Saturday, June 30, 2007

Bilateral therapy for Complex regional Pain Syndrome.

To help my google group's discussion about physical therapy and exercising both side at once, I did a "google" hoping to find information.

Dr Hooshmand in his section P.T. and CRPS Part 1 writes

"Anytime the patient is doing physical therapy or hydrotherapy, all the activities should be on both sides. The patient should not apply the treatment only on the side of the body that is painful. The main reason being that the nerves for temperature control of the body start from the central nervous system and go all the way down to the spinal cord. So, if the patient has a lateralized pain, spasm, or limitation of motion, the exercises should be done on both sides, otherwise there would be a temperature asymmetry causing improvement to temperature on one side at the expense of the other side becoming colder. This type of bilateral exercise also prevents spread of CRPS."

If you're reading this and you have any other information supporting this please comment and let me know. I was able to find information about acupuncture used bilaterally to help for pediatric CRPS.

Recognize - tell you left hand from your right.

How to Cope with Pain website recently posted about Noi Group's limb laterality recognition program, "Recognize". The article gives links to research supporting the programs use. It is thought that a three step process of limb laterality recognition, followed by guided visualization and then mirror visual therapy gives optimum results.

I did not follow this process and began mirror therapy without the first two steps. However I've always performed physical therapy on both sides.

I have used the Recognize program more recently as I hoped it would help me with left/right recognition. I score poorly with the program tests in the most basic level. However I score much better with the more difficult levels where the hand or foot is in some kind of context. No amount of practising improves things for me.

Yesterday, after reading HTCWP's article I tried the Recognize program again. I was feeling good because I've just resolved a left sided flare up using mirror therapy again.
I also was thinking that I might do better at it as I was in much less pain.

Unfortunately this was not the case and within minutes of starting the test I experienced a major flare up in the same side as I'd just resolved. I stopped doing the test (after a couple of goes) and things settled slightly. A while later I started looking at my hands and saying "left" or "right" to myself. This caused the symptoms to worsen to a nauseating level.
Again I stopped. After a while I did mirror therapy again and with time the symptoms went.

The message for me is clear and is as my Ayurvedic doctor has said. Pain becomes worse when I focus on the area of pain. Doing the program was also stressful. I'm thinking that stress combined with memoey of pain brought on a a quickly catastrophizing set of symptoms. Taking my attention to other things helped ease the symptoms. Mirror therapy resolved them.

I wish to point out that this is what happened to me with my unique set of circumstances. It does not reflect on what could happen to someone else. It is also to be remembered I used the program after using mirror therapy(which works), and not before as has been suggested.

There is a link to the article in HTCWP to the left of this blog under "crps/rsd related articles".

Friday, June 29, 2007

Treatment Options - A Guide for People in Pain - American Pain Foundation

The American Pain Foundation has many really helpful resources. "Treatment Options - A guide for people with pain" is really worth reading and perhaps keeping a hard copy for family and friends. Of particular note are these sections
  • Mapping a Treatment Plan
  • Commentary & Alternative Medicine
  • Looking Forward with Hope - What's in the Pipeline?
This colour booklet is packed with informations and printable helpful sheets like a fridge guide for medications. I didn't see mirror therapy mentioned which is understandable as it's only just becoming known in the US. However it must cove nearly every other therapy.
You'll find the link to this to the left of this blog under "crps/rsd related articles"
Pretty in pink.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Rainbow Lorikeet in our pawpaw tree.

Mirror tharapy - not just mind over matter.

© 2006 Rothgangel et al; licensee . This is an Open Access article: verbatim copying and redistribution of this article are permitted in all media for any purpose, provided this notice is preserved along with the article's original URL.

"Mirror therapy or Mirror Visual Feedback (MVF) has shown positive effects in several diseases, as phantom pain, stroke, complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS).
During movement observation using MVF a significant increase in cerebral blood flow was observed in the ventral premotor cortex and, activation in the visual cortex was lateralized opposite to the seen hand.This led to the conclusion that MVF seems to recruit the mirror neuron system more than normal movement observation and can facilitate motor recovery. In addition, MVF possibly can modify the body scheme located in the visual cortex."

