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A Picture of Hope

March 2nd, 2015 · No Comments

This entry by Amber is the 4th prize winner for our “Write Something to Share” contest.

What does the picture remind you of?  It makes me think about hope and promise, which I thought was perfect at the start of the new year.  Thanks, Amber!

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The Waves of Pain

February 23rd, 2015 · 1 Comment

Paris’ poem is the 3rd prize winner for our “Write Something to Share” contest.

Pain is like riding a wave in the ocean
There are the high tides and the low ones
The secret is staying on top of it so it doesn’t suck you down under
Enjoy the calmness of the day when the pain is low
Stay with the storm of the day when the pain is at its height
The tides will change as the hours of the day
Stay afloat, ride that wave, and drown the pain

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10 Ways to Tame the Beast

February 16th, 2015 · No Comments

Mary Beth’s entry is the 2nd prize winner for our “Write Something to Share” contest.

We are pain warriors.  Each day we wrestle with the beast called chronic pain.  Here are some of the tools I use to tame it – perhaps they will be helpful to you as well.

1. Pain Support Group
If you can find a local group, why not give it a try?  It can really help you feel understood, to surround yourself with those who know what it’s like to juggle the demands that pain throws at you.

2. Meditate daily
This habit helps manage the stress and anxiety that often accompany chronic illness.  Having time to quiet your mind can restore your inner peace.

3. Stretching / Physical therapy
Quite frankly, “just do it.”

4. Journaling / Counselor
Having a way to express yourself as you work through challenges is very beneficial.  Whether it be a therapist, writing in a notebook, or both, you can work through the emotional struggles of living with pain.

5. Self-care
Treat yourself with loving-kindness.  Your quality of life will improve when you pay attention to your own needs.

6. Pacing
Planning your week really helps.  For example, when you schedule a big outing, plan to rest the day before and the day after your event.

7. Supportive Friends
It’s a true gift to have a friend you can call when you need to vent.  Bonus empathy points if the friend has a chronic illness.

8. Gratitude
When life is the most challenging, practicing gratitude can provide a broader perspective.  One way to do this: write down 5 things you are grateful for each day.  Extra credit: Make 3 of the items something you admire about yourself that you observed that day.

9. Volunteer
If you have an opportunity, it really lifts your spirit to help someone else out.  You may even find something that you love to do.

10. Music / art
Any form of art can speak to your soul.  Whether you’re creating or passively enjoying it, art can be uplifting.

Finally –
“Start where you are.  Use what you have.  Do what you can.”  – Arthur Ashe

Thanks to Mary Beth for her coping suggestions.  Mary Beth writes that has had a chronic pain disorder, Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS/RSD), for 12 years.  She lives in Maryland with her 2 teenagers and supportive husband.

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Chronic Pain –Try It On!

February 9th, 2015 · 1 Comment

This is the 1st place entry for our “Write Something to Share” contest.  Congratulations George!

I just watched 2 adults on YouTube attempt to deal with simulated dementia, which left them crying and angry.  I wonder if we could make a chronic pain simulator.  Think you know what it is like to live with pain?  Try this test and learn a life lesson.  And yes, I added a little humor – trust me you are going to need it.

RULES OF THE GAME:
1.  Get a small backpack or fanny pack.
2.  Fill it with gravel, sand and newspaper.
3.  Zip it shut and glue the zipper closed with hot glue or super glue.
4.  Put the pack on around your torso, any way you like.
5.  Glue, tape or zip-tie the clip on the pack’s belt shut.  Sealing the zipper will just make it so it takes some time to remove:  I want you to think about what you are doing as you attempt to remove the pack, because people with chronic pain cannot get away from their disease.  They get no coffee break, no vacation, no time off.  Not even one day, one hour, or one minute.
6.  Now that you are wearing the pack, go about your normal daily routine.  BUT you cannot remove the pack at any time.  Yes, this means when you drive or walk, when you shower, go to work, attend social events, sleep or change.  Rules are rules, you cannot take it off even for five minutes to go to the bathroom.  (Sorry)  Obviously this will mean a few things:  first you will have to get creative to solve many problems, second you will have to deal with your emotions.  I will leave the 3rd, 4th, 5th … things for you to notice and deal with.  Keeping notes helps.

