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Welcome Readers and Partners in Care

Welcome friends.

I hope you find this site helpful. I have created it to help you manage chronic pain or anxiety and stress. Please remember to heed your healthcare provider’s advice first before following my advice.

Good Luck. Judy

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Poor Sleep?

Sleep is vital but our minds sabotage our sleep.

There are 3 great tips I read in Medium.

  1. Write down everything you can think about that’s worrying you before you go to sleep. Scribble. It doesn’t matter what it reads like. Just write. Then slam the book closed and pack it in the drawer. Done!
  2. Practice your breath – in for the count of 4, hold for 2, out for 6 to 8, hold for 2 and repeat. focus only on your breath. When the mind moves, gently bring it back to your breath.
  3. If you still can’t sleep, focus on not worrying about whether you are going to fall asleep or not. Remember that if you relax and breathe, it is the same as sleeping. Not really. But you can fool your brain.
  4. One trick I read from Medium article, Choose a work, like any word with at least 5 letters, say Scapegoat – then start with the first letter and think of as many words as you can starting with the letter S, then move do C, then A, and so on. I find this works very well. It tricks the brain. An overactive brain needs exercise and this has helped me fall asleep.
  5. Whenever I have a problem falling asleep, I do the Evening Qi-Gong exercise. Very easy. Can even be lazy and do in bed. Daily Program and Ways to Calm Down.
  6. Here are more tips. Sleep Tips.

Take care. You are worth it.

Judy

Waking up tired? Or tense?

If we have trauma or lots of stress (like chronic pain or illness – remember the physical stress is the same as emotional stress on your Limbic system) where was I, okay, when we wake up after a night of stress, our cortisol levels are high.

High cortisol causes – Fatigue, Weight gain, easy bruising, swelling, especially the legs, mood swings, mental fog, muscle weakness, potassium to go down, it lowers your bodies ability to fight infection.

Where does the cortisone come from? Stress causes a rise in Adrenaline – which is the hormone meant to protect us from dying – like say you are lying on the street bleeding out – your body reacts by pushing out Adrenaline to raise your blood pressure and pulse. It also causes release of anti-diuretic hormone – ADH – from the Limbic system. This is all to keep your blood volume up.

The body reacts to ANY stress as if you are bleeding out. Or as if you need to get ready to fight or flee. So now if the Adrenaline is up for more than 3 days, Cortisone starts to go up. Cortisone is from your adrenal glands.

Your body needs to feel safe. Many of us don’t feel safe. Especially today. No money. The plague is causing havoc. There is lack social contact. There is distrust in the medical system. In every system. We’re all a little fed up.

What can we control? Only ourselves. Start with little baby steps. Ways to Calm down. If you can’t do everything you want to, give yourself a break. Be curious. What is stopping me from doing the work to get better? The last thing you need is judgement. Be kind to yourself and others.

Ways to Calm down

Take care

Judy

When is Laughter too Much?

Jackie has severe fibromyalgia. She has been ill for many years but I had no idea just how ill. She always visits with a happy smile and a laugh. She almost never complains, and when she does complain, she minimizes her symptoms. Jackie never thought her pain was significant. She felt it was normal to have the amount of pain she has.

Jackie’s parents have anxiety and anxiety leads to control issues. They have therefore obsessive traits, expect perfection, and hard work is a must. They adhere to these expectations and expect the same from their children. Because of this, as a child, Jackie has a high shame response. Because we ARE never good enough.

Jackie is like me, lucky enough to be born with a happy temperament. She responded to the high expectations with vigor and was eager to please her parents. Up to now, this has led to people pleasing.

People pleasers usually expect more from themselves and blame themselves more. Jackie has therefore done everything she could for herself to get better. Asking for help, makes her feel shame, or that she is inconveniencing others.

Where does Jackie’s laughter come from?

  1. When she is surprised or caught unawares – a form of stress.
  2. When she is told something and then realizes, Wow, that’s right. Immediately Jackie thinks, Why didn’t I think of that? Laughter then is a shame response.
  3. When she is uncomfortable, she will laugh, especially around other people, because she doesn’t want them to be uncomfortable or to realize she is uncomfortable.
  4. Jackie shares her mother had a very difficult childhood and she mostly showed anger or laughed. Her mother was emotionally shut down to cope with her childhood. Maybe Jackie needed excess emotions to penetrate her mother’s barriers.
  5. Of course she laughs when she feels joy, but most of her laughter is to cover up her discomfort.

I am sure you can find other reasons for laughter. Laughter is very good for you, but not if you are using it to mask pain, emotional or physical.

Jackie is going to practice Step 2. Changing from “preparing for danger” breath to healing breath will help her notice when she is stressed – laughing too much, talking too fast, or too loudly.

Jackie will examine her reactions with curiosity, not shame or judgement. Feel your emotions in your body.

