Steps for Better Sleep

Sleep Hygiene is the habits, behaviors, and environmental factors that lead to a good nights sleep.

Think about the last few nights. Were you craving restorative sleep? Were you exhausted? Did you finally fall asleep just to wake up a couple hours later? Did you lie there thinking will I get more sleep? How do I work, parent, or see my friends when I am this tired? Will I have to call into work again or cancel going out because I cannot FUNCTION! Will my boss fire me? How will I pay the bills? No wonder you cannot fall back to sleep.

GET OUT OF BED if unable to fall asleep after 20 minutes.

Do something restful like sitting in a dark room. If you must read, use low light and read something boring.

Here are the first six steps from the Center for Clinical Interventions’ excellent Fifteen steps to good Sleep Hygiene. Check out all fifteen.

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Chronic Pain Robs Our Sleep

Chronic pain robs our sleep. How have you been robbed?

It is time to sleep. Your many pillows are in place. The heating pad is turned on. You take a sleeping pill. Oh, the possibility of sleep awaits. Yet three hours later you awaken because of pain and this has been going on for years.

Did you know that a word was created for this inability to sleep because of pain?


People with chronic pain lose one to two hours of sleep a night!!!

  • They wake up two to three times a night.
  • They lose high-quality sleep. 
  • If you have persistent pain, you may also have Painsomnia.

Dawn Gibson and Dr. Ben Nowell wrote in Proving Pansomnia is Real, “Painsomnia is a patient-generated term for the vicious cycle of pain and sleep deprivation or fatigue related to a chronic condition or its treatment.” 

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Body Scanning for Pain Management

Picture of an artist body to view the whole body when body scanning.

What is Body Scanning?

Body Scanning is a great pain management tool. I originally learned it in physical therapy while being treated for fibromyalgia. The PT taught me to scan my body and to notice any areas of discomfort, aches, or pain. Elizabeth Scott, MS in her article Body Scan Meditation stated, “The goal is not to relieve the pain completely, but to get to know it and learn from it so you can better manage it.”

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Quick Stress Reduction Tools

Crisis from the stress of the pandemic
Photo by Markus Winkler

Quick stress reduction tools are needed now more than ever! Has your pain increased over the last few months? Well, stress and pain go hand in hand.

The American Psychological Association’s article Stress Effects on the Body states: “Chronic stress causes the muscles in the body to be in a more or less constant state of guardedness. For example, …migraine headaches are associated with chronic muscle tension in the area of the shoulders, neck, and head.

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To Be Healed Does Not Equal Cured

To be healed does not equal to be cured when you have chronic pain because the chronic pain is persistent, incurable, and permanent.

Neon question mark to symbolizing understand healing does not mean cured.

But who doesn’t want to be free of all symptoms of a disease or a condition?

How much has it cost you physically and emotionally to NOT be healed?

If you are not cured of your chronic pain symptoms, does it mean you will never feel well?

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Metaphors for Chronic Pain

I found new metaphors for my chronic pain while sitting in the Tillamook Rainforest for four days with no technology to distract me. During this period, I listened for wisdom.

Vision Quest and Metaphors

I wrote in my journal “Walk between the raindrops. Your thoughts about pain flow so closely together that you think you can’t avoid it. Look at science. There is a massive amount of openness within your own body. See the vastness in your cells. Think of this as the space between the raindrops. Vast.”

Once I returned home, I researched this concept and found “…your friends, your office, your really big car, you yourself, and even everything in this incredible, vast Universe – are almost entirely, 99.9999999 percent empty space.” Ali Sundermier  

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Coronavirus and Chronic Pain

Coming Home to the Coronavirus

We came home from the beach to the Coronavirus!!!

My husband and I were at the Oregon Coast for our yearly vacation in early March. The decision was made to stay off the Internet while in our room and to only briefly check emails when out.

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Weather and Chronic Pain?

Weather and chronic pain go hand in hand. You may have heard someone say, “It’s going to rain tomorrow. I can feel it in my bones.”

What is Barometric Pressure?

Barometer to indicate barometric pressure.