RESULTS & AWARDS:
1.  If you are strong enough to get past several hours, I salute you for your effort and profoundly thank you for attempting this trial.  A big hug.
2.  If you make it past 24 hours, my mouth is agape, with a warm handshake and seriously profound gratitude.  I am amazed at your power and resilience.  You have certainly earned a gold star.  A bear hug.
3.  If you manage to get through two or three sleepless nights, if the sore spots and bulge under your cloths didn’t garner too many stares or lost friends, you have earned two gold stars.  By now I am groveling on the floor, kissing your shoes and weeping kind gratitude.  Rose petals shower your path.
4.  If you can manage five to seven days … you must be either a Navy SEAL or just stepped off an alien spacecraft.  I am no longer handing out stars but putting you in for the National Medal of Honor or the Nobel Peace Prize.  Your choice.  The Dali Lama calls, the President and Pope have invited you to stay over, world leaders and common folk flock to meet you and honor your merest wishes.
5.  If you can leave it on for the rest of your life, then you have earned yourself the highest honor and accolades.  You are one of the most humble and meek individuals on the planet.  Your inner strength and wisdom are read of in famous religious texts.  You are part of a unique and special group: you are disabled by chronic pain.

“God doesn’t just give chronic pain to anyone, he chooses only the strongest.”
–Anonymous internet quote

Thanks to George for his creative, thought-provoking writing!

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Announcing the “Write Something to Share” Contest Winners!

February 5th, 2015 · No Comments

Congratulations to the “Write Something to Share” contest winners!!!  And thanks to everyone who sent in a submission. All the submissions will be published on How to Cope with Pain in the coming months, starting next Monday.


1st prize – George
2nd prize – Mary Beth
3rd prize – Paris
4th prize – Amber

I’ll be contacting the winners to choose from these prizes:

  • Rebecca Rengo’s Beyond Chronic Pain, an amazing workbook
  • An article written just for you on the topic of your choice at How to Cope with Pain
  • A Recognise DVD (for graded motor imagery)
  • A CRPS A Guide for Therapy DVD from RSDSA

Thanks again to all the contributors!

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Pain Pathways Magazine, Winter 2015

February 2nd, 2015 · No Comments

Here is the link to the Winter 2015 issue of Pain Pathways magazine.  Enjoy!

Winners of the Write Something to Share contest coming Wednesday!

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Music and Nature for Relaxation

January 28th, 2015 · 1 Comment

Over the next few weeks, I’ll be sharing YouTube videos for you to practice relaxation.  This one has relaxing music and nature imagery by Thomas Lynskey.

Remember our “Write Something to Share” contest – the deadline is 1/31!

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“Write Something to Share” Contest – Deadline 1/31

January 26th, 2015 · No Comments

This is the last week to submit your entry for our “Write Something to Share” contest, where readers send in contributions to share.  Your entry can be an article, a quote, a favorite way you cope with pain, a photograph, or anything else you think other readers will enjoy.

Be creative!  Be amazing! The contest guidelines:

  • Send in your entry here.  (More than 1 entry is fine.)
  • The deadline is midnight on Saturday, January 31.
  • The entry must be original and not published elsewhere on the internet.
  • The winning entry will be based on creativity and how much work went into the entry.

The winners will choose from these prizes:

  • Rebecca Rengo’s Beyond Chronic Pain, an amazing workbook
  • An article  written just for you on the topic of your choice at How to Cope with Pain
  • A Recognise DVD (for graded motor imagery)
  • A CRPS A Guide for Therapy DVD from RSDSA

Good luck to you!   I look forward to your entries!!!

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Music Miracles

January 21st, 2015 · 1 Comment

I think music can help people with pain, as a distraction, as something positive, and as something enjoyable.  I watched an amazing documentary, Alive Inside, about how patients with Alzheimer’s respond to music they loved in childhood. A clip is below. It’s worth seeing the whole thing (available on Netflix).

Does music help you cope with pain?

Remember our “Write Something to Share” contest – the deadline is 1/31!

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“Write Something to Share” Contest Reminder

January 19th, 2015 · 2 Comments

We’re having a “Write Something to Share” contest, where readers send in contributions to share.  Your entry can be an article, a quote, a quick tip, a photograph, or anything else you think other readers will enjoy.

Be creative!  Be amazing! The contest guidelines:

  • Send in your entry here.  (More than 1 entry is fine.)
  • The deadline is midnight on Saturday, January 31.
  • The entry must be original and not published elsewhere on the internet.
  • The winning entry will be based on creativity and how much work went into the entry.

The winners will choose from these prizes:

  • Rebecca Rengo’s Beyond Chronic Pain, an amazing workbook
  • An article  written just for you on the topic of your choice at How to Cope with Pain
  • A Recognise DVD (for graded motor imagery)
  • A CRPS A Guide for Therapy DVD from RSDSA

Good luck to you!   I look forward to your entries!!!

***To get every new article delivered to you for free the instant they're published, sign up for How to Cope with Pain by email or RSS feed.

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