Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Tolerance for Physical Pain . . .

I am a fan of Dr. Christiane Northrup.  You've likely seen her on PBS or on Oprah.

Today in her e-newsletter, she was talking about sugar.  I went out on to her site to read more, and she said this:
"Sugar—whether in white foods, candy, or alcohol—acts like an opiate in the body. Eating foods that quickly turn to sugar quite literally medicates pain—both emotional and physical. But beware. Sugar is eight times more addictive than heroin in susceptible individuals. If you use sugar to boost your mood, to hold at bay feelings of longing or loneliness, or to improve your tolerance for physical pain, you’ll find yourself in a vicious cycle that makes it very difficult to stop eating sugar. This is not about willpower or your being “bad.” It’s about understanding the chemistry that fuels cravings and then doing something about it." [emphasis mine]
The bit about physical pain is something I've intuitively known for a very long time, yet I've never seen any doctor actually say it - until now.  There's always talk about emotional eating, but never about eating to ease physical pain.

It feels really good to be validated.  Thanks Dr. Northrup!

I've wondered about my pain tolerance throughout this entire shoulder journey.  When I was first in PT in April and May, the pain was sometimes intolerable.  I know my physical therapist was extremely frustrated with me, but what could I do?  Moving my arm in certain ways was excruciating.  Then, right after surgery, the surgeon's physician's assistant led me to believe I was going to be in a lot of pain once the nerve block wore off and that I would need to "keep ahead of the pain."  This never really happened for me.  I did take the pain pills initially - but never more than one at a time and I quickly transitioned to only taking one about an hour before PT.  The pain I experienced after surgery was not even a patch on what I was feeling before surgery.  

As soon as surgery removed the nearly constant physical pain with my shoulder, I've been able to steadily get smaller.  I still have some inflammatory pain in my knees and heel due to the current anti-inflammatory ban because of my wonky stomach - and I've definitely eaten more this last week trying to ease the physical pain in my stomach.

Oh - and I have to say - I'm so done with white rice and those other foods.  I ate white rice yesterday and the day before - and right after I cooked it on Monday night, there was this odd smell in the kitchen.  Seriously - it smelled like farts.  I knew I hadn't passed gas and wondered what it could be.  Then, yesterday, when I opened the ziploc bag with the cooked rice in it, the smell was there.  Ick.

I guess the good news is that I'm really used to eating in a more healthy way now - so much so that going back to old choices no longer is tempting in the least.  Except for ice cream/gelato - I mean, who doesn't like that cold in their stomach?  ;-)

And speaking of my stomach - the update is that my stomach is still unhappy.  The Pepto works - but I'm having to take to it at least three times a day and I have to supplement with chewables in between.  The pain of it woke me early this morning, but turning on to my left side was very helpful and I was able to get it to stop by doing that.  Hopefully just a few more days of this and it will settle itself.  Still crossing my fingers.


Anonymous said...

Hi Annie,
You have certainly been on an interesting journey with your health this year. There is so much to learn about our bodies and how we need to learn to take better care of them. I appreciate your sharing of your journey. We all learn something from one another. It seems that refined sugar is at the bottom of a lot of our problems. I've been adding more fruit to my diet and I've found that I don't crave desserts or candy as I did before. In regard to your stomach, when you take your meds/vitamins, do you take it with food? I have to take ibuprofen for my arthritis and that was one thing the nurses made sure that I understood. Taking with food seems to protect the stomach. I wish you all the best and that things only stay good for you!
Janice H.

A :-) said...

Thank you Janice :-)