Tag Archives: spinal stenosis

Is it Woo-Woo?

Gentle Reader,

Climbing up a long snowy track on cross country skis yesterday, my companions and I talked about little miracles, ‘woo-woo’ magic, the unexplained healing that sometimes occurs.  The husband of one friend has suffered from arthritis in both ankles for about 5 years, so bad that he could barely walk.  He is in his late 50’s.  The friend herself worked a stressful tech job that required her to bend over patients.  She suffered from excruciating pain from her head down her neck, along her shoulders and down her arms.  In time the pain reached down her back.

The man, slim, fit, an avid cyclist who couldn’t walk without extreme pain, got one of his ankles fused, a newish operation for arthritis.  They chose the more painful of the two to work on.  The operated ankle no longer hurts.  The ‘woo-woo’ miracle is that the other ankle no longer hurts. He can walk 5 miles.  The x-rays indicated that both ankles were equally damaged by the disease.  Hum. . . . . .

The friend with the pain from bending over at work?  Her doctor’s diagnosed fibromyalgia and offered drug therapy.  After much consideration, she retired from her job.  All the pain has vanished.

Were the x-rays wrong?  Were the doctors missing something?

In my own case, I hurt my back badly at age 52.  By the age of 55, I was diagnosed with a severe condition that my doctor said would put me in a wheel chair.  At age 75, I am pretty much pain free.  I haven’t had any of the operations they suggested.  A check up with more pictures at age 65, the doc said, “If I didn’t know you, I’d say you should be in a wheel chair.”

What’s going on here?  These three stories, my friend with diagnosed fibromyalgia, her husband with arthritic ankles and me with a back condition so bad I should be in a wheel chair all have to do with pain and the skeletal structure, nerves and pain messaging.  Compelling research has been done with thought, intention and cancer.  Here is a short video about this healing work. Do Thoughts Have the Power to Heal? Could similar healing happen with skeletal and nerve problems?  Even if you don’t direct intention to the condition such as with my friend’s husband?  He’s not interesting in discussing the ‘miracle’ healing of the second ankle.

You can read my story and what I’ve done to be pain free today in past blog posts.  Perhaps the most important thing is hope, belief and action, in that order.  I seldom miss my morning routine to limber everything up.  I listen to a CD meditation that declares night after night that my cells have all the right nutrients to recreate themselves new and healthy, even the ones in my back that are supposed to be all messed up.

Miracles of healing?  As the doctor says, “whatever you’re doing, keep it up.”  And so I do.  How about you?

Fondly,

Be Well, Do Well, Keep Moving

Betsy

Injured at 52. Diagnosed and sentenced to a wheel chair at 55 and 65.  Hiking, skiing, dancing and walking at 75.  Read my story.  

206 933 1889  www.GrandmaBetsyBell.com   Betsy@HiHoHealth.com

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Are you feeling less alert?

Gentle Reader,

If you are suffering pain from arthritis, osteoarthritis, spinal stenosis, the regular wear and tear of life, you need good deep sleep to help you heal.  I’ve written about Feldenkris, a therapy that helps with these painful conditions.  I’ve mentioned Becci Parsons, who got me on the road to sitting/standing/walking after herniating a disc.  Today I am posting her helpful solutions and suggestions for next steps for anyone who suffers from lack of sleep. Read on….  

 

Change Your Sleep.  Change Your Life.

Are you feeling less alert?

Are you unable to think clearly or sustain your focus?

Do you have difficulty falling asleep or problems with frequent awakening during the night?

If so, you may be suffering from insomnia.

We tend to think of insomnia as the constellation of symptoms that we experience just before sleep or during the night when we awaken with our mind racing and the bed sheets twisted.  The process of insomnia actually begins much earlier in the day for most of us.

How?

Through the choices we make about how we spend our time.

The obvious culprits:

That afternoon pick-me-up latte or caffeinated green tea smoothie.

It could take between 9-14 hours to fully metabolize the caffeine.  Even if you have no difficulty falling asleep, the caffeine could undermine the quality and duration of your sleep.

Evening computer use or cell phone email/texting, watching tv or reading using an e-reading device.  Blue light from many of these devices is as bright as daylight and activates the nervous system sending the brain and body into “wake up mode”.

And what about the emotional responses that are triggered by these late night, last minute, urgent communications?

Life in the twenty first century is stressful and fast paced.  A full, zoom-zoom workday of 8-12 hours is often followed by a long commute and sometimes a cocktail or a glass of wine to take the edge off.  We eat late, do a few more email or text messages; watch a movie, read or log on to Facebook in an effort to wind down.  Unfortunately very few of these activities actually promote relaxation and set the stage for a good night’s sleep. Most of them tip the nervous system far in the other direction to a state of hyper-arousal.

