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Today's Item:

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







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.)

Pain is inevitable. Everybody has some. You can decide to get on with your life or you can decide to let the pain control your life. Whatever you decide is probably how it is going to be. How will you decide?

People must choose to suffer.







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

Inversion tables

This is one of my favorites when my back is really hurting. I usually lay on it for 15 to 20 minutes at an angle of about 30°. Any longer than that and my back gets so stiff that it is difficult for me to get going again. If I am on it for any more than 10 minutes I have to go easy when I first get up until things get settled into place.

What it does for Me I think what it really does for me is take the pressure off of the facet joints at all levels of my damaged vertebra. I don't have any radiculopathy or sciatica but I think it would be very helpful for that type of pain as well.

My Best Advice My best advice for people using an inversion table is to go low and slow. For people with arthritis in their back a low angle for a few minutes is a good place to start. Then once you get a feel for it you can increase the angle and/or time as much as is comfortable for you. Hanging upside down is for teenagers.

Learn more about inversion tables at
How Do Inversion Tables Work? and Can They Help My Back Pain?







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.)

man.thinking.OhReally

Work gives you purpose and it is a great distraction.

Find a job.

Whatever you can do....Get started doing it!!!

Take responsibility for parts of running your home. Volunteer at your local hospital or library. Find a way to earn a paycheck.

Having responsibilities are an important part of having a 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.)

man.thinking.OhReally

It is only Pain.

I know you are thinking "That is easy for you to say", "You don't know what I'm going through", "My pain must be worse than yours".

I don't know you might be right.

What I do know is that pain is only a signal transmitted by the nerves up to your brain. It is what your brain does with that signal that determines whether or not the pain is horrible, hideous and horrendous; or only annoying and bothersome.

Learn to control your brain and learn to control your pain.

Start by saying the words, "It is only Pain"







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.)

surprised.woman.thinking

Do you feel anxious?

Anxiety is a common problem for people with chronic pain and uncontrolled anxiety will make your pain worse. Anxiety increases your stress hormones such as cortisol and neurotransmitters like glutamate. These hormones and neurotransmitters cause you to feel the pain sharper, quicker, and harder. It makes your pain more difficult to deal with.

Everyone who is living with chronic pain
should talk to their doctor about anxiety.

Learn more about Neurotransmitters at
Neurotransmitters Affect the Pain You Feel.







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.)

man.thinking


Have you talked to a doctor about your pain? Have you gotten a second opinion? Is there anything that can be done? Have you already done that? Have you chosen not to do that?

At some point you need to accept that your
pain will never go away.

At some point you need to start getting on with your life.







Learning How to Meditate Will Improve Your Life

Doing Your Best Requires Taking Care of Yourself

Making time for yourself should be a priority in everyone's life. Even if you have children depending on you, even if you are the sole caregiver for your invalid parent or spouse, even if your boss is counting on you, ...............you must make time for yourself.

Help Yourself Sign

Your body is not designed to be on high alert and running at full speed 24 hours a day and 7 days a week. If you don't take care of yourself, you will not be able to take care of them for very long.

You must take care of yourself so that you can take care of them.

The practice of meditation suppresses all of the stress hormones and it allows your organ systems to slip into the rest and relaxation mode. Your heart rate goes down and the blood flow returns to your intestines, your stomach, your liver, and all of your other internal organs.

Your immune system starts performing all of its many functions more efficiently. Anger and anxiety begin to evaporate. Minor aches and pains become more tolerable and chronic pain becomes less overwhelming.

Life is Good Again

You will notice many of these benefits immediately. Others may take longer to make a difference in your life.

The good things that you notice may fade when you jump back into the ratrace, but that is okay because you now know how to get them back. Meditation is a skill. The more you practice it, the better you are at it and the easier it is for you to close your eyes and slip back into that relaxing state of mind.


Even Better:
"Yes You Can!!"
Learn How to Meditate







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.)

Abdominal_curl



Work on your posture and and lose the gut.

Exercises to improve your posture and lose weight are always helpful.

Yes you can find some type of exercises that you can do.







Learning How to Meditate will
Save Your Life by Reducing Stress and Anxiety

Many different diseases and physical conditions are brought on by stress or made worse by stress.

The evidence is clear that things like depression, hypertension, stroke and heart attacks can be caused by stress.

Stress Related Diseases

Flare-ups of viral diseases such as cold sores, herpes, AIDS, and the common cold can begin with stress or a stressful event.

Anxiety does not need to ruin your life.

man with anxiety

Stress will lead to skin conditions like dermatitis, hives, and rashes. It can aggravate gastrointestinal disorders like peptic ulcers, colitis and irritable bowel syndrome.

Our Modern World is
One Stressful Event after Another.

It starts when the alarm clock goes off in the morning. Then fixing breakfast, getting the kids off to school, and driving to work continues the storm of adrenaline and cortisol.

Talking to your boss and worry about deadlines at work rush you through the morning. A hurried fast food lunch and then rushing back to work keeps your heart racing.

Finally quitting time and you run to pick up the kids and get home to get dinner started. You then clean up the kitchen, help the kids with baths and homework, and rush them off to bed so you can fall onto the couch exhausted.

The exhaustion itself contributes to your stress.

