Hello Everyone --
This is quite a discussion!!! Thank you all for sharing your perspectives - I think it helps when we know we are not alone in our pain. I myself am a T12 paraplegic, with chronic neuropathic pain I've been dealing with since I had my injury about 12 years ago. I feel very fortunate to have mobility and a decent amount of independence to move around. I've suffered a lot at night, having problems sleeping ever since the day I was shot in a carjacking incident in South Africa.
I'm doing a combination of massage, acupuncture and chiropractic treatments that has made an incredible difference for me over the last 4 months or so. I would say the biggest help has been the acupuncture. The pain is still there, but it feels as if the energy has been toned down to a lower level; this let's me be more productive around the house and in my web design and copywriting business. I would recommend trying some adaptive yoga classes, if you can find them. I was fortunate to be in good shape before my injury - I did yoga for 12 years. I use a lot of yoga now to manage and work through my pain. Since doing the acupuncture, I've discovered that when I do a certain yoga position of crossing my legs and leaning forward with my chest down on the bed, I fall asleep - it manages my pain AND my insomnia! I can't tell you how incredible this breakthrough is, to be able to sleep properly after 12 years of not sleeping! I know how to work it. I sleep on my stomach first, and then pain will wake me, but I turn on my side and sleep in that position. I do my yoga pranayama breathing, and that helps ease my pain and get me back to sleep. Usually the next time I wake up, the third phase - creates all kinds of pain, discomfort, restlessness, etc. But now on the third phase I stop and get into the yoga position. It takes me right into a beautiful dream state. That is enough to help me feel rested and like I can manage my life.
I tried numerous techniques, therapists, etc. to experiment to get to this phase. I worked out with a Pilates therapist, and she got me to be able to get up on all fours and even crawl, which was a huge breakthrough. Our bodies are not static; they are dynamic and changing. My feeling about my life is that I can keep working at it and find the combinations of techniques that work for me. This has been almost a necessity, because my 15 year old son's mother cannot take care of him because of financial problems and other issues. So I'm thrilled to have my son with me, and at first I was worried that I wouldn't have the energy to deal with him (and it is a little overwhelming at times). But these new therapies have helped me get the energy I need to manage everything. I think for me, I would say the key is to never stop searching or experimenting and trying new things. If you can do that, and live in the present moment of just enjoying the beauty of day-today simple things, you can gradually get better. And part of that is dealing with the emotions surrounding pain, which tend to frustrate us even more. I meditate three times a day, and it makes all the difference in the world. I'm amazed that I can be a single father and operate a very small copywriting business. A year ago, when I was facing a terrible pressure sore ulcer and surgery, I could not imagine how much my life has improved.
I would like to suggest trying Bach Flower Essences, if folks have not experimented with them before. They have a very subtle effect, and they are the only treatments I found that help help and transform emotions. I've even used them successfully with my son. They can help with depression, different types of anxiety, negativity, emotional transitions, lots of things. I think using the Flower Essences along with meditation is important.
I still have pain, and sometimes after grocery shopping and/or cooking, or a meeting or picking my son up from school, all I can do is zone out on the couch and try to get my bearings. But overall, I am making real progress, and I expect that I will heal more. I've also found that dancing in my wheelchair helps keep my body flexible and enhance circulation etc. I also do well when I dance on the couch, which my bare feet flat on the floor. I can feel the nerve sensation of gravity, which helps complete neural pathways. I figure the more neural pathways I can create, the more my pain will go down and other kinds of sensations will increase. I don't do nearly enough of these dancing and circular movements as I should. But I think one of the keys for us is to continually look for small things that work for us. I hope what I've said makes sense and is helpful for others.