Get the Facts About Migraine – and Take Control – For Grace
They’re No Joke!
Migraine is the third most prevalent illness and sixth most disabling illness in the world – yet there’s still much misunderstanding and lack of information about this serious chronic pain condition that impacts one billion people across the globe.
Learn more about migraine – and see what you can do to manage this challenging condition, while finding better quality of life, by checking out these great educational tools and resources…
Migraine Wellness Tools and Resources:
Migraine-Related Organizations and Blogs:
The Migraine Experience:
Migraine and Gender
Migraine Treatment Breakthroughs:
“The doctors tried barbaric nerve blocks, strapping her to the table while they poked and prodded as if she were a lab rat.”
Newly Approved VR Therapeutic for Back Pain Expands Scope of Home Health
EaseVRx, the first FDA-approved VR therapeutic for pain relief, guides patients through an eight-week program that teaches them cognitive behavioral skills to help them manage their pain at home.
Source: AppliedVRShare on Twitter
November 23, 2021 – As care moves out of the hospital, various devices and solutions are emerging to enable patients to receive care at home. Among these is a device that leverages virtual reality to treat chronic low back pain that just got a major regulatory boost.
Developed by AppliedVR, EaseVRx became the first virtual reality-based digital therapeutic for pain relief to gain Food and Drug Administration approval last week.
“This is a huge accomplishment for us,” said Matthew Stoudt, co-founder and CEO of AppliedVR, in a phone interview. “It provides validation that VR is a therapeutic modality.”
Chronic pain is a widespread health issue in America. In 2019, 59 percent of adults experienced some kind of pain, according to the latest data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Of these, 39 percent of adults had back pain, and 36.5 percent had lower limb pain.
AppliedVR’s goal is to create a device category called immersive therapeutics, which could add a new dimension to the evolving home healthcare arena.
How the device works
EaseVRx is a virtual reality headset that comes preloaded with software content, which guides chronic low back pain patients through an eight-week program based on cognitive behavioral skills and other methods.
It incorporates biopsychosocial pain education, diaphragmatic breathing training, mindfulness exercises, relaxation-response exercises, and executive functioning games to help patients reduce pain symptoms.
Usually, pain is addressed with only physiology in mind, but AppliedVR aims to go beyond that, according to Stoudt.
“It’s that classic journey of, ‘Let’s give them incense. All right, let’s give them opioids. Let’s give them injections. Let’s give them implants. Let’s give them surgery, surgery, surgery,'” he said. “But we’re not fundamentally addressing the fact that chronic pain, like a lot of chronic disease conditions, is that biopsychosocial condition, which means that it is not only about the physiology and the pain, but it is also about the psychology, the comorbidity of depression, anxiety, and sleeplessness that gets exacerbated as that patient, the sufferer, ultimately feels more and more isolated from those around them.”
In fact, just last year, the International Association for the Study of Pain changed its definition of pain for the first time in about 40 years to include the fact that the condition is influenced by biological, psychological and social factors.
It is this psychological aspect of pain that EaseVRx aims to mitigate.
For example, the diaphragmatic breathing training includes scenes of nature that come to life as the user breathes at the right pace.
“You start to see flowers bloom, and you see a tree grow and start to sway with the pacing of your breathing,” Stoudt said. “And it is a really powerful thing. You can connect the mind and the body through an experience like that.”
Similarly, one of the relaxation exercises includes virtual reality-based scenes of rain.
“It feels a bit chaotic,” Stoudt said. “And as you calm yourself down, from a breathing perspective, then it starts to clear away. The clouds clear away. The rain dissipates. And you’re then presented with a beautiful meadow. So, it teaches you again the concept of down regulating your own pain.”
The goal is to teach patients these behavioral skills over time so that they can manage their pain more effectively on their own.
Though research has highlighted some disadvantages of using VR headsets in healthcare, including motion sickness, the pros demonstrated regarding pain reduction may outweigh the cons.
AppliedVR included data from two randomized controlled trials that evaluated the effectiveness of its home-based, self-treatment program for chronic pain.
The first one, which was published in JMIR Formative Research, analyzed data from 97 people suffering from chronic lower back or fibromyalgia pain over a 21-day period. Those who used EaseVRx significantly reduced five key pain indicators, including average pain intensity, pain-related interference with activity and sleep.
The second study, published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research, included 179 individuals, of which 89 used EaseVRx. The rest used a VR headset that provided 2D nature content. The EaseVRx group reported on average a 42 percent reduction in pain intensity, a 49 percent drop in activity interference and a 52 percent decline in sleep interference as compared with their 2D VR headset counterparts.
