Exercising with Chronic PainPosted on December 30, 2012
By Sue Newton, RN
If you are in pain, there is a temptation to skip exercising. But exercise can often help reduce pain and improve your quality of life in the long run. The good news is that you don’t have to run a marathon to get back to the business of life and everybody can do something. Research has consistently shown that exercise allows people to reduce their perception of pain as well as overcome limited functioning.
In fact, experts are now saying that lack of exercise can actually be more detrimental for chronic pain sufferers. This is because when you are physically inactive, even the smallest physical activities will gradually become a challenge, such as climbing stairs or lifting objects. Here are some gentle exercise ideas that you can try to make your chronic pain more manageable and improve your overall health and life.
–Consult the pros. When starting out, consulting with a professional who understands your limitations is key as you might not know how to exercise or what type of exercise is best for your issues without aggravating your pain.
-Start small. Start with simple exercises that target the less painful parts of your body.
-Make it social time. Work out with a friend, especially one who has the same kinds of pain issues as you do. Having someone there to encourage you to keep going especially when you really don’t feel like it can be a priceless workout tool.
Some gentle exercise options:
Yoga: Because yoga positions involve a lot of stretching, it allows you to improve your flexibility over time. Yoga also strengthens your muscles so you can build your endurance for more strenuous activities. The breathing component of yoga might be just as helpful to ease chronic pain as the movement and stretching.
Walking: A lot of people underestimate the benefits of walking, but the fact is it is one of the best exercises you can do, whether you suffer from chronic pain or not. Invest in a pair of good walking shoes that will be able to give you sufficient support. Start small by walking a couple of blocks in your neighborhood, then gradually increase the distance as you build your strength.
Swimming: is great for people who have osteoarthritis, musculoskeletal issues or any joint disease where any kind of impact may exacerbate an underlying problem. Swimming (and other forms of water exercise) defies gravity, so there aren’t any unpleasant and potentially damaging jolts to the joints.
Tai Chi: a good exercise for the young and old alike is tai chi, a martial art that originated in China and, like yoga, cultivates mindfulness. Tai chi helps reduce pain and stiffness and also helps with building strength, endurance, and balance.
Pilates: in addition to people with back pain, people with fibromyalgia may benefit from Pilates. Pilates generally requires some instruction, so look for an experienced teacher.
Lightweight strength training: Weight training is particularly helpful for people suffering from arthritis, as it can strengthen the joints around the injury and takes stress away from the joint. Weights from an ounce to 5-10lbs will help. However, it’s important to pace yourself when doing these exercises. Start with a can of soup, if you’ve been inactive for a long time, or try doing sit-ups or push-ups around the house.
Mental Health – A Moment of CalmPosted on December 27, 2012
By Paige Abbott, M.Sc., R.Psych.
Finding a moment of serenity amongst the chaos and frenzy of the holiday season can be difficult. However, it is often when we are busiest that we need these moments the most! Meditation and yoga are often talked about in terms of their potential benefits for mental and physical well-being, yet are commonly forgotten or pushed aside during moments of stress. Below is a walkthrough for a calming breath exercise that is outlined in The Anxiety and Phobia Workbook by Edmund J. Bourne.
1. Breathing from your abdomen, inhale through your nose and count to five
2. Pause and hold your breath for five seconds
3. Exhale through your nose or mouth to a count of five
4. Take two breaths in your normal rhythm before repeating Steps 1-3
5. Breathe using Steps 1-4 for at least 3-5 minutes
6. Throughout the exercise, keep your breathing smooth and regular
Practising this exercise for a minimum of five minutes per day for two weeks can encourage calming breath as a habit and help people manage anxiety or panic attacks, as well as deal with stressful situations.
Addiction – Coping With the HolidaysPosted on December 24, 2012
By Wendy Hyman
Tis’ the season to be jolly….or not! The holidays can be difficult for individuals in recovery. Here are some general tips to help keep a recovery focus during the holidays:
- Prepare a plan and share your plan with someone to increase accountability. If you have sponsor, talk to them. If not, then find a close friend or healthy loved one you can talk to. Since the holidays can cause stress, loneliness, depression and worry your plan can incorporate how to deal with these uncomfortable feelings. It has been said that Addiction is a feelings disease so finding healthy ways to process and manage these is important.
- Keep connected with your recovery supports. Increase the number of times you go to meetings, if needed, and talk with your sponsor. Throw in some NEW meetings. Remember, your presence at a meeting is a gift to those in attendance. You do not need to share, showing up is a wonderful gift. Now is not the time to isolate, as ‘an addict alone is in bad company.’
