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What Works for Me...... and some others

Physical Therapy and Acupunture For Back Pain

Lesley in Sydney says

I've had back pain on and off for years. Sometimes it disappears for months on end, but then comes back. I think it is probably mostly caused by stress.

I'd had some success with osteopathy in the past, but nothing was working and the pain had gone into my feet and I could hardly walk. No-one could diagnose me, until I was lucky enough to be recommended to Sarah Key - famous physiotherapist and author of the The Back Sufferers Bible amongst other things. She said I had a curvature of the spine and one leg longer than the other. She cured my foot pain in one treatment, she and physios who have trained with her use a wonderful massage using their feet which releases the vertebrae and I've been using her back block method ever since with fantastic results.

I also find keeping up my core strength with pilates helps enormously, as well as regular acupuncture treatments.

Its a work in progress and I find if I get lazy with my back block or exercises I stiffen up again, but all these things really help. Now I only go to Sarah Key's clinic twice a year or so, and they say my spine has staightened out considerably.

Finally, relaxation. I think a lot of the pain comes from tense muscles, caused by stress. I do a lot of relaxation and meditation and it helps enormously. I'm reading The Secret at the moment and truly believe that mind over matter is very powerful. If we believe that our backs are relaxed and pain free and don't focus on the pain, we will be better. So I'm working on positive thinking and I never let my back stop me from doing anything. I love gardening for example, so nothing is going to stop me doing that. I think its probably beneficial in any case, as I have heard from many sources that the best thing is to keep moving.

Basically, I think that the best thing is to take control over your own health and body, and work at it, with exercise, relaxation. And never give up.

My Best Advice

Exercise, stretching and strengthening can help everyone. But you need to be careful because it is easy to overdo and make things worse. Whenever you're starting a new activity began gently and progress slowly.







What Works for Me...... and some others

Deep Brain Implants

From Bionic Kate

No I'm not kidding. I have two electrodes inserted deeply into my brain connected to two implanted battery packs. The electrodes have two functions. One partially blocks the pain messages between the brain and the targeted left leg. The second electrode increases endorphin levels.

Three questions I am frequently asked:

Do the batteries need changing? Yes, but they last for years before they run out of juice.

Do I set off security alarms. Not yet. :) I have a letter from my doctor that I keep with me when I fly.

Do they help manage the pain? Yes. I have been told I received better than expected results. Since the initial injury, this is the one and only time I've heard that statement!

One hitch. Before I get a haircut, I ask the stylist if she's squeamish. Obviously, the surface of my skull is full of funny lumps and bumps from connecting hardware.

What Works for Me...... and some others

More from Bionic Kate

After viewing the electrodes in my brain on xray, I know why they call them DEEP brain implants. To say the image gives me occasional pause would be an understatement. The decision to have the surgery wasn't a light one.

A freak accident involved twisting. The pain was severe and the doctor visits, medication, physical therapy etc began. 30 minutes just to get out of the car. You know... anyone with extreme back pain understands.

Then discs out, spine fused which actually helped much of the creepy slipping, sliding, popping, tearing in the low back. But the verdict was in. Inflammation had taken up residence and wasn't moving out. In fact, it was getting worse.

The US government has since ruled that implants can be used for Parkinson patients only. But I am one of the success stories from using it to control chronic spinal pain. (Parkinson patients only have 1 electrode which is implanted in a different area of the brain.)

Not to say this is a panacea. I had to give up my beloved mortgage company. Ice is part of my daily life.

But I participate in our family. I go to the gym and walk -slowly- on a treadmill. Yesterday I took a stroll around our neighborhood and dropped off someone at the airport. I have since created and author 3 websites that I work on daily. I don't take any of this for granted.

Kate

My Best Advice

This might not be for everyone but it is certainly worth investigating.







What Works for Me...... and some others

Emotional Freedom Therapy

Wendy says

Okay, before you scoff, EFT (Emotional Freedom Therapy), while typically used for issues like stress, anxiety, depression and other psychological states, it has amazing effectiveness on physical pain!

I haven't used it on my back pain lately, because I haven't had any, but I have used it recently for headaches and stomach aches. I love it. Google it. There's tons of information on it.