Even before the FDA gave its official blessing, providers have been using the device in pilot programs and for research, including Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.
The health system has used the device in its research program for several years, said Brennan Spiegel, MD, professor of medicine and public health and director of health services research at Cedars-Sinai, in an email.
The device is currently being used for people with lower back pain, cancer-related pain, and in a study to help manage pain remotely among rural populations.
“We have seen consistent benefits of VR across a range of pain conditions, including both musculoskeletal, oncologic, and visceral forms of pain,” Spiegel said.
The organization is also using the EaseVRx device in partnership with its obstetrics department. The program was effective at reducing pain among women in labor as compared with those who received no intervention, a study led by Cedars-Sinai’s Melissa Wong, MD, shows.
What’s next for AppliedVR
Currently, AppliedVR is focused on of scaling the EaseVRx device and program to successfully bring it to market. But the company is also thinking about its applicability outside of chronic lower back pain.
“The skills that we’re teaching, we believe, have transferability to many of the different types of chronic pain that are out there,” Stoudt said. “And so that’s what we want to do next is start doing these real-world studies where we can actually validate the fact that EaseVRx as a platform has an opportunity to address more than the chronic low back pain.”
Other areas of interest for the company include fibromyalgia, osteoarthritis, and total joint pain.
Further, AppliedVR has entered into a partnership with the National Cancer Institute. Together, the organizations are conducting a large feasibility study with a derivative of EaseVRx focused on cancer-related anxiety.
The crux of the AppliedVR product is behavior change, and so, the success of EaseVRx depends on whether it can entice patients to spend seven minutes everyday using the headset for eight weeks straight. Its popularity on a large scale across patient populations remains to be seen, but the company is betting on its unique approach to ensure engagement.
“Traditionally, we think about pain relief as a negative good,” Stoudt said. “People don’t want to take their pills, don’t want to get their shots or injections, their surgery, but they do it because they believe on the other side, you’re going to get relief from that affliction. But what we’re doing, we have an opportunity to flip it on its head and actually make it a positive good, where patients actually look forward to the journey itself.”
FDA NEWS RELEASE
FDA Authorizes Marketing of Virtual Reality System for Chronic Pain Reduction
For Immediate Release:November 16, 2021
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration today authorized marketing of EaseVRx, a prescription-use immersive virtual reality (VR) system that uses cognitive behavioral therapy and other behavioral methods to help with pain reduction in patients 18 years of age and older with diagnosed chronic lower back pain.
“Millions of adults in the United States are living with chronic lower back pain that can affect multiple aspects of their daily life,” said Christopher M. Loftus, M.D., acting director of the Office of Neurological and Physical Medicine Devices in the FDA’s Center for Devices and Radiological Health. “Pain reduction is a crucial component of living with chronic lower back pain. Today’s authorization offers a treatment option for pain reduction that does not include opioid pain medications when used alongside other treatment methods for chronic lower back pain.”
Chronic lower back pain, which is defined as moderate to severe pain in the lower back lasting longer than three months, is one of the most common chronic pain conditions in the U.S. Chronic pain may inhibit mobility or daily activities and has been linked to anxiety and depression, poor perceived health or reduced quality of life and dependence on opioids. Current treatment plans for chronic lower back pain often include, among other options, prescription and over-the-counter pain medications, exercise, steroid injections, surgery and transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) may be used to reduce the burden of chronic pain and increase function through an emotional, cognitive and behavioral approach to shift negative beliefs held by patients about the relationship between their pain and movement.
EaseVRx employs the principles of CBT and other behavioral therapy techniques for the purpose of reduction of pain and pain interference. The prescription device, which is intended for at-home self-use, consists of a VR headset and a controller, along with a “Breathing Amplifier” attached to the headset that directs a patient’s breath toward the headset’s microphone for use in deep breathing exercises. The device’s VR program uses established principles of behavioral therapy intended to address the physiological symptoms of pain and aid in pain relief through a skills-based treatment program. These principles include deep relaxation, attention-shifting, interoceptive awareness–the ability to identify, access, understand and respond appropriately to the patterns of internal signals—and perspective-taking, distraction, immersive enjoyment, self-compassion, healthy movement, acceptance, visualization, knowledge of pain and rehabilitation.
The EaseVRx treatment program consists of 56 VR sessions that are 2-16 minutes in length, which are intended to be used as part of a daily eight-week treatment program. Each session incorporates elements of the aforementioned principles to provide the user with skills to achieve relief and reduction in the interference of pain in daily activities.