- Stop stressing over presents. Make a card or send an email saying you will shovel their walk after the first snowfall. Or tell someone you are donating five hours of soup kitchen work in their honour this month. Can you promise to take a youngster to the park sledding as soon as it snows? Make presents manageable and realistic.
- Be of Service. Help someone out. You are not the only one going through a rough time. Look around there are plenty of people that have less than you. Helping them this time of year will help you immensely. Get out of your own head by serving others.
- Remember H.A.L.T: remind yourself not to get too hungry, angry, lonely or tired. It seems simple enough, but when these basic needs are not met, we are susceptible to self-destructive behaviours, including relapse. The dangers of hunger, anger, loneliness, and tiredness are real, but fortunately, they are also easy to address and serve as a warning system.
- Make a gratitude list and journal. It is almost impossible to feel sorry for yourself and grateful at the same time.
- We all know that the holidays foster togetherness, especially among family and friends, however it is important to be mindful of the vulnerabilities this creates and keep your recovery priorites in mind.
For more articles on the holidays and recovery, please visit the following link: Hazelden holiday articles
New Payment Option at HUMPosted on December 16, 2012
Did you know that you can pay for your HUM services via PayPal?
Sending money with PayPal is easier than running to the ATM. All you need is an email account. The service is free
, safe, and convenient. Follow the steps below to try it out:
1. Log onto www.paypal.com
2. Type in your invoice total and the HUM email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
3. Press Send. A receipt will be sent via email
What people are saying
I just wanted to thank Dr. Hajela, Sue and everyone else at the clinic for teaching me so much on this very short elective. I can see the tremendous difference your clinic makes in the lives of its patients, and it’s very inspiring.
“I am forever grateful for the opportunity and the staff. Each played a crucial role on my journey in recovery. It’s a safe place to be knowing I will be met with understanding, honesty, and compassion.”
“Exactly what I needed-a holistic approach to recovery. Fantastic team approach by the HUM team. Would highly recommend HUM for a successful start to recovery.”
“It was nothing like what I had expected, it was even better and where I am in my journey was originally unimaginable. Thank you for helping me find hope and curiosity!”
“I see that IOP gives me a chance to hear, absorb, integrate, and practice new ways of thinking and acting. Each phase and the time in between also allowed for this knowledge to start to become practical.”
“I really appreciated the professionalism of all the staff. The environment and the people are very welcoming”
“I am convinced this is the single most important program I have and ever will attend. Phenomenal!”
“I’m so impressed with how [Paige] and Dr. Hajela SO understand addiction, and how to help me see the blind spots, release some shame (or at least see it!), gain insight and connect with actually FEELING what is going on with me and how the disease shows up for me ….so amazing… Thank-you very much.”
“[The IOP] was an amazing opportunity. I liked the topics that were covered and the group therapy.”
“[For the IOP] I liked the balance of education, self-care, and sharing. I really like the ongoing discussion in the education sessions and sharing during this time, as well as in group [therapy]”
“[The IOP] was great-not just for recovery, but for life”
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“[IOP] group was great for opening up and constructive feedback”
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“[The IOP was] informative, interactive and entertaining. Keep up the great work!”
“Thank you for the very excellent group [therapy session]. The small change in perspective of my communication is making waves.”
“The newsletter sent to me was a reminder to thank you for your weekly video messages. They are quick but helpful bits of info which give you food for thought! Keep them coming!”
“The Family weekend [of the IOP] was incredible for me personally. Thank you many times over for this wonderful opportunity.”
Rebecca Foster, Foreward Reviews
The mixture of practical information and reassurances make this essential reading for patients and their loved ones.
With their first book, Addiction Is Addiction, Raju Hajela, Sue Newton, and Paige Abbott aim to foster “more open and honest dialogues about the role of Addiction in society, without stigma or judgment.” This comprehensive, well-organized guide discusses the features of addictive thinking and feeling, suggests holistic recovery methods, and offers useful definitions, diagrams, and case studies.
The authors are affiliated with Health Upwardly Mobile Inc., a health and wellness company based in Calgary, Alberta. Tracing the history of addiction back to the eighteenth century, when it was first known as “alcoholic disease syndrome,” they present an expert view of the disease’s symptoms and outlook. By stressing that addiction is a “chronic brain disease” rather than a “moral failing or personal weakness,” they evince a compassionate perspective that will encourage patients and their family members to examine their emotions and take a proactive, spiritual approach to recovery.
