Greetings blessed loves!
So I am officially appointing our dear "bav" (AKA Beth) to the position of Crazy Sexy Resident MD. Why? Beth is an MD, a canSer cowgirl and a big believer and proactive participant in the Crazy Sexy Lifestyle! We became pals after meeting at one of my workshops in NYC and she has a wealth of knowledge (and a big ole heart) to share with ya'll. After she posted this comment I knew I had to make it an official entry! So welcome Beth, our second guest!
"Ok, pain sufferers, Kris asked me to see if I could offer any guidance. So here goes.
Chronic pain is a tough sitch, I'm not gonna lie. Pain impacts every aspect of your life, how you eat, how you sleep, how you move. You may not even be aware of it, but people tense up when in pain, they contract, which shifts body mechanics, which creates for more pain. They hold their breath.
Many chronic pain sufferers, for reasons unclear, have systems that become increasingly heightened to trigger pain. Instead of having a little pinch to a mild stimuli, many chronic/neuropathic pain sufferers experience an excruciating pain to some small noxious event. It's like your system becomes over-sensitized. It somehow resets your thresholds, your "set point," your triggering mechanisms. This can be especially so with neuropathic pain, which a few of you specifically mentioned.
So, how to break the cycle??
Some of this is fact, some of this is my opinion. I am simply offering it as information. If it works for you great. If it doesn't resonate with you, that is fine too. I totally respect people's right to choose what is right for them. As I said, pain is no fun. And unfortunately, it is really up to the person in pain to get themselves out of it, so it is super hard, I understand that.
Medications are only one small part of the solution. So it is awesome you are communicating with one another about it!!
First and foremost, I think the Crazy Sexy Lifestyle is just as important for chronic pain sufferers as it is for canSer babes. If you have both, even moreso!! In order to allow your body to return to what I will call a "zen state" ie pain-free, we need to get out the toxins. As much as we do know, I think there is SO much more we don't know about what goes on in the human body. What are all those preservatives, chemicals, pesticides in our foods doing to those delicate nerves? To those pain receptors? To the feedback mechanisms our body uses to signal our brain to feel pain? I'm guessing not anything good. So keep those juicers revving, girls. Get that oxygen-laden green juice into your system. Do your best in your own personal life to reevaluate what your food choices are on a day-to-day basis. And start taking away the sugars, the refined products, the dairy. Get in the high-quality food products. We need to pamper your temple (your body) so we can restore peace and serenity. Nutrition affects absolutely everything we experience physically, emotionally, mentally....even pain.
Food combining for quick-exit will be critical for you if you are on pain meds. Narcotics are incredibly constipating! Even if you are still pooping, believe me, the motility in your gut is slowed. So whatever you are ingesting, it is sitting inside you for longer than normal b/c the whole system is slowed down b/c of the pain meds. So, again, consider trying to go more towards Kris' suggested nutrition tips, and away from a mainstream diet. You may want to stock up on smooth move tea, aloe juice, whatever keeps your pooper moving.
Next, I encourage you to find a way to move your body. I'm not talking marathons here, or anything that is going to put you in the fetal position due to pain. But depending on your kind of pain, research has shown that inactivity makes things worse, and yes, even for neuropathic pain. Can you find a nice, gentle restorative yoga class? A stretching routine? Swimming? Exercise accomplishes a number of things. It stretches the fascia, the ligaments, muscles, everything that contains all kinds of nervous tissue. This helps to release toxins being held, to pull blood (ie oxygen) into the area, to contract lymph vessels, to help carry away tissue wastes. I'm not going to lie, the first week might be rough, if you haven't been active for awhile, but that should quiet quickly. Soreness should feel different than pain. In addition, exercise releases all kinds of yummy hormones in our brain, not only endorphins, but others that lift mood, increase energy, and yes, help decrease pain!! So, do what you can. Even if you start with a minute of dancing in your underwear, shake that booty somehow!
