Wednesday, 15 August 2018

Idiopathic Neuropathy - This Diagnosis Sucks!

Today's post from healthline.com (see link below) will probably not teach experienced neuropathy patients anything new but if you have just walked out of a doctor's practice with the diagnosis of 'Idiopathic neuropathy', this short article may well help you understand a little better why someone has given you such a vague label for your condition. Basically, idiopathic neuropathy just means that you have nerve damage but they can't establish the cause. it's the worst possible form of diagnosis because you immediately feel that everyone is going to think that it's all just between your ears. After all, if you're ill, there must be a reason for it eh! To be told that you have a disease without a hard and fast cause, is both confusing and frustrating and telling your friends, employers and family is only going to lead to suspicions that you're faking it. Well you're not!! Just because the medical profession can't find a reason for your symptoms doesn't mean they don't exist...it just means the medical profession lacks the knowledge at this moment to identify the reason for your nerve damage. They need to find a new label, or at the very least, provide you with a list of prime suspects, so that you can tell yourself and those around you that your nerve damage has happened for this, this, or this reason. Anything seems better than 'they don't know'! However, we have to accept things as they currently are and do our best to educate those around us about the symptoms you have - they're real enough!
 

Idiopathic Neuropathy 
Medically reviewed by William Morrison, MD on August 12, 2016 — Written by Ann Pietrangelo

Symptoms
Causes
Risk factors
Diagnosis
Treatment
Outlook

What is idiopathic neuropathy?

Neuropathy is when nerve damage interferes with the functioning of the peripheral nervous system (PNS). When the cause can’t be determined, it’s called idiopathic neuropathy.

The PNS carries information from the central nervous system (CNS), or brain and spinal cord, to the rest of the body.

There are three kinds of nerves within the PNS. Sensory nerves relay messages from the senses to the brain. This allows sensations of temperature and touch. Motor nerves transmit signals from the brain to the muscles. This helps the brain control the muscles. Autonomic nerves control body functions like heart rate, breathing, and digestion.

Damage to nerve cells can affect how the PNS communicates with the rest of the body. Symptoms can include numbness, pain, and balance issues.

It’s called acute neuropathy when symptoms develop suddenly. Alternately, it’s called chronic neuropathy when symptoms start slowly and increase over time.

Diagnosis involves physical examination and review of medical history. Diagnostic testing may include blood tests, nerve testing, and imaging tests.

There is no cure for idiopathic neuropathy. Treatments including medication, physical therapy, and lifestyle modifications can help you function and feel better.

What are the symptoms of neuropathy?

Symptoms can be vague at onset and are similar to those of other conditions. Symptoms vary depending on which nerves are damaged.

Symptoms of sensory neuropathy may include:
numbness, tingling, and burning sensation, particularly in hands and feet
vague or strange sensations (paresthesias)
pain, or inability to feel pain, touch, or temperature
lack of coordination or loss of reflexes

Symptoms of motor neuropathy may include:
muscle weakness or loss of muscle control
trouble with balance and coordination
muscle twitching, cramping, or spasms
difficulty walking or moving limbs

Symptoms of autonomic neuropathy may include:
dizziness, or fainting
sweating abnormalities
nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea
abnormal heart rate or blood pressure
sexual dysfunction

Symptoms may progress quickly and then slowly get better over time in some forms of acute neuropathy. Some chronic neuropathies cause periods of relapse followed by periods of remission.

What are the causes of neuropathy?

Some conditions that cause neuropathy are hereditary. Other things that can cause it include:
injury or infection
nutritional or hormonal imbalances
chemotherapy or exposure to toxic substances
autoimmune diseases such as Lyme disease, lupus, and rheumatoid arthritis (RA)
systemic diseases like diabetes, kidney disorders, and certain cancers
vascular disorders
tumors

Approximately 30 percent of neuropathy cases are due to diabetes, according to the Cleveland Clinic. Between 30 and 40 percent of the remaining cases are idiopathic.


Who is at risk for neuropathy?

The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke estimates that approximately 20 million Americans have peripheral neuropathy. Anyone can develop neuropathy, but risk increases with age.

How is neuropathy diagnosed?

There is no one definitive test for neuropathy. Testing begins with a physical examination and a complete medical history. Tell your doctor about any symptoms you’re experiencing. Be sure to let them know about over-the-counter and prescription medications you’re taking. It’s also important to mention if you’ve been exposed to toxins on the job or at home.

Diagnostic testing may include:
blood work
urinalysis
nerve conduction studies (NCS)
electromyography (EMG)
skin, nerve, and muscle biopsies

Imaging tests may include a CT scan, X-rays, or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).

How is neuropathy treated?

Peripheral neuropathy can cause permanent damage to nerves if untreated. Treatment will target the cause if it can be determined.

Treatment of idiopathic neuropathy revolves around symptom management. Options include over-the-counter and prescription medications, physical therapy, and occupational therapy.

Mobility aids can help you move around safely if you’re having trouble with balance or walking. These may include special shoes, braces, and canes.

Lifestyle choices can help to improve day-to-day functioning. It’s important to maintain a healthy weight through a balanced diet rich in vitamins and nutrients. It’s also important to get plenty of rest and exercise to tone and strengthen your muscles. Quitting smoking and keeping alcohol consumption to a minimum is healthy and may also help with your neuropathy.

Living with a chronic illness can lead to anxiety and stress. It can be helpful to talk with someone who lives with the same condition. Your doctor can refer you to a local neuropathy support group for additional support.


What is the long-term outlook for neuropathy?

The general prognosis for idiopathic neuropathy is good, even if your symptoms are permanent. There are many effective treatments available for keeping your symptoms in check and helping you lead a comfortable, happy life. Working with your doctor to treat any underlying condition you may have, along with your symptoms, is the ticket to your best outcome in the short and long term. 


https://www.healthline.com/health/idiopathic-neuropathy#outlook

Tuesday, 14 August 2018

The Unexpected And Unwelcome Extras That Neuropathy Can Bring

Today's post from everydayhealth.com (see link below) looks at a few extremely unwelcome extra that nerve damage can bring, especially after a period of time. Most doctors would label these as being autonomic symptoms of neuropathy, in that they are things that are pretty much outside your own control and affect involuntary actions of the body. Unfortunately there are many more but these are perhaps the most serious and can make life pretty miserable. Hopefully, if you have neuropathy, it will be confined to those irritating and painful sensations in the feet and legs but being aware of potential further complications can help you identify them in early stages and get help as soon as they become an issue.


6 Potential Complications of Neuropathy and How to Help Treat Them
By Sheryl Huggins Salomon Medically Reviewed by Samuel Mackenzie, MD, PhD
Last Updated: 5/15/2018



Reduced sensation in the feet can lead to undetected sores or ulcers, which are two of several possible neuropathy complications.

Thinkstock

 The nerve damage that results in neuropathy (also known as peripheral neuropathy) not only causes symptoms such as pain, numbness, tingling, burning sensations, muscle weakness, incontinence, or erectile dysfunction. It can also lead to disfiguring or life-altering complications, so the underlying cause requires early detection and treatment.

Symptoms of neuropathy depend on whether autonomic, sensory, or motor nerves — or a combination of them — are involved. Autonomic nerve damage can affect bodily functions or blood pressure, or create gastrointestinal symptoms. Damage to sensory nerves can affect sensations and sense of balance, while damage to motor nerves can affect movement and reflexes. When both sensory and motor nerves are involved, this is a condition known as sensorimotor polyneuropathy. (1)

As the damage progresses, complications can arise, such as:

1. Injuries, Wounds, and Ulcers From Loss of Sensation in Neuropathy

A number of the complications associated with neuropathy stem from loss of sensation. In some cases, you might think that’s an advantage, but not feeling even unpleasant sensations can be dangerous. “All of us hate pain, but pain is a protective mechanism,” explains Peter Highlander, a doctor of podiatric medicine in Sandusky, Ohio. With loss of sensation, the problem is not necessarily the initial injury — which could be something as minor as a blister from a new pair of shoes — but it’s what happens when you don’t notice (and thus don’t address) that problem.

More on Managing Diabetic Neuropathy



7 Tips to Protect Your Feet While Exercising With Diabetes Specifically with diabetic neuropathy, “If there’s diminished sensation in the feet, there can be areas of increased pressure that can cause sores or ulcers,” says Matthew Villani, DPM, doctor of podiatric medicine at Central Florida Regional Hospital in Lake Mary. Ulcers, where the tissue breaks down, can be treated with debridement (removing dead cells), antibiotics, and taking pressure off of an affected area, such as using crutches or a wheelchair, until the ulcer heals. (2)

2. Gangrene and Amputations From Infected Wounds Related to Neuropathy

Unchecked neuropathy-related wounds “can become infected because they are open wounds, which can also progress into bone infection,” as well as gangrene, a potentially life-threatening issue caused by the death of wounded tissue, says Dr. Villani.

