Monday, December 31, 2007

Happy New Year!

This poster was in Tweed Heads today.
Like the sentiment.
Publish Post

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Inspiring post on Neurotropian - click here to read.

I recommend you read Matthias's post on Neurotropian, "Play as if your life depends on it".

This post goes beyond "actively seeking happiness" into the realm of embracing joyfulness. Important message for people with pain.
Thanks Matthias for another great post.

Inspiring post on Neurotropian


Where old meets older.
Part of the old Newrybar Bakery now an award winning cafe.
Little village shop - Newrybar
Crashing waves.
Cosy Corner today.
This is Lennox Head today.
Our beaches are closed as we have severe weather conditions courtesy of a Low just north of here.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Click on a tag to the left to bring up all posts on that topic.

Today I added a list of tags to the left of this blog. You will notice that there are tags under posts. If you wish to read more on a topic you can click on the tag under the post or on a tag from the tag list.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

I wish you and yours a truly wonderful Xmas. For those of you suffering no matter what the cause, I wish you comfort and peace. For those of you caught up in the rush, I wish you calm and serenity. Happy Xmas to all.

Jeisea

Not all mirror therapy is the same.

If you google "mirror therapy" you come up with a range of therapies all calling themselves "mirror therapy". Some mirror therapy has been developed to combat body image problems and involves face on examination of yourself in a mirror and "telling yourself" that this or that body part is OK. This, I believe, is a form of training and psychologically based.

It is not the same as the mirror therapy which was invented by Vilayanur S Ramachandran (see link to left of page) to help alleviate "phantom limb" pain. Further studies in the UK and in Australia have proven this type of mirror therapy to help allieviate the pain and symptoms of complex regional pain syndrome. Just as the brain keeps responding with pain messages in the case of phantom limb so too does the brain send pain and pain response messages in the case of CRPS. These messages are not in response to something being wrong (eg dropping a hammer on your foot). The messages are brain driven or created in the brain in the same way as the brain creates the message to tell you heart to beat. You cannot consciously tell your heart to stop beating any more than you can tell yourself to stop the pain. It isn't just pain messages that the brain sends out in CRPS, it's protective messages because of pain eg inflammation, swelling, sweating, vascular messages, colour and temperature changes. These things are under the control of the autonomic nervous system - out of our conscious control.

It hurts and our learned behaviour is to protect the hurting part by stopping things touching it and moving less or resting. This is the best thing to do if the pain was from an injury but it's not. I know that I need to override the normal pain response and move normally and not protect the hurt part. It isn't easy. That's where the mirrors come in. The brain message is wrong. I cannot take pain medicine but even if I could I'd only be treating the symptoms of pain not the cause. The cause is these false messages. By looking at the mirror image of the body part opposite to the one that hurts moving, the brain gets visual stimulus of a moving pain free limb. The brain is being retrained. For me there is usually no instant difference. About 10 minutes after I've finished I notice that I don't feel quite as bad. I do it again and again. It takes effort and I need to keep doing it for several days or weeks. I treat each flare up immediately before it spreads (as it very quickly does for me). Doing this gives the best result. When the pain stops, it is gone for good. If the pain is in the same place again, I know something has triggered it and follow the same process again.
Mirror therapy isn't the whole answer.

  • I do physical therapy every day in small amounts throughout the day. Physical therapy is essential to regain lost function. I try not to over do it (very hard).
  • I breath out twice as long as in for 15 minutes every day to activate the parasympathetic nervous system.
  • I have laser acupuncture and use self hypnosis.
  • I eat foods high in antioxidants (prunes are highest) to deal with the free radicals caused by stress of coping with CRPS. I "tweaked" my diet so that I have more antioxidants especially Vitamin C. Vitamin C demolishes the free radicals involved in inflammation.
  • I refer to my list of things that work for me when I have flare ups.

My plan is to persist until the symptoms of CRPS resolve. If interested look through my blog under archives to see explanations of what I do and photos. Click on tags under posts to bring up other posts on that topic.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Season's Greetings

For How to Cope with Pain's December blog Carnival http://www.howtocopewithpain.org/
I thought I'd share this photo of Doc by our Christmas tree . If you look carefully at the tree you'll see the decoration Doc has decided to add, a broken tennis ball. Last year he watched us put each decoration on the tree and then ran out to find his own decoration and threw it on the tree. Co-incidence - maybe. Endearing - definitely.

Those of you who have followed my blog know that this year has been a journey from the pits to wellness for me. Along the way I've been helped my many of the people who spend their lives helping others find pain relief through practice and research. Finally this Christmas I'm in much less pain and well able to enjoy the company of friends and family, the first time in many years. The things that have helped me most are
  • realizing that I needed to stop looking for what could be done for me but work out what I could do for myself.
  • understanding that physical therapy is essential to recovery
  • understanding of the part the brain plays in pain and working out ways to retrain the brain
  • learning about mirror therapy and the things that support it, like controlled breathing, self hypnosis and acupuncture
  • altering my diet a bit so that I "eat smart" and so deal with harmful free radicals
  • choosing to put a positive spin on whatever happens in life.
If this blog has helped even one of you I am happy. I haven't reached the end of this journey yet but I believe I can see the end of the road. I sincerely hope that those of you who have pain find relief soon. Be comforted by the fact that science offers hope.

Be safe, in less pain and happy this Christmas.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Tagged - The Meme Challenge

I've been tagged for a meme challenge by http://www.howtocopewithpain.org/(a fantastic pain support website).

Wikipedia says that "
meme is a unit of cultural information, the building block of cultural evolution". The rules of this meme are

* Link to your tagger, and post these rules on your blog
* Share 7 facts about yourself on your blog, some random, some weird
* Tag 6 people at the end of your post by links to their blogs
* Let them know they’re tagged by leaving a comment on their blog

7 facts about me.