EFT is along the lines of acupunture in that it relies on energy in the body and meridian points. But instead of using needles, you tap with your fingers on various meridian points. You use affirmative statements to lock in whatever it is you want to change. You can also use complete protocols, like I would suggest for back pain, to effectively eliminate the pain from your body.

It's amazing. And it works.

My Best Advice

Everybody is an experiment of one. Everybody is different and we are all trying to find the right combination of stuff for our combination of stuff. This sounds great and with no side effects.







What Works for Me...... and some others

When Nothing Helps You just have to Get On with Your Life

Sammy from Eire

Hi there, I had back surgery twice on the lower back (L4 and L5). I'm in constant pain, it took me a few years to learn to live with it.

It's an burden put upon me, maybe I was bad in my other life I really don't know. I have tried everything from tablets, to physio's, to pain clinic, acupuncture, tens machines, you name it and I have tried it.

There is no cure for this dreaded disease. I am bent over and gone sideways from it and I can tell you there's no cure for back pain. A person just has to get on with it.

Yours sincerelySammy

My Best Advice

But everybody has a different situation to deal with and it is important to try all of the recommended treatments before you decide that you have to live with it.







What Works for Me...... and some others

Anti-Inflammatory Medications

These can be a double edged sword. They can help to relieve pain by reducing inflammation. However, for some people they can also have severe side effects. They can cause gastric ulcers and damage your kidneys or liver. Talk to your doctor before starting any medication.

What it does for Me I've tried many of the other anti-inflammatories and ibuprofen always works best for me. I've taken it for years, 800 mg every morning. A few years ago when I was going through a hard time with my back that got increased to 800 mg every 8 hours. Then my kidney function started to deteriorate. I saw a nephrologist and they did all kinds of tests to decide that my kidneys were still OK. I stopped the ibuprofen and my labs and kidney function returned to normal.

Since then I have returned to taking 800 mg in the morning and my kidneys seem to be doing OK. I think it does make a difference in how my back feels throughout the day.

My Best Advice For the people that are sensitive to anti-inflammatories the side effects can be life threatening. Talk to your doctor to see if they would be safe for you.







Random Thoughts
For People Who are Living with Chronic Pain

(If these seem a little harsh please let me know. I would like to explain to you what is harsh.)

Your brain hears every word that comes out of your mouth. Your brain believes every word that comes out of your mouth.

If you start talking about how hot it is; you can convince yourself and you will begin to sweat.

If you are constantly verbalizing how severe your pain is; how miserable you are; how you can not function because of the pain, pretty soon you will have yourself convinced. And sure enough, your pain will be severe; you will be miserable; and you will not be able to function because of the pain.

You can make this work the other way. If you're constantly verbalizing that your discomfort is annoying; that it is aggravating; that it makes it difficult to finish what you're doing. Guess what? It will become only annoying and aggravating, and you will be able to finish what you are doing.







What Works for Me...... and some others

Staying Active

Finding something that you are interested in and passionate about is not likely to make you pain free. However, it can be a great distraction and minimize your discomfort for hours at a time. Things like working on a hobby in the garage or in a spare bedroom. Finding an exercise or a sport that you enjoy can have multiple benefits and who cares if you don't always win. Working as a volunteer at the local hospital you can learn that there are many people with worse problems than you.

What it does for Me For me this is important on many different levels. Working has always been a great distraction for me. Especially, working in construction I was afraid to tell anybody about my back because somebody with a "bad back" is always the first to get laid off.

As I've gotten older exercise has become a good distraction and it helps me control my weight. Working on this website also gives me something to think about and do besides lying around thinking about how much my back hurts.

My Best Advice I have said it a million times, Find Something To Do. Everyone is interested in something. There are lots of things that you can get involved in that are more important than you and your pain. Everyone can do something.







Random Thoughts
For People Who are Living with Chronic Pain

(If these seem a little harsh please let me know. I would like to explain to you what is harsh.)

Everyone needs a goal.

Whether you are living with pain or not, you need a reason to get up in the morning. Find yours. Whatever you can do. Finding a cure for cancer or just cooking a nice meal for your family. Everyone has things that they can do and things that they can work on.

Find Yours.







