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"Yes You Can" Live the Life You Want
October 01, 2014

"Yes You Can"
Living with Back Pain Newsletter

Hi Everyone,
My name is Dave and I run the website at living-with-back-pain.org. Just like you, I am living with back pain and have been for many years. I started his website to try and help people, like myself, who are living with pain that will never go away.

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The Fifth Edition, #0005

Well, here it is another edition of "Yes You Can". We start off with another inspirational story about a famous celebrity who is living and living well in spite of chronic pain. Just more proof that chronic pain should not keep you from living your life.

I have a great distraction for you this month from my recent trip to San Diego. Some people may consider it a little bit risky but it got my attention at my back did not hurt the entire time.

From the worldwide web we have a new procedure that is being performed to treat low back pain. This treatment is directed at your sacroiliac joints, which are a common cause of low back pain.

Our latest additions to living-with-back-pain.org are articles related to a different type of pain. Neuralgia, or nerve pain, is a common component in many different pain syndromes. Check to see if it is part of what is making you so uncomfortable.

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Who Is This Person?

George was born in Kentucky in 1961. He entered acting in 1978 as an extra. His career gradually progressed over the years while he attended acting school at the Beverly Hills Playhouse. He has won Emmy Awards, Golden Globe Awards, and 2 Academy Awards for his acting skills.

His pain began in 2005 while filming a torture scene for the movie Syriana. He was tied to a chair and getting beaten up. They did multiple takes and during the shot the chair that he was tied to tipped over and he struck his head on the floor.

He began having severe headaches that made it difficult for him to function. His family has a history of addiction problems so George would refuse narcotic pain medication. Eventually he turned to alcohol as a way to alleviate the pain.

The severe headache pain persisted and he began to contemplate ways to end his life to get away from the pain. Doctors could never determine what was causing his pain until a clear fluid began to drip from his nose. The fluid was CSF(cerebrospinal fluid), the fluid that surrounds your spinal cord and brain.

George had a CSF leak and a spinal headache. If you have ever had a headache after an epidural injection or after a spinal tap you know they can cause excruciating headache pain.

A myelogram revealed two dural tears, a 2 1/2" tear in his mid back, and a 1/2" tear in his neck. Following this he was admitted to the hospital and his doctors began a series of blood patches trying to repair the tears without surgery.

The dura is like a sac that holds the CSF around your spine and brain. These blood patch procedures inject blood into the area of the dural tear hoping the blood will coagulate and allow the tear to repair itself. They are done with the patient awake and were very painful for George.

He underwent 15 of these painful procedures in 15 days. During his time in the hospital he was given Vicodin for pain which caused stomach pain and did little to help with his headache pain. Morphine and other stronger pain medications caused horrible anxiety and caused George's brain to race with even more horrific thoughts.

The blood patches were not successful and on Christmas day 2005 he underwent a marathon surgery to repair the dural tears that he had suffered earlier that year while filming Syriana.

George improved but he continues to have headaches, that are sometimes agonizing, and spinal cord problems from the surgery to repair the dura.

George has continued his Career in spite of his chronic pain

In 2006 he won an Academy Award for his work in Syriana. Later that same year he started his own production company and he was given the American Cinematheque Award for his "significant contribution to the art of motion pictures".

In 2008 he was nominated for a best actor Academy Award for the movie "Michael Clayton", and later that same year he directed his third movie "Leatherheads".

In 2009 he was nominated for a Screen Actors Guild Award, an Academy Award, and a golden glow

In 2010 he played the lead role and co-produced "The American".

In 2011 George starred in "The Descendants" and was awarded the Broadcast Film Critics Association Award for Best Actor and another Golden Globe also for best actor. In 2013 he was awarded another Golden Globe, this time for best motion picture, and an Academy Award for Best Picture for producing "Argo".

This famous actor and director continues to live with chronic pain even today, and he continues to search for better ways to control his pain. He was recently evaluated at Duke University and he is also seeing a neurosurgeon in Dusseldorf Germany who specializes in noninvasive treatments.

George Clooney may have chronic pain, and sometimes his pain may be severe and make it difficult for him to function, but he has not let it control his life.

He has continued to work at his craft and win awards and most of all be happy in spite of the pain, and so can you.

You must not let pain ruin your life. You may have pain and there may not be anything you can do about it. Many of us are in that same situation. But you can have a full and happy life in spite of the pain.

"Yes You Can"

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What Is In A Distraction?
Using Your Brain to Control Your Pain

This month I have a great distraction for you.

A good distraction is anything that takes your brain away from the pain. If it is a little bit dangerous or scary, that is okay. If it allows your brain to focus on something besides the pain it is a good thing.

A few weeks ago my wife and I were visiting San Diego, California and I found the Torrey Pines Gliderport. What an exciting place. It is on a bluff that overlooks the beach and the Pacific Ocean. Constant winds off of the ocean hit the bluff and create the perfect conditions for hangliding and paragliding.

After going up there a few times to watch, I got my courage up and went paragliding. What fun!!

It was a tandem setup of course so I was riding with someone that knew what they were doing and I think it was probably perfectly safe. But it was also very exciting. Riding along on the wind several hundred feet above the beach and the ocean on a sunny day.

It was an excellent adventure and you know what? My back did not hurt the entire time I was up there. Of course I was sitting in a comfortable harness, but no pain. I suspect if I had that same harness in my living room I probably would not be able to sit in it for very long without pain.

Riding the wind like a seagull or a condor did not change anything within by back but it did take my brain away from the pain. Hanging by a few canvas straps so far above the beach has a way of getting your attention.

I have also been going online and looking for paragliding lessons and sites closer to home. I have been looking at videos and fantasizing about buying a paraglider. These are also good distractions.

Well that is my distraction for this month. Now, you will have to get up and go find your own distraction. Don't do anything dumb, make sure it is safe. But get up and go out and find something that will take your attention and put your pain into the background.

"Yes You Can"

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Latest from the Web

A Common Cause of Low Back Pain that is not Coming from Your Back at all

New surgery for chronic back pain

A common cause of low back pain that is often missed is problems with your sacroiliac joint. These joints are on each side of your sacrum and just below your lumbar spine.

This surgeon has developed a new technique to fuse your sacroiliac joint. If treatments for your lumbar spine have not been helpful you may need to ask your doctor about your sacroiliac joints.

If you are having pain that is coming from these joints this new treatment may be something to consider.

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Latest News from living-with-back-pain.org

Arthritis pain or pain from an injury is nociceptive pain. It is pain that comes from the pain receptors. Another type of pain that many people deal with is neuralgia or pain that is coming from the nerve itself.

This is a different type of pain with a different character and feel than nociceptive pain. It also requires different tests to diagnose it and different treatments to treat it.

Check out our latest additions to the living-with-back-pain.org website discussing neuralgia. Learn more about what you don't know about nerve pain at Neuralgia is Nerve Pain.

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Well, that is it for this month.

OK, that is all I have for you. I hope you will stay busy finding ways to live with your pain and stay strong enjoying your life because "Yes You Can" have a life you want.

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