“…barometric pressure is the measurement of air pressure in the atmosphere…” Read the Setra Systems blog to understand it from the scientific aspect.

Changes in barometric pressure affect many people with chronic pain. Weather and chronic pain work together.

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GOALS CHANGE with Chronic Pain

I used to have up to 100 goals a year and I completed them. I then created systems to work more efficiently so I could take on MORE while parenting, spending time with my husband, family, girlfriends and volunteering.

I loved goals. I had them created for 5, 10 and 20 years into the future.

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Does Chronic Pain Control You?

How do you Heal?

Back pain.

Does chronic pain control you? Do you have days where the damage exists and controls your thoughts? Are you depressed about the things you can no longer do? Is thriving is so far away from where you are that you can only imagine being controlled by your pain?

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I Believe in Spring

Purple and pink crocuses dot the grass. Daffodils push up through the rain-soaked earth. The daphne’s fragrance permeates the air.

The next day I woke up to a light dusting of snow. Then a mighty deluge of Oregon rain for a few days. And yesterday the sun popped out. This all happened in one week.

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Just For Today Let Other’s Words Soothe Your Pain

Look for words that uplift you

If you are having a day where your thoughts keep turning to your pain, search out other’s writing that uplifts you. Sometimes just reading another point of view, can pull you into a new place and reduce your discomfort.

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Chronic or Persistent Pain Basics

You need Chronic or Persistent Pain Basics in your pain management tools. If you are in the midst of a flare, this becomes even more important, so I am keeping this simple. Here’s a review of many of the tools that I have posted in past blogs.

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My Brain Surgery Didn’t Work. Now What?

Now What?

3 months since brain surgery…

~ Hole cut in my skull

~ 5 arteries moved

~ Teflon inserted

~ Titanium plate inserted

~ 17 days later trigeminal nerve pain returned

~ 42 days later all nerve pain returned

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Silence as a Coping Skill for Chronic Pain

Allow silence

Feel your body relax.

Create a few minutes, an hour, or a day to rest from words.

I’m coping this week.

Using all of my tools.

Silence came forward and said, “Use me!”

Sending peace to you all.


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9 Easy Ways to Reduce Your Chronic Pain

Use this list to start the New Year and consciously reduce your pain.

Trust that they work. There is a reason that you’ve probably heard most of these suggestions. Why? Because they consistently help!

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Make your pain management tools list for the new year!

What tools are you using daily to help you with your pain?

Because chronic pain is so taxing on your mind and body, you need to take action to reduce it. You can look up how all the items on this list help reduce pain and you will find evidence-based proof. It’s science!

The New Year is a great time to update your existing list or build one for the first time.

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Chronic Pain and Self-Care

If this is your season of celebration, please take a moment for your own self-care.

What can you do during this potentially busy season?

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Shapeshifting Relieves Chronic Pain

What? Really? How? Shapeshifting?

In mythology, fairy tales, or shamanic lore, shapeshifting is typically defined as when humans change into someone or something else. One of the most common examples in movies and books is a werewolf. If you were bitten by a werewolf, you would then transform from a man into a wolf at every full moon. Completely!

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Words and Chronic Pain

“Never own a disease. Reduce the amount of time you talk about it. Refuse to allow illness a place in your consciousness.”

Every time I read this it stops me in my tracks just as pain can stop me. I think about this and work on it daily in order to thrive. When my symptoms flare, it’s as if the disease is working to find a place in my consciousness.

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Holidays and Chronic Pain

Do you have to keep doing all the holiday traditions?

What is most important?

Is it your family? Is it your friends?  Buying presents? Wrapping presents? Stuffing stockings? Decorating? Cooking? Cleaning? Caring for the emotional health of everyone else?

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Chronic Pain Support Groups

I am in several online support groups for Trigeminal Neuralgia and Occipital and Glossopharyngeal Neuralgia. I have learned so much about these conditions, what gives relief, and what procedures have been successful for others because I joined five years ago.

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Distraction is the Most Powerful Analgesic

The Number one Thing you can do for Pain Relief

Distraction is the most powerful analgesic because it helps you stop catastrophizing every ache and pain. “… it appears to involve competition for attention between a highly salient sensation (pain) and consciously directed focus on some other information processing activity.” How Does Distraction Work in the Management of Pain?