What Works for Me...... and some others

Acupressure Mat / Bed of Nails

I have one of these acupressure mats that has hundreds of the little plastic spikes. It does not exactly feel good; but when I am on it I do not notice my back pain.

What it does for Me I use it in my chair when I am meditating.There is a "sensation" when you first lay down that some people could interpret as pain, but you can get used to it. I was afraid of it when I first got it. I started out wearing a tee shirt and then gradually pulled the shirt up exposing more skin.

When I realized that these little points do not actually break the skin I became more comfortable with it and now I can say that it is "stimulating" without being painful. When I am lying on this mat I do not notice my back pain; and the relief will often last for a few hours if I'm careful about what I am doing.

This mat has helped me understand the difference between a "sensation" and "pain". Everything we feel is just a signal traveling up the nerve to your brain. How your brain reacts is what makes it a "sensation" or "pain". You can decide to feel "pain" or just a "sensation". People must choose to suffer.

My Best Advice Just like everything else, Give It A Try. Everyone is different and you don't know if you don't try. You can start off easy by wearing a light tee shirt or placing a thin towel over the mat. People have been using this kind of treatment for hundreds or thousands of years. There must be something to it.







Random Thoughts
For People Who are Living with Chronic Pain

(If these seem a little harsh please let me know. I would like to explain to you what is harsh.)

Learn to meditate and start making time for it everyday. You will get better with practice and you really can start to forget about your pain, if only for awhile. It suppresses your sympathetic nervous system and stimulates your parasympathetic nervous system.

Learn more about your autonomic nervous system at The Autonomic Nervous System is Your Natural Pain Management System.







What Works for Me...... and some others

My Chair

When my wife and I were shopping for recliners all of the recliners that we looked at made my back hurt worse because they were so soft and cushy that there was no lumbar support. I have learned that my back needs lumbar support more than anything. So I built a chair out of electrical conduit and covered it with latigo leather. It is a little bit hard kind of like a saddle is hard. But it has plenty of lumbar curve and it is comfortable for me.

What it does for Me

I was able to build this chair so that it supports my back in a position that is comfortable for me. It has such an exaggerated lumbar curve that nobody else likes to sit in it.

My Best Advice

Try different things. I understand that not everybody can build a chair like this. But, you can try different chairs with different size pillows, rolled up towels, or foam rubber wedges. Everyone will have different requirements to be comfortable. You need to start trying different things to find out what works for you.







Random Thoughts
For People Who are Living with Chronic Pain

(If these seem a little harsh please let me know. I would like to explain to you what is harsh.)

Nobody likes a whiner. Big problems? Little problems? Whatever, keep them to yourself. Find a subject that you are interested in and talk about that. Look things up. Become an authority on your favorite subject. Share what you have learned with your friends and family.

Be positive and find happy things to talk about.

Be a fun person to be around.







What Works for Me...... and some others

Control Your Weight

This is a big one (pardon the pun). Obesity is so problematic in so many different ways that if you have a weight problem it deserves your full attention. Adipose tissue (fat) produces inflammatory chemicals that contribute to the inflammation and pain everywhere in your body. It makes it difficult to exercise and enjoy the many aspects of a happy life.

A small weight loss of even 10 or 15 pounds can make a difference. If you are extremely overweight getting down to a normal weight will change your life.

What it does for Me

Controlling my weight was never a concern for me........until a I got to be a about 50 years old. I changed careers to a more sedentary profession and I also think that my metabolism started to slow down.

I still believe that it is a calories in/calories out issue. If you are gaining weight it is because you are either, eating too much, or not doing enough. I try to manage my calorie intake and I do exercise regularly bicycling or on a treadmill. However, I am still probably 15 or 20 pounds overweight. I understand the struggle.

My Best Advice

If you think your weight is a problem start watching your diet and exercising regularly even a small weight loss can have big benefits.

If you are extremely overweight it is truly a life and death issue. Talk to your doctor, see a nutritionist, see a psychologist, develop an exercise program, and regain control of your life.







Random Thoughts
For People Who are Living with Chronic Pain

(If these seem a little harsh please let me know. I would like to explain to you what is harsh.)

Try not to complain, just for today.







What Works for Me...... and some others

Laughter Therapy

This is one where I have only fiddled around the edges. Not because it doesn't work, because I believe that it does help to reduce pain. But, because there has never been a group close to where I live and the whole concept seems a little bit weird to me.