If caught quickly, gangrene can be treated with antibiotics, surgery, and oxygen therapy. Likewise, a bone infection can be addressed with antibiotics and surgery. But, Villani says, “commonly, amputations are required if it does progress to that point.” It’s a common problem among people with diabetes: In 2014, more than 108,000 people with a form of diabetes were discharged from the hospital after having a lower-extremity amputation. (3,4,5)

The best treatment is prevention, advises Dr. Highlander. “Don’t let a small injury get out of control,” he says. Inspect your feet, or whichever part of your body is affected by numbness or other neuropathic symptoms, on a daily basis. “Look at the bottoms and backs of your feet. Purchase a plastic mirror that you can keep at your bedside to look at the bottoms of your feet if you are not flexible enough to see the bottoms on your own, or have a loved one check them.” Have any blisters, abrasions, or injuries addressed by a doctor.

3. Cardiovascular Autonomic Neuropathy That Affects Circulation and Heartbeat

Sometimes nerve damage can affect your body’s ability to control blood circulation and heartbeat, a condition called cardiovascular autonomic neuropathy (CAN). Common among people with forms of diabetes, it can affect your ability to exercise or exert yourself for extended periods of time, or cause a type of low blood pressure (hypotension) that makes you feel dizzy or faint when standing up. CAN has the potential to be life-threatening.

Treatments of CAN tend to focus on symptom control, such as drinking plenty of fluids to raise blood volume and wearing compression stockings. Medication can also be prescribed to control low blood pressure and arrhythmia, including beta-blockers, Florinef (fludrocortisone), and Proamatine (midodrine). Your heart function should be regularly monitored by a doctor if you have this condition. (6,7)

4. Digestive Issues Due to Autonomic Nerve Damage in Neuropathy

Damage to autonomic nerves can affect your digestion. Gastroparesis is a form of diabetic peripheral neuropathy in which the stomach takes too long to empty, resulting in heartburn, nausea, vomiting of undigested food, an early feeling of fullness when eating, weight loss, abdominal bloating, erratic blood sugar levels, lack of appetite, and stomach spasms. The best treatment for it is to manage your blood glucose levels to minimize damage, keeping in mind that the condition makes that more challenging. If you are managing diabetes, you may have to take insulin more often or check your glucose levels more often to keep up. (8,9)

5. Charcot Neuropathic Osteoarthropathy That Causes Lower-Extremity Deformation

One possible complication of neuropathy is deformity of the joints and bones of the lower extremities caused by a condition called Charcot neuropathic osteoarthropathy (or Charcot, for short). This motor neuropathy results when joints are unable to respond properly to the force being put on them due to disrupted nerve signals. This lack of coordination and resulting inflammation create microfractures that pile up over time and destroy the structural integrity of feet and limbs, causing deformity and dislocation.

If your doctor recommends surgery, this condition may make the procedure more complicated, says Highlander. “A neuropathic ankle fracture is at much higher risk for complications, and so it should be treated differently. If a patient knows they have neuropathy, that should be brought up before surgery,” says Highlander.

Treatment of Charcot focuses on stabilizing the affected area (with a cast, for instance), avoiding too much weight-bearing, and reducing the swelling. (10)

6. Bladder Control Loss, Which Is Often Caused by Diabetic Neuropathy

Nerve damage can comprise bladder control, leading to an overactive bladder, underactive bladder, or incontinence. Diabetic neuropathy is the most common cause of this condition, but it is also seen in people with Guillain-Barré syndrome, HIV and AIDS, chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy, and amyloid neuropathy.

Treatments include bladder-relaxing medication, such as Ditropan (oxybutynin), Detrol LA (tolterodine), or Pro Banthine (propantheline); ones that stimulate bladder nerves, such as bethanechol; botulinum toxin; GABA supplements; and anti-epileptic drugs. (11)


More Advice on Living With Incontinence




Simple Tips for Exercising With Stress Incontinence




Your Guide to Incontinence Pads A key to preventing complications of neuropathy is to address the underlying condition and seek treatment early. For instance, Highlander says that certain nerve surgery procedures he performs work better when the patient still has some feeling in the affected nerve. “However, there’s a tight window of time in which you can do that,” he says. Once the neuropathy has progressed to total loss of sensation, the surgery is less likely to improve symptoms. Don’t let the window close on the time that you can address your own neuropathic symptoms and avoid complications.

https://www.everydayhealth.com/neuropathy/complications-how-treated/

Monday, 13 August 2018

Giving Up Or Giving In...To The Misery Of Neuropathy

Today's post from psychologytoday.com (see link below) is another self-help post and yes, I know that turns many people off straight away but consider this:- neuropathy is an incurable condition that takes over your life and although the symptoms may be able to be helped by various medications and therapies, that doesn't tell the whole story. One of the few ways you can help yourself without the need for doctors or therapists, is your management of your predicament. Nobody wants to listen to what you may think of as, 'do-gooders' telling you how to think when your day is beset by pain and discomfort but occasionally, someone may nudge you in a different direction and it really may help reduce the impact of the condition. This post from Toni Bernhard (high-priestess of the self-helpers - no criticism) simply suggests that 'acceptance' is better than fighting against the inevitable because acceptance may bring you peace of mind and as we all know, neuropathy is the antithesis of 'peace of mind'! So please give this article a chance. It's not asking you to be a psychological super hero, it's asking you to be a realist about what's possible and what's impossible and when it's simply okay to say 'okay, enough already...I feel like shit but that's okay too'. Now as someone who has always believed that I have to fight tooth and nail against neuropathy, if only to keep myself away from doctors and hospitals, this article has provided some difficult truths for me too but I do see the point!
 

When You’re Chronically Ill: “Giving Up” Versus “Giving In” 
Posted Apr 25, 2016 

Giving in to chronic pain and illness brings a measure of peace to your life.

Giving up can make you feel like a failure. You may begin to look upon yourself as mentally weak and undisciplined. This gives rise to the misery of self-blame. It’s disheartening.

By contrast, giving in is a type of surrender. I think of it as sweet surrender. It’s the act of accepting what you cannot change and then looking for how best to live a fulfilling life within your limitations.

Here are some examples of the difference between giving up and giving in.

Giving Up: “Chronic illness has ruined my life.”

Giving In: “As much as I’d like to, I don’t control the state of my health. Yes, I’m frustrated and sad at times that I’m not in good health, but instead of letting those emotions take over my life, I’m going to use them to arouse compassion for myself.”

Comment: There’s no reason to jump to the conclusion that chronic illness (which includes chronic pain) has ruined your life. A good life can take many forms. Try giving in—gently and with kindness—to what you cannot control. A dose of self-compassion can change your perspective in an instant.

***

Giving Up: “I can’t do the things I loved doing before my health took this downward turn. There’s nothing left for me to enjoy in life. I’m useless.”


Giving In: “I wish I could engage in the activities I used to love, but I can’t anymore. Let me think outside the box and try some new things that won’t exacerbate my symptoms.

Comment
: In this particular type of giving up, the inner critic has slipped into your thoughts, making you think you’re useless just because you can’t do what you used to do. But you don’t have to take the inner critic’s bait. You can silence that critical voice in your head by focusing on new things you might be able to do rather than ruminating about what you can no longer do. (For more on the inner critic, see “A Sure-Fire Way to Silence Your Inner Critic.”)

***

Giving Up: “Since I couldn’t participate fully today, it’s wasn’t worth getting involved at all.”

Giving In: “It was fun while I could join in, but now I have to rest.”

Comment: I’ve been this giving up person many times since becoming chronically ill. One incident that comes to mind is when I was able to go to the marriage ceremony of two close friends, but wasn’t well enough to stay for the reception.

I’ve learned that it makes me feel bad to focus on what I wasn’t able to do. It’s hard enough not to be able to fully participate. Don’t make things worse by turning the entire experience into a disaster. If you focus instead on what you were able to do, you’ll feel good about yourself and your memories of the event will be happy ones.

***

Giving Up: “I give up. I’ll always feel lonely; that’s a fact.”

Giving In: “Being alone so much of the time can definitely be hard, but I’m going to keep my heart and mind open to finding a measure of peace with it. After all, some people treasure solitude.”

