Posted by: painreliefcoach | March 5, 2008

Ten Tips for Making Better Decisions

Many of us have just never learned how to make good decisions.  Maybe you had poor role models growing up; perhaps you are a people pleaser and go for the initial approval without looking at the long-term ramifications.  Could it be you have never learned how to function as a separate individual because you are so enmeshed and co-dependent on others?  Whether you realize it or not, when you don’t make a decision you are still making a decision. Whatever the reason, you can make a choice to take responsibility for consciously making your own decisions now.

 

Multiple considerations affect your decision making.  Being in touch with how you really feel is an important first step that many people, especially in crisis, jump over.  Try these 10 tips for making better decisions:

  1. Give yourself some space.  You may need to remove yourself from a situation in order to really analyze how you feel about it.  Many decisions can be delayed.  It’s okay to say, “I need more time.”
  2. Spend quiet time alone every day. It can be in prayer, meditation or going for a walk.  It’s important to really let your mind settle down and start to listen to what your inner wisdom wants you to know.
  3. Clarify what the issue is.  During their divorce Rachel tells her husband Tom, “You just never listened to me like you did when we were dating and you tutored me in math.”  Tom replied, “I thought it was the math.”
  4. Gain an understanding of why you need to make a decision. If there is a problem, do you know the how, where, when and with whom the problem is occurring?  Take some time to look at each issue and see if it sheds more light on your decision.
  5. If you don’t feel comfortable with something, find out why.  You have the right to ask all the questions that you have. Check more than one source, no matter who that one source is.
  6. Once you have the answers that you are comfortable with, review and evaluate them.
  7. Next move on to possible solutions.  Let yourself think big.  Do not censor yourself or limit ideas by worrying about whether or not they are practical.  That is a later step. Brainstorm with people you trust, who also think outside the box.
  8. Now you have a list of options, write them out and put down the pros and cons for each one.  Another way to do this is to list your priorities with the most important first and write down what fits under each one.  For example, Joyce is a single, working mother who wants to be home with her kids but still needs to make the same amount of money.  Being home is a priority and making a certain amount of money is a priority.  If she could make more money with one option but not be home as she intended that would be ruled out.
  9. Develop a plan of action.  Analyze if you are willing to implement your plan.  Joyce decides to explore whether she can work virtual at her current job.  Joyce feels this is a risk, because once they know what she wants to do they may phase her out.  She also decides to explore home-based businesses she could start.  She knows this may take money out of her savings and is also a risk.  Joyce has to be willing to accept the risks and consequences in order to move forward with her decision.  Plans are more successful with a deadline.  Set one now.
  10. As Nike says. “Just do it.”  Take the leap and go. If you make a mistake or information changes you start over.  Practice probably doesn’t make perfect in this case, but it does make you a lot better.

As you become more connected to yourself and practice you will develop the confidence to make more decisions.  As you practice decision making, your skill will grow. 

Depending on the situation, timeframes or even plans may have to be modified.  That doesn’t mean you failed.  You became more educated, experienced or practical as the plan progressed and modifications had to be made. Review and assess your decision throughout implementation.  Now that you are into it what would you do differently?  Learn from every decision.  One decision may lead to the need to make another decision.  Keep going.  Don’t stop.  Big or small, success or failure take full responsibility for all of your decisions every day.   Take full responsibility for your life.  Claim it, live it, it’s yours.

 

You can gather information, process it, listen to others and bounce ideas off people, but ultimately it comes down to you.  You need to have faith and confidence in yourself.  You are responsible for all of the decisions that you make.  It doesn’t matter if someone mislead you, took advantage of you or even if a trust was betrayed.  It comes back to you.  Learn to rely on your own decision-making. 

  

Posted by: painreliefcoach | February 25, 2008

Let Go of Guilt

Many people with chronic pain feel guilty.  I did.  I must have done something.  If I were really a good person this would not be happening to me.  Is God punishing me for a past sin?  Am I just weak?  If I tried harder, did more, would this pain exist? 

Or is it that I am being selfish?  Others are in worse situations.  I felt guilty.  I felt sorry for myself.  I felt guilty others were in worse shape.  I felt guilty I hurt. 

Bertha is a 95-year-old lady with severe fibroymalgia. She was diagnosed about three years ago. Two years ago she was in a car accident, after rehab, she has been in a nursing home unable to improve to the point where she can go home and take care of herself. 

