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Sunday, April 15, 2012

Eat Your Way to Pain Relief!


23 Nisan 5772

Many of my real life and cyber acquaintances are in physical pain due to accidents and/or to eating nutrition-challenged "foods" for Easter (candy only looks cute in the box, not in your gut) and Passover (too often overloaded with sugar and eggs, let alone matza). It's a memorable lesson in the harm that sugar and dietary excess can cause to human bodies.

Here are some helpful and quite economical tips from the "Coping with Pain" section of

I was in a freak accident in which my left elbow and ulna (a long, slim bone in the forearm) were broken in multiple locations. I’d been left-handed lifelong.

My disability was significant and my level of pain due to the complicated fracture was too awful to describe here. I took powerful painkillers that only removed a bit of the mega-wattage agony. Doctors in the hospital eventually gave me morphine so I could endure arm-saving surgery.

Physical therapy was a matter of raw courage. I wept through several sessions, struggling to restore the use of my hand, forearm and upper arm. I stopped taking narcotic painkillers over time, fearful of addiction problems from prolonged use.

Then I gradually put together an all-natural pain-reducing plan that worked.

Here’s some potentially helpful information for anyone healing from a bone fracture as I did, or for anyone interested in protecting their bone health.

I minimized the pain by:

·         Using my Personal Pain-o-Meter (explained a few paragraphs below)
·         Listening to soothing music
·         Sitting in cheer-me-up sunshine (which provides Vitamin D for strong teeth and bones) with and without friends
·         Basing part of my grocery list on advice from Dr. Neal Barnard’s Foods That Fight Pain book. I bought it after interviewing Dr. Barnard about some of his innovative health-promoting techniques several years ago (I’m still a health writer/journalist for hire, folks).

Shop as I do and you just might feel better after buying from the organic green-grocer and health food store:

Almonds with Raisins (really!)
Beans (soak them for a day, changing water 2-3 times so you won’t develop belly bloat)
Capsaicin Cream (a natural remedy made of chili pepper extracts!)
Fresh and powdered Ginger Root
Fresh Figs and/or Fig Jelly
Sweet Potatoes
Vitamin B6 (50-150 mg)
Vitamin E 400 IU

I ate the foods in abundance and took the vitamins once daily.

These old standbys also helped me:

·         Arnica Montana (a natural remedy that resembles tiny white pills)
·         Cuprum Metallicum (a natural remedy that also resembles tiny white pills)
·         Rescue Remedy Cream
·         Rescue Bach Remedy Drops
·         Any bar of soap at all. I have no idea why this folk remedy works, but after I place a bar of soap under a sweatshirt sleeve, under sheets, or upon some other area of sore muscles, the pain reduces noticeably.

Here are some sites that Dr. Barnard’s office recommends: and  

Be sure to visit for more information about the role of nutrition in a variety of diseases and conditions.

Oh – if you or the person you're caring for can't swallow pills, here are some possible solutions to the problem:

Crush the pills. Place them in a plastic sandwich bag and step on them if you lack a pill crushing appliance. Then mix the bits with applesauce. Be sure to shake all the powder into the applesauce, too.
Warm liquid jell-o is another alternative. Pudding works. So does pleasant-tasting yogurt. The idea is to provide a slippery, pleasant-tasting food in the mouth so that the medication will go into the tummy with it. The pleasant taste prevents gag reflex problems. The slippery textures make the swallowing much easier despite the fear of swallowing the pills. And children will be eager for more dessert at medication time. Be sure to remind them that the medicine is not dessert, the pudding, applesauce, jell-o or yogurt perform that yummy job.

Do you suffer from leg cramps that wake you during the night? I sympathize. Here are my suggestions for preventing them:


1.  DRINK WATER - dehydration can play a part in leg cramps.

2.  Stretch your calves during the day and night, especially before bed.

3.  Riding a bicycle is one of the best preventatives, but a stationary bicycle a few minutes in the evening can help, too.

4. Keep your blankets and sheets loose at the foot of the bed to prevent your toes from pointing downward as you sleep.

5. Prolonged sitting, poor or abnormal posture or inefficient biomechanics (possibly related to poor flexibility) may cause leg cramping. Compensate as best you can.

6.  Do the "Seaweed Soak": eating seaweed and drinking seaweed previously soaked in water before a meal. Eat, juice or blend good amounts of green leafy vegetables (parsley, squash, Swiss chard, etc.) and carrots, etc. Munch on sesame seeds and even add them to nut milks (e.g., almond milk). These foods hold tremendous amounts of magnesium, calcium, etc.  which are very important for muscle comfort and function. You can learn about juicing and making nut milks in books or online.

7. Mix 1 teaspoon organic honey and 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar. Drink it once daily to prevent muscle cramps.

Certain leg stretching exercises can also help.

1. Stand 30 inches from the wall.
2. While keeping your heels on the floor, lean forward, put your hands on the wall, and slowly move your hands up the wall as far as you can reach comfortably.
3. Hold the stretched position for 30 seconds. Release.
4. Repeat steps 1 through 3 two more times.
5. For best results, practice this exercise in the morning, before
your evening meal, and before going to bed each night.

Let's shift focus now, to Mind over Matter. Want to know how a Personal Pain-o-Meter works?

My recovery from that severely broken arm (doctors had to install a permanent metal brace under the skin, along my bones, in order to save the arm) had been challenging, to put it politely. I'd wept from awful, awful pain that major painkillers (including morphine) hardly affected. But I learned to cope with the agony by reducing it at will. Now I'm ready to share that technique with you.

Want relief from the physical pain of your medical condition? Try this nifty trick. Turn down the dial on your Personal Pain-o-Meter, a terrific technique that friend/Life Coach Ben Goldfarb taught me. Pain that does not serve a function is pain we can banish at will.

Go on. Create a dial in your mind. Study it. Say the level of your pain out loud: "On a scale from one to ten, ten being the worst level of pain, I have a pain level of... (fill in the blank with a number from 1-10)," then say this out loud, "I can lower my pain. I'm lowering it to (name the ever-lower wattage at each new pain-lowering session)..."

Then do it. Imagine the arrow on your Personal Pain-o-Meter dialing downward. Push it down with your mind. Choose to reduce your pain. Aim for less than half your present pain level.

Try again until you make progress. Yes, I know it's difficult. I do this exercise, too. My physical therapy workouts were not pleasant. C'mon. Try it again.

You can set aside time as often as needed to work at aiming that arrow increasingly down. You'll know you've succeeded when you realize that your discomfort feels significantly less than it felt earlier. Keep spinning that arrow down until your pain is as low as possible.

Ta-daaa, this is your one-step solution for pain reduction:


Buy the E-book or print edition of EMPOWER Yourself to Cope with a Medical Challenge  for more feel-better ideas you can afford!

Face Your Medical Problems with Dignity.
Face Your Future with Optimism.

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