Sunday’s NY times published a front-page article on headache. It talked about the decades (centuries) of neglect of headache disorders – a disease identified as one of the most disabling diseases in the world today. It talks about the FINALLY rising awareness of the seriousness of these diseases. It talks about new headache treatments – […]
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I have studied parenting on five continents for close to four decades. I’m also a mom — the mom of two sons, one of them who is very sick. I know what it is to beat yourself up about not being a perfect parent. But too many parents beat themselves because they are trying to meet two entirely different, incompatible, and […]
I am so honored to be interviewed for the Living With An Invisible Injury podcast. Listen here:
Pain is invisible. That means any time, any place, someone can just kick you in the stomach by telling you that your pain is ‘all in your head’. That’s why it is so important for the people we love to believe us when we describe what we feel and it’s why we so value medical […]
In July 2020, the International Society for the Study of Pain redefined pain. It doesn’t sound like a big deal. We all know what pain is, right? Not something that would take a bunch of scientists several years consulting with many different stakeholders. But it is. Here is what they wrote: Pain is: “an unpleasant […]
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 […]
One of the hardest things about invisible illnesses is that they’re – um – invisible. No one can see them. Only the person who has them knows they exist. The most common chronic pain conditions in children and teens – headache, migraine, gastrointestinal problems, skeletal issues – are trivialized. That’s pretty awful. Anyone, anytime, can […]
I’m reading a book called The Midnight Library, by Matt Haig. It’s a fantasy – a parable really – about regret and depression and building a better life. Sounds odd for a book I picked because it was billed as ‘a feel good novel’ about a life well lived, doesn’t it? Did I mention that […]
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 […]
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 […]
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! […]
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 […]
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 […]
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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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
It’s hard to find that balance between pushing too hard and giving up. But if you want things to change, laying down new habits is a start.
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 […]
We were very excited that Taneisha Cordell of News5 Cleveland, an ABC affiliated covered the development of 1step2life. Development of the app was inspired by my son, Sean’s, struggles with intractable persistent pain. He talks here about his struggles and how 1step2life has helped him feel empowered to take back his life. For their full […]
Although there are many things about living with a chronic condition that are tough for children and their parents, school is one of the most frustrating. This is a brief introduction to IEPs and 504s – the two major legal mechanisms governing the provision of educational services to students with disabilities in the United States. […]
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 […]
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 […]
Platitudes can hurt people in pain just as much as illness.
Feeling pain is an essential function of the brain and nervous system. Healthy pain keeps you safe when you touch something hot. It tells you to stop when you’ve exercised and your heart and lungs aren’t providing your muscles with enough oxygen. It reminds you to move when you’ve been sitting too long. Chronic pain, […]
Focusing all your attention on one manageable area of sensation can drown out the sensation of pain.
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, […]
Faking being sick? I’m faking being well. And not that successfully.
Four strategies to organize work and decrease anxiety.
We’ve been feeling like that pilot attacking the Death Star in Star Wars.
Families need to work together towards a shared goal: helping children grew into healthy happy adolescents and adolescents make successful transitions to adulthood.
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 […]
Doctor! Doctor! It hurts when I do this!
Well . . . don’t do this.
It’s so hard as a parent when you are desperately hoping your child will just make it to school and squeak through to graduation. And so hard to listen to even your dearest friends fret about things that you’d give your eye teeth to be worrying about. It’s just hard.
You know they mean well. You know they care. In fact, they’re trying to be sympathetic and make a connection. But when you tell them you have severe chronic migraines and they say ‘oh yeah, my sister-in-law gets migraines too’, and then ask if you if you’ve tried Excedrin Migraine . . . . No, […]
As a developmental psychologist who has studied parenting on four continents, I can tell you a lot about raising teenagers. But nothing prepared me for watching my son shaking under the covers flinching from the light, and unable to speak from pain.
While we love the look of our original logo, many of our users have found that it has TOO MUCH WHITE! and that’s just hard on the eyes if you have migraines or photophobia.
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!