Bertha is very critical of herself. She is disgusted with herself for not improving. She feels guilty that she’s not doing everything for herself. She feels she still has to manage all her own financial affairs even though this stresses her. 

The more she pushes herself physically and beats herself up emotionally, the worse her pain becomes. 

Bertha is in the process of letting go of her guilt. She is increasingly accepting her health, her pain and her limitations. She is being easier on herself. She doesn’t feel guilty or responsible for everything. Many things are out of her control. She says the Serenity prayer daily. She is surrendering to her faith. She is finding the positive in herself and her circumstances. 

When I meet with Bertha now, she smiles and jokes. When she has a flare-up, she accepts that she can’t do as much. When she is doing better, she is fully enjoying every moment. 

Bertha tells me she is still working on letting go of her guilt. It’s a process. I see so much progress already. Things didn’t change, but she is. 

Guilt is destructive.  Guilt weighs down spirit.  Guilt stands in the way of progress.  Let go of guilt. 

Posted by: painreliefcoach | January 29, 2008

Hope For Chronic Pain Sufferers

As we begin the New Year, those of us who suffer with chronic pain want hope that this year will be better.  We want less pain, improved quality of life and the ability to live as “normal” a life as possible.  Those of you who care for us, as both professionals and loved ones want that for us too.  We all want it now.  I understand; I am the same.  So how do we keep that hope and motivation but accept our current reality?  If we don’t accept the way things are, we are fighting against ourselves.  Whatever you truly accept you can begin to change.  For this New Year:

  1. Treat yourself well every day.  It is your job whether you have chronic pain, are a professional or a loved one/caregiver to make each day sparkle for yourself.  There will be good days and bad days; the trick is to find some joy in all of them.  Treat yourself to one thing every day, big or small because you deserve it.
  2.  Slow down and pace yourself.  Remember it’s more about direction than speed. Really enjoy the moment, whether it’s from a bed, wheelchair or standing.  Feel the sun, appreciate nature, hear children’s laughter.  It’s all there and it only takes a few minutes to soak it in.     
  3. Be an advocate for yourself and for those less fortunate.  No matter what your circumstances there is always someone who needs your voice.  Speak your truth.  Don’t hold back.  Do what you can and you will become more and more empowered.  Join with others (i.e. Missouri Pain Initiative or your related health condition) and you will become focused and more energized knowing there are others with your concerns and passion.
  4. Most of all be gentle with you.  Whatever your circumstances.  You are doing the best you can.  You are growing.  Talk softly and kindly to yourself and others.  Pat yourself on the back every day for everything accomplished big and small (sometimes making it through the day is it).  Love and honor yourself and 2007 will be a good year.

May you have a New Year’s filled with faith, hope, love and perseverance.

Posted by: painreliefcoach | January 25, 2008

How To Talk To People Who Are Rude About Your Condition

I have been getting increasing concerns from many of you regarding how to handle skeptical and rude comments from others.  John wrote after an annoying recurrence: “I’m still having headaches with people who see me on a cane one day and walking another and want to know if I was faking.”

 Trying to prepare for a trip, Scott wrote: “There I was in my business suit running around to three different pharmacies trying to fill a prescription for my pain medication.  One pharmacist came right out and told me, ‘You don’t really need this.’  What could I have said to her?”

  Angela contacted me regarding an on-going issue:  “People are constantly saying you don’t look like you are in pain.  I ask them, how does someone in pain look?”

 It’s always amazing that people without pain feel they have the right to judge those with conditions they obviously don’t understand.  It can be a stranger, co-worker, family, friends and even our health care professionals, the doctors, nurses, therapists and pharmacists we seek out for help.

 Pain fluctuates and there are multiple factors that can contribute to a flare-up.  Sometimes we know what they are and sometimes we aren’t sure.   I have found that trying to explain the dynamics of pain, from either a personal story or an objective literature review just doesn’t work.  The attempt becomes too wordy and the skeptics don’t want to listen anyway. 

Trying to defend how you feel weakens your self-esteem. When you are  defensive, you are giving power away to someone who isn’t entitled to having power over you.

 Over the years I have learned a couple of approaches.  If it’s a long term relationship that you care about, ask a respectable advocate to speak with whomever you are having the problem.  I have consulted with many family and other professionals as an objective on-looker giving suggestions and insight.  It often helps, leaving the person with pain to ask me, “Why didn’t they believe me when I said that?”

