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Struggling to breathe? Feeling hot and sweaty? Coughing?  Is it Anxiety or COVID-19?

  With the easing of lockdown restrictions, some of my patients have reporting feeling more anxious because they are concerned that their symptoms seem like the symptoms of COVID-19. Feeling anxious about the COVID -19 pandemic is to be expected, however don’t let your mind race away and automatically assume you have COVID-19, you may be experiencing anxiety or a panic attack. Often we can recognise that we are worrying about COVID-19, however, you might not to be able to identify the physical symptoms that you are struggling with anxiety, which can be similar to COVID-19 in terms of shortness of breath, hot and sweaty, and a cough. This causes a cycle of panic – you worry about having COVID-19 and your body creates what…

Finding Hope In Uncertain Times

  With or without chronic / persistent pain, there is a lot of uncertainty in life, whether in our personal affairs, our physical or mental health, or in our changing and unsteady political climate. Often the strategies that most of us rely on to contend with such uncertainty tend to be self-defeating. When we face an uncertain future, we often resort to feeling anxious, worrying, complaining, or being negative about events that may never occur.  But some people rise to meet uncertain times with hope and resilience. We need to develop such attitudes if we want to be successful in the face of life’s ups and downs.  What does having hope mean? Think of how you handle difficult situations. Do you offer platitudes like, “I…

How Laughter Can Improve Your Chronic Pain

  To celebrate Chronic Pain Awareness Day (6th May 2020), I thought we could have a look at the benefits of laughter in helping improve our chronic pain. Laughter can be infectious. When you hear the sound of laughter, you can’t help but laugh yourself. When laughter is shared among others, it causes a binding between people and increases both intimacy and happiness.  It is well known that laughter triggers healthy bodily changes and healthy changes in the mind. Laughter can increase your energy level, lessen chronic / persistent pain, strengthen the immune system, and protect you from stress. Laughter is the best medicine because it is free, fun, and easy.   Laughter is Strong Medicine Laughter can be a strong antidote to conflict, chronic…

Sleep and older people

  At the moment I’m getting many enquiries from people who are struggling to sleep. When having a look at the data, I have noticed that many people aged 70years and older have contacted me. Often, they are finding that their sleep isn’t as good as it was prior to COVID -19. For some people it’s the anxiety surrounding the virus, for others it’s related to social isolation and that they are now living with their families to avoid being alone at this present time.  Living with family members, when you are used to living alone, can bring its own challenges, so I strongly suggest that good communication is key. For example, it you have been allocated the spare room, but find it so cluttered…

Anxiety, chronic pain, routine and coping with worries about Coronavirus

One early symptom of coronavirus is muscle pain. Another is fatigue. I am not surprised then that I am seeing a high level of anxiety amongst my clients as these are things which are associated with chronic pain. Some people have been contacting me online https://www.apaininthemind.co.uk/contact/ to ask what to do.  Of course, I cannot tell you if you have the virus or not. But I can help you to live in the best way you can as we work through this pandemic. High anxiety and Corvid-19 People with chronic pain suffer from muscle pain and often get fatigued. And some people with chronic pain will have underlying conditions which can make the virus more dangerous if they do catch it. So, there is a…

Creating an Emotional First Aid Kit

Living with chronic pain or any other long-term health condition can sometimes affect your mental health and you made become low in mood, anxious or fearful of the future. I encourage my patients to take care of their mental health everyday as mind and body are linked. I often suggest that they practice a variety of good habits, including getting enough sleep, exercising, eating nutritious food, spending time with your family and friends, practicing relaxation techniques and more.  All these activities affect the feel- good factor within your brain and will help you to develop a sense of wellbeing and calm. However, sometimes, you may have an emotional emergency and just like responding to a physical emergency, having the right Emotional First Aid Kit can…

Strengthen your immune system by sleeping

In my clinic over the past few weeks, more people are telling me that they are struggling to get enough sleep because they fear Coronavirus will make them ill or die.  What concerns me as a Psychologist is that this will make their situation a whole lot worse given that a lack of sleep can adversely affect the immune system. Evidence is clear that a lack of sleep means you are less able to fight off bugs’. With the outbreak of the coronavirus, some people are finding it even harder to sleep. Research shows that there is a complex link between sleep-wake cycles and our immune systems. The amount of sleep we get impacts directly on how well our immune systems work, and also on…

Breaking the taboo of talking about chronic pain –  September is Pain Awareness Month.

  Pain awareness month has been going in the United States since 2001. It’s good to have a time when the wider world is focused on the issue of pain and I often get invited to talk to groups in this month.  I also find it very useful in my psychology and hypnotherapy for chronic / persistent pain clinics in Milton Keynes and Bedford. Not only does it raise the issue, it also helps to break the taboo about talking about chronic / persistent pain. We know that a positive attitude and good support can make a real difference to how we perceive pain. We also know that there are treatments and techniques which can help without the use of drugs. I want to take…

Pets and Chronic Pain – can they help?

  In this blog I want to talk about how pets can help control pain. I know this works. I have seen the evidence in my own psychology pain clinics in Bedford, Milton Keynes and video link. But now I can show you some hard science to prove it. Pets can reduce reliance on pain medication  There is evidence that pet therapy can reduce reliance on pain medication. Back in 2007 a clinical trial monitored pain medication in adults undergoing rehabilitation for injury degenerative disease or physical disability. The facility where they were being cared for had a therapy dog, a collie called Neil. After Neil’s arrival on the team pain medication dropped by non-less than 48 percent. https://www.ingentaconnect.com/content/ascp/tcp/2007/00000022/00000007/art00003 How do pets help chronic pain?…

Pain coverage on the radio: the good and the bad

Hi everyone, I often listen to the radio whilst travelling between my clinics, so, this is a bit of a radio blog this time. Both the bad and the good from BBC Radio 4. Opiate danger: three things all GPs should do First the bad, I heard a horrific story on the Radio 4 Today programme recently. It was about how opiate problems are spreading to the UK. It focused on an interview with a lady who had suffered an injury, been in chronic pain, and was prescribed morphine. No doctor ever explained to her how addictive morphine could be. She went to the same GP practice but no-one seemed to consider that she should be looked after in any other way. When she became…

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