Review of the book: Pain, The Gift Nobody Wants

Pain, The Gift Nobody Wants

Review of the book: Pain, The Gift Nobody WantsPain, The Gift Nobody Wants

This article is a review of the book: Pain, The Gift Nobody Wants, By Dr. Paul Brand and Philip Yancey.  The subtitle is: Warning: Life Without Pain Could Really Hurt You.  I was given this book by a friend who is a medical professional and who knew how I suffered with chronic pain.  

At first I wasn’t motivated to read it.  Because yeah, I already knew I didn’t want the “gift” of pain.  But I became hooked on the first page as Dr. Brand recounted a story about a four year old girl who couldn’t feel pain.  

I admit, I am a sucker for case studies and stories.  People fascinate me. I feel we can always learn something from everyone.  This book is filled with case studies, based mostly on Dr. Brand’s experiences in his career.  

Anyway, as I read, I became familiar with the author and his story.   This man dedicated his life to treating patients with leprosy. He came to be recognized as a world renowned hand surgeon.  His work to repair hands and feet that had been damaged because of leprosy was groundbreaking.  

Certainly, he was someone to be admired.  And he had the authority to speak about pain and suffering, so I continued reading the book.  I’m glad I did.

Some Facts I Learned

Did you know?

  • Leprosy is curable
  • It attacks the nerves, thus causing an inability to feel pain
  • It is caused by a slow growing bacteria
  • You can only catch it by coming in repeated contact with someone who has untreated leprosy

So you can understand the title of the book, because thousands of people with leprosy suffered secondary problems caused by not being able to feel pain.  If you want more information on this disease, here is a link to WebMD.  

Who Would Read This Book?

Pain, The Gift Nobody Wants
Free-Photos/Pixabay

Why would you want to read this book?  Well, I think it would make you a better person if you did.  Why do I think that? Because it is a real life story of a self sacrificing man who gave his life to alleviate the sufferings of others.  I believe we are all naturally selfish and self absorbed. This book inspires us to be otherwise.  

You should read it because:

  • It is inspiring
  • It teaches about compassion
  • It provides medical and scientific data about a contagious disease that still affects thousands
  • It helps you realize you aren’t the only one suffering pain
  • It challenges you to be more caring to those who have suffered some sort of deformity

Dr. Brand  was a Christian, who truly lived out his faith in serving his fellow man.  Who knows what you might learn from this story?  

Following are practical lessons I learned that you can use in your life as a sufferer or one who cares for sufferers.  

What Makes Things Worse For Pain Sufferers?

Suffering from pain and physical differences is hard enough.  Add to that other problems and you magnify the suffering. In chapter 17 of this book, there are some very practical topics that we all need to remember when dealing with pain and suffering.  These practices make pain worse. What are they?

  1. Fear: Fear of a new environment, like a hospital, or of a treatment, rank high on this scale.  Fear adds stress to those of us already suffering. If you can provide knowledge and experience in these fearful situations, you are on the road to making the suffering less.
  2. Anger: Anger at the situation or other circumstances surrounding the pain can interfere with treatment and relief.  These feelings must be addressed and overcome for the person to progress toward healing.
  3. Guilt: Guilt from our past can plague us all.  Pain resulting from past experiences may halt the ability of the person to go forward.  Some of our cultures look on suffering as punishment from God. We are not in a position to judge that.  But the person must be helped to move beyond these feelings. Listening and praying are a good place to start.
  4. Loneliness: Being cut off from our fellow man can result in more pain.  Cultures where the patient is surrounded by family and friends have been shown to hasten healing and health.  Conversely, someone left alone to suffer is doubly hurt.
  5. Helplessness: It appears our western medicine can foster this in patients, making them dependent on doctors and medicine.  It has now been scientifically proven that having the sufferer take charge and responsibility for their recovery helps toward pain management and less suffering. 

How to Help Someone Who is In Pain

As a chronic pain sufferer, I have become much more aware of fellow pain sufferers.  If pain has any place in your life, then I suggest you read this book.  

Here’s what I came away with.

Pain, The Gift Nobody Wants
jarmoluk/Pixabay

Touch

Touch is incredibly powerful to those who suffer.  Especially if their appearance isn’t “normal”. They already suffer with pain, and then we ostracize them.  Yes, we have to be careful in this day of corona viruses, but when was the last time you put your hand on a shoulder to encourage?  Or hugged someone who was sad or down?  