  For the people who remain skeptical whether or not you have an advocate and for those who aren’t worth your effort, simply respond, “This is common. You just don’t understand.”  Say it as nicely as you can, showing compassion for their ignorance.  If that’s too much to ask of yourself, just do the best that you can.  It’s okay to walk away or insist they fill the prescription or whatever else is appropriate for the situation. Provide more information if the person appears teachable.  If they are not open to becoming more educated, it is not worth your precious energy to try to convert them.

 Reassure yourself that it’s rarely about you. Those people walk around with lots of unresolved baggage and perhaps you caught them at a bad time. It’s possible that they are experiencing some personal crisis themselves and taking it out on you. Or they may simply have abusive personalities.

 Still, you don’t have to tolerate rudeness. If you feel angry or some other emotion that makes it difficult for you to cope with this, make it a priority to identify why it is having this strong effect.  If needed, use a therapist or coach to support you through this process.

 Validate yourself.  Surround yourself with caring, positive people who do understand as much as possible.  Many well meaning people just do not “get it” or they don’t know how to be supportive.  It is very important to advocate and educate others.  For people in the United States, the American Pain Foundation’s Power Over Pain Action Network (POPAN) is a growing grassroots movement to do just that. 

To become involved, click on www.painfoundation.org/poweroverpain/ complete the advocacy survey and then contact your state leader to learn how you can get involved. If your state does not currently have a network leader, consider becoming a leader.  I am.  You will meet interesting people from across the country via the Internet. You will learn factual information and advocacy skills.  It’s empowering to know you can educate if you want to and also be self-confident enough to walk away and not be upset by those who don’t want to be educated.

  Your most important priority is yourself.  Every day do what you need to do to feel your best.  Speak your truth, don’t hold it in, when you choose to.  Walk away with self respect, when you choose to.  Keep it simple, unless the person really has an open mind and wants to learn more.  Listen to your inner judgment and trust yourself to do what is best for you.  Remember you have power.  Do not give that power away.  No matter what, hold your head high.  You have nothing to feel ashamed of or embarrassed about.  Visualize the 70 million people with chronic pain next to you.  You are not alone.

  

Rebecca Rengo, shows you how to improve your health & decrease your pain. She is giving away FREE pain relief Secrets. To get access to these powerful and practical secrets that can help you transform your life – go to www.painreliefexplained.com now.

 Rebecca Rengo, MSW, LCSW, is author of Beyond Chronic Pain: A get-well guidebook to soothe the body, mind & spirit. She has been a Pain Relief Coach, Author, Speaker , Psychotherapist and Educator for over 25 years. She has presented internationally and been featured on television and radio and in publications. Rebecca is current president of the Missouri Pain Initiative and on adjunct faculty at Washington University. For more information visit:  http://www.painreliefexplained.com or http://www.beyondchronicpain.com

Posted by: painreliefcoach | January 4, 2008

New Year’s Resolutions

Just when you’re almost recovered from the holidays, already it’s time for your New Year’s resolutions. 

It’s common to beat yourself up because you wanted to lose 20 pounds last year, and now it’s time to resolve to lose it again.  Or, you wanted better health, less pain, more wealth, more happiness, more something and you’re still in the same place you were this time last year. 

Then this year, try something different.  Reflect on your 2007 and focus on what was positive.  If you want to lose weight, did you think about eating healthier, read some labels or try walking?  It doesn’t matter if you did it consistently or even saw any results.  It matters that you tried. 

Wherever you are, now is your starting point.  Gently build on it.  If you are only able to walk for five minutes, once or twice a day, do five minutes consistently.  Then, as you are able, gradually add a minute or two.  If your health or pain is too severe to do even that, do what you can. 

You get the idea.  Gradually shift to achieve whatever New Year’s resolution you want.  Be very good to yourself along the way.  When you find yourself derailed, tell yourself how wonderful it is to have the insight so quickly that you are getting off track.  Reward yourself with positive self talk for the good things you are doing.  It really is more about direction than speed.  The better you feel about what you’ve done, the better you feel about what you’re doing, the easier it becomes to stay on track. 

Find a friend.  If you are feeling overwhelmed, consider pairing up with a friend, join an organization or hire a coach to support you in establishing this new way of thinking and living.  You can do it.  No matter where you are, it is within reach.  You can feel better, live happier and have the relationships and life that you want.  It starts with one step and success is realized by taking that one step each day. 

