Monday, July 6, 2015

Conquer Your Pain in 9 Steps

This self-help book is dedicated to her husband Rod, an unconditional supporter, and to her daughters, the pride of her life, additionally featuring testimonials from individuals that it helped and acknowledgements to sundry individuals with medical expertise that guided her on a path to better health and made possible the guide. Opening the book is a quote from William Johnsen and a saying by the fourteenth Dalai Lama starting the prologue. The author wants to share her wisdom with others since she doesn’t want others to suffer as she did, the author mentioning that she slipped, fell, and broke her hip when she was thirty.

Staveley further mentions three primary principles in the quest towards recovery, including the establishment of a problem-solving mindset, building a team to help, and the need to expect perseverance in the journey. She builds the book’s section upon these principles alongside a fourth section dealing with chronic pain. Three chief aspects of North American healthcare also drive the expectation of a health revolution, including the payment by a third party with knowledge that someone else knows what’s best to address health concerns, the “patching up” of health problems rather than search for long-term solutions, and that many doctors do not have adequate trainings in the achievement of optimal health.

Section I dedicates itself to readers setting themselves up to be problem solvers when it comes to questions of health, its first chapter challenging individuals to identify what’s holding them back, and notes that focusing on “numbing the pain” stunts growth opportunities. Staveley provides the analogy of seeing the forest, the big pictures of things, as opposed to the trees, the trivial aspects of pain. She mentions three characteristics of wholehearted living, including courage to embrace being imperfect, feeling compassion for others, and believing that what makes one vulnerable also makes one beautiful. The book goes on to ask how the reader handles adversity, if they accept themselves for who they are, and if they “numb” problems instead of facing them directly.

The first chapter afterward provides several steps for practicing gratitude, and highlights two stories that view weaknesses as opportunities for growth. Then she brings to light a “magic wand” exercise where readers ask what they’d wish for, with blank tables allowing the book’s audience members to write in their wishes, following which is a list of questions that help them identify if they’re doing everything in their power to recover, such as identifying a greater purpose in life, setting measurable goals, researching the best medical professionals, and leading the discussion on recovery whenever they have a health appointment.

Chapter Two dedicates itself to readers establishing their “why,” opening with quotes from Friedrich Nietzsche and Nathaniel Hawthorne, noting that purpose can trump fear. The author narrates a story about how she began and progressed through her career as a Pharmaceutical Sales Representative, after which she relays the reader many questions that deal with topics such as how life will be better when the audience improves their wellness. Staveley asks what it means for people to be healthy as they can be, terminating the chapter with the statement that getting to one’s healthiest state is a journey and battle fought daily.

Chapter Three deals with goalsetting and opens with a Denis Waitley quote, after which the author again emphasizes the importance of completing the second step in the journey to overcoming pain. She establishes a guideline of creating appropriate goals, with the descriptions of Specific, Measureable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-sensitive, forming the acronym SMART. The author proceeds to ask more questions about the adjustment of maximum motivation, and concludes the chapter with a story about how one can disassociate himself or herself from the outcome of negotiation. Terminating the section is a synopsis of the primary points of the first three chapters.

Staveley commences Section II assuming the reader has established a mindset of purpose and goals about his or her health. She mentions a story about how Albert Einstein said that had he an hour to save the world, he would dedicate fifty-five minutes to defining the problem and five minutes attempting to solve it. The author offers nine strategies for readers to use to apply to their health problems if possible: rephrasing the problem, exposing and challenging assumptions, making problem pieces bigger, making them smaller, finding alternate perspectives, using various language constructs, making the problem engaging, looking at it backwards, and gathering facts.

Chapter Four, opened with a Maya Angelou quote, involves developing and using one’s social support network, which involves three chief steps: identifying supporters, leveraging knowledge and experience of your network, and taking action. Staveley suggests not only associating with positive, supportive people, but with those who inspire. She further notes that those on the path to recovery can acquire resources from people with whom they regularly associate, bringing forth the animalian analogy of the ostrich, which feeds with others from its group and uses its social skills to avert predators.