These cells or "mirror neurons" were discovered around 1990 in the laboratory of Giacomo Rizzolatti, a neuroscientist at the University of Parma, Italy. Researchers in the laboratory had been studying brain activity in macaque monkeys.
The monkey brain contains a special class of cells, called mirror neurons, that fire when the animal sees or hears an action and when the animal carries out the same action on its own. Monkey see, monkey do.

The human brain has multiple mirror neuron systems that specialize in carrying out and understanding not just the actions of others but their intentions, the social meaning of their behavior and their emotions and pain. Have you ever "felt" it when you saw someone take a rough tackle in football?

It is this aspect of motor neuron activity that is thought to come into play when mirror therapy is used to treat pain and symptoms in CRPS.

The success of Mirror Therapy is not a just a case of mind over matter but a measurable change in neural activity.

The discovery of mirror neurons is revolutionising understanding of how the mind works.

New website "Living with Chronic Pain"

There's a new website recently created about living with chronic pain. It's informative and offers practical advice, news on research and links. With the added feature of a chat group this site is well worth visit.

You can visit this site any time by going to the left of this blog under "articles of interest" and click on the link. You'll also see a direct link to their blogsite.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

How to Cope with Pain spreading awareness about ways of managing pain.

How to Cope with Pain website
has posted an article titled "Complex Regional Pain Syndrome - can mirrors help?"
I recommend reading this articles and others relating to it.
  • Think and move and your pain will improve.
  • Graded motor imagery.
  • Recognize podcast.
  • Great questions about graded motor movements.
Recognize and graded motor movement programs are generally recommended prior to beginning mirror visual therapy.
Recognize is a DVD which allows you to see pictures of left/right hand/feet and choose whether they are left or right. I have great difficulty recognizing left/right in the time frame. Apparently this is common with the chronic pain of complex regional pain syndrome.

Please go to "crps/rsd related articles to the left of this blog for direct links to these articles. Click on the noigroup link for information about Recognize and to purchase if interested.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Canadian Survy on CRPS/RSD.

I'm giving the link here to a Canadian survey which they indicate will be used to increase awareness about CRPS/RSD. I'm hopeful that those conducting the survey are interested enough to investigate mirror visual therapy further after my comments. Surveys like this give valuable information. The more that is known and understood about this condition the better for all of us.

RSD CANADA Online Survey Questionnaire
Brunswick River.
Silver gulls and Pacific Black ducks.
Light play.
Evening rainbow.
In shape and shadow.

What's in a name? Mirror therapy again.

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 your 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 inflamatiom, 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 moving mirror image of the body part opposite to the one that hurts, the brain gets visual stimulus of a moving pain free limb. I do this for a very short time, usually less than a minute.
I do it again and again.
A therapist explained what I do this way.

Do less - but do it regularly.
The brain needs to be reminded over and over again - but by doing short "training sessions" habituation doesn't set in and the movement is always new and interesting.

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. 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.

Mirror therapy isn't the whole answer.

I do physical therapy every day in small amounts throughout the day. I try not to over do it (very hard).

I breath out twice as long as in for a five minutes five times a day every day to activate the parasympathetic nervous system. I used to do this breathing once a day for 15 minutes. There is UK research that supports doing this to control blood pressure.

I eat foods high in antioxidants (prunes are highest) to deal with the free radicals caused by stress of coping with CRPS. I have changed my diet so that I have more Vitamin C. Remember Vitiman C demolishes the free radicals involved in inflammation. My "eat smart" plan includes eating a range of high antioxidant foods. Antioxidants become free radicals when they neutralize another free radical. By having a range of antioxidants a balance can be maintained.

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. I take one day at a time. If interested look through my blog under archives to see explanations of what I do and photos. I'm posting new links now. See CRPS/RSD related articles to the left of the blog.

Sunday, June 24, 2007 - promoting awareness of Complex Regional Pain Syndrome.

