Saturday, August 23, 2008

Seven Simple Steps to Prevent Back Pain

Who is watching your back?

Well the stats say that more than four out of every five people will at some point in their lives suffer from some degree of back pain. This condition in the United States can cause 300 million days per year of restricted activity or an average of one day per year for every man, woman and child in the entire country. It can also cost the US economy nearly 150 billion dollars in medical treatments and lost productivity.

You may ask, "What can I do to help prevent back pain from taking away my active lifestyle and costing me hundreds and even thousands of dollars in medical costs?"

Well the pain in our back is not necessarily the result of serious injury. So to prevent and relive aches and pains from common causes here are seven things that you can do.

1. Get up and move around (every half hour or so) Don't get so focused on your work that you forget to get up. This moving about will stimulate your blood circulation which in turn will nurture back tissues. Use a timer (egg) to remind yourself to take a stretch break and move around a bit.

2. Watch your posture. When you sit maintain a natural curve in your lower back. To get the idea you can use a sponge roll or a rolled hand towel in the small of your back to help in training your body how to sit. Use a proper chair and avoid the use of overstuffed, sagging chairs.

3. Get your sleep. Check out your mattress for firmness. When you are lying on your side you want your spine to be straight. Try sleeping with a pillow between your knees (or under them if you are lying on your back) If you wake in the morning and you're comfortable, the mattress that you are sleeping on would appear to be just fine.

4. Exercise. A well-supported back depends on strong muscles in your midsection. By doing a few simple exercises on a regular basis you can tone your abdominal, side and back muscles. Simply set aside a few minutes in your day for your regular exercise routine and just do it.

5. De-Stress. Stress doesn't create back pain but it can magnify it. Try some relaxation techniques such as message or progressive muscle relaxation. My favorite is simply sitting passively in my favorite chair while listening to my selection of quiet time music. Don't forget to have that cup of tea.

6. Delegate the lifting. Lifting is where we can injure our backs so think twice about doing it. We may think we are still twenty but our backs have endured those extra years and now if you over lift or do repetitive lifting you can exceed the endurance of your back muscles. So simply think before you do it and let a younger back do the heavy lifting.

7. Don't twist and lift. Our backs hate it when we twist and lift so remember to turn your entire body and don't overextend your reach. If you are at your desk simply turn your chair rather than twisting your spine. So there you have seven simple tips that we all can do to keep our backs healthy and strong. Put these on your fridge or anywhere else that will remind you every day to watch your back. Don't we all appreciate it when someone is watching our backs.

For more on maintaining a healthy body visit or click the hyperlink.

Physical Therapy Exercises.

Gary Gray

I am a six year stroke survivor on my long journey back to recovering as many abilities as possible and finding my new normal.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Is this the future....or not?

Hi Everyone

Check this out... Dr Jill Bolte Taylor is a featured guest blogger on Moblogic TV. Are we looking at the future of brain science here or just a confused stroke survivor who got lost in the lengthy recovery process from her stroke of almost twelve years ago.

You tell me... Read the blog post, watch the interview and then post your thoughts back here as a comment. Or follow me on Twitter and tell me @garydotgray

Guest Blogger: Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor

"Everything we are capable of thinking, feeling or doing is because we have cells in our brain that perform that function. I can track a moving target because I have cells designed to do that. I can move my finger because I have cells wired specifically for that function. Once those cells are either traumatized or die, then I can no longer perform that function.

On an emotional level, I can experience anger or sadness or loneliness, because I have emotional circuitry, made up of cells that perform those functions. Equally important, I have the ability to experience deep inner peace or a connection with something that is greater than I am, because I have cells that perform those functions."

Go to the post to read the remainder of Dr. Taylor's comments

Enjoy and be sure to comment with your thoughts.

Smiles :o)


Friday, June 27, 2008

Meet Kyle Jay a Brain Stem "Locked in" Stroke Survivor.

Hi Everyone

In March of this year (2008) I was introduced by Cathy Sinclair of the Heart and Stroke Foundation of PEI to a young man from our community by the name of Kyle Jay.

Cathy introduced me by way of telling me that Kyle had suffered a Brain Stem Stroke and was "locked in". He and his family were in a hospital in Halifax (200 miles away) and could I be available to be contacted by them and help them with access to getting support from the stroke community.

So after an email introduction to Kyle's mom Darlene I began to get the word out to the stroke community and stroke survivors and caregivers started to respond to my request to contact Kyle through his FaceBook group, email or a personal visit.

Thank you every body for your support. Kyle has been moved back to te Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Charlottetown where he continues to make good progress with his recovery.

He was moved into the Rehab Unit on Monday where I got to visit him (and meet him for the first time) Monday evening and his dad (Garth) snapped this picture of us together.

Here is a link to my Stroke Network Blog where I have been re posting Darlene's FaceBook posts so that Stroke Network Members that don't have a FaceBook account could follow Kyle's progress.

Here is a link to Kyle's FaceBook Group so you can learn more about this amazing young man.