Dr. Brand recounts a story where he put his arm around a leprosy patient while presenting his research to a group of doctors in China.  He writes, “The doctors around us sucked in their breath sharply. One of them later told me that single act impressed the doctors more than anything else we said or did in China.” (pg 314, Pain, The Gift Nobody Wants)  

So as long as you can’t infect someone or they can’t infect you, then touch the pain sufferer.  You don’t have any idea how you might lift their spirits.

Focus

I had heard before that occupying your mind can help relieve pain.  Dr. Brand explained why. Apparently our brain can only process so much information.  So if we are engaged in some other activity or focus, the brain can’t accept the pain signals, and therefore we don’t feel pain.  

This is the foundation of the skill of autosuggestion, where some individuals can divert their attention so that they don’t feel pain.  Though most of us don’t have the discipline that might take, we can attempt to refocus on other activities to take away pain’s power.  

I have found this to be true in my suffering.  Working on my posts and developing my website keeps my mind centered on information, and not on my pain.  

AIDS

The author compares the AIDS epidemic to the historical sufferings of those with leprosy.  The way our society has treated those suffering this disease has been to ostracize and judge.  This is another situation where we need compassion instead of judgment. Especially from those of us who claim to be Christians.  

Here’s a short video with the co-author, Philip Yancey talking about the impact Christians have made on the fight against leprosy.

Conclusion

What do you think?  Please leave a comment or concern here.  I would especially love to hear from you if you have read the book.  What did you learn?  

It is my hope you have been encouraged and challenged by this article.  I hope your day will be made better while you think about this article. Just reading the book will refocus your mind and perhaps relieve your pain for a period of time.  

You can purchase this book at Amazon.  Click here.  I currently do not receive any compensation for this link.  I am not yet signed up as an affiliate marketer.

And just in case you thought to yourself, I wonder if I could build a website, then go here.  The answer is yes!  The link will take you to Wealthy Affiliate, the company I am using to build my site.  If you want to read a post about what I think of WA, click here.

 

Kaia App Review: Manage Pain Naturally

Review of Kaia app

Kaia App Review: Pain Management, Naturally

Help for Chronic Pain

In this review I will talk about the Kaia app that I have been using for awhile.  I am using it on my smartphone.  I have chronic pain in my buttock and am constantly searching for natural ways to relieve my pain.  I purchased this app in hopes it would help me. The app claims that by using it you can manage your pain and find relief through using it.  Read more to find out if it is for you.  

Chronic Back Pain
Pixabay: mohamed_hassan

What You Will Learn in This Review

  • First I will address why you may want to use this app. 
  • Then, I will give you some background on the company.
  • Furthermore, I will talk about the three major sections of the app. 
  • I will give examples of those sections.
  • I will give my overall impressions as well.
  • It is my hope you find this review helpful in your journey through pain.

Why You May Want to Use This App

Are you in pain?  If you suffer from chronic pain then I am in the same boat as you.  And it is difficult. Maybe you have trouble getting out of bed. Or standing.  Or walking. Been there. Doing that. This app is specifically set for back pain.  And although I suffer most from sciatica-like pain, I also have back pain sometimes. This app has helped manage that.

You may also want to use this app because you want to manage your pain naturally.  There are no negative side effects from using this app.  

The only downside of this app?  It takes motivation and commitment on your part.  (They even address motivation in the training.) So read further to see if this app is for you.  

If you want to read what I had to say about motivation you can click here to see another post.

Medical, Technology and Other Amazing Stuff

Kaiahealth (the name they call themselves) states that they have medical advisers, as well as science and AI technology.  The combination of all this wisdom is a personalized program that aims to help you relieve your pain.  

The app is free to download to try it out, but if you want to continue to use it on a regular basis, you will need to pay for it.  It’s $29.99 for three months in the US. I paid $89.99 for a year. That’s about 25 cents a day. Well worth the cost I think. It is available in other countries.  It was developed in Germany.  

The Three Sections of the Kaia App

There are three categories of the app; Knowledge, Exercise and Breathing.  Other items included in the upgraded app are an Introduction and Motion Tracking Coach.  Let’s cover the three main sections.

Knowledge

Knowledge of Back Pain
Pixabay/Foundry

In this section Kaia provides information about pain, why exercise is important, some physiological content and more.  I am currently on a section that discusses motivation. Motivation is something I struggle with daily.  

Just a personal note.  I know that stretches and movement and exercise help me feel better, but I fight having to do them.  I know I am not alone. One of the aspects I like about this app is that it is not that time consuming.  I would estimate you can do all three sections in less than half an hour.  

In the Knowledge section, you can explore at your own pace and time commitment.  The app constantly lets you respond with continuing or ending that particular session.  It picks up where you left off until you complete that particular subject.