"Cynthia Toussaint isa former ballerina who has suffered, after a ballet injury, with RSD for 24 years.She was the impetus behind the Los Angeles Times' first article detailing the disease in 1998 and, in 2001, she spear-headed the first-ever California Senate informational hearing on RSD." This inspiring web site "forgrace" was named in memory of her aunt, very much loved but whom she never knew. I encourage you to go to her website and click on "what's new". There you can click on her article in "Woman's Day" and visit the new Utube website. There are links for the main site and Utube sites under"crps/rsd related articles" to the left of this blog. I signed the petition to increase awareness of women in pain and I plan to add my story to others on this wonderful website.

For Grace RSD PSA: Putting Out the Fire


Saturday, June 23, 2007

Mirror therapy interest is gaining momentum.

The International Journal of Rehabilitation Research. 30(2):181-188, June 2007. reported a pilot study
Mirror box therapy added to cognitive behavioural therapy in three chronic complex regional pain syndrome type I patients:
Vladimir Tichelaar, Y.I.G. a; Geertzen, Jan H.B. b c; Keizer, Doeke d; Paul van Wilgen, C. b

The study found that
pain at rest, pain after measuring allodynia/hyperalgesia and pain after measuring strength decreased. Range of motion improved in two patients and strength improved in one patient.

Another trial reported in
Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Volume 88, Issue 5, Pages 555-559 by S. S├╝tbeyaz, G. Yavuzer, N. Sezer, B. Koseoglu is looking at how
Mirror Therapy Enhances Lower-Extremity Motor recovery and Motor Functioning After Stroke: A

I'm hoping to see the Netherlands study which finished in February published soon. I'm aware that there is interest in Germany and in Canada.

As mentioned in previous posts is leading awareness in the USA. In the UK mirror box therapy is widely accepted with mirror boxes in pain clinics across the country. has great information and leads awareness there. They provide mirror boxes. Dr Lorimer Moseley travels the world explaining the new science of pain. "Explain Pain" which he co-wrote with David Butler is a valuable tool for understanding this new approach to pain. Australia's leader in promoting this new approach to pain as well as providing resources such as mirror boxes, "Explain Pain" and the limb recognition program "Recognize".

Now research has proven with MRI results that the brain changes with chronic pain. More recently we've learnt that changing the inputs or messages to the brain, which is known to have plasticity, causes the brain to change. These are not emotional responses to fragile egos. This is real science showing the pain and symptoms of complex regional pain syndrome can be managed and possibly resolved using simple, inexpensive, practical methods. This is treating the source and not just bandaiding the symptoms. This is very good news for sufferers.

"Eat Smart" - a balanced approach

Today in the Brisbane Courier Mail newspaper there was mention of concern and speculation of a person dying from toxic liver. The speculation and insinuation seems to be that there was liver toxicity to which one of the popular super juices may have contributed. It appears that if a person has a liver problem then care should be taken with complementary/natural medicine. Many things can put stress on the liver including some medications and some complimentary medicines.

I strongly believe that the smart and safest way to get good nutrition and in particular high antioxidant intake, is to consume a range of high antioxidant and nutritious foods, mixing colours. Organic is a great option if available to you. Washing food to help remove possible chemical residue is also wise.

Friday, June 22, 2007

How to Cope with Pain - on mirror therapy.

There's a great post about mirror box therapy on the How to Cope with Pain website this week. How to Cope with Pain seems to be leading the way in the USA by taking an interest in this simple but very effective therapy. It sounds too good to be true but there is science to back up the research into treating Complex Regional Pain Syndrome using something as simple as a mirror.
The more awareness about treatment options which show promise the greater potential outcomes for we the sufferers. Please go to the article link to the left of this blog under "crps/rsd related articles".

Thursday, June 21, 2007

The Chase.

Manage your pain the new way.

RSD World Health News site has a link to's article recent article on "Natural-Born Pain Killers". I commend this article by Richard Laliberts to you.

It examines several investigations into novel ways of dealing with pain. Stanford Systems Neuroscience Pain Lab showed that by visualization techniques and positive affirmations pain perception could be reduced by up to an amazing two thirds.
On the opposite end of this is the discovering that you can actually increase pain perception by focusing on negative aspects and fearing your pain.

This does not in any way indicate that the pain you have is psychological. MRI imaging has identified changes in the brain from changing inputs by such means as meditation and guided imagery and affirmations. Equally MRI imaging has recorded changes in the brain from negative inputs.