Good luck and may all your New Year’s resolutions and dreams come true. 

Rebecca Rengo, shows you how to improve your health & decrease your pain. She is giving away FREE pain relief Secrets. To get access to these powerful and practical secrets that can help you transform your life – go to www.painreliefexplained.com now. 

Rebecca Rengo, MSW, LCSW, is author of Beyond Chronic Pain: A get-well guidebook to soothe the body, mind & spirit. She has been a Pain Relief Coach, Author, Speaker , Psychotherapist and Educator for over 25 years. She has presented internationally and been featured on television and radio and in publications. Rebecca is current president of the Missouri Pain Initiative and on adjunct faculty at Washington University. For more information visit:  http://www.painreliefexplained.com or http://www.beyondchronicpain.com  

Posted by: painreliefcoach | January 3, 2008

Tips For A Happy Life!

To live in happiness rather than chasing after it, I recommend the following 10 tips. I know this is easy to say and harder to do. I was a single mother with two children and a private practice when I incorporated these tips into my own life. I now speak to women’s groups encouraging other women to do the same. Chronic pain made me change the way I live my life, but the tips are useful and applicable for everyone.

  1. Under schedule every aspect of your life. Rushing and feeling pressured is very stressful. It’s hard to feel happy if you’re feeling inadequate because of time. If it takes 20 minutes to drive the kids to their activity, allow 30 minutes. That way if your daughter can’t find her shoes or traffic is bad, it’s okay. Do the same at work, allow yourself more time than you think you’ll need . At this point, many women tell me they have too much to do, which leads to point 2.
  2. Prioritize. Take time to think through what is really important to you, at home, in your community and at work. Be prepared to defend your time by saying “no” to things that aren’t your priority. That means “NO” to: kids, husbands, friends, volunteer work and bosses. You’d be surprised how many times “NO” solves the problem. If you can’t say no can you : delegate, ask for help, or put it on the back burner? Having trouble identifying your priorities? That leads us to point 3.
  3. You are your own first priority. What makes you feel healthy, happy and content with your life? Schedule what you need every day. Some sort of quiet time is a must. Whether it’s meditation, taking a walk or reading. Quiet time for reflection is a human need too often neglected. Many women tell me they “feel guilty” doing this. I tell them it’s selfish not to. When you are feeling happy and healthy you are much better to everyone around you. Now I hear that everything desired is out of reach. “I’d be happy if I could take a vacation, but I can’t.” Please refer to point 4.
  4. Always have something to look forward to. A weekly phone call with a long distance friend or relative, a bubble bath, looking through a magazine. Have something in mind everyday and schedule it so it happens. Even if it’s just 5 minutes. If you are under scheduling your time, you’ll have unexpected moments to enjoy in addition to your planned daily moment. Early to an appointment, enjoy the sunshine on a bench instead of rushing in and waiting. If you’re not sure what to do, create a wish list of the little things you never seem to have time for and schedule them. Do a week at a time, until it becomes a habit. Are you thinking, “that doesn’t sound like much?”
  5. Practice gratitude. Be thankful for anything and everything in your life. Start and end each day thankful for 3 things. You’ll find yourself looking for those things throughout your day and it won’t be long before you have more than 3. Did you enjoy a pretty sunset? Children laughing? A tasty treat? When you’re slowing down you have time to notice and appreciate these things. They’ll make you happy. Still not happy?
  6. Accept whatever feelings you may be having. Do not fight against feelings you don’t want. That just further ingrains them in your mind. Observe them as objectively as possible. Identify what you are feeling, knowing that it will change. Detach as much as you can. Accepting things as they are brings feelings of peace. Are you frustrated?
  7. Set reachable, realistic goals for yourself. Be gentle with yourself. Focus on accomplishments. Don’t minimize yourself. Feel proud of whatever you are doing. You can’t compare yourself to anyone else. Many times, just making it though the day with the responsibilities you have, is a big accomplishment. Give yourself a pat on the back.
  8. Use positive self-talk frequently though out your day. Are you criticizing yourself in your mind? Replace these thoughts with encouragement and kindness. Consciously talk to yourself like you would your best friend or your child. Tell yourself what a good job you are doing. Reassure yourself. Now women tell me they find it hard to do this, often they feel unworthy or are holding themselves back.
  9. Face your fears, even about yourself. Facing your fears is very empowering. Be eclectic. Stay open to all possibilities. Practice being non-judgmental, especially about yourself. These tips will keep you open to lots of circumstances you may have never experienced. Still not living with confidence?
  10. Trust your own judgment. Being quiet is a good way to reconnect with your inner self. Your spirituality or religion can be a beneficial surrender. What’s important is that you trust your own instinct. Learn to listen to your body and follow what you feel is in your own best interest. Live in integrity. You need to feel your body, mind and spirit are all living the same truth. When you are doing this, you will feel a peace and happiness beyond words.