Comment: The giving up person treats feelings as permanent. If you think loneliness is a permanent fact of life for you, of course you’ll be miserable. But if you think of loneliness as nothing more than what you happen to be feeling at the moment, you can hold it lightly in your mind. No feeling is set in stone. Even feelings that initially are unpleasant may contain the seed of something positive to come in your life, such as learning to enjoy solitude.

***

Giving Up: “I give up on my friends. They don’t understand how badly I feel and they’re not attentive enough.”

Giving In: “It’s hard when people don’t come through for me, but some friends don’t know how to respond to chronic illness; others have problems of their own they have to attend to. I’m going to give in to the changes in my relationships—even the disappointing changes—and accept them as part of the impermanent nature of the human condition.”

Comment: It can help to remind yourself that even had you not become chronically ill, some friendships would have changed—even faded away. It’s part of the ups and downs of life.

***

Giving Up: “I absolutely hate feeling sick. I absolutely hate being in pain. I give up.”

Giving In:
“It’s not helping my symptoms to treat them as the enemy. I give in to how I feel, sickness and pain included, and vow to become my own unconditional ally and to be as kind to myself as I’d be to a baby who was in need of my care.”

Comment:

Giving up drains your energy. It can also exacerbate symptoms because there’s an element of anger in it, and anger can lead to painful tightening of muscles, digestive disturbances, and sleep disruption.

By contrast, giving in brings relief from the exhausting (and ultimately losing) battle against the turn your life has taken. It makes you feel better, both mentally and physically, to never side against yourself. You could turn that into a vow: “I will never side against myself.”

***

I still have days when that giving up person shows up. When this happens, I try to be extra kind to myself and to remember that no emotional state is permanent. Then I make a conscious effort to turn giving up into giving in. In my experience, giving in brings with it blessed relief from mental suffering and allows me to find a measure of peace with my life as it is.

© 2016 Toni Bernhard. Thank you for reading my work. I’m the author of three books:

How to Live Well with Chronic Pain and Illness: A Mindful Guide (2015)

How to Wake Up: A Buddhist-Inspired Guide to Navigating Joy and Sorrow (2013)

How to Be Sick: A Buddhist-Inspired Guide for the Chronically Ill and their Caregivers (2010)

All of my books are available in audio format from Amazon, audible.com, and iTunes.

Visit www.tonibernhard.com for more information.

Using the envelope icon, you can email this piece to others. I'm active on Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter.

You might also like “Tapping Into Self-Compassion to Ease Everyday Suffering.”

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/turning-straw-gold/201604/when-you-re-chronically-ill-giving-versus-giving-in

Sunday, 12 August 2018

Living With Charcot Marie Tooth Disorder (And Other Neuropathies)

Today's post from trend-able.com (see link below) is another personal story which both reflects the reality of the author's situation and inspires the reader to try just that little bit harder when it comes to the side effects of neuropathy. She has Charcot Marie Tooth Disorder, a slowly progressive neuromuscular disorder that affects the peripheral nerves but her story will resonate with many neuropathy patients who are experiencing balance issues thanks to the nerve damage. Seemingly, CMT sufferers like to publish their experiences for the benefit of other patients 👍- they set an example and following on from other posts this week, there's no reason why you can't share yours too - we all benefit - as well as the world at large! Real life stories contain so many elements that bind us all together - please don't dismiss them as just being internet gossip - there's no room in the painful world of nerve damage for internet snobbery!

REBECCA ETCHBERGER

February 2018




Meet Rebecca, a perfectly imperfect woman who inspires! She has Charcot Marie Tooth Disorder, a slowly progressive neuromuscular disorder that affects the peripheral nerves.

Rebecca is 33 and works as a television producer living in Los Angeles. She grew up in Hershey, PA where her family still resides.

After graduating from the University of California, Santa Barbara, she moved to LA to pursue a career in entertainment. She traveled the country working on shows like American Idol and The Voice before shifting into comedy. She most recently worked as a producer on Comedy Central’s @midnight with Chris Hardwick and for Funny or Die.

When she’s not working, she’s traveling – she has visited 31 countries and counting!

How did you know you had CMT? When were you diagnosed and why?

My mother, my aunt, and my uncle all have varying degrees of CMT. They inherited it from their father, but he passed away before I was born. One of my uncles is not a carrier.

Out of their eight children, it was only one of my cousins who seemed to inherit the disease. She started developing symptoms in her early 20s, just like my mom, aunt, and uncle. I assumed I was in the clear since I was already in my late 20s, but then one day I discovered I couldn’t go on my tip toes anymore, and suddenly I realized I couldn’t deny it any longer. I had CMT too.

Maybe I could have figured it out a little sooner but to be honest, I didn’t want to believe that I was affected. We didn’t talk much about the disease when I was growing up, and I don’t think I realized there was a 50/50 chance I’d develop it. I was a dancer – tap, jazz, ballet, pointe – until I was 18. In my 20s I liked to run, hike, bike, and wear heels. I was vain and cared about how I looked and what I wore.

Then at 29, I took a job in New York City at the start of winter. I believe it was a combination of the cold weather and the uneven sidewalks that exaggerated my walk and made my hand movements more difficult. I struggled to button my coat, zip up my pants, scan my Metro card, and walk in boots that weren’t flat. A stranger on the street once asked me if I was okay because I was limping, and that’s when I was first inspired to find out everything I could about this disease.

What are some of your current physical challenges?


My ability to balance is fading quickly. I can’t go on my tip toes, so reaching for something on a shelf is impossible without a ladder or climbing onto the counter, which I do all the time. My shoe options are increasingly more limited; two years ago, I was still able to walk (carefully) in high heels, but that time is gone. I mostly wear booties (approx. 2” heels), sneakers, or sandals. I do have a pair of 3” wedges and 3” heels for weddings that I can walk in, however, I cannot balance in them when standing still. I have to lean on a table or a friend.

Regarding my hands, I struggle to tie a shoe, I can’t put bobby pins in my hair anymore, and it takes about 15 tries to put on a necklace or earrings. Sometimes I grow frustrated and give up; other times I power through and get it done.

I really enjoy working out and because I’m determined (or stubborn), I refuse to give up my favorite classes. I’d like to think it keeps my muscles strong but perhaps it also makes me more prone to injury. I take Barry’s Bootcamp classes, which consist of 30 minutes on a treadmill and 30 minutes of floor work. I can’t run very fast, and it’s not pretty or graceful, but I don’t care because after class I feel incredible. If it’s legs day I can’t do the lunges like everyone else in class – I’ll either find a pole to help me balance or I modify. I love spinning because you’re strapped into the bike, and I enjoy Pilates because it challenges my foot muscles in different ways.

I used to spend a lot of time at the beach, but walking/standing on the sand is difficult, so I rarely go. I also had to give up biking outside because my legs are short and the only way I can stop at a traffic light is if I’m able to put my foot flat on the pavement. It’s a struggle in traffic, so I just avoid it now.

What’s harder for you, the physical or mental part and why?


I think at times they go hand in hand, and when it does become mental, it’s a direct result of a physical struggle or embarrassment. I hate not being able to wear the shoes I used to wear and seeing my calves deteriorate knowing there’s virtually nothing I can do about it. I am self-conscious about the way I walk, especially when I’m at work or a social function and I have to walk through a crowd of people.

What has changed about your life since being diagnosed with CMT?


Honestly, I live my life the same way I did before; I’m just more aware of my limitations with certain physical activities. I’ve adapted to accommodate these limitations while still pursuing what I love, both in work and with hobbies. I’ve complained enough about not wearing heels anymore, so aside from wardrobe tweaks, it’s purchasing hiking sticks, saying no to a snowboarding trip, or turning down jobs I used to do that require me to stand on my feet for 8-12 hours a day, like red carpet events.

I also make time for physical therapy because one of the hospitals in LA specifically caters to CMT patients. Why not do everything in my power to maintain the strength I currently have? If I can’t squeeze in an appointment I make sure to do the exercises at home with a resistance band, testing my balance, stretching, and using a finger/stress ball I ordered on Amazon, while I watch TV at night.
 

How do you cope with or accommodate not wearing heels to Hollywood events where it’s expected? Fashion tips?

This is one I struggle with. I used to work a lot of awards shows on the weekends, helping out with the red carpet pre-shows but they require a specific dress code, inclusive of “black closed-toe dress shoes.” The last two years I insisted I could still handle it, but even with my go-to 2” booties, it was still a struggle to hustle up and down the red carpet without tripping on the carpet, let alone on the long dress I had to wear.

More and more I’m opting for comfort over fashion, so unless I can wear nice sneakers or flats, then it’s not worth the stress. Those jobs were more exciting at 23 than they are at 33 anyways!