  • I'm a wannabe grandma but my two adult children have no plans to oblige.
  • I've been very happily married for 36 years.
  • I fell between the wheels of a train and the platform when I was five years old but I did not want to interrupt adult conversation to tell them. However as luck would have it my Dad saw me as the train started to move and pulled me out by the seat of my pants.
  • My family gave me a book called "The Art of Fart" as I always crack up at windy jokes. This stems from the time I had a little bit of wind in church as a young teenager. I looked meaningfully at my sister and let her take all the blame.
  • As a teenager I had a vision of myself sitting in a bus in a place I had rarely visited. When I looked out the window I saw an old man in his stripey blue pyjamas lying on the beach adjacent to the road. The bus driver got out only to find the man was dead. Two weeks after the vision there was an item in the newspaper of an old man in stripey blue pyjamas found dead on the beach by a bus driver the previous morning. As this wasn't the first death I had predicted, I made a conscious decision not to cultivate this "talent".

  • I've had a few "out of body" experiences either when very ill or in serious danger. I can tell you for me it was an ethereal experience, not at all unpleasant or frightening.
  • On his death bed my father told my sister and I that we have a half brother. We're still trying to locate him. He was from my father's first marriage.

Here are the blogs I'm tagging for this challenge.

Brilliant writer: Writer's Whirlpool
http://writerswhirlpool.blogspot.com/

Living with Chronic Pain
http://www.freewebs.com/kgangel0810/forumletschat.htm

Excellent blog help site - Yellow Shoes
http://rufuswhite.blogspot.com/

Great web site - Blogging for dummies
http://tipsforbloggers.blogspot.com/

Fantastic organizer site Only2clicks
http://www.only2clicks.com/blog/2007/07/buzz.html

Thursday, December 06, 2007

"In the doctor's dimension" - more brilliant Usiku speak. Click here for the link.

I've posted previously about Usiku's new book, Eloquence http://www.usiku.net/
Usiku also hosts a website
Writer's Whirlpool
where he posted his thoughts about the waiting game at the doctor's office, a daunting experience at the best of times.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

The second website I wish to share with you is "Neurotopian". Click here for the link.

Matthias Weinberger is a Physiotherapist extraordinaire in my opinion. He is passionate about the new science of pain management and promotes awareness and educates in this brilliant blog. Matthias is also a very talented photographic artist. I encourage you to bookmark his site and visit often. I go back and read his posts several times as there is so much good sense in what he posts.

At present I am very interested in his series of six posts about Mirror Therapy.

However before you read these the video of Ramachandran before Mirror Box Therapy Part I is worth watching.

  • Mirror Box Therapy Part I describes how easily the brain can be changed by vision. Click on rotating spiral to show you how. He presents the science of "Somatosensory maps being re-modeled so that the pain is gone (forever)" because the brain is restructured. Please note that from my observation, if pain returns as soon as you stop mirror therapy, there is an ongoing pathology or mechanical problem which needs addressing. Note the fantastic results with Iraq veterans in Walter Reid trials.
  • http://neurotopian.blogspot.com/2007/11/mirror-box-therapy-part-i.html
  • Mirror Box Therapy Part III talks about the virtual body in the brain and distortion of images. In my case if I have had pain for a long time my image of my body part becomes distroted eg I become convinced that my leg is swollen. Measuring shows me that it's not but in my mind it is. Mirror therapy stops the pain and returns the image in my brain to normal. Again this section is interesting and explained in such a way that it is easy to understand.
  • http://neurotopian.blogspot.com/2007/11/mirror-box-therapy-part-iii.html
  • Mirror Box Therapy Part IV specifically talks about CRPS and mentions the limb laterality left/right recognition problem. This is the best explanation I've found about this. In previous posts I talked about Noi Group's Recognize program. I think the cards they now have would have been much better for me as I have a big problem with recognizing left and right hands. This post is devoted to feedback from the body to the brain and is most important. I recommend you take time and read this section.
  • http://neurotopian.blogspot.com/2007/12/mirror-box-therapy-part-iv.html
  • Mirror Box Therapy Part VI - as the expression goes "from pain to possibilities". This section is just fascinating. Read it and bookmark "Neurotopian" in your favourites. I'll be checking regularly and hope at some point there will be the opportunity to get updates by email as you can with Blogger.
  • http://neurotopian.blogspot.com/2007/12/mirror-box-therapy-part-vi.html

Sunday, December 02, 2007

The first website I will discuss is "How to Cope with Pain" (click here for the link)

How to Cope with Pain is a chronic pain site which supports and informs sufferers, families, carers and professionals. Run by a practicing pain management specialist who has felt herself the burden of chronic pain, HTCwP is informative and practical in its approach.

It is the first US website I have found to embrace the new science of pain management balancing what is already known with what is cutting edge science.

  • HTCwP posts about strategies for coping with pain and also the anguish which goes with chronic pain. One of my favourite posts about this is about the benefits of journal writing. This blog is my journal about what works for me to cope with pain & symptoms. Dr. Robert Emmons, of the University of California who has written a book about Gratitude and Happiness, suggests daily journal writing about what we are grateful for on that day. This keeps us focused on the positive. Here's HTCwP's post.
  • http://www.howtocopewithpain.org/blog/143/how-writing-can-help-you-cope-with-difficult-events/
  • Mindfulness is in effect an awareness of what is. It's a technique of fostering acceptance by being aware of only the here and now without judgment. If you are mindfully eating chocolate you are aware of the smoothness, the rich taste, the way it slips around your mouth and sticks to the sides of your mouth, as against eating chocolate whilst writing your shopping list or watching TV or chatting. HTCwP's post about mindfulness has a wonderful explanation about how Mindfulness relates to pain. This is definitely recommended reading.
  • http://www.howtocopewithpain.org/blog/72/do-you-practice-these-2-types-of-mindfulness-to-help-your-pain/
  • Finally I'd like to draw your attention to the series of interviews on HTCwP. As you know my interview is included however I would like you to read Dr Lorimer Moseley's interview about the new science of pain. Dr Moseley co wrote "the exceptional book "Explain Pain" with David Butler. Another exceptionally talented physiotherapist is Matthias Weinberger, a German physical therapist who has a great understanding of newer treatments for pain. Both of these therapists work have embraced the new pain science, Dr Moseley as a researcher and Matthias as a practitioner. This new understanding of the role the brain plays in pain and how we can retrain the brain to break the pain cycle is very exciting and offers great hope for sufferers of chronic pain. I recommend you read the interviews by scrolling down this link.
  • http://www.howtocopewithpain.org/blog/category/interview/
I believe knowledge is power and I thank How to Cope with Pain for sharing the knowledge which empowers us to help ourselves.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Websites which help me greatly