Rebecca Rengo, shows you how to improve your health & decrease your pain. She is giving away FREE pain relief Secrets. To get access to these powerful and practical secrets that can help you transform your life – go to www.painreliefexplained.com now. Rebecca Rengo, MSW, LCSW, is author of Beyond Chronic Pain: A get-well guidebook to soothe the body, mind & spirit. She has been a Pain Relief Coach, Author, Speaker , Psychotherapist and Educator for over 25 years. She has presented internationally and been featured on television and radio and in publications. Rebecca is current president of the Missouri Pain Initiative and on adjunct faculty at Washington University. For more information visit:  http://www.painreliefexplained.com or http://www.beyondchronicpain.com

Posted by: painreliefcoach | December 31, 2007

Alternative Medical Techniques

What are alternative medical techniques?

 Alternative medical techniques most commonly are outside of conventional medical care (1). In other words, they promote wholistic healing for pain management. Wholistic healing involves treating the whole person, body, emotions, mind, relationships, and spirit (1). Alternative medical techniques include:    

  • Acupuncture
  • Massage
  • Reflexology
  • Craniosacral therapy
  • Mind/body techniques
  • Guided imagery
  • Acupressure
  • Yoga
  • Meditation
  • Prayer
  • Thermal treatments
  • Chiropractic approach
  • And others 

More doctors are recommending alternative medical techniques to patients for chronic pain. Recent surveys in the United States demonstrated that alternative medical techniques were important for personal healthcare and maintaining well being (2). Also, there is evidence that one or more alternative medical techniques can help patients with: cancer, arthritis, fibromyalgia, back pain, neck pain, Tourette syndrome, multiple sclerosis, and many more. 

What is Acupuncture?

             Acupuncture is “a system of complementary medicine in which fine needles are inserted in the skin at specific points along supposed lines of energy” (3).  Acupuncture is a part of Chinese traditional medicine that has been around for at least 2,500 years (4). Today, millions of Americans are utilizing this approach for pain management, or as a combination with traditional medical treatments, when conventional medicine is not working for them.In acupuncture, you should expect:

  • One to several needles inserted at varying depths (4)
  • Needles may be left in for 15 to 30 minutes (4)
  •  2-4 treatments for one condition (2)           

There are many conditions that can receive relieve from acupuncture. The top ten conditions treated are: back pain, joint pain or stiffness, neck pain, severe headache, recurrent pain, allergies, arthritis/gout/lupus/fibromyalgia, depression/anxiety, joint/bone injury, and sleepiness (2). .

How effective is Acupuncture?

             There are a multitude of studies that have confirmed the effectiveness of acupuncture on pain. One study examined the immediate effect of acupuncture stimulation on the most painful point in patients with low-back pain. It found that:

  • Low-back pain was given immediate relief (5).
  • the amount of pain was reduced (5).           

Another study examined the treatment of Tourette Syndrome using the acupuncture method. The research indicated:

  • 97% of the acupuncture group was effectively treated (6).
  • 82% were “cured” (6). 

Massage & Chronic Pain

 Massage can also be used to relieve pain for a variety of conditions and usage is increasing. Medical massage therapy is being offered in hospitals 30% more since 2004 because of its benefits for not only pain management, but also for depression and anxiety (7). The top three reasons hospitals offer massage are: stress relief (71%), pain management (67%), and relief for cancer patients (52%) (7). There are several types of massages including:

  • Deep tissue massage: focuses on the deeper muscles and soft tissue to relieve chronic pain and tension (8).
  • Swedish massage: emphasizes that all strokes go towards the heart. It is comprised of five strokes that stimulate the blood in the soft tissues (8).
  • Hot stone massage: involves the placement of heated stones to the body during massage (8).
  • Lymphatic massage: aims to increase lymphatic circulation through the body’s filtration system, so the body is detoxified and supporting our immune system (8).
  • Thai massage: involves a choreographed set of techniques performed on a mat has been around for thousands of years in Thailand (8).
  • Marma therapy massage: is a form of Ayurvedic massage developed in ancient India that aims to stimulate 107 “marmas,” which are vital, junction points between mind and matter (8). 