Hyper-arousal is a chronic over-activation of the body’s stress-response mechanism.  There’s no instant ON/OFF switch. When these pathways are repeatedly excited, they become the default setting.  We essentially travel a well-worn path leading us in the direction of elevated blood pressure, holding our breath, clinching our jaw and lifting our shoulders, without respite.  Many of these sensations fly below the radar of our self-perception and become the background noise of our busy, over stimulated lives.

What to do?

“For fast acting relief, try slowing down”. –Lily Tomlin

On the one hand, we can increase the quality and duration of a good night’s sleep simply by making better choices.  Following a good sleep hygiene program is an empowering start.  For more detailed information about sleep hygiene refer to the following link:

 http://www.sleepfoundation.org/article/ask-the-expert/sleep-hygiene

We also need to hit the pause, re-set button during the day to get off of the cortisol/ adrenaline high that many of us associate with feeling good and being productive.  Functioning under the influence of stress hormones is not a sustainable practice. Biological systems thrive with ebb and flow. Metabolically speaking, we need to interrupt the cycle of prolonged excitation and dial things down to a more balanced, calm and functional neutral.

Learning to move more fluidly between states of stress and relaxation is key.  It is positive motion in the direction of re-establishing the natural biological rhythms of exertion and recuperation.  Think of it as self-regulation with applied intelligence.  When we develop the capacity to meet the demands of a stressful moment and the flexibility to return to a state of equanimity in a relatively short amount of time, not only will we sleep better, but we’ll also be a kinder, gentler, version of ourselves.

Becci Parsons offers workshops and private coaching in the techniques of the Sounder Sleep System® in the interest of helping to create a more sane and peaceful world.  Restful sleep is necessary for the healthy function of every system in the body and helps to regulate mood, energy and emotional intelligence.

The Sounder Sleep System® is comprised of a variety of calming and sleep inducing techniques to be used during the day and at bedtime, taught while sitting or lying down. The simple exercises are designed to restore our natural capacity to rest, recover and heal from the stress of daily life, one breath at a time.  They are elegantly simple and simply profound.

For more information about private sleep coaching or to inquire about the introduction to the Sounder Sleep System® Workshop in February 2013, contact me:

Becci Parsons, Authorized Teacher, Sounder Sleep System®

Guild Certified Feldenkrais Teacher®

MotionSense Movement Education

bparsons@seanet.com

206.545.7272

www.BecciParsons.com

206.545.7272

Thank you, Becci.  Be sure to leave a comment or suggestion of your own.

Fondly, Betsy

Be Well, Do Well and Keep Moving

BetsyBell’s Health4u

www.GrandmaBetsyBell.com

206 933 1889  1 888 283 2077

betsy@hihohealth.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Where’s the Nyquil?

Gentle Readers, 

From the couch, handkerchiefs everywhere, head propped up I write to tell you the story of a person who used to get every cold bug that came along.  In the old days, I grabbed the Coricidin and then the Nyquil P.M. and then went whimpering to my doctor.  He gladly swabbed my throat and pronounced strep or bronchitis and prescribed an anti-biotic.  It happened roughly three times every year.  That’s a lot of antibiotics for a body to handle. 

Down in Mexico where I spent New Year’s (came home on the 10th of January), I felt a little sore throat coming on and that lethargy that seems to precede an illness.  For the past twenty six years I haven’t used the standard over-the-counter meds to ward off or treat a cold.  Starting on a food supplement program in 1985 moved me in a different direction.  My friend suggested heaps of vitamin C frequently, and garlic and a supplement called lecithin (less-i-thin).  They use it in salad dressings to keep the oil and water mixed together, emulsified.  It works the same way in the body, keeping gunk liquefied so it can leave in the waste stream.  Very helpful when you have buggers forming so fast you can’t cough them all up at once. 

What I figured out was the cold medicines suppress everything, drive the battle between my immune system’s response fighters and the germs, down, down, down into my chest.  The mass gets all sticky and gelatinous and won’t move.  Nyquil suppresses coughing (which can keep you awake).   The raging war between the good guys and the bad guys in your body gets all confined in a small space and the germs multiply and get all bacterial.  Then you’ve got something the doctor knows how to treat, so he writes a prescription. 

Is this familiar to anyone?

By the time I got home, I developed a full blown cold or maybe even the beginnings of the flu.  I certainly had achy joints and swollen lymph glands.  I got out the big guns.  Please bear with me and try not to freak out at the quantity of supplements I take when this situation develops.

4 – 6 Sustained Release C

3       Lecithin

3—4 Garlic

1       Immunity Formula I (a supplement blend of C, A, E and 3 of the B vitamins, plus zinc, copper and selenium suspended in rosemary oil so the water soluble (C and B) and the fat soluble (A and E) vitamins don’t degrade each other)

I took this handful of supplements every 2 – 3 hours I was awake, swallowing them down with a little drink of protein smoothie so my stomach could handle them.