It is clear that I need to be aware of when I am focusing on how bad I feel and make a real effort to focus either on a part of my body that is not painful or on something else.

These finding make perfect sense to me. I know when I talk about how I'm feeling, I feel worse. When I'm having fun I feel better. Now I know I can actually change the inputs which bring about a change in the brain, I'll be more aware of how I think and feel. I'll also be dedicating more time to "actively seeking happiness".

Go to "crps/rsd related articles" to the left of this blog and click on the link. Tony will be posting it soon.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

You called?

Nearly there.
Banksia"s line the path to the beach.
Lillypilly berries at the beach today.

Noi Group of Australasia

Please note that I've reposted links to the Neuro Orthopaedic Institute of Australasia. The previous links weren't valid after a website upgrade. If you have marked the old links in favourites i suggest you change the links. Please also note that there are two new podcasts, Neuro Dynamic DVD podcast and a Portuguese podcast. Podcasts are now only accessible through the main site.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

It helps me to look at this list to remind me what works and manage my pain.

As other sufferers know, symptoms can vary from day to day and throughout the day, the changing nature of pain. As well as an overall plan to erode back the symptoms, I need to have strategies in place to help with the day to day problems.
Some of the things that help me are

  • mirrors (August archives photos)
  • 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
  • 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)
  • Using positive affirmations (June)
  • 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)

  • Understanding that while it hurts it's not necessarily harmful!!!

  • And remembering that each thing I do for myself empowers me.

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.

What is CRPS/RSD?

In my opinion it's a shitty diagnosis. 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. This blog is an attempt to remind myself about what works for me to help in relieving the pain and symptoms.

Monday, June 18, 2007

My favourite bird.
Click on the photo for a better look.

Great place to have fish & chips for lunch today.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

BBC - Happiness formula.

There's a link to the BBC article "happiness formula". You can even take a happiness test. Go to the links to the left of this blog under"Articles of interest" and click on the link.

Laughter Yoga Steps

Laugh and the world laughs with you.

Laughter really is the best medicine.

We all know that laughter makes us feel good. People, doctors and health care workers are finding that laughter may indeed be the best medicine. Laughing removes stress hormones, and boosts immune function by raising levels of T-cells, disease-fighting proteins called Gamma-interferon, and B-cells, which produce disease-destroying antibodies. When we laugh our bodies release a cocktail of hormones & chemicals that have startling positive effects on our system. Stress is reduced, blood pressure drops, depression is lifted, your immune system is boosted & more. Western science is just starting to discover the great effects of laughter.

Laughter also triggers the release of endorphins, the body's natural pain killers, and produces a general sense of well-being. The threshold of pain is raised during and for a short period of time after laughter.

Laughter engages various parts of the brain. Perhaps this is one reason people often find that a good dose of laughter can be followed by a burst of creativity.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Poinciana Cafe at Mullumbimby for a cuppa after the market.
The cafe is built around ths tree and another enormous pointcianna in the garden.
Perch Creek Family Junk Band at Mullumbimby market today.

Reposting of "eat smart" foods allows me to refresh & fine tune the plan.

I'm presently thinking about my eat smart plan & working out how it fits in with what I'm reading about Ayurvedic medicine. What interested me from the outset was what my Ayurvedic GP suggested for me to eat and avoid is quite similar to what I've seen put forward as diet guidelines for people with CRPS. What he has suggested for me goes well with my high antioxidant food plan.

Because our bodies are forever changing, in fact Moseley & Butler in "Explain Pain" tell us that "the life of a sensor is short" being replaced every few days, this aspect of continual changing offers hope for chronic pain sufferers. We already know from our own experience that pain varies daily and throughout the day. Ayurveda suggests that we can influence this change by using our most basic underlying force for change, intelligence. According to Ayurvedic principles our body knows what is good & bad for it instinctively and by noticing and obeying our physiology we are capable of addressing imbalances and achieving balance. The dietary aspects of Ayurveda are about achieving this balance. I have reflux from the stress of pain so acidic foods like citrus aggravate and other alkaline foods help address the imbalance. I'm keen to learn more.
Rice Cooker Turkish Quinoa
Serves 4-6
  • 60g ghee/butter/marge
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 spanish onion, diced
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 1/2 tsp lightly crushed cardamon pods
  • 1 tsp tumeric
  • freshly ground pepper
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1
  • bay leaf
  • 2 cups quinoa
  • 4 cups water or stock
After cooking
  • 1/2 cup shelled pistachio nuts
  • 1/2 cup chopped dried apricots
  • 1/2 cup chopped dried figs
  • 2 tbsp fresh coriander
Place ghee & oil in rice cooker & cook for 1 minute.
Add onion, garlic & spices & cook for 2 minutes.
Add quinoa & watre or stock & cook according to instructions for rice cooker stiring once.
When cooked add nuts, apricots, figs & coriander.
Keep warm until ready to serve.
Breakfast Quinoa.

