Changing your thinking to change your pain

I swear I am not getting kickbacks from Dr. Sarno…I have seen such a difference in the last few months just by talking to myself. Yeah, I know. Crazy and a bag of chips. Sh*t, now I want chips…

Where was I? I now tell myself the cause for any of my symptoms is psychological. Even a simple headache or feeling fatigued. I am placing blame in a different place. I would say if you have chronic pain that has been vetted by a doctor, you might want to try Dr. Sarno’s books. Even if you have other symptoms (also vetted by an MD) perhaps you want to read his books.

This is a great blog entry.

“It became a medical controversy when Dr. John E. Sarno’s book, “The Mindbody Prescription: Healing the Body, Healing the Pain,” was published in 1998. In it, the renowned physician explained the vital connection between mental and bodily health, insisting that many painful conditions—including most neck and back pain, migraine, repetitive stress injuries, whiplash, and tendonitises—are rooted in repressed emotions…Sarno believes the brain has seen fit to reduce the blood flow to the painful areas. The real culprit is the rage, and other powerful feelings in the unconscious. “The pain had to be created as a distraction to prevent that from happening.”

1. Knowledge is power. In most cases, Sarno notes, psychological factors were involved—life stresses, perfectionism, or childhood trauma. Given this, the goal is to thwart the brain’s strategy.
2. Repudiate the structural diagnosis for the pain. The pain will not stop unless you are able to say, “I have a normal back; I now know that the pain is due to a basically harmless condition, initiated by the brain to serve a psychological purpose, and that the structural abnormalities that have been found are normal changes associated with activity and aging.”
3. Acknowledge the psychological basis for the pain. “The brain tries desperately to divert our attention from rage in the unconscious,” Sarno writes. “This is an automatic reaction of the mind, not based on logic or reason. So we must bring reason into the process.” He suggests asking yourself, “What is the sense in producing pain to distract one’s attention from the repressed rage?” Then decide, “I would rather deal with the rage than have the pain.”
4. Accept the psychological explanation and all of its ramifications as normal for healthy people in our society. “We must say to ourselves, ‘It’s all right to be the way we are: illogical, unconsciously enraged, like a child having a temper tantrum. That’s part of being human, and it’s universal.’”
Then, Sarno says, take these next steps:
Think psychological. I tell my patients they must consciously think about repressed rage, and the reasons for it whenever they are aware of the pain. This is in contradiction to what the brain is trying to do. This effort is a counterattack, an attempt to undo the brain’s strategy. It is essential to focus on unpleasant, threatening thoughts and feelings to deny the pain its purpose.
Talk to your brain. It sounds silly, but it’s effective. The conscious mind addresses the unconscious, the more forcefully the better. Successfully treated patients report that when they feel a twinge of pain, the kind of thing that used to be a harbinger of an attack, they talk to or shout at themselves and the pain disappears. You tell your mind that you know what it’s doing, that you know the physical pain is harmless and is a distraction from the repressed rage, and that you no longer intend to be intimidated.
Make a written list. List all of the pressures in your life, since they all contribute to your inner rage. There are self-imposed pressures, typical of the conscientious perfectionist, and the pressures of everyday life—which also include happy things like marriage and children, since they also represent great pressure. You should also list anger left over from childhood. Here’s the goal: By consciously identifying and dealing with sources of pressure, you reduce their potential negative effect in the unconscious.
Set aside a daily reflection or meditation period. This part of the treatment is essential for very busy people who feel they don’t have a moment to think of anything but their work during the day. This is best done in quiet and solitude, so a time must be found each day when you can sit and think about what it takes to get better.
5. The bottom line. “For some people, simply shifting attention from the physical to the psychological will do the trick,” Sarno says. “Others need more information on how the strategy works, and still others require psychotherapy.” But in every case, he is confident that knowledge is essential to the cure. “By making people aware of what is going on both physically and psychologically, we frustrate the brain’s strategy.”

We can unlearn pain.

A quick article worth the read for pain patients feeling hopeless.

