Friday, October 31, 2008

Slide show presentation of "Assessment Of Complex Regional Pain Syndrome by Dr Candy McCabe" - recommended.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

You're the voice - John Farnham at 2003 Aria Awards

You're the voice - you have the vote.

One of Australia's favourite sons, John Farnham's song "You're the voice" has words that ring true for the American people today. In the face of the planned assignation of a presidential candidate it is important to stand up and be counted. Here are the words. My next post is John Farnham singing his very stirring song.

We have
The chance to turn the pages over
We can write what we want to write
We gotta make ends meet, before we get much older

We're all someone's daughter
We're all someone's son
How long can we look at each other
Down the barrel of a gun?

Chorus:
You're the voice, try and understand it
Make a noise and make it clear
Oh-o-o-o, whoa-o-o-o!
We're not gonna sit in silence
We're not gonna live with fear
Oh-o-o-o, whoa-o-o-o!

This time
We know we all can stand together
With the power to be powerful
Believing, we can make it better

Oooooooh,
We're all someone's daughter
We're all someone's son
How long can we look at each other
Down the barrel of a gun?...

You're the voice, try and understand it
Make a noise and make it clear
Oh-o-o-o, whoa-o-o-o!
We're not gonna sit in silence
We're not gonna live with fear
Oh-o-o-o, whoa-o-o-o!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Power to the people - in this difficult time, the peoples of the United States of America have the future in their hands.

Very soon the peoples of America will be charged with the responsibility of choosing the future direction of a mighty country. I encourage you to make your vote count, to seek the facts for yourselves. Knowledge is power. Let not creed, nor background, nor charm, nor race dictate your choice. Rather determine whether your candidate is honourable, ethical, intelligent, decisive and of good stamina.

I googled for information on the policies of the two parties.

Here is Senator Obama's site. If you click on "Blue print for change - download document" you'll find his party's stance on some important issues.
http://209.85.175.104/search?q=cache:8SRWKuHPPg4J:www.barackobama.com/issues/+barak+obama+policies&hl=en&ct=clnk&cd=1&gl=au

Here's an overview from the document.

"AT A GLANCE
• Enact an Emergency Economic Plan to Inject Immediate Relief into the Economy
• Provide Meaningful, Permanent Tax Relief for Middle Class Families
• Protect Homeownership
• Make Strategic Investments in America to Create Millions of New Jobs
• Improve Regulatory Oversight of Financial Markets
• Fight for Fair Trade Agreements
• Crack Down on Predatory Credit Card and Lending Practices
• Support Working Families and Strengthen Labor Laws"

Senator McCain's website lists Issues. If you click on further information and then continue to click you will get an idea of some strategies suggested to address the particular issue.
http://www.johnmccain.com/Informing/Issues/
I wasn't able to find a summary of proposed policies or I'd list them here.

I am posting this because the future direction America takes affects us all as we've so recently seen. I beseech you to choose wisely and after the decision is made, take some time and care for yourselves.

Recent evidence has shown stress affects pain threshold.

Research at Department of Psychology and Human Development, Vanderbilt University, Peabody 512, 230 Appleton Place, Nashville, TN 37203, USA say " research demonstrates the first evidence of the occurrence of stress-induced hyperalgesia in a pediatric pain population."
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17716818

American Pain Society reported a study by Roger Allen and Chad McCann of
University of Puget Sound, Tacoma, WA which hypothesized that "increased pain activity appearing ten-days after stressful events may be related to the psychogenic release and activity of the stress-related hormone thyroxine, in patients with CRPS".
http://aps.confex.com/aps/2008/webprogram/Paper8452.html

A web based epidemiological survey of complex regional pain syndrome shows 82% of participants noticed that emotional stress increased pain.
http://www.rsds.org/3/pdf/Modified%20ASA%20poster-RSDSA.pdf

The European Journal of Neurology reported the results of University of South Australia study on induced stress on experimental pain in chronic tension type headaches. Results support the hypothesis "that stress may contribute to CTH through hyperalgesic effects on already sensitized pain pathways in CTH sufferers."
http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/journal/119416344/abstract?CRETRY=1&SRETRY=0

I know that stress ramps up symptoms and that one of the best ways of calming symptoms is to decrease stress. However, in the real world controlling stress can be difficult. Right now, in counties all over the world there is a huge concern over the global financial crises.

