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Pain Body

I had a brief conversation with a local physical therapist, Kelly, tonight after yoga.  She complemented me on how well I was doing in class. I never feel that I am, but the yoga instructor, Rebekah,  also a physical therapist, does an outstanding job of showing me how to modify positions.

I said that I felt something like yoga exercises should be a mandatory part of the healing process after prolonged chronic pain and surgery. She agreed, and said that anyone who has lived in a painful body has learned things they cannot do. And they need to be shown that they CAN do more things, but need to learn or understand that.

To me this drives home the point that surgery and physical therapy are only a portion of the healing tools  necessary for successful chronic pain recovery. And that activities like yoga, which I never imagined myself being able to do, are capable of being adapted for special circumstances and serve to reintegrate our mind and body for improved health and lifestyle.

I would love to hear  comments about your experiences or thoughts on this.

About Mary Byrne Eigel

Before writing children’s books, Mary spent many years teaching in classrooms and creating art in her studio. She was born with bi-lateral hip dysplasia, a painful condition that causes normal activities, like walking, to be challenging. As a child, when Mary had to trek long distances, she often wished she had a wheelchair. For her, a wheelchair offered pain-free opportunities, not limitations. Mary grew up in Chicago, which is the lakefront inspiration for the town of Sail. She lives in Missouri with her husband and two dogs, Beaux and Trey.

2 responses »

  1. With chronic pain, the statement “no pain, no gain” is totally not relevant when it comes to excercise. The pain is there all the time; excercise does help to gain some relief. The arthritus in my hips forced me to stay away from some excercise machines– I simply could not get situated in the hip abductor machines. My doctor recommended I use these machines to help strengthen my hips but I couldn’t use them to any benefit. My mind got in the mode to stay away from them, just not even try.
    After I had my hips replaced, I still avoided the abductor machines. I guess I was afraid I still couldn’t use them properly; afraid of the pain I felt using them before. One day, while I was excercising at the Y and there were no people in the excercise area, I challenged myself to work on the machines. I can’t express the feeling of amazement that I could not only get situated in the machines, but I was using them properly. I felt like a weight had been lifted off my shoulders! I am now using the machines regularly.

  2. Gary, Thanks for your comment. You are so right! There is no gain from the pain, there is only aggravation.
    It is so amazing that surgery can eliminate pain, but nobody is there to tell us about the work we have to do in our own heads breaking down the barriers of old beliefs that were based on what our pain did not allow us to do.
    I remember after surgery having to watch people do things because I was totally out of touch about how, without pain limiting your movements, you would do simple things like get into a car.
    But believing that we can do it is the mental therapy that we have to do that no one really tells you about. And healing involves rewriting a lot of the pathways that have been etched in our brain. But who tells us about this?
    Thanks for sharing about your experience and understanding.

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