A Lucas Remmerswaal quote opens the fifth chapter, which involves the selection and challenge of the right healthcare professionals. Staveley suggests the preparation steps of compiling a list of symptoms and related circumstances, composing several questions to ask their provider, and doing research, for instance, by gathering information from others who have suffered similar symptoms. She follows with a list of issues to consider when dealing with health professionals, alongside research such as looking into lists of best metropolitan doctors, and urges readers to be ready for several potential responses by doctors to a patient’s symptoms.

Staveley further suggests thinking outside the box by looking into non-MD individuals for help such as chiropractors and occupational therapists. She provides extensive thoughts about general practitioners and specialists, noting that many receive salary based on how many patients they see during a regular day. A list of websites the author provides as well, such as the Mayo Clinic’s page and WebMD for patients to prepare for their medical visits, and she suggests going through a scientific method in determining symptoms and potential causes of ailments. She notes that questions can lead to productive interactions, further suggesting patients receive all their available options, share their experiences, and concludes the chapter with a list of important minerals necessary for healthy lifestyles such as calcium and iodine.

Chapter Six opens with a quote from American Vice President Joseph Biden, Staveley noting that readers should be ready to invest finances in their quests to recovery. She indicates her seventeen-year journey through Canada’s healthcare system proved wrong the assumption that treatments she didn’t have to pay for were most effective, and provides a table for readers to theorize their potential expenses. The author poses various questions to consider such as the effectiveness of optional treatments, and encourages readers to carefully analyze their financial situations. In the Section II summary, she provides checklists of various things the reader should be doing in their adventure towards better wellness.

Section III opens with brief mention that it will provide the reader with tools to persist and persevere with their healthcare approaches. Chapter Seven deals with the implementation of potential health solutions, and suggests the audience asks questions of their care providers such as what medicine does exactly. The author explains what to do if the reader doesn’t like a doctor-recommended solution, relaying the story of a nurse that suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) after her return from war. She concludes by emphasizing that even if a doctor’s recommendation isn’t pleasant, they should go through with it anyway.

Chapter Eight deals with the everyday search for motivators to keep patients going towards their healthcare goals, and opens with a selection of music that can motivate the audience, such as “Inner Ninja” by Classified, with their lyrics allegedly being inspiring, and which she suggests readers can apply towards their goals. She suggests various visual indicators such as images of people the reader loves to keep them going. The chapter concludes that the right aural and visual indicators can be sufficient motivators towards wellness goals.

Chapter Nine presents the final steps on the journey towards the conquest of pain, which is to never, ever give up, a Winston Churchill quote emphasizing this. Staveley suggests turning adversity into advantage, and mentions that deep happiness is inaccessible without overcoming challenges. She acknowledges that there is no such thing as one-hundred-percent healthiness, and urges her audience to inquire what the lessons of setbacks are. The author lists several expectations of those on the journey towards improved health, such as giving treatments time, working on weaknesses, overcoming adversity, and acknowledging that the quest for better wellness is neverending. Concluding is the story of a blind man who received cataract surgery and could see, Section III ending with another checklist for readers.

Section IV promises to narrate the author’s experience with chronic pain and triathlons, the tenth chapter being her tale of how she overcame chronic myofascial pain syndrome. She describes the condition itself, following which are approaches that alleviated her condition, including changes in nutrition, and she provides a list of mineral depletion causes such as alcoholic and caffeinated beverages, not to mention “in” foods such as fruits and vegetables and “out” foods such as most bread and pasta. Addition approaches such as supplements Staveley suggests too, not to mention yoga and massage, and the reader finding out what works best for them.

The eleventh chapter opens with the assurance that perfect health is not necessary for participation in athletic events such as triathlons, and that one can stay healthy in spite of a fragile body. Staveley details her training for triathlons and ultimate competition in an IRONMAN event, suggesting as well necessary equipment and preparation. She gives some tips on strength and flexibility training, and suggests that family members become involved to ensure their wellness, as well. The author concludes by mentioning that there is no magic cure for better health, alongside lists such as resources and her training song playlist.