Very soon the American people go to the polls. This is a stressful time. The research seems to indicate that we cope with the stress and pay for it some time later. In the days and weeks after the decision making take time to look after yourselves, seek happiness, ways to de-stress and take care of yourselves.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

My list of what helps to manage pain and symptoms of CRPS/RSD.

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

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

  • when doing mirror therapy pay attention to the location of most pain.(July 07)
  • if pain returns after mirror therapy has relieved the pain, look for underlying problem (October 07)
  • essential oils (still experimenting but amazed so far)
  • breathing out twice as long as in (August) I now do it for a few minutes 5 times a day instaed of once for 15 minutes.
  • resperate machine could be used to control breathing(November)
  • distraction (September archives)
  • magnesium for muscle spasm (September)
  • fish/fish oil for inflamation (September)
  • beetroot for liver protection and antidepressant (September)
  • isometric exercises to reduce pain (September)
  • epson salts warm bath (September)
  • chili cream (capsaicin)
  • heat pack (September)
  • graduated repetition of movements (September)
  • pacing
  • move it or lose it - Bollywood dancing (of sorts) August 07
  • deflated ball gives a great massage (see photo Sept)
  • butterball bath bomb (Sept)
  • water relaxes, calms,slows and improves breathing, helps sleep (Sept)
  • Caring Doctors (Sept)
  • Letting go of worries and avoiding stress (Oct)
  • Actively seeking happiness (Oct)
  • I will take vitamin C if I must have surgery as a precaution. (Nov)
  • eat nutrient rich antioxidant foods. Eas smart. (Nov)
  • use Prantal powder for hyperhydrosis (Nov)
  • make a list what works for me as a quick reference. (Nov)
  • don't despare when I have flare up. Refer to the list. (Nov)
  • Doing the same movement in different ways to reinforce that "it's ok"
  • Following a dental procedure which works for me (Nov)
  • Changing thinking, not "what can be done for me" but "what I can do for myself" (Nov)
  • Eating smart - increasing antioxidants especially vitamin C in my diet. (January )
  • Eating smart - making sure I eat a variety of high antioxidant foods including vitamin C. (March 07)
  • Taking the "glass half full" approach (October)
  • Yamamoto neuro-acupuncture (Nov 07)
  • laser acupuncture mirrors
  • alternate nostril breathing (October 08)
  • 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.

Just what is Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS, previously known as Reflex sympathetic Dystrophy (RSD)?

CRPS/RSD is a collection of symptoms the most significant of which is pain. Symptoms vary from 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.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

After the caution this is a good demonstration of alternate nostril breathing.

Alternate nostril breathing (Pranayama)

This post is my contribution to How to Cope with Pain's October blog Carnival.
http://www.howtocopewithpain.org/
Medical science has just discovered the nasal cycle, known to yogis for thousands of years. The first mention in the western hemisphere of a lateralized periodic process was in the work by Dr. R.German rhinologist, in 1895. Dr Kayser found what resembled a periodic rhythm of nostril passage. Dr Kayser suggested that laterality of nostril dominance was part of a larger schema where one lateral side of the body was somehow innervated or de-innervated. Prior to 1895, the Aryan descendants in the Indus valley studied the nasal cycle (Hatha Yoga Pradipika, trans. 1893; Iyengar, 1988). They not only took note of the process, but also had enlarged upon Dr Kayser's theory of lateral innervation.

The doctrine of collateral activation was taken a bit farther by the ancient sages, to include arousal of the brain hemispheres. Yogic sages thought that forced lateralized breathing through one nostril, would effect a selective activation of one brain hemisphere over another.
It would appears that nostril dominance originates from the brain itself.


http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8063547?dopt=AbstractPlus

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/3449485?ordinalpos=1&itool=EntrezSystem2.PEntrez.Pubmed.Pubmed_ResultsPanel.Pubmed_DiscoveryPanel.Pubmed_Discovery_RA&linkpos=2&log$=relatedarticles&logdbfrom=pubmed

The nasal cycle is an ultradian rhythm involving alternating breathing of the left and right nostrils,. It is known to have a cycle of two to eight hours (Keuning, 1968; Shannahoff-Khalsa, 1991). The nasal cycle is controlled by sympathetic/parasympathetic innervation of the nasal mucosa. When sympathetic activity to one side dominates, the result is vaso-constriction and thus decongestion on that side, while the enhanced parasympathetic activity on the other side simultaneously results in congestion (Keuning, 1968; Stocksted, 1953). Hence while the nasal cycle is regulated by the autonomic nervous system, it in turn influences the autonomic nervous system mechanism

Researchers at Nepal Medical College in Kathmandu measured the physiological effects of alternate nostril breathing (Nadi Sodhana ). They found significant increases in peak expiratory flow rate (exhale) and pulse pressure and decreases in heart rate, respiratory rate, and diastolic blood pressure.

