Daniel Gottlieb, Ph.D., a practicing psychologist and family therapist, will be live in this section every Wednesday from 4-5 p.m. ET. Leave a question or comment anytime for him!
Hi there. Im also a T 11 complete. I was involved in a 4 Wheeler accident back in may 2012. It as been a ruff 8 months so far. I would love to know how you blocked out the pain without any pain meds. Most of my pain is in my legs it feels like they are burning all the time. I describe it as frost bite and runing cold water over top of them. You most be a very strong person to have went threw it without pain meds. Give me some positive info if it do"s get any better after time please. thank you
Hi roger I had injuries to my L1,L2 and recently found out the T12 was also fracture,i was in a motor vechicle accident on July 4th 2010 and i'm paralyse from my waist down i have spasms in my right leg most of the time it feels like electrical shock thats the closeth i can describe it however i've learn to deal with my pain mentally and only take meds if pain is severed.One of the ways i deal with my pain is by keeping my mind of it either by talking with someone or giving my mind other thing to think of to block the pain out,alway remember what you tell your mind you tell your body.I know its tuff but you can do anything you put your mind to.
I really don't know how one uses a mind to block out pain, also I know it can be done through a variation on hypnosis. When I was in graduate school I watched surgery performed without anesthesia on a man who was hypnotized. To be honest, I couldn't watch anything beyond the first cut. It was all too weird and disgusting! But it can be done-it's almost like people who walk on burning coals without getting burned. The disciplined mind can affect the messages the brain is receiving from sensory input.
I talk about changing our relationship with pain which is a very different phenomenon. I live with chronic pain and like most of us, we almost don't notice it until it flares up. In my case it has been severe every evening starting around dinner time and lasting until I go to sleep. Frequently when I'm having dinner with someone they will look over to me and I will be in visible pain. When they ask what's happening, I usually say "it's only pain, don't worry."
That's not coming from a martyr or a hero, it's just coming from someone stating a simple fact. It's not an emergency although my body often reacts to pain as though it is. It hurts like hell and I don't much like it, but really it's just a painful sensation we label "pain".
Nothing gets blocked out and everything gets felt. I wish I could block it out, but since I can't I am grateful that my mind knows that "it's only pain"
Beside what I use to suppress pain, as it is not always easy to do it, at night for example.
I have develloped a technique to block pain. I try first to relax and then I focus on the pain spot or just above this spot and put my will on it, usually it works and I can block pain. So I beleive it is possible . When pain occur too often at the same place then I ask my wife to do my usual treatment.
what you've said Patrickp is very interesting. At the risk of sounding like a therapist, please say more about how you do it and what the process is like.
Yes Patrick...........I too am very interested in the process.....if you will.......and even exactly how your wife can help you.........with your pain ! I think in my more evil moments.......my pain can drive me to wish it on my worst enemy......which of course is exactly the opposite of what we're supposed to do !!!! When I calm down.....I think......well....I can't really give anyone my pain.....it's mine....for better or for worse ! You're kind of indicating that we can share it ? Please tell.........thank you.....Norma
There is two questions here and two answers.
For Dr Dan :
I believe that brain is our best tool. If you went through the book "the body electric" you may have see the experience of a boy with a cancer spot in the brain who was able to make disappear the spot by focusing on this spot . I try to do the same, first I try to quiet myself by breathing more and more quietly , i notice that being nervous increase the pain process. So I quiet myself, the second thing I do is to focus on the spot of pain, as a T12 most of pain is on my right leg, depending of what works more, either I focus on the spot or just above trying to build a barrier for the pain to move up to the nervous system through the spinal cord and to the brain. It has works many time, the adverse problem is to keep this process long enough because the pain can come back.
To answer Norma, there is no such thing as giving away my pain to my wife, but she is the one which treat my pain through acupuncture with millimeter waves . The interesting thing with this technique is there is no needles involved. It works well for me and the pain is gone in 5 minutes or a little more when the pain has lasted too long.
As Dan said this technique is not for everybody, there is two people at least which tried it and are happy about it.
See my topic about : living without pain.
I notice already that pain can come back , and always at the same spot I think this is because of our muscle being weak .
I tried to go further on preventing pain, I try on myself as I am the only rat I know and will let may be people know the result. The idea is to stimulate weak muscle so that pain don't come back. I don't use usual tools as teens. Instead I have found that there is muscle meridians in acupuncture word, and I use the same technique millimeter waves to stimulate them.
