Friday, 15 May 2015
A Review of the Week
Although my posting frequency has been rubbish this week, pain-wise progress is being made I am pleased to say.
Every day still includes a fair amount of pain, but it is pretty regular now in that is starts between 7 and 8am and with the help of some painkillers (which have never worked before!) it is usually gone by about 11am.
The sleepiness is getting worse but that may be the pain killers combined with the amitriptyline. I did try to not take any pain relief this morning and that backfired massively, leaving me in agony for far longer than I was happy about.
Earlier this week I stumbled across the concept of Mindfulness and how it can be helpful for pain that is psychological rather than due to a definite medical condition (and I strongly suspect that my pain is psychological). A bit of googling and a quick visit to Amazon later and I find myself in possession of a brilliant book about how mindfulness can help you get on top of your pain. I am literally only two chapters in and already the pain is starting to make more sense.
The concept (clumsy explanation alert!) is that pain divides into two separate bits - the actual pain and the emotions that the pain generates. The brain learns the emotions attached to the pain and increases the strength of pain you feel in line with the strength of the emotion.
I had a bit of a test with this this morning and found that if I stopped emotionally feeling the pain and just simply felt it - so no thoughts about how awful it is or how my life is dominated by it - just a cool, calm assessment of the how the pain feels physically. In doing this, I actually experienced a different pain sensation - albeit briefly - but in that moment it felt more manageable somehow.
The book leads you through an 8 week meditation course and I will be getting started on it as soon as I have read the book cover to cover (which it recommends). This feels like it really could be something worth trying, and the benefits seem to extend beyond pain in that it seems that by embracing mindfulness, I could potentially develop the ability to handle stress and anxiety better too.
The likelihood of stress and anxiety being key factors in my pain experience makes this experiment something I would be mad not to try!
If you are interested, the book is "Mindfulness for Health: A practical guide to relieving pain, reducing stress and restoring wellbeing" by Vidyamala Burch and Dr Danny Penman.