Kyle is an amazing young man through his "can do" attitude, his great smile and laugh, support of his family, friends and community as well as members of the world wide stroke community Kyle is accomplishing the impossible. (recovery from a brain stem stroke and a "locked in" condition)

Yes Kyle is a real life inspiration to all stroke survivors everywhere. "Yes We Can"

Smiles :o)


Saturday, June 21, 2008

At least half of Canadians do not treat stroke as a medical emergency

Hi Everyone

ONLY... 24 out of every 100 people in some provinces in Canada would call 9-1-1 if they or someone that they knew was experiencing the warning signs of stroke.

A new report reveals:

At least half of Canadians do not treat stroke as a medical emergency, warns the Heart and Stroke Foundation Report on Stroke. In a national poll of adults, the Heart and Stroke Foundation found that less than half would call 9-1-1 if they or someone they know experienced warning signs of stroke.

When we realize that some 50,000 Canadians suffer stroke every year of which the majority either die or are permanently disabled is it any wonder that we need to promote Stroke Awareness in Canada.

Click here to read the entire report.

Smiles :o)


Sunday, June 8, 2008

My three video clips on High Blood Pressure and Stroke

Hi Everyone

In February 2008 I was asked by our local hospital foundation if I would participate in a televised interview on the subject of High Blood Pressure and Stroke.

It was recorded at the local Community Cable Chanel Studio along with Karen Brown a health nurse with the hospital.

The actual full interview lasted about an hour but I have posted (on You Tube) three clips of seven minutes each just to give you an idea of how the interview went.

So click here to go and view the clips.

If you like them please feel free to rate them or digg them etc. That way they can be shared with more people and that increases awareness of stroke and stroke recovery issues as well.

The more we care means the more we share....

Smiles :o)


Saturday, May 24, 2008

Learn/Leisure Therapy... Dr. Nancy Mayo

Hi Everyone

Here is a unique opportunity to hear the voices of stroke

BUT!...Before you listen. Check out Dr. Nancy Mayo's presentation "Getting on with the rest of Your Life after stroke: Mission Possible...

I have just uploaded an audio (WAV) file of the recording that I did at the "Strategies for Stroke Recovery" Conference in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island Canada. (Nov 07)

It is a recording of Dr. Nancy Mayo's presentation "Getting on with the rest of Your Life after stroke: Mission Possible" (about an hour in length)

Just click on the link to listen to the presentation (the entire presentation is interesting but the last half really talks about us as stroke survivors fitting back into our communities and getting on with the rest of our lives.... post stroke)

I would really appreciate having your comments on this idea of "Learn/leisure therapy" does it sound like something that could work for you?

Now click on the link above to listen to the "Voices of Stroke"...Thanks.

Smiles :o)


Thursday, May 15, 2008

This is a One Time Special Post!

Hello to my Social Networking friends. If you think that Barack Obama (see video “Yes We Can!”) can change the real lives of millions of American people. Then Ed Dale, Dan Rain and the Thirty Day Challenge (see video " The Thirty Day Challenge Music Video") can change the real lives of billions of people around the globe in ways they could never imagine in their wildest dreams. I just wanted to share this little known but empowering information with friends within my own social network. Shhh don’t let the cat out of the bag so to speak. You can check it out if you wish at.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Getting on with the rest of your life, Post Stroke...

Hi again everyone.

I just wanted to let you know that a great couple who have survived and thrived through the stroke experience will be reaching their 8th stroke anniversary this month. They will truly inspire you in a way that you may never have thought possible.

Congratulations Don and Jean!

To introduce you, please read Jean's comments below and then click through to her blog.

Stroke Anniversary Number Eight

May 21st, 2008 will be the eighth anniversary since Don's massive stroke, a stroke that changed the direction of our lives as strokes do for most people. This year, to celebration the fact that my husband beat the prognosis of two neurologists and is far from being “a vegetable for the rest of his life,” as they predicted, I'm planning a day trip to Lake Michigan.

Click Here to read Jean's blog... "From the Planet Aphasia"

Smiles :o)


Monday, May 5, 2008

the Aphasia and Stroke Caregivers Guide...

If you are a new caregiver or Stroke survivor please check out the abundance of personal experience that is available on Jean Riva's Squidoo site. Jean has been a Stroke Buddy for a number of years now as her husband Don had his stroke back in 2000.

I am sure that you will find her information very helpful whether you are a caregiver or a survivor.

Read her intro below and then click the link to go to her page.

"Caregiving is not for sissies! This has been my personal mantra since May of 2000 when my husband had a massive stroke that left him right side paralyzed and with no verbal or written means of communication. Becoming an aphasia and stroke caregiver quickly took me outside of my comfort zone and I repeated that mantra to myself many times in the early months. It helped me to be brave and bold and grow into the job one day at a time. I've learned many things along the way to becoming a seasoned stroke caregiver and eventually a peer mentor.

My purpose in creating this 'Aphasia and Stroke Caregivers Guide' is to share what I've learned and the resources I've found over the years, and will continue to find in the future"
...Jean Riva

Click here to enter Jean's site.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Acute Stroke Unit Needed for PEI

Islanders from all walks of life have added their voices to the call for an acute stroke unit. To read the letters they wrote to Island editors, click here.