“…just as pain can be learned, it can be unlearned… I’ve found that most chronic pain sufferers have the capacity to break free from this condition. It’s just a matter of finding the right tools.”

“Over 50 million people in the US are suffering with chronic pain, but many of them don’t have to be. Recent studies have shown that often chronic back pain, neck pain, fibromyalgia symptoms, carpal tunnel syndrome, migraine headaches, and many other forms of chronic pain are not the result of structural causes, but of learned nerve pathways in the brain…John Sarno, MD, was one of the first physicians to hypothesize that many forms of chronic pain are reversible. He referred to this condition as Tension Myoneural Syndrome (or TMS).”

Foot bath for RSD Headache

Lately when my RSD headache kicks in, I grab my footbath (i just have a Dr. Scholls one from Rite Aid), fill it with as warm or hot water as i can handle with about a half a cup of Bragg’s raw apple cider vinegar. I then soak my feet for at least 20 minutes. The water brings the energy and focus away from my head and, for me, I feel the effects last through the day. Supposedly there are also detox benefits with this through the feet. My gut feeling is that is happening because I feel so good after that when I soak them even without RSD headache.

I now associate the smell of vinegar with feet. 🙂 My feet are definitely sensitive from RSD but at times less so and I can handle warmer to hot water. I just feel it out for what’s working for me that day.

Acupuncture for RSD

What works for me is JUST getting needles to sedate and support my nervous system – nothing else.  I do think that because of the autoimmune aspect of this condition, that treating organs and body  parts actually can make for some unpleasant RSD headache.   I feel it makes sense that, if one of the major treatments for RSD (ketamine) severely sedates the body, using needles for a similar effect can work.  The following is from Dr Lee’s site:

How does  Acupuncture work?

“From the Western perspective, research has demonstrated that acupuncture stimulates the brain to produce natural opiate called endorphin. Further investigation has demonstrated that acupuncture not only affects pain but also regulates a wide variety of  body systems.

The relaxed feeling one gets from acupuncture comes from sedation of the sympathetic nervous system, or the “flight or fight response”. This helps de-stress, and improves blood circulation, muscle tightness and digestion, just to name a few.

Acupuncture has also been shown to affect a wide variety of hormones including those that control ovulation and menstruation due to its effect on the hypothalamus-pituitary-ovarian axis (HPOA)

Acupuncture affects neurochemicals such as serotonin that, among other things, affect mood and mental states.”

Brain Fog Fix

For those of us who struggle with brain fog, we know very well how awful it is and how you can’t really manage to do anything when it hits.

Here’s what i know helps me
: Omega 3 fish oil capsules every day. I keep them in the fridge so I don’t stink (i don’t think I stink anyway).

Here’s what completely knocked it out
: glutathione IV and/or the Meyer’s Cocktail IV. Either one of those or both together made the brain fog a non-issue and it was GLORIOUS. Not sure yet. I tend to think it was the glutathione because it cleanses the liver but I have yet to do that IV on its own. I will do that and report back. Since I stopped doing the IVs regularly, my brain fog is back. I should note that it has been much less severe though.

I don’t know about you, but I didn’t develop brain fog right away. That came later and after lots and lots of pills. I recently spoke with a heart patient who was getting an IV next to me. She was born with a heart condition in which people do not live past 18 years. She was just about to celebrate her 35th birthday and partly credited her monthly IV vitamin cocktail for that. She sees that much of a difference just once a month. So I wonder if eventually I can do the IVs once a month or every two weeks to keep the headaches and fatigue at bay while not breaking the bank.

IV Vitamin C Is A Mixed Bag (literally)

Here’s my report on my high dose c experiment (and other iv vitamins):

Weight gain:  I am fairly certain high dose c has upped my blood sugar and caused me to put on a bunch of weight.  I don’t consume enough calories to pack on weight like this so I am taking a break for now of all IV vitamins until i get my blood test results.