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Brain Surgery

I recently had brain surgery to cure Trigeminal, Occipital and Glossopharyngeal Neuralgia.

My husband and I had the luxury of going to the beautiful Oregon Coast for five days just before my procedure. The night before, we went to the Oregon Symphony with my parents, sisters, and brothers-in-law to listen to Motown songs. I was feeling the ocean and hearing the toe-tapping tunes as I rolled into surgery.

I highly recommend if you have an operation coming up, do something you adore the week before or at least the night before. Your recovery will be smoother. It’s science.

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Friendship Distracts From Chronic Pain

Last month, I got to see two of my long-time girlfriends that I have known since 1997. You know. The kind that distance and time do not matter and when you get together it is as if no time has passed. This was not only good for my soul, but it was amazing how this visit distracted from my aches and pains.

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Track Your Chronic Pain Health History

Without any notice, my neurologist of nearly three years quit. I was assigned to a new one and six months later the entire practice was no longer covered by my health insurance plan.

I had to find a new neurologist!

The doctor did not have recommendations for me. I called the health plan and asked for a list of neurologists who specialized in facial pain/Trigeminal and Occipital Neuralgia. They told me to go to their website, look up the specialty I wanted and call that office.

After a week of phone calls, I found someone and I called. They told me to have my primary care provider (PCP) send a referral. I explained that he did not treat me for this disease. Their response? “Your health plan requires a referral from your PCP.

My PCP told me to make an appointment to discuss this and then he would give me a referral. The referral was approved and I was finally able to make an appointment. It was scheduled for 5 MONTHS from the date I spoke with the scheduler.

After I told my husband about it, he asked, “Do you track all of this anywhere?”

“Do you mean the 22-page document I have that has every nuance of my health care encounters since 2014?”

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I Retired From Who I Was Because of Chronic Pain

I retired from being me

At the beginning of the pain, I was just trying to get through each day. I went from doctor to doctor trying to figure out what was wrong with me while still living, working, volunteering, partnering, laughing and doing activities of daily life.

I updated websites and kept books for clients, but I began to make mistakes. I was no longer reliable, so I reluctantly quit.

I continued to work in my home office with clients who had emotional and physical pain. When I called a new client as they were on their way to their appointment and said, “I need to cancel. I have a neurological disease and am in too much pain to see you this morning.” I knew it was time to quit working.

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The Benefits of Chronic Pain

Note that it is probably too soon to see the advantages if you have just been diagnosed with chronic pain. Trust me. I live with a number of persistent pain diseases. There will come a time when you can’t help but reflect on the changes you have made.

In the initial frantic days of getting diagnosed, then moving through shock, denying my disease, blaming, anger, and loneliness, I had no idea that I would one day see through this hurt, feel grateful and be able to list the benefits of my diseases.

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Pain Does Not Equal Harm

Pain does not equal harm. What?

I admit that this was one of the hardest things for me to understand. How can that be? But I have nerves that are spasming. How is this not damaging them? Are you sure they are not getting torn each time this happens? No?

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Gratitude Heals Chronic Pain

I did not say Gratitude Cures Chronic Pain.

I have permanent incurable diseases however; I am healed more every day by the actions I take.

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Trigeminal Neuralgia and Chronic Pain

A quick blog today.

My video of my TN story posted today on the US Pain Foundation’s site. Click here to view the video.

Please know that there are many organizations putting research dollars into your chronic pain disease and offering helpful ideas on how to thrive in your daily life.

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Sites Talking About Pain Awareness Month

In honor of attention being focused on those who live with chronic pain, I thought I would make a quick list of sites that are concentrating on helping you improve your life!

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September is National Pain Awareness Month

You don’t have to do much searching on the Internet to find good pain resources for most diseases. Leaving the comfort of your home to find credible information and support is difficult if you are in the midst pain flares. What a gift to have this access at your fingertips.

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Distraction and Chronic Pain

I read somewhere that “Distraction is the most powerful analgesic of all.” I cannot find who said it, but I want to give thanks to this idea.

