Friday, August 31, 2007

Noi Group Blogs - I recommend you look now and bookmark these.

David Butler and the NOi Group have three blogs which are really worth a visit and marking in favourites. I certainly have.

"Explain Pain" is about the excellent book by David & Lorimar Moseley. This book made the concept of new science of pain with the grasp of patients as well as being a wonderful tool for therapists.

"Neurodynamics - Physical and Neural Nealth" gives some background on the Noi Group's beginnings.

"Neuromatrix training" talks about motor imagery, visualization and mirror visual feed back. Here you'll find descriptions of treatments the first of which is Complex Regional Pain Syndrome.

To view these blogs go to to the links under"crps/rsd related articles" to the left of this blog.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

The difficult part is being available for opportunities.

Usiku, a member of crps/rsdtaking control google group (no longer in operation) posted about "Opportunities".

"We can miss lots of opportunities if we miss those most readily available to us."

With life changing circumstances such as chronic pain come questioning and doubt.

Should I do this? Will I cope going out? Am I strong enough, well enough, happy enough?

"Opportunities to improve our relationship with ourselves are at every hand."

At this time of our live we can pause for reflection.

"Other opportunities and other relationships that will nourish us are our relationships with our God, nature, our family, friends, strangers, neighbors near and far, our endeavors, our vocations and our relationship with silence, stillness, meditation and prayer."

At this time we need nourishing. Accepting out pain, opening our hearts to being nourished and nurtured by others may help to heal us.

"Hopefully we will reach an understanding of our interconnectedness" and let "these golden opportunities be the short way around to being available to answer the knock of opportunity. Without this perspective and preparation, when opportunity knocks, we might not recognize the sound or it will be as though we've fallen and can't get up to open the door."

As Usiku says, "Let's practice making ourselves more available in some way to reap the promises and blessings as offspring of a limitless Universal Nature."

Please take the time to visit Usiku's website links under "articles of interest" to the left of this blog or

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Friendly massage.
Fairy break.
"Gedday mate!"

Bangalow Bill who inspired two 10 year old girls to write the Ballad of Bangalow.
There's something I should tell you
For all the world to know,
The best place to live on earth
Is here in Bangalow!"
By Louise Daily & Oberon Elenius
with a bit of help from Dad

Aboriginal music unites consciousness with invisible laws and energy patterns of nature.
The didgeridoo is considered the sound of Australia.
To learn more & hear the sound go to the link to the left of this blog under "articles of interest".

Possum boxes at Bangalow market today.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Feral chooks sheltering from recent rain.

From virtual to reality - the future looks promising for sufferers of chronic pain.

BBC News has a current report on two teams, from University College London, UK, and the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne, who have been able to induce out of body experiences using virtual reality technology. They believe there is a neurological explanation involving the brain circuits that process sight and touch.

Using a camera and goggles researchers were able to induce a feeling that the virtual body was their own body.

This is much the same as when I do mirror visual feedback. My brain interprets the single limb and it's mirror image as a whole body.

When the camera was switched off and the volunteers were asked to stand where they thought they were during the experiment, the volunteers stood where they perceived the virtual body to be.

With chronic pain such as CRPS/RSD it is known that there is an altered body schema and the neurotag is smudged. This basically means that the brain hasn't a clear focused image of the body and where it hurts. The pain spreads out just as if you rubbed a black dot and made it smudgy so pain, instead of being focused on one spot has spread out and is hard to explain. I wonder if the this sense of being where the virtual body was imaged as in this experiment, could help explain why many people with CRPS/RSD have problems with spacial awareness and bump into things.

"Dr Henrik Ehrsson found volunteers had a physiological response - increased skin sweating - when they felt their virtual self was being threatened - appearing to be hit with a hammer."

If you can induce an autonomic nervous system response such as sweating from a threat to the virtual body it helps me understand why my body is calmed by seeing my mirrored limb without threat or pain. This idea of seeing the whole body or the body as a whole clarifies for me the need, when doing mirror therapy to see the both sides of the body (left and right) as if viewing a whole body. This differs from thinking of just seeing the mirror image of a good side.

At present the Interfaces group in Manchester in the UK are doing research on using virtual reality technology to relieve chronic pain. They already have succeeded in reliving phantom limb pain.

The potential use of this technology is far reaching from relieving pain and symptoms of Complex Regional Pain Syndrome and other chronic pain to performing "virtual" surgery.