How effective is massage?

             There is an ample amount of research that indicates massage can be very beneficial in relieving pain. One study performed by the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine says that:

  • Massage can reduce pain up to four years in arthritis patients (9).
  • It can reduce the number of physician visits (9).           

Furthermore, massage therapy could:

  • Reduce pain, anxiety, and sleep disturbances caused by low-back pain (10).
  • Increase range of motion in patients (10).
  • Relieve nausea and pain in cancer patients (11).
  • Reduce pain by 50% in cancer patients (12).
  • Reduce the amount of pain medication needed for pain control (12). 

What is reflexology?

             Reflexology involves applying manual pressure on specific points of the feet (13). This technique has been used as a healing technique in China for thousands of years (8). The organs that can be affected and return to optimal functioning by reflexology include (8):

  • Lungs
  • Bladder
  • Pituitary glands
  • Kidneys
  • Stomach
  • Spleen 

How effective is reflexology?

 There is research that suggests the effectiveness of reflexology. One study examined the effects on multiple sclerosis patients and found that reflexology:

  • Significantly improved paresthesia, urinary symptoms and spasticity (13).
  • Improvement on muscle strength (13).
  • Paresthesia improvement lasted for at least three months after the sessions (13).

Other studies show that reflexology:

  • Reduces anxiety in cancer patients (14).
  • Relieves nausea and vomiting from a variety of medical conditions (14).
  • Decreases fatigue (14).
  • Decreases diastolic blood pressure and triglyceride levels while improving life satisfaction (14).
  • Decreases depression and perceived stress (14).
  • Increases quality of sleep and serotonin levels (14). 

What is craniosacral therapy?

             John Upledger introduced this technique in the 1970s. This therapy involves “gently guiding and releasing tensions through very mild pressure on the different cranial bones near the sutures of the skull, where one bone lies next to another (8).” However, this therapy can be used all over the body, as well. Ironically, this therapy is performed with little applied pressure, usually less than the weight of a nickel (8).  

How effective is craniosacral therapy?            

Craniosacral therapy (CST) can also provide relief for a variety of medical conditions and types of pain. They include:

  • Headaches and migraines (15)
  • TMJ dysfunction (15)
  • Back and neck pain (15)Chronic fatigue (15)
  • Stress (15)
  • Central nervous system disorders (15)
  • Orthopedic problems (15)
  • Reflex sympathetic dystrophy (16)

Furthermore, CST in combination with massage and other manual therapies can be an effective treatment for chronic pain conditions (17). CST may enhance the body’s ability to naturally correct imbalances and dysfunctions that contribute to painful conditions (17).  John Upledger, the founder of CST, says that in thousands of cases, CST has proven to enhance general health, reduce accumulated stress, strengthen central nervous system function and improve resistance to disease (18).           

In addition, one case study measured functional improvements after a series of CST treatments. It found that:

  • Pain scores decreased 52% from pretreatment to discharge (19).
  • Disability scores decreased 93% from pretreatment to discharge (19).
  • The pain and disability scores did not change greatly 5 weeks after discharge, suggesting a lasting effect of CST (19). 

What other alternative medical techniques are effective?

  •  A form of acupressure, called shiatsu, can relief pain from Parkinson’s Disease, fibromyalgia, musculoskeletal aches, irritable bowel syndrome, lupus, and rheumatoid arthritis (20).
  • Chiropractic therapy can help treat musculoskeletal conditions, including problems in the joints, bones, muscles and connective tissues (21).
  • Guided imagery can improve functional status and sense of self-efficacy for managing pain and other symptoms of Fibromyalgia (22).
  • Guided imagery can boost the immune system, alter blood pressure and decrease pain (23). 

Other Information

            One drawback to alternative medicine is that insurance companies may not cover some of these services. For example, one survey found that 60% of respondents reported that insurance companies did not reimburse their acupuncture services (2). So, discussing service coverage on alternative medical techniques with your insurance may be important. Many people see the benefits of some techniques to pay out-of-pocket.  An informed, educated patient can make the best decisions about which treatments to try and for how long. The training and experience of the provider is always important to verify and be comfortable with, as well. Being an empowered consumer is important when considering alternative or conventional medical techniques.  

