Illness, physical dysfunction and pain have a profound impact on the way we think of ourselves. They alienate us from our bodies because we see them as evidence that our bodies have failed. Once they are enemies, separate and feared, we reach for weapons to snuff them out. Our weapons of choice tend to come from an ever expanding array of medications, many of which can make a contribution to pain relief, often with a price: complicated side effects, escalating cost, diminishing effectiveness, addiction.
Can you improve or heal while locked in battle with your own body? No. Your body is the most important resource you have in dealing with illness, physical dysfunction and pain. It serves you, even when it hurts. Rather than distancing yourself from pain, consider taking a closer look and enhancing awareness of your body as a way to eliminate pain.
In my experience, there are three components to an effective plan to address pain. This is a simple plan, but it takes discipline, dedication and practice. (It also helps to have support from a practitioner invested in the approach.) The three elements of this Personal Plan for Pain Management are: Self Observation; Interaction and Experimentation; and Development of Enhanced Relaxation and Concentration.
These techniques won’t necessarily eliminate pain entirely, but they make a profound contribution to a total pain management program. They allow you to answer the most important question: What do you know about your pain or approach to pain that you didn’t already know?
The answers to this question become the basis of the next steps in your care. They help determine the additional skills you may want to acquire or improve. They reveal what you need to improve in your overall health and healing potential, what spheres of your life require attention, what role medication should play and which new treatments to try.
In essence, this approach yields targeted treatment, personalized for the body that is going to do the heavy lifting of healing. And there is a gift for those who do the work: As you develop the capacity to feel the sensations of your body, you aren’t just better able to handle your pain. You also grow your capacity to appreciate your pleasure.