G. Riva, C. Botella, P. L├ęgeron and G. Optale (Eds.) Amsterdam, IOS Press,© 2004, 2005, 2006 produced a very comprehensive document "Cybertherapy, Internet and Virtual Reality as Assessment and Rehabilitation Tools for Clinical Psychology and Neuroscience". It explains that what was first used for training in big companies is now used for treatment. Over time some of the limitation have been overcome and it is now used as a tool in treatnment of psychological disorders such as post traaumatic stress disorder. In fact, Hodges and Rothbaum have developed the first software for treatment of Vietnam War Veterans and for victims of the world trade center disaster.

To read this article go to "articles of interest" to the left of this blog and click on the link.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Mindfulness meditation - waves

This simple awareness meditation may help you experience nature more deeply and more joyfully.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Mindful flight.
Old Eucalyptus Ironbark trees by the Brunswick River have had weeks of dry weather, then many inches of rain. The foam looks like frothy detergent and is a saponin which is a wetting agent to carry the rain down into the soil and therefore to the roots of the trees.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

ikigai - finding your purpose in life despite chronic pain.

Kris, one of the managers of crps/rsd taking control google group and also owner of the website "Living with chronic pain" (link under articles of interest to the left of this blog), reminded me today of an important Japanese concept ikigai.

If ikigai were translated from Japanese into English, it could be "reason(s) for living", "self-actualization", "meaning or purpose of life" and "motivation for living".

Ikigai is culturally defined in the society of Japan as describing subjective well-being. It is considered to be related to life-satisfaction, self-esteem, morale, happiness as well as giving meaning to one's life.

Dr. Sanjay Gupta, assistant professor of neurosurgery at Emory University Hospital and associate chief of neurosurgery at Grady Memorial Hospital in the process of writing his new book"Chasing Life" discovered that the way you think affects the way you feel.

If you have a prolonged negative way of thinking about illness these thoughts will manifest into existence. Think bad. Feel bad.
If you think of how good your health is, you will feel better. Think well. Feel better.

Life is full of challenges, when faced with a chronic illness or injury, you can either focus on lack and feel blame, or learn from your situation. You can be a victim or a victor. When you choose to be a victor, you increase your fulfillment.

Japanese researchers found that chronic pain patients with higher ikigai scores tended to be optimistic and to have positive attitudes, while patients with lower scores tended to be introverted and pessimistic and to have more physical disabilities due to pain.

Japanese believe that the people who live the longest have a very strong ikigai.
On waking each day, they focus on what is their sense of purpose for that day.

"Why are you here? What are you going to do? How are you going to better the world in some way?"

ikigai must change for sufferers of life changing conditions such as CRPS/RSD. The fundamental knowledge of what defines you and how you value yourself takes a radical shift. Faced, in many cases, with no longer working in your chosen job, being cared for instead of carers leave many of us floundering in search of a new identity, a new sense of purpose, a modified ikigai.

I'm still traveling this journey to define my ikigai but for now I'll think and speak mindfully, positively and concentrate on becoming the victor instead of the victim.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Virtual analgesia - distracting the brain from pain.

BBC News's, Becky McCall reported that Dr Hunter Hoffman has created virtual worlds, designed to "immerse the user so deeply in the virtual experience that their attention is distracted away from the pain". A research fellow at the Harborview Medical Center in Seattle, Dr Hoffman has used these virtual worlds on victims of burns injuries during wound changes. The patient becomes so involved in the virtual experience that they are not aware of the wound being dressed, normally an excruciating ordeal. In fact what has been done is create a demanding and in this instance, pleasurable experience to dominate brain inputs, leaving little opportunity for incoming pain signals, tapping in to the GATE theory. Ms McCall reports that "this suggests that higher order thought processes descend the spinal cord and influence the amount of pain allowed to enter the brain".

This really interests me because just this week I've been struggling to resolve a lower back flare up with classic CRPS burning, hypersensitivity, vascular changes etc. However I woke up Saturday morning with a streaming nose from a fairly extreme dose of hay fever.

The miraculous thing was the back pain was gone.

Yesterday morning the hay fever was completely gone but the back was burning again.

I got stuck in to mirror therapy and things are almost calmed again.
I'm not sure if hay fever can be considered higher order processing but I do know the constant sneezing and streaming nose were pretty dominating. Some members of my google group have noticed the same thing happen to them. This lends weight to the new understanding of the part the brain plays in pain.

To read this article and learn more go to the link to the left of this blog under "articles of interest".


Tea produces a relaxed but alert state of mind.

L-theanine is an amino acid found almost only in green, black and oolong tea. It has been shown to stimulate alpha-brain wave activity, which is associated with a relaxed yet alert state of mind.
The calming affect can last for up to nearly two hours

The science of theanine and brain activity is just developing, but the current evidence
suggests that the rejuvenating effects of tea on mood, cognitive function and psychomotor performance may be in part be due to this theanine. It is thought that L-theanine in tea may serve to blunt the stimulatory effects of caffeine in tea. Some even believe that tea may be a remedy for extreme stress or poor concentration.