Quinoa breakfast for two.

Today I cooked quinoa for breakfast. I didn't have a recipe but it turned out quite delicious and very filling.
  • 2/3 cup quinoa and twice as much liquid. I used skim milk but milk and water or just water would do.
  • two good handfulls of dried fruit. I used my wolfberries and currents mix.
  • nuts and seeds. I usd walnuts and pumpkin and sunflower seeds.
  • Bring to the boil and reduce heat.
  • Cook for about 15 minutes, stiring occasionally. Mine did not catch in the pot.
  • Liquid should be completely absorbed.
  • Serve with more milk or yoghurt, fresh fruit or a little honey if desired.

Traditional foods hold a wealth of nutrients.

Quinoa is fast now considered to be a super grain. This is partly because it has higher protein than any other grain and that protein is a complete protein. This mans that it possesses all nine essential amino acids with a good amount of lysine, needed for tissue growth and repair. It contains manganese, magnesium, iron, copper and phosphorous all health building nutrients.

Manganese and copper "serve as cofactors for the superoxide dismutase enzyme. Superoxide dismutase is an antioxidant that helps to protect the mitochondria from oxidative damage created during energy production as well as guard other cells, such as red blood cells, from injury caused by free radicals", WHfoods website informs us.

In grains phytonutriients are found largely in bound form that is they "are attached to the walls of plant cells and must be released by intestinal bacteria during digestion before they can be absorbed."

Because different plant foods contain different phytochemicals which are needed by different tissues and organs etc, it is wisest to consume a wide range off these. tells us that Dr Liu, a researcher, suggets "what the body needs to ward off disease is this synergistic effect - this teamwork - that is produced by eating a wide variety of plant foods, including whole grains."

Usually considered a grain quinoa is actually the seed of a plan related to spinach and beets.

So low in gluten that it is suitable for gluten free diets, the concentrated nutrient potential of quinoa truely makes it a super food and definitely part of my "eat smart" plan.

I bought these dried Goji berries locally yesterday. About 2 tablespoons cost A$3.00.
Asian food stores, I accidently discovered, sell "wolf berries" for less than half the price of some other stores.

I add wolfberries to cerals, curries, and poached pears & prunes.

Worlds' Healthiest Foods a site worth visiting again and again.

A big thank you to George Mateljan and collegues at WHFoods. They provided the information I was seeking and went further giving me links which will allow me to find out further information myself. I highly recommend a visit to their excellent site at

Or go to "articles of interest" to the left of this blog and click on the link.

Friday, June 15, 2007

A whole grain of truth.

Whole grains are much more than just added fibre in our diet. Research now tells us that the benefit is in the "package" of nutrients (sound familiar).

Professor Slavin from Minnesota University is reported by as saying that "the individual components of whole grains have an additive and synergistic effect."

This means that the combined nutrient components in whole grains is greater than the sum of the individual component parts. Or to put it simply 1+1 >2 (one plus one is greater than two).

So what are some whole grains?
They are the entire grain seed of a plant. Also known as the kernel, it is made up of three key parts: the bran, the germ, and the endosperm.

Whole wheat, whole oats/oatmeal, whole-grain corn, popcorn, brown rice, whole rye, whole-grain barley, wild rice, buckwheat, bulgur (cracked wheat), millet, quinoa, and sorghum are the more common grains.
Less well known are amaranth, emmer, farro, grano (lightly pearled wheat), spelt, and wheat berries. Spelt is is popular now because of it's higher protein and nutrient content.