The information is in lay terms, so most of it I can grasp.  I know that adding knowledge to my journey to manage my pain is helpful in continuing the trip.  Plus in my mind it adds credence to the program.  

At the end you are given the option to rate the session and provide feedback.

Exercise

Here’s where the rubber meets the road.  You must work at the exercises to reap the benefit.  I hope you are one of those people who takes responsibility for your health.  If not, then this app is not for you. But if you are, then I think you will find success here.  

The app tells you how much time you will need for the section (usually about 12 minutes, give or take), what equipment you will need (usually a mat and a towel) and you can preview the exercises before you start.  

Exercise Section Kaia
Pixabay/mohamed_hassan

Once you start the section you can pause it at anytime.  There are usually 2 rounds of 5 exercises. Each exercise takes about 30 seconds.  Before it starts the program shows you how to do the exercise, which is very helpful.  This is why using it on your smartphone is so great. You have it right there in front of you.  

The male and female voices that guide you through the exercises are calming and encouraging.  I appreciate that. I don’t need someone yelling at me or telling me I am a wimp! You can also adjust the difficulty level at the end of the session so that the next session will be easier or more difficult.

Here’s an example of the exercise portion of the app.

Breathing

The last section is a topic that has been very helpful in my pain management.  It is learning about how breathing impacts our pain.  

This section walks you through different sessions of breathing exercises, where you learn about relaxation and calming techniques.  This happens to be my favorite section because it is the most enjoyable. I find after I end this session I am relaxed and feel a sense of warmth.  

Practicing calming breathing is helpful to decrease pain’s power.  We all know how pain can grab all our attention and stress out the rest of our body and mind.  Pain can cause us to take short anxious breaths. In this section you learn to control your breathing to assist in relaxing and calming yourself. 

After you complete the section for the day you are given the opportunity to rate it and give any feedback.  

An Added Benefit; A Great Option

I nearly forgot to mention that Kaia has a Coach section.  This is different from the Motion Tracking Coach. In this feature you can ask just about any question and get a personal answer.  It is helpful for those questions that come up as you use the app or if something isn’t covered in a section.  

I have used it mostly to respond to challenges in the exercise section.   I am a senior and because of my pain I can’t do some exercises. Here is where I have found answers to concerns about those struggles.  But you won’t be limited to just that topic. The Coach is there to help you use the app and succeed at using it.  

How Do I Rate This App?

Rating Kaia app
Pixabay/Pixloger

I give this app 5 stars.  The company really knows what they are doing.  Yeah, it costs money, but most treatments to handle pain do cost money.  I like it because it:

  • Has clear instructions
  • Is easy to do
  • Isn’t very time consuming
  • Has a section where you can ask questions
  • Can be adjusted to my abilities
  • Uses science to address all parts of pain management

Conclusion

If you are suffering with back pain, and there are thousands of us that are suffering, this app could be just the thing to help you.  It requires you to take responsibility and action, but the payoff may be less pain. I recommend this app because I have found it helpful.  If you want to feel better, why not try it?

Click here to go to the website and learn more and get the app.

And please leave any comments related to this article.  Your comments help my website to help others.

Are You a Chronic Pain Warrior?

The Pixelman – Pixabay

Today was the first time I ever heard this term, Chronic Pain Warrior.  What’s that? So I read about it. And concluded that yes, I am a Chronic Pain Warrior.  Read on to find out if you are one.

Who are Chronic Pain Warriors?  

They are people who suffer with pain on a daily basis.  Day after day, they go on working, living, functioning, but doing so while in pain.  Is that you? It’s me! And because it is a struggle, it becomes a fight. And warriors fight, right?  In fact, the Oxford dictionary defines a warrior as “a brave or experienced soldier or fighter”.  I don’t know about you, but this is sort of inspiring!  It gives my experience a powerful positive edge, don’t you think?  

We are brave.  We are brave because we face the enemy of pain every single day.  

We are experienced.  We are experienced because we deal with pain constantly, week after week, month after month.

We are soldiers and fighters because we are in the midst of the battle, doing the work of the ground fighter.  Soldier also has another meaning as a verb, which is to “soldier on”. Which means that you do not give up even when life is tough.  That’s you and me, right?

So what if you are a Chronic Pain Warrior?  If you want to take some action to be a victorious warrior, read on about how I believe you can do that.  

 

Warriors need weapons, right?  What are some weapons of your warfare?

Warriors can’t fight without weapons.  Sometimes warriors are on the offensive, sometimes on the defensive.  I hope the following suggestions will help you in your fight.  

