deal with it but this is actually the opposite of what you should do to deal with your stress. You should reach out to others, friends and family, and make connections socially. This works due to offering your mind a distraction from the thoughts that are causing your stress and also will provide support from others in dealing with your ups and downs. Stay out of your head, maybe even try volunteering. By helping others we help ourselves.

Drinking Alcohol is worse for you than you thought!

2 Mar


We have all heard or read about the idea that drinking a glass of red wine per day is good for the human body due to certain chemicals contained within it. Chemicals like antioxidants and resveratrol are thought to be ‘heart healthy’ both of which red wine has in abundance. The issue is that it is unclear whether red wine is better for you than beer or liquor and it is also unclear whether the benefits outweigh the detriments.

Recently the UK Medical Chief, Sally Davies, has proposed that alcohol consumption can actually lead to a higher risk of cancer. Davies says that, “Drinking any level of alcohol regularly carries a health risk for anyone, but if men and women limit their intake to no more than 14 units a week it keeps the risk of illness like cancer and liver disease low.”

Read more HERE!

Bacon wrapped hot dog? Think again….

29 Jan

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The World Health Organization (WHO) said Monday that processed meats like hot dogs, bacon and pepperoni can increase your chance of cancer. They have confirmed that unprocessed red meat may also contribute to cancer. These processed meats have now been classified as “carcinogenic to humans” based on recent studies conducted by the WHO. These studies have linked these meats to developing colon or colorectal cancer in those who eat them.

The WHO report states that a person eating approximately 50 grams of processed meat daily has an 18% higher risk of cancer than a person who doesn’t.  Although the risks are small this new information should be considered when planning your meals.

For more on this trending topic read CNN’s article here.

Don’t Fear the Fat!

20 Oct


Everyday we are inundated with ads, pictures and articles telling us what to eat and what not to eat. Eating trends change daily as new studies and knowledge come to light regarding what is good for you and what is not. Most of this information also revolves around weight loss and doing all we can to look and feel our best. So when it comes to the subject of fats we need to be informed about the latest findings in order to make the best choices about what we eat.

First of all – not all fats are bad for you, and second – your body NEEDS fat to function properly. The trick is in choosing the correct types of fats to eat while reducing or removing others. We have listed 5 of the good fats that we all should be eating regularly and which foods contain them.


For those of us with high cholesterol, an increase in monounsaturated fats will be extremely beneficial. Recent studies have proven that these fats can lower LDL or bad cholesterol while boosting your HDL or good cholesterol levels. Where can you find these miracle fats? They are found in poultry, avocados and a variety of different oils including olive oil and avocado oil. A crunchier source of these healthy fats can be found in hazelnuts, cashews and almonds.


Polyunsaturated fats are known for reducing cholesterol and can also reduce high blood pressure. These fats can be found in different oils like soy, sunflower and safflower oils. They can also be found in dietary supplements and some vitamin blends.


CLA research has found that by eating foods containing this type of healthy fat and hitting the gym around 5 hours per week can speed up body fat loss. CLA can be found in all grass fed meats and poultry and also in eggs and dairy products.


A recent study found that by switching from using olive oil to using MCT oil can greatly increase weight loss including intra-abdominal fat located in your midsection. Abundant sources of this good fat can be found in coconut oil and palm oil.


Fish oil has been shown to improve mental health in those who add it via eating more fish or taking a fish oil supplement on a regular basis. Fish oil has also been proven to help combat heart disease.



7 Healthy Nuts You Should Be Eating

1 Oct

GRAPHIC7 Healthy Nuts You Should Be Eating


Healthy nuts…and we are not talking about psychopaths who hang out at the local gym! These delicious snacks – especially raw tree nuts like cashews, almonds and walnuts have been linked to better heart health, weight loss and control, lower cholesterol and lower risk of developing cancer!

The problem is that we Americans eat too few of these healthy nuts on a regular basis to gain any of the benefits they would provide. Nuts have gotten a bad name due to the misinterpretation that they are fattening or that they contain bad saturated fats. Read on and be informed:


1 / 9   Walnuts: Fight Inflammation


Containing the most antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids of any other nut, walnuts help us by protecting our bodies from internal damage and inflammation that leads to cancer, premature aging and heart disease. Walnuts are excellent for those of us who do not like fish as they contain the same healthy omega-3 fatty acids as fish do without the fishy flavor! Lastly, the manganese content can help to reduce PMS symptoms which can be great for both men and women if you know what I mean!


Serving info: About 7 walnuts = 180 calories, 17 grams fat


2 / 9   Almonds: Good for Digestive Health


Coming in at around three grams of fiber per ounce, almonds are a great source of fiber and have the highest content of vitamin E when compared to other nuts. Almonds have also been found to help maintain a healthy weight and promote weight loss. Almonds have been shown to decrease bad LDL cholesterol levels and can increase the levels of healthy bacteria in our intestines which boost our immune system efficiency.


Serving info: Roughly 23 almonds = 170 calories, 15 grams fat


3 / 9   Cashews: Increase Brainpower


Rich in zinc and iron, cashews can help to prevent anemia, boost immune health and good vision. Cashews are also an excellent source of magnesium which improves memory function and guards against memory loss related to aging.


Serving info:  18 nuts = approximately 165 calories, 13 grams fat


4 / 9   Pecans: For Healthy Arteries


Pecans are loaded with antioxidants which helps prevent plaque buildup in your arteries. They also lower bad LDL cholesterol by around 30 percent when eaten regularly. These healthy nuts can improve brain function and overall health and are packed with vitamin E which can fight off the onset and progression of neurological diseases like ALS.


Serving info: About 18 halves = 200 calories, 20 grams fat


5 / 9   Brazil Nuts: Protects us from Cancer


Brazil nuts are bursting with the mineral selenium which helps fight against cancers of the prostate, bone and breast. These nuts inhibit the growth of prostate cancer in men, but watch your overall intake as high levels of selenium can become harmful to the human body. Keep your intake to about one serving or less to be safe.


Serving info: 5 to 6 nuts = 185 cals, 18 grams fat


6 / 9   Macadamia Nuts: The Most Monounsaturated Fats


While macadamia nuts may be the most calorie-dense they also hold the most monounsaturated fats per serving of any other nuts. These MUFA’s lower bad LDL cholesterol and lower blood pressure. Macadamia nuts also lower triglyceride levels and overall cholesterol by around 10 percent when added to your daily diet.


Serving info: About 10 nuts = 200 cals, 22 grams fat


7 / 9   Pistachios: The Skinny


Pistachios have less than 4 calories each and the effort their shells make us put forth just to crack them can make these tasty nuts the most diet friendly of the bunch. They can be difficult to crack and this effort in just getting the the actual nut slows our consumption pace and allows the body to feel full before we have eaten too many. These nuts have also been linked to a decreased lung cancer risk due to their high levels of gamma-tocopherol (vitamin E). Pistachios are also loaded with potassium and are a great source of vitamin B6 which can enhance your mood and your immune system.


Serving info: About 50 nuts = 160 cals, 14 grams fat