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YOUR PAIN IS ALL IN YOUR HEAD, – SERIOUSLY?…

Your pain is all in the mind/head. Seriously? How many of you have heard this about your pain?

When I first experienced problems with my lower back, I had a trip to hospital where they put me on traction for a week which seemed to do the trick.

Unfortunately, it did not last for long and the pain came back worse than ever. At that time, we were also in the process of moving house from the North to the Midlands, so we were all staying at my sisters during this transition.

I visited my local GP who told me that the pain was “all in my mind, as I was under so much stress with the move”. I hoped he was right.

However, he was wrong, and I went from bad to worse. My sister came with me to my next visit to my GP to make sure he understood my pain was most definitely NOT ” all in my mind”.

He suggested I should go and see a Physiotherapist who helped me a little but said I had a serious back
problem and needed to some a spinal consultant. Six weeks later and the move to the Midlands was imminent, and the back pain was the same!

It became intolerable trying to unpack and sort out all my belongings so my sister organised for me to see a GP back in the North who was a friend of hers (I was not registered with any GP at that
stage).

He immediately sent me to see a Neurosurgeon who sent me for a myelogram which showed the awful state two of my lower discs were in and said I needed surgery asap. Simply lifting my daughter could risk paralysis.

That was back in 1987 and since then I have had another three major spinal surgeries to my cervical and my lumber spine. My last one was done in 1999. During those many years of pain, I did see a few different specialists, and some had different views about my spinal problems. One wrote to my GP and put
that “I was small in stature and extremely overweight and if I lost a couple of stone all my pain would go away”. I did lose the weight but the pain did not go away.

Recently I have been seeing someone to help with my recent flare ups and diagnosis of arthritis in both my sciatic joints and neuropathic pain down my arm.

When I first saw him, we talked everything through, and he explained in detail how I could pace myself even more to avoid some of my flare ups pain and he also gave me two exercises to do to loosen up my stiff back. I religiously these exercises as well as some neck ones that I was given by a spinal consultant a few weeks ago.

Two weeks after my first session with the health provider I said I felt the exercises were making my spine less stiff, but I was still having trouble with my pins and needles down my arm. He told me to avoid any exercises that caused the pins and needles and gave me some acupuncture around my hip area and told to keep a two-week diary of how I was feeling on a daily basis. 

Another two weeks passed but I did not feel there was any difference in my pain relief since my last visit to him, but I did feel my spine was less stiff. I explained this to him, and he suggested a couple of things to try.

My lumber pain comes on while walking but the trouble is I do not know how long I can
walk before it triggers it off. He suggested I take a walking stick with me and to set an alarm on my watch
when the pain comes on so that I can see how far I can walk without pain. He then suggested I should then try to increase this little by little until I feel no pain while walking. This sounded reasonable to me and something I am trying.

The second suggestion totally threw me as we had been chatting for about fifteen minutes. He said he truly felt that all my pain “is in my head”! I could not believe I was being told this again. 

“Even though the scans have shown differently”, I asked?”

“Yes”, he said and then told me about an MRI scan he had seen which was from an 87-year-old lady. He said her spine looked so bad it looked like she had been in a car crash. It was full of degenerative discs and bone spurs and yet this lady had no pain in her back whatsoever. He went onto say that maybe all my previous operations I have had in the past were not necessary as clearly, they have not worked. “If they had worked”, he said “then I would not be in pain now”.  

“So”, I said, “What about the pins and needles, are they also in my head”? “Yes”, he said.

He then suggested I read the book “The Way Out” by Alan Gordon. The Revolutionary, Scientifically Proven Approach to Heal Chronic Pain.” The information on this book says –

From back pain to migraines, arthritis, and sciatica, over 1.2 billion people worldwide suffer from regular or chronic pain, 28 million in the UK alone. It’s a global epidemic that regularly resists treatment and can totally derail people’s lives. But it doesn’t have to be this way.

This is the revolutionary message from psychotherapist Alan Gordon who, frustrated by the lack of effective treatment for his own debilitating pain, developed a highly successful approach to eliminating symptoms without surgery or medication, offering a viable and drug-free alternative to existing – and
often addictive – methods.

Based on the premise that pain starts in the brain not the body, Gordon’s Pain Reprocessing Therapy (PRT) enables you to rewire your neural circuits and turn off ‘stuck’ pain signals. In a ground-breaking study,
PRT 
helped 98% of patients reduce their pain levels and 66% were completely cured. What’s more, these dramatic changes held up over time.

