We can all have a voice in chronic pain management.
This site is not a substitute for medical care.
We can all have a voice in chronic pain management.
This site is not a substitute for medical care.
The body keeps the score. This is the title of a book by Bessel van der Kolk. I will try and explain how I see chronic pain. Chronic pain is different to acute pain.
Have a look at the picture of the brain again.
The yellow part of the brain is called the limbic system. I see this part as part of the body, not the brain. Unlike the frontal cortex it can’t think or plan or organize. It is purely reactive. The limbic system is there for your survival and the survival of the species.
Let’s say that you had a happy childhood but then encountered terrible trauma early adulthood, like domestic violence. The happier your childhood, the less prepared your limbic system and brain would be and the more trauma you would experience. Say you already have children and you have never had a job. You can’t just up and chuck. This is then trauma in the setting of inescapable shock. Worst kind of trauma is the kind you know you can’t escape from.
Now let’s say you’re one tough cookie – or puppy – or person – and you find a way to cope intellectually and spiritually with the trauma. But the Limbic system stays injured. The limbic system keeps bad memories right up close to your consciousness, so that if you think about them, it will be as if they are just happening. So you can intellectually think the trauma is long gone, but if you just start thinking, you will recognize how close it still is. This is part of comlplex PTSD. It influences your health, shortens your life, gives you physical pain because the body registers every piece of trauma in your body.
Your limbic system will make you feel arthritis pain, when healthy individuals with even worse arthritis don’t. It will make you feel pain with small muscle movements. Even pain when your posture is a bit off. So unlike the lucky 70% of us who don’t have that problem. It’s not about pain tolerance – those of you in chronic pain have enormous pain tolerance, unlike me, I have a high pain threshold – from childhood trauma where my limbic system FROZE – so I don’t feel pain – but I can’t tolerate pain – I’m a real baby when it comes to pain.
Much wiser men and women all over the world (much wiser than me) have spread the work of letting go – forgiveness – kindness and this is a wonderful tool to cope with emotional and physical pain. All too often – we are kind and forgiving of others, but hard on ourselves. We carry a sense of shame – blaming ourselves for the trauma that was inflicted on us. Maybe blaming ourselves that our children grew up in violent homes. That shame runs deep in the brain – the Limbic system.
To heal. we have to let go of shame and blame. Society and communities are responsible for health. We have to come together to help each other. First in taking responsibility that people are injured – as children and adults – in unkind uncaring ways we can act or ways that we don’t help each other in communities that are suffering. But first we need to heal ourselves.
Positivity exercise: Sit in a quiet place and rest your hands on your thighs and close your eyes. Imagine a time when you feel really good and relaxed. Maybe you’re stroking a pet. pull this image into your brain. Feel and see and hear as many details as you can to make the experience real. Then as you feel the experience, scan your body and feel your body relaxing and feel where the body tingles or warms up. And do this exercise often until your body starts to heal.
Do the Daily program – I like the first video in the morning and the last video of evening exercises at night. Learn to breath with your abdomen and time it so that the in breath is half the length of out breath.
What a wonderful conference!
We are at the cusp of a change in medicine. Finally the importance of stress on health is being approached in a meaningful way.
If you have an a.c.e. score higher than or equal to 6 your life expectancy drops by two decades. I have an a.c.e. of 6. But there is hope. We now have the means to change our stories. We can work as communities to help each other, network on social media and in person to help each other find our own personal healing paths.
Share your stories if you like. Thank you to those who send your kind comments about the website and to TY for sharing your story – How you use a timer so that you stretch and move frequently. Ty finds healing in mother nature – grounding – fantastic – and she does many activities she loves and experts agree that finding something you love helps you move. Mind you – writing has been making me move less so I’d better hang up now and follow my own and TY’s advice.
Have a great weekend. Sun all over the province this weekend .
All the best. Judy
Although opioids are often necessary to manage severe pain, sometimes only initially, unfortunately too often chronically. This is a good resource to help protect yourself from harm. If you use opioids – be sure to visit your local public health clinic – In Canada you can get a Naloxone kit free. Don’t we just love Canada?
In answer to a question about moodgym – it costs $40.00. I did the course. It helped me gain perspective on my thoughts. If you have a low self image, or overwhelming feelings, or chaotic relationships, then you may find the course very helpful.
What you think is what you feel.
Good luck. Let me know what you think of it
Super Busy this week and weekend. I attended the Echo pain project via the web. Watch this space as I try to learn as much as possible about chronic pain.
Here is a site that was recommended : http://www.isaec.org/tips-for-your-low-back.html
Have a great rest of the weekend. I am off to a conference about adverse child events and will be presenting my painimprovement poster.
All the best
How do we go about helping ourselves in a society that does not have the resources to help us? We live in a dystopian society. That means a society that is ill. Not functioning well. When you are ill, it’s really hard to get well in a sick society. There is not enough time or enough money to get help. Or both.