There is no doubt that alternate nostril breathing can be a powerful way to quickly relax the nervous system, shifting the balance from sympathetic side to the more restorative parasympathetic. By slowing the breath, lengthening the exhalation, and pausing briefly after the exhalation, all tend to shift the balance towards the parasympathetic side.

In other words regular practice of alternate nostril breathing increases parasympathetic activity.

Yoga Journal's medical Editor, Dr Timothy McCall talks about this in Part two of a three part series on "Yoga for chronic Pain"http://www.yogajournal.com/for_teachers/2561

My physiotherapist had suggested a long time ago that I do this style of breathing. At the time I was very hypersensitive and touching my face to close over a nostril was extremely uncomfortable. I know realize that I should have disregarded the unpleasant feeling for two reasons. One, the more I touched my face the less uncomfortable it would be and two, activating the parasympathetic nervous system is very beneficial for someone with CRPS/RSD. It calms and reduces pain.

My Intergrative Medical practitioner recently again suggested I practice this breathing, especially when agitated and in more pain. He explained that one nostril works on the sympathtic nervous system and the other the parasympathetic nervous system. He told me that there is a cycle of about 3 hours. Every 3 hours or so they switch sides sothat the side that was sympathetic became parasympathetic and so on. This style of breathing is very helpful for those, like sufferers who have a disturbance of the sympathetic nervous. This style of breathing helps to bring about balance. In so doing, it's calming. Calming, reducing stress lessens the perception of pain.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Actively seeking happiness - seeing Kate Miller-Heidke live in Mullumbimby.

I've watched Kate's star rise. A trained opera singer, Kate turned to what she really loves and her performances are electric.
Sometimes we have to seek things that make us uplifted. You certainly uplifted my spirits last Friday Kate. Just brilliant!
Here's a link to her my space.
http://www.myspace.com/katemillerheidke

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Today I want to tell you about an angry young man.

A University of California study has recently shown that surfing the net increases neural activity and benefits the brain. Surfing the net has benefited me in others ways as well. It's introduced me to some very special people.

Today I'd like to tell you about
an angry young man. Anthony (Tony) Tobin is one of the special people in this world. In his quiet way he's helped thousands of people, giving them hope, comfort in the knowledge that they are not alone and empowered them with knowledge so that they can help themselves. He's been spurred on in this endeavour by his love and care for his granddaughter. This part of his story you can read here
http://www.rsdalert.co.uk/stories/Jenna.htm


Tony was also interviewed by the How to Cope with Pain blog.
http://www.howtocopewithpain.org/blog/93/how-pain-affects-families-a-grandfathers-story/

From his home in the UK, Tony runs
RSD/CRPS World News Group http://health.groups.yahoo.com/group/RSD-WorldNews/
This group has been an invaluable resource for the over 800 members world wide. There's a huge amount of up to date information so I strongly suggest joining the group. Tony has helped and supported many sufferers and loved ones.

Why is Tony
an angry young man? His first blog is titled, "The original angry man blog -Everything that is wrong with this world when looked at by older and wiser (Maybe) eyes". http://www.anthonytobin.co.uk/ (click on Tony's profile to get links to his other blogs) He doesn't however just use this blog just to have a rant. Tony does something about it.

Turning anger into action, helping others and spreading the word. The world could do with a few more such angry
young men (and women).

Tony, thank you for doing and sharing so much and especially for the peace and joy you bring to our lives.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

I stand with the mirror against my chest and at rights angles with my body. I watch the part that is the site of injury (old injury in this instance). You can't see it in this picture but on this occasion
I had my shoulder visible in the mirror and as shoulder tendinitis was the injury I watched the mirror image of my good shoulder while I moved my arm up and down in a way that was painful for the painful shoulder.

Mirror therapy has worked again.

Just a quick update. After I finished posting here last night I did the mirror trick. I did it again later. It worked. I am always amazed that it does.

I encourage others to beat this pain syndrome by keeping moving, touching and massaging (it's hard to fight the urge to protect and not move the painful part), doing relaxation things and meditation and above all seeking happiness in our lives.