My Report Back to My Dr. This Week: When my rheumotologist examined me this week (other than the obvious weight gain), he was really pleased. He commented on how my joints felt and skin looked. And when i reported to him that my brain fog and fatigue were essentially non-existent, he wanted to hear more. He didn’t know a lot about iv vitamins but he does not want me to stop doing it because it is helping so much. He just has me on pause to figure out the weight gain

Overall benies: I have a clearer head which allows me to focus better and i’ve been able to work more. I’ve had more energy.  My pain has been less. I already had the pain aspect fairly under control but, of course, when you’re fatigued you can experience that pain more. And so i think it has helped in that way. It did even turn my pain off a few times right after.

If i could give myself advice two months ago: I would tell myself to only do high dose C and B12 every now and then because the pull on my body might be too much and potentially caused my blood sugar to go batty.

I would tell myself to maintain a healthy amount of fluids – it really affects how your veins operate. No joke. If i have been a bit dehydrated, i have been there for hours longer than i should have been because my veins are too slow. Makes me think about how important it is to drink adequate amounts of water at all times. I would tell myself to eat right beforehand, preferably a bit of sugar so i don’t feel funky during.

Future: I will likely keep going there even if it’s once every few weeks. It is expensive but if it can help me earn more money and help me to enjoy life a little bit more, it will be well worth it. I have a feeling i will integrate Meyer’s Cocktail and Glutathione into a regular routine and dump the high dose c. 

All in all, this has been a positive experience for Chubbs McGee here.  Pre-RSD me would have freaked the hell out about gaining weight like this. While we are addressing it, I am not worried. I’m super excited to have found a therapy that helps me. We just need to tweak it a bit.


Avocado for RSD patients

I just reintroduced large amounts of avocado to my diet after needing a break. I’ve had a whole avocado for breakfast every day for the last week. And it feels good. I already knew about the anti-inflammatory benefits and the massive amounts of Vitamin K for neuro help. But the dr on Friday told me it is great for glutathione (i will be getting IV drip of glutathione on my 8 week high dose Vitamin C experiment).  Glutathione is great for neuro health AND liver health — those two are very much related. If your liver is sluggish, your body is much more full of toxins than it ought to be and your sympathetic system goes into extra overdrive (extra because RSDers are already in overdrive) to fight them off and we get those awful headaches.

“The ability of avocado to help prevent unwanted inflammation is absolutely unquestionable in the world of health research. The term “anti-inflammatory” is a term that truly applies to this delicious food. Avocado’s anti-inflammatory nutrients fall into five basic categories.” Read more at the link below.  I sprinkle my avocado with cayenne to help purify my blood and to help circulation.


Is it all in the Omega 3s??

I took one day off from the high doses of Omega 3s and my brain went right back to crazy zapping yesterday.  This was after a few calmer days with the new fish oil i bought and taking a lot of it. I wonder if Omega 3s are the key to calming our brains — not just for medication detoxing but also for the RSD/CRPS headaches themselves (which, we may discover, may be part of a detox problem).  Maybe Omega 3s are the key to everything.. put them in the fridge as they are also the key to stinky fish breath if you don’t.

I am still adding my 3,6,9 pill in there but going for it with the high quality Omega 3s and holy crap, it makes a serious difference. They need to have high amounts of EPA/DHA or you’re wasting some time and money. The 3,6,9 soft gel i was relying on did not have enough.

Look at what doctors are doing. They inject people with ketamine for the sole purpose of calming the nervous system. The problem is that people’s bodies generally only stay in that state for 3-9 months and then are back paying a few grand for another injection.  I’ve been overly focused on magnesium through epsom salts which is also calming but i need to focus on Omega 3s as well.  I still believe CRPS/RSD is different in each person because it is an imbalance that shows itself at the healing process and only gets worse because doctors throw medications at the problem (i’ve discussed Neurontin/vitamin k deficiency on this blog before) that perhaps only complicate the issue.

For people who don’t think fish oil is a big deal: i’ve stopped taking it days before a procedure and still have had extra bleeding when they put the IV in. That stuff is no joke as a blood thinner so be careful and ask your doctor.