I see our brains as a society. Some of us have a past that leaves “injured children” in it’s wake. Each time someone or something hurts us, especially when we are children, that hurt leaves a mark – as if the child that needed help, and didn’t get it, remains behind – almost as if that is another “person” in your head. If you don’t like the idea of it being a “child” see it as damage.
Stress can also come from other sources, not just your childhood. The more difficult your childhood, the harder it is to get on top of stress in normal day life. So if you have pain or relationship problems, or problems at work, this stress can become impossible to manage.
Each day we have an opportunity to take the lead – become a manager of our injured children or we can take the lead to manage day to day stress. You can become the manager of your brain. Some of us are stuck in the past – we still see ourselves as teenagers – dress and act as young immature adults. We’ve all seen injured people like this. Hopefully you are in a place where you can start to learn the tools that can make you a leader of the society of injured parties in your head.
This is really hard to do. If possible, seek mental health help. In Canada we are so lucky to have free mental health resources, either at our hospitals, or on line and also in the community – women’s resource centers. If you don’t have the time, you may need medications to help you manage your own mental health.
In order to manage your brain, you need to be as calm as possible. Choose one of the two exercises for the morning and one of two for the night. Adjust according to your own body and your own needs AND LEARN HOW TO BREATHE so that you can heal. Go to the Daily program – last one on the sidebar.
Excellent anxiety tools available http://anxietybc.ca
Depression can be managed at home, if you can’t find help. Download this program for free. Let me know in comment box if links don’t work please as I do this website completly on my own.
Mindfulness if vital to good mental and physical health. Please make sure you have tools to cope with stress – see the ones above and work on them before you can trust your brain to mindfulness:
We often have thoughts that make us more sick. Learning how to think in a way that improves your health can be found on line, for a fee of around $30.00 or so. I have no financial interest in this site.
Do you have Red Flags?
Change in Urinary leaking since onset of back pain?
Are you leaking feces? That’s poop or stool – take your pick?
Have you had a recent injury prior to the back pain – like a fall, or a severe bump or worse?
Do you have existing cancer or an autoimmune disease?
When the pain started, was it there all the time, every minute of the day and it is not improving?
Is the pain worse in your legs compared to your back?
If you have any one of these symptoms noted above – STOP – see your doctor IMMEDIATELY
Morning – or afternoon – or evening Bloggers
I have added podcasts and video exercises to Types of pain: Knee, Back and Hips
Also added a short breathing exercise to Step 2 and a podcast to Step 6
Have a great week
Into week 2 of NICABM’s Treating Trauma Master Series.
The course is inspiring and validating. At times it’s really hard to know whether you’re on the right track – I’ll bet you can all relate to that. When we’ve experienced childhood trauma, we learn to doubt ourselves. Ruth and Bessel and the rest of the expert team are teaching us how to learn to trust ourselves.
I’m so happy to learn that they encourage allowing the Right side of your brain a voice in therapy. Docs are taught emotions are supposed to be left at the door – in my day anyway – distance yourself from your patients – sharing is too daring. NICABM’s explains beautifully how a left sided brain (doc listening) can’t hear what the right side of the brain (patient) is trying to say – this means that a doc using only the thinking part of her brain, won’t necessary pick up what the emotional patient is trying to convey.
It’s hard, for both patients and doctors, as we struggle to learn how best to help a traumatized person. Bessel says – Chaos and Emotion – then we’re in the zone of healing. Who said people with mental health issues are weak? LOL – which I have learned means laugh out loud – not lots of love.
On that note – off to have some down time.
Enjoy the last of the weekend
I’ll start with the easy one first. Well done for noticing your pet stretching. Yoga has a dog and a cat stretch. Stretching twice a day is vital to good health. I try to stretch in between as well. The fuzz speech – Step 3 – mentions how fascia – fuzz – gets “stuck” if we sit still for more than 20 minutes.
Carol – your health problems are overwhelming. No wonder you have a hard time breathing. Where to start? I think you are correct in turning first to breathing. I think the easiest way to learn now to breathe correctly is:
Ideally your out breath and holds should be twice as long as your in-breathe. When you have the breathing correct lying down, you can practice it sitting. Try Step 2 – sitting.
Try my daily program – the exercises can be done in a modified way – in a chair. Always make sure your knees are not too bent – you should be able to see your toes when you’re sitting straight in the chair.
Consider your childhood. You appear to have a lot of inflammation. That can many times be related to complex PTSD. That could be something you could explore through counselling. If you live in Canada – there is free mental health counselling and there are women’s resource centres even in small towns.
Good luck. Be kind to yourself. Your body has given you so many challenges that often come with a history of trauma. Dealing with the kind of illnesses you have also causes trauma. I wish you well.