I also drank Traditional Medicinals herbal teas Throat Coat and Breath Easy, usually stirring in a throat lozenge made of Echinacea, zinc, larch tree extract, elderberry and stevia, 3 at once.  Every time a coughing fit started, I popped a lozenge in my mouth.  When I awoke in the night coughing or to pee, I went to the kitchen and took the whole Marianne all over again. 

Happily the carcass of the Thanksgiving turkey was languishing in the freezer and there were carrots and celery and onion still in the frig.  The broth worked magic and I drank a couple quarts with a little cous cous boiled up in it. 

Results:  In one day the achy joints and lymph were normal.  In two more days, I was not coughing in the night.  By day four I was able to enjoy some regular food and was not needing the Bomb as we call it every 2 – 3 hours, just every 4 – 5 hours. 

Today I am healthy though a little puny from lack of exercise.

No antibiotics.  No OTC drugs. 

This is the same philosophy and process I use for dealing with other physical challenges like joint pain and arthritis.  Even though the x-ray shows severe osteoarthritis and spinal stenosis, gentle abs strengthening exercises, daily walking, eating lots of greens, and low sugar fruits and vegetables plus excellent protein, plus supplements keeps pain at bay. 

Is it easier to take the medications advertized on TV and recommended at the pharmacy?  Is it cheaper to take them?  Is the relief immediate?  YES to all these.  But what of the long term effects of drugs vs. high quality pure supplements?  Drugs have side effects.  Supplements made with extreme care for additives, purity of ingredients, and tested to make sure they actually get into the blood stream have side-benefits, not side-effects. 

Just a side note about Ester-C.  Apparently this little package which you dissolve in water and swallow, will boost the white cell production thus helping the immune system.  The study designed to verify this was done with 15 healthy men some of whom were smokers.  Each took the Ester-C product for a week and had an increase in the white cell count.  To read the study yourself, click here.  I just had to look this up because what I know about vitamin C is that it is water soluble and degrades immediately when exposed to light and air and water.  The tablets probably work better.  I found an online source for 1000 mg. sustained release Ester-C for $21 plus tax and shipping.  But I still have lots of questions.  Is their C ascorbic acid only?  What about the white stuff in the orange which turns out to be just as important?  What is used to slow down the release of C into the blood stream?  You want guar gum and nothing artificial separating the dosage delivery.  And the Sustained Release Vitamin C I take is 180 tablets for $21.00.  It’s made by Shaklee, a company I trust for its scientific research and the careful testing every step of the way from raw material, through processing to the finished product.

One more thought.  Not every stomach can handle that amount of supplements.  You noticed I do not take supplements on an empty stomach if I can help it.  If you want to follow this regimen, I’d be glad to guide you along the way.  By all means pay attention to your own body and pull back on the volume if you have a reaction to that much Vitamin C.  I am just happy I have this resource to use to ease the discomfort of a bad cold and to get over it quickly with no medications at all and so no side effects with their residual problems. 

I did not take a flu shot this season or any season.  Am I recommending against flu shots?  I’d be a fool to do that.  Use your own judgment. 

Before you go, leave a comment.  If you liked what you read, pass it on.

Fondly, Betsy

Be Well, Do Well and Keep Moving

BetsyBell’s Health4u

www.GrandmaBetsyBell.com

206 933 1889  1 888 283 2077

betsy@hihohealth.com

 

 

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Help! Gotta have chocolate now!

Gentle reader,

How are you doing with those plans to take a few inches off?  Are you starving yet?  Are cravings getting the better of your will power?  What’s this got to do with arthritis and joint pain, anyway?

The research has been done and is conclusive beyond a doubt that losing even 15 pounds (you may have 50 to 100 to lose) in any body will make a difference in the joints.  Even people with severe osteoarthritis will experience relief from joint pain with the loss of 15 pounds.  You may have lost that much and noticed.  You may have put it back on again, and noticed an increase in arthritis pain.

A recent article in our Seattle based natural market, Puget Consumer Coop gives us a good understanding of cravings and why they are so difficult to eliminate.  We are hard-wired as humans from the beginning of time to go for high-calorie food for our survival.  When a bee hive was discovered in a high tree, no attempt was made to save it for tomorrow.  The whole tribe ate all the honey they could harvest until it was gone.  Just like that plate of cookies sitting on the counter.  Or that pint of Ben and Jerry’s we were going to split into at least 5 servings spaced out over the next two and a half weeks.  Gone in one sitting.

Then we beat ourselves up for lack of self control.  Blame it on our chemistry.  Salt, fat and sugar were scarce.  We love eating them because they increase the feel good chemicals in our brain.  For example, dopamine is neurotransmitter that high-fat foods increase regulating our reward and pleasure centers and making us happy.  Who wouldn’t want that? Bring on the ice cream and the French fries.

Or maybe it’s the theobromine (found in chocolate) that gives us a pick me up when our brain and tail drag around 3 in the afternoon.  That mocha latte is just the thing delivering caffeine, sugar and chocolate all in one gulp—feel good and get energized.  I used to advise clients to eat a magnesium supplement to supply what chocolate cravings demand.  The scientific thinking a few years ago was that cravings indicated a nutritional or emotional deficiency and something less unhealthy could be substituted for the same results.