The FDA evaluated the safety and effectiveness of EaseVRx in a randomized, double-blinded clinical study of 179 participants with chronic lower back pain who were assigned to one of two eight-week VR programs: the EaseVRx immersive 3-D program or a control 2-D program that did not utilize skills-based CBT methods of treatment. After enrollment in the trial, participants were followed for a period of 8.5 months total, including a two-week baseline assessment period, an eight-week VR program, a post-treatment assessment, and follow-up at one, two, three, and six months after completion of the program.
At the end of treatment, 66% of EaseVRx participants reported a greater than 30% reduction in pain, compared to 41% of control participants who reported a greater than 30% reduction in pain. Furthermore, 46% of EaseVRx participants reported a greater than 50% reduction in pain compared to 26% of control participants. At one-month follow-up, all participants in the EaseVRx group continued to report a 30% reduction in pain and at the two- and three-month follow-up marks, the 30% reduction in pain remained for all outcomes with the exception of pain intensity. In contrast, the control group reported a reduction in pain below 30% at one-, two-, and three-month follow-up for all outcomes.
To evaluate the effectiveness of EaseVRx, at the end of the eight-week program, participants were asked to rate the following outcomes on a 10-point scale, with 10 being the greatest value: pain intensity, pain interference on activity, pain interference on mood, pain interference on sleep and pain interference on stress. On average, participants experienced a decrease in pain intensity of 1.31 points over the eight weeks of treatment. Participants also reported a decrease in pain interference for all measured outcomes that ranged from .95 points to 1.27 points down from their respective scores at the start of treatment.
No serious adverse events were observed or reported during the study. Approximately 20.8% of participants reported discomfort with the headset and 9.7% reported motion sickness and nausea.
EaseVRx was granted Breakthrough Device designation. To qualify for such designation, a device must be intended to treat or diagnose a life-threatening or irreversibly debilitating disease or condition and meet one of the following criteria: the device must represent a breakthrough technology; there must be no approved or cleared alternatives; the device must offer significant advantages over existing approved or cleared alternatives; or the availability of the device is in the best interest of patients.
The FDA reviewed EaseVRx through the De Novo premarket review pathway, a regulatory pathway for low-to moderate-risk devices of a new type. Along with this authorization, the FDA is establishing special controls for devices of this type, including requirements related to labeling and performance testing. When met, the special controls, along with general controls, provide reasonable assurance of safety and effectiveness for devices of this type. This action creates a new regulatory classification, which means that subsequent devices of the same type with the same intended use may go through the FDA’s 510(k) premarket process, whereby devices can obtain marketing authorization by demonstrating substantial equivalence to a predicate device.
EaseVRx is manufactured by AppliedVR.
- FDA Office of Neurological and Physical Medicine Devices, Office of Product Evaluation and Quality
- De Novo Classification Request
- Breakthrough Devices Program
The FDA, an agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, protects the public health by assuring the safety, effectiveness, and security of human and veterinary drugs, vaccines and other biological products for human use, and medical devices. The agency also is responsible for the safety and security of our nation’s food supply, cosmetics, dietary supplements, products that give off electronic radiation, and for regulating tobacco products.
Media: Abby Capobianco 240-461-9059Consumer: 888-INFO-FDA
Our Current Trials
- Virtual Reality for GI Cancer Pain Reduction Study
- We are studying how pain affects quality of life. We will be working to determine if digital, virtual reality (VR) technologies can help improve daily function and reduce pain in people with GI cancers.Read More Am I Eligible?
- VR for Chronic Lower Back Pain Reduction Study
- We are studying how pain affects quality of life and working closely with people who have chronic lower back pain to determine if digital technologies can help improve daily function and reduce pain.Read More Am I Eligible?
- Digital Technology for Pain in Rural America We are studying how pain affects quality of life. The purpose of the study is to determine if digital health technologies can help improve daily function and reduce pain.Read More
Virtual Medicine Conference
Save the Date!
vMed22 returns March 24 – 25th, 2022
Sofitel Hotel, Beverly Hills, California
Developed by the Cedars-Sinai Virtual Medicine program with generous support from the Marc and Sheri Rapaport Fund for Digital Health Sciences and Precision Health, the annual Virtual Medicine (vMed) Conference is a two-day symposium that convenes the brightest minds in Medical Extended Reality (MXR). Attendees learn from case studies, didactic lectures, patient vignettes, and simulation workshops to achieve the following educational objectives:
- Review evidence supporting the efficacy of MXR applications.
- Study use cases and clinical vignettes where MXR worked – and didn’t work – to improve patient outcomes.
- Learn best practices and pragmatic tips for implementing MXR technologies into clinical workflows.
- Discuss the cost-effectiveness and payer perspectives of MXR programs.
- Hear directly from patients who have received MXR therapeutics.
