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B&W picture of woman looking out on a lake on a cloudy, cold day

The Power of Our Perceptions When Suffering From Chronic Pain

I am often asked, “What helped you to get better, to overcome pain?”             There are many things from a healthy diet, to yoga, stretching and exercising, to certain medical treatments like prolotherapy. Those helped me physically. What helped me emotionally cope with chronic pain, and still does, all started many years ago at an event that taught me about the power of our perceptions. I almost did not attend because

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picture of a stuffed brown dog on bed laying down

A Special Gift for Someone in Pain – A Confidant

Two friends once gave me something I didn’t realize I needed. It was small, brown, and fluffy. Its eyes looked sad and longing, just as I felt that day.  My friends, Reme and Sara, gave me a special gift, a stuffed animal. I remember them timidly standing at my feet, searching for words to say as they stared at me, weak, disheveled, and semiconscious in my hospital bed. Reme reached her arms out to me

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Podcast: Sharing My Experiences with Pain and Healing

In this podcast, I share with Emmy Vadnais, a Holistic Occupational Therapist, my healing journey from back injuries that kept me bedridden on and off for 2 years, along with 5 years of learning to walk again. For me, healing means connecting to our true self and embracing all that we are so that we may live life with meaning and joy. I also hope to be a voice for people who experience pain, educating others

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Colored synapses lit up

Pain Signals and What We Can Do To Change Them

 Let’s be blunt. Pain sucks. It really sucks. It interferes with every aspect of a person’s life, and it affects others around us. So, what is pain?   Our body has “danger detectors” called nociceptors that send messages through nerve roots to the spinal cord, which, in turn, decides to send or not send messages, or to alter and not send all messages to the brain. The brain reads and processes these messages, compares it with

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dock leading out to swamp

Pain and the Mind-Body Connection

  At one point, I realized that my physical pain had become emotional pain, and the emotional pain further increased my physical pain. A vicious cycle of pain had formed, and my body had become more stuck in its protective state: contracted, tense, and cringing from the slightest touch, while physical and emotional hypersensitivities heightened. Emotional pain or distress is physical distress; they are one and the same. The more emotionally stressed I feel, the

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Van Gogh's the Scream

Strategies For Overcoming Panic Attacks

Trauma is a mental or physical injury that can affect us on all levels. It can make us feel lost and unsure of how to reclaim our sense of self. This occurs from emotional or physical abuse, from discrimination or neglect, or from an injury or illness. Events and circumstances may be different, and people may be different, but I believe that a resulting interlocking link between people in such circumstances is fear. Lack of

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Do You Have Back Pain? It Could Be The Psoas Muscles.

Does your back feel painfully taut with limited mobility, or do you have aching and burning pain in your groin or front thigh? This could be due to taut Psoas Muscles. The so-what? The “So-as”. The psoas muscles extend from each side of the thoracic and lumbar vertebrae to the pelvis, joining here with its buddy, the Iliacus muscle, and then traveling down to insert on the upper leg, or the femur. This major muscle group

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redwood tree reaching for the sunny sky

Emotional Residue from Trauma

One day, in my massage class, the teacher asked for a volunteer to demonstrate manual techniques we were learning. Lisa volunteered. She was about my age at the time, mid-20s, fit, and walked with an air of confidence. While my teacher was demonstrating massage techniques, she found a tight spot. Lisa’s left hip appeared stuck and inflexible, as if it was “frozen”. Attempting to loosen this area, the teacher moved her leg and hip into a

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Woman sticking out her tongue and it is cracked and dry

Dry Mouth: Causes and Remedies

I remember a time when I would wake up every morning feeling like a just ate a bowl of cotton balls. Yuck! I had major dry mouth from pain meds. Muscle relaxants, pain, anti-seizure, sleep or antipsychotic medications all can cause dry mouth. It feels like one’s body is parched from a trip to the dessert without water. Besides its horrible sensation, dry mouth can cause sore gums, teeth sensitivity, and decreased joy and ability to

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Question mark held up in front of woman's face

Do I Have To Accept Living In Chronic Pain Forever?

What does it mean to accept living with chronic pain? And forever? How do people do that? Should they? I struggled with these questions for years as doctors constantly told me that I needed to learn to accept living in chronic pain. I thought, How could someone have the audacity to label me as “a hopeless case” and define my future, my life? Did this mean relinquishing hope of getting better? Did it mean I needed

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The Experience of Emotions

There was a point when I felt that no one in the medical system seemed to understand that my intense fears of doctors and pain had become ingrained within me. There was no one to help me through these fears. My emotions had accumulated so many dimensions and layers that they developed an eerie power of their own, making it harder and harder for me to find my own sense of inner power. Was I

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Bare feet kicking the water on the beach

My Story

 “You are going to live in chronic pain the rest of your life,” the doctor told me. In the doctor’s glasses I saw my reflection. I looked as I felt, crushed. “You’ll probably be on pain medicines the rest of your life…but at least it will help ease some of the chronic pain for you. We can also discuss you getting a spinal cord stimulator or pain pump to help ease the pain,” the doctor

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Word gratitude written on heart hanging from tree


“I am grateful for all of my problems. After each one was overcome, I became stronger and more able to meet those that were still to come. I grew in all my difficulties.” ~ J.C. Penney Some nights when I put my six-year-old daughter to bed, I ask her to say her  “Thank yous”–what good things happened today for which she is thankful. Yet, it dawned on me as we are getting closer to Thanksgiving, why

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Holiday Stress Busters

It’s that time of year – November. That means the holiday season is soon to start and last a few months. Family and friends gathering together in good cheer. It is fun…and exhausting! If you experience chronic pain or another illness, you know we often run on a very limited supply of energy. Illness already takes a lot out of us. In this respect, a person is like a car. If a car has only a

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