It is your friend and yet not your friend. Sometimes it arrives uninvited and unexpectedly in a sneaky manner, creeping up insidiously as it starts to take over everything about you. Sometimes it happens in an accidental manner.
It drains you of energy, depletes your creativity, lightens your memory and exhausts you beyond any known definition of the word exhaustion.
Your view of the world changes radically and sometimes the world’s view of you changes too (at least, it becomes easy to think that it has).
The ‘it’ I am referring to is pain. That pervasive, invasive, all-encompassing personal warning that something-is-wrong signal.
Chronic pain can be a soul destroyer.
If you get up with pain, live with pain all day long, go to bed with pain and sleep with pain and then start the cycle all over again, it is likely you have met depression along the way.
Sometimes those who suffer from chronic pain can also lose their support systems, particularly if the cause of the pain is not something that can be seen.
The ‘believability’ factor comes into play as chronic pain can be attached to a non-visible disability.
Pain can create a feeling of desperation and affect the quality of life. One in five Canadians suffer from chronic pain.
It can be a vicious circle, you are in pain, you tense up, you have more pain, you tense up even more and so on.
Statistics show that people who suffer from chronic pain are eight times more likely to commit suicide than those who suffer from depression alone.
I was surprised to learn that the amount of money spent on chronic pain is greater than the combined cost of heart disease and diabetes.
The old song about the hip bone being connected to the leg bone rings true as our body energy vibrates, so pain can seem to ‘travel’ the highway of bones, muscles, cells, and can be described as burning, stinging, sharp, throbbing, aching, stabbing, dull, and much more.
It is not always easy to find the source of the pain and medical research is now showing that if it cannot be found, that it may stem neurologically from inside the brain itself (and I don’t mean the old “it’s all in your head” discount).
Pain is our body’s warning system that something may be wrong and it is important to pay attention to it.
Aside from pharmaceuticals, exercise, counselling (in case you are carrying some excess emotional baggage), what to do?
Hypnosis is used in many medical settings and is very effective for pain control. Stress increases pain so one of the keys to relief is to learn how to relax.
If you can learn how to change your thinking, you will also change your body chemistry and perhaps lessen the pain you experience.
Check out www.freemeditation.com to learn how to meditate and relax your body, allowing the tension and subsequently, the pain to lessen.
Adequate research funding for pain is lacking and the National Pain Summit is trying to make change in this regard.
Pain is one of the most undertreated health issues facing us today.
A National Pain Strategy is needed in Canada. Go to www.canadianpainsummit2012.ca for more information and to learn how you can be supportive in this endeavour.
Carole Fawcett is a counsellor, clinical hypnotherapist and freelance writer. www.amindfulconnection.com