In the following posts I would like to share with you some of the websites which have helped me greatly.
I will post about each individually and highlight posts which really interest me. I encourage you to visit these sites and click on their archives. Look at the topics and seek information to help you.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Bass fishing spot.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Gratitude - recent rain, green pastures.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Eloquence - truely inspiring writing


Writing with passion Usiku's new book's title aptly describes his work. I encourage you to visit his website and consider adding his inspiring, thought provoking book to your collection. I hope Usiku's writing inspires you also to write. Creative pursuits, because they require great concentration, are a wonderful distraction form pain.

Eloquence is a refreshing poetic alternative containing literary poetry, prose and short stories in layman’s terms.

The fifty collected works vividly capture appreciation and love for self, family, courage, nature, spirit and creative processes.

Eloquence has just been published and would make a wonderful gift in time for Christmas.

Only the first 500 books will be numbered.

Visit http://usiku.net.

Art inspiring Life

Art inspiring Art

ISBN 13: 978-0-9794450-0-2

$19.95 Hardcover


New support group - hope-4crpsrsd

There is a new support group hope-4crpsrsd. It is an inspirational Christian based group founded on the belief that even though you have crps/rsd there is hope and a better life is possible beyond this syndrome. As a Christian group, hope-4crpsrsd believes in the power of prayer. For the link click on the title of this post. It will also be under "articles of interest" to the left of this blog.

Please note this group is an American based group owned by Belle and Kate, committed Christians. Please note I no longer have a support group. RSD/CRPS taking control is closed. Personally an exclusive religious group is not really my thing but I join many groups to offer them support. I post in many groups from time to time.

Although I found having my own group with Rain was very rewarding, it was time demanding. I have moved on to other things and have no desire to ever own another group.

Other groups I have joined are

http://www.ozrsd.org/

http://www.rsdsupport.com/

http://neurotalk.psychcentral.com/index.php

Support groups have a great part to play in helping and informing sufferers. In the spirit of thanks this week I wish to thank all support group owners and managers for the wonderful job they do.



Friday, November 23, 2007

Byron-Zone

I recently created a new blog about the 42 towns and villages that make up the Shire of Byron. More than just one town
Byron Zone will take you to Beyond Byron Bay and let you see through my eyes my home.

Thursday, November 22, 2007


How to Cope with Pain is now offering a monthly Pain-Blog Carnival during the last week of every month, to include each month's best posts. November's carnival is now posted. New bloggers are always welcome to contribute.

As part of How to Cope with Pain's November "Thanksgiving" blog carnival I am reposting this inspiring video. Alissa has much to give thanks for in her remarkable recovery and the family friends and dedicated therapists who guided her along the way.

Click on this link to see what other bloggers have to say about "Giving Thanks"

http://www.howtocopewithpain.org/blog/162/giving-thanks/

Wikipedia talks about Gratitude - thanksgiving. I though you might like to know about this from a Buddhist point of view.

The Pali word which we translate in English as gratitude is katannuta. The word katannuta consists of two parts: kata which means that which has been done, especially that which has been done to one, to oneself, and annuta which means knowing or recognising. So katannuta means knowing or recognizing what has been done to one, that is to say knowing and recognising what has been done to one for one's benefit. Hence the connotation of the Pali word is rather different from its English equivalent. The connotation of the English gratitude is rather more emotional (we feel gratitude, feel grateful, etc.) but the connotation of katannuta is rather more intellectual, more cognitive. It makes it clear that what we call gratitude involves an element of knowledge - knowledge of what has been done to us or for us for our benefit. If we do not know that something has benefited us, we will not feel gratitude.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Medical News Today - Huge cost of Pain.

Scroll down the page on the left for "Medical News Today articles which are updated daily.
Of particular note is the article about the enormous cost of Pain in Australia.

Money is available from private concerns such as drug companies to trial new medications. However I believe there is NO money available for research to back up the work already done by people such as
Dr Lorimer Moseley & David Butler.

The new science of pain management offers real hope for sufferers of pain. The brain retraining treatments such as guided imagery, limb laterality recognition and mirror visual feedback are non-drug and non-invasive. As such they do not attract funding from private concerns.

If the cost to Australia is so huge isn't it about time money was spent to validate the current findings and to educate the providers of pain management.

In the UK webwire reported
"NAPP Pharmaceuticals, pioneers of prolonged released drugs for the relief of severe pain have purchased 2,500 Mirror Therapy Boxes for complimentary distribution to pain clinics throughout the UK."

Now is the time for public and private concerns to put their hand in their pockets, show some compassion and support trials of these new treatments.

Click on the tags below to read more about this.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Keeping a list of what helps is a very effective way of coping with chronic pain.

With CRPS/RSD I have learned to take one day at a time. Many things have helped in in my journey to wellness, the most significant of these being Mirror Visual Feedback.

Having breaks between major flare ups is a blessing and an indication that I'm on the right path. Here are some of the things I've found to help with pain and symptoms.

