Sunday, September 30, 2007

Simplicity
Spring blooms in my garden.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Whole grains - nutrient packages.

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 wholefoodsfarmacy.com 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 protein. A friend told me that she uses quinoa instead of couscous.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Antioxidants and free radicals - getting the balance right.

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.

It is important to remember that antioxidants give an electron to a free radical to make it safe but in so doing become themselves free radicals.
It is wisest to consume a mix of antioxidants in order to maintain a balance.

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/RSD. 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 inflamation (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 signify 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. I also take a supplement before dental work or with nerve firing acute flare ups. I don't give this as advise.

Some supplements interfere with drugs so seeking advice is best.

So far research has proven vitamin C can prevent crps from developing from surgery etc. See previous posts. I now know of any research into using vitamin C as a treatment for CRPS/RSD. To me it makes sense that extra vitamin C together with other antioxidants would be helpful if only in controlling inflamation. This is my personal opinion, not a recommendation. I do not offer this as advice.

I've nearly finished putting together my thoughts and plan about "eating smart" and will post more soon.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Phytochemicals and zoochemicals are believed to have greater antioxidant effects than either vitamins or minerals.

Better health Victorian Government article says "phytochemicals found in plants and zoochemicals found in animal products are believed to have greater antioxidant effects than either vitamins or minerals.

Wheat is the most important cereal crop in the world and in its natural unrefined state, features a host of important nutrients. Dr R H Liu of Cornell University, New York, reported that, "whole wheat contains many powerful phytonutrients". Bound phytochemicals were the major contributors to the total antioxidant value.

Phenols, unique phytonutrients found in prunes, are damage preventing substances effective in neutralizing a particularly dangerous oxygen radical. An excellent source of beta carotene, prunes help prevent oxygen based damage to fats. As well as these benefits, potassium in prunes lowers blood pressure and fiber helps to normalize blood sugar.

Sunsweet Dry Fruits note that a recent study from Tufts University in Boston "ranked the antioxidant value of commonly eaten fruits and vegetables using an analysis called ORAC (Oxygen Radical Absorbency Capacity). Prunes topped the list with more than twice the antioxidant capacity as other high-scoring fruits such as blueberries and rasins."

wholefoods.org has heaps of information and recipes. The link is to the left of this blog under "articles of interest".

Monday, September 24, 2007

Free Radicals are possible mediators of mechanisms leading to some of the neurological symptoms of CRPS/RSD.

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 micro nutrient (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 micro nutrients 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.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Medical News Today - inflammatory connection to abdominal pain.

A small study led by the Mayo Clinic has discovered that there is an abnormal amount of inflammatory cells in duodenum of those with upper abdomen pain.

It is suggested that new medications targeted to deal with this inflammation might provide relief.

The interesting question is why inflammation is present. Researchers have speculated on a possible cause. You can read the article in Medical News Today which has news highlights to the bottom left of this page.

Personally I wonder if increasing inflammation targeting free radicals in diet might be a good way of decreasing this inflammation. I also wonder what part free radical causing stress has to do with this.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Knowledge of old memory traces of pain leads to possible new treatment for sufferers of chronic pain.

A. Vania Apkarian, PhD, professor of physiology and of anesthesiology at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine has identified an old memory trace in the prefrontal cortex as a source of chronic pain. This new understanding of the pain source has given rise to new possibilities of treatment targeting the specific problem area. Treatments will be aimed at reducing the suffering.

Interestingly Professsor Apkarian also discovered that you can tell how long a person has been suffering chronic pain using and MRI.

You'll find a link to this article under "articles of interest" to the left of this blog.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Knowledge is power.

As you are aware by now, I am unable to take medication due to dangerous side effects. However I respect those who are able to be helped in this way. How to Cope with pain is posting on Mondays about this subject and as always provides up to date information in a way that everyone can understand. The is link to the first in the series under "articles of interest" to the left of this page.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Mindfulness meditation - hang gliding

Hang gliding over Cape Byron.

Too windy for me to hold the camera still but perfect for them.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

In passing.
Click on picture for a better look.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Hyperacusia - when normal noise feels intolerable.

A therapist recently asked me to find out if any sufferers of CRPS/RSD also sometimes find that normal noise is intolerable. This means it's hard to listen to normal speach. It doesn't refer to hypersensitivity to loud noise or music.
I put the question on the survey to the top left of this blog. Please take the time to let me know how it is for you. If you have more to tell then please comment after this post. I'll pass on the results to the therapist. This is a great way to help the therapists understand more about how this condition can affect us.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Medical News Today _ drug free treatments work for older people.

Medical News Today which has headlines at the bottom left of this blog has reported on a new study published in Pain Medicine. They report that the study "provides a structured review of eight mind-body interventions for older people, including progressive muscle relaxation, meditation, hypnosis, tai chi and yoga."