Posted by: painreliefcoach | December 28, 2007

Approve of Yourself!

Don’t expect people to understand.  Many times the people closest to us, who we wish understood us best, don’t.  Give up your need for validation.  Let go of wanting other people’s approval or sanction for what you are trying to do. 

If you know you need a nap, take one.  You don’t need anyone’s approval.  Live your life on your own terms.  If you know a particular food aggravates a condition, don’t eat it. 

Doing things his own way it slowly transforming Todd’s life. Todd is a 48 year old single male. He lives in a nursing home due to a severe head injury. Todd also has severe chronic pain due to GERD. Todd was spending most of his time in bed. 

He had been hospitalized multiple times for extensive testing and the doctors repeatedly told him the pain was “primarily psychological.” His pain medicine and anti-depressants were constantly adjusted and changed, without good results. Todd told everyone he felt “dismal.” 

His family bought him a new computer to distract him… It sat unused. The nurses told him he should go to activities. Nothing interested him. I started seeing Todd for counseling as a last resort. No one believed it would help. Todd frequently complained to me that no one understood or believed him. I validated his feelings and reinforced his ability to be understanding to himself. I encouraged him to decide for himself how to approach his situation. 

Todd started his own exercise routine in bed. He is very disciplined about doing it twice a day. Todd set a goal of being able to walk in two years. (His leg muscles atrophied from not using them and damage from his injuries.) Now when I talk with Todd, he sits up and smiles. He goes outside on nice days. He is more positive. 

Todd took responsibility to do what he felt was best. He still has chronic pain, he still lives in a nursing home and others still don’t believe him. But now, Todd believes in himself. 

Take responsibility for your life and your health.  Do what you believe is the best to take care of yourself.  Don’t expect people to understand.  Be understanding to yourself. 

Clearly define what decisions are appropriate for you to make on your own.  Don’t feel compelled to tackle them all at once; go at your own pace, even if that pace is tackling one boundary, person or issue at a time.  If the person pushes and you feel they are not respecting your boundaries or response, stay strong and clear in enforcing them. It’s easy for boundaries to become blurry when you aren’t sure where you stand.

The more clear you are in your own mind the more clearly you can communicate and enforce your own decisions. The more you set and enforce appropriate boundaries, the more self confident you become. Practice makes it easier each time. 

And remember, families often have difficulty respecting boundaries. It can seem obvious to them that you have self-defeating behavior that aggravates your pain or options that you could choose to improve your situation. It can be painful for them to watch you make poor decisions, but that’s how we learn and grow. If they push their opinions, it frequently creates barriers. 

Rebecca Rengo 

http://Beyondchronicpain.com 

Rebecca Rengo, shows you how to improve your health & decrease your pain. She is giving away FREE pain relief Secrets. To get access to these powerful and practical secrets that can help you transform your life – go to www.painreliefexplained.com now.

Posted by: painreliefcoach | December 27, 2007

Be Open

Open your heart to the present moment, even if you don’t like the moment.  There is something to be gained from everything that happens — a lesson learned.  Perhaps you’ll approach situations differently or avoid certain ones.  Looking at an incident from another perspective can also be enlightening. 

Being open to different types of people, information, and circumstances can facilitate learning and growth. 

Many times we automatically shut our minds and hearts to whatever is going on in our present moment.  Before shutting down, analyze why.  Is it because it’s different? 

There are times when it is healthy for us to protect ourselves.  But we should also periodically analyze our instinct for self-protection — many times we may be closing off new opportunities for growth out of fear. 

Lisa is in her 30’s. She has chronic pain as a result of a bad car accident. Lisa has had surgeries and physical therapy, but her chronic pain continues. Her doctors don’t understand why her pain is still so severe. They tell her there is not a medical explanation for it and they don’t know what else to do. 

Lisa comes to me reluctantly at her doctors’ insistence. I encourage her to try relaxation techniques; bio feedback; visualizations; meditation; cognitive/behavioral techniques—the list goes on and on. Lisa continually refuses everything, stating she is not “new age.” Lisa expects her doctors to cure her. 

Lisa is missing out on so many opportunities for self-growth, as well as options that could help reduce her pain. 

