Aug 102013

by Dr. Grinstead

Today I met with a friend and we were talking about living with our chronic pain. I told him one of my most valuable tools when having prolonged pain flare up periods was to get back to pain journaling. I need to use this tool periodically and I teach it to many of my chronic pain patients. I usually give them the directions you’ll see below my video. Please watch the video and then read the remainder of this post.

Effectively Using a Pain Journal

Below you will have an opportunity to gain more insights about your personal pain relationship. The main purpose is for you to gather daily written feedback regarding your internal perception (insights) of your pain condition and how you manage your pain. You will be looking for triggers (both physical and psychological/emotional or stress related) and patterns for your pain. This is your starting point for have an improved relationship with your pain.

Pain journaling is a common tool in chronic pain management and many of you have probably already been exposed to this concept. In the exercise below I’m showing you one of the pain journaling assignments I used effectively with many of my chronic pain patients. Remember, this is just one way of pain journaling—not the only way.

Follow the six steps…

I’ve just recently undertaken journal writing, starting with Morning Pages as described by Julia Cameron (The Artist’s Way). Dr. Grinstead lays out some strategies to journaling to help manage our chronic pain. Worthwhile trying.

Jacqui, Damselfly
Aug 092013
By Christine Lin Epoch Times

10 ml bottles of Ketamine (Wikimedia Commons)“While ketamine does not cure neuropathic pain, treatment can put the patient into remission long enough to give the nervous system a chance to repair itself.

NEW YORK—As human beings, we instinctively avoid pain—the sting of nettles, the burn of a hotplate, the pinching of door hinges. Pain is useful because it communicates immediate danger and helps us keep out of it. However, some pain is chronic, as neuropathic pain often is.

Neuropathic pain derives from the central nervous system or peripheral nervous system. It is pain that comes from the nerves, as opposed to common muscular aches and arthritic pain. Sometimes it is triggered by traumatic accidents.

In support forums, patients suffering from neuropathic pain describe their symptoms as “burning all over,” “shooting pains in the arms and legs,” “agony,” and “unbearable.” Many of them recount their experiences in seeking relief “frustrating,” that they’ve “tried everything,” or that “not one doctor can give me an answer.”

Neuropathic pain, as a broad category of conditions that include neuralgia, phantom limb syndrome, complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS), and central pain syndrome, is a little-understood realm in medicine. We don’t always know its causes. And current treatment methods are mediocre at best.

Read the complete story on Epoch Times

In British Columbia, Dr. Brenda Lau at St. Paul’s Hospital, provides Ketamine infusions. I don’t know enough personallly to speak to it, but you can read a little about it at the website ‘Imagine A Lifetime – Living With CRPS’. I consider Trudy a dear friend and I don’t think I’m out of line saying that she has expressed that receiving treatments under Dr. Lau’s care has significantly impacted her life.

Another resource that comes to mind is the article ‘Overview of Ketamine Infusion Therapy’ on the Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy Syndrome Association’s website.

If you know of any resources or have experience with receiving ketamine as a treatment for your chronic pain, I would love if you shared your thoughts below.

Jacqui, Damselfly

Aug 072013

How to be a better friend, spouse or relative to someone with FM or a chronic pain condition.

Do you know someone who was diagnosed with fibromyalgia (FM) or a chronic pain illness?  Perhaps they are disabled from working due to several conditions associated with these illnesses. Sometimes it’s difficult to know what to expect of yourself and the person you care about with the chronic illness.  Perhaps the following practical suggestions can help you better support your friend, spouse, or relative who has FM or a chronic pain condition.

Educate Yourself

FM is a pain amplification condition. One’s central nervous system is sensitized to experience a lot more pain than others would under similar conditions. For instance, for someone with osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis, as well as other conditions, those conditions are much more painful for them than for someone who doesn’t have FM. It’s as if the “pain switches of the brain get locked on.” As you educate yourself, you’ll be less likely to blunder into saying things like, “It’s all in your head.” (Medical research has shown, for instance, that there is more Substance P [which facilitates the transmission of pain] in FM patients’ spinal cords. Also, they have significantly reduced dopamine synthesis in multiple brain regions.)

Continue reading on


Aug 032013


by Carol Levy, Columnist

I was sitting at a table with some people I knew, slightly.

I did not know how much of my situation they knew, but the issue came up about my not being able to work.  I told them about the pain that comes from any consistent use of my eyes for more than 10 to 20 minutes before the pain becomes too severe for me to continue.

They immediately came up with suggestions, most of them centered on using a timer.

“Set it for 15 minutes so you will have to stop,” they suggested.

That’s a good idea.  In fact, I came up it with a long time ago.  The only problem is, it’s a lot easier in concept then reality.

I am reading a mystery, my favorite kind of story.  The book is getting exciting, the clues mounting, the name of the person “who dunnit” to be disclosed in… wait, bringgg!

Off goes the timer.  I can’t stop now.  I have to find out who did it.

I know better, but I think, as I often do, five more minutes won’t make a difference. 

But of course, it does.

Full Story

I’ve thought of using a timer myself for some activities, like working at the computer. That has seemed obvious to me but I hadn’t considered it for other tasks around the house or running errands. I think it might be something to definately try. I do find that I may have the energy to let’s say, go grocery shopping but then find that the last half I’m literally hanging off the shopping cart and just begging to make it to the car.

The idea of pacing can be difficult for us because we want to push through when we’re doing good and it can be difficult to recognize the line we cross that takes us into the descent of pain. How about you…what strategies do you find helpful for pacing and getting tasks done while still achieving the feeling that you’re accomplishing something.


Jul 252013

Chronic pain sufferers can find travel and packing tips to ease the pain

Ask any kid on a school bus in June, summer is the season to be on vacation. But when you live with pain, jockeying for a spot at the beach or squeezing onto another overbooked flight are more than just nuisances—they’re triggers. To ensure your next trip away from home is full of well-deserved R&R, follow these tips on how to prepare, what to bring, and when to change your itinerary. Consider it your travel guide to a pain-free trip.

Start slow. Feel your best before you hit the road, says Rebecca Rengo, author of Beyond Chronic Pain: A Get-Well Guidebook to Soothe Body, Mind & Spirit. “Many people rush around trying to maintain regular activities, while getting the house, the kids, and their jobs in order, which increases stress,” she says. Instead, free up your schedule in the weeks leading up to your trip. It’ll give you plenty of time to get organized, decide what to pack, and maybe even fit in extra workouts or a massage. Remember: You’ll need the extra energy to handle the inevitable disruptions of traveling.


Jacqueline Goguen‘s insight:

Packing light might have seemed obvious to me, but her points about flying right gave me a kind a ah ha! moment. I’m still learning about my disability/limitations and often actually forget I have them. Until it’s too late and I’m suffering for it. A good read with some good tips.

Do you have any tips you can add to the list?


See on – Conquer Chronic Pain