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 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


May 252013

Chronic pain can be worsened or made better depending on the foods you choose to eat. Discover the food and pain connection, and start feeling better.

You may have heard the expression, “One man’s food is another man’s poison” and the statement is never truer than for those living with chronic pain. If you’re like millions struggling with chronic disease, you may take one or more prescription medications. Opiates, steroids, and narcotics often cause terrible side effects if used over long periods of time. These food cures for chronic pain can help reduce or completely eliminate your need for them.

The Food and Pain Connection

You may have never given much thought to how food might affect your pain levels but it has a lot more effect than you think. Highly processed foods like soda, candy, boxed cereals, instant soups, and fast-food burgers contain little nutritional value and a dangerous amount of chemicals that make chronic pain worse.

Read on

We hear it all the time, but it can’t hurt to revisit it again because I know this is one area I need to begin paying closer attention. It doesn’t seem that long ago when I was juicing or blending at least once per day and found it fairly easy to stay on track with my dietary requirements. I also really enjoyed it. I haven’t been finding this so easy to maintain anymore…for various reasons. The biggest probably being lack of energy and just sheer poor planning on my part. I found it much easier to eat for health when I was healthy – ironically enough because it’s that much more important now.

I have no doubt that there is a close connection between the food we consume and how we feel. And that this is even more true for those of us that live with chronic pain. There has been a lot of research to show the inflammatory properties of certain foods and the healing qualities of others.

We can’t go wrong with eating lots of colourful fresh fruits and vegetables and fiber in our diet. Are there any foods in particular you have found that help reduce your pain, or foods that you avoid because you find they aggrevate your pain? Please share them with us below.



May 202013

workshop written on chalkboardWednesday, May 22, 2013, 11:30am – 12:30pm
This workshop is a webinar and occurs online.

PART IV: In this, our last session, we will spend 25 mins on a Q&A regarding Part III and then we’ll end the webinar series with a poll and discussion. We want to hear from you whether you feel that the workshop has helped you better understand your pain? Was it practical information that was helpful to you in controlling your pain and returning you to function? Will the sessions change how you approach activity? We want to hear what in particular you got out of the sessions and how you feel we can improve our programming. Time permitting, Neil will also be taking your questions on pain self-management.

with Neil Pearson, Life Is Now
Find out more and register at PainBC