Who should attend
Virtual Medicine is intended for a wide range of stakeholders seeking to learn about the implementation, outcomes, and cost-effectiveness of Medical Extended Reality (MXR) in clinical practice and the role of MXR in medical education and simulation.
Participants include clinicians using MXR for patient care, patients exploring the benefits of MXR as a complementary therapy, hospitals and clinics evaluating the health economics of starting an MXR program, industry partners developing MXR hardware and software solutions, journalists investigating the latest advances in MXR, and investors seeking to learn the evidence and ROI for MXR products and services.
Note about COVID-19
The vMed team continues to monitor public health and institutional guidance to ensure safety during the pandemic. Although the long-awaited in-person event remains on schedule for March ’22, we will monitor for updates and hold a virtual event if necessary.
By Matthew Giarmo, PhD, Guest Columnist
1. Government Leaders Have a Choice
History may record one day that politicians and policymakers had a choice: They could champion the rights of 50 million Americans in chronic pain who desperately need a hero or they could be scorned for unnecessary cruelty and playing politics with people’s pain.
The gathering storm is a backlash to the heightened regulatory and surveillance culture that has commandeered our nation’s healthcare system. It will not go unanswered. We no longer allow government into our bedrooms to police sexual behavior, gender identity and abortion rights. And we sure as hell will not allow government to spy on our doctors and medicine cabinets.
The government has blood on its hands from chronic pain patients resorting to suicide and street drugs after being abandoned by physicians who fear imprisonment by DEA agents who have no medical training or patient knowledge.
2. Opioids Misunderstood
Opioids are not only cheap; they are uniquely effective in restoring quality and functionality to millions of Americans who suffer from chronic or intractable pain. Opioid medication is safe when used properly, while long term use of ibuprofen and acetaminophen is toxic.
When we examine data on efficacy, toxicity, dependency, teen use, mortality and preventable causes of death, opioids do not warrant consideration as a threat to national health security. There is no opioid “crisis” or “epidemic.”
I believe any determination to the contrary is a byproduct of inappropriate agency regulation (the 2016 CDC Opioid Guideline) and biased and conflicted advice from an extremist sect (Physicians for Responsible Opioid Prescribing) operating at the fringes of the medical community. The growing realization among doctors and patients is that “the fools are in charge” and “the foxes are guarding the hen house.”
Inappropriate prescribing that resulted in spikes of opioid abuse, such as pill mills and dentists disposed to trade 60 Percocet for wisdom teeth, ended several years ago. So did the marketing of extended-release formulations like OxyContin.
3. Junk Science
You may have been seduced by contrived overdose statistics (“500,000 people died from an opioid overdose”) that remain viral, despite the CDC itself acknowledging that 48% of deaths due to illicit fentanyl were erroneously counted as deaths due to a prescription opioid.
When we break down the politically convenient and alarmist statistics into deaths involving polysubstance use, suicide, reckless dosing out of frustration with pain, and drugs that were never prescribed to the decedent, the 125 deaths per day initially claimed by the CDC looks more like 5 deaths a day.
It would be more appropriate to attribute these fatalities more to pain itself than to pain medication, as well as drug experimentation, depression or diversion. Most of those who abused OxyContin reported never having a valid script. That is no basis on which to separate chronic pain patients from their medication.
But as long as an opioid shows up in a post-mortem toxicology screen, deaths are being classified as an opioid overdose; even when the opioid was one of several drugs consumed, when it cannot be determined whether the opioid was consumed in a medically relevant way, and even when the decedent was hit by a bus.
The overdose numbers had to be gamed, which makes sense when you consider that in 70% of cases, rulings on causes of death are made before the toxicology data is even available. Especially when you consider that those sky-high opioid fatalities seem out of step with the low rates of dependency (6% for chronic pain patients, 0.7% for acute pain and less than 0.1% for post surgical pain).
As a social psychologist, government analyst and research critic, I have identified about a dozen ways the science of opioids has been corrupted for financial gain, professional survival or advancement, and in service of a political cause.
One example is the claim that “80% of heroin users first misused prescription opioids.” That canard was violently ripped from a SAMHSA report and is misleadingly used to imply that 4 in 5 patients prescribed painkillers eventually use heroin. On the contrary, less than 4% of prescription opioid users turn to heroin.
Incidentally, 67% of heroin addicts reported that their prior use of prescription painkillers had not occurred in the past year. Hardly seems like an irresistible urge to me.
4. Not Knowing When to Say When
Much like Sen. Joe McCarthy wreaked havoc on a nation with reckless claims about communist infiltrators, opioid McCarthyism is killing our most vulnerable and innocent populations — veterans, senior citizens, persons with disabilities and the chronically ill.