Community

A soldier fights with an army.  So too, you need an army. Our army is made up of community.  Our community is distinctive. Following are some of our fellow fighters.

I hope you have loved ones who support you daily in your fight.  Your own personal army. They know you so well they can figure out how best to fight alongside you.  They don’t judge you, but understand how you are pushing on. The best kind acknowledge your weaknesses and support your strengths.  

Just as an aside, I suggest you don’t waste time with negative nellies.  They can make your pain worse by their toxic personalities. Fight to keep them out of your life. 

This article was the one that gave me the term, Chronic Pain Warrior.  It is a great resource for helping others understand your fight. It discusses 15 things to know about Chronic Pain Warriors.  

There is actually a community on Facebook with this name.  Click here for more information, and to Like and/or Follow.  I’m trying to find out if they are the originator of the term.  In the meantime you should find some compassion and community there.  

Other options for community are online forums.  I haven’t joined any yet, but I plan to. If you are a member of one, and recommend it, please leave that information in the comments below.  

I also found a great organization called American Chronic Pain Association.  They have helpful videos and a database of sufferers that you can contact.  They also support local chapters, which I hope to get going in my area. Getting one going is going to be a battle in itself, as just doing any activity while in pain is difficult.  But being active and engaged is also a tool to fight pain, so I’m going to do it. I recommend you click on the above link to learn more about them.  

Movement or Exercise

I say it all the time, in almost every post, that moving is vital to dealing with chronic pain.  I feel like a broken record, but it can’t be said enough. And because I, like you, have chronic pain, then I feel I can speak about this topic with some authority.  Besides, what warrior do you know that lies in bed all day?  

Yeah, it’s not easy to push yourself to move, but it is a must as we Warriors fight through the battle.  

Even getting out of bed is a challenge.  I wake up knowing my pain will begin as soon as my feet hit the floor.  (If it’s not already bothering me because I slept in the wrong position, or I couldn’t sleep because of the pain.)  What I do is something Tony Robbins does (except I say it to God): Give thanks for at least 3 things, Pray about at least 3 things, Set goals to accomplish 3 things.  Doing this focuses my mind on something other than my pain.  

Then during the day, I commit to walking and stretching.  I wish I could do more, but I will be thankful for what I can do.  If you have some exercise program or routine that you do, I would like to hear about it.  It may be helpful to other Warriors. I’ve included some links for posts I found that hopefully will be helpful to you.

Links for various workouts: 

  • Here’s one where she tells she works out to prevent chronic pain. 
  • Or see this one on how to modify exercises when in pain.
  • This author says these exercises helped her get rid of pain.  I can’t do many of these, but perhaps you can.
  • There ab exercises may be similar to the previous ones, but helpful as well.
  • Here’s an encouraging article because it states you CAN exercise with limited mobility.

This small list is just a start.  Search the web for more help! And leave comments below if you have something that would help all of us.  That’s what an army does!

And I believe warriors don’t stop trying do win.  Warriors keep fighting to the death.

Portrait – Left Hand Bear Chief – David Mark – Pixabay

 

Management tools

I suppose the army doesn’t call them management tools.  Battle plans? So, I may have to diverge from the comparisons for a bit.  The point is, you need a plan and how to manage that plan.  

Not surprisingly, the American Chronic Pain Association (referred to above) has a page called Pain Management Tools.  They feature Self Management Skills and The Art of Pain Management. Here’s the link to that page.  

Maybe I should have listed this first, because deciding to manage your pain is the first step.  You are an active participant, and only you can decide what to do while you are in pain. So the first question should be, do you want to manage your pain, or do you want to let it manage you?  If you want to be the manager, the commander, the warrior, then you have to take action.  

Many of my previous posts are about this.  They are about you taking some sort of action.  That is what managing pain is all about. And the action isn’t just exercise.  It is much more. See some of my other posts like these: Can Music Relieve Chronic Pain? Or A Pain Sufferer’s Guide to How to Get Out of Bed.

Breathing exercises, imagery and mindfulness are promoted as great management tools.  I have written a little about them, but have yet to fully practice them, so I feel I must use them more before I speak about my experience.  However, if you have some authority on this topic, please let us know.  

Humor

Laughing may seem like the last thing you want to do, but I highly recommend it.  Having a sense of humor about your situation is a very powerful weapon.  

When caring people ask me exactly where my pain is, I tell them, “I have a pain in the butt!”  If I can do so with a smile then they usually smile too. For just a few seconds, I don’t hurt as much.