Depression often goes hand in hand with pain. How could it not?? It is miserable to hurt constantly. And chemically, what goes on in the body and brain, there are reasons for this. If you are prone to depression, ongoing pain may make it worse. If you are new to pain and never have been depressed, don't be surprised if you find yourself in new territory. Constant discomfort permeates into every area of your life and it can wear you down! So you need a strategy that works for you. I do encourage chronic pain sufferers to find a great therapist, social worker, shrink, minister, whomever, to touch base with weekly. Someone to vent to, someone to give you some perspective about how awesome you are doing with all that you are trying to juggle. Someone who can suggest meds if that is appropriate for you, or guide you to someone who can. Keeping your mental closet as tidy as you can is really going to help b/c pain effects the brain so much, not just the body part where you experience the pain!! This does NOT mean you are having pain b/c you are depressed, or that it is all in your head or anything like that. It means, unfortunately, your brain is involved in the pain feedback loop. That is how our body is set up, it's just anatomy. So attending to the health of that organ (yes, your brain) is going to help the pain syndrome.
Seek out alternative providers. Osteopaths trained in "Manipulative Medicine", craniosacral work, fascia release can do wonders for pain. I'm not talking the wrenching, cracking kind of manipulation. I am talking GENTLE, where you aren't sure what (if anything) they just did. But somehow a few days later, you feel WAY better. I recommend looking for someone who specifically deals with chronic pain. I can't live without mine. And b/c they are doctors, insurance covers it.
Acupuncture is phenomenal for pain! Certain kinds of pain receptors are in our skin. They each correspond to a certain area, think small circular patch. The acupuncture needle stimulates that little meridian, like dropping a pebble in a pond, it then sends ripples out. By stimulating the area, it then actually allows that pain pathway to quiet down. This can transmit to deeper (beyond the skin) internal pain meridians. Many insurance plans now cover acupuncture, check with your carrier.
Massage, is a delightful blend of the benefits of exercise, osteopathy and acupuncture all rolled into one. I suggest someone trained in myofascial techniques, acupressure, physical therapy/sports massage. These folks tend to have increased training in the anatomy of pain fibers, pathways etc. And yes, many insurance carriers now cover massage. If the first person you see doesn't give you some relief after a few sessions, try someone else. Massage manually moves toxins out, draws blood to an area, releases spasms, moves lymph, contracts muscles, stretches etc etc. It may "hurt." I am not talking about going for a relaxing, zone out massage. I am talking about going for a "massage treatment." You need to be able to communicate with your therapist about how much pressure is too much, about what you can (or cannot) tolerate. There are therapists out there who specialize in pain, call around, ask if they work with neuropathic pain sufferers, chronic pain etc. My massage therapist can make some of my pain go away completely that cortisone shots did not help! Seriously.
I like arnica. You can rub it on a certain area if you have a joint, muscle etc that hurts. But you can take it as a pill for you neuropathic girls. I am a fan of Naturopaths if you want to find natural remedies. They know their stuff, and can work with you. This will be important if you are on pain meds, b/c some of the herbal stuff impacts how those are metabolized.
And don't forget to breathe. I am a proponent of breath therapy. If you can't find a certified breath therapist near you, or can't afford it, you can do it at home. Simple techniques, with tremendous benefits. When I first learned of this 15 years ago, I thought it was hooey. Until I went for my first session. Amazing what happens when we breathe properly!
Whew! I'm sure I forgot something, but those are my highlights. More than any other problem, I think pain requires a comprehensive approach. Take Kris' Cancer Tips book and replace cancer with pain. I encourage you to tackle it from all angles, from a crazy sexy lifestyle perspective. I empathize. I know it's hard. But it can be done. And because you are here on this blog, you are claiming your power, you are on your way to finding for yourself what heals your body. And I can't applaud, encourage, support you enough in that endeavor."
Viva la Crazy Sexy Lifestyle for all!!!
Wednesday, November 21, 2007
Posted by cancer cowgirl xo at 9:34 AM