In The Way Out, Gordon provides an easy-to-follow guide to ending your pain with PRT. Drawing on cutting-edge research along with his own experiences as a chronic pain sufferer, he will help you:

– Understand how the brain can unintentionally ‘learn’ chronic pain
– Turn off pain signals that have become ‘stuck’ – these are false alarms
– Use revolutionary techniques to break the cycle of fear that causes
chronic pain

– Develop long-term strategies for living pain-free

Game-changing, practical and full of real-life stories from Gordon’s clinical practice, this book will change the way you think about pain forever – and give you a way out of your pain today.

I bought the book straight away and will read it from page to page so see if there is truly a way to simply be completely pain free by understanding my brain and how it deals with my pain. 

I honestly cannot understand why some health professionals think that you could possibly imagine all
your pain even if an MRI or CT Scan says differently? So how can that not be real? He even suggested
that every single person who had a spinal MRI would probably find something wrong with there spine on it.

I did not ask for this pain, I do not want this pain, I have tried and am still trying every possible thing in the book to help ease my pain. Do they seriously think that I don’t want to lift my grandchildren up or go on long
walks or travel far and wide? If I do any of the above then then I am in terrible pain for the rest of the day.

Having suffered with pain on and off for the last 34 years I think I now know all about pain and how to deal with it. I was just hoping for a bit of help along the way while I am in this acute phase at the moment. I just want to get back in control of my pain like I used to.

My surgeries did work at the time I had then done many years ago  otherwise I would not have gone through with them but unfortunately, I was born with a slight malformation in my spine which is what has caused my problems from day one.

I am quite sure there must be hundreds if not thousands of chronic pain sufferers out there who have been told the same as me that your pain ” Is all in your head”.  The chances are if they have never experienced any type of pain then actually, they have no idea how you feel.

What that last appointment made me feel initially was depressed and sad but then I remembered how nice the spinal consultant was and how he totally understood all that I was suffering with. I am sure I have benefited from the exercises I am doing and will continue to do and also the tips on pacing but other than that I felt it was a bit of a waste of my time.

However, it has stirred something up inside me that I have thought about in the past and that is to write a book about the spinal problems I have dealt with over the last 34 years and how I have overcome the pain it has thrown at me one way or another. I would love to write something that would help others who are in chronic pain. And to help them feel they are not imagining their pain and to know how to go about dealing with it. 

I would love to know your opinion on this. Do you think a book like that would be worth writing?

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MAKE THESE CHANGES TO YOUR HOME FOR HELP MANAGING BACK PAIN…

Back pain is a problem that plagues many people, and there isn’t often a quick fix for it. When you have chronic back pain, you might not want to rely on painkillers too much to help treat it. Fortunately, there are other things that you can do to help relieve your pain. One of the things that you can do is make lifestyle changes, including making alterations around your home. When you’re able to move in the right way and rest in the right way, it can make a big difference to your back pain and how you feel. There are multiple changes that you can make around your home that could help to reduce your back pain or make you more comfortable when you are experiencing pain.

Take a Good Look at Your Bed…

A good night’s sleep is vital if you have chronic back pain, but back pain can make it difficult for you to sleep well. This vicious cycle can be hard to break out of, but you can start by taking a good look at your bed. The right mattress can really help you when you have back pain, and the pillow that you use could also make a difference.

A mattress will generally last for between around 7 to 10 years, depending on the materials and the construction. A cheaper mattress will most likely not last as long, but that doesn’t mean you have to go for the most expensive mattress available. The most important thing is to get a mattress that is comfortable for you and helps to support your back.

When you need support for your back, you might think that it’s a case of firmer mattresses always being better. However, many experts recommend a medium-firm mattress that can give you support while also being comfortable to sleep on. Another thing to keep in mind is that everyone has their own preference. Some people find that a softer mattress is better for them and others prefer to have a firmer mattress. If you’re not sure, look for a mattress with a good return policy. This will allow you to try out a new mattress for a while and decide if it’s right for you.

Choose the Right Seating…

As well as what you lie on, the furniture you have for sitting down is important. When you want to sit down to eat or relax in front of the TV, you need comfortable seating that also supports your back. It can also be important to consider the height of the seating that you choose so that you can get in and out of your seat more easily. When you’re looking for the right seating, you need to find chairs, sofas, and other seating that offer support to different parts of your back and joints.