But you can prolong humor’s effect by thinking about humorous jokes, watching a funny movie, or just laughing with friends.  I hope you have heard about Norman Cousins’ book Anatomy of An Illness.  In it, he recounts his fight (a warrior!) against a disease that his doctors told him would kill him.  He credits high doses of Vitamin C, and continuous laughter to his recovery. This is a beautiful example of the power of laughter.

I’ll share one of the funniest jokes I’ve heard in awhile.  It’s long but worth it. I don’t know who to credit it to. Here it is:

 

Dave was bragging to his boss every day, “You know, I know everyone there is to know. Just name someone, anyone, and I know them.”

Tired of his boasting, his boss called his bluff, “OK, Dave, how about Tom Cruise?”

“No dramas boss, Tom and I are old friends, and I can prove it.” So Dave and his boss fly out to Hollywood and knock on Tom Cruise’s door, and Tom Cruise shouts,

“Dave! What’s happening? Great to see you! Come on in for a beer!”

Although impressed, Dave’s boss is still skeptical. After they leave Cruise’s house, he tells Dave that he thinks him knowing Cruise was just lucky.

“No, no, just name anyone else,” Dave says.

“President Trump,” his boss quickly retorts.

“Yup,” Dave says, “Old buddies, let’s fly out to Washington,” and off they go.

At the White House, Trump spots Dave on the tour and motions him and his boss over, saying, “Dave, what a surprise, I was just on my way to a meeting, but you and your friend come on in and let’s have a beer first and catch up.”

Well, the boss is very shaken by now but still not totally convinced. After they leave the White House grounds he expresses his doubts to Dave, who again implores him to name anyone else.

“Pope Francis,” his boss replies.

“Sure!” says Dave. “I’ve known the Pope for years.” So off they fly to Rome.

Dave and his boss are assembled with the masses at the Vatican’s St. Peter’s Square when Dave says, “This will never work. I can’t catch the Pope’s eye among all these people. Tell you what, I know all the guards so let me just go upstairs and I’ll come out on the balcony with the Pope.” He disappears into the crowd headed towards the Vatican.

Sure enough, half an hour later Dave emerges with the Pope on the balcony, but by the time Dave returns, he finds that his boss has had a heart attack and is surrounded by paramedics.

Making his way to his boss’ side, Dave asks him, “What happened?”

His boss looks up and says, “It was the final straw… you and the Pope came out onto the balcony and the man next to me said, ‘Who the heck is that on the balcony with Dave?’

 

I copied the below image from this post called Chronic Illness Humor.  All those boxes should sound familiar.  Either we say them or someone else says them.  Maybe at the end of the day, fill in as many boxes as you can.  Maybe you can laugh at it. Or use it as a tracking record of how your day went.  

 

Chronic Illness Bingo
Pins & Procrastination

Can you find anything humorous in your situation?  I would very much appreciate it if you would leave jokes or recommendations for funny movies, or any funny thoughts.  I need that and I’m sure others do too. Leave them in the comments section please.  

Hope you ended this section with a little smile.

Conclusion

We have to fight to keep going.  So be a Warrior and get in the battle.  

 

What Do You Mean? My Chronic Pain Can Cause Fatigue?

whoismargot – pixabay

Can Chronic Pain Cause Fatigue?

I am almost always tired.  And I’m pretty sure it’s not because I:

  • Don’t eat right 
  • Don’t get 8 hours of sleep
  • Don’t exercise

Because I do all those things!  And more. I concentrate on eating plenty of fruits and vegetables.  I go to bed at a reasonable hour and set my alarm for 8 hours later. I try to walk and do yoga everyday. My blood labs are fine too. So why am I tired? 

I think my tiredness has to do with having chronic pain.  Pain wears you out, and if it is chronic, it wears you out everyday. And it can impact your ability to function, your ability to sleep restfully, and affect your emotional and psychological outlook.  

What is Chronic Pain?

First off, let’s define chronic pain.  It is an unpleasant sensation or discomfort that lasts longer than the cycle for normal healing.  It may or may not be a result from an injury. It remains active in the nervous system for months and years.  It may cause tissue damage, or may be a result of tissue damage. 

nastya_geep – Pixabay

Through my research I have noted that chronic pain has several side effects, besides the obvious one of being in pain.  Some of those effects are:

  • Tense muscles
  • Inability to move, or a reduced desire to move
  • Overeating or not eating at all
  • Depression or feeling sad
  • Anxiety
  • Tiredness
  • Irritability
  • Fear
  • Worry over expenses of treatments for pain
  • Limited activities and social connections
  • Focusing on the pain and nothing else, so you’re not much fun to be with

What is Fatigue?

