Thursday, August 31, 2006


With the market you get to buy what's in season. These are juicy. Posted by Picasa

I go straight to Faith's stall before her spelt, sourdough fruit and nut bread sells out. More a meeting place than just a market, so friendly. Posted by Picasa

Organic doesn't have to mean expensive. The skin on these bananas is rough but they're perfect inside. Unblemished ones were $4/kg. Posted by Picasa
To market to market a Thursday treat. Rain didn't stop dedicated growers' market devotees and a touch of vertigo didn't stop this little bird.

Vertigo - an easy treatment

Vertigo! When I fell over getting out of bed this morning it explained my nausea for the past couple of weeks. My lifesaver, physio, Libby explained again the manoever to correct positional vertigo. It's called positional because moving in a certain way triggers an attack eg turning over in bed, bending down, looking up, sneezing. I fell down steep stairs, hitting my head as I rolled, finally breaking my right wrist, the incident which caused crps. Hitting my head caused vertigo in my case. Vertigo is not crps and thankfully a simple manoever fixes it. What works for me is to fold my arms across my chest holding my shoulders, sit on the edge of my bed, turn my head in the opposite direction from the side to which I over balance and drop my back on to the bed. I lie on the bed on my back, head to one side and feet still on the floor. I stay there at least 30 seconds, then get slowly up. I make no sudden movement, look up or bend down for the rest of the day. I've done this once only today and feel much better. I'll do it again before bed time. A google search for "benign positional vertigo exercises" will help explain.

Not a focused shot but you can picture Shikara's charm, a veritable treasure trove. Posted by Picasa

Gannets focused on fishing used the wind to their advantage. Posted by Picasa
Southern right whales are rare as this far north. Tuesday local radio reported a mother and her calf near the wreck just off main beach. We went there yesterday morning early and sure enough an enormous mother with what we thought her new born were right in front of the car park about half way to Julien Rocks. Well rain teamed down on a calm sea so we watched through flat out windscreen wipers. Couldn't take a photo so we went to one of my favourite nurseries and returned an hour later at break in the weather. Wild wind whipped the sea into white caps under an ominous sky. The whales were probably there but no photos yesterday, just of the wold sea. We also popped into to Shikra Design where I added $7.95 brass candle snuffers to my Xmas stash. It's a place where you could go wild for choice.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Mirror therapy - the virtual body

Phantom Limb pain patients have apparently been treated using the mirror therapy. Their missing limb is very painful. If they see a mirror image of the other limb moving without pain apparently the patients symptoms are relieved. For people who are in too much pain to move or use mirrors I believe they are encouraged to visualize the limb moving without pain. I am thinking this might help with the burning in my back.
Here I've raised my left leg out to the side (an action which causes no pain) while I watch its mirror image move out to the side. In the mirror I see my "right" leg moving without pain. If I had moved my right leg out to the side it would have caused me pain. My brain registers no pain while being tricked into thinking I'm moving my right leg. Posted by Picasa
This is a photo of my left leg and its mirror image. I have the mirror against my body at right angles to it so that my right side is hidden on the other side of the mirror. I watch the mirror image of my left leg which my brain registers as my right leg. Posted by Picasa

Mirror therapy - my way

Mirrors therapy my way. My left leg is still pain free. On all other occasions when pain dominates a part of my body it becomes unrelenting and lasts, weeks, months and sometimes years. I still find it hard to believe that looking into a mirror while I move the opposite part to the painful one in a way that would cause pain to the other side actually calms the nerve firing in the painful side in days not weeks. My daughter suggested I post photos with an explanation. I read the book "Explain Pain" and tried what I thought might work.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Distraction - coping with chronic pain

"Distraction! Distraction! Distraction!" to quote a poster on the Australian rsd web forum, is the best way of coping with chronic pain. Making this blog is proving to be a great distraction. I'm having fun working on it for a short time and coming back again and again. A little often and varying what I do works best for me.

The Bay from the lighthouse. Towards the horizen are Julian Rocks. I plan to go snorkling there one day. Posted by Picasa

Whales that were near the kyakers. My husband and I have seen them dive under the kayaks and come up the other side. I'll try for a better shot soon. This was last week. Posted by Picasa

Kestrel watches as kyakers remain motionless, whales close by. Posted by Picasa

Local lad taking advantage of a windy day a couple of weeks ago. Posted by Picasa

I love the way the water appears in front of me as I walk to my beach. Posted by Picasa