I dream one day some expert will take over this technique and try it seriously . Most of time people believe in expensive drugs with many induced problems. ( and many $ for the industry )
Thanks Patrick.....for the speedy reply. I will certainly try this.....when those horrible leg pains revisit me. I have noone living with me.......so what you share with your wife....is out, for me. But.....as much as I understand it......I will try your technique........and see what happens. Thanks so much for so generously sharing. My very best to you and your wife......Norma
Hi Norma, I have burning leg pain that is from the nerves. I take several pain mess. However, my Dr. Showed me massaging my legs where the pain is helps me until the pain meds kick in. If my husband is home he helps in the massage.
Hi Jane......thanks for sharing that. My problem with usung your technique is.......if I touch any part of my legs when this kind of pain starts......burning....sharp shooting pain......the touch will produce muscle spasms......making the pains quite intolerable ! I may get these spasms....touch or not....but it makes it impossible to improve things with any kind of touch. I still appreciate your willingness to share. My very best to you and your husband.........Norma
So, so sorry dear Norma, has anyone tried prayer to our "living, loving God"? Certainly helps me to calm down and focus on his loving kindness and pretty soon I'm asleep. Jane
Yes Jane......I have tried prayer....to our loving God........and it is comforting ....to say the least. Thanks.........Norma
speaking of this business of "living and loving", what I like most about this is that it is portable, inexpensive and has no negative side effects. But living and loving can also come from you towards your body. When you feel that much pain your nerve endings are overstimulated and your body experiences a crisis even though there is none. So your body suffers and there is nothing that can be done to change the experience in that moment.
However, if you can approach your body with love and compassion when it suffers like that, it sometimes helps change the way you experience it. Instead of raising up against it and beginning to weave narratives about what it means about your life or your future life, you can just experience your bodies suffering and greet it with kindness and love.
Worth a try. And like I said, no side effects!
Thanks Dan.......I'm going to try to focus on feeling compassion when my body suffers......but I believe one of my big disconnects is........I was taught very early on....to feel love and compassion for others.......but when it came to myself.....I got the impression that any self love.......was indulgent......and spoke of self importance . Other centerdedness was encouraged.......self centered....no...........and i realize now.....that's not the same as love of self. In any event.......I am going to make a real effort at being much kinder.....and more compassionate towards myself.....as you suggest. It seems a much better approach towards my pain. I so appreciate the advice.........warmest regards.......Norma
as always, it's nice to hear from you. Believe me, you are not the only one who grew up in a world that caution us against being self-centered. Today's world is even more confusing for children because they are too indulged and overprotected and still are told not to think about themselves!
Think about what happens when you cut your skin or have a toothache or feel neuropathic pain. All of your attention and energy goes to the source of that pain. It's adaptive and how we have survived for millions of years. All pain demands attention.and this is true whether the pain is physical or emotional-all pain stimulates the exact same part of the brain.
So when there is emotional, social or psychological pain, we usually bury it and focus on the outside. But all pain lives inside of us if it's not addressed. Your family like most of our families wanted us to be kind. Norma, you are a human being who deserves kindness and not neglect. And my guess is you are a kind human being. As you read this, take that kindness you feel for others and put your hand on your heart. Allow that kindness to flow through your hand into your heart.
this is not being selfish, self-centered or self indulgent. This is just being kind to a human being who suffers at this moment.
Hi Dan, RE mind pain control. Mine just seems kinda natural. I think 'I really do not need this leg pain.' It goes away. I think specific. I always relax and sometimes hold my head. Then I think about something else. Another pain control I have used in the past when my throat would tighten making it impossible to breath. RELAX, then I began at my toes telling myself they are fine. I continue up until I feel pain. Then, I tell myself what is causing the pain, how it started etc. (recogizing the pain). I tell myself it is ok. I do not need to feel it or it does not have to hurt because it is ok. I really wish I could give this ability to everyone. BELIEVE the pain will go away. Do NOT get frustrated and never never say or think it is not working. For it to work you must believe.
My FAITH in GOD is STRONG. God answers my prayers.
whether you know it or not, you are practicing Mindfulness Meditation! Basically what I have been encouraging people to do is exactly what you are doing. When we fight with our pain, it makes it worse and it makes it stay longer. When we open to it and have faith (also experience) that it's temporary, it passes more easily.
The other thing you are doing is that you are broadening out your attention-making the lens wider. So instead of a narrow focus on your pain, your focus also includes your whole body and sensations on and in your body. I love that you hold your head because it is an act of kindness and compassion-this always diminishes the intensity and duration of pain. Compassion helps us release our grasp on the pain itself.
The other thing you have done albeit unintentionally I assume, is that your brain/body has recognized that this is chronic pain and not acute. When we feel acute pain, all of our energy and resources focuses on the pain as it should. We do everything in our power to eliminate what is causing the pain.
The problem arises when we have chronic pain and the mind/body reacts in exactly the same way. This is not the case with you. When you feel pain you are aware of suffering, but your body knows it is not a crisis.
Thank you for your wonderful teaching!