A seat that gives you back support should support you from your lower back to the bottom of your neck. That means you probably don’t want bench seating or chairs that don’t have a full-height back. Even better, supportive seating should curve inwards slightly towards the bottom to support the natural shape of your spine. You can also look for seating that supports your neck with a good headrest. Good hip support can also be healthy for your back, so check to make sure your lower back is snug with the back of the seat and that your hips are aligned with your knees.

Different sizes are available when you’re looking for seating, and it’s important to get one that suits you. Everyone is a different shape and size, and not every chair or sofa will be right for you. Another thing to consider is sitting down and getting back up again. There are a few ways to make sure you can transfer in and out of a seat properly. Choosing a chair that’s the right height is a good start, and you can also get chairs that help to lift you up and down.

When you’re looking for seating, it’s a good idea to try some out in person so you can see if they’re right for you.

Set up a comfortable home office…

A home office allows you to get stuff done in peace and quiet, whether you work from home on a regular basis or just need to do a little household admin now and then. You can spend long hours in your home office, especially if you work from home, so it’s important to have a comfortable space. You can make back pain worse by sitting in an inadequate chair and hunching over a desk all day.

It’s important to have a chair designed to support your back and a desk that’s the right height. Ideally, you should be able to put your feet flat on the floor while sitting up without slouching or hunching. There’s some evidence to suggest that reclining slightly is better for you than sitting up completely straight. You might also consider standing while using your desk. A standing desk allows you to spend some time out of your chair and can help to improve circulation and back pain. If you get an adjustable desk, you can choose whether to sit or stand.

Have Somewhere to Exercise at Home…

Exercise can help to keep back pain at bay by keeping you moving and strengthening the supporting muscles in your back. You can keep fit by going for walks, swimming or visiting the gym, but it’s also helpful to have somewhere to exercise at home. When you have a space to work out at home, it’s easier to find the time to do some daily exercise, even if it’s only 20 to 30 minutes each day.

You don’t often need a lot of space to work out at home. If you don’t want to have a permanent workout space, you can easily have some workout equipment that you put away when you’re not using it. For example, yoga is a great workout to try if you want to strengthen your muscles, improve your flexibility, and reduce back pain. A yoga mat is easy to roll up and store out of the way when you’re not using it. If you have a bit more space, you could set up a more permanent home gym space.

Create a Quiet Space for Relaxation…

As well as having a space to get sweaty, somewhere in your home that’s designed for relaxing is a great idea too. Relaxing and dealing with stress is an important way to help reduce and relieve back pain. It helps to relax your muscles and can give you the opportunity to reduce pain through meditation and dealing with anxiety. Stress can make you tense, which can make back pain worse. You can use various methods to help you relax and let go of stress, such as deep breathing, meditation, and relaxation training.

You don’t necessarily need a special area of your home to relax, but it helps if you have a quiet spot that you can use if you live with your family or other people. You could just have a quiet corner somewhere, where you can play some relaxing music, turn the lights down or light a candle. It could be in a comfortable chair or you might put a blanket or a yoga mat on the floor so you can sit or lie down. Having somewhere that’s set up for you to concentrate on relaxing and shutting out everything else can help you to really relax.

Keep Home Remedies…

If you experience regular back pain, it’s also a good idea to have some things around your home to help you deal with it. When you have some home remedies on hand, you can reach for something that helps to treat your back pain when you need it most. For example, keeping some heat or ice packs around your home can be helpful. You can use a cold pack for a recent injury or pain that has just started to help reduce inflammation and treat pain. A heat pad can be better for longer-lasting pain, especially if you have sore muscles. Moist heat is also good, such as a warm shower or bath, so keeping some relaxing bath products on hand is a smart idea.

It can be useful to keep some things in your medicine cabinet too. As well as oral painkillers, you might find that a painkiller gel or ointment is helpful when you have back pain. It’s also a smart idea to have some comfortable and supportive shoes to wear at home if you’re someone who likes to wear shoes at home. Wearing the wrong shoes can be bad for your back because they don’t provide the support that you need.

Making some changes at home can help you to deal with back pain. By changing some of your furniture and the design of your home, you could reduce back pain and deal with it in effective ways too.