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Self Care is Health Care

Pain Be Gone!

IMG_8634No matter what your age, you are too young to be living with constant pain. Do you have acute or chronic pain? Read on, to see what Dr. Basbaum of USC says: Our own pain is hard to assess. Close your eyes, and experience your pain. Find a way to describe it. Where is it, give it a number between 1-10. What does it feel like? Does it move? Is it worse at different times of the day? Is it constant, tor does it come and go? Do you have any success in lessening the pain with positioning? How well do you know your pain?  Touch the pain, send your breath into it, allow it to expand. What makes it better? Worse?    Let it know you are going to listen and respond to it.

Pain is important information. We do not want to shut it down day after day. We need to listen to it. What must you change to reduce your pain and suffering? A behavior, and food choice, an unhealthy relationship? Behaviors are difficult to change, but not impossible to change. Medication may help temporarily, but not without cost. You may need some support, and new ideas or outlooks.

If your pain does not cause any emotional input, then we can say that this is discomfort rather than pain. When we are anxious, crying in pain, suffering or constantly talking and focused on our discomfort, then we can be sure pain is present. Pain medications mask the pain. It can be beneficial as the source is realized. Staying on pain medications for a long periods of time can cause side effects of constipation, apathy, loss of motivation, slowed respiration and lack of energy as well as depression.

Stay tuned for Part 2

Dr. Allan Basbaum, USC Dept of Anatomy