Categories
1step Comics First Person Self Care

Feel Overwhelmed By Socializing?

Two weeks post-vaccine, it’s been liberating getting out of the house. Even walks in the woods seems freer, less worried about folks strolling by mask-less and much too close. I am excited about chatting with folks at the dog park – still socially distanced and faces obscured. It felt ridiculously friendly to have a face-to-masked […]

Categories
Caring for People in Pain Self Care

Keeping What’s Good About This Crazy Year

This year of COVID has been a year of loss. Loved ones. First dates and coffee with old friends. Shared worship. Beach parties. From the profound to the trivial. For many who live with complex illnesses or who struggle to get out of the house and make it to school or work, it’s also been […]

Categories
Caring for People in Pain Pain Rehabilitation Parenting

How Do Doctors Build Trust?

Doctors, patients, and caregivers all bring something different to the table. All contribute to healing. The patient has the lived experience. It is their body. Their life. It is their decision what they decide to do and take from the relationship in the hope of moving forward. The caregiver brings support. Often – especially when […]

Categories
Diet and nutrition

Tyramine In Tiny Bites

I’m a professor and admit to being a bit long winded. I was asked to pull together information on tyramine into small bites so it was easier to read and digest. So here we go! And if you want the long version, please read It Tyramine Intolerance Triggering Your Brain Fog, Headaches, and Vomiting? Living […]

Categories
Diet and nutrition

Living With a Low Tyramine Diet: Shopping & Cooking

What is tyramine? Basics Tyrosine is one of the ‘big twenty” amino acids used to build proteins in animals, plants, bacteria and effectively all living organisms. Tyramine is a natural break-down product of the amino acid tyrosine.  There are 3 main ways high tyramine foods get into our diet. Some foods, like soy beans, snow peas, […]

Categories
Diet and nutrition Self Care

Is Tyramine Intolerance Triggering Your Brain Fog Headaches & Vomiting?

Tyramine is a naturally occurring amino acid present in many common foods. Cheese, sausage, lentils, snow peas, and soy. Deli meats, sauerkraut, nuts, wine, and beer. Yogurt and Cheetos. All have high levels of tyramine. Because tyramine occurs when proteins age, virtually ALL leftovers are high in tyramine. For example, I might cook fresh chicken […]

Categories
1step Comics Pain Rehabilitation Sleep

Sleep: The Final Frontier

Categories
Diet and nutrition Self Care

What’s This About Gluten?

It was my cousin who was laughing on Facebook. “They’ve taken this whole fad way too far! Now they’re selling gluten-free dog food! Idiots!”   Admittedly it looks ridiculous. As far as I know, dogs do not get celiac disease. But the people feeding dogs that handle the dog food do. I should know. Allergies, […]

Categories
First Person Pain Physiology Pain Rehabilitation Resources

We’re on Spotify!

Are you a fan of podcasts? Would you rather listen to the 1step2life blog than read? We will be podcasting many of our essays. Follow us on Breaker, Google Podcast, Pocket Casts, RadioPublic, Spotify, and Anchor (RSS). We will be adding new content as it comes out and slowly recording our catalog.

Categories
Caring for People in Pain First Person Parenting Self Care

Can Stoicism Make You A Happier Parent?

Confession time I feel guilty. Why? Because there are times I feel I’m failing at my most important job: being a mom. My son hurts all the time – and I can’t protect him. He is having a hard time transitioning gracefully to adulthood. He struggled to make it through high school – it’s tough […]

Categories
Pain Physiology Pain Rehabilitation

Acute Pain Protects Chronic Pain Harms

It’s hard to believe that pain is ever good. But it is. A friend developed a condition where she was able to move her lower body, but couldn’t feel pain and had no sensation. The biggest danger she faced was injuring herself because her warning system – pain – didn’t work. Chronic pain, on the […]

Categories
Diet and nutrition Self Care

Are you drinking TOO MUCH water?