In the end, this is an excellent guide to self-recovery, giving nice detail to the author’s nine essential steps, and this reviewer, as an autistic adult, can certainly emphasize with those who need to take certain steps to better well-beings, and has suffered emotionally due to things such as things beyond his control. This reviewer can furthermore relate to the author’s overcoming of adversity, and, even prior to reading the book, has had an effective plan for fitness, although he very much still needs to work on achieving optimum mental health. Overall, this reviewer would highly recommend this self-improvement guide to those young and old in need of major changes to their wellness.

Author's Bio:

After suffering 13 years of debilitation caused by a chronic myofascial pain condition, Carole Staveley realized there was no “magic bullet” coming to her rescue. She took charge of solving her health challenges and went on to complete an IRONMAN triathlon in 2013. Carole’s book, Conquer Your Pain in 9 Steps, takes you through her proven 9-step Health Champion approach to suffering less and achieving more. Carole Staveley is President of Inner Victory Coaching, an organization she founded to empower others to become their own Health Champions and reach their full potential.  
Connect with the author:    Website ~  Twitter  ~  Facebook

Interview questions from Jeremy, blogger at The Autistic Gamer

1. What special advice would you give to adults on the autism spectrum such as myself to overcoming pain such as that emotional?

A: Emotional pain and mental health need to be approached in a similar way as the approach I've laid out in my book. We can't achieve our fullest physical health unless our mental / emotional issues are also being addressed and vice-versa. In some cases, the person suffering might not be able to be their own "Health Champion" and that responsibility will fall on the individual appointed to care for that person (for example, someone severely affected by autism spectrum who requires assistance for daily living). Whether it's the person who is suffering or the caregiver, the approach should be the same: 1. Develop a Health Champion mindset. Recognize that you alone are responsible for achieving your best health outcomes; 2. Build and leverage your health team. Tap into your social network, and act on their tips and suggestions. Identify health professionals who are collaborative, and take responsibility for challenging their knowledge - engage them in discussions that could lead to even better solutions for your particular case; and 3. Persevere. It's a journey filled with adversity, and it's by confronting the adversity that we grow to new heights. Never, ever give up on making progress toward a better version of you.

2. What's your take on psychiatric assistance for recovery such as that I receive?
A: I'm not familiar with the details of the type of psychiatric care you receive. However, psychiatrists, as with all different types of health professionals, can be a valuable resource on your road to recovery. The key is to not sit back and expect that the psychiatrist has all the answers, that he/she will do all that is necessary to achieve the best possible outcome. It's important to view him/her as one of your team members, and not as the "untouchable guru" who can't be challenged.

3. I lost a fourth of my body weight with Wii Fit Plus for the Nintendo Wii and maintain my BMI of 22 by avoiding snacking and desserts on days in which it goes above that number, and eating extra and snacking on days when it falls below. Would you recommend a similar method of weight maintenance?
A: Whether an approach to your health goal is successful depends on many factors, including your personality and your readiness for behavior change. It's great that you found something that works for you. If the goal is to lose weight, I think the individual needs to spend some time thinking about the following: (1) WHY do I want to lose weight? What positive changes could occur in my life as a result of weight loss? How can I carry out my life purpose and positively impact others if I lose weight and feel better? (2) How have I successfully implemented significant behavioral changes in my life in the past? What aspects of that approach can I apply to this weight loss challenge? (3) Who can I enlist to help me through the process - both as an accountability partner and as a supporter?

4. Is lunch as important a meal in the day as breakfast?
A. I eat 5 or 6 times per day, and I view each one of those meals / snacks as being equally important! Keeping your blood sugar levels from fluctuating too much and making sure you're feeding your body with nutrition that allows it to thrive will contribute to reducing cravings and the tendency to dive for the junk food!

5. I weighed as much as 210 lbs and am now down to around 155, although I attribute this solely to my personal weight loss goals established by the aforementioned Wii Fit Plus. Would you consider it possible for others such as myself to work for themselves in reaching goals such as weight loss and overcoming pain?

A. Congratulations on reaching your goal! The fact that you found the approach that worked for you is testimony to the fact that by keeping up the search and believing there are solutions out there for you, you can achieve things you never thought possible. It's all about believing you have the power to identify the resources that can help you and to implement the solutions you discover on your journey. We can all achieve much more than we think is possible today - no matter what our starting point.
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