Saturday, April 25, 2015

Entering the World of Now in Recognition of Poetry, QiGong, T’ai Chi, and Yoga Awareness Month

Broken Body, Wounded Spirit:
Balancing the SeeSaw of Chronic Pain


Living in the present can seem daunting to those of us who live with chronic pain, but when we focus on the beauty around us, we can take a respite from our physical being. Our perception is our reality. In addition to writing books and advocating, I write poetry. I am not a great poet, but finding words that tell a story lifts me up in the present. I am not thinking of things that have happened in the past, or wishing for the future, instead I am fully vested in the now.

Entering the World of Now © by Celeste Cooper

Mindful presence wraps me in a legacy with the sagest of souls.
Inspired by words of wisdom my mind flows naturally with their goodwill.
Great people influence my desire and curiosity for being present.
There is only attendance and resolve when I live in the world of now.

In every birth of every living thing, there is purity, a truth.
Innocence bares the gift of a new beginning.   
Many tongues speak the language of nature’s primal significance.
A flower speaks as it reaches for the light; watch it grow in the world of now.

My spirit is filled with the melody of joy offered by the songbird.
Gratitude is in knowing its influence in finding my song to sing.
A soul soars to the new heights by appreciating the offerings of its existence.
Listen closely; my voice is shrouded with loveliness as I enter the world of now.

Talk about living in the moment, “The World of Now,” recognizing April as poetry, Qi Gong, T'ai Chi and Yoga awareness Month, all these things can be particularly helpful for people living with chronic pain.

Watch the trailer by our friend and fellow author, internationally known T'ai Chi and Qi Gong expert, Bill Douglas, on my NEW website, Bill developed the stress management program at Kansas University, is an expert for Dr. Andrew Weil, and he has been kind enough to endorse several of our books.

You can find the trailer on my Qi Gong Page, here. Learn more about T’ai Chi on my new website, here (you can learn more about him by clicking on the link with his name, Bill Douglas). Find information on Yoga, here.

In healing and hope, Celeste

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"Adversity is only an obstacle if we fail to see opportunity."  
Celeste Cooper, RN
Author—Patient—Health Central Chronic Pain ProAdvocate—Sharecare Fibromyalgia Health Expert

NEW Website:

All answers and blogs are based on the author's opinions and writing and are not meant to replace medical advice.  

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Can Aerobic Exercise Reduce Fibromyalgia Symptoms? by Celeste Cooper

The answer to this question, "Can Aerobic Exercise Reduce Fibromyalgia Symptoms?" is tricky because there is evidence that aerobic exercise can reduce fibromyalgia symptoms, and there is evidence to suggest it can increase fibromyalgia symptoms.

The Cardiovascular System

In regards to helping symptoms, aerobic exercise is movement that increases your heart rate. Because the heart is a muscular pump, making it work by increasing heart rate, aerobic activity improves the strength of the heart walls, making it more efficient. The heart can eject more oxygen rich blood to the cells.  Exercise also releases the feel good hormones thought to be in short supply for those of us who have fibromyalgia and cellular oxygen deprivation has been noted in some studies..

The Lymph System

Exercise or movement of any kind is the engine, the only engine that drives the lymph system, which is responsible for gathering, filtering, and removing cellular waste from the body. When the lymph system is working right, or we aren’t moving enough, swelling occurs in our extremities, a source of complaints for many people living with fibromyalgia.

The Muscles

Myofascial pain syndrome (MPS) is a condition that can be misdiagnosed as fibromyalgia and it can coexist with fibromyalgia. If you have myofascial pain syndrome, make sure your muscles are well cared for and returned to their normal resting length before exercising, including weight bearing exercise or weight bearing of your body or static positions during Yoga. Otherwise, you may feel the exercise is worsening your symptoms because of stress on muscles with trigger points. Healthy muscles ward of the trigger points of MPS, so exercise is good for prevention, but not for treatment. Opting for T'ai Chi or Qi Gong might be a better choice.

Autonomic Effects

Some fibromyalgia patients have a condition called postural orthostatic hypotension. If you have this condition, aerobic exercise can harm you. Other studies suggest that some FM patients have a heart rate variability. In other words, when you exercise, you cannot reach your target heart rate, through no fault of your own. You body is not responding as it should.

What Next?

The best way to treat our body is to move it. Maybe we don’t tolerate exercise, maybe we tried too much too soon, maybe we have a joint problem that keeps us from doing moderate aerobic exercise, but even our joints do better if we move them. The best thing to do is move and use common sense. Nobody— nobodyNOBODY should start exercise without slow conditioning; magnify this by 10 for the  5 million Americans 18 or older who live with fibromyalgia.

When we say baby steps, really think about how a baby starts to walk, develop muscle slowly with certain movements.

So the short answer to “Can Aerobic Exercise Reduce Fibromyalgia Symptoms?”

  • One size does not fit all.
  • Start low and go slow.
  • And by all means—MOVE (even if it means exercises done in bed or requires the assistance of a caregiver).