I still have some shoe options that work for a dressy function, but the higher the heel, the more sure I have to be that I’ll have a date or a tall cocktail table to lean on. I also plan ahead for the type of floor at the event. I once went to an event that I assumed would be inside, and the entire thing was outside on uneven stone, and I couldn’t enjoy myself because all I could focus on was not falling over.

Eileen Fisher makes the cutest, most comfortable shoes, I swear it’s as if one of their designers is crafting them with us in mind. They’re not cheap, but they are often on sale, and I definitely get my money’s worth because I wear them all the time. I have two pairs of her sandals, one in black and one neutral, so they go with everything.



For booties, I found a pair on sale last year at Madewell that are light, comfortable, and flattering. They aren’t too high, so I can balance well in them, and because they’re light, they don’t make a loud sound when I take a step.

The Walker Chelsea boot by Madewell




The Lucien boot by Madewell




Do you have a favorite book? Favorite quote?


I just read The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho for the first time last year, and it’s now my favorite book.

For my birthday, a friend got me (apologizing in advance for language!) The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F**k by Mark Manson, a fellow blog writer. I loved this book because of his candidness and valid points about deciding what’s worth our energy and what we shouldn’t bother stressing about, such as the things we cannot change about ourselves.

Current source of inspiration:

“If you can’t fly then run, if you can’t run then walk, if you can’t walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward.” – Martin Luther King Jr.


What’s one item you wear that boosts your confidence?


High waisted flare jeans (usually with the booties mentioned above and a tucked in tee shirt).

Oh! And Nars Jungle Red lipstick, no matter what I’m wearing that always provides a confidence boost.



 Comments

Linda Miller says:

February 19, 2018 

Hi Rebecca, Thanks for a great article! I have CMT also and wanted to let you know that I found an awesome bike with “Flat Foot Technology” that allows me to plant my feet flat on the ground while still seated. It looks like a regular cruiser style bike, but the pedals are slightly forward so that the seat can be lower while you still get good leg extension when riding. It’s called the Townie http://www.electrabike.com/bikes/townie. Check it out!

http://trend-able.com/perfectly-imperfect-women-inspire-rebecca-etchberger/

Saturday, 11 August 2018

How Misleading Can EMGs Be For Neuropathy Patients Caught Up In A Legal Dispute?


Today's short post from wnyinjurylawyers.com (see link below) discusses the importance of EMGs (electromyography tests) for identifying neuropathy - from the viewpoint of professional injury lawyers. Now most people who get to a neurologist will undergo an EMG at some stage, as part of a series of obligatory tests to diagnose your condition as being nerve damage but there are many problems with an over-dependence on this sort of test and because they are often used as the basis of legal conclusions as to someone's ability to work, or extent of their physical damage after an accident, the test results can often be misleading. EMGs have value but only as part of a thorough examination to determine the extent of nerve damage but because they often lead to 'false negatives' they shouldn't be relied on as much as they are. As you all know, neuropathy displays many symptoms that are rarely universal. Placing too much emphasis on one test (such as an EMG) is both unfair to the patient and can have serious repercussions when it comes to proving how much discomfort you're suffering. Most modern doctors and neurologists will make a much more holistic assessment based on a series of physical tests, observations and the patient's own stories. The problem is that patient's own accounts are rarely trusted in a court of law, so decisions are made based on the very flimsy evidence provided by outdated tests such as the EMG. This short article highlights the current situation but also points out its flaws. Hopefully, you won't find yourself caught up in a legal dispute of this sort but if you do, you need to gather as much evidence as possible to support your case. A competent neurologist knows whether your symptoms are neuropathic or not and knows too that supporting evidence must be based on much more than a simple EMG.


Importance of EMGs 
By Andrews, Bernstein, Maranto & Nicotra, PLLC Posted
In Buffalo Personal Injury Blog, Robert Maranto


An EMG study is often used by doctors to determine whether there is peripheral nerve damage, particularly on an individual’s spine. You can have neuropathy in your fingers, and hands, or feet that starts or originates in the spine.

When a disc is damaged, bulged, protrusion, extrusion, or herniation it extends out to the neuroforamen which causes foraminal stenosis. The disc then pushes out to an area where the nerve is exiting from the spinal cord. When the disc touches the nerve it causes symptom to the extremities.

The most common type of that injury is called sciatica, sciatic pain is a very specific problem. Sciatica is when the L5S1 nerve root is affected, people generally get symptoms at the back of their legs. They can test to see if there is a problem, each individual nerve that exits the spinal cord controls a different part of the body. Because our body works on electrical impulses, the testing of those electrical impulses can show if there’s damage.

Doctors use the EMG electromyography to insert small needles and then test the latencies of the way the electricity is firing inside the body. By doing that they can make sure the nerve is being affected. If the nerve is being affected, they will see changes in the test panels. The EMG is a very important tool that doctors use to diagnose these issues. The one thing you need to know about EMGs is that they’re not a fail safe. The problem with the EMG study is that they do provide a number of false negatives. If a person having sciatic pain in a very particular moment and EMG is taken. Then the EMG will show positive. If the symptom stop and the same person is provided with EMG, then the EMG may show negative. The EMG only tests pyramidal nerves, which are the ones that are coming out of the spinal cord. The same symptoms can arise when a person has a disc injury that is actually pushing up against the cord. So if the hands and legs are numb, then the EMG will actually be negative even though they are having the symptoms. This is because it doesn’t test for cord compression, just for pyramidal or exiting nerve compression.

This blog was provided by Robert Maranto, an experienced Buffalo NY Auto injury lawyer.

https://www.wnyinjurylawyers.com/importance-of-emgs/

Friday, 10 August 2018

Writing And Sharing Your Experiences With Neuropathy

Today's post from merakilane.com (see link below) talks about a therapy for chronic nerve pain sufferers that you may not have thought of. Keeping a journal, diary, blog, vlog, or whatever means of communicating your own information, may seem a bit lame to some but consider this: how many people on the street have ever heard of neuropathy do you think? Yet there are 20 million sufferers in the US alone and many more millions across the world who suffer from nerve damage too. Why does the name leave people looking glassy eyed? Because for some strange reason, despite the numbers, nobody's telling them about it on a national scale, or via the media! Keeping a  journal is useful for yourself, if only because it helps you monitor the progress of the disease. You can keep a record of your experiences with neuropathy, which  will help in discussions with doctors but also keep it in perspective for yourself. Even better, is to publish it in some way on the internet, so that others can measure their own management of the problem against yours. If you build in a means of communication into your blog, or vlog or Face Book page, or Pinterest or whatever, you can then exchange valuable information with others - that may help you and may help them too - it's a win win exercise because it acts as a sort of free therapy. More than that, the more people who write about neuropathy, the more people in the general public will become aware of it and the stigmas and isolation will be reduced. Try it...you've got nothing to lose but I suspect, an awful lot to gain.


Journaling for Mental Health: How to Start Journaling and Keep at It Kate August 2018

Kate is a freelance writer with a background in fashion, beauty and wellness. When she’s not trying out new recipes, taking a hot yoga class, or curled up with a good book, you can find her blogging about lifestyle tips and entrepreneurialism at Layered Indulgence.

The information presented by Meraki Lane Inc. is for informational and educational purposes only and should not be misconstrued as medical advice. Any opinions on medical matters presented are purely those of the authors, who do not claim to be medical professionals. For our full Disclaimer Policy, click HERE.


This post may contain affiliate links.

If you’re thinking of journaling for mental health, I can’t recommend it enough. Journaling is one of my top New Year’s resolutions for so many reasons. Journaling can do wonders for your health, providing you with a creative, cathartic release and allowing you to rid yourself of daily stresses. It also allows you to look back on your journey to reflect on personal patterns of behaviour, growth and how you’ve overcome challenges that once set you back.

If you don’t know how to journal, this post is going to walk you through the journaling process so you can use writing therapy to enhance your mental health. Here’s how to start a journal and keep at it.