Regulations complicate and delay the dispensing of legal scripts for these patients at the pharmacy, creating a “what’s-it-gonna-be-this-time” syndrome in which patients endure a new burden every month.
Prescriptions for opioid painkillers have declined 40% since 2011, while overdoses on heroin and illicit fentanyl have soared. As National Public Radio falsely reported that doctors are “still flooding the U.S. with opioid prescriptions,” solid research offers definitive evidence that prescriptive austerity is helping to drive the spike in overdose fatalities.
A recently published study found that among 113,000 patients on long-term opioid therapy, the incidence of a non-fatal overdose among those subjected to tapering was 68% higher than those who were not tapered. The incidence of a mental health crisis such as depression, anxiety or attempted suicide was 128% higher among those who were tapered.
5. The Inherent Absurdity of MME Thresholds
Forced tapering is undertaken to achieve an arbitrary one-size-fits-all threshold that makes no sense. There is no basis in science or nature for determining how much medication is too much. As long as patients are started at the lowest effective dose and titrated up gradually, as dictated by unresolved pain and any side effects, there is no limit to how much a patient might need 5, 10 or 15 years downstream.
Arbitrary dose limits defined in terms of morphine milligram equivalents (MME) ignore the importance of individual differences in medical diagnosis, treatment history (tolerance), and enzyme-mediated (genetic) sensitivity to pain and to pain medication. MME thresholds falsely assume that all opioids are equal and impact all patients the same way.
MMEs may be convenient for bureaucrats and expedient for politicians, but their scientific utility — and by extension the CDC guideline itself — is nullified by differences in the half-life of different drugs, differences in their absorption into the bloodstream, and differences in their rate of metabolism in different people.
6. Without Liberty or Justice for All
For arguments sake, let us suppose that we lose as many souls to prescription opioids as we do to car accidents. What have we done to rein in this other preventable cause of death? We create laws requiring safety belts, air bags, annual inspections, and compliance with speed limits. We do not criminalize the sale, operation and distribution of Honda Civics. We do not restrict the number of cars on the road. And we do not drop DEA teams behind enemy lines in Detroit.
But at a time when Americans are growing weary with a drug war that has lasted longer than our wars in Vietnam and Afghanistan — and when Americans have softened their views on marijuana — the DEA, perhaps in a desperate search for new bogeymen, expanded its theater of operations to treat pharmaceutical companies as drug cartels, doctors as dealers, and patients as addicts.
As we speak, your state is creating a mini-DEA inside its Department of Health or Medical Board that weaponizes the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program as a surveillance and detection tool, to spy on and red flag each patient and doctor whose script or “NARX Score” exceeds an arbitrary limit for which no basis in science or nature exists.
Think about all the sacred ideals we’ve abandoned to support our failed effort to bring a specious “opioid crisis” under control: the Constitution; a compassionate care system that had been the cornerstone of a civilization; a physician’s right to exercise clinical judgement; their right to due process; and a system of individualized, patient-centered care.
Government is obliged to ease civil unrest — not foment it. But federal and state governments are hell bent on driving wedges between groups of stakeholders: physicians against patients; patients and physicians against pharmacists; patients against the public at large; physicians against their own office staffs; patients against employers; and physicians against medical boards. That is McCarthyism.
All too commonplace on social media are acrimonious altercations between the grieving survivors of overdose victims and those caring for friends or family living with chronic pain. There’s no reason we can’t simultaneously provide the medicine, assistance and requisite sympathy to Americans who need addiction treatment and Americans who need pain medication — especially when we consider that only 6% of chronic pain patients prescribed painkillers develop dependency.
The NARX Score itself, a deeply flawed hotdog of a composite that ostensibly assigns a number to a person based on their supposed risk of overdose, is morally and intellectually offensive. It does little to assuage those who use the term “pain patient genocide” and compare it to the demonization and murder of 11 million Jews, gypsies, homosexuals and criminals in Germany during the Second World War.
7. Opioid Crisis As a Scapegoat
Have we as a nation become more addicted to the “opioid crisis” than we ever were to opioids? For our nation’s leaders, opioids have become an irresistible diversion and scapegoat. It’s a means to repair a tarnished reputation (see Chris Christie) or display rare bipartisan unity to disarm a cynical and frustrated constituency.
In a striking reversal of cause and effect, government officials would have you blame opioids for the loss of jobs, identities, finances and relationships that have come to define life in 21st century America. In reality, we have two crises: a crisis of chronic pain estimated to involve 50 million Americans and a psychosocial crisis linked to the combined effects of economic disparity, globalization, automation, immigration, social media, terrorism, pandemics, and the dissolution of national unity into political sects and interests.