Monday, August 28, 2006

Sympathetic/parasympathetic - balancing act

Life is bliss! Most days I walk along our pristine beach looking across to Cape Byron lighthouse where whales display, breach and whack their huge pectoral fins playfully as they journey south.
Thursdays we go to the growers' market in Byron where we replenish our stocks of fresh organic fruits, nuts, vegies, meat, fish and my personal favourite, sourdough fruit and nut bread. When I work out how to post photos I'll share this with you. A trip to Byron, 15 minutes from home, is never complete without a visit to the Cape, Australia's most easterly point. The Cape has a special feel which draws people there again and again. Sometimes we drop in to Wategoes or The Pass before heading back to town for a coffee. Friday we are back in Byron, this time for yoga exercises and breathing with a very special physiotherapist. This lady's taught me something which has helped greatly. In essence, if you breathe out twice as long as you breath in you'll support the parasympathetic nervous system. This has a calming effect both emotionally and physically. I can reduce my blood pressure by 20 points in 15 minutes of breathing this way. She also understands that crps needs a whole body balanced therapy approach. I've learned that a little often allows my body to become comfortable with movement. I'll give you an example.
For at least 2 years I've had reduced movement in my left shoulder. It was suggested I lay flat on the ground with my arms at my side. I raised my right arm up and over my head to the ground whilst breathing in, and then lowered the arm breathing out more slowly than in. I did this on alternate sides with the left arm going as far as comfortable. I did this 15 times once a day. After 3 weeks I could move my arm as freely on the left side as the right. I need to keep doing this as my left side takes the strain of my inability to use my right hand properly (due to stiffness post fracture). Of course after yoga exercises we are drawn again to the Cape. Then, when we get home the four legged human guilt trips us till we take him to the dog off leash beach where he rounds up the waves. Picture coming.

This works for me. Seek the advice of treating professionals.

Essential oils making a difference

Oils ain't oils! My very good kind friend known to many to have power to heal has searched long and hard for the right essential oils to stimulate the limbic system, elevate the mind and provide a feeling of balance and grounding. I have only had one application of the oils so far but the effect was amazing. I am a sceptic in general and conservative in my thinking as are many of my vintage but after my experience with mirror therapy I am more open in my thinking. My friend put a few drops of oil in her hand and gently massaged my feet. The process was brief and I did not expect anything to come of it. As part of my autonomic disturbance I have very labile blood pressure. I guessed that my bp would be raised as it always is when we have visitors. I also thought that if I got any benefit from the oils my bp would drop (calming of symptoms means less stress/lower bp). As I hoped my bp droped by 20/20 within 30minutes of application of the oils. Several hours later I was less anxious and more comfortable. That night I slept better, in longer blocks of sleep, but better than that next day I could think. It was the first time in a couple of years that I felt alert and in control and able to remember things. This syndrome has dumbed me down. The feeling only lasted one day but it showed promise. My friend said that I was probably more grounded. I feel pretty bad again at present but look forward to seing what the next application will bring.

Mirrors still working!

Yeah!! The mirror treatment 's still holding. My left shoulder is still painful and spasming but I repeat the treatment three or four times a day and each time it calms a little.

Mirrors - something worth trying

Going back two weeks I was in agony on my left side. What started in my shoulder quickly included my head, eye, teeth, body, leg and foot. My nerves were firing and I was nauseous with the pain. I cannot take medication and going on past experience I knew this would last for weeks. Some weeks ago a physiotherapist I had been seeing bailed me up in the local shopping centre. He was excited about a conference he'd been to about "the virtual body" and the relationship of the brain to pain. He offered to loan me "Explain Pain" by David Butler and Lorimer Moseley. I read the book which explains very well how the brain is changed in the case of chronic pain. It mentioned that children who are born without limbs can feel those limbs. Phantom pain is well known so it is easy to understand that it is the brain that feels pain. In crps the brain chronically and excessively feels pain. There is much research in various countries on mirror therapy for chronic pain. This was explained in enough detail in this book for me to work how to use the method. Previously I've had general body and back pain but not extreme pain in one side of the body. So two weeks ago I stood side on to a stand alone mirror and watched my mirror image while I moved my right arm from my side, up and above my headand down again. I did this 10 times all the time watching my mirror image, my left side hidden behind the mirror. I felt my left shoulder relax and put it down to distraction. An hour or so later I noticed the edge had gone off the pain and with it the nausea. A couple of hours later I repeated the process just as before. I was aware that evening that I was in less pain. I repeated the exercise the next day and day after and by the third day the pain was only in my shoulder as it originally was. Then my right leg became very painful. I tried the mirror trick only hiding my right side and moved my left leg (which was by then pain free). I didn't feel the leg relaxed as I had with the shoulder but the pain was a little less. Again I repeated the exercise and after a few days the leg returned to normal.

What I do works for me. Seek advice of treating professionals.

crps/rsd a better life

What is crps/rsd?

In my opinion it's a shitty diagnosis, a burning ring of fire. Complex regional pain syndrome, formally known as reflex sympathetic dystrophy is the name given to a collection of symptoms the worst of which is continuing pain out of the ordinary for the event that caused it. Abnormal changes in temperature, colour, sweating, hair and nail growth, in addition to ongoing pain set crps apart from other pain syndromes. The initiating event may be as simple as hitting your elbow. Light touch is unpleasant or painful, touch that might normally be painful is excessively so. Early diagnosis and treatment usually results in a better outcome. In many sufferers pain persists for years.
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