Since theanine may help the mind stop racing it also seems to help promote a more
restful, sound sleep because sleep is also not interrupted by random thoughts.

Concentration, stress and poor sleep go hand in hand with chronic pain. I know I feel better after a cuppa. Now I can understand why. I like the idea of a relaxed yet alert state of mind.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Vitamin C reduces the prevalence of complex regional pain syndrome after wrist fractures.

A friend's son's accident, in which he broke his wrist, prompted me to remember I haven't placed a link to research about preventing CRPS after a wrist fracture. This is of particular interest to me as had this information been known at the time of my wrist fracture in 1998, this simple, inexpensive treatment could have prevented my nines years of pain.
The Lancet in December 1999 reported that doctors at Leyenburg Hospital, The Hague, The Netherlands in a prospective, double-blind study showed that vitamin C was associated with a lower risk of RSD after wrist fractures. They hypothesized that this beneficial effect of prophylaxis would be useful in other forms of trauma.
Pub Med reported that Researchers at Centre Hospitalier, Rue Marcellin Berthelot, 02 000 Laon, France found that the incidence of reflex sympathetic dystrophy was five time times lower in a group give vitamin C orally for 45 days from the start of the fracture. They considered that this supported previous observations and lent credibility to the value of vitamin C administration as a prophylactic measure to prevent the occurrence of reflex sympathetic dystrophy in patients who undergo surgical treatment of a displaced fracture of the distal radius.

In July 2007 the Journal of Bone & Joint Surgery reported that Drs Zollinger, Tuinebreijer, Breederveld and Kreis, Department of Surgery, Red Cross Hospital, Beverwijk, The Netherlands had conducted a randomized, controlled, multicenter dose-response study into whether vitamin C can prevent the development of Complex Regional Pain Syndrome in patients with wrist fractures.
The study concluded that Vitamin C reduces the prevalence of complex regional pain syndrome after wrist fractures. A daily dose of 500 mg for fifty days was recommended recommended.
To read more go to the link to the left of this blog under "crps/rsd related articles".

Please note. A comment below mentions professor Scott Reuben. His research has been discredited and is no longer relevent.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

" Why feedback therapies work" - an interview with physical therapist , Matthias Weinbeiger on How to Cope with Pain website.

Matthias Weinberger, physical therapist and photographer extraordinarie explains why feedback therapies work. In an interview on How to Cope with Pain website, Matthias explains that feedback therapies "refresh the cortical representation, and the brain is able to make sense of the situation again. The pain stops."

He said in the interview that "If you “show” your brain center that your arm or leg is moving as intended, the pain is gone. In the long run, the maladaptive processes in the somatosensory cortex vanish, and the pain stays gone forever."

Matthais bases his understanding on Harris’ thesis. To read this fascinating interview with links to his blog go to the link under "crps/rsd related articles" to the left of this blog.
While there check out the archive section and read some of the other great posts.
How to Cope with Pain website provide a wealth of support to chronic pain sufferers and is leading the way in spreading the word about the "new science of pain".

Monday, August 13, 2007

"Well, throw the ball! Throw the ball!!"
Joie de vivre.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Gratuitous chicken photo.
Whale off the Cape.
Dolphins off the Cape.
Click on photo for a better look.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Complex Regional Pain Syndrome - a journey to wellness.

With CRPS/RSD I take life one day at a time. Many things have helped me along the way, most significant being Mirror Visual Feedback or MVF. The breaks between major flare ups reassures me I am on the right track. Here are some of the things that help me deal with pain and symptoms.
  • mirrors (August archives photos)
  • when doing mirror therapy pay attention to the location of most pain.(July 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)
  • 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 - my journey to wellness.

Complex Regional Pain Syndrome CRPS, formally known as reflex sympathetic dystrophy RSD, 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. I hope you are able to follow my journey to wellness.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR)

In the second video from the top to the left of this blog, Steven D. Hickman, Psy.D. discusses the field of behavioral medicine, specifically assessing and treating patients with chronic pain Dr. Hickman uses Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) a particular way of paying attention: with mindful intention, in the moment, without judgment.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

A little of what you fancy does you good.

Last weekend my daughter took my husband & I to watch a street dancing festival.
It was fantastic and the music was entrancing. It was impossible not to move to the rhythms of bollywood, hip hop, latino. I was reminded of how easy it is to be motivated to move when you hear such stiring rhythms. With this in mind I'm adding music to my physical therapy. A little Bollywood should get the hips oiled. Sometimes we need to be reminded of these simple to keeping us moving.
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