Opioid critics like to point out that opioids only mask painful symptoms rather than address the underlying cause. But isn’t that what government officials do when they attempt to conceal or compensate for the true ills of our nation by playing whack-a-mole with prescription pain relievers?
8. The One-Track Mind
Last year a record 93,331 Americans died of a drug overdose, the vast majority involving illicit fentanyl and other street drugs, not prescription opioids.
We observed a 190% rise in cocaine overdoses and a 500% rise in overdoses involving methamphetamine. We have also seen increases in the abuse of alcohol and OTC substances like dextramorphan, diphenhydramine, ibuprofen, acetaminophen and loperamide, a drug used to treat diarrhea.
How many of those deaths can we blame on Purdue Pharma? Will collecting billions of dollars in settlement money from opioid distributors solve our overdose problem? Or will it enrich plaintiff law firms just like the Tobacco Settlement did?
9. An Unfair Fight
I was inspired to write this by a family — MY family. I know what it’s like to see a patient’s treatment plan forcibly altered and how it affects not only the patient, but all those who cherish and depend on them. Children get less attention. Spouses assume a greater share of household responsibilities. Employers deal with lower productivity.
This memo and a lengthier report will go out to families and physicians across the country with the aid of hundreds of patient-advocate communities I mobilized on social media platforms. Still, it hardly seems like a fair fight. The meek of the Earth versus an army of federally funded Type A regulators and paid expert witnesses falling over one another to advance their careers and pad their bank accounts by making life harder for people to treat their pain.
10. Taking the Battle to the States
You may decide against reading my report, but you will likely hear about it from peers, co-workers or constituents in the months to come. It is making the rounds. State legislatures. Medical boards. Medical associations. Patient advocacy groups. Defense attorneys (I was twice asked to serve as an expert witness by physician counsel). Federal agencies.
In the past two weeks, my associates have disseminated my report to the American Medical Association, AARP, federal and state officials, members of Congress and the White House.
I invite readers to do the same by downloading my report, “There Is No Crisis.” We’re just getting started.
Matthew Giarmo, PhD, is a social psychologist who has worked with terminally ill cancer patients. Matthew authors research-based reports in social phenomena, including the impact on workforce development of the Software Revolution and Great Recession, and the degradation of science by professional and institutional requirements.
WEBMD HEALTH NEWS
Is Grit and Resilience Real? And How Do You Get It?
Oct. 22, 2021 — While you may hear the words “grit” and “resilience” bandied about a lot, it turns out that both are personality traits that can be critically important in helping guide you through life, no matter your personal stressors.
And, while you can absolutely become resilient over time, your background plays a role, as it provides some of the key building blocks to bouncing back during even the worst of times.
“Some people become more resilient due to such life experience as loss, trauma, and stress,” says Julie Sochacki, JD, a clinical associate professor of English at the University of Hartford, who began teaching her first-year students about resilience when her son was diagnosed with cancer. (He’s now in remission.) “Those experiences give you opportunities to practice resilience skills. By contrast, if your life has been easy, you may never have practiced those skills.”
Besides a history of handling tough times, optimism and confidence are other traits associated with resilience.
“Resilient people tend to see the glass as half-full,” says Ken Yeager, PhD, director of the Stress, Trauma and Resilience (STAR) program in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Health at Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center.
When you’ve got grit, you tend to pair your sunny outlook with a willingness to take calculated risks others probably wouldn’t take.
“Resilient people don’t fear failure,” Yeager says. “And they don’t see failing on a task as a reflection of their individual ability. Instead, they learn from the failure itself.”
Five Ways to Build Resilience
The good news in all this? You’re never too old to find that inner grit.
“The ability to bounce back even when times get tough can be learned and developed,” says Natalie Bernstein, PsyD, a psychologist in Pittsburgh. “I always say that it’s never too late to become more resilient.”
Here are five ways to become more resilient:
Put things in perspective.
If you change your mindset, you can bounce back better, Bernstein says. “Gaining perspective is one of the easiest ways to do this,” she says. “So, instead of thinking you’re having a bad day, for example, perhaps you’re having a bad moment instead. To gain perspective, pay attention, pause, and practice reframing these feelings.”
Rethink stressful situations.
To become more resilient, it’s a great idea to try to see the bigger picture and consider whether you have a role in a particular situation, Bernstein says.
“It’s possible that the honk you heard from a driver was to thank you for letting him or her into your lane and not because he or she was being impatient,” she says. “Just like it’s possible your partner or boss is having a bad day and that’s why he or she snapped at you. By being clear about others’ actions — and realizing that they likely have nothing to do with you — you’ll cope better.”