  • (August archives photos)
  • when doing mirror therapy pay attention to the location of most pain.(July 07)
  • if pain returns after mirror therapy has relieved the pain, look for underlying problem (October 07)
  • essential oils (still experimenting but amazed so far)
  • breathing out twice as long as in (August) I now do it for a few minutes 5 times a day instaed of once for 15 minutes.
  • resperate machine could be used to control breathing(November)
  • distraction (September archives)
  • magnesium for muscle spasm (September)
  • fish/fish oil for inflamation (September)
  • beetroot for liver protection and antidepressant (September)
  • isometric exercises to reduce pain (September)
  • epson salts warm bath (September)
  • chili cream (capsaicin)
  • heat pack (September)
  • graduated repetition of movements (September)
  • pacing
  • move it or lose it - Bollywood dancing (of sorts) August 07
  • deflated ball gives a great massage (see photo Sept)
  • butterball bath bomb (Sept)
  • water relaxes, calms,slows and improves breathing, helps sleep (Sept)
  • Caring Doctors (Sept)
  • Letting go of worries and avoiding stress (Oct)
  • Actively seeking happiness (Oct)
  • I will take vitamin C if I must have surgery as a precaution. (Nov)
  • eat nutrient rich antioxidant foods. Eas smart. (Nov)
  • use Prantal powder for hyperhydrosis (Nov)
  • make a list what works for me as a quick reference. (Nov)
  • don't despare when I have flare up. Refer to the list. (Nov)
  • Doing the same movement in different ways to reinforce that "it's ok"
  • Following a dental procedure which works for me (Nov)
  • Changing thinking, not "what can be done for me" but "what I can do for myself" (Nov)
  • Eating smart - increasing antioxidants especially vitamin C in my diet. (January )
  • Eating smart - making sure I eat a variety of high antioxidant foods including vitamin C. (March 07)
  • Taking the "glass half full" approach (October)
  • Yamamoto neuro-acupuncture (Nov 07)
  • laser acupuncture mirrors
  • Understanding that while it hurts it's not necessarily harmful!!!

I am a sufferer not a professional. These things work for me about which I am very thankful. If you think something may help you check first with your treating practitioners.

Complex Regional Pain Syndrome - CRPS/RSD - what is it?

Symptoms of sufferer to sufferer, day to day, even hour to hour, but one thing remains the same - ongoing pain out of all proportion to the inciting event. Thus is the lot of someone diagnosed with Complex Regional Pain Syndrome. A tendency to neglect the affected area sets this apart from other regional pain syndromes. This blog tells my journey in my search for understanding and my quest for recovery. It tells what works for me to help with pain and symptoms taken one day at a time.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

So Hum - meditation.

Yamamoto neuro-acupuncture holds promise for pain sufferers.

Recently my Intergrative Medical Practitioner gave me Yamamoto neuro-acupuncture for chronic head pain. On the side of my head that was pain free I felt no discomfort. However I felt significant pain on the painful side when the doctor inserted the very fine needles.

I was nervous as I've heard needle acupuncture is not suitable for CRPS/RSD sufferers. I continued to feel the needle insertion pain for several minutes. However in a short while the pain went and the muscles in my face visibly relaxed. The pain in my head did go but came back several hours later.

The thing that I have noticed most is a feeling of calm. I feel that it would be an effort to stress if that makes sense. Now whether that is due to the acupuncture or to the doctor telling me to think of the sound
so as I breathed in and hum as I took long breaths out.

I'll post more about Dr Yamamoto's acupuncture in future posts. The next post is a video about the vibrational sounds
so hum.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

I realize that people who vist this blog do so for various reasons. If you click on a tag under a post it will bring up my other posts on that topic. I'm still writing some tags but most are done.

If you have a question or wish contact then please place a comment. I moderate comments so if you put an email address I will get back to you but not post your comment so your email will not be made public. I made this blog to help myself but also to promote awareness.

Marcello (Girona Ocean Shores) - coffee with flair.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Pain - the invisable disease.

Pain is an invisible disease according to Mary Part Aardup, executive director of the US National Pain Foundation. "You don't have a crutch. You don't have a bandage. Employers don't believe you. Family members and friends don't believe you or are tired of hearing about it. And physicians often just think you're making it up. That's no way to live."

Until recently pain came a poor second in the attention and funding research received as it was considered a by product of conditions. Now it is a field of study of its own and as such can attract its own funding. Pharmaceutical companies fund research but mainly for drugs which can generate remuneration. Money needs be given for more research into non-drug, non invasive treatments such as mirror therapy. More attention needs to be paid to tackling pain from the message center instead of bandaiding the symptoms.

"Eating smart" - part of my plan for wellness from CRPS/RSD.

The Journal of the American Medical Association has reported findings of Dutch research into the effect of antioxidant supplements on mortality from 68 randomized trials with 232 606 participants. It was found that beta carotene, vitamin A and vitamin E, increased mortality.

Please notice that at present vitamin C is considered safe as it's water soluble. Even so, the best and safest way to get nutrients such as antioxidants, I believe, is through food.
My reasoning is that food comes in unique packages which provide the right combination of nutrients for the optimum use by the body.

I am personally convinced that increasing antioxidants in diet could help us with crps. My reasoning is that crps is stressful (not to mention all the other stressors in our lives). Stress, whether from pain, environmental or emotional causes, makes us oxidize. Oxidation is normal but too much produces excessive amounts of free radicals. Some free radicals cause inflammation (one problem with crps). Antioxidants demolish free radicals.

Antioxidants are thought to be most effective when consumed together.
The best way to go is to get a range of free radicals and the very best way to get them is through food. Just how to improve diet to increase antioxidant intake is what I'm working on at present.