You’re in luck, and so am I.  Turns out it is wiser not to deprive yourself completely of these craved for foods.  The more you deprive yourself, the more you crave.  Once you give in to the craving, you can’t stop until the plate is empty. You may even head for the store to get a refill, more cookie dough that you might not even bother baking, or, let’s just pick up a gallon of that Rocky Road ice cream.  I know a guy who holds back with great effort from eating peanut butter and then gives up with a great sign and is face down in the Adams jar with two cereal spoons.  OMG I’ve been there and done that.

They even found that people who practice severe and rigid dietary restraint are more likely to be obese.  That’s a yo-yo from deprivation to over-consumption.

<———————————–The Hunger Scale——————————->
0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Empty Ravenous Over hungry Hunger pangs Hunger Awakens Neutral Just Satisfied Completely satisfied Full Stuffed Sick

Thanks to Kelly Morrow, MS, RD, registered dietitian and Associate Professor in the School of Nutrition and Exercise Science at Bastyr University for much of this information and the Hunger Chart.  and 2 equate to excess hunger and 9 and 10 are excess fullness.  Start eating around 3 or 4 and stop when at a 7-8.

Two strategies can make a big difference in how these cravings get handled.

1. Ease up.  Have a taste.  Savor it.  Before the cravings are so great they can’t be handled without an all-out binge.  Be gentle with yourself and eat small portions of your comfort food.

2.  Keep a food diary so you can really understand how moods, physical location, memories influence the desperate need for comfort foods.  Once you have a clearer understanding of your body’s response to certain trigger situations, you can plan ways to disarm your craving, like take a walk.

My sugar craving was severe and the results caused me so much misery.  I could not stay awake in an important lecture or concert any time of the day or evening after eating sweet rolls, cookies, muffins, toast and jelly.  I would get up during a talk and walk around the back of the room to stay alert after a couple Costco bran muffins put me sound asleep.  To this day when I go to an all day meeting or conference and they serve sweet bread-y things with juice and coffee, I don’t touch any of it.  Instead I mix a protein smoothie in my room and drink it before showing up for the pre-event sugary snacks.  They still tempt me.  They look so good.  But I’m not hungry because I have taken in a high protein drink and it’s easier to resist what I know will keep me from being alert to the content I want so much to hear.

Getting to this place was an arduous process for me.  I had to eliminate all sugars, even fruit, for a while.  Grapes still set me off as though I were eating Sugar Pops or M & M’s.  Once I thoroughly re-programmed my craving buttons, I just don’t think about those trigger foods.  I was just in Mexico for a couple weeks.  One of the great pleasures all those years visiting at my parents’ lovely beach house in Manzanillo was the morning “pan dulce” delivery.  Mother would buy several little cakes for each person.  They were heavy with lard, flour and sugar, almonds and icing.  This Christmas holiday spent in Puerto Vallarta, someone in our party bought a half dozen for the group. I had one small mouthful and remembered the pleasure of the past family gatherings AND the sluggish, heavy feeling those cakes produce.  One bite was enough.

Another strategy I try to follow is eat by the clock and not by my hunger.  Eating with cravings as the signal for meals can be difficult for a person devoid of normal hunger pangs.  I can go for hours after breakfast and suddenly realize my brain is not functioning.  I’m getting crabby.  I must have something to eat RIGHT NOW.  Keeping a nutritional protein bar in my purse or planning lunch as I finish breakfast is the best way I know to stay comfortably on the path of good eating.

Was the chocolate cake and flan in the Botanical Garden restaurant ever good!  Sharing one serving with my sister-in-law was all I wanted.  We ate steak fajitas before the desert.

I know many of you readers will have your own stories about how you have managed a healthy balance of sugar, fatty, salty foods in your life without becoming fanatic or over powered.  Tell us your strategies.  I have shared mine.  They are not universal.  We’d like to hear yours.  The comment place is just below.

If this has been useful, feel free to share.

BTW I am having a brunch at my house in West Seattle on Saturday, Jan. 19th at 10:30-12n. and would be happy to have you join us.  We’ll be presenting the 180 Turnaround weight management program.  Better yet, we’ll be tasting the Smoothies, the bars, the tea and describing all the support material available to help you end the  grip cravings have on your brain and consequently your health.  A program that helps you feel satiety while your are changing your food habits can make a world of different in whether or not you are successful.  I’d be glad to do the brunch vitually.  Call me and we’ll set it up.  Thanks in advance for your comments.

Fondly, Betsy

Be Well, Do Well and Keep Moving

BetsyBell’s Health4u

www.GrandmaBetsyBell.com

206 933 1889  1 888 283 2077

betsy@hihohealth.com

 

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What can help the pain after an accident?