How to Start a Journal

There are different types of journals you can create for yourself, depending on what your goals are for your getting into journaling. Journaling shouldn’t feel overwhelming. Start off small and if you’re wondering what to write, give yourself a simple task such as writing down 5 people you talked to that day. Getting into the habit of journaling is the first step. Here are some tips for starting your journaling journey.
Time Yourself. A good way to start journaling is giving yourself a time limit of 5 or 10 minutes to get your thoughts down on paper. If you leave it open-ended it might start to seem daunting or you may start to get bored. When you have a set time, you’re more likely to make time for journaling in your day rather than thinking you need to sit down and devote hours on end to it.
Use Paper Only. It is possible to journal on your laptop or phone, but it’s best to avoid screens and write in a notebook instead. Allow yourself to slow down and really immerse yourself in the creative process of journaling. Take your time to complete your thoughts and write them down on paper. It’s a nice break from our screen-driven world.
Date Your Entries. Dating your entries allows you to look back and reflect what’s been happening in your life and how you’ve felt at different times in your life. This can be incredibly insightful. It also shows you gaps between your entries, which is helpful to reflect on and keep track of.
Be Truthful. Your journal is yours and yours alone. Allow yourself to write down the truth about what’s going on in your life and how you’re feeling about it. Don’t talk yourself out of accepting what you’re really feeling. Take your time, go slow and let the truth flow out.
Re-read Your Entries. There’s something important in every journal entry you write, even if you don’t see/know it when you’re writing it. Always keep your journal entries and re-read them. They’ll offer lots of insight at a time you need it most. 


Why Keep a Journal

There are many reasons to start journaling for mental health. Writing helps your creativity flow. It helps you solve problems, track your personal patterns of behavior, and be honest with yourself about what you’re feeling in your everyday life. Keeping a journal allows you to write down honest thoughts and feelings you may not be able to share with others.

Journaling also helps you better understand what you’re feeling. By writing things down, you can take the edge off toxic emotions and gain clarity on future steps you need to take. You can also look back on your journal entries to see how far you’ve come, how your handled challenges, and what personal patterns became roadblocks in your personal and professional life.

Your journal is a place for your dreams and ideas, but it’s also a place to let out negative feelings and disappointments. All of these things are important to keep track of and reflect on.


What to Write in a Journal

Figuring out what to write in a journal is one of the toughest things about starting a journal in the first place. Don’t worry if it doesn’t go as smoothly as you want it to the first few times. Like anything else, journaling is something you need to get used to and comfortable with.

You can write about anything from events that have impacted you, your inner thoughts, creative ideas, a recap of your day, goals you want to achieve, your thoughts on a book, movie, or play, moments that bring you joy, moments that bring you pain and hurt, memorable places you’ve visited, mouth-watering meals you loved, your favourite hobbies, etc.


Our Favorite Guided Journals

If free writing isn’t your thing, or you’re looking for a way to use your writing towards achieving a certain goal (living a life with gratitude, being happier, being more productive, etc.), here are 7 guided journals you may consider.

The Five Minute Journal. If you’re just starting out with journaling and would rather have a guide than just jotting down all your thoughts on paper, the Five Minute Journal may be a great option for you. This journal helps you focus your attention on the good in your life, cultivating gratitude and improving your mental well-being. It provides you with a simple structure that only takes five minutes to fill out, combining the proven elements of positive psychology so you can reflect and evaluate as you start and end your day.

The Bullet Journal. If you have a thing for lists, you will LOVE The Bullet Journal. It’s a way to ‘track the past, organize the present, and plan for the future’, and it has really taken off in recent years. It allows you to record important tidbits of information throughout the day and keep track of important tasks and upcoming events, and through the use of different signifiers, you can create daily, weekly, and monthly logs to keep your life organized and in synch. It’s pretty impressive.

52 Lists for Happiness. Another favorite for list lovers, 52 Lists for Happiness contains (you guessed it!) 52 writing prompts that guide you through creating a weekly list of positivity, which you can add to daily. Perfect for those who are trying to practice mindfulness and gratitude, this guided journal is a fabulous self-discovery tool.

Q&A a Day: 5-Year Journal. If your main goal with journaling is simply to write, but you have trouble coming up with meaningful things to write about each day, the Q&A a Day: 5-Year Journal may be the thing for you. Each day comes with a new question – some serious, some silly – and at the end of the 5 years you can start again and see how your thoughts and feelings have changed over time.

How to Be Happy (Or at Least Less Sad). This isn’t a journal, per se, but I highly recommend it. It’s a self-help workbook of sorts, with mindfulness and cognitive behavioral therapy principals weaved throughout. The book will provide you with writing prompts that will help you see the positives and negatives in your life, and help put a different spin on the things that get you down. Find out more HERE.

The Happy Book. As this title suggests, this guided journal is all about happiness. The idea is to focus on the good things in your life, giving you something tangible to reflect on when you feel down and need a reminder of all the things that bring you joy.

Start Where You Are. This journal is all about self-reflection, and through different writing prompts, activities, and inspirational quotes, you will begin to see the good in yourself, making it the perfect guided journal for those struggling with self-confidence.
Therapy Journal Prompts

If you want even more ideas on what to write about in your journal, you can try these 15 therapy journal prompts to get you started.
If you could achieve anything in your life, what would it be and why?
What are three things that scare you most and why?
What are three things you can do to enhance your mental well being?
Write about a difficult time in your life and how you overcame it
Write a letter to your biggest supporter (you don’t have to give it to them if you don’t want to)
What are three things that made you happy today?
If you could go anywhere in the world, where would you go and why?
Describe a time in your life when you failed. What did you learn from it?
What are three of the biggest lessons you’ve learned from having (anxiety, depression, etc.)?
If you could change anything about yourself, what would it be and why?
What does your ideal life look like?
Where do you see yourself in 5, 10, 20 years?
How would you describe yourself to a stranger?
What are your top 5 values in life?
What is something nobody knows about you? Why have you kept it a secret?

Journaling can do great things for your mental health. Start off slow and take it step by step. It just may become your favourite pastime.

This post contains affiliate links.

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Thursday, 9 August 2018

How Low Libido From Chronic Pain Can Affect Every Area Of Your Life

Today's post from mayoclinichealthsystem.org (see link below) affects us all at some stage, especially if you're living with chronic illness issues and both men and women are sufferers. Low libido ends up giving us disproportionate amounts of grief and should not be ignored. Just because there are a mass of pills available to address the issue, they just end up masking the problems and are not enough to tackle the problem thoroughly. Surely in this day and age, sexual health should not be the taboo it used to be and yet it remains one of the most uncomfortable subjects to talk about. This article covers some of the issues but doesn't really address the impact chronic pain can have on someone's sex life - that's a whole other ball game. Nevertheless, the article is right in concluding that the first step towards regaining a reasonable libido is communication. Whether with your partner or your doctor, it's important that you talk about it and accept whatever help is offered. Whether it's via pills, life-style changes or psychological and physical help, there's no reason why loss of libido should be as dramatic an issue as it is, in a world where sexual attraction seems to dominate everybody's wish list. Becoming a sexual super hero shouldn't be the goal but having a satisfying (and realistic) sex life should.
 


Let's talk low libido Speaking of Health Tuesday, July 31, 2018
 

As a family medicine physician, I understand how low libido and sexual issues can be an uncomfortable topic for patients to discuss. These are common problems that affect adults everywhere, yet many of the patients I see have never been asked about their sexual health. In some cases, discussing topics of this nature can be just as uncomfortable for the health care provider and, thus, are many times overlooked.

Specifically, issues centered on a medical diagnosis for hypoactive sexual desire disorder, or HSDD, is something that many primary care, psychology and OB-GYN providers specialize in the care and treatment for.

While there’s no magic pill or cure for your low libido, hopefully a better understanding of some the issues, causes, myths and initial treatments may help move you in the right direction.


LOW LIBIDO IN MEN

Some of the most common causes of low libido in men include:


Physical issues. Increased weight, diabetes, hypertension and high cholesterol all can effect the male erection. However, they can also lead to low energy and low self-image that can cause significant loss of libido. In many cases, this can be corrected through diet, exercise and medical management. 


Pornography. This is a big one, folks. Pornography permeates many committed relationships and, unfortunately, affects young and old as a pseudo-low libido. What this means is that a person may still be interested in sex, yet not in the correct way. The way they view sexuality deviates, resulting in unrealistic expectations of body image, what an intimate encounter is and, in some cases, can lead to negative sexual behavior. The internet has been an extremely large contributor to this. Often, people who are committed to changing their behavior are referred to sexual addiction counseling to manage this effectively. 


Loss of intimacy
. I’m always amazed at how dedicated and committed people are to their job, career, sports team or extracurricular activities but treat their relationship like a given, self-maintaining entity. This simply isn’t correct. Relationships, intimacy and sexual health all take work and require effort. 


Medications. Many antidepressant medications used for anxiety and depression, such as Prozac, Zoloft and Lexapro, are known to lower libido in men and can, in some cases, delay orgasm. While some men have no side effects, others may encounter significant issues and need to follow up with their medication prescriber. Don’t simply stop taking the medication.

These are merely some preliminary points to ponder. There is much more your primary care provider or another health care professional can offer you in the form of evaluation and treatment. Remember, the answer to your low libido is much more than turning to Cialis or Viagra. Acknowledging there’s an issue and seeking professional help can be the start of getting back something great.