Life has always had stressful events. But, for our ancestors, there would also be periods of rest and relaxation. Only in the past 100 years have our lives become so hectic that we rush from one stressor to the next. Only in the past 50 years have we become so completely buried with non-stop stimulation that there is no escape.

Learn more about stress from Psychology Today: The Physical Dangers of Stress.

Even Better:
"Yes You Can!!"
Learn How to Meditate







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.)

Talk about the economy. Talk about religion. Talk about politics. Talk about your hobbies. Research and learn about something that interests you. Share what you have learned with your family and friends. Don't talk about your pain.







Learn How to Meditate and Reduce Pain

Meditation can work to reduce pain in several different ways.

Endorphins will the release of endorphins which are your body's own natural painkiller. These are your body's own feel good hormones. Endorphins attach to the same pain receptors as morphine to control pain.

Many different activities, including meditation, will stimulate the release of endorphins.

meditation

Image thanks to Karoly.Czifra, via Wikimedia Commons

Stimulate Some and Suppress Others

Neurotransmitters conduct the pain signal to your brain. But not all neurotransmitters are created equal. Some of them (created by the sympathetic system) boost that signal making the pain sharper and stronger. Other neurotransmitters (parasympathetic) will slow down and suppress the pain signals making your pain duller and more tolerable.

Mindfulness

In a state of deep relaxation you can focus on your bodily sensations. You can think about your pain in a non-judgemental way. Comparing the way it feels to other parts of your body will put your pain in perspective and make it less overwhelming.

Distraction

Imagineering or Guided Imagery will help you to focus on positive or pleasurable thoughts; while avoiding or suppressing negative thoughts and pain.

Meditation may not make you pain free. But, it can definitely make your pain more tolerable, and make you feel better about learning to live with it.

Learn more about stress and meditation from the Washington Post:
Harvard neuroscientist: Meditation not only reduces stress, here’s how it changes your brain.


Even Better:
"Yes You Can!!"
Learn How to Meditate







Random Thoughts
For People Who are Living with Chronic Pain

Somebody said that it couldn't be done

               and he with a chuckle replied,

"That maybe it couldn't, but he would be one

               that would not say so till he tried"

He buckled right in with a bit of a grin.

               He just took off his coat and went to it.

He started to sing as he tackled the thing

               that couldn't be done, and he did it.







Learn How to Meditate and take Control of Your Life
Fight or Flight >>>>>> vs <<<<<< Rest and Digest

When your caveman ancestors were attacked by a saber tooth tiger the sympathetic nervous system would take over and the parasympathetic would be suppressed.

The Opposite of Meditation
Pain and Anger will stimulate the Sympathetic Nervous System

man in pain

When the danger had passed, and they were relaxing enjoying a leisurely meal, the parasympathetic would take over and the sympathetic system would be suppressed.

Neurotransmitters and Hormones

These two systems work with a complex system of neurotransmitters and hormones. In times of danger your body is flooded with stress hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline and your nervous system is overloaded with stress neurotransmitters like norepinephrine and glutamate.

When it is time to relax the stress hormones and neurotransmitters are replaced by the "feel good" parasympathetic messengers such as serotonin, dopamine, oxytocin and endorphins.

Now we are getting to the Important Point about Meditation

Meditation shuts down your sympathetic system and stimulates your parasympathetic system to release all of the "feel good" messengers that can improve your life.

The more you meditate the more these chemicals will work their magic. Learn more about Neurotransmitters and How they Affect the Pain that You Feel.

It really is like magic. They reduce stress and make you feel good about who you are. They can improve your outlook and make your life more enjoyable.

Discover more about meditation at:
Learning How to Meditate Will Improve 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.)

Be as active and exercise as much as you can. We all have limitations, but within those limitations there is still a lot that you can do. Everyone has things that they can do. Focus on what you can do and then get up off the couch and get started.







Learn How to Meditate and
Control Your Autonomic Nervous System

Some Effects of Meditation we do Understand:Your Autonomic Nervous System

Your autonomic nervous system is the nervous system that controls things that you don't normally think about. This system manages things like your blood pressure and heart rate, how your food is digested, and kidney function.

2 Parts of the Autonomic Nervous System.

autonomic_nervous_systems

Image thanks to Wikimedia Commons

Your Autonomic Nervous System can be divided into two separate nervous systems, the Sympathetic Nervous System and the Parasympathetic Nervous System.

These two systems, the Sympathetic and Parasympathetic, work together to balance many of your bodily functions.

The Sympathetic Nervous System

It is the sympathetic nervous system that generates your "flight or fight" response in times of danger. It raises your heart rate and blood pressure increasing the blood flow to your muscles allowing you to run faster, jump higher, and be stronger.

In times of stress it widens your pupils helping you see better, enlarges your airway helping you breathe better, and reduces urine production.

The Parasympathetic Nervous System

The parasympathetic nervous system is known as the "rest and digest" nervous system. It will slowdown and calm many of your body functions while stimulating other systems associated with leisure.

In times of relaxation it functions to increase blood flow to your digestive organs, reduce heart rate and blood pressure, and relax your muscles.

You could say that these two systems work against each other to keep your body's many different systems in balance. But, in reality they work together. They keep your body ready for whatever is happening at the time.

Learn more about your autonomic nervous system at Neuroscience for Kids.


Even Better:
"Yes You Can!!"
Learn How to Meditate








  


  

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  1. 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 clos…

    Read More

  2. 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 ad…

    Read More