Help for pain after an accident?

Gentle Reader,

A woman I know suffered another bike accident on her commute.  She is in her late 40s and this is not her first tumble.  It is taking a long time to heal and she is suffering miserably, no fun any time and least of all at the holidays when there is no work to distract her.  Most of us can push through pain when we have professional obligations, right?

Stories like hers happen so frequently.  I don’t know what her doctor is suggesting.  There are no broken bones this time.  Typical treatment is ice packs alternating with heat to reduce the swelling plus anti-inflammatories.  The swelling seems to be gone, but the deep pain remains.

In my experience the deep healing of joint pain and muscle pain caused by accidents (as well as in arthritic joints) requires extra nutrition, more than it is possible to get from food alone.  Here is a list of vitamins that help:

Vitamin C is a natural anti-inflammatory and builds strong cartilage which has been ripped and bruised in the fall.  Vitamin C combats the chemical reactions of stress in the body.  Vitamin C helps the body absorb minerals which are necessary in joint healing.  As much as 6000 to 10,000 mg. of a highly absorbable sustained release Vitamin C would not be too much.  Take it as long as necessary.  Your body will tell you if you have too much as your stool will get loose.

Alfalfa, found in tablet form, made from organic alfalfa leaves, reduces the acid build-up in the body after accidental injury; this helps with stiffness and increases comfortable mobility.  People have found that as many as 30-50 Alfalfa tablets a day or more can make a huge difference in joint pain.

The full spectrum of B vitamins helps deal with the stress of traumatic pain.

Borage oil or GLA reduces joint tenderness, swelling and stiffness and is an excellent anti-inflammatory working deep inside the body.

Zinc promotes tissue repair.

Calcium Magnesium strengthens cartilage and alleviates pain.

After workout smoothies have ingredients in them that repair tears in the muscles. (I know personally of only one brand that for sure works like this, but perhaps there are others)  It is the process of repairing torn muscle that recommends these sports nutrition products for building bigger, stronger muscles.  The same repair work happens after an accident.  I know a woman who in her late 70s fell from the back end of a moving van onto her back.  She used a workout smoothie several times over the next hours and had very little pain from the trauma of the fall.  Even a long time after the accident, the smoothie can help.

At the Sunnyside Chiropractic Clinic observations were made charting an elderly population whose muscle mass had atrophied and weakened.  Over a 3 to 6 month period, men and women 65 – 84 years in age added the after workout smoothie on a daily basis and experienced increased mobility, strength and reduced joint and muscle pain.    http://www.healthsachoice.com/supplements/building-muscle-mass-in-the-elderly/  I have not been able to access the actual study from Dr. Brouse and the Health Education Corporation.  I know some of you want to see the science before believing.

Whether you are dealing with the pain of traumatic injury or the chronic pain of osteoarthritis and spinal stenosis, these supplements are worth a try.  The body does its best to repair. We need to help it along with additional nutrients we just can’t get from our food.  Medication alleviates pain but does not heal, repair or build new healthy tissue.

I recommend the supplements made by the Shaklee Corporation as these are the only ones with which I have personal experience.  They have helped me endure acute traumatic pain and avoid debilitating chronic pain from the severe osteoarthritis in many of my joints and spinal stenosis in my spine.  If you want to research the Shaklee version of these supplements, go to my shopping page and browse the Product Guide.  You can call me for a consultation about your particular situation and I’ll be glad to share resources.

Before you go, share our comments on supplements and vitamins that have worked for you after an accident that has put you in a world of hurt.

If this post has been helpful, feel free to share it on your Facebook page.

 

Fondly, Betsy

Be Well, Do Well and Keep Moving

BetsyBell’s Health4u

www.GrandmaBetsyBell.com

206 933 1889  1 888 283 2077

betsy@hihohealth.com

 

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Blue Christmas

Gentle Reader,

Does the over whelming need to be cheerful this season get you down?  Perhaps you are like me and Christmas brings memories, and some of them are not go wonderful.  It feels like an emergency.  I have to figure something out or I will go down in a wash of self pity.

The first session with my personal trainer, daughter Priscilla Bell was a positive step and the floor exercises for strengthening the abs feel as though they are making my back less vulnerable.  Arthritis pain is less and less.  There were some tweaks as the exercises took their measure of my joints.

Christmas still felt blue.  I am digging through old papers and came across the Christmas letter from 1993, the first communication to my friends since my first husband, Don Bell died the previous November.  The letter begins “Who’s going to dry my tears?  Who’s going to listen to my day?  Who’s going to plot the future with me now that Don Bell is dead?”  What misery!

The letter ends with gratitude for you, my friends who are there for me to dry my tears and hear about my day.

Five years later, I married our good friend Chuck Finney, widowed the same time I was.  Now it is five years since our last Christmas together.  He died Epiphany 2008.  Hard to realize I’ve been alone this long.  Most of the time it is good.  I have you, my family and my community at Saint Mark’s to sustain me.   But.  Christmas feels blue.