Stone-ground corn and polenta have the germ intact so are closest to the whole grain in any ground cornmeal. You can even get whole grain couscous.

Quinoa, not really a grain but considered as one, is another ancient grain which is considered to be almost a wonder food as it contains complete proteine. A friend told me that she uses quinoa instead of couscous.

Soon I'll be posting about specific whole grains and why it is preferable to eat them over refined.

Keeping it simple and enjoyable.

Well I've decided that if I'm going to eat smart it's going to have to be simple and do able and also enjoyable. I won't stick at something if I don't enjoy it.

We've all heard of the health benefits of tea. Flavonoids are a special group of antioxidant phytochemicals found in black and green tea and adding milk doesn't alter the benefit.

It is worth being aware that drinking tea with a meal interfers with the iron intake from foods of plant origin so it is probably better to drink tea between meals.

I've decided that some traditions are worth upholding. For me the tradition of taking tea and enjoying the experience of tea is worth cultivating. So to do this I've searched for a two cup tea pot that pours without dribbling. I have a favourite cup (or two) and a small jug for milk.

I make tea and find a comfortable place to pour and sip and enjoy. I love company and a cuppa is great shared.

I'm lucky that our local tea is lower in caffeine so I can enjoy without problems. I actually think the enjoyable experience of tea for me out weighs the negative impact on pain of the caffeine.
Red & yellow & pink green & purple & orange & blue foods.

I've thought a lot about this and come to the conclusion that to consume a diet rich in antioxidants for me it's best to think about colour and variety.

If, for example, I'm making a snack box of dried fruits, nuts and seeds, I'll put about the same quantity of as many varieties as I have to hand. Then from the container I take a mix of any amount I want when I want it. That way I know I'm eating a good range of antioxidants in the unique packages nature intended.

In the same way I roughly cut a selection of fruits trying to have a mix of colours. When I shop I now choose a selection of different fruits rather than a bag of oranges or a big bunch of grapes.

Why colours?

Reds contain lycopene and anthocyanims.
- red apples, strawberries, bets, red potatoes, tomatoes.

Yellow/orange contain varying amounts of antioxidants eg vitamin C, carotinoids, bioflavonoids.
- appricots, mangoes, oranges, sweet potatoes & carrots.

Blue/purple contain phytochemicals.
- blueberries, eggplant, dark grapes, plums & rasins.

Greens contain antioxidants lutein & indoles.
- avocadoes, green apples, green grapes, kiwifruit, peas & broccoli.

I've found that I have to chew both the fresh mix and dried fruit and nuts well. I now take my time to eat and take pleasure from the eating.
Fresh & dried fruit, nuts & seeds are delicious with no/low fat yoghurt.

Selecting a variety of fresh fruit keep the balance.

In this mix


Plums are a good source of vitamin C, A, B2 and potassium and provide essential fibre.
In general plums have the same sorts of health benefits as prunes.
As plums contain oxalates seek advice if you suspect kidney or gallbladder problems.

Dark grapes

Grapes contain vitamin C and beneficial flavinoids which are phytonutrients that give the vibrant purple color to grapes, grape juice and red wine. Darker colour means more flavinoids.
Grape skins contain phenolic compounds which inhibit certain enzymes having an effect on constricted blood vessels. (My clever Dr Bill recommended sipping grape juice if I have a migraine. I know from my experience that it helps. Is this part of the reason?)
Grapes also contain the phytonutrient, resveratrol, "thought to be responsible for these numerous protective effects on cholesterol metabolism, oxidative stress (free radical activity) and inflammation." - from The World's Healthiest Foods web site. (see link to the left of this blog under "articles of interest"


Apples are agreat source of soluable and insoluable fibre.
Apples contain the flavonoid, quercitin's whose benefits derive from its antioxidant activity, especially when it teams up with vitamin C, also found in apples, to bolster the body's immune defenses. This dynamic antioxidant duo provides another way in which apples protect us.
If interested in the research and other health benefits of apples go to the World's Healthiest Foods web site. ( see link to the left of this blog under "articles of interest")

Nectarines & Peaches

Peaches and nectarines belong to the rose family. They contain vitamins A and C, which promote healthy skin, good eyesight, and a strong immune system. They also are good sources of potassium and fiber.