Research has shown that gratitude has the power to change attitudes.
“By focusing upon the many things that are going right in your life, you’ll be better able to adjust to less-than-ideal situations,” Bernstein says.
Having a support system of family and/or friends that you can rely upon to have your back can be very helpful.
“Knowing you have people to stand by you in difficult times can help you feel stronger and better able to handle what life throws your way,” Bernstein says.
Acknowledge your feelings before acting on them.
Ultimately, ignoring stressful feelings won’t help you find your inner grit.
“Instead, to get on the path to becoming more resilient, make sure to validate your feelings and give yourself some time to feel disappointment and fear,” Bernstein says. “Once you’ve given yourself the space to do that, make a plan of how you want to respond or move forward. Even this small act on your part will go a long way to helping you build strength — and grit.”WebMD Health News
© 2021 WebMD, LLC. All rights reserved.
It’s CRPS Awareness Month!
CRPS awareness month 2021 has finally started!
Throughout November we will be sharing facts and information about CRPS across our social media channels, we also have our 7th annual national CRPS Conference on 21 November and don’t forget our Silent Auction in aid of Burning Nights CRPS Support.
What’s Going On in November?
Beril, are you a Formula 1 Racing fan?Fancy owning a framed signed cap by F1 2021 McLaren Team drivers Lando Norris and Daniel Ricciardo? Now’s your chance!
The signed cap has been expertly framed together with the images of both the drivers that were sent to us by McLaren Racing.
Between 1st to 20th November Burning Nights CRPS Support is holding an online silent charity auction where you can bid for this amazing prize. There is a reserve of £300.
All you have to do is to email your bid and your full contact details to firstname.lastname@example.org
We will announce the highest bidder during our conference, it will be posted online, on our website & the winner will be contacted direct.
So what are you waiting for? Get bidding!Make A bid
7th Annual National CRPS ConferenceBeril, only a couple of weeks to go before our 7th annual CRPS conference on Sunday 21 November!
Our full 1 day annual CRPS conference will be a physical event & will be at DoubleTree Hilton Chester, United Kingdom. This is a FREE event and as usual we will have some fantastic speakers all who have working knowledge of Complex Regional Pain Syndrome.
Our annual conference is for CRPS patients, their families & caregivers as well as healthcare professionals & students and lawyers who have an interest in CRPS. There’ll be breaks throughout the day when you can chat with others attending the conference. Lunch & refreshments are provided free of charge during the conference.
Register now for your free ticket! There’s also a chance on the day to purchase any of our CRPS products including Christmas cards as well!
For those unable to attend the conference in person we are going to live streaming it on Zoom. If you are interested in the live stream option, please email us at email@example.com with your full contact details including full name, email and country you live in.Sign up for your FREE ticket
Our 2021 CRPS Conference SpeakersMr Philip Cutts an Orthopaedic and Musculoskeletal Rehabilitation and Pain Management Specialist from Philip Cutts MSK talking about ‘Physiotherapy for CRPS’ Chris Edwards from Lewis Reed holding a Q & A on ‘Driving with a Disability’Mr Mohammed Akbar Hussain, Consultant Neurosurgeon talking on ‘Neuromodulation as a treatment option for CRPS’ Miriam Parkinson an Advanced Occupational Therapist is going to presenting on ‘Managing Your CRPS Flare-Ups’ Pankaj Madan – a Barrister who regularly deals with CRPS claims from Exchange Chambers talking about the Barrister’s Role in CRPS Legal ClaimsPCCA Ltd who are going to give us a very interesting talk on ‘An Introduction Personalised Medicines including for CRPS’ Ashleigh Stevens – a CRPS patient – sharing her lived experience of CRPS Register for your ticket
Check Out Some Of Our Blog ArticlesHow To Get A Better Sleep With CRPS & Chronic Pain
Sleep can be extremely difficult when you live with CRPS or chronic pain. Check out our top tips for getting a better night’s sleep
Learn More ›18 Tips Preparing For Your Pain Appointment
Attending a pain management appointment can be a daunting experience. Our 18 tips are to help you prepare for your appointment.
Find Out More ›
Our Upcoming EventsCRPS Awareness Month
CRPS Awareness Month lasts the whole of November – if you’re interested in fundraising for Burning Nights CRPS Support please contact us & don’t forget to donate your money!
Find Out ›Online CRPS Support Group
Join us for our monthly online CRPS Support group for CRPS patients on Wednesday 10 November at 2pm GMT. You’re not alone in this journey.