Friday, October 10, 2008

A way to offer support for RSDSA.

The doctor who writes the How to Cope with Pain blog has "organized a 27-mile charity bike ride on Saturday, October 25, and invites you to participate by sponsoring" her. Just click on the link above to help raise funds for the Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy Association of America.

While your there I recommend you take a look at what How to Cope with Pain has to offer. I particularly like the posts on meditation.

CRPS/RSD is a pain in the head.

I haven't posted regularly since my return because I've fallen into the fatal trap of doing too much and paying for it. This time a headache triggered head crps symptoms. The headache resolved but the left side of my head and face, including teeth was affected and right down my left upper quadrant. It felt like I wanted to gouge out my eye and tear out my teeth. The nerves became on edge and I felt extremely agitated emotionally (Dr Wilki, who wrote The Home Psychiatrist, calls it "free floating anxiety"). The body's on alert. Great in emergencies but not long term. Luckily this happened on the day I had an appointment with my GP who's an Intergrative Medical Practitioner. He has nine modalities one of which is Yamamoto New Scalp Acupuncture. YNSA is used developed by a Neurologist for neurological problems such as one sided stroke, MS and Parkinson's disease.

My doctor inserted two needles. Usually this process varies from a little painful to hardly at all painful. Yesterday it was extremely painful as my head was so fired up. At first my symptoms increased in intensity. Then I noticed a relaxation at the extremities. My doctor asked if I wanted the needles removed but I knew from past experience with severe head symptoms that it can take a while to settle. After half an hour the pain was gone and the spasms in my shoulder had settle but had not disappeared.

Unfortunately after a few hours the neck, shoulder and arm problems returned but to a much lesser extent. I should have gone home and done mirror therapy. Reading this blog tonight has reminded me to do this .As soon as I've posted this I'll go to my free standing mirror. I'll put my body at right angles to the mirror so that my left (painful) side of my body is behind the mirror. I will then move my right arm up and down whilst focusing on the mirror image of my shoulder. I'll focus on my shoulder as I know this is where the pain memory has come from. I get recurring rotator cuff tendinitis pain in my shoulder. Nothing happened yesterday to cause tendinitis in the shoulder except the headache but that triggered the memory of the old pain.

This is the thing with crps. You can be doing well and something can trigger a problem. If you have had crps in other areas, the pain memory can cause a recurrence of the old pain. At least this is what appears to happen with me.

If I didn't have YNSA (acupuncture) I now know that moving normally, touching, rubbing, massaging, heat and mirror therapy would have helped . Mirror therapy alone in the past has caused the symptoms to retreat back from the extremities to the focus areas of injury. I've noticed twice now that Yamamoto Acupuncture does the same thing. With mirror therapy I need to do it, a little and a few times a day until all symptoms go. If I don't then gradually they return. I should have come home yesterday and done mirror therapy twice before bed and again on waking and a few times today. I feel nauseous with the symptoms and just lost the plot. That's the difficult thing isn't. When we feel worse it's hard to think what should be done. Making this blog has helped me so much.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Pause for thought.

Those who are regular visitors will realize I've been absent for some months. Each experience brings its own rewards and this time spent away from home and the internet have given pause for thought. During this time I've come to understand some things and others things have become clearer. I'll be sharing my thoughts in coming weeks.

My time away was rewarding because it was an opportunity to be there for someone who needed help. Back home I am very glad to be able now to return to the things that work and help me deal with symptoms of crps/rsd. It's good also to be able to take time for wellness including eating well.


I baked this healthy fruit slice today. It has a mix of colours, lots of antioxidants, is low GI and very tasty. I plan to take a thermos of tea and healthy snacks such as this when we are out and about. This is my own recipe.

  • In a bowl place about 1/3 cup oil, 1/2 cup honey, 2 cups dried fruit of choice, 1/2 cup sunflower seeds (or nuts), juice of 1/2 lemon (or 1 orange or 1/4 cup of any juice), 1/2 cup coconut, 1 cup wholemeal or spelt SR flour and 1 cup rolled oats (or other cereal eg quinoa). If more moisture needed add water or juice. You can alter the recipe to suit.
  • Mix well.
  • Place in a baking paper lined 23cm (9inch) square tin.
  • Bake in a moderate oven for about 30 minutes.

TIP: Wet the tin then line with paper. The paper sticks to the tin and is easier to manage.
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