Hydration is important for everyone. Folks with chronic pain get really tired of being asked if they’re drinking enough water. I know my son does. But how much you should drink is a more complicated question than it first appears. And important enough to think about before rolling your eyes when asked – one more […]

Categories
Pain Physiology Scientific Research Self Care

Are migraines caused by an echo in the brain?

Many types of pain – including migraines, amplified regional pain syndrome, and fibromyalgia – are caused by a failure of the nervous system. A negative spiral Acute pain protects us from tissue damage – we pull back from flames because we feel pain. Unfortunately, this healthy system can backfire. Many chronic pain conditions are caused […]

Categories
Pain Rehabilitation Self Care Stress Reduction

Want To Learn To Breathe?

Learning to breathe, meditate, or do biofeedback doesn’t have to be hard. It doesn’t have to cost money. It doesn’t require you to leave your house. It’s BREATHING and focusing. It’s what people did in cold medieval churches and in Tibetan monestaries. It’s what I learned to do – and got me through – labor! […]

Categories
Self Care Sleep Stress Reduction

Learning Biofeedback Doesn‘t Have to Be Hard

Biofeedback is a set of techniques that allow you to exert conscious control over what are normally involuntary biological functions. For example, consciously slowing your breathing and heart rate are common forms of biofeedback. With more practice, you can learn to increase circulation in your hands and warm them up. You can become more conscious […]

Categories
Caring for People in Pain First Person Self Care

Assemble A Rescue Kit For Your Next Pain Spike

I walked into my son’s room this morning – it was immediately obvious it was one of ‘those’ days. Light sensitivity. Migraine spike. Fog. You know the gig. So I asked my usual self-care questions: Did you take your rescues? Water? Salt? Magnesium oil? Daily meds? “Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes.” No eye roll (thank […]

Categories
First Person Pain Rehabilitation Self Care Stress Reduction

Biofeedback: A Skill Not A Pill

Biofeedback is a skill, not a pill. Unlike medications, it is something that you need to practice between sessions and learn to make it effective. I’ve heard people only try it once or twice and then give up because they got a migraine anyways. It’s not something that works right away. You need to practice […]

Categories
Caring for People in Pain First Person Self Care Stress Reduction

Get Help To Learn To Help Yourself

Friday, after an appointment with my psychiatrist at Emory, it occurred to me that this month marks 13 years of therapy and treatment. I would almost describe those 13 years as an “After” period, denoting a new phase in my life, because it has been so transformative. Before I finally reached out for help, I […]

Categories
Self Care Stress Reduction

How can you use biofeedback?

Biofeedback has many potential applications. Short term, you can embed breathing and conscious relaxation and bodily control into your everyday life. This changes amygdala functioning to reduce pain and can help you foster mindfulness. I combine biofeedback with meditation and sometimes binaural sound to manage my migraines. I can only rarely get rid of them, […]

Categories
Self Care Sleep

Weighted Blankets: For Better or Worse?

Like many people over the last few years, I invested in weighted blankets for members of my family. I’d read they are particular good for improving sleep and reducing anxiety. Because I had always slept markedly better with heavy quilts, that made sense to me. I followed the guidelines for buying them: 5-10% of your […]

Categories
Resources Sleep

The Importance of Sleep

Why is Sleep So Important? Sleep is your body’s way of letting the brain rest. Getting the recommended 8 hours of sleep a night has a number of positive effects: improved concentration, metabolism, immune system functioning, reduced depression, and inflammation. Lack of sleep can block signals in the nociceptive pathways, which increases the perception of […]

Categories
First Person Self Care

What is biofeedback?

