Pain has an important and valuable role to play in our lives. Pain is the body’s way of getting our attention. It can be a warning signal, a physical protector, an emergency signal; it tells us that something may be wrong. It’s a suggestion to stop and listen to our bodies and find out what’s going on and how we need to respond. Its function is to bring our attention to a physical, emotional, or personal energy situation to give us an opportunity to decide which course of action we could take to help ourselves.
Pain does seem to play a part both as a symptom and as a trigger for episodes for those with FND. The increased stress and tension can cause an episode to begin or worsen.
A gentle review of life situations could show that a simple change in routine may bring relief. For example: If it seems likely that the pain is caused by tension stress or worry then relaxation and mindfulness may be the ideal course of action to bring relief. If it is likely that it’s because of stiffness from inactivity, then the most gentle and simple movements can bring relief. Likewise, if the pain is a threshold pain because of pushing on past tiredness or the need to rest, a sit down with a cup of tea might be all you need to reduce the discomfort.
It is not just taking time to listen to our bodies; it is also knowing how to listen. There can be helpful hidden clues in our choice of expressions. Phrases like “pain in the neck” “It’s a real pain” “this back log is a pain” suggests a link between pain and emotions. If you have a pain in the area of the neck it might be worth investigating who or what is giving you a pain in the neck! If back pain is the problem then is there a back log of tasks or problems that could be “being a pain”?
Taking notice of where in the body the pain is being experienced can be a clue to the belief patterns and emotional challenges being highlighted. Both Louise Hay (1988) and Gill Edwards (2010) explain the deeper and detailed meaning and relevance of this kind of body language in their books.
It can be a useful exercise to take note and write down a list of circumstances and situations in which you experience a pain message from your body.
A decision about how to handle pain can be easier once there is a clearer understanding of what thoughts and beliefs trigger the pain. The approach that is chosen will depend on the trigger and the choice of approach could be different each time.
Choosing your thoughts, shifting the focus, employing the feel good factor and adopting a daily practice that you enjoy and that makes you feel good helps shift the focus from pain. Read More
Louise suggests that we can choose what we think. Comparing thoughts to dishes of food offered in a buffet at a luxury hotel. She suggests we would walk right past the food that upsets our body and we would be well advised to stay away from thoughts that upset our body too.
This may take practice but the process can be helped along by choosing to spend time doing things we enjoy. When we’re engaged in doing things we love our thoughts naturally become calm and turn to a happier place.
Spending time doing the things you love and enjoy will shift your focus to the good things. The things that encourage your body to release the feel good chemicals that bring with them soothing and healing potential. They help your body to relax and let go of the tension that can cause pain.
There is the saying, “Where focus goes, energy flows.” It seems then to be a good idea to choose to focus thoughts and actions on the right things, the things that make us feel better and ensure our precious energy flows in the direction of love and happiness thus creating more of the same.
In Your Body Speaks Your Mind, Debbie Shapiro, (1996) suggests asking the pain to tell us what we need to know, to show where we are holding on tight and why. Her book has an interesting section on the Nervous System which includes different ways to deal with pain and explains the messages it might be bringing.
In 1952, Lester Levenson, a physicist from New Jersey, was diagnosed with a plethora of serious and life threatening health problems. His doctors had given up on him and had sent him home to die. However, his love of challenge and determination to explore different approaches to his problems led him to find a method that brought him relief from both the pain and the symptoms and restored his physical health.
He noticed that it was only when he resisted a symptom or emotion that it persisted. If he welcomed and embraced it, dived into it and then became willing to let it go, it would quickly pass. His approach was later developed into the Sedonna Method.
In his book, Full Catastrophe Living, Jon Kabat- Zin, (1990) explains that laboratory experiments with acute pain have shown that tuning in to sensations is a more effective way of reducing the level of pain. This way of dealing with pain works by opening ourselves to receiving whatever the pain is saying with the thought that once the message is received its job is done.
The most effective approach for pain management is a combination of non-drug therapies, self-help strategies, and medication. Patient responses to medications vary widely, some patients find relief from pain medication, unfortunately, and some do not. Through collaborative care patients and doctors should be open to what is best for each individual patient and not be restricted to a one-size fits all approach. There are many pain medications on the market that could help ease your symptoms. However, each medication comes with a list of side effects, which should be weighed carefully. If a medication is not producing results then patients should discuss with their prescribing physician if they would be better suited trying a different approach.
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