Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Tools for Chronic Pain

Anybody who knows me well realizes I am the biggest whiner if I get it a sliver, a mosquito bite or a hip that is out of alignment. I don't even differentiate on the severity of the injury...the complaints just go on and on and on, as Gray will attest. I pretend I don't notice the times he ignores my rants about pain, when his eyes roll to the heavens; I usually just continue to whine even harder.

It's when I become silent, when words escape me, that I know I am really hurting. It's when I don't want to talk, when I crave solitude, when I can't think beyond the next few minutes, when I can't eat, when the days roll into one long wave of burning pain that I go inside... to the Inner World, where I find I can no longer struggle and fight to win this battle; I must accept where I find myself, and have patience. Also where I learn there is no more tolerance within me for whining...I must become pro-active.

My hip injury occurred a year ago; physiotherapy, visits with specialists, tests, x-rays, CT scans and numerous visits to my doctor did little to alleviate the sudden burning pain that enveloped my hip, my leg and my foot. The tests revealed nothing other than the normal aging procedures bones and vertabrae and discs and such go though at my age. ( At my age! I was still rebelling against the fact that I was getting older.)

Graham gave me many, many Reiki treatments, along with the self-healing I was practicing. The pain grew less, yet I couldn't walk. Each time I tried for any distance in walking ( that is, more than a block) I felt the warning signs from my body. But it seemed to be getting better, as long as I did little walking.

But then pain in my upper back entered the picture. I felt so crippled, so bent out of shape ( in more ways than one!). I became physically exhausted from struggling and battling pain. The energy it took just to present a normal appearance became depleted; when it did, Reiki would set me up again for awhile. And Reiki kept my spirits up...throughout the ordeal, there was no depression.

And then, ping! one morning a week ago, as I attempted to dress, I was back to square one...the pain was back. With a vengeance. This time, I am leaving the well-travelled path of conventional medicine. Natural lotions and preparations and vitamins will supplement the pain medication I take, with the hope of reduction in dosage. I am visiting a massage therapist. On her advice, when I return home from a treatment I take a hot bath, with many cups of epsom salts. And I make myself sit in it for at least a half hour, something I could never do before I had the absolute intent to heal.

I no longer push the limits. The Heating Pad is my best friend. I have found some cream called Celadrin from Holista that just amazes me with its powerful anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving properties. I also take it in capsule form. I use Reiki as I undergo what is the most agonizing thing I have done willingly to date...massage as therapy. Recreational massage is lovely, soft and usually gentle, inducing meditative states. Therapy massage...words fail me. The good thing about it is that the pain from the hip is worse than the pain from the therapy; and therapy massage soothes hip pain even further.

It's true...this aggressive massage is working. There is a saying...that which doesn't kill you, makes you stronger. And the one I use a lot...this, too, shall pass.

Taking an active role in this passage of pain gives me hope. Hope raises my spirits and I feel a measure of control, instead of floundering. I've let go of the fantasy that someone else is going to come along and make it all better for me. I'm learning to endure, to accept the enforced limitations on my body, to listen to my intuition, and to be patient, humbly waiting, for healing.

Shamanism, my guides, Reiki and massage therapy...a lot of powerful faith and tools. One little hip problem can't hold out against all those.

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