Kiwifruit is almost a super food. It has great protective powers which go beyond those attributable to its high vitamin C and beta-carotine.
Vitamin C is the primary water-soluble antioxidant in the body, neutralizing free radicals that can cause damage to cells and lead to problems such as inflammation. "Owing to the multitude of vitamin C's health benefits, it is not surprising that research has shown that consumption of vegetables and fruits high in this nutrient is associated with a reduced risk of death from all causes including heart disease, stroke and cancer." (WHF)
Kiwifruit contains the fat-soluble antioxidant, vitamin E. making kiwi fruit doulbly protective.

This is the mix for today. I use affordable, fresh fruits in season and try to have a mix of strong colours.
Each day I roughly cut a mix of fresh seasonal fruit and snack throughout the day.
Each day I fill a small container with a mixture of dried fruits and nuts.

Eat smart a matter of choices.

Originally my plan plan was to increase Vitamin C in my diet. I've changed that plan a bit and here's why.

This much is known
  • Complex Regional Pain Syndrome can be prevented by taking Vitamin C after a colles wrist fracture.
  • Professor Scott Reuben now uses Vitamin C as part of their protocols for preventing CRPS developing or worsening of symptoms after orthopeadic surgery etc.

I thought that
  • as Vitamin C is an antioxidant that demolishes the free radicals that cause inflamation
  • as CRPS has an inflamatory component
Vitamin C could be used as a treatment for CRPS.

As mentioned in a previous post, research into this is now being done.

I suspected that it is better to get nutrients such as Vitamin C from food. (my unique packages theory)
To support this I now have learned that Vitamin C is a stable antioxidant that gives an electron to a reactive substance such as a free radical.
Vitamin C then is an electron short and so itself becomes a free radical.
As electrons like to be in stable pairs Vitamin C then needs an electron to make it a stable antioxidant again. The antioxidant that gives Vitamin C it's electron then itself becomes a free radical and so it goes.

  1. Vitamin C antioxidant - gives electron to free radical (reactive substance)
  2. Vitamin C free radical - gets electron from antioxidant A which becomes free radical A.
  3. Free radical A - gets electron from antioxidant B which becomes free radical B.
  4. Free radical B - gets electron from antioxidant C which becomes free radical C.
And so it goes.

The process of giving and receiving electrons works well when there are a large number of different antioxidants working together. Too much of one thing puts the balance out.

That said I now am planning a diet rich in a variety of antioxidants. By doing this I am also making sure I'm getting much more Vitamin C than I have from my food till now.

Eating high antioxidant foods in an effort to "eat smart".

Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity (ORAC) is a standardized test adopted by the U.S. Department of Agriculture to measure the Total Antioxidant Potency of foods and nutritional supplements.

This ORAC score reflects the speed and strength of the antioxidant to do its job in demolishing free radicals.
ORAC is a way to measure how many oxygen radicals a specific food can absorb or demolish.
The more oxygen radicals a food can absorb, the higher its ORAC score.

In general foods with a high ORAC rating are colourful, bright reds, greens, oranges, blues, purples, yellows, and oranges eg strawberries, prunes, spinach, blueberries, eggplant, carrots and oranges.

I plan to consider this ORAC score as well as amounts of vitamin C in my planning what of foods are best to consume to "eat smart" for a person with Complex Regional Pain Syndrome.

For today I just plan to eat more colour food each day in a range of fruits and vegetables.

Rainbow's easy prune recipe.

Rainbow from the US posted a comment with this great recipe for prunes using a slow cooker or crockpot. I'm going to collect the ingredients and give it a go. Thanks Rainbow.
Rainbow has since joined my google and now co-owns the group with me.
There is a special page for recipes and another about nutrition in the google group. To visit go to the bottom of this page and click on the link. To join just put your email address in the box at the top of the page.