This is an overall feeling of lack of energy and motivation, even tiredness, although fatigue is more than being tired.  It is frequently associated with illness, especially if pain is involved. I read that it accompanies arthritis and fibromyalgia to name two.  But other illnesses can be associated as well. Furthermore, I read that inflammation can cause fatigue. And some medications can cause the side effect of fatigue.  So, make sure that you have all these issues investigated for you to reach a conclusion of what is causing your fatigue.  

For this article, I am focusing on chronic pain and fatigue.  I want to know the association, and more importantly, how I can manage it and hopefully feel better.  

I read in this article (Fatigue) that fatigue affects us all differently.  This is a very helpful article, and I recommend you read it.  I did find there were some sentences that repeated but overall the article is very good.  

Can Chronic Pain Cause Fatigue?

Probably the biggest correlation between chronic pain and fatigue is that chronic pain can interfere with sleep.  If you aren’t sleeping well, then you are going to be fatigued. I know, not very profound, huh? Even if you plan to get a good night’s sleep, sometimes that doesn’t happen.  I have written an article on getting a good night’s sleep. Click here.  Hopefully one of those suggestions might help you.  Let me know in the comments if it did. Or if you have other sleep suggestions.  

Furthermore, the physical, emotional, and mental energy you expend to deal with the pain can be exhausting, and this leads to fatigue.  Pain can just plain wear you down. It takes a physical toll as the body tries to adjust to the pain signals and inflammation. There is an emotional cost in feeling down, being discouraged and possibly depressed.  And our mental state of being tired interferes with being able to think clearly and even stay awake!

So in answer to the question; yes, chronic pain can cause fatigue.  Therefore, be gentle to yourself as you deal with not just the pain, but all the additional results from chronic pain. 

What Can You Do To Feel Better?

PLAN YOUR DAY:

Food: One of the best pieces of advice I’ve used is to cook a healthy meal with several portions involved.  That way you have expended the least amount of energy for several meals. You are using your mind to plan ahead.  This is very important when you are in pain and fatigued.  

I am on a limited food plan, high in protein and produce.  Finding something I like can be a challenge. When I do, I make a lot.  I just made a pork tenderloin with acorn squash in the crockpot. I’m going to have it for breakfast tomorrow.  It helps when I have something yummy to look forward to in the morning.  

The crock pot is a great tool!  I understand the Instant Pot is even better, but I don’t have one yet.  I highly recommend tools like these to make your life easier. That is one of the recommendations I found.  Think of ways to make life easier.  

If you have some tips for making life easier please leave them in the comments.  You will be helping all of us.

Watch your caffeine intake too.  There is that desire for a cup of coffee when you are tired, but it can boomerang on you and keep you awake when you want to be asleep.  I read that we should stop caffeine 10 hours before our scheduled bedtime. Since I go to bed pretty early, like 9 p.m., that means I must stop drinking caffeine by 11 a.m.  

Also, check to see if you are getting enough Vitamin D.  A deficiency in this vitamin can contribute to fatigue, as well as other problems.  Apparently most of us need a supplement.  

May I also suggest you keep a food diary?  Track what you eat and how you feel at the end of the day and the next day.  You will feel better as you eat better. Tracking it will help you practice better eating.

Free-Photos – Pixabay

Work:  Those of us who have chronic pain and fatigue take longer to complete tasks.  But that doesn’t mean we can’t complete them. I know some of my fellow bloggers produce 2-3 blogs a week.  I can’t! But I can produce one a week. I plan out my week and split the task up into 4 days. I use 3 days to write about 500 words a day and the 4th day to finalize it.  Then I post on the 5th day.  

That’s all I can do!  So plan your goals realistically.  As you go through your days, you will find you have to tweak your schedule.  But I highly recommend you make a schedule. You will gain a great deal of satisfaction from completing your list.  And even if you don’t complete them all, you will have accomplished something, which is a great feeling. And by evaluating your list and your accomplishments you will be able to adjust your schedule.

Some other good advice I read about was to pace yourself.  Know yourself well enough to not push if you don’t feel up to it.  The word balance comes to mind. And balance is critical to those of us in pain.  Self care and awareness of our capabilities as well as our limitations is crucial.

Breaks:  This is great advice for anyone, whether you suffer with chronic pain or not.  I read that short frequent breaks can make a positive impact on your fatigue, work output and general wellbeing.  Just a two minute break can help! And especially for those of us in chronic pain, changing positions is vital.

So get up from reading this and take a two minute walk.  You’ll also help your eyes to avoid strain by changing your focus.  And it clears your mind, especially if you are able to go outside and commune with nature for a bit.  Try it. I bet you’ll find you are more productive and feel better.  