LOW LIBIDO IN WOMEN

The issue of low libido in women is even more complex, ranging from past negative and abusive experiences with sex to motherhood, working full time and, eventually, menopause scenarios.

Top issues related to low libido in women include: 

 
Life stressors. After growing their family, many women not only are weeks behind on quality sleep, but also haven’t exercised in months and eat only when they can find a spare second. It’s no wonder they tell me they feel dead inside sexually. Often, they confide they don’t feel like they could, even after a prolonged time, have a sexual or intimate encounter.
 

Medications. As with men, many medications, especially antidepressant medications, are related to lower libido in women. Yes, depression and anxiety lead to lowered libido. Yet, the medication you’re on could be making it worse or causing it. This isn’t a reason to stop taking an important medication, but it’s definitely a topic to discuss with a sexual health specialist. 

Weight gain. Weight gain can lead to low energy, negative self-image and the vicious cycle of loss of intimacy with your significant other. 


Birth control and menopause
. Many oral contraceptive pills can cause lowered libido. While this is not a common result, I always consider the possibility with an initial evaluation. In some cases, oral contraceptives can cause chronic irritation in female genitals that can lead to decreased willingness to initiate a sexual experience. Menopause poses many other issues, but the fluctuation/decrease in hormones at this life stage also can greatly affect libido. 


Sexual pain or dyspareunia. If it hurts, why would you do it? The good news is that often this is something that can be treated. Initially, you’ll need an evaluation by your sexual health specialist who can make recommendations for treatment. This is followed by close evaluation and, if needed, referral to a psychology specialist and pelvic floor physical therapist. 


HOW TO GET HELP FOR YOUR LOW LIBIDO

First, contact a provider who specializes and has been trained in treating sexual health. We’re few and far between, but we’re out there and can assist in a potential diagnosis.

Initially, you can expect to work with your provider on a comprehensive history and evaluation, which includes filling out a questionnaire. This is followed by the creation of an initial plan put in place with a follow-up appointment for more discussion and a physical exam focused on sexual health. Finally, a treatment plan and, if needed, referrals will be made at that time.


A FEW TIPS TO COMBAT LOW LIBIDO 


Start an exercise program
. Regular aerobic exercise and strength training can increase your stamina, improve your body image, lift your mood and boost your libido.
Plan a trip — but leave the kids at home. Spend a good, dedicated vacation for just yourself or with your significant other. Don’t go with other couples. This can be a distraction as you look to reconnect. 


Communicate. Yes, something as simple as sitting across from each other at a restaurant as you start to communicate again can do wonders. Make sure you keep topics light and have no expectation of an encounter later. Let the moment simply be about spending time with each other.

Graham King, M.D., is a family medicine physician at in Mankato, Minnesota.


https://mayoclinichealthsystem.org/hometown-health/speaking-of-health/lets-talk-low-libido

Wednesday, 8 August 2018

The Peculiar Loneliness Caused By Living With Chronic Pain

Today's post from pamelajessen.com (see link below) is a hard read because a) it hovers around the 'pity me' line that many people hate and b) also reflects several hard truths that many people just don't want to hear. Nevertheless, sometimes this sort of article is especially useful in reassuring you that you're not alone in what you're feeling and that is exactly what the article addresses - solitude due to chronic pain. One of the author's main points is that, no matter how hard she feels she's trying...to be positive, not to moan and to improve her physical well-being...the people around her seem to be stuck in their attitudes and see her only as someone living with a chronic illness. That can be like being put in solitary with no indication of a release date and people with chronic neuropathy have probably all been there. The trick is learning how to manage it with enough self-confidence to ignore your own nagging doubts and those of those around you! It ain't easy folks!

 

One Is The Loneliest Number
by LadyPamelaRose August 2018


Living with Chronic pain is lonely.

I’ve been very lucky in my life with chronic pain in that I have a wonderful support team. My husband is amazing – he truly gets it and understands what I’m experiencing as he’s starting having some chronic pain issues of his own. My kids are terrific too and are my biggest cheerleaders. I’ve been blessed with amazing friends who are sympathetic to what I go through on a daily basis, and who understand when I need to cancel plans at the last minute because of my health.

But I’m lonely.

Chronic pain causes you to isolate yourself because you hurt so much all the time, you just don’t want to be around people, yet you don’t want to be alone either. You never know when a flare is going to happen, so you tend to not make plans because you don’t want to be that flake who is constantly cancelling things. I’d rather try and make spontaneous plans but it never feels spontaneous to me…it actually feels desperate. And nine times out of ten, when I do make plans, I end up cancelling them because I wake up on the day of the big event feeling horrid. It’s generally because I’m exhausted as well as being in pain, but no amount of napping is going to make me feel well enough to go out. Of course, if I didn’t have plans that day, I’d have slept just fine the night before. It seems that I’m busy sleep stressing about the date, knowing I’m going to wake up feeling crappy, and then sure enough because I’m sleep stressing…I wake up feeling crappy! And even though I have great friends, I’m sure they must get tired of me flaking off all the time too.

It’s even harder when the people in your life don’t “get it”. This quote comes from Stephanie Schwerin Uplook from a Facebook Fibro Group I belong to and is used with her permission.

This is what she had to say:

Fibro sucks…having family members that don’t get it and don’t listen to one word you say when you try to explain how and what you feel. It’s not cancer, it’s not something they know anything about, it’s not terminal, it’s not that bad. You look fine…I’m really tired of being brushed off like it’s not that big of a deal. They don’t know how bad it can feel, the physical and mental toll it takes on me. No clue, no sense in trying to explain it. This last flare lasted a week and it was bad yesterday and today I’m tired and sore, I feel like my body is trying to recover from the flare, depression has kicked in. I’m wondering if this is how the rest of my life will be.

You know what’s the most aggravating?? I’ve changed so much of my lifestyle to get rid of this crap and I’ve seen no change. I swim every day, I have weights for the pool, I watch what I eat, I’ve researched and researched, I walk most days, I take magnesium supplements and I’ve seen a Rheumatologist at the Mayo Clinic. Those are just a few of the things…and for everything I’ve done, it seems to be getting worse with every flare. That’s depressing. I’m 49 yrs old and to watch me get out of a sitting position after only 5 mins of sitting, you would think you were watching a 90 yr old. My husband can’t believe how quick my body locks up, even after I’ve been in the pool for an hour or how I can’t turn over in bed once I lay down. Getting up out of bed is another struggle…I’m so tired of this crap. I really don’t talk much about how and what I feel anymore with anyone. I get tired of hearing myself complain about how I feel, I’m sure they do too. I mostly have a good positive attitude and can deal with this but today, I’m tired, I’m tired of all of this.

Wow…that’s painful to read. But it happens to most of us and if you’re reading this and you have Fibro or Chronic Pain of some type, you’re probably nodding your head and recalling when this has happened to you.

Lately, most of my mornings have started off with a good cry…I’m 56 and it just hit me recently that this is NEVER GOING TO GO AWAY. No matter what I do, or how good I treat my body, this Fibro is never going to go away and in fact, will probably get worse as time goes by.

That’s a thought worth getting depressed about. How does one stay positive when that’s what you have to look forward to…nothing but more days of pain and exhaustion and the people you love not understanding you, so you continue to feel guilty about having a disease like this, like it’s your fault somehow.

All I can say for sure is that it’s NOT your fault, and you have to take as good of care of your body as possible and not let the words of others hurt you. They mean well, but they don’t understand what it’s like for us, because there is no way to make them understand. No description we give them of Fibro can possibly come close to actually living it. Just do your best to keep your spirits up, try not to blame them and do what you can to stay as healthy as possible. Find as many comfort measures as you can on the days you feel the worst and make a list of all the things that are good in your life so you can refer back to it on your really bad days. Those are the things I do. I also try to reach out to help others as it takes me out of my head and puts me into “action mode”.

So what do you do when it comes to loneliness? What do you do when you need help? My dear friend Brenda Teichroeb Heywood suggested this particular blog post today. She is a single mom of 7 children ranging in age from adult to 3 and is going through a very difficult situation right now plus getting ready to move. She had this to say:

“I have always been the type of person who did not want to barge in during a sensitive time for someone. In their pain, I did not want to bulldoze my way in and then expect them to be grateful for my “help”. Yet, here I am, desperate for help in this very drowning experience and so many are sitting back and waiting for me to tell them what I want. I am just so overwhelmed, it would be better for someone to just jump in. I wonder if it would be a helpful post to write to those who live with or know people to struggle with chronic pain. Is it better to jump in and help the person? Is it better to respect space and wait?”