What it does for Me

I do have a couple of funny web pages that I visit often for a few minutes of humorous distraction when I am surfing the web. Mostly political and editorial cartoons like townhall.com, and theweek.com

Sometimes, when I think about it, I make myself smile. I find that even though my back pain does not go away smiling makes me feel better about it.

If I ever live somewhere that there is a Laughter Therapy Group I do think that I would go in to try and learn more about it. Once you get past the weirdness and self consciousness it might be fun.

My Best Advice

At least think about.

Read some articles and search the Internet to find out what is available in your area. Do a little bit in private where you can be as weird as you want and nobody knows. It may not make you pain free, but I bet it will make you feel better. You can start with our web page at Laughter Therapy, It is all Good







Random Thoughts
For People Who are Living with Chronic Pain

(If these seem a little harsh please let me know. I would like to explain to you what is harsh.)

Stretching exercises will make you feel better. Pilates, Yoga, other stretching programs, can all be adjusted to fit your personal situation. Nothing changes when nothing is done.

Learn more about Pilates at Pilates for Back Pain.







What Works for Me...... and some others

A Lumbar Roll

Your spine was designed to have a shallow curve in the small of your back. When driving or sitting for long periods of time it is easy to lose that lumbar curve. You need to have something to support your lumbar spine. The Internet is full of different little cushions for your chair at work, or even just a small pillow can be enough to relieve low back pain.

What it does for Me

My back really needs lumbar support whenever I'm sitting and sitting on bleachers for extended periods of time is nearly impossible. I have a small towel laying in the front seat of my truck. I roll it up and stuff it behind my back whenever I am driving for more than just a few minutes. I use a standup desk at work so that I never have to sit. My favorite chair at home is one that I made and it has so much lumbar support that no one else likes to sit it.

My Best Advice

Everybody is different so you need to find out what works for you. Start off easy though because it is easy to get too much. Experiment with a rolled up towel or small pillow behind your back whenever you find yourself sitting for more than a few minutes.







Random Thoughts
For People Who are Living with Chronic Pain

(If these seem a little harsh please let me know. I would like to explain to you what is harsh.)

The words you use affect what you feel. If you say "the pain is horrible", guess what? The pain will be "HORRIBLE". If you say "this is really annoying", guess what? It will be "REALLY ANNOYING". It is your choice to make.

I did not say that it would go away. When you're living with chronic pain, nothing is going to make it go away completely. Not drugs, and certainly not more of the drugs that are already not working. Not exercises, not happy thoughts, not your family, not your friends, and not your doctors.

The things that you think and do can make your pain less or make your pain more. It is a management problem. You need to learn to manage your chronic pain.

We all hate these words but you really do need to "Learn How to Live with It".

AND YES YOU CAN!!!







What Works for Me...... and some others

TENS units

I have had several different TENS units is over the years and I guess they do help me a little bit. But, I never seem to use them consistently over long periods of time. Every time that I dig out one of my old ones, or buy a new one, it really does seem to help for a while. But, only for a while.

What it does for Me I think it may be the distraction of having a new toy and being able to change the way my back feels. Just changing the way it feels for a while is a good thing.

But when I get used to it, and the new wears off, and it gets to be too much of a hassle fooling with the sticky pad electrodes and wires, and I quit putting it on. Then it lays on top of the dresser for a while. Then it is put into a drawer for a while, and eventually ends up in a box in the closet. Until the next time.

My Best Advice Give it a try!! It is very difficult to tell who a TENS unit will help and the risk of side effects is very low. If nothing else you can turn it up high enough to stimulate some endorphins to help control your pain.

Discover more about TENS units at TENS Unit or E-Stim for Pain








  


  

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  1. What Works for Me...... and some others

    Physical Therapy and Acupunture For Back Pain

    Lesley in Sydney says I've had back pain on and off for years. Sometimes it disappears for months on end, but then comes back. I think it is probably mo…

    Read More

  2. What Works for Me...... and some others

    Deep Brain Implants

    From Bionic Kate No I'm not kidding. I have two electrodes inserted deeply into my brain connected to two implanted battery packs. The electrodes have two functions. One partiall…

    Read More