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Healing Chronic PainBy Liz Barnett
I have learned to think of my pain as my inner message. If I get very still with
it I feel what I also call inner massage. Of course my nurse brain
would call it spasm. My doctor would probably call it "spinal nerve
root irritation with induced muscle spasm", or something to that affect.
I love my family doctor who has been a great source of support and help for my
chronic pain. But despite loving him, I choose to see him on a rare as needed
basis only. I am also happy to have found a primary doctor that seems to
be OK with this as well.
The main reason that I rarely go to the doctor anymore is quite a long story.
I also no longer need for it to be my life story. I prefer to enjoy the present.
I also realize that my story might help others with chronic pain and so I
tell it when I feel it is the right time.
I am on permanent disability and often reflect on my life purpose.
I now respect my physical limitations and no longer pursue my career
other than volunteer opportunities that arise speaking about chronic pain.
I do my very best and have learned to give time and space to allow
the perfect choices to unfold. I never wanted to become an expert
at the art of doing nothing but am very happy to have learned. The name
"art of doing nothing" comes from an article written by a favorite life
mentor and friend that I refer others to regularly.
I have received so much help from her and her specialties of trauma
healing, body movement, body psychotherapy, and dream therapy.
I initially found her through the internet and her affiliation with
Thomas Jefferson University Hospital of Philadelphia Integrative
Medicine Program. Her name is Sondra Howell. She now
practices privately in Kimberton, Penna. She also is a Continuum
I do dream of and aspire to share more of her work and my journey with it.
I regularly tell chronic pain patients, family, and friends now.
The difficulties that I have faced from starting a nursing career at age 20 as a back/spine
injured nurse have led me on an unexpected life journey that I am now
completely at peace with. I would not want to choose this path but am happy with
what I learn from it.
I am now happy to say that I am in my best disability year. It is the best because I
am feeling better each day and when I am not I know how to be at peace
with it and wait for better days or hours to come.
The steps to finding healing will be different for each of us. I have exhausted
all that the finest Phila area hospitals has to offer and have been lead
to balance that with holistic and good common sense healing.
After many years of having severe side effects from treatments such
as prescription medications, physical therapy, and experimental surgery
to implant a pain stimulator, I have been forced to use alternative medicine.
I respect that there always needs to be a balance to this and I do have
my family physician and emergency medicine monitor me when necessary.
I really feel like I have a huge bag of tools that help me deal with chronic
pain and continue to heal. I use
guided imagery, meditation, homeopathic arnica montana, pressure
balls that I rest against frequently, a TENS Unit, home hydrotherapy, infrequent
use of an alcohol drink (approved by my family MD), breathe work,
music therapy, avoidance of caffeine and sugar, hot packs or ice packs, attendance
at a chronic pain support group and the list goes on. The best weapons I have are keeping a positive
attitude and trusting that I have options.
I do hope that anyone that reads this might feel lifted to also see their way to
be comforted despite their pain.
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