When I look back at my own journey with chronic pain, I see many benefits from almost everything I’ve tried, as well as the varied people I have met along the way. Meditation has helped me enjoy the moment and feel a closer connection with God.  

Visualization has helped me achieve health goals as well as personal and career goals. Congitive/behavioral techniques have helped me change self-defeating patterns, not only helping my chronic pain, but in my life as a whole. 

I have personally experienced the most significant pain relief from “alternative” approaches like:  cranal scral, acupuncture and chiropratic subluxation. Not everything works equally for all people. It’s worth the effort to see what works for you. 

I am so thankful I have tried and continue to implement so many different approaches and that I have consulted with so many different kinds of practitioners and professionals. 

The different perspectives have broadened my own. The sincere caring and kindness from people so different from myself has touched me deeply. I am healing with an open heart. My life is deeper and more meaningful as a result. 

Whenever you can, open your heart to the present moment; it could be a healing moment you’ll be glad you didn’t miss. 

Rebecca Rengo, shows you how to improve your health & decrease your pain. She is giving away FREE pain relief Secrets. To get access to these powerful and practical secrets that can help you transform your life – go to www.painreliefexplained.com now.

 

Posted by: painreliefcoach | December 26, 2007

Accept Your Feelings

Accept whatever feelings you may be having.  Do not fight against feelings you do not wish to be experiencing.  Observe them as objectively as possible.  Think to yourself “I am feeling very angry or disappointed or apathetic” — in time your feelings will change.  Be hopeful that the next feeling will be more pleasant or better.  Detach as much as you can.  

Gayle is an attractive, married middle aged woman with two grown children and four grandchildren. She frequently has abdominal pain first thing in the morning. It subsides after she is up awhile and is normally gone by lunchtime. Her husband has taken her to numerous specialists. She has tried many different treatments, procedures and medications, but the pain remains unchanged. Gayle is able to function pretty well with her condition. She does volunteer work at a charity gift shop, is active in her church and goes out dancing every Saturday night with her husband. 

Gayle’s biggest issue is her obsession with her feelings and her resentment with her condition. She is often discouraged, anxious, depressed and angry. The more obsessed she becomes, the worse she feels emotionally.  Gayle is very bitter that this is happening to her and constantly tells everyone how unfair it is. 

Gayle is driving her husband, children and friends away from her. She has many positives in her life, but she can’t see them because she’s so focused on wanting her situation to be different. Her refusal to accept her situation keeps her miserable and is making her life worse. 

I also remember Anna, who was only a few years older than Gayle. I was doing home visits early in my career to a very poor section of the city. Anna lived on the second floor of a two family flat. I was told the entrance door was left open because Anna couldn’t come down the stairs. Upon entering the flat, I couldn’t find her. Anna called to me from a bedroom in the back. She was so severely crippled with rheumatoid arthritis she was bedbound. Anna suffered from constant pain. She was left alone most of the day. Her granddaughter lived with her, but worked weekdays. She had visiting nurses and neighbors check in on her periodically.  

I expected to hear a barrage of complaints, all justified. Instead, Anna told me she had times she felt frustrated or down, but those feelings passed when she had a visitor or reflected on her many blessings. Anna proceeded to tell me how kind her granddaughter was to her and how fortunate she was to have so many people check on her and care about her. Anna said that she knew if she needed something or was too uncomfortable, that someone would come by sometime so she would wait. Sure, she admitted, she became impatient or angry sometimes but she knew it would pass, so she wasn’t worried about it. Anna wouldn’t think of moving to a nursing home. She was thankful for her situation and wanted to maintain it as long as possible. 

Anna desired that everything happen just like it was and she was free. While Gayle who seemed to have so much going for her, resisted what has happening and was imprisoned. 

Choose to be like Anna. 

When you experience chronic pain it’s very easy to fall into a rut and adopt a negative outlook.  When you personalize these negative feelings by fighting against them with self-hatred or complaints, they become further engrained.  It’s easy to become full of self-pity.  Nothing is fair or easy or enjoyable.  This perspective further perpetuates undesirable thoughts and feelings.  View your negative feelings as temporary, for that’s what they can be. 

Rebecca Rengo, shows you how to improve your health & decrease your pain. She is giving away FREE pain relief Secrets. To get access to these powerful and practical secrets that can help you transform your life – go to www.painreliefexplained.com now.

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