Very briefly

  • Smart eaters consume all the carotinoids. Carotenoids create the colour in plants.Reds & yellows signifiy immune boosting carotinoids.
  • We are advised that a recommended healthy diet contains 5 veg & 2 fruit of mixed colours, 40%of diet fruit & veg, 500gm of fruit & veg daily.This of course depends on whether you have fresh or dried etc.
  • Each day eat one of each colour group, red, orange, yellow, blue/purple and white.
  • Mix colours in every meal but always try to include green and orange. The deeper the colour the higher nutrient value.
Canned or frozen fruit and veg are, I think, just as nutritious as fresh. (check additives eg sugar & salt)

I personally increase the vitimin C foods when I have acute flare ups.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Making choices is empowering.

Complex Regional Pain Syndrome involves unrelenting pain to different degrees, throughout the days. It's easy to feel out of control. It's frightening and the future can seem bleak.

For me each time I make a conscious decision about something I give myself control.
I did not make a conscious decision not to take pain medication. I had no choice. Now I'm grateful that it happened that way as I do not have the side effects of meds. That's a blessing.

It took me a long time to feel there was something I could make a conscious decision about, but now
  • I choose to exercise.
  • I choose to use a heat pack or chilli cream.
  • I choose to soak in an epson salts bath.
  • I choose to do guided imagery (Recognize)
  • I choose to do mirror therapy.
  • I choose to control my breathing to activate the parasympathetic nervous system.
  • I choose to eat smart.

I've made many more conscious decisions and with each conscious decision I become empowered. I know why I make the choices I do and I believe they will help me cope better with the pain and symptoms of crps.

"Eating smart" is part of my overall plan to ease pain and symptoms of CRPS/RSD.

The Journal of the American Medical Association has reported findings of Dutch research into the effect of antioxidant supplements on mortality from 68 randomized trials with 232 606 participants. It was found that beta carotene, vitamin A and vitamin E, increased mortality.

Please notice that at present vitamin C is considered safe as it's water soluable. Even so, the best and safest way to get nutrients such as antioxidants, I believe, is through food.
My reasoning is that food comes in unique packages which provide the right combination of nutrients for the optimum use by the body.

I am personally convinced that increasing antioxidants in diet could help us with crps. My reasoning is that crps is stressful (not to mention all the other stressors in our lives). Stress, whether from pain, environmental or emotional causes, makes us oxidize. Oxidation is normal but too much produces excessive amounts of free radicals. Some free radicals cause inflammation (one problem with crps). Antioxidants demolish free radicals.

Antioxidants are thought to be most effective when consumed together.
The best way to go is to get a range of free radicals and the very best way to get them is through food. Just how to improve diet to increase antioxidant intake is what I'm working on at present.

Very briefly

  • Smart eaters consume all the carotinoids. Carotenoids create the colour in plants.Reds & yellows signifiy immune boosting carotinoids.
  • We are advised that a recommended healthy diet contains 5 veg & 2 fruit of mixed colours, 40%of diet fruit & veg, 500gm of fruit & veg daily.This of course depends on whether you have fresh or dried etc.
  • Each day eat one of each colour group, red, orange, yellow, blue/purple and white.
  • Mix colours in every meal but always try to include green and orange. The deeper the colour the higher nutrient value.
Canned or frozen fruit and veg are, I think, just as nutritious as fresh. (check additives eg sugar & salt)

I personally increase the vitimin C foods when I have acute flare ups.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Pathways to happiness.

Many times I've mentioned "the new science of pain". I written about how the brain changes with pain. It's been shown by imaging that imagined movements or seeing movements activate the same brain pathways as if actually doing the activity, "monkey see, monkey do". From this discovery mirror therapy was developed.

It's also known that if we think negatively about our pain (this is the worst pain ever), our brain changes in an unhelpful way, just as it changes in a beneficial way when we think positively about our pain (I can cope with this).

So scientists have discovered that you can change your brain by what you imagine not just by actions. You can benefit by practicing feeling happy. The left frontal cortex, known as the seat of happiness, will be activated. Just by practicing, or imagining feeling happy, you can create the pathways to happiness.

Don't worry. Be happy.

Don't worry! Easier said than done but it's well known that stress makes all pain worse. I've found that I have to make myself let go of things that I would normally worry or be annoyed about. Not the major stuff, just the little day to day things that can get me down or make me cranky. Making a conscious decision not to dwell on things takes an effort especially when I feel justified in being upset or anxious. But feeling this way just makes me stressed and stress ramps up pain so in the end I suffer and the suffering isn't worth it.

Be happy! I make a conscious effort to seek happiness. I watch funny TV, pat my dog, love my husband, laugh with my children on the phone, ride my bike, walk along the beach wading in the water, laugh with a neighbour, share a cuppa. I also choose to look for positives in situations but I think I should avoid the news which tends to focus on gloom and doom. Endorphins are raised when we're happy. Complex Regional Pain Syndrome is a depressing condition and it takes a real effort to focus on the positives in life. I have to avoid beeing sucked down with pain and keep a conscious determination to rise above it. Life is for living. We get one go at it and I don't intend to waste it. The motto of one of the school where I 've taught was "LIVE LIFE TO THE FULL!" I plan to do just that.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

mirror therapy - the fibromyalgia connection

Medical News Today had an article about a neuiron mismatch with the chronic pain condition, fibromyalgia.
http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/87058.php
Dr Candy McCabe at Bath Universsity in the UK has shown that using mirror therapy a mismatch could be identified between what the brain sees through the sense of sight and what it feels through the motor system. It states that they have had some success by using this system.
This was achieved by helping the brain to see a limb moving freely without pain - although in reality it is a reflection of their pain-free limb using a mirror.

More evidence of the effectiveness of mirror therapy ease or resolve pain.

Medical News Today has topical current research. The latest headlines can be seen to the left of this blog.

New alternative treatment for pain.

