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.

Read more on painresource.com

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 Scoop.it – Conquer Chronic Pain


May 202013

Image of hippocampus

by Neil Pearson, Life Is Now

The stigma of chronic pain can lead us to persevere and try to push through the pain, only stopping when we cannot carry on. Then the pain flares up and we pay the price!

If you have read my blogs or listened to the pain education I provide, you will have heard me suggest that this technique may be good for ‘getting the job done’, and it may be helpful in acute pain, but it is actually counter-productive to regaining greater ease of movement in the face of persistent pain. The theory we have for this includes two key ideas. First, if your protection systems are producing pain in order to get you to stop, but you do not even yield, the system will start to function as if the alarms are not loud enough. Second, your nervous system will learn to get better at whatever it practices. The more it practices creating intense pain, the better it gets at producing intense pain.

This idea may have merit, but for many people it is in direct conflict with the idea that our body will grow stronger if we continue to stress it. Actually, this is much more than an idea. It is normal reality. If you want to make a muscle stronger, use it more. If you want to grow more tolerant of an irritating or bothersome sensation or experience, step up to it. Face it. In time, it will bother you less. Try playing a string instrument for the first time, and feel the intense pain from pushing down strings with your fingertips. Keep doing it and your body will adapt, even creating a callous as a protective response, just like woodworkers and carpenters have on their hands and dancers have on their feet. In other words, when you stress your body, typically it responds by being better able to tolerate that stress next time.

So why does this positive adaptation not occur in many people with persistent pain conditions? New research provides some clues. It also provides support for what we can do to create positive adaptations in our sensitized nervous systems.

Scientists know that there is one part of the brain that is highly important for learning – the hippocampus. They also know that the persistent high levels of stress hormones from chronic stress inhibits activity in the hippocampus. Recently, studies have shown that this area of the brain is one of the few to be able to produce new brain cells. These same chronic stress hormones inhibit new cell formation, and this likely has a detrimental effect on learning new things. So chronic stress is bad, but what about acute stress?

At the University of California, Kirby and colleagues* studied the effects of acute stress on the formation of new cells in the hippocampus, and on learning. They used rats, knowing that there are enough similarities in brain functions to make some generalizations from the studies to humans. The rats were stressed over a short period with inactivity. (Yup, this is a stressor.) This temporary stress doubled their stress hormones, and the researchers measured up to twice as many new brain cells in the hippocampus. New brain cells should lead to improved brain function, and that’s exactly what they found. They were able to put markers on these new cells and show that once the cells matured two weeks later, these same cells were used by the rats in a learning task to out-perform other rats that had not undergone the acute stress.

What does this all mean?

Continue reading on YogaHub Blog

May 062013

As an anesthesiologist who is currently debilitated and who has been unable to carry out my practice for the past three years because of complications from chronic postoperative pain, I feel compelled to share my thoughts on the February 2013 article “Chronic Post-op Pain Takes Toll on Patients, Resources” (page 10). The authors present statistics showing that such pain disorders outnumber the incidence of diseases in the forefront of medical attention, such as breast cancer. Thus, it should strike us all that this area of discussion is long past due.

Although I am delighted to see an article that addresses this highly overlooked and significant issue, I would like to note several points unmentioned in the story. I understand the primary focus and financial drive of our modern practice model. However, I am left wondering if we might someday feature an article titled “Chronic Post-op Pain Takes Toll on Patients.” Although pain management deals with a diverse array of complex issues, I have been startled to find myself on the other end as a patient and the frank lack of dignity this population must endure.

Certain psychosocial issues may play a role in the care of pain patients, but our stereotype of the prevalence of psychological factors is highly outdated. Pain as a subjective experience, without any means of quantification, should not lump all patients together as having underlying psychiatric diagnoses. This is not to say that lack of appropriate diagnostic codes to protect us from the scrutiny of insurance carriers is completely without cause, but it continues to define and limit our access to care.

See on www.anesthesiologynews.com

Jacqueline Goguen‘s insight:

A view from the other side of the fence.



Apr 252013

What is the biopsychosocial model of understanding and treating pain? What benefits can this model have for helping to reduce my pain levels? These are questions…

Jacqueline Goguen‘s insight:

It’s nice to see that progress is being made in understanding us as integrated and complex beings. A good presentation that I had the benefit of sitting in on. Enjoy the video and share your thoughts in the comments section below…


See on vimeo.com


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Apr 212013

Try these chronic pain management tips to reduce suffering and improve your quality of life:

If you’re suffering from chronic pain, you likely have days when relief might seem out of reach. But simple strategies for chronic pain management can make a big difference in improving your quality of life.

What is Chronic Pain?

Dr. Shelley Adams, a chiropractor at Back2Health Chiropractic Kitsilano in Vancouver, says chronic pain extends beyond the expected period of healing. “We expect people to have problems and there are different timelines for different problems.”

Chronic pain usually lasts more than three to six months, if not longer, says Linda Soltysiak, a group leader for the North Shore Chronic Pain Group. Chronic pain can be unpredictable, vary from mild to excruciating and be in one or multiple areas of the body.

Causes of Chronic Pain

“We still do not have a really good explanation why chronic pain persists,” says Dr. Patrick Myers, a registered psychologist at Stress-Less Consulting. Many people have pain without obvious cause and there may be a “biopsychosocial framework.”

Common causes of chronic pain include:

  • Physical injury and trauma — including car accidents, especially if the injury wasn’t treated immediately
  • Medical conditions — such as arthritis, migraines, cancer, fibromyalgia, TMJ and IBS
  • Bad posture — that has caused strain on joints and other body parts
  • Degeneration of spinal joints — due to genetics, injury, inactivity and lifestyle
  • Inactivity – motion improves joint health, relaxed tissues and increases blood supply to keep tissue healthy
  • Diet – diets high in animal fat promote inflammation and poor choices can lead to weight gain that causes joint degeneration and posture issues
  • Stress – creates muscle tension, pulling on joints and increasing irritation, and causes tissue distress due to long-term cortisol exposure
  • Disease – arthritis, fibromyalgia, cancer and other illnesses

Complications of Chronic Pain

The hurt of chronic pain can go beyond just the physical. Chronic pain can lead to multiple issues, including:

  • Broken sleep and difficulty getting to sleep
  • Psychological trauma
  • Depression
  • Isolation

Read on www.bcliving.ca

Jacqueline Goguen‘s insight:

Some tips to help us with managing our chronic pain. Do you have any tips not covered that you have found to help you? Please share them in the comments section below.