Pexels – Pixabay

Movement:  In almost every post I have made on this site I strongly encourage movement.  That is particularly important if you are in chronic pain. Again, even if it’s just a little movement, it’s a start.  

Sometimes I walk.  Sometimes I do stretches or yoga. See these articles of mine for what I enjoy doing. Review of Jane Adams’ Gentle Yoga DVD – A Self Care Natural Solution for Pain and Inflammation.  And Review of Emily Lark’s Back to Life DVD – A Natural Remedy for Pain

I hope to get back to swimming, which I can do all year round in SoCal!  What do you do? Let us know, we might like to try it too!

This following link is to a great website I just found.  I tried to contact them to see if they had a newsletter, but was unsuccessful.  But they have some great information about chronic pain, seeing as their name is Institute for Chronic Pain.  That link directs you to their article about Fatigue and Chronic Pain, which as you will see, gave me some of these ideas.  I hope you go there and find some help for your suffering. And investigate the other articles.  

RyanMcGuire – Pixabay

 

Find Joy:  I know it sounds like that would be the last thing you can do, but by focusing your mind on that which gives you joy, you are rewiring your brain to not give the pain as much power.  You can go with meditation practices, or just watching a funny movie. The meditation will probably help you sleep. Laughing produces happy hormones. Whatever you choose, take the bull by the horns and go for it.

Conclusion

Yes, your chronic pain can cause fatigue.  But you can start practicing some of these suggestions to make a difference in your life.

Your comments and thoughts will be helpful to this community of pain sufferers.  Please contribute. Thank you.

 

Can Sugar Cause Joint Pain?

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Introduction

We hear and read that sugar is a bad thing.  In my head I know this. In my mouth; not so much.  I said before in another post that I know it is related to inflammation.  And that I am addicted. And that I need to give it up. But why? And how?  

Don’t read this article if you don’t want to fix your sugar addiction.  I researched this kicking and screaming.  

Why am I writing this article?  Because I’ve read, however superficially, that sugar can cause inflammation.  So I decided to get to the bottom of this claim. If that is really the case, then what am I going to do about it?  Because if sugar makes my pain worse, then I should do something. Because I have chronic pain and want to find natural remedies and relief to my pain.

What is sugar?

To quote Wikipedia, “ Sugar is the generic name for sweet-tasting, soluble carbohydrates, many of which are used in food.”  If an ingredient ends in the letters “ose”, it is a sugar.  We are most familiar with sugar made from the sugar cane plant.  I was shocked to read that this product is the ninth most valuable crop harvested in the world.  Most processed foods (i.e. foods not in a natural state) contain sugar.  

Sugar is a natural part of many food groups, like fruit, vegetables and milk.  Our bodies convert sugars to energy. If we have too much sugar in our system, the body stores it as fat.  If you want a deeper explanation of sugar see this article called Understanding Sugars

Do you have inflammation?

First of all, I needed to understand exactly what inflammation is.  I hear it a lot. In my mind it implies an area of my body that is “on fire”. A helpful definition for me from Study.com was, “a series of defensive biological reactions to harmful agents that leads to pain, redness, and swelling, and heat in the affected areas of the body.”  Our amazing bodies have the ability to fight harmful enemies that attack them. And one way they fight is with inflammation. So that’s a good thing, right?  

Yes.  But not if it is chronic inflammation.  Chronic inflammation is caused by disease like diabetes or heart disease.  It appears to be part of rheumatoid arthritis and fibromyalgia. And if a nerve is injured, secondary problems like inflammation may result.  

My condition is caused by spinal stenosis.  The pain I have in my buttock is very similar to sciatica pain, from what I understand.  When I am at my worst, the pain can go into my upper thigh. It used to go into my calf, but the stretching and exercises I do have helped relieve that.  

The research I have done states that my pain might be a result of inflammation, or at least exacerbated by it.  It is important to know if your pain involves inflammation. But I’m not sure how to find that out. I found this medical abstract that suggests there are studies being done to link inflammation to neurological pain.  This is an exciting time to be alive as research advances in this area.  

From my research I understand that inflammatory arthritis is a type of arthritis so if you suffer from that, then inflammation is an issue for you.  Rheumatoid arthritis is where the body’s immune system attacks its own joints and causes pain. Inflammation is involved here also. Ask your doctor if your pain might be related to inflammation.  If so, then read on to see how you might help yourself.

nattanan23 – Pixabay

How does sugar affect inflammation?