Medical News Today has an article about a newly developed multreatment developed fro pain and injury. "Multi Radiance Medical is a leading developer of the world's most advanced medical therapeutic devices. Utilizing super pulsed laser, visible red and infrared lights and magnetic field, Multi Radiance Medical's FDA 510(k)-cleared devices offer non-invasive, pain-free, drug-free therapies that ease pain and help improve health."

Scroll down the left of this blog and click on "Medical News Today's article.

As you are well aware I am unable to take medications. I have no option but to look at alternatives. However I now regard myself as fortunate to be off the medication roundabout with it's significant side effects, and to have found non-invasive, do-able things to reduce pain and symptoms. It is very much the case that each thing I do for myself empowers me.

Friday, November 09, 2007

High salt water floatation tanks relax and reduce pain.

Medical News Today (scroll down to their link at the left of this blog to read the article) reports that high-salt floatation tanks benefit pain sufferers by relaxing and so reducing pain. The research carried out at Karlstad University in Sweden, confirms that sufferers report better sleep and reduced perception of pain. This is another great way of reinforcing the "it's ok"message and retraining the brain.

Medical News Today reports some great articles about pain management and research and is worth checking when you visit this blog.

http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/

Thursday, November 08, 2007

New support group for CRPS/RSD hope-4crpsrsd

Hope 4 crpsrsd is a new support group for sufferers of Complex Regional Pain Syndrome. It has been founded on the belief that even though a person has crps/rsd there is hope and a better life is possible beyond this syndrome. This group is for those seeking a Christian support group to help them learn how to cope and deal with crps/rsd in positive ways, including laughter.

Here's the link http://health.groups.yahoo.com/group/hope-4crpsrsd/
or go to the left of this blog under "crps/rsd related articles" and click on the link there.

Please note: I no longer have a support group. My support group CRPS/RSD taking control regretably has been closed.


Wednesday, November 07, 2007

The race that stops a nation - our Melbourne Cup.

Run on the first Tuesday in November since 1861, the Melbourne Cup is known as the race that stops a nation. Originally intended as a neutral meeting place for all classes of colonists, the Melbourne Cup is now the people's race celebrated by all in a uniquely Australian way. A mix of fashion, fun and frivolity sweeps and serious bets, The Cup brings most schools and work places to a halt for a few magical minutes each year.
This year I went with my friends and neighbours to the Brunswick Heads Hotel to celebrate and watch.

Celebrating the Melbourne Cup - part of my "actively seeking happiness" plan.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

To learn my story read my interview on the How to Cope with Pain website.

I was interviewed by the How to Cope with Pain website this year. http://www.howtocopewithpain.org/blog/39/an-interview-with-jeisea-wisdom-for-coping-with-pain/

If you're interested you can read the interview by clicking on the link above or go to the left of this blog, under "crps/rsd related articles" and click on that link.
In the interview I was asked about my experiences and how I cope with pain.

A combination of things helps to reinforce the "it's ok" message and retrains the brain with chronic pain.

Learning about the new science of Pain and understanding the importance of retraining the brain with the "it's ok" message has made the difference for me. I now feel in control of things and know there are things I can do to help myself.

I also believe that that it is a combination of things, each supporting the retraining the brain idea which is helping me. Mirror therapy retrains the brain by viewing a virtual whole and pain free body. Controlled breathing, (out twice as long as in) by activating the parasympathetic nervous system and bringing about calm, retrains the brain with the “it’s ok” message. Immersion in water does the same, as does meditation, self hypnosis, acupuncture etc. Aromatherapy gives a new experience, especially valuable when doing physical therapy as smell is the most powerful of all the senses in bringing back memories. Eating smart allows the body to deal with free radical etc etc. So you see it is really a case of one thing supporting another to bring about change.

Below is my updated list of what helps me to relieve pain and symptoms of CRPS/RSD.

Mirror therapy alone is not the answer.

Learning about the new science of Pain and understanding the importance of retraining the brain, I am not so naive as to think mirror therapy alone was the answer. I believe a combination of things each aimed at retraining the brain has helped. The controlled breathing, by activating the parasympathetic nervous system retrains the brain with the “it’s ok” message. Water does the same, as does meditation, self hypnosis, acupuncture etc. Aromatherapy gives a new experience, especially valuable when doing physical therapy. Smell is the most powerful of all the senses in bringing back memories. Eating smart allows the body to deal with free radical etc etc. So you see it is really a case of one thing supporting another to bring about change.

Things that help relieve pain and symptoms of CRPS/RSD.

With CRPS/RSD I have learned to take one day at a time. Many things have helped in in my journey to wellness, the most significant of these being Mirror Visual Feedback.

Having breaks between major flare ups is a blessing and an indication that I'm on the right path. Here are some of the things I've found to help with pain and symptoms.

  • Understanding that it's a combination of things that work (November 07)
  • mirrors (August archives photos)
  • when doing mirror therapy pay attention to the location of most pain.(July 07)
  • if pain returns after mirror therapy has relieved the pain, look for underlying problem (October 07)
  • essential oils (still experimenting but amazed so far)
  • breathing out twice as long as in (August) I now do it for a few minutes 5 times a day instaed of once for 15 minutes.
  • resperate machine could be used to control breathing(November)
  • distraction (September archives)
  • magnesium for muscle spasm (September)
  • fish/fish oil for inflamation (September)
  • beetroot for liver protection and antidepressant (September)
  • isometric exercises to reduce pain (September)
  • epson salts warm bath (September)
  • chili cream (capsaicin)
  • heat pack (September)
  • graduated repetition of movements (September)
  • pacing
  • move it or lose it - Bollywood dancing (of sorts) August 07
  • deflated ball gives a great massage (see photo Sept)
  • butterball bath bomb (Sept)
  • water relaxes, calms,slows and improves breathing, helps sleep (Sept)
  • Caring Doctors (Sept)
  • Letting go of worries and avoiding stress (Oct)
  • Actively seeking happiness (Oct)
  • I will take vitamin C if I must have surgery as a precaution. (Nov)
  • eat nutrient rich antioxidant foods. Eas smart. (Nov)
  • use Prantal powder for hyperhydrosis (Nov)
  • make a list what works for me as a quick reference. (Nov)
  • don't despare when I have flare up. Refer to the list. (Nov)
  • Doing the same movement in different ways to reinforce that "it's ok"
  • Following a dental procedure which works for me (Nov)
  • Changing thinking, not "what can be done for me" but "what I can do for myself" (Nov)
  • Eating smart - increasing antioxidants especially vitamin C in my diet. (January )
  • Eating smart - making sure I eat a variety of high antioxidant foods including vitamin C. (March 07)
  • Taking the "glass half full" approach (October)
  • Understanding that while it hurts it's not necessarily harmful!!!

