Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Yoga to the Rescue

Today I tried a new yoga DVD that my mom had gotten for me. It's called "Yoga to the Rescue: Feel Good from Head to Toe with Desiree Rumbaugh". I tried about the first half of the workout and the stretches were great. They focus on strengthening the neck, back, and shoulders which is great. The workout portion is actually set up in single segments for each pose/stretch so you don't have to do them all as a series if you wouldn't like to or if it's uncomfortable. So if some of the poses are bothersome, while others feel good, you can pick and choose which benefit you the most. Always check with your doctor to see if they feel that this dvd is something good for you to be doing. I think this dvd is something that could be good for me to keep active and maintain strength. I can see this as being a very relaxing activity as well...the music is soothing and is filmed in a beautiful studio. I feel like this dvd can be emotionally and physically healing and plan on using it at least once a week.

Is there a specific activity or exercise that you use to maintain muscle tone and flexibility? What have you found that works and doesn't work?

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

A Great Doctor's Appointment

My doctor's appointment went so great with the new doctor. He understood everything that I was talking about. He checked the trigger points in my body and head/face and I learned that I'm a jaw clencer, which I was never aware of doing. He had a systematic way how he went about checking me and it was clear to me he was knowledgable about pain. He grabbed one of his books which had illistrations of the trigger points and where the pain radiates to if you have problems with them. It was illustrating the paths of my pain. He told me that I have a lot going on and mentioned fibromyalgia, chronic myofascial pain, and restless leg syndrome (in my arms). I set up another appointment in which we're going to discuss diagnoses and medication further. He's going to look at all my records, MRIs, and CT scans. I've also been scheduled for an EMG on my arms. I would describe my symptoms and they actually made sense to him. He suggested a book for me to read: "Fibromyalgia and Chronic Myofascial Pain: A Survival Manual". He checked with me about sleeping, anxiety, he looked at the whole picture. For the first time in a very long time I feel like I might be able to treat some of the pain medically. It was the best feeling...I actually began to cry during the appointment and he asked me what I was thinking about. I was thinking it's been 6 years until I've felt a physician really understood what I was going through and could help me out, I've been nervous about work because bosses hadn't believed me or were unfair, and that it's been hard. I'm getting closer to actually being diagnosed and finding new ways to help cope with the pain and I'm really excited.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Pain Managment appointment

I have a doctor's appointment at a pain managment clinic on the 27th. I'm really looking forward to this appointment b/c I haven't seen a doctor regarding my pain for quite some time. I plan on working on the insomnia and headaches. I hope that I will be able to treat these problems more successfully than the chronic pain, itself.

I am also planning on starting to work out regularly again. I go through spurts of working out and then being lazy. My goal is to work out at least 3 times a week. Those 3 days I need to at least be doing 30 minutes of cardio. Then I will lift light weights on the days that I feel able to do so.

Today, I spent most of my time looking for jobs online. I found one, maybe two, counseling positions that I can apply for and a few regular jobs I can apply for. I hope to do part-time work while I put ideas together for starting a nonprofit organization. I'm nervous, but I'm also excited. It's time for me to organize my stuff and get my working life in order. After graduating, I'm definately ready to begin the working phase of my life.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Developing a Wellness Toolbox

**Side Note** A "wellness toolbox" is a concept that I've become familiar with in the counseling field. Most of the information I've seen on it on the web is geared towards the topic of depression. I've changed this a bit for the topic of chronic pain.

The ides of a wellness toolbox can be helpful as you anticipate flare-ups in pain. For your wellness toolbox come up with a list of things that you can do, or have done in the past, to help relieve your pain and emotional distress or to keep you feeling well when you are good. Include any strategies, activities, or skills you can use for pain relief and/or a mood boost. The more "tools" you have for coping with chronic pain, the better. Try and use some of these ideas each day, even when you're feeling good. You don't want these things to be associated only with bad times...they're there for you to help you feel better, not remind you that you're not feeling well.

These lists and items can be placed in a special box, container, or drawer. You can decorate this area with soothing colors and pictures if you'd like. Feel free to get creative.

Here are some wellness toolbox ideas for coping with chronic pain:
1. Talk to a supportive friend or family member. (I like having pictures of these people. You
even ask these people to write a short, supportive note on the back of the picture to remind
you that they're truly there for support when you need it.)
2. List what you like/appreciate about yourself and/or your life.
3. Write in your journal.
4. Read a good book or watch a good movie/tv show
5. Take a long, hot bath or shower.
6. Listen to music.
7. Get a massage.
8. Do something nice for someone else.
9. Stretch. (Ask a physical therapist which stretches would be most beneficial for different
aches and pains).
10. Spend time with a loved pet.
11. Meditate and/or pray.
12. Schedule a time for bed that you follow each night.
13. Meet with a counselor.
14. Attend a support group.
15. Do something that makes you laugh.
16. List of things to avoid when you're not feeling well. (i.e., alochol, sugar, caffeine, certain
people, staying out late, etc.)
17. Complete a small task. It feels good to get even a little task done during the day.
18. Take a short nap (maximum of 30 minutes, you don't want to negatively affect your sleep

You can also place items in the box that you can use to help an eye mask, earplugs (for short naps), a hot and/or cold pack, a special scented candle you light, massager, etc.