I responded back to her:

“Sometimes the people able to help just don’t know how to. Personally, I think people stand back waiting to be asked because they don’t want to interfere with or disrupt a person’s life. They don’t want to intrude. It’s like saying “call me if you need anything”. They’re willing to help, but the onus is on you to reach out for it.”

And she replied:

“It’s hard. To be so exhausted and then still do the asking. One friend has offered over and over that she’ll help me in any way. I’ve asked multiple times for help with packing and sorting and she has yet to show up. Sigh. This is not for forever, but I’m worn thin. And I think the little girl in me just wants to be rescued. Maybe what we need from others is a person by person thing or season by season.”

Isn’t that how we all feel…like we want to be rescued? Yet the only person who can truly rescue us from loneliness is ourselves. If no one knows how we’re feeling, we can’t blame them. And if no one “gets” what we’re going through, we either have to keep finding ways to explain it or realize that perhaps they just don’t want to get it. Maybe they don’t believe us, or maybe they’re too overwhelmed with what we experience. We frighten them with the intensity of our pain and fatigue and finality of this disease. They know it’s never going to end just as much as we do, but they don’t know what to do or say, so they do and say nothing. Or if they say something, it’s a joke. Or a nasty comment. Defence mechanisms come in all shapes and forms, so we can’t take it personally or we’ll go mad.

Loneliness goes hand in hand with Chronic Pain and Chronic Fatigue and all Invisible Illnesses. It’s up to us to learn how we want to manage it. Do we want to reach out to others or have them reach out to us? We need to communicate that to the people we love, so they know what the expectations are. You’d be surprised how many of your friends may be sitting there, waiting for you to call to say you’d love to get together with them – and they’ve just been waiting to hear from you to give the go ahead.

One is the loneliest number but it doesn’t have to be. Pick up the phone, send an email, say hi on Facebook…do whatever is easiest, but make a connection soon. Turn your one into two.

There is always hope.

https://pamelajessen.com/2018/08/02/one-is-the-loneliest-number/

Tuesday, 7 August 2018

What Are The Best Sorts Of Marijuana For Pain Relief? (Vids)

Today's extremely useful post from herb.co (see link below) is ideal for those chronic pain patients who have decided to take the step to take marijuana for their pain problems. The next question is...what sort of marijuana do I need and how am i going to take it? Thankfully, someone has taken the trouble to identify the various marijuana strains best used for tackling chronic pain and presented them in this article. Now taking the step to taking marijuana or cannabis products can be a huge deal but as state and national laws begin to relax across the world, getting hold of it has at least become easier. Now, which sort of marijuana do I need to work best for me? This article provides some of the answers and can form an ideal base for further research and discussion with others who have tried these out. It's a process but at least you now have some necessary advice to help you on your way towards freedom from pain.
 


The Best Strains of Marijuana For Pain Relief 


Anna Wilcox  Sep 20, 2015

When it comes to using marijuana for pain relief, not all strains are created equal. We show you which is best strain to help with pain management.


Photo credit: Pixabay

Chronic pain is one of the most difficult ailments to manage. Overwhelmed in a storm of over-the-counter and prescription painkillers, many patients are deciding to go the natural route: smoking marijuana for pain management.

When it comes to using marijuana for pain relief, not all strains are created equal. Some cannabis strains will keep you tossing and turning at night. Yet, others will ease away nerve pain and muscle tension. This article aims to show you which is which, and help you find the best strain for pain.


Using Marijuana for Pain Relief




Both of the most common compounds in marijuana ease pain. Believe it or not, research is showing that marijuana may interact with your pain-signaling cells. Both THC and CBD are strong anti-inflammatories. They also interact with other pain systems in your body.
If you’d like to learn more about THC and CBD, check out these awesome resources:

Taste The Pain Away

strains for pain 1 Stephen Colbert: Welcome To The First Church of Cannabis


Infographic courtesy of Steep Hill Halent Labs




It’s not only THC and  CBD that are valuable for relief. The flavor and aroma molecules in your plant are also potent natural medicines.
Yep, that’s right. That famous skunky weed aroma is a sign of an incredibly nutritious plant.
Flavor molecules are called terpenes, and they’re found in all plants. Every fruit, vegetable and herb that you eat owes its flavor to terpenes. Some terpenes are vitamins. Vitamin K, for example, is actually a terpene.
Marijuana is not only loaded with powerful antioxidant cannabinoids but is full of healthy terpenes. Terpenes are different from strain to strain. In fact, each strain has its own specific terpene profile. This is the reason why flavors and scents are so different from strain to strain.
Unfortunately, these flavor molecules are also a bit tricky. Environmental conditions like soil, light exposure, and temperature all affect terpene development.  While different strains tend to produce different terpenes, it takes a lot of TLC to get plants to express their flavor profiles to the fullest.

Strains For Wounds, Muscle, and Back Pain


strains for pain 2 Stephen Colbert: Welcome To The First Church of Cannabis
Photo credit: Pixabay
Cramps, spasms, pulled tendons, and slipped disks in your back are types of musculoskeletal injuries. Marijuana eases muscle, joint, and injury-related pain. There are many strains that can help ease the inflammatory pain associated with musculoskeletal issues.
We also encourage you to give cannabis topicals a try. A topical is an infused cream, lotion, or salve that you apply directly to the skin. The activated compounds in this marijuana cream will relieve pain, inflammation, and muscle tightness in a localized area.

Afghan Kush


strains for pain 3 Stephen Colbert: Welcome To The First Church of Cannabis
Photo of Afghan Kush Courtesy of BudGenius.com 
If you’re looking for a powerful general pain reliever, Afghan Kush just might be the strain for you. Nearly 100% indica, this strain is native to the Kush Mountain Region in the Middle East. Featuring a strong, pungent aroma, even the vapor of this flower will keep you locked on the couch.
Because this strain is a potent indica, the effects will be felt mostly in the body. In fact, this is what makes it so great for those seeking pain-relief. Not only is this little lady loaded with pain-fighting THC, but it’s also chock full of analgesic and anti-inflammatory terpenes. Particularly terpenes Humulene and Caryophyllene.
Their names may be hard to pronounce, but these potent flavors are the culprits behind the pungent and spicy hop aroma of Afghan Kush.
Caryophyllene has also shown anti-cancer effects. This may make strains like Afghan Kush a good choice for patients hoping to manage cancer pain. Other strains high in caryophyllene include Hash Plant, Maui Waui, and Super Sour Diesel.

Here’s A Breakdown of the Pain-Fighting Flavors and Cannabinoids In Afghan Kush:
Flavor:Pain:Inflammation:Antioxidant:
HopsHumuleneHumulene
PepperCaryophylleneCaryophylleneCaryophyllene
Floral

Terpinolene
CBGCBG
THCTHCTHC

White Widow


strains for pain 4 Stephen Colbert: Welcome To The First Church of Cannabis
Photo of White Widow, courtesy of MedicalMarijuanaStrains.com 
A true White Widow is a 50/50 cross between a pure sativa and a pure indica. The result is an extremely well-balanced and potent hybrid. Inheriting the best from both sides, this strain creates an uplifting and euphoric buzz while still easing away pain.
Unlike Afghan Kush we’ve featured so far, White Widow’s powerful unique high comes from several calming aroma molecules. Specifically, Linalool. Linalool is the terpene that gives lavender it’s famous therapeutic scent. It also happens to be a powerful pain reliever and anti-inflammatory.
But, we won’t just let the science speak for itself. Here’s what people had to say about it on Leafly, the World’s Largest Strain Finder:
“This is definitely as the other reviews have said. A very gentle but euphoric high. I am really looking for pain relief and it does work pretty well for me on that score. It is very relaxing. I find it a bit hard to think logically when using it so I would likely keep this for special times where I want to be awake and happy but nothing important needs to happen. It does give me terrible dry mouth”
“Incredible. If you want to get high, fight pain, or take a nap it’s the perfect strain. Definitely a perfect hybrid mix. Dense nugs. One I’m keeping in my medical rotation.”
“Definite Class A strain. Bright green, orange bristles are distinct. Euphoria and Energy are the main affects I experienced. I have a migraine disorder and this weed is perfect for relieving pain and getting your spirits up.”

