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Today's Item:

What Works for Me...... and What Works for 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.







What Works for Me...... and What Works for 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.







What Works for Me...... and What Works for 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.







What Works for Me...... and What Works for 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.







Get Back to Basics and Avoid Narcotics

Beyond opioids: Safe, effective treatments for 4 common kinds of pain

older man exercising



This short article from the Washington Post presents several treatments that can be very effective. They may not completely eliminate your pain or allow you to stop your pain medication but I am betting they will make you more comfortable and let you use less of your pain medication.







What Works for Me...... and What Works for 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.)

All treatments have risks. Even bed rest poses the risk of muscle weakness and blood clots. Use your medications carefully. Discuss the risks and benefits before scheduling surgery.

Discuss any new treatments that you are considering with your doctor who knows your health history and other medical problems.







Learn How to Meditate and Cure Stress

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







What Works for Me...... and What Works for 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.)

More drugs is not the answer, especially more narcotics.

Narcotics, Anti-inflammatories, Muscle Relaxers, SSRIs, etc., can all help but there are limits to how much they will do and they all have side effects. Nothing is likely to make your pain go away completely. You must find other ways to manage your pain.








  


  

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  1. What Works for Me...... and What Works for 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. Wh…

    Read More

  2. What Works for Me...... and What Works for 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 lear…

    Read More