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May 03, 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. Here recently I am doing pretty good. I have recently cut back on my hours at work thinking that would make my back pain more manageable. Unfortunately it doesn't seem to have made much difference.

I had a really bad flareup of my back pain last week when I ran out of Tramadol. It was like a kind of rebound pain that was pretty miserable.

I also experienced something else that I thought was very weird. Restless Leg Syndrome. I have never had that before in my entire life.

I guess it was like a withdrawal symptom from the Tramadol and it was just like people say "I can't describe it" but I just had to move my legs. It went away as soon as I started back on the Tramadol. But I thought that was very strange.

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The First Edition, #0001

Well here it is, the first edition of "Yes You Can". We start off with a story about someone who was a national hero and struggled with chronic back pain his entire life.

We also cover one of my favorite topics, Distraction or finding ways to think about something besides your pain. I have a few suggestions.

This month we also present a treatment that people have been using to control pain for centuries(and a study that proves it really works). ============================================================

Who Is This Person?

From the time he was a toddler Jack suffered with multiple medical problems but it was always his back pain that caused the most distress. He grew up and had a very successful life in spite of pain that would have incapacitated most men.

Doctors speculated that his back pain may have begun with a sports injury, but no clear cause of his pain was ever determined. He also developed osteoporosis and may have had chronic fracturing of the lumbar spine. He eventually had a total of five surgeries, including a lumbosacral fusion and a left sacroiliac fusion, trying to relieve his pain. None of these provided any lasting relief.

Besides his chronic back pain other medical problems began with scarlet fever, diphtheria and whooping cough as a child. Throughout his life he was also diagnosed with Addison's Disease, severe spastic colitis which caused abdominal pain, diarrhea, weight loss, Osteoporosis, hypothyroidism, and depression.

Looking back at his complicated medical history it is not clear what caused many of these different conditions. Doctors have speculated that many of his problems may have been side effects of the high doses of steroids that were used to treat his colitis which began when he was a child.

In spite of this he projected an image of vigor and vitality often hiding the crutches and back brace that he used to help limit his pain. He also took many different medications including narcotics, stimulants, and anti-anxiety drugs. He would often take barbiturates to help him sleep, steroids for his Addison's Disease, and anti spasmodics for his colitis. He also was given antibiotics and injections of gamma globulin to fight frequent infections.

The side effects of all of these medications as well as the constant terrible pain must have affected him greatly. But he did not show it, and he did not complain, at least publicly. He presented an image of energy, strength, and courage in the face of great adversities and came to be admired by millions of Americans.

John F. Kennedy is not remembered for his pain and suffering. He is remembered for his leadership and many accomplishments. Talk about distraction, he faced down Nikita Khrushchev during the Cuban missile crisis. He promised Americans that the United States would put a man on the Moon. He founded the Peace Corps, fought discrimination and poverty, and help to establish The Nuclear Test Ban Treaty.

Yes, you could say that John F. Kennedy did not let back pain hold him back.

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What Is In A Distraction?

Your brain is the best pain management tool that you have. It can work for you, or it can work against you. It can make your pain horrible and overwhelming, so severe that you can barely breathe, and if not controlled it can ruin your life.

Your brain can also ignore the pain, minimize the discomfort, and give you a great life. It is up to you to choose. It really is that simple.

I did not say your chronic pain was going to go away, because it isn't. But you can use a distraction to focus your brain on something else, on something fun, on something that you want to do. It can be fun (think about juggling), or it can be deadly serious (target shooting with my pistols). It can be dorky (learning to use Photoshop) or it can be annoying (programming my remote control). It just doesn't matter.

Speaking of Juggling

I learned to juggle years ago when my wife bought me a book called "Juggling for the Complete Klutz". I just looked online and it is still available at Amazon.com. You can check it out at Juggling for the Complete Klutz.

I have always thought juggling was fun and it really is a good distraction because of the concentration that it requires. Standing in one place like that does make my back hurt, so I take breaks, then get up and try it a little more.

If you learn to juggle and find it boring, try juggling knives or torches with real fire. You really can learn to do that, and I guarantee you will not be bored.

Okay that's the distraction for today. It is up to you. You can sit on the couch and think about your pain, or you can get up and do something.

Have a nice day.

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Latest from the Web

Everything Old is New Again

Recent studies have shown an herbal medication from China is as effective as Methotrexate for relieving pain. Methotrexate is a strong immune system suppressant used by Rheumatologists to treat autoimmune diseases like psoriasis or rheumatoid arthritis.

Have you ever heard of Thunder God Vine? Me either. I think it is very interesting that when scientists study these old herbal medicines that everyone thought were just old wives tales, they find out they really work. Take a look .

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

Laughter Therapy

Laughter clubs, laughter therapy groups, laughter yoga, these groups are springing up all around the country. People getting together to share the benefits of laughter.

Laughter has many benefits. It increases your pain tolerance and stimulates the release of endorphins(those magic little molecules that imitate morphine and attach to the opioid receptors in your brain).

The research on this is limited and mostly anecdotal but studies are starting to show that there is real benefits to humor and laughing.

Discover what you don't know about why it feels good to laugh at Laughter Therapy.

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Well, that is it for this month.

I hope you enjoyed it. Keep fighting the good fight and don't let pain get you down. Look for us next month for more thoughts and ideas about living with back pain because "Yes You Can".

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