These drug free treatment are empowering for people because they give sufferers the chance to do something themselves to help relieve their own pain.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Virtual Reality for Phantom Limb Pain

From virtual reality to reality - new hope 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 and others, particularly the work of the Advanced Interfaces Group, go to "articles of interest" to the left of this blog and click on the link.



Saturday, September 15, 2007

Explain Pain and other great books reviewed by How to Cope with Pain.

This week How to Cope with Pain website has been reviewing three excellent books, one of read, the other two definitely on my must read list.

"Explain Pain" by David Butler and Lorimer Moseley is the book which led me on a path to recovery. I encourage you to go to HTCwP website and read about all three books.
Here is the link to the "Explain Pain" review. This link and direct links to the other reviews are under"articles of interest" to the left of this blog.

http://www.howtocopewithpain.org/blog/135/so-this-is-why-i-still-have-pain-chronic-pain-explained/

Friday, September 14, 2007

Recognize - How to Cope with Pain reports on this limb laterality recognition program.

How to Cope with Pain website posted in June about Noi Group's limb laterality recognition program, "Recognize". The article gives links to research supporting the program's use. It's 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 since in the hope that 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. The Noi Group now has flash cards which I think would help me more as there is no time limit on these.

There is a link to the article in HTCWP to the left of this blog under "crps/rsd related articles". I also recommend you check out the Noi Group link and read more.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Mirror Therapy - a measurable change in neural activity.

© 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.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

What's in a name? Mirror gazing 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 as are goji berries) 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 Vitamin 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.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Physical therapists are embracing the new science of pain - making a real difference.

Research has proven with MRI results that the brain changes with chronic pain.

More recently we've learned 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 band aiding the symptoms. This is very good news for sufferers.

Mirror Visual Feedback, or mirror therapy is based on the finding that visual input from a moving, unaffected limb re-establishes the pain-free relationship between sensory feedback and motor execution in the affected limb.

"Expalin Pain" by David Butler and Lorimer Moseley discusses "smudging the neurotag". Persistent or chronic pain leads to changes in the brain. Our brain changes all the time and is dependent on input for information. We become more sensitive to pain, and the area of pain in the brain, the virtual body becomes more "smudged" or less clearly defined. This means that instead of pain being confined to an area, eg the shoulder, the pain spreads beyond the original site. (see Noi Group link to the left of this blog) Dr Lorimer Moseley (physiotherapist and co-author of "Explain Pain") employed a motor imagery program which entailed "two weeks each of hourly performance of hand laterality recognition task, imagined hand movements followed by mirror therapy." (from 8th International Physiotherapy Congress).

It is physical therapists who are embracing this new science of pain. They are involved in the research, practicing and training of therapists around the world.

Mirror therapy is simple to do, inexpensive and really works!

Monday, September 10, 2007

Physical therapy - what works and is unhelpful for me.

Since my accident in 1998 I've had physical therapy. It was two years after my accident before I was diagnosed with Complex Regional Pain Syndrome. My therapist for over four years listened to what I said and together we worked at regaining strength. From the outset he knew that there was pain out of proportion to the obvious injury and with this in mind he taught me to do exercises myself at home. There was often an issue of my overdoing it in my quest to gain strength and balance. At the time I had no idea of the importance of not doing too much, of how very counterproductive this was. My therapist encouraged me to get in the pool we had at the time and move in the water. I believe it was because of this advice and his encouragement and recognition of my mistakes in overdoing exercises and teaching me to pace myself that I have avoided complications that others suffer.

A good, compassionate and understanding physical therapist can provide great benefits for sufferers of CRPS. My first therapist was not aware I had CRPS and was not familiar with the condition, but he did listen and between us we found what worked and what was unhelpful.

We worked out that hands on, manipulative physiotherapy caused an alarm reaction for me. It would increase my pain and nerve firing symptoms. and muscle spasms. Teaching me exercises which I could do at home was the best approach. Keeping sessions short and not overstimulating was helpful. This therapist applied passive heat for a period at the end of a short therapy session.

We moved and my new physical therapist was not familiar with CRPS/RSD. He was a manipulative physiotherapist and worked on a region or limb at each session. Manipulative therapy ramped up pain and symptoms. I would get increased muscle spasm especially from stretches, what felt like a rebound reaction. The plan of working on one area or body part was focusing symptoms on that part and I had pain and symptoms in many parts, so I would feel frustrated and worried that my body was getting weaker. My therapist was an excellent manipulative therapist and helped many people but this type of therapy did not suit me.

I changed to a physiotherapist who was familiar with CRPS. This was the start of my going forwards and seeing some improvement in symptoms. This therapist treated the whole body. She explained about the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems and how certain things could ramp up the sympathetic nervous system and make pain worse or activate the parasympathetic and calm things down.