Biofeedback is a technique used to train yourself to control your body’s functions. Examples being your breathing, heart rate and tempurature. It’s really great for handling chronic pain. With practice it can be used to help identify what is causing your pain and I’ve even been using it to help turn off migraines when I […]

Categories
First Person Pain Rehabilitation Stress Reduction

Biofeedback: Another Tool in Your Kit

Chronic pain is something that can be treated in many ways. When I first got migraines, they were sudden and devastating. Within six months I went from perfectly healthy to migraines that lasted days to a week at a time. They were incredibly painful. I was unable to move and barely even able to go […]

Categories
1step Comics Caring for People in Pain Pain Rehabilitation Scientific Research

The Three Components of Action

Physics has gravity (it’s not just a good idea, it’s the law). Psychology has learning theory. The basic ideas behind learning theory are deceptively simple: If you are rewarded for something you will do it more often. If you are punished for something, you will do do it less often. If something bad is happening […]

Categories
First Person Pain Rehabilitation

Walking Dogs In The Rain

People who write love songs about walking in the rain don’t live in Ohio. In December. I do. I’m just going to say, cold rain is not my idea of romantic. Or comfortable. Miserable. It does come to mind when I think of the word ‘miserable’. I bring this up, because I was thinking about […]

Categories
First Person Pain Rehabilitation Stress Reduction

Tiny Steps Towards Reducing Stress

Some days are worse than others. That’s just how it works. You can wake up today feeling refreshed and inspired to put your best foot forward. You can do all of your recommended exercises, eat all the “right” foods, think all the “right” thoughts, and still have pain flare-ups throughout your day. We can never […]

Categories
Pain Rehabilitation Parenting Scientific Research

Following Doctor’s Orders

When teens don’t believe parents or doctors have the right to set rules, they don’t follow them.

Categories
Caring for People in Pain First Person Stress Reduction

Being Organized Is Even More Important When You’ve Got No Energy To Spare

I write a lot about organizing, because I have too much to do and very few spoons to spare. I also know that if I don’t write things down, they spin around in my head and keep me from sleeping. If we try to keep everything in our head without an organizational system, we keep […]

Categories
Pain Physiology Pain Rehabilitation Sleep

Sleep & Pain Rehab

Pain Rehab: Building Strength To Push Back Pain People living with pain are most successful at taking back their lives when they take an active role in their recovery. (That’s one of the reasons that 1step2life focuses on emotions, activities, and functioning.) For most of us, there is no ‘magic jelly bean’ that will suddenly […]

Categories
App Development First Person Pain Rehabilitation

Want To Hear The Science?

I was excited beyond words to be asked to present the 1step2life app to the team at the Cleveland Clinic Pediatric Pain Rehabilitation program on Monday. These folks are my heroes. For all the pain and trauma that my son’s migraine disease has introduced into his life, we’ve been incredibly lucky to live close to […]

Categories
Pain Physiology Pain Rehabilitation

Chronic v. Acute Pain

Why do I hurt all the time? Healthy pain is like a good guardian. It keeps you from hurting yourself and teaches you to stay safe. This type of pain is called ‘acute pain’. Unfortunately, sometimes the acute pain system becomes too sensitive and overprotective. When that happens, you perceive pain as if you were injured, […]

Categories
Caring for People in Pain Pain Physiology Stress Reduction

Pain, Emotions, & the Amygdala

Pain leads to depression. Depression leads to pain. The amygdala mediates it all.

Categories
Caring for People in Pain First Person Pain Rehabilitation Parenting

Pain, Ambiguous Loss, & Acceptance

Acceptance means holding both a painful now and a hopeful future in our minds· Death can be a harsh shock, as someone is ripped from us and is no longer present in our lives.  It has a finality to it – that’s part of the shock and much of the pain.  But it is real […]

Categories
Pain Rehabilitation Stress Reduction

Allodynia: Smell the Roses

Focusing all your attention on one manageable area of sensation can drown out the sensation of pain.

Categories
Diet and nutrition

Hydration Tip 1

Hydration is every doctor’s go to recommendation for anyone living with chronic pain. But it helps. Your cells can’t function properly without sufficient water. Not drinking enough causes pain all by itself that can’t be distinguished from pain due to illness. Plus – as I always tell my son – if you drink enough water, […]

Categories
1step Comics Pain Physiology Pain Rehabilitation

5% of US teens live with life altering chronic pain

Acute pain is protective. With chronic pain, the pain itself becomes the disease.