I am a sufferer not a professional. These things work for me about which I am very thankful. If you think something may help you check first with your treating practitioners.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Brunswick River at Mullumbimby.
Fig trees in Mullumbimby.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Reinforcing the "It's ok" message.

The essence of relieving the pain of CRPS/RSD is to retrain the brain. Performing the same movements but in a different way is presenting the brain with a fresh new experience. The video below of the Arnham land dancers is showing the dancers performing traditional dance movements but to a different beat. In a similar way I can change what I do by adding different elements like music, or locations or different temperatures or even eating different foods. Each or a combination will enrich the experience and help to retrain the brain that "it's ok".

The aborginal people of Arnham land show us how to move it and have fun.

Aboriginal interpretation of Zorba the Greek filmed by Big Frank. For more information about this video please contact Frank on f_garawirrtja@yahoo.com

Monday, October 29, 2007

How to Cope with Pain's new monthly pain-blog carnival.

How to Cope with Pain will now be offering a monthly pain-blog carnival during the last week of every month, to include each month's best posts. October's carnival will be posted on the 31st. New bloggers are always welcome to contribute.

My contribution this month is my Utube post "Virtual Reality for phantom limb pain". Scroll down to find it.

Check out the carnival on HTCwP
http://www.howtocopewithpain.org/blog/157/october-pain-blog-carnival/

Sunday, October 28, 2007

CRPS - the antioxidant connection.

First suggested by Sudeck in 1942, Dutch researchers' studies supported the theory that oxygen derived free radicals are possibly the mediators of mechanisms leading to some of the neurological symptoms of CRPS. They found
  • high oxygen supply with tissue hypoxia in CRPS extremities;
  • a diminished oxygen availability to the skeletal muscle tissue affected by chronic CRPS;
  • and several deficiencies in the skeletal muscles of CRPS sufferers.
Studies in Holland have centered around free radical scavengers as treatment for CRPS. There are many ongoing studies with DMSO, NAC in Holland.

Free radicals are atoms or groups of atoms with an odd number of electrons and can be formed when oxygen interacts with certain molecules. Once formed these highly reactive radicals can start a chain reaction. Their chief danger comes from the damage they can do when they react with important cellular components such as DNA, or the cell membrane. To prevent free radical damage the body has a defense system of antioxidants.

Antioxidants are molecules which can safely interact with free radicals and terminate the chain reaction before vital molecules are damaged. Although there are several enzyme systems within the body that scavenge free radicals, the principle micronutrient (vitamin) antioxidants are vitamin E, beta-carotene, and vitamin C. Additionally, selenium, a trace metal that is required for proper function of one of the body's antioxidant enzyme systems, is sometimes included in this category. The body cannot manufacture these micronutrients so they must be supplied in the diet.

Vitamin E : nuts, seeds, vegetable and fish oils, whole grains (esp. wheat germ), fortified cereals, and apricots.

Vitamin C : Ascorbic acid is a water soluble vitamin present in citrus fruits and juices, green peppers, cabbage, spinach, broccoli, kale, cantaloupe, kiwi, and strawberries.

Beta-carotene is a precursor to vitamin A (retinol) and is present in liver, egg yolk, milk, butter, spinach, carrots, squash, broccoli, yams, tomato, cantaloupe, peaches, and grains. (NOTE: Vitamin A has no antioxidant properties and can be quite toxic when taken in excess.)

Research now shows that we can substantially affect the level of anti-oxidants in our bodies by eating fresh fruits and vegetables.

Google "antioxidants for crps" to learn more.

This is where my eating smart comes into it.

Traditional foods are higher in antioxidants than blueberries.

In February 2005 the Australian ABC show, Catalyst had a program "Red leaves".
It talked about the property of red plants that makes them much better to withstand harsh, stressful environments than the green plants.

They noted that stresses such as drought, high temperatures, low temperatures, ultra violet radiation all produce free radicals. Anthocyanin causes red in plums and apples and the purples in blueberries and it's anthocyanins that cause the red colour in red wine. This is a powerful antioxidant that demolishes the stress causing free radicals.

Researchers discovered that kumara, a red varity of sweet potato, the staple in the traditional Maori diet, probably was what previously had protected Maori people from bowel cancer. It's high in anthocyanins.

John Pickrell, COSMOS on line, wrote an excellent article,
Bush foods rich in antioxidants He talks about a study that was published in the journal, Innovative Food Science & Emerging Technologies in Australia, identifying native Australian fruits that are exceptional sources of antioxidants. Twelve fruits were mentioned with some being known to contain up to 6 times the antioxidant capability of the blueberries. Super foods indeed and here in our own country.

Just like the Maori population, our Aboriginal population often follows a western diet. If Australia can encourage production, particularly by the Indigenous communities, of these nutrient dense and very high antioxidant foods, we will all benefit, but in particular we may see health benefits for our indigenous Australians. Hopefully we will hear more on this in the near future.