I went back to Priscilla for more training.  Action, in my world, leads to mental health as well as physical health.  This week she gave me weight bearing exercises with 5 pound weights.  OMG.  Much harder than the ones I was already doing on my own.  She noticed, rightly, that my shoulders are getting rounded from sitting too much and not standing tall.  This happens with age and if we want to keep going into our 90’s, we have to work on building those larger upper back muscles.  When strengthened they will open the chest and hold us tall.  The added benefit for the person with osteoarthritis and spinal stenosis, or any joint pain, is that a stronger upper back relieves the stress on the lower back.  She told me I was working my lower back way too much.

Two close and dear friends are suffering from terrible arthritis pain these days.  One visited her naturopath who recommended the Paleo Diet:  all vegetables and protein.  No grains or dairy (including cheese.  Yep, you got that right.)  You can read my post http://nowheelchair.wordpress.com/2012/03/19/it-comes-down-to-what-we-eat/ and watch the TED talk there by the amazing woman who was in a wheelchair when she changed her diet to this Paleo thing and is now healthy.

Does that plunge you into another low Blue Christmas?  Thinking about that kind of diet when you just went out and bought those beautiful cheeses and crackers, cream and butter for the feasts you are preparing?  Yes.

Be of good cheer.  January 2nd is coming.  Make a resolution to try the diet thing to rid yourself of pain.  If you want help with extra pounds, I’m your girl: the expert Turnaround Specialist.  Give yourself 90 days to get the new regimen into your system, watching the inches melt away and the joints behave themselves.  Then keep it up for another 90 days to cement the new eating and exercise habits.  This is the 180 turnaround we want for 2013.  Shaklee has a new program called 180 Turnaround.  Join me. I’m going to do it and will be glad to lead the way.

 

For now, be of good cheer without denying that this season can be tough.  Put on your rain gear and go outdoors.  The low lying hills are calling and the roads are clear.

 

Merry Christmas!  And keep moving.

Before you go, post a comment about your Blue Christmas.  Ask for kindness back to you.

 

Fondly, Betsy

Be Well, Do Well and Keep Moving

BetsyBell’s Health4u

www.GrandmaBetsyBell.com

206 933 1889  1 888 283 2077

betsy@hihohealth.com

 

 

 

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Exercises for a bad back

Gentle Reader,

I began this blog to report on ways to manage osteoarthritis and spinal stenosis by reflecting on my own experience.  I have to tell you that I have no symptoms these days.  I’ve been trying to understand what I have done to reduce the chronic pain to this degree.  I practice all the suggestions I have written about in my posts and they helped but didn’t bring me to this place of comfort.  The one thing that I have consistently done recently is listen to Peggy Cappy’s CD called Healing Back Pain.  While you know me as enthusiastic, I am also questioning and doubtful about the effectiveness of new age remedies.  However, I am growing more and more convinced that her voice and her message in this CD are healing my chronic pain.  Please take a moment to go to her web site and order it.  Download it into your computer and put it on your I phone, or other media player and listen to it at night or during the day when you lie down.  If nothing else you will be profoundly relaxed from all stress in your life.

I promised you I’d let you know what exercises Priscilla Hard Core Mother of Four gave me to develop more abs strength and lose that little bit of belly fat.  Here they are:

Pilates 100.  Put your head down flat  This is the posture for a bad back.  Be sure you have a nice neutral curve in your back.  Don’t move your head or your shoulders as you lie on the floor.  Your legs can be all the way up.  Now spread your figures wide, hold your arms straight and pulse 5 x to an in breath and 5x to an out breath, counting to 100.  This warms up the hips, abs regions.

 

This is totally fun.  By tempo change, she means go slow with your pointed foot from 12 o’clock to 6 o’clock and then zip around to 12.

 

 

 

Single leg circles with tempo change 5 one way then 5 the other way

 

Here you are making small circles with your toes in 1st position, legs zipped together, first in one direction and then the other.  Totally cool.

 

 

These roll up moves are challenging.  Do not do them with your legs out straight if you have back trouble.  Plant your feet on the floor and reach behind your thighs to pull yourself up.  The assist really helps.  By rep 7 I can just about do the roll up without the assist.  It’s getting easier every day.

 

 

 

 

 

Put your hands underneath your head and with your legs over head, point toes in 1st position and take them out to the side and back 10 x.  The higher over your body your legs are, the easier on your back.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Flex in frog, X10 For this exercise put your hands behind your head and you are drawing your feet in toward your face allowing your knees to go out to the sides like a frog.

 

 

 

 

Bridge clam X10/s

*I can’t find a picture of this one.  On your back lift your butt off the floor into a bridge. Your feet are planted on the floor about 8 inches beyond perpendicular. Both hands reach up to the ceiling as you drop one knee to the side for 10 repetitions. I cant go down very far without pain to the right and less far to the left without pain.  So listen to your body on this.

