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

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.
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.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

In a virtual world we can be pain free.

The American Pain Foundation's Pain Monitor October 2007 has an interesting article about virtual reality technology and its use in pain management. I've mentioned in previous posts about the research being carried out by the Interfaces Group in Manchester in the UK. The Utube video below shows this research in relation to phantom limb pain.
The research in Manchester is on going. As you can see by the video this research involves a device placed on the head and over the eyes. This setup produces a three dimensional experience for the participant. Research using this technology is aimed at helping both pain sufferers and stroke patients.

At Hadassah University Hospital in Israeli, Hadasit has begun a Phase II Study of the Virtual Reality (VR) system for the treatment of chronic pain and stroke rehabilitation. JERUSALEM BUSINESS WIRE reported that "the VR system employs a patent pending technology designed to utilize brain plasticity and enhance learning processes in patients who are unable to use their arms, hands or shoulders due to stroke or chronic pain." In a similar way to the Manchester trials patients are able to see themselves in real time doing pain free movements in a simulated a virtual environment. However this research does not involve the patient wearing equipment and the image is viewed on a plasma screen. As I understand it, this is two dimensional virtual reality and works just as well as mirror therapy with the advantage of not being confined to a single side. In other words believe you can use this for central or whole body problems which have been an issue with mirror therapy.

Utilizing what is known about the new science of pain management involving the concept of plasticity of the brain and its ability to be retrained, these virtual reality
experiences activate mirror neurons (monkey see, monkey do) and induce a beneficial effect on the brain. Shimon Shiri, a rehabilitation psychologist at Hadassah and one of the inventor of this technology, in the CNN article linked to the American Foundation Newsletter explains how this reduces pain and increases function. "By viewing the movement of the arm without pain, the brain undergoes a corrective learning process."

You'll find the link to the American Pain Foundation's Monitor under "crps/rsd related articles" to the left of this blog. The newsletter has many excellent articles. I encourage you to read
"Managing pain: some things really do help" and "Chronic pain hits women harder" both of which refer to Complex Regional Pain Syndrome.

There's also a link to "Virtual reality as a rehabilitative technology for phantom limb experience".

Virtual Reality for Phantom Limb Pain

UK virtual reality research.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Actively seeking happiness and striving to see the glass half full.

Below my previous post is a comment worth reading. This sufferer found that imagining movements really helped. Her image was a pleasant one in which she even felt the breeze on her face.

Laughter 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 also 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.

We know that by making positive affirmations pain perception can be reduced by up to an amazing two thirds.
(Conversely, you can actually increase pain perception by focusing on negative aspects and fearing your pain.)

These findings 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" and strive to see "the glass half full."

Go to "crps/rsd related articles" to the left of this blog and click on the direct link to the article, "Natural Born Pain killers" in that explains the research behind this thinking.

Wednesday, October 17, 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.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Medical News Today - -New research Centre for Spinal Pain & Health research in Australia.

Medical News Today reports on the creation of a new, multi million dollar Research Centre to be established in Australia's University of Queensland. There's a call for people in the community with back or neck pain to become involved. Read the article under Medical News Today at the bottom left of this blog where you'll find contact information if interested in becoming involved with the research.

I'll be making contact to share how I've been able to deal with back pain using mirror visual feedback. We need to take an active part in our own recovery and helping those trying to help us benefits us all, I believe.

As the Medical News articles highlighted here change each week, here is the direct link to the article.

I'll also place the link to the left of this blog under "articles of interest".

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Pachelbel's canon in D Major - Very nice version

Pachelbel's Canon in D Major

Said to be the most relaxing meditation music. Enjoy!

Friday, October 12, 2007

Receive my posts by email.

You can now receive my new posts by email. Simply click on the link at the top of this page and type in your email. An email message will be sent to you. All you do then is click on a link to confirm. Thanks blogger for creating this link. - not only informative but also offers real help for pain sufferers. is not your usual pain support web site. It provides information for sufferers and pain therapists alike, including modules for study and accreditation. These are accessible by all. You don't need to be a therapist to view the content on the site. You don't need to be a member. There are links to articles on pain management, sections on breakthrough pain and musculoskeletal pain and news items.

There is a search section for pain specialists and pain clinics from all over the world. A check on Australian Pain Clinics was comprehensive. For this alone it is worth visiting the site.

Another feature of the site is the "Ask the Pain Doctor" section. In this section "practicing pain management physicians provide personal responses to your pain related inquiries. The "Ask the Pain Doctor" service is for information only. You can search the archive of questions under topics. This is a fantastic service given by this site.

I encourage you to click on the links at the top of the website. You can sign up for their newsletter under the "consumers" link.

Here's the link for this fabulous site.

There's also a link to the left of this blog under "crps/rsd related articles".

Sunday, October 07, 2007

CRPS/RSD taking control group closure.

It is with regret that I've closed the Google support group CRPS/RSD taking control. It was intended to be a place of peace, support and empowerment. I hope that members found that to be the case and take with them some things that may help on their journey through pain. I will continued support through this blog. If you'd like email support please leave a comment here and I'll contact you. Thank you all past members. I learned much from you and cherish the memories of things shared in friendship.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Launch of Usiku's new book - "Eloquence"

Writing with passion Usiku's new book's title aptly describes his work. I encourage you to vist 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 a November 2007 publication date; however advance copies will be available September 26th.

Only the first 500 books will be numbered.


Art inspiring Life

Art inspiring Art

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

$19.95 Hardcover

Friday, October 05, 2007

"Inspirational quotes" competition - writing distracts from pain.

Distraction! Distraction! Distraction! We all know one of the best ways to cope with pain is to become wholly absorbed in an activity. I would like to encourage you to create an Inspirational Quote and enter it in How to Cope with Pain web site competition. There are only a few days left to enter so don't delay.
While there check out their "archives" and some of the valuable and downloadable information on the site.

Here's the link
Custom Search
Gadget by The Blog Doctor.