In my research I was surprised that I couldn’t find more scientific support for the relationship of sugar to inflammation.  It seems it is just stated without research backup. The closest thing I could find was an article that stated that, “Sugar stimulates the production of free fatty acids in the liver. When the body digests these free fatty acids, the resulting compounds can trigger inflammatory processes.” (Medical News Today) See their article, Does Sugar Cause Inflammation in the Body?  

Our bodies seem to see sugar as an attacking enemy and start the immune system working.  Our immune system sends out the troops to fight the enemy and that process can produce heat, swelling and pain.  If this process is triggered to be ongoing, it results in chronic inflammation and therefore pain.

Since I couldn’t find any studies that showed a clear association of sugar with inflammation, I’m going out on a limb to say that I think sugar does affect inflammation.  I’m looking at it this way; the sugar feeds the bad cells and our body has to attack those guys. In the attack, swelling, heat and white cells are formed. Hence inflammation.  I know that’s not very scientific, but it’s the best I can do to understand this.  

Then to answer my question in the title; yes, sugar can cause joint pain.  

Dr. Manuel Gonzalez Reyes

How is sugar making your feel bad? 

So, if we can assume that sugar and inflammation are related, then the first way sugar makes you feel bad is by causing inflammation.  And inflammation may cause pain. So I’m going to challenge myself to cut back or cut out sugar.

There are other ways sugar is making you feel bad.  You also probably know how sugar can affect people with diabetes by raising their blood glucose.  Prolonged high blood sugar can lead to all sorts of problems for diabetics, including blindness and loss of limbs.  Too much of it is related to weight gain. It appears to be related to heart disease. And it ages you! I’m vain enough to be motivated to stop eating sugar just for that reason! 🙂

So What?

You think you ought to cut down on sugar?  Or cut it out?  

Only you can make the call.  I do recommend that you start out slowly, with small changes.  From experience I know that making little changes raises my success rate in sticking to those changes.  For example; I just had intestinal surgery. I was told to start walking immediately, but very small amounts.  So I just walked around my room for a few days. Then down the hall. Then back and forth in the hall. Then a fourth of a mile out in the parking lot.  You get the picture. I’m up to one to two miles a day now.  

Here is another article which helped me to cut down on my sugar called Everything You Need to Know About Sugar.  It helped me make some changes in my sugar consumption.  I like that it recommends baby steps.

Here’s another great article with 14 Simple Ways to Stop Eating Sugar.  It’s very informative and helpful.

What Should I Eat?

While there are seemingly millions of options to choose from, finding the right food plan for yourself is a challenge.  

I have promised myself that I am cutting back on sugar as of the beginning of this week when I started the article.  And I have. But oh the cravings! I personally am finding it helpful to:

Stevepb – Pixabay
  1. Drink water 
  2. Snack on protein  
  3. Have fruit on hand when a sweet craving hits.  
  4. Let some time pass.  The craving usually goes away.

But you might have to approach it differently.  

I found a post that has some really interesting looking recipes that promise to cut down on inflammation.  Click on this link of 15 Inflammation Fighting Recipes.  I haven’t tried any yet, but plan to.  The cold brew ice cream recipe calls for sugar though!

Is Atkins Diet a possibility?  Yes, it is. Since the basis for this diet is a low carb diet, than you are going to avoid most foods that have sugar in them.  This diet became popular in the 1970s after Dr. Atkins promoted his book based on this diet. It has since been researched to show that it is a successful weight loss diet.  But it can be a successful plan to follow if you want to cut out sugars. Google Atkins Diet if you want more information.

Is Keto the way to go?  As far as I can see, the Keto Diet and the Atkins Diet are the same.  I recommend you google this term if you are interested in more information.

I am on a low grain diet due to my stomach issues.  I have found my stomach issues have improved and I have lost weight.  Losing weight was a secondary concern for me. I mean, I needed to lose, but more than that, I wanted my intestinal pain to stop.  It has. This diet isn’t one you will find anywhere. My gastroenterologist told me that diverticulitis came on the scene when humans started to mill grains.  So, I figured cutting out grains might make a difference. It has.  

What Else?

I’ve found at least two articles that highlight how important sleep is to overcome sugar addiction.  But is you are a pain sufferer, you are probably challenged by getting a good night’s sleep in the first place.  I know! Me too! I’ve written an article about this topic. See this link.  

I am also considering joining a support group online or a forum with fellow sugar addicts.  I know from experience having someone else support me in my struggles, as well as being accountable to them, is very important.  It also increases your success rate.

You have some other ideas for success?  Or comments about what I have written. Please leave them here.  Your comments and ideas will help others.  

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