 

Prone: Before beginning prone exercises, always spend a little time in Child’s pose, resting your back.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Double kick extend up and back for 10/s.  You are lifting your kicking leg off the mat.  Do this slowly, lift the foot and then lift the leg an inch off the floor.  Drop the foot back down slowly and go to the other side.

Nose should face the floor so you are in neutral position. 

 

In this exercise, your head is still down.  Your legs are forming a triangle, knees out and feet together.  Lift both legs simultaneously and move your thighs together.  Rest.  Lift thighs and move knees out again.  10x total, 5 out and 5 in.

 

 

 

 

For this go outside or at the bottom of your stair case, take a bungee tube with handles (you’ve seen them in Big 5 sporting goods stores or on TV) instead of buckets of water.  Place the center of the tube under your right foot making sure there is no way it could escape and recoil into your face.  Bend standing knee slightly and bend the back leg slightly.  Then lift the back leg straight out behind you. Imagine your gluts.  Beautiful.  Weight should be on the leg that is on the step, not on the back leg.  Hopefully you get the idea.

 

You could also stand on the floor to make it easier.  Lift one leg off the floor straight back 5x and then switch.

 

OK, then.  Tell me how it goes for you.  Leave a comment for others and by all means, sign up to receive every post.

 

Fondly, Betsy

Be Well, Do Well and Keep Moving

BetsyBell’s Health4u

www.GrandmaBetsyBell.com

206 933 1889  1 888 283 2077

betsy@hihohealth.com

 

 

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Hard Core Mother of Four

Gentle Reader,

My daughter, Priscilla, the personal trainer extraordinaire (www.hardcoremotheroffour.blogspot.com) mentioned a Pilates move when we were talking after Thanksgiving dinner.  For the first time, I thought she could probably help me with my chronic back issues.  Funny how your children can be experts to so many and take a long time to claim that status for their mother.

Tuesday I spent an hour with her in the Fitness Lab and came home excited with new exercises that will strengthen my abdominal region (and probably get rid of the little belly fat that sits there) and not hurt my back in the process.  She did some fine tuning and now I’ve got new interest in my morning routine.  I will share my new routine next week.

Yesterday, Wednesday, as I often do, I went hiking with friends in the nearby mountains we fondly call the Issaquah Alps.  Tiger is one wild place only a few minutes from the city.  We chose a meander that took us 7 miles up and around, past some “caves” (old mining area) and around a shallow lake.  When we got back to the car, I started feeling my pockets for the keys.  Nothing. Turns out they had fallen out when I reached in to put the parking permit on the mirror.  It took AAA 2 ½ hours to get there to open the door for me and my cell phone was dead.  Talk about stress.  It got pretty cold toward sun set.  I tell you all this because of what I did to keep from dissolving into a puddle of stress.  (My hiking friends were reluctant to leave me, but I shooed them away to their own tasks. There were plenty of other hikers returning to their cars in this very popular hiking area so there was no danger.)

I did Priscilla’s new exercises.  Brilliant.  And a super slow walking meditation.  And a sitting meditation.  And built an elegant rock chairn.  And ate my left over cookies from lunch.  And watched it get dark while I did some more exercises.  All in all, it was a pleasant time spent in my own head with no electronics, nothing to read, no pen and paper for writing practice.  A dream-time.

When the tow truck finally got there and let me drive away, I headed for the nearest Tully’s (i.e. Starbucks) and ordered an eggnog latte.  Hot soup and the hot tub awaited me at home.

Today, no lower back pain.  No arthritis in my bad joints.  No spinal stenosis acting up.  Life is good.

A friend just sent this wonderful video in his blog. I commend it to you.  William is a healer.  http://www.bodyandsoulmentor.com/

Now, take a minute to tell me about a stressful situation you had recently, what it did to your body and how you handled it.  We can learn from each other.  My readers love comments, so feel free.

Fondly, Betsy

Be Well, Do Well and Keep Moving

BetsyBell’s Health4u

www.GrandmaBetsyBell.com

206 933 1889  1 888 283 2077

betsy@hihohealth.com

 

 

 

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Guess what the liver of an inorganic turkey looks like.

Gentle Reader,

Thanksgiving Day and 17 of the children and grandchildren are coming. The alarm went off at 5:15 so I could put the turkey in for a dinner time of 2 p.m.  When I chopped up the giblets, I thought, yes, it is worth it to pay for the organic free range bird.  The organs are deep purple-red, the tissue tight and resilient.  These are signs of health. Here’s an organic turkey’s innards.

One year I panicked when I realized 29 people were coming and one turkey wouldn’t feed the whole crowd.  I ran to the local Safeway to pick one up.  When I laid the two sets of innards on the counter, the poor cadged bird’s organs were full of lesions, had a grey tone and the liver dissolved into granules when I put my forefinger into it.  I wish I had a picture so you could see the comparison.  I wonder what my liver looks like.