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(Signature line appended, April 2018)

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Celeste Cooper, RN / Author, Freelancer, Advocate

Think adversity?-See opportunity!

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Learn more about Celeste’s books here. Subscribe to posts by using the information in the upper right hand corner or use the share buttons to share with others. 

Friday, April 3, 2015

Make a Public Comment on the National Pain Strategy by Celeste Cooper

The National Pain Strategy is out. 
You can view it and download it here

Public comments on the draft National Pain Strategy must be received no later than 5 p.m. EST on May 20, 2015. Written comments sent electronically are preferred and may be addressed to

Following is mine.

To whom it may concern:

I agree that collaboration between primary and pain specialists is helpful in some cases, though I do not believe it is mandatory, and this is why.

  • Many pain specialists are only interested in interventional care.
  • Monthly visits for the pain patient who uses a non-escalated dose of opioids over a period of years, for instance, is time consuming and costly to the patient and society.
  • Forcing patients into a chronic pain program that have not had any red flags, are not a safety risk, could create perceived stigma where there was none.
  • To think that a primary physician cannot complete continuing education courses for management of mild to moderate chronic pain is ridiculous.
  • Primary physicians are on the front lines. They will be held accountable for prevention strategies, but they aren’t able to make assessments for treating pain? This seems like tying their hands behind their backs. Board certified family physicians should not be segregated from treating uncomplicated chronic pain independently. Who is better trained in meeting the biopsychosocial needs of a patient?
  • Certainly, complicated chronic pain should be under the supervision of a pain specialist, however not all patients meet this criteria, and not all pain specialists take a biopsychosocial approach. It would be interesting to have the data on this and I am grateful you are doing just that.

What I like as an RN and a Chronic Pain Patient

  • Core competency in treating complicated chronic pain.
  • Addressing the stigma of chronic pain.
  • A biopsychosocial model.
  • Collecting data that will improve outcome based treatment.
  • Recognition of the need for programs that address patients as a whole.
  • Studying chronic pain as a disease.
  • Advocating for complimentary treatments that work, with the goal of making them accessible to all patient regardless of ability to pay.

Playing Devil’s Advocate

Standardizing electronic records in a free corporate society may not be possible. This should have been planned out before it was ever initiated. I have physician family members who tell me EMRs will not be practical as long as there are so many different computer programs.

Have you ever taken any of the alternative drugs offered? Why aren’t we equally concerned about the abuse of drugs like Neurontin® or Lyrica®? There was not one mention of these drugs in this report. Isn’t focusing only on opioids stigmatizing?

Will all insurance companies be willing to pay for integrative treatments? If not, which is most likely, doesn’t this mean those of us without deep pockets will not be able to afford the complimentary care our physicians expect? It is difficult to get Medicare to pay for TENS units and supplies. But they will pay for interventional procedures, some that are costly to society and have not been proven to bring any lasting effects. How can we curtail spending if we put all pain care in the hands of already overloaded pain specialists?

How can we force private practice pain physicians to adhere to and develop a clinic that takes a biopsychosocial approach to treatment? Is this not a violation of free enterprise of our nation? Not that I don’t agree this is the right approach, but in practicum, is it possible?

How are we to stop the stigma associated with chronic pain if opioids are seen as bad? The patient’s who benefit from opioids, that do not require escalated doses of many years, and do not tolerate alternative drugs, like myself, are not identified in the data. Without this data, won’t chronic pain always have an associated stigma? The last data I saw was that 70% of patients using opioids would not abuse their medications. Can we expect future data on this?

How many overdoses occur from under-treatment of pain? Can we expect a comparative analysis? Why is opioid treatment for chronic pain left out of the conundrum of opioid statement? Isn’t this stigmatizing?

Despite best efforts, chronic pain will exist. When the patient does approach their pain in a biopsychosocial way (I write books on this and practice it), and their pain persists, will they feel inadequate, isolated, and depressed, all the things a multimodal approach is supposed to fix?


Looking at chronic pain as a public health issue is the right approach in my opinion. It will avail resources that wouldn't otherwise be accessible. The report is comprehensive, there will be roadblocks in implementing all the suggestions, but hopefully generations to come will benefit. As an educator, I was impressed on seeing short-term to long-term goals. This strategy provides a mechanism for reassessment and revision.

Chronic pain devastates the lives of people living with it. Patients did not ask to have injury, anatomical defects, or disease processes that create the chronic pain web of deceit. Acceptance is necessary for forward momentum, and that doesn't include just the patient, it also includes their provider, their families, their employers (if they are lucky enough to have one), their friends, and society in general.

Learn more about what you can do to help your body function to its potential in the books you can find here on Celeste's  blog
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"Adversity is only an obstacle if we fail to see opportunity."  
Celeste Cooper, RN
Author—Patient—Health Central Chronic Pain ProAdvocate—Sharecare Fibromyalgia Health Expert


All answers and blogs are based on the author's opinions and writing and are not meant to replace medical advice.  

Celeste's Website

Celeste's Website
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