Categories
1step Comics Stress Reduction

How to Relax in 5 Minutes

Pain, stress, and emotional distress are in the mind, but express themselves in physical tension. You can feel it in that tight neck, those stiff shoulders, and in that clenched jaw and hands. Notice that your back teeth hurt just a little? Feel that twinge between your shoulders? Back ache just a bit? The relationship is […]

Categories
1step Comics First Person Stress Reduction

Incomplete Acts, Everyday Anxiety, and Getting Things Done

Four strategies to organize work and decrease anxiety.

Categories
1step Comics Caring for People in Pain First Person Pain Rehabilitation Parenting

Getting Kids In Pain To School

Concrete tips on moving a teen in pain out of bed and towards functioning.

Categories
First Person Stress Reduction

Control Your Focus

I’ll be honest. I spend my life crazy stressed. I have a job that my husband describes as ‘flexible – you can work any 60 hours a week you like’. And then I have two more jobs – I am Editor in Chief of the Journal of Adolescence and I’m also starting this company. And […]

Categories
Pain Rehabilitation

Doctor! Doctor! It hurts when I do this.

Doctor! Doctor! It hurts when I do this!
Well . . . don’t do this.

Categories
Pain Rehabilitation

Starting college? Getting the right accommodation plan is essential.

A few years ago, I wrote a piece in my Psychology Today blog for college students about how to talk to their professors about accommodations. Most professors (not all) honestly want to help. But the letters we get from the offices of disability service are usually vague and don’t tell us what students really need. […]

Categories
Pain Rehabilitation

You can’t stop pain by thinking about it

Just a shout out to a good blog on the use of distraction in chronic pain published in Psychology Today.

Categories
Pain Rehabilitation

Are you a young adult? Are you interested in moving our understanding of pain forward?

This is an ad for a study I’ve been working on with a student (Max Kramer) for the last year. My son took part in the first phase. Max is recruiting an additional 10 participants. It’s pretty easy and participants do get paid. It will contribute to developing a machine learning algorithm to help better […]

Categories
Pain Rehabilitation Parenting

Getting Kids to Open Up

When your child is in pain, it’s easy to focus in on the three things that worry us: pain, pills, and homework. I know for myself, just seeing my son’s face triggers that mental checklist.

Categories
Pain Rehabilitation

Priorities in Pediatric Pain: A Study In Contrasts

Today was a bad pain today. It was noon and already he’d taken all his rescue meds. He’d used all the tricks – double water, salt. He’d already done three hours of biofeedback. And there the pain was – a big looming suffocating force drilling into his brain.

Categories
App Development Pain Rehabilitation

Colors are Key!

Many people living with chronic pain have a condition called photophobia – their brain interprets light as a painful stimulus. That can make looking at screens a painful experience and makes designing an app extra challenging!

Categories
About Us App Development Pain Physiology Pain Rehabilitation

Creating Videos To Teach Neuroscience

Creating videos that teach complex topics like how neurons fire is a challenge for content creators. That’s one project that Oberlin College intern Carlos Armstrong faced when working with Nancy Darling on 1step2life – and app designed to help teens living with chronic pain get out of bed and take back their lives.

Categories
About Us First Person Pain Rehabilitation

A Lung Transplant Puts College In Perspective

Art and Text: Carlos Armstrong Warning: this post includes photographs of surgical incisions some people may find upsetting. To me, chronic pain is more than just a subject to research. It is something constantly present in my own life. On the lower end of my pain scale, I have been living with debilitating chronic migraines […]

Categories
About Us App Development First Person Pain Rehabilitation

It’s not theory: Real voices from real people

1step2life’s core mission is to build an app that helps kids living with chronic pain get out of bed and into the world. There are many things that make this project special to me. One, in particular, is how many of the Oberlin students involved GOT involved because they suffer from pain themselves. When we […]