When they say we are what we eat, I think they are referring to the health of our liver, our kidneys, our heart, and our lungs perhaps more than our joints.  It’s the joints that hurt because these organs are the means by which the joints are nourished. They cleanse the blood, absorb the nutrients into the blood and send health or harm to those creaky arthritic painful joints.

My house mate passed on a lot of frozen stuff from Trader Joe’s.  I know it is sacrilege to cast aspersions on Trader Joe’s, but the chicken patty I grilled, tasty thought it was, had a lot of stuff in it besides chicken.  Does the body know what to do with that extra stuff?  One rice concoction was so crowded with strange ingredients, I just didn’t want to eat it.  Guess what, the chickens wouldn’t eat it either and they are my bell weather.  They will eat anything.  Tasty, convenient?  Yes.  Recognizable by the liver, kidneys and cells as food?  I’m not so sure.

Some people dread the feast because it is so hard to resist over indulgence.  Relax, I say.  Eat something of everything. Enjoy the tastes.  Then take a walk.  The more you eat the longer you walk.

Hauling that 20 # turkey around yesterday made me wake up with a sore back. That old osteoarthritis and spinal stenosis kicked in big time this morning.  To be pain free by the time they come, I’m on the floor stretching.  I’ll take a walk before they get here.  I’ll let them move the furniture.  And I am fortified with plenty of the herbal pain relief pills I rely on.

There will be pie.  I’ll enjoy all three flavors.  I hope you are going to enjoy your day as well.  I’d love to hear how it went and what your anxieties are around the holidays and eating.  How does your body do when you change your diet for a few days?  Is it hard to get back to healthy normal the next morning?

We can support each other in our pain and agony!  J .  I am thankful for you and for all people in my life.

Fondly, Betsy

P.S.  What a fantastic day.  The 20# turkey was demolished.  Here’s the afters:

Be Well, Do Well and Keep Moving

BetsyBell’s Health4u

www.GrandmaBetsyBell.com

206 933 1889  1 888 283 2077

betsy@hihohealth.com

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Can we eat pie this Thanksgiving?

Gentle Reader,

Are you shopping for Thanksgiving yet?  Tell me about your resolve to eat so your joints don’t hurt, the achy knees don’t creak, the back doesn’t twinge when you go from sitting to standing?  Have you been eating a dinner plate big on greens with a small portion of meat or fish and the starch in the form of a boiled new potato or rutabaga? I thought I’d better show you one in case you never bought or cooked it.  Really tasty, better than turnips.

Most especially, have you tried gluten-free?  And I don’t mean picking up those prepared foods that say gluten-free on them.  I believe, because I have tried it consistently over time, that a gluten-free diet helps with arthritis.  You’ll also lose weight which will help with arthritis pain.  At this time of year with your favorite recipes coming out of the box for your traditional offerings, you buy a big sack of white refined flour, white refined sugar and pounds of butter and plan your day of baking.  Unless you have greater resolve than I do, you’ll be eating some of those goodies and not just giving them to friends and family.  There will be more than one kind of pie on the table and it will be challenging.  Right?

Today I am passing on a web site I came across this week.  This gal, Christie Bessinger, has a serious celiac problem and has taken the time to research ways to identify hidden gluten.  Celiac is a hard condition.  Your body reacts with bloating and sometimes even more severe nutrient absorption shut down when you get yeasty things in your stomach.  Breads, pasta, lots of canned soups, other prepared foods.  Most of us who struggle with achy, congested joints are not severely impacted by gluten grains, at least not in the digestive area.  However, getting gluten-free for a few months would tell you a lot about how your body functions in a gluten-free atmosphere.  Two things will happen for you:

1.  You will lose weight

2.  You probably will have less joint pain, even if you have severe osteoarthritis or spinal stenosis.  Any of the problems affecting the joints will most probably improve with a gluten-free diet.

Enjoy Christie’s blog.  Here’s a nice place to start with her delicious cupcakes made from a company she trusts.  http://celiac-scoop.blogspot.com/2011/11/gluten-free-cake-bites.html  You can even order their mixes from her web site.  How sweet is that?  Christie has suggestions for eating out gluten-free in New York City, too.

Live in Seattle? We are lucky.  Here’s a web site for people who want to avoid gluten when they eat out.  http://www.urbanspoon.com/t/1/1/Seattle/Gluten-Free-Friendly-restaurants   and here is a retail store for delicious foods in Seattle http://www.wheatlessinseattle.net/ .

Before I go, dear Reader, a day or two of lovely indulgence never sent us to surgery for a knee replacement.  You know that, don’t you?  It’s the change we make over the long haul in diet and exercise that makes the difference long-term and keeps us moving.

Fondly, Betsy

Be Well, Do Well and Keep Moving

BetsyBell’s Health4u

www.GrandmaBetsyBell.com

206 933 1889  1 888 283 2077

betsy@hihohealth.com

 

 

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