Monday, May 9, 2011

Notes from the National Pain Foundation (my notes in brackets)

(Personal comments: I modified my diet to what seemed to work for me.. avoiding wheat, dairy, soy & white rice as much as possible. Someone else's ice cream is my occational splurge of white rice/cheese/tortilla. My bowels move faithfully every morning as long as I stick to my 'food list'. I used to avoid exercise so it was a huge hurtle to start with just 5 minutes at a time. I posted the ones I started with. I had to teach myself to fall asleep without a drug. I'm still learning different meditation techniques. I don't have extra $ for the books, CDs, DVD's that are suggested in the articles, so I found the ones that I could get for free. I just started the process of learning how to take care of my emotional health... trying different things like EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique.)


Take care of the things you can control:
Part of being an active participant in your care is caring for your body. No one but you can care for your body. Getting adequate rest, eating a healthy diet and engaging in physical activity are vitally important to maintaining function and health. It may seem like a catch-22 – you're in pain, so you don't want to move or you're finally feeling a little better, but you're afraid to move because your pain might come back. Avoiding exercise can be detrimental to your health – you lose muscle tone and strength, your heart and lungs work less efficiently, and your pain can increase. On the other hand, the benefits of incorporating activity into your lifestyle are immeasurable and include increased muscle strength and flexibility, improved sleep, and stress relief.

Following are some suggestions for increasing your activity level:

•Choose exercises that can be incorporated into your daily routine and that you enjoy.
•Set a schedule. (ugggh! me? a schedule?)
•Set appropriate goals. No goal is too small – visiting friends or walking around the block may be appropriate goals, depending on your pain and physical condition.
In addition to a healthy diet and exercise, relaxation techniques such as meditation, visualization, hypnosis, and biofeedback may help you feel better. Your health care provider can help you decide which techniques may be beneficial for you.

Caring for Your Emotional Health: (Can I really learn not to 'suffer?'... SSRI'S resulted in numerous other medical problems which I was subsequently medicated for like anxiety attacks, hot flashes, even more muscle spasms, & even more muscle weakness than I already had.)
The effect emotions and psychosocial well-being have on pain cannot be ignored as emotions have a direct effect on your health. Pain so often is accompanied by loss – loss of function, loss of employment, loss of money, loss of friends and relationships to name just a few – it's no wonder that people in chronic pain have an increased incidence of depression, anxiety, and sleep disturbances. Research has shown that people in chronic pain suffering from depression have poorer outcomes than those who are not depressed. It is natural for people in pain to grieve for what they've lost, and it is important to remember that your family members and friends grieve too. Your emotions may range from fear, anger, denial, disappointment, guilt, and loneliness to hope and optimism. Every person feels different emotions at different times, which can make relationships and pain control difficult.

Avoid isolation and loneliness by joining a support group. There are local support groups that you can attend with people who know what you are experiencing and there are online communities that offer support and understanding. The National Pain Foundation's Community section is a good way to share your story and connect with others online. The American Chronic Pain Association has support groups throughout the country. Contact the ACPA at or (800) 533-3231 to find a group near you.

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