Notice the moment when you laugh or when you are speaking too quickly or too loudly.

The journey begins.

Judy

Jeannie’s Plantar Wart

For Jeannie’s Wart. Darn stubborn virus is not responding to Compound W or cryotherapy. Let’s try Cariboo Chrome:

  1. Apply a small piece of duct tape directly to the area of your wart and continue as normal. You can walk on it and exercise. 
  2. Every 3 to 5 days, remove the duct tape. Gentry rub the wart with an emery board or pumice stone. Stop immediately if it bleeds as the virus spreads with bleeding.
  3. Repeat step 1. after about 12 hours of air time. 

Fibromyalgia and genetics

We are now learning rapidly how fibromyalgia can be linked to epigenetics. What on earth is epigenetics?

Previously we thought our genes were fixed. That the information coded on our genes is permanent. Now we have learned that only 4% of the information in our genetic coding is fixed, for example, the color of our skins, hair, eyes.

How are bodies are made can be changed even in third trimester of your mother’s pregnancy. If your mother has severe stress – physical or emotional – then a chemical reaction can occur that changes your genetic profile.

There are proteins and chemical reactions that happen to molecules attached to your genes. These changes are like a key and a lock. With stress, the reaction can be like a key that opens the door to changes in your body. For example, an inflammatory gene can be switched on. This inflammatory gene is coded to cause different types of inflammation in your body.

The changes can also cause diabetes, high blood pressure and even cancer genes can be switched on by these epigenetic changes.

There are now many scientists working on epigenetics. The ways our body is affected by stress or toxins in our environment.

The good news is, that many of these changes are temporary. We can change our futures. Use tools to lower inflammation. Ways to calm the Limbic System is one of them.

More to come as we learn more

Take care

Judy

POTS Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome

I believe limbic trauma – adult or childhood adverse events – can lead to POTS. This is different to orthostatic hypotension – big mouthful – when your blood pressure drops too much when you stand or change your position. Be sure to consult a health care provider to exclude other causes, like dehydration, anemia, hormonal abnormalities, or side effects from drugs.

Blood Pressure and heart rate are regulated in the limbic system. Triggers can be subconscious – you can see something that triggers trauma and you not even know it. Other triggers can be bright lights, a certain taste or sound, fatigue, sight of blood, or any physical or emotional stress, usually emotional.

Some people then have an instant rise in pulse or a drop in blood pressure. POTS is when only the pulse changes – usually going up by 30% from baseline. The blood pressure can drop, or go up, but not change significantly.

I have a patient with me today, helping me discuss POTS. She explains that when she’s focused on anything serious, especially when she is helping somebody, her symptoms improve. When working or helping a person, her performance improves. She is stronger and overexerts herself, unfortunately suffering afterwards.

Being able to do more some days or some parts of the day is puzzling. Part of this may be an adrenaline surge. Definitely when less stressed, a person has less symptoms. When distracted, the brain occupied with other things, you can feel better.

Beware of overexertion. Pacing is very important. More pain causes more fatigue and erratic heart rates.

Patients with POTS may have tremors, headaches, migraines, chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, autoimmune disorders, allergic conditions, or celiac disease.

Speak to your health care professional before trying any of the treatments.

Water – 3 liters per day; Salt – 5ml (2 teaspoons per day) Waist high compression garments.

Propranolol can be used, usually 10 to 20mg four times a day

There are other medications, like midodrine 5mg every 4 hours, three times a day

or ivabradine 5mg twice a day if propranolol contra-indicated.

Inflammation needs to be treated. Speak to your health care provider. Use the body to calm the Limbic System.

If you have severe past emotional trauma, you need counselling, maybe even EMDR therapy. 

Low impact exercise is vital. Try the QiGong and Yoga on the link above calming the limbic system. 

Good luck and take care

Judy

Safety and health

Growing up we are dependent on our parents or caregivers. Even if they are not nurturing, due to their own emotional baggage, we have to look up to them, because they provide safety. When parents betray your trust, through neglect, or abuse, or even when our siblings, equally injured perhaps, turn on us, our safety is compromised.

The mother is the most important nurturing person in a family, but the father can help to decrease some trauma if he is really loving and nurturing. All too often children are left to their devices. We grow up either shaming ourselves or blaming others or somewhere in between.

Because we were not well taken care of, we don’t really know how to take care of ourselves. We are so busy defending our parents that we minimize the damage done to ourselves, our self image, to our personalities, and to our health. Sometimes growing up, people pleasers will even become the care giver in the home, even taking care of the parent.

This is how intergenerational trauma works. Traumatized parents traumatize their children. We say then ‘Oh my mother had it far worse,’ again minimizing our trauma. We bear shame. Thinking we should be stronger. Better. Shame causes immense pain and ill health.