How does this relate to pain?
Pain causes stress and this results in an overproduction of free radicals. It is already known that vitamin C can prevent thee development of CRPS after wrist surgery. (click on the "prevention" tag below). It is also being trialled as treatment for CRPS.
It is my plan to "eat smart" by including high antioxidant foods and high nutrient foods in my diet.

It is my opinion that no mater where you live, if you look at the traditional foods of your area you may find your own super foods.

For the link to the COSMOS article go to "articles of interest" to the left of this page.

Listen to the Podcast - Australian Native Fruits bear sweet antioxidants by clicking on the link under "articles of interest" to the left of this blog.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Thursday, October 25, 2007

David Butler's new blog about "Explain Pain"

David Butler, co-author of the fantastic book, "Explain Pain", has a new blog in which he discusses aspects of the book. This is worth adding to your favourites. Here's the link.

David Butler's Explain Pain blog

You'll find a permanent link under "crps/rsd related articles" to the left of this blog.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Blogger Buzz: Blog*Stars

Blogger Buzz: Blog*Stars

Keeping a list of what works to relieve symptoms of CRPS/RSD

With CRPS/RSD I have learned to take one day at a time. Many things have helped in in my journey to wellness, the most significant of these being Mirror Visual Feedback.

Having breaks between major flare ups is a blessing and an indication that I'm on the right path. Here are some of the things I've found to help with pain and symptoms.

  • mirrors (August archives photos)
  • when doing mirror therapy pay attention to the location of most pain.(July 07)
  • if pain returns after mirror therapy has relieved the pain, look for underlying problem (October 07)
  • essential oils (still experimenting but amazed so far)
  • breathing out twice as long as in (August) I now do it for a few minutes 5 times a day instaed of once for 15 minutes.
  • resperate machine could be used to control breathing(November)
  • distraction (September archives)
  • magnesium for muscle spasm (September)
  • fish/fish oil for inflamation (September)
  • beetroot for liver protection and antidepressant (September)
  • isometric exercises to reduce pain (September)
  • epson salts warm bath (September)
  • chili cream (capsaicin)
  • heat pack (September)
  • graduated repetition of movements (September)
  • pacing
  • move it or lose it - Bollywood dancing (of sorts) August 07
  • deflated ball gives a great massage (see photo Sept)
  • butterball bath bomb (Sept)
  • water relaxes, calms,slows and improves breathing, helps sleep (Sept)
  • Caring Doctors (Sept)
  • Letting go of worries and avoiding stress (Oct)
  • Actively seeking happiness (Oct)
  • I will take vitamin C if I must have surgery as a precaution. (Nov)
  • eat nutrient rich antioxidant foods. Eas smart. (Nov)
  • use Prantal powder for hyperhydrosis (Nov)
  • make a list what works for me as a quick reference. (Nov)
  • don't despare when I have flare up. Refer to the list. (Nov)
  • Doing the same movement in different ways to reinforce that "it's ok"
  • Following a dental procedure which works for me (Nov)
  • Changing thinking, not "what can be done for me" but "what I can do for myself" (Nov)
  • Eating smart - increasing antioxidants especially vitamin C in my diet. (January )
  • Eating smart - making sure I eat a variety of high antioxidant foods including vitamin C. (March 07)
  • Taking the "glass half full" approach (October)
  • Understanding that while it hurts it's not necessarily harmful!!!

I am a sufferer not a professional. These things work for me about which I am very thankful. If you think something may help you check first with your treating practitioners.

Complex regional pain syndrome in a nutshell.

Symptoms of sufferer to sufferer, day to day, even hour to hour, but one thing remains the same - ongoing pain out of all proportion to the inciting event. Thus is the lot of someone diagnosed with Complex Regional Pain Syndrome. A tendency to neglect the affected area sets this apart from other regional pain syndromes. This blog tells my journey in my search for understanding and my quest for recovery. It tells what works for me to help with pain and symptoms taken one day at a time.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Water dragon in my garden.

Monday, October 22, 2007

RSD A Kid's Story Through Pain part 2

From music therapy to promising artist. The story of triumph over CRPS continues from Part 1..

RSD A Kid's Story Through Pain part 1

If you watch nothing else on this site, watch this inspirational video!!!

Sunday, October 21, 2007

If pain returns when you stop mirror therapy there could be an underlying pathology.

Over the past few months I've had pain in the left side of my face. The whole left side of my head was hypersensitive and I felt like tearing my flesh away from my gums. In the beginning the symptoms involved the whole quadrant. I worked out how to using a double sided mirror.
http://crps-rsd-a-better-life.blogspot.com/2007/07/hinged-makeup-mirror-i-used.html
This worked really well and I was able to stop pain and symptoms but when I stopped using the mirror the pain and symptoms returned. I'd use the mirror again straight away and I felt I was managing the situation but was getting frustrated because the pain kept returning. My GP had suggested I see a dentist but as I was getting rid of the pain and the symptoms I was sure it must be CRPS/RSD.

I was managing things so well with the mirror trick that I was even sleeping. In fact I slept through every night for 31/2 weeks. Even so I felt tired and a little unwell. I also noticed a tooth in the troublesome area was loose.

Finally two weeks ago I went to the dentist who was horrified . He said the nerve of a tooth had died and I had an abscess and the infection had spread. The tooth was beyond help and he insisted on rescheduling his appointments and extracted it. He used the procedure I've posted about previously. He numbed the gum with cream, injected a non adrenaline anesthetic, and at the end injected again. This procedure from

works well for me to prevent further problems with complex regional pain syndrome.

I already know that if mirror therapy doesn't work then I need to look again at the way I am doing it. It is important to get it right. I also now know that it's important to be aware that when pain returns when you stop mirror therapy there could be an underlying pathology.
http://www.rsdhope.org/Showpage.asp?PAGE_ID=131&PGCT_ID=3396

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