Posts tagged ‘pain’

January 28, 2013

#382 – Exhaling the Pain

Image courtesy of Julia Freeman-Woolpert

Image courtesy of Julia Freeman-Woolpert.

Over the last few years, I’ve been involved in a few mishaps – car accident, falls and broken bones. I noticed that I would hold my breath before moving; I thought that by doing this, I would be better able to gather the strength to move, knowing that movement was going to hurt.

But I’ve discovered that I have less pain by exhaling first, then making my move.

I imagine it would work equally well when you’re experiencing a major flare-up. You know that feeling – the one where you hold your breath, and bear down, just so you can get up out of bed, or raise your arm to put on a shirt.

Will you practise this and let me know whether you notice a difference, please?

An invite: Please enter my giveaway for a Sampler Pack of Tea from the fine folks at Stash Tea.

A request: If you like this blog, please vote for me in’s Best Health Blog of 2012 contest.
You can vote every 24 hours with your Twitter or FaceBook account. The contest ends on Feb. 15th. Thank YOU!

August 17, 2012

#333 – Pain, Pain, Go Away!

Image courtesy of Viktors Kozers.

I often hear people tell me, “It’s just stress.” Well, there’s nothing just about it.

When you are stressed, your brain receives signals indicating that you are under an attack of some sort. Regardless of the reason, real or imaginary, your system is flooded with chemicals, resulting in fight, flight or freeze.

Start to notice how often you are feeling stressed. This includes worry, anxiety, sadness, boredom – the list goes on. What was your perception of the events leading up to this? Did you see, hear, smell or feel something.

For example, in the past, it was common for me to jump on the worry train first thing in the morning. I’d have some swelling and stiffness and would immediately begin to worry. “Oh no, I’m having a flare-up! What if it gets worse? How will I . . . ?” On it went, and as a result, this would trigger the stress response. Those chemicals, a throw-back to pre-historic times, actually made the situation worse.

Better pain management is one of a multitude of benefits you’ll enjoy when you learn to transform your stress.

Now, if I do notice the morning stiffness, I let the worry train  go by. I choose to activate a different set of chemicals; I use positive thoughts and memories and watch how my heart rhythm evens out.

Exercise, laughter, music – doing the things that you love – help to change the chemical cascade. Endorphins—the happy hormones—rise. Cortisol—the stress hormone—levels decrease.

This bears repeating: your body is constantly making adjustments based upon what you hear, smell, think, see and feel. Develop your awareness, practise some techniques and choose to respond differently. It’s a skill I began learning in 2006 and one I continue to sharpen. Why? Because it’s worth it!

Related posts:

October 5, 2011


If you don’t use it, you’ll lose it. This adage is markedly true when you have rheumatoid arthritis.

But what do you do when your joints are screaming, as they do when you are experiencing a flare-up or have joint destruction?  Dependent upon what is going on, every bend, each step, or even a reach can cause excruciating pain.

Do bring up your concerns with your doctor or rheumatologist, who may adjust your medications. You may be referred to a physiotherapist who can advise you on the best exercises for your condition, and help you with that all-important P.C. Thinking (and acting).

Remember that short and sweet do count. (I’m talking exercise! 🙂 ) If a walk around the block is too much for you, modify it – take a walk around the house, or even, in the house. Get creative and sneaky – squeezing exercise in by – yes, squeezing and tightening, loosening and stretching!

Be gentle with yourself. Do your best and accept that some days your best isn’t as good as it was the day before. It is, however, your best for that day.

You may be interested in an article written by Mary Byrne Eigel and reposted on Boomer Highway by  Beth Havey – How Exercise Can Help with Chronic Pain. Both blogs are well worth the visit!

Image courtesy of Horton Group.

September 23, 2011

Cortisone Injection

Are you wondering what lies beneath this band-aid on my shoulder? A teeny needle prick.  My rheumatologist injected a shot of cortisone into my joint.

It was painless. Really, it was.

I have a wonderful doctor who knows that one of the best ways to take the focus off that jab is to get the patient talking about a passion. In my case, it’s stress, or more-aptly, the absence of it.

Over the years, I’ve had a number of cortisone injections in joints that have refused to settle down. It’s a very effective treatment; but not one  to administer on a regular basis.

Tip: Whether you’re anticipating an injection or some other procedure, start talking. Talk about a passion – something you love. It could be an activity, a place, a person or your pet. Talk. Talk. Talk.

Not only do you distract yourself from the pain, but you also have an influence over the chemical cascade that occurs in your body. Fear activates the stress response, that famous flight or fight mode.  The antidote is to deactivate it. You can start by igniting your passions.  For more information on how to do this please visit my website.

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