List of Ingredients
3 cups quick-cooking oats
2/3 cup honey (clover)
1 cup coconut flakes
1/4 cup oil
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg, freshly ground
1 Cup chopped Pecans (unsalted)
1/2 cup dried raisins
1/2 cup chopped SUNSWEET DRIED prunes

Combine all ingredients except cranberries/raisins and dates in the crock-pot. Cook on LOW with lid slightly ajar for about 4 hours, stirring occasionally. Cool and add fruit. Store in airtight jars. Use within 1 to 2 weeks. Makes about 6 cups.

Date & Walnut Slice made with Rye flour.

  • 1 1/2 cups rye flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 125g (4oz) chopped dates
  • 1/2 cup raw sugar or honey
  • 60g (2oz) chopped walnuts
  • 1 egg
  • 60g (2oz) marge/butter or oil
  • 1/2 cup sunflower and pumpkin seeds
Combine dry ingredients.
Melt marge/butter.
Mix wet ingredients and add to dry.
Line slice tray with baking paper and press mixture on to tray. Press pumpkin seeds and broken walnuts into the top of the slice.
Bake in moderate over 30 - 35 minutes. Cut into slices while still in the tin and cool in the tin.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Brunswick River near the fish co-op this morning.
Flathead for dinner tonight.

This was a whale of Cape Byron this morning after the Growers' Market.
Sailing past Australia's most easterly point Byron Bay.

Why do only some people develop crps and why do they develop it at the time they do?

I've looked at possible predictors for developing crps in the previous posts. Now I would like to share my thoughts on another possible factor which might explain why a person develops crps from an inciting event but not at other times and other events.

In my own case I was under a high amount of stress at the time of an accident in which I broke my wrist. I had just moved house (three days), started a job in a new place (two days) and had a migraine at the time of my fall. I fell into a dark stairwell which for me was a shock, more stress. I had also been under some stress for the weeks preceding the accident. I think that I most likely had a raised level of free radicals due to the ongoing stress.

I was unaware of the need to eat foods high in antioxidants to deal with free radicals and wasn't taking any vitamins or supplements. You can see where I'm going here. Is it possible that a raised level of free radicals and/or stress could be another risk factor for the development of complex regional pain syndrome after an inciting inciting event?
Something to ponder.

Preventing the development of Complex Regional Pain Syndrome.

I am reposting what has led me to increase antioxidants in my diet. I am thinking about this now because I'm looking at Ayurvedic medicine which involves being aware of your own body needs and listening to your body in order to heal. Also this evening there is a TV documentary about antioxidants. I wanted to review what I've learned so far.

Not enough is known about predisposition to conditions such as complex regional pain syndrome. CRPS patients are left with chronic pain, vasodysregulation, and other symptoms. The predisposing factors are unknown. Genetic factors undoubtedly contribute, but have not yet been identified.

Researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital ( MGH ) have found the first evidence of a physical abnormality underlying CRPS. They reported four CRPS patients also diagnosed with the classical or hypermobility forms of Ehlers Danlos syndrome (EDS), inherited disorders of connective tissue. They hypothesized that "EDS might contribute to the development of CRPS.

I am on a quest to seek ways of ensuring that no one in my family develops complex regional pain syndrome. I am also hope to improve my lot by increasing antioxidants in my diet.

Inflammation is known to be involved in the development and plays a significant role in crps.
At present it's now known that free radical disarming Vitamin C can prevent development of CRPS after a colles fracture. It's an antioxidant which specifically affects inflamation.
Zollinger PE, Tuinebreijer WE, Kreis R, Breederveld RS. Effect of vitamin C on frequency of reflex sympathetic dystrophy in wrist fractures: A randomized trial. Lancet 1999;354:2025-8. found that taking Vitamin C after surgery produced a significant reduction in pain in CRPS after surgical correction of Colles' fracture.Dr Andrew McBride of Bristol Royal Infirmary is currently doing a study to support previous research into reducing the incidence of development of CRPS post wrist injury by taking vitamin C. The study is has it's basis in the theory that CRPS is possibly partly caused by an inflamatory reaction. This has been supported by further published research. Dutch research supports antioxidants being used to treat crps.

Antioxidants demolish free radicals that cause inflammation. A range of free radicals are needed to maintain a balance. Personally I think food provides unique combinations of nutrients some of which work synergistically. (this means together they are more beneficial than the sum of them taken separately.) For this reason I'm seeking to Eat Smart.
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