She taught me
  • to breathe in a way that activates the parasympathetic nervous system
  • to exercise bilaterally (both side)
  • to exercise in a way that benefited the whole body and not an isolated part
  • to balance
  • to correct posture (and be mindful of tiredness causing posture changes)
  • to do static postures which gently stretched or relaxed
  • to pace - a little and often
  • to get wet and explained how pressure of water activates the parasympathetic nervous system
  • to do an adapted style of yoga which benefits the whole body
  • to do upside down yoga poses with a pad over my eyes - very calming
  • to meditate and be mindful
  • to listen to my body

This approach to physical therapy suits me. It does not ramp up my symptoms. It gives me time to practice and develop a routine at home. It encourages me to alter and enhance my life style to accommodate my needs. It leaves me feeling empowered and gives me choices.

Above all else, it has worked to lessen pain and symptoms. Physical therapy for me is a necessary lifestyle choice and I now am able to have a routine that is adaptable and do-able for me.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Paucity of prospective randomized clinicl trials means it's challenging to develop evidence based guidelines for physical therapy treatment of CRPS.

Physical therapy is thought to be the corner stone of therapy for patients with Complex Regional Pain Syndrome. Although this is considered most important, as yet little clinical trial evidence exists to develop guide lines for best practice.

Retired Florida Doctor H Hooshmand's website's advice still rings true today. He suggests that two things are counterproductive with physical therapy for CRPS/RSD, (1) too much, too harsh exercise and (2) too little or worse no exercise. He emphasizes pacing and changing activities often.

Washington government protocols 2002,for physical therapy for CRPS suggest establishing a baseline for function, strength and motion and weight bearing where appropriate. Then they suggest a progressive therapy including desensitization program for clinic and home. Progressive assessment and patient home diary is suggested to monitor progress.

The National Pain Foundation also sites active physical therapy as being most important. Stress loading as well as strengthening and stretching is advised.

Professor Edwin Carden, fellow of the American of Pain Management believes the basis of therapy should be the use of passive range of motion and isometric exercises with heat but not ice.

RSD Hope puts forward the idea that "No Pain is all gain" and suggests a combined program of water therapy, cardio and range of motion exercises.

Wikipedia also supports the notion that "inactivity can exacerbate CRPS and perpetuate the pain cycle". It reports that "goal-directed therapy is best, with the patient beginning from an initial point, regardless of how minimal, and then endeavors to increase activity each week." It is felt that the patient should be engaged in doing the therapy for themselves, an active approach.

Google "physical therapy for CRPS" for more information.

Tomorrow I'll post what physical therapy has worked and what is unhelpful for me.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Physical therapy -"adapting practises in the light of emerging evidence."

In Medical News today, at the bottom left of this blog, reports on a special report in Physical Therapy Reviews featuring an editorial by Professor Jennifer Klaber Moffett of the Institute of Rehabilitation, University of Hull, UK. The Professor is reported to have said that understanding the new science of pain will cause therapists to think carefully when treating pain patients and "more importantly consider adapting practice in the light of emerging evidence."

In the coming posts I'll be looking at physical therapy for Complex Regional Pain Syndrome sufferers. I will outline practice guide lines, various opinions and post about what helps and is unhelpful for me. Please comment If you can about how what works for you. If we are able to share our experiences we pave the way to better understanding
.

Friday, September 07, 2007

Self Compassion or Self Esteem? How to Cope with Pain looks at the topic.

How to Cope with pain has a guest post today about self compassion and self esteem. I was so taken with their post about "Are you kind to yourself when things go wrong" that I looked further into what Professor Mark Leary had to say. HTCwP kindly posted what I found.

Please go to the link under "crsp/rsd related articles" to the left of this blog. I encourage you to check out HTCwP archives on the blog site while you are there and see some of the really great posts, interesting and informative.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Seeing "the glass half full".


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.

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 Prevention.com. that explains the research behind this thinking.

Referring to my list of what works to help with pain and symptoms of CRPS/RSD has really helped me to keep the focus.

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)
  • 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 (September)
  • 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.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Complex Regional Pain Syndrome - complex indeed.

Symptoms vary 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.
Dolphins at the Cape. Click on photo for a better look.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Work & Pain - a blog carnival from How to Cope with Pain web site.

How to Cope with Pain has once again provided a valuable resource with its Labor Day Blog Carnival.

On the topic "Work & Pain" five web sites have shared their ideas and insights covering a range of aspects from
  • coping with the effects of stopping work,
  • positive effects of the right kind of work,
  • practical advice for the workplace and
  • seeing yourself as more than just a body in pain.
I encourage you to visit all the web sites accessible from the How to Cope with Pain link.

Go to "articles of interest" to the left of this blog and click on the direct link to this article.

Monday, September 03, 2007


The best tea house in Brisbane, Australia.
Each a different tea - all benefiting.
Chrysanthemum tea contains also Vitamin A, B1, choline, flavonoid, glycoside and adenine.It is believed to lead to better vision and improved body energy.


Chai tea is a blend of spices including cinnamon which contains salicylates that help fight pain.
Peach tea - detox in style.

Tea - a feel good drink.

Apart from the health benefits of the various teas, sharing the experience of tea is relaxing and certainly makes me feel good.
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