Here’s A Breakdown of the Pain-Fighting Flavors and Cannabinoids In White Widow:
Flavor:Pain:Inflammation:
LavenderLinaloolLinalool
MangoMyrceneMyrcene
PinePinenePinene
THCTHC
Additional Strains for Wounds Muscle and Back Pain:

Neuropathic Pain


strains for pain 5 Stephen Colbert: Welcome To The First Church of Cannabis
Photo credit: Pixabay
Neuropathic pain, also known as nerve pain, affects more than 3 million Americans every year.
There are two primary causes of chronic, neuropathic pain: tissue damage and damage to the central nervous system. Basically, car accident victims and Fibromyalgia patients alike are familiar with this life-changing symptom.
Studies show that low doses of vaporized cannabis can significantly help neuropathic pain. If you experience tissue damage from an accident, consuming cannabis and applying a topical can ease inflammation and numb a localized area.
In the case of issues with the Central Nervous System, using marijuana may also be able to help. THC and CBD are documented to relieve nerve pain caused by Multiple Sclerosis and similar diseases. They do this by reducing inflammation in the brain as well as by regulating pain signals released by your cells.
All of the below strains have high levels of neuroprotective terpenes. Some of these terpenes may amplify the natural preventative properties of THC and CBD.  Patients who may benefit from these strains:
  • Accident and Injury Victims
  • HIV/AIDS Patients
  • Fibromyalgia Patients
  • MS Patients
  • Cancer Patients

Here are a few strains that may help ease nerve pain

Jack Herer


strains for pain 6 Stephen Colbert: Welcome To The First Church of Cannabis
Photo of Jack Herer courtesy of TheNug.com
Named for the famous activist and author, Jack Herer is a sativa-dominant hybrid truly deserving of the title. A favorite seemingly all around the world, this happy flower has uplifting and energizing effects. While indicas are typically the weed species of choice for chronic pain, this strain has a few pain-fighting tricks up its sleeve.
A well-grown Jack H. is full of natural painkillers. THC is just one of the analgesics in this strain. The others? You guessed it. Terpenoid nutrients.
One of the primary terpenes in Jack Herer is Pinine. Pinine is responsible for this strain’s woody, Pine-Sol taste. In recent studies, pinene has been proven to have antitumor effects. In fact, a 2013 study showed that pinine was effective in preventing cancer cell proliferation in the brain.
When grown hydroponically, this strain has shown soaring levels of other neuroprotective terpenes as well. These flavor compounds help reduce stress and tissue inflammation. When you smoke or eat some Jack Herer, you’re consuming these medicinal terpenes along with it. These powerful nutrients help keep your brain healthy and ease pain.

Here’s A Breakdown of the Pain-Fighting Flavors and Cannabinoids In Jack Herer:
Flavor:PainInflammationNeuroprotection
PinePinenePinenePinene
MangoMyrceneMyrcene
PepperCaryophylleneCaryophylleneCaryophyllene
HopsHumuleneHumulene
THCTHCTHC

strains for pain 7 Stephen Colbert: Welcome To The First Church of Cannabis



Photo of SuperBud courtesy of Green House SeedsAnother aptly named strain, this flower is like the superfood of the marijuana world. Just take a look at these terpene levels:


Terpene Chart Courtesy Of Green House Seeds
 Impressive, right? Especially considering that many strains may only produce 2-6% of these aromatic compounds.


All of these flavor molecules make this one pungent indica. High levels of myrcene give this strain a musky, dried-mango aroma. Also expect a bit of spice, and hints of wood and hops. First bred by Green House Seeds, this strain is said to have “almost narcotic” effects.

The nearly “narcotic” buzz this strain provides is caused by the strong pain fighting and brain-boosting compounds produced by this flower.


Additional Strains That May Help Neuropathic Pain:

The strains listed above are only a few of the marijuana types that may relieve nerve pain. Make sure to take a look at these as well:
Blueberry
Obama Kush
Sour Grape
Lemon Thai
One-to-One
Sour Haze 

Arthritis and Inflammatory Pain

Photo credit: Pixabay
 As we’ve mentioned several times in this article marijuana is a strong anti-inflammatory. Inflammation is one of the most common sources of pain. By alleviating inflammation, you also ease pain. Marijuana can treat arthritis pain and inflammation.


For both Rheumatoid and Osteoarthritis patients, over-the-counter pain medications like aspirin and Tylenol® are often suggested by doctors. A 1988 study conducted in London found that CBD was up to 4 times more effective than aspirin at relieving inflammatory pain.

Researchers at the German University of Bonn have found that deficiencies in the endocannabinoid system may lead to bone weakness. Bone and joint weakness is one of the primary causes of osteoarthritis in aging adults.

CBD may be able to help. Researchers know that CBD interacts with certain cell receptors in our bodies. Namely, the CB2 receptor. In their study, German researchers found that mice without CB2 receptors had weaker bones.

We do not know precisely how CBD, the endocannabinoid system, and osteoarthritis are related. But, we do know that this is something worth studying.

The strains featured in this section are wonderful for arthritis. But, the truth is, these particular flowers are helpful for the treatment of nearly any kind of pain. Green House’s Super Bud is surely nutritious, but these strains stand apart in a category of their own.

Back in the early days of marijuana, weed wasn’t all that potent. By potent, we mean that it didn’t have much THC. Once we realized that THC was the primary psychoactive in cannabis, we decided to breed strains with a ton of it.

The only problem with that? By breeding out other cannabinoids in favor of adding in more THC, we overlooked the incredible therapeutic potential of the herb’s other nutritious compounds. The strains listed below have bred those highly medical compounds back in. CBD in particular.

High CBD Strains For Pain
 
Harlequin




Screenshot of Harlequin’s Strain Fingerprint™ courtesy of Steep Hill Labs and available on Leafly.Harlequin is a truly must-try strain for anyone experiencing pain. This sativa-dominant hybrid gives its users a highly unique experience. Harlequin always has a 5-to-2 ratio of CBD to THC. CBD is a known antipsychotic. This means that it reduces the psychoactive, anxious and paranoid side effects of smoking too much THC.

The result of this well-balanced combo is a mellow and painless high. For medical patients looking to avoid the strong cerebral effect of THC, this strain might be for you. At its best, Harlequin will have a musty, forest odor.

Here’s A Breakdown of the Pain-Fighting Flavors And Cannabinoids In Harlequin:


Flavor:

Pain:

Inflammation:

Antioxidants:

Neuroprotectants:


Mango

Myrcene

Myrcene


Pine

Pinene

Pinene

Pinene

Pinene


Pepper

Caryophyllene

Caryophyllene

Caryophyllene

Caryophyllene



CBD

CBD

CBD

CBD



THC

THC

THC

THC




CBC

CBG

CBG



Cannatonic


Photo of Cannatonic courtesy of Nuggetry.com
strains for pain 7 Stephen Colbert: Welcome To The First Church of Cannabis
 Cannatonic is another amazingly therapeutic strain. Terpene and cannabinoid-rich, this flower contains a nearly one-to-one ratio of CBD and THC. A popular choice for patients suffering from chronic pain, this is another strain hits very smooth and mellow. Because of it’s high concentrations of CBD, Cannatonic will not give you a mind-melting, psychoactive experience.


Great for daytime pain relief, try this strain before heading off to work or doing something sociable. High levels of lavender-scented linalool supplement this strain’s calm, relaxed effect. Expect a musky, floral aroma with hints of spice.

Here’s a Breakdown of The Pain-Fighting Flavors and Cannabinoids In Cannatonic:


Flavor:

Pain:

Inflammation:

Antioxidants:

Neuroprotectants:


Lavender

Linalool

Linalool


Mango

Myrcene

Myrcene


Pepper

Caryophyllene

Caryophyllene


Caryophyllene




THC

THC

THC

THC




CBD

CBD

CBD

CBD





CBG

CBG


Additional Strains That May Help Neuropathic Pain:

One-to-One
Charlotte’s Web
ACDC
 
Strains That Will Help You Sleep


Photo credit: Flickr 
Whether it’s from a bad headache or a muscle cramp, sleeping through the night can be nearly impossible when you’re in pain. Here are a few heavy indicas that are sure to knock you out:


Granddaddy Purple
Hindu Kush
LA Confidential
Critical Mass
Bubba Kush 

Strains To Combat Pain-Related Depression:


Photo Credit: Flickr 
If you or a loved one experience chronic pain, then you’re familiar with the way pain seems to creep into every facet of your life. Depression is a side effect of pain that can be just as debilitating.

Marijuana is an anti-depressant and it can help improve your quality of life. Studies have looked at the ways cannabis helps people cope with illnesses and conditions of all different kinds. Regardless of whether or not the herb was effective at treating the condition itself, patients around the world have improved the quality of their lives with the herb.

To combat the depression and stress associated with chronic strains, you might want to give these strains a try:
Amnesia Haze
Sour Diesel
Pineapple Express
Cinex
Girl Scout Cookies
Strawberry Cough

Do you use marijuana for pain relief? What are your favorite strains? Please share them with us on social media!
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