The Action of Distraction

When I am really focused on something and especially if I am laughing, my pain is not as strong. Sometimes, I don’t notice it at all. “…distractions are effective mechanisms for reducing pain,” said Jason Buhle, who conducted research as part of his doctoral dissertation at Columbia University.

Have you noticed that when you are completely engaged in a project, a tv show, a movie (especially of high intensity or funny), conversation with a friend, exercise, sex, dancing, or reading that you don’t feel your pain so intensely? It seems like it has almost moved to the background.

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Hearing “You Manifested Your Illness” Causes More Pain

I have heard the following clichés during my years with chronic illnesses:

You attracted this for a reason. Think positive. Think happy thoughts. God never gives you more than you can handle. When one door closes another one opens. Your pain can be a blessing if you look at it from the right perspective.

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Tasers, Metaphors and Chronic Pain

The Taser like pains raged through my head again. My medications seemed to be less effective as time passed with this permanent and incurable disease of Trigeminal Neuralgia (TN). I told others that it felt like a Taser was shot into my head. People with neuralgia pain will often use this descriptor. I certainly did. Still do. Yet I have never been tased.

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Scan your body to reduce chronic pain

I was having lightening like stabs and jolts in the left side of my head, and jaw and eye and I automatically started scanning my body. This is a process I learned over 25 years ago when I was first diagnosed with Fibromyalgia. The goal was to notice what was happening in all areas, not just those that felt painful.

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Chronic Pain and the Silver Linings

My longtime friend was telling me about another procedure she had for her bladder. She spent the last few years dealing with the after effects of cancer and radiation.

She said with her usual good humor and sarcasm, “Well at least I have a family camping trip coming up. Silver linings!”

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Flares and Chronic Pain

The recent flare was gone…

As I opened my eyes this morning, I knew the recent flare was gone. The low burning and ache that is always with me was still there, but the last three day’s assault to my body and psyche had dissipated.

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“No,” is a Complete Sentence!

“No,” is a Complete Sentence

I read these words a few years ago. I do not remember what I was reading, but it struck a deep knowing within the part of me that listens. Deeply listens.

woman looking at sunset

Why? Because I was a YES person for decades and my health ultimately suffered. I said yes when in pain, exhausted, and overwhelmed. And I usually had a smile/grimace pasted on my face.

Do you say yes to everything, even when your body needs you to say no?

Margarita Tartakovsky, MS said, “It’s just two letters, and yet saying no can feel really hard — even complicated. For many of us, saying no doesn’t just feel awkward. It feels wrong.” Check out her thoughts on How and When To Say No.

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Preventative MIGRAINE Medication

Preventative migraines medications are finally available and that is exciting news for all those who suffer.

REDUCE MONTHLY MIGRAINES by 50% or more for many people!

After 50 years of migraine headaches, I used an injectable medication for three months, and it reduced my migraines. In just three months! I have used it since February of 2020 with the same excellent results. I want everyone who has migraines or knows those who do to hear about CGRPs.

Most medications are for use after the symptoms begin. Wouldn’t it be better to treat the cause and not have the headache start?

Is My Migraine Story Like Yours?

Image depicting a migraine

My story may be a lot like yours if you’ve been dealing with migraines for decades. I suddenly had red zigzag lines in front of my eyes in the eighth grade. Soon after that, I felt like a hammer smashed down on the top of my head, and I could not stand the bright lights.

My mom (a registered nurse) picked me up from school and took me to see a pediatric neurologist that day. She thought I had a brain tumor. I don’t remember much about that pain-filled time, but I do recall hearing the doctor say, “She has a textbook migraine.”

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National Migraine & Pain Headache Awareness Month

June is National Migraine & Headache Awareness Month

This is a quick blog to let you know some great sites for head pain. Take the time to research new treatment options.

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Chronic Pain “It Is What It Is”

I watched Jerry Seinfeld’s “23 Hours to Kill” on Netflix last night. He was speaking about phrases that he doesn’t like and the first one he said was, “It is what it is.”

My husband and I started laughing because I use it when people ask about my chronic pain.

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