Over the last few weeks I have received a bit of a revelation about physical pain that I would like to share with you. I have been dealing with chronic and acute pain issues since 2003. One of the biggest things I have learned is that pain is insidious in its affects. Pain, like fear, is sand in the machinery of life, in that it prevents you from doing the things that you want to do, in favor of dealing with its discomfort. Pain is the great thief that steals the joy away from life with every throb, stab, jolt or burning sensation. But it can be managed, or healed to the point where you can get back to enjoying life once again, or at least have a better quality of life.
Face it. Living with physical pain sucks! That is the reality of the situation. It hurts! It is a distraction! It is the last place you want to be. And if you are dealing with pain in your life, the last thing that you want to hear is some well meaning person, who is not going through what you are going through, telling you, “It’ll be alright.” No, that doesn’t help at all. Physical pain is not ethereal. It is a real, quantifiable condition. Pain not only affects your body, but it affects your mind, your will, your emotional well being, and your personal relationships and interactions with others.
The biggest problem with pain is that it can render you to the point where all you are IS your pain. Pain becomes everything you talk about, everything you think about, and ultimately your whole life becomes nothing more that you being wrapped up in your pain. That does not have to be the case! No matter how badly you hurt, pain can be managed. You do not deserve this! You are NOT your pain! You can find a way to get through this. (And for all you “tough guys” and “tough gals” out there, there is no reward for toughing out your pain. There is no benefit to be gained by denying the existence of your pain. Pain must be dealt with.)
There are a number of modalities available for pain treatment. There is conventional medicine (including specialists and sub specialties), herbal medicine, homeopathy, massage, acupuncture, Healing Touch, and a myriad of others. However, NONE of them will help you unless you first get your mind right. (Or as I was once told, “Change your stinkin’ thinkin’!”) You must recognize that you do not deserve to be in pain. Your pain is not your fault, neither is it a punishment for something you did ten years ago. Your pain is not indicative of your character, nor is it a reflection of who you are as a person. Your pain is just that…your Pain!
Since you are more than your pain, why talk about it all the time? Believe it or not there is much more to your life than your pain. Think about the wonderful things in your life; the things that you are thankful for. Talk about these things instead. The surest way to alienate your family and friends is to go on and on about how badly you hurt…all...the...time. It’s not that they don’t care about you, it’s just that they've heard it so many times. Talk about more hopeful things, or talk about their lives instead. As you approach life more in this way, believe me, you’ll get all the support you could ever need.
Another thing you must recognize is that you must allow yourself to have a positive outlook when approaching your healthcare. It is a known medical fact that if you allow yourself to be hopeful toward a solution to your situation, your outcome will be much better, and you WILL feel better. I can promise you, if you retain a negative mindset regarding your pain, you will without a doubt remain miserable, and more likely become worse. Why not give yourself a chance to feel better?
You must also decide to be an active participant in your health care. That means having the determination to seek out other solutions when conventional medicine doesn't cut it for you. While most of conventional medicine has grudgingly admitted to the benefits of “alternative medicine,” there are still some practitioners who still consider it to be “voodoo medicine.” The expression, “You’re the Doctor” should not be used as a euphemism for, “I will relinquish my own free will and do what ever you suggest, even if it makes me feel worse.” Sometimes a different approach can be exactly what you need to feel better. Remember, the Doctor ultimately works for you. You have the right to try something else if your current strategy isn’t working.
Case in point, for years I have been suffering from sciatica and low back pain which conventional medicine was mostly ineffective in treating. Instead, I was able to treat them both using acupuncture, which eliminated my sciatic pain and diminished my back pain to almost nothing. Conversely, while acupuncture worked well on these ailments, it does not regenerate tissue or bone. In the case of my arthritic hip, conventional medicine (in the form of a hip replacement) was the appropriate choice. In either case, I chose what I thought would be best for me.
Remember to allow yourself a bit of enjoyment in your life. Do not let your pain isolate you from your family and friends. Go out. Visit. Do what you can do. Enjoy as much fun as you can. It will make you feel better, and it can also be a welcome distraction from your pain.
I have included this website which offers some great resources for dealing with pain, and with your doctor. While it talks mainly about conventional therapies, I hope the information is helpful to you.
Finally, I offer you this little piece that I have written about my own pain. I hope it can help you as well.
I see you for who you are now, and I will always be on guard when you announce your presence. I will do everything in my power to rob you of strength, to thwart your designs, to weaken you, until you are nothing but a tiny noxious mist; a mouse fart that blows past my body, and with a wave of my hand fades into nothingness. You no longer have power over me. You no longer have a place in my life. Begone!