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Tag Archives: hip replacement

Shedding the Skin of Pain

I am not someone who likes snakes, but I am envious of their ability to shed their entire skin, crawl away from it and be free from whatever past experiences that skin held.

Being human and capable of conscious thought, I know I can mentally choose to leave the skin of pain behind, but it is challenging. I wonder if it is my ability to think about what I am shedding that presents the problem? Or am I trying to stay connected to past negative experiences from  pain because that was my identity for so long? Or is accepting a new way of being, that is mostly free from pain, so full of challenges that I am fearful of shedding my old skin?

This article by Michelle Bersell “What is Your Body’s Story” points out the importance of reflecting on how we have felt about our bodies in the past to successfully rewrite the new story of where we are now and where we would like to be.

I am going to stop blaming myself, being envious of the snake and be mindful that there is a lot of work to being able to consciously “shed” my entire skin. And when I combat the obstacles of old bad behaviors and beliefs, I will know that these are the places that still need my focus and  attention before that skin can detach. And  every healthy decision will reflect  places where my pain  skin has been successfully shed.

Do you feel like the Skin of Pain still surrounds you? I would love to hear your story.

Entering the Back Door of Chronic Pain

Friends have shared their frustration at not knowing how to address someone they love about their pain. When  experiencing pain we often employ coping devices. And it takes a lot of effort to keep our focus away from  pain. When others ask lovingly “how are you feeling?”  it can cause internal conflict. In order to answer the question it means we have to “feel” our pain that we are trying so hard “not to feel”. They have no idea how complex a process it is to answer this small question.

I  suggest not to ask their loved one how they are feeling but to tell them what you observe. Observations like “I can see that you are limping”  is honest and objective. A person may have an easier time responding to this type of question because it allows them to choose to talk about their pain or not and does not raise brick wall defenses like the ones we put between ourselves and our pain.  I  think of this approach as going in the back door rather than the front door.

Have you had difficulty with conversations about your pain or find yourself being put off when others ask about it?

Who Let the Pain Monster in?

A dark shadow-like evil vilian with razor sharp tentacles is someone I would never invite into my house. But  this creature on a lone dark night was able to invade my body without even asking my permission.

Reading this article by Dr. Scott Brady, MD, entitled “Do you have a Pain Prone Personality?” I realized  I may not have been in control of letting the original pain monster in, but  I did do things to feed the monster. I encourage you to check the article and see if you  might be unknowingly nourishing your pain.

I would love to hear  what you think.

Pattern of Pain

“The signature of your journey is inscribed in your soul”.

I had this as a journal entry from a few years back, so I am not sure where it comes from.  It took me a lot of years to accept the fact that pain was a major player in my life. It angered me that I had to accept its presence and demands.

Viewing pain as a thread of my personal tapestry, I can see how my life has learned to weave in and around it and caused me to know and grow in new ways. I acknowledge the pattern that pain has woven in my life. And am thankful for some of the places it has forced me to travel, like pursuing my personal artwork.

I hope that for all of us who encounter chronic pain that we can see some beauty in the pain pattern of  our journey.

Optical Illusion of Pain

I am convinced that there is a wicked optical illusion game that pain can play. The definition of an optical illusion is “an experience of seeming to see something that does not exist or that is other than it appears”. Like these two orange circles, they appear different in size, but are actually the same size.

The last four months I have been coping with a swollen, painful knee. When I look at it, the swelling seems very obvious. But when it is measured it is only minimally swollen.  So I ask the question how can something that hurts so much be so measurably small? The noise and commotion on the inside of my body are huge and somehow when I look at the area causing the pain I see a larger than usual body part. Maybe what I am seeing has the weight of the pain I am feeling and that causes me to see the joint much larger than it really is. Size, like beauty,  is truly in the eye of the beholder.

Have you had the sensation that your pain makes your painful body part feel much larger than it’s actual physical size?

Chronic Pain and Depression

On this post by Dr. Kathleen Young is a brief checklist for depression. Anyone in chronic pain would test positively for depression on any given day.  There is a devilishly intimate relationship between pain and depression. We need to pat ourselves on the back when we are able to avoid its abyss. But we need to be reminded that depression is a force to be reckoned with and can often get beyond our control to deal with it. And that it is OK to seek counseling.

It is commonly known that pain patients often fall prey to the downward spiral of depression. So why aren’t physicians more apt to address this aspect of pain and dispense counseling scripts with pain scripts? We need to continue to push for more education and awareness regarding the close relationship between these two forces.

How have you dealt with depression and pain?

Faulty Hip Replacements

This article in yesterday’s New York Times confirms for me the need for a National Registry for Joint Replacements. Barry Meier in his article “Concerns over “Metal on Metal” hip Implants points out the flaws experienced in this type of replacement and resurfacing.

Currently if there are problems with artificial replacements, it is a lengthy process to gather information and define the scope of the problems. Surgeons blame manufacturring problems and manufacturers blame surgeon’s techniques.With a National Registry like they have in the UK it would be possible to have up to the minute feedback on problems and their extent. Then when a problem is identified, patients and surgeons can reconsider their alternatives.

Having undergone 2 hip replacements and a revision on one of my hips after 17 years, I am very satisfied with my “metal on ceramic” hips. If we as the patients are to be the field testers for these devices we should at least be able to access information on their success/failure.

Have you had problems with a joint replacement that had to be redone?

Meditation for Chronic Pain

There are some healing therapies that I incorporate into my day that I do not pretend to totally understand but know they are beneficial. Meditation is one of them. Here is a great article from  SpeakHealth.org showing brain scan evidence that meditation “leads to measurable changes in brain function”.

In addition to that, here is a CD that I purchased recently that is just marvelous for use with meditation or just relaxed listening. “Crystal Bowls, Chakra Chants” by Johnathan Goldman, who is a visionary in healing sound therapies. I could immediately feel it resonate within my body when I first heard the clips. I know there is a lot of science behind sound healing. I am just glad I do not have to totally understand it to be able to benefit.

What are some of your favorite healing sounds?

Being creative with Chronic Pain

I have to give my pain credit for increasing my creativity. There are so many daily situations where doing things the normal way just does not cut it. And I have to plan and improvise. This cartoon by Rube Goldberg is an example of the kind of thinking that many of us do on a daily basis just to navigate through the day. He has a great solution for what to do when you fall on ice.

So when confronted with a dilemma about how to get around some obstacle, I feel better if I can mentally remove myself from the frustration, go to my creative side and ask myself “What would Rube Goldberg do?”.

One of my favorite Rube Goldberg’s is that I always carry a stick of gum with me. If I drop something, let’s say a $20 bill, I can chew the gum, put it on the bottom of my shoe and then use it to pick up what I dropped.

Have you had Rube Goldberg moments? What are your favorites?