The new science of epigentics tells us that stress can temporarily and even permanently change your genes. Stress opens gateways and pathways and causes chemical reactions that change your genes. One change can be inflammation. You can have inflammation pathways switched on. Inflammation in the blood vessels can cause heart disease, strokes, dementia. Inflammation in stomach lining and intestines can even cause cancers. You can have irritable bowel disease and even get inflammatory bowel disease, arthritis like rheumatoid arthritis genes can be switched on. Eczema, asthma, allergies, acne, are all worse with stress. All sorts of problems.

This can be changed. Contact your mental health workers, counsellors, psychiatrists, people who love you, watch out for toxic people, spiritual leaders. Use your body to calm your mind

Try the Daily Program, especially mindful breathing.

Take care

Judy

Limbering up your Limbic System

When you have Complex PTSD, severe anxiety, or severe stress, chronic pain, your limbic system behaves as if you are under threat.

Your pituitary gland releases hormones to stimulate cortisol, adrenaline goes up, and inflammation goes up. Changes happen in your body. If you have a freeze response predominantly, weight goes up. You have have increased BP or decreased if you have POTS – postural orthostatic hypotension tachycardia syndrome. Long story short, you get sick, and will get sicker earlier in your life if you don’t look after your limbic system.

Try this regime – I use many Techniques for my CPTSD – breathing helped me manage my chronic sinusitis, butterfly hugs and Thoppokkurunam when I am tired or anxious, or when my ADHD is out of control. There are short maintenance exercises – like yoga which I do in the morning and QiGong at night.

Use the body scan – only 5 minutes – teaches you to take care of yourself. People with CPTSD very often don’t listen to illness signals in our bodies.

Take care

Judy

Vulvodynia

Tonight, in our BC ECHO for pain meeting, our topic is vulvodynia. This is the sensation of either burning, stinging, or sensitivity in the vulva area. Pain can occur spontaneously, or after sitting for long periods, intercourse, bicycle riding, tight clothes, using a tampon, or even a light touch.

This diagnosis is made once a healthcare provider has eliminated dermatological causes, infections, or an acidic diet. Some people with this condition have associated vaginismus, uncontrollable muscle spasms of the vagina, another often painful condition.

Individuals with depression have a 53% higher prevalence of vulvodynia than those who don’t present with depression. People with PTSD are twice as likely to have vulvodynia. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4628213/ . Those with complex PTSD, where they grew up with fear, have three times the likelihood of having vulvodynia. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4129923/

Treating spontaneous vulvodynia has a similar approach to treating chronic pain. Medication can help, especially those medications that soothe the nervous system, like tricyclic antidepressants, duloxetine, selective serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors, SSRIs and anticonvulsants.

Of course, medication is not the only tool, and, for some people, these medications have intolerable side effects. This is especially true of people who have pain to touch. Pelvic floor exercises, biofeedback, and physiotherapy can be incredibly helpful.

Ice can be used to manage the pain, if that doesn’t help, try heat. It is not advisable to use lidocaine to have intercourse as intercourse can cause more pain.

Cognitive behaviour feedback is also valuable.

These tools can all be helped if you are able to Calm your Limbic System.

Good Luck

Judy

POTS dizziness low blood pressure high heart rate

POTS is a debilitating disease. It causes significant fatigue, fainting, or feeling faint, nausea, sweating, and the stress of POTS causes inflammation, lack of sleep – which causes more stress, more inflammation, more nerve symptoms, tingling, chronic pain.

My patient sitting with me says it is like a crippling migraine without a headache. My body doesn’t work. Pick up something heavy, and the arm goes numb. Affects my quality of life tremendously. I want to exercise, but then I get purple legs, pain, nausea, dizziness.

One of the many stress responses in the Limbic System is the secretion of ADH – Anti-diuretic hormone – meant to protect your body from blood loss. The Limbic system does NOT see the difference between physical danger (stress) or emotional danger (stress) or POTS (stress on the body ) and it reacts as if you are losing blood volume.

You develop thirst. Drink too much. Don’t excrete enough urine. Then you get sick. Nausea. Stop drinking because you are sick. So you use up the volume and then when that is done, the ADH rises again and we are back in the same cycle.

STOP DRINKING MORE THAN MAXIMUM 8 GLASSES OF LIQUID PER DAY. You will be thirsty. Suck on a lemon – life is a lemon anyway. Don’t use liquid salt or electrolyte drinks – makes it worse. Use salt tablet. Soy sauce and Marmite spread are useful.

Low impact exercise – small amounts 5 – 10 minutes frequently in the day. Learn pacing. Almost certainly your expectations will be higher than your body can manage because your body is sicker than you want to believe. Sorry – depression.

Improvement can happy with working on Limbic system. Try this link Ways to Calm Down – It may help.

Try and see if this helps. Really we are at a loss to treat this condition. I hope this helps a bit.

Good Luck

Judy