Addiction is influenced by both genetics and environment, the former accounting for perhaps 50 to 60 percent of incidence. Trauma does not cause it, but can aggravate it. Although the book is full of such relevant background details, the facts never become overwhelming thanks to the variety of materials included. Intriguing case studies, most of them narrated in first person, are set in italics, and diagrams and tables illustrate patients’ likely feelings, relationship roles, and recovery stages. Reading this should be an interactive experience, what with self-assessment questions and affirmations, a journaling template, and a recovery activities checklist with a sample schedule. Extensive endnotes and bibliography plus a helpful glossary provide ample resources for further research, and chapter summaries will ensure that all the take-home messages sink in.
Sometimes the book goes into too much detail for laymen. However, this means that it can be used by professionals as well as patients. An appendix on chakras seems out of place, even with the book’s focus on spiritual means of recovery. The authors have also made the unusual decision to always capitalize Addiction, “to emphasize that it is a proper noun and the name of a serious disease.” That’s as may be, but in practice it can look like a repeated typing mistake. Information appears to be specific to North America, especially when it comes to funding limitations and patient advocacy, but the general principles of care should be applicable worldwide.
This book is strongly recommended to those who have participated in groups like Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous. The mixture of practical information and reassurances will make it essential reading for patients and their loved ones.
Disclosure: This article is not an endorsement, but a review. The author of this book provided free copies of the book and paid a small fee to have his/her book reviewed by a professional reviewer. Foreword Reviews and Clarion Review make no guarantee that the author will receive a positive review. Foreword Magazine, Inc. is disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.
Three health care professionals present an approach to treating addiction as a disease having both physical and psychological components.
In this debut health book, Hajela, Newton, and Abbott address the challenges of addiction from a holistic medical and social perspective. The book opens with an explanation of addiction—which the authors capitalize throughout, part of their effort to mitigate the stigma associated with the word—as a condition that impairs the functions of the brain. They address the physical and behavioral symptoms associated with it, using pathology as a framework for understanding and treating addiction. Without blaming the patient for developing the condition in the first place, the book attempts to acknowledge the role of personal responsibility in managing a condition often attributed to individual shortcomings. The authors address medical treatments that can be effective for some forms of addiction, like alcohol and opiates, as well as the role of psychotherapy in treating underlying psychological problems and combating the thought patterns that lead to addiction behaviors. While much of the book is aimed at people dealing with addiction, later chapters discuss the roles of friends and family and treatment providers, along with strategies each group can employ in supporting the patient. For the most part, the book advocates a balanced, reasonable approach to dealing with addiction in its many forms, drawing on research and standard practices developed by mainstream organizations. As a result, it is disconcerting when the text introduces energy healing as a component of treatment: “It is important to understand that when people are out of balance in any of the energy centres, or chakras, people run at either a higher or lower level of energy.” Although an appendix explains the concept of chakras in more detail, energy healing is not essential to the book’s mission, and skeptics will still find it a useful resource for developing an approach to treating both the mental and physical aspects of addiction and understanding it as a chronic disease.
Comprehensive approach to treating addiction as a condition affecting both mind and body.
I have found HUM very supportive and non-judgmental, yet I have been challenged every step of the way. The spiritual, emotional, social, and intellectual teaching has been clear and consistent but never forced.
My experience has been mainly positive for the most part. Anything negative or perceived as negative, I have been able to discuss with staff and it is professionally dealt with.
I value my weekly [group therapy] sessions at HUM greatly. My personal experience there means more to me than I can describe in one paragraph. It helps me really understand my recovery and my life when sometimes I feel that everything is lost or in a state of confusion.
I was very fortunate to hear about HUM and then become a patient. I may well have averted death if I did not receive the guidance and support of HUM. Having the backing of HUM as I returned to work and went off again was invaluable. Dr. Hajela listened to me and had the knowledge and understanding that gave me the confidence to be patient in my early recovery. I was never judged though I expected to be. I am grateful beyond words for the help I received in battling my addiction.
Very professional , discreet, and honestly committed to helping people in recovery.
Thought provoking sessions that focus particularly on my addiction. Understanding a problem and all of the subtleties that come with it are crucial to my recovery.
I felt very safe and comfortable and I felt truly cared for by the staff and never judged
[The HUM IOP] was great, I learnt so much
I am very satisfied with the services I receive at HUM. I feel that I am recognized and acknowledged by the staff…I feel very comfortable coming to HUM and appreciate the team approach. In closing, I must say that I feel very supported by the professionals at HUM.
The HUM group is a great asset for any person struggling with addiction as well as the complicated issues that surround them.
I really like how open the staff are. They are easy to connect with and talk to.
The IOP is awesome! This was life changing for me
I appreciate the attitude that recovery is approached with
The IOP provides fantastic support and the feeling that problems are manageable, there is hope in recovery, and it is never too late to seek help