Sign Up ›Young Person’s Support Group
Under 18 & have CRPS? Join our online Young Person’s support group on 18 November at 4.30pm GMT
Register Today ›Loved Ones & Caregivers Support Group
Are you a partner, parent or caregiver of a CRPS patient? Join our online support group on 16 November at 7pm GMT.
Sign Up Today ›
Our Online ShopWinter Woodland Christmas Cards
This pack of 10 Christmas cards features a beautiful Winter Woodland scene will be loved by many but especially perfect for your nature loving friends & family
Buy Yours Now ›Festive Red Bus Christmas Cards
This lovely pack of 10 cards with envelopes features a beautifully illustrated festive big red London Bus with the number 25 on the front as well as the charity name
Get Your Pack Today ›Zipped Hoodie
Help spread awareness of CRPS with our Zipped Hoodie! The inside of the zipped hoodie is soft, making it a comfortable wear. Sizes Small to XXL. Colour Black with orange zip & toggles.
Buy Yours Now ›CRPS Awareness Face Mask
Our reusable face masks a soft double layered polyester material and have black elastic straps for around the ears.
Take a Look ›
FundraisingCRPS Awareness Charity Fundraiser
Maria Ayala from USA has set up a fundraiser for CRPS awareness and Burning Nights CRPS Support to run during November.
November is the perfect time not only to fundraise but to also raise awareness of Complex Regional Pain Syndrome. Help us to help all those in need of our support.
Make A Donation ›Corben Takes on Rock n Roll Liverpool Marathon
Corben Roberts made the decision to raise money for the UK’s best known CRPS charity & took on the Liverpool marathon (all 26 miles!). His wife Amy, has lived with CRPS since 2019 & is the primary reason for his fundraising efforts for the charity. Learn more about Corben or donate below
Donate Today ›
Thank You To Our Recent FundraisersOn behalf of all the people we support, we say a huge THANK YOU to our recent fundraisers! Most of the fundraisers below are still open to receive donations, please do consider donating if you can, as every penny and pound raised is important.
Fundraisers including:Daisy Roberts – who took on Lands End to John O’Groats cycle after learning to ride in just 1 month! Daisy raised just under £3,000 including matched funding from Abbott MedicalBen Ashworth – who bravely completed the Virtual London Marathon in October. Ben so far has raised £1,106.Corben Roberts – as mentioned earlier, Corben completed the Rock n Roll Liverpool Marathon & has raised £1,100 so farDan Ward – completed the gruelling Three Peaks challenge on crutches after having an accident in 2019 and developing CRPS. So far Dan has smashed his target and raised £2,660. Will you help him to reach £3,000?Lisa Jennings – completed a Triathlon after taking the summer to learn to swim with her knee injury. Lisa has so far raised £1,364.Elizabeth Marshall – has a number of ongoing events over several months. Please do donate if you can.Mark McKee (aka Sodden Gecko) – has been gaming live throughout 2021 and has raised £371 so far. We’re sure Mark has more gaming nights to go before the end of the year!
Interested in Fundraising for Burning Nights CRPS?There are many ways you can fundraise for Burning Nights CRPS Support. Not sure why you should? Here’s what Corben had to say:
”I don’t think it matters how much you raise. I feel more committed, and that I need to share our story and tell people what is happening. For me and Amy, the awareness is really important.”
Find out more about fundraising for Burning Nights CRPS Support by clicking the button below.Get InvolvedFunds from Home Collection BoxesBeril, have you ordered one of our home collection boxes? If so don’t forget to donate your saved funds when your box is full! CRPS awareness month is the perfect time to donate that loose change you’ve been saving in the collection box!
There are a number of ways you can donate your saved change including:By bank transfer direct to our charity’s bank accountUsing our one-off donation form on our websiteBy PayPalBy cheque and post it to usSee the ways you can donate that saved up loose change on our website by clicking the button below, or contact us for our banking information. We will soon be in touch with all those who have ordered our boxes.
Don’t forget that if you are a U.K. tax payer you can also include Gift Aid if you’re eligible, as we can claim an extra 25% on top of your donation through the UK Government.Ways to Donate Your ChangeWe Support Anyone Affected By CRPSWithout the support of people like you Beril, Burning Nights CRPS Support couldn’t continue offering the services we do.Every week approximately 288 people in the UK are diagnosed with Complex Regional Pain Syndrome.
We want to give people with CRPS and their families and loved ones the knowledge they need to understand their condition and to offer a range of support services such as monthly online support groups, befriending scheme, counselling service and live chat, to name just a few.
If you find our information or our services useful, please consider making a small donation today or fundraising for us.Donate NowPS. Don’t forget to get your conference ticket today!Register Today
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