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Today's Item:

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.







Learn Why and How to Meditate

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.

Coming Next:
We will talk more about Meditation.

Don't let pain cramp your style.
Learn more about back arthritis at The Arthritis Foundation.







What Works for Me...... What Works for Others

I have been living with back pain for many many years. Other people have different pains in different areas but we are all trying to manage it and live our lives the best we can. Here are some comments about things that we have tried for managing our pain.

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.







Learn Why and How to Meditate

Meditation can 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.

Stress is the cause of many different diseases.

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.

Coming Next:
We will look at how important it is to find time for yourself.

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







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.)

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.







Learn Why and How to Meditate

Meditation can 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.

It is not just for pain.
Coming Next: We will consider some of the other benefits of meditation.

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







What Works for Me...... What Works for Others

I have been living with back pain for many many years. Other people have different pains in different areas but we are all trying to manage it and live our lives the best we can. Here are some comments about things that we have tried for managing our pain.

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.







Learn Why and How to Meditate

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.

Coming Next:
We will discuss how learning how to meditate will change the way 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.)

It is only Pain. I know you think "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"







What Works for Me...... What Works for Others

I have been living with back pain for many many years. Other people have different pains in different areas but we are all trying to manage it and live our lives the best we can. Here are some comments about things that we have tried for managing our pain.

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.

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







What Works for Me...... What Works for Others

I have been living with back pain for many many years. Other people have different pains in different areas but we are all trying to manage it and live our lives the best we can. Here are some comments about things that we have tried for managing our pain.

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.







Treat Your Knee Arthritis with a Knee Replacement

Treating your knee arthritis with a total joint replacement can be very effective but there are risks. Do the benefits outweigh the risks for you? Learn more before agreeing to surgery.

Continue reading "Treat Your Knee Arthritis with a Knee Replacement"

Learn Why and How to Meditate

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.

Coming Next:
More about Your Autonomic Nervous System and why you should learn to meditate.

Don't let pain cramp your style.
Learn more about your autonomic nervous system at Neuroscience for Kids.







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.)

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.







Learn Why and How to Meditate

Learning how to meditate can improve your life many different ways. It is a natural pain reliever without side effects or risks. It is tremendously effective and no one has ever overdosed on meditation.

Learning how to meditate will improve your life.

lady painting

It has been shown to reduce stress and relieve anxiety. It is a part of many religious and spiritual practices. However, only some of its benefits can be explained by physical science

How and Why Meditation Works

The power of your brain is not completely understood. People who have practiced meditation have accomplished things that science can not completely explain.

But there are some things that happen when you meditate that science can explain. Studies have shown that meditation improves your pain tolerance and reduces anxiety. It has been used to control depression and reduce stress.

Tomorrow: More about the part we do understand, Your Autonomic Nervous System







What Works for Me...... What Works for Others

I have been living with back pain for many many years. Other people have different pains in different areas but we are all trying to manage it and live our lives the best we can. Here are some comments about things that we have tried for managing our pain.

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.)

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.







What Works for Me...... What Works for Others

I have been living with back pain for many many years. Other people have different pains in different areas but we are all trying to manage it and live our lives the best we can. Here are some comments about things that we have tried for managing our pain.

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







From Prevention Magazine

The 10 Most Painful Conditions







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.)

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.








  

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  1. 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 le…

    Read More

  2. Learn Why and How to Meditate

    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 yo…

    Read More