Questions About Pain

As someone who has suffered with chronic neck, hand, arm, back and knee pain, I often get questions from friends and family who are dealing with similar issues.

To be honest, it's not easy for me to give solid advice as my journey had lots of twists and turns and it's often hard for me to explain what was wrong and how I went about fixing it. If you have the time, and are interested, you can read The Whole Story here.

But I'm trying my best to come up with a way to help people who ask me about pain. So I've come up with a series of questions to ask yourself, so that I also feel like I'm not giving medical advice -- I'm far from a doctor of course!

1. If the pain is new, have you gone to see your doctor?

Particularly if it's very severe pain, probably a good idea, just to rule out anything sinister.

2. Do you remember doing anything that caused the pain?

If the answer to this question is yes, then it will probably heal in a few weeks. Our bodies are good at healing. I once slipped on the smooth stone pavement after a severe rainstorm in Dubrovnik, Croatia. I fell squarely on my bum and had the most horrific bruise you've ever seen. But I healed pretty quickly with no residual back pain whatsoever. Which was amazing after all the back pain I had suffered before.

If the answer is no, then it might be time to look a little deeper at when the pain arises. Even now that I am essentially pain free, when I get stressed about work my neck pain or my wrist pain (particularly my right wrist strangely) flares up. The two seem to be intrinsically linked. This is how I know that John Sarno's theory of a link between emotional and physical pain is true for me. If you are dealing with any issue like this, it's a good idea to read the Mind-Body Prescription to learn about how our brain can create pain signals as a coping mechanism to distract us from other things that are bothering us.

And even if the pain comes and goes at random times, it could still be this type of issue. I've had random bouts of back or knee pain for no particular reason. And my clue that it's not linked to an injury is that sometimes it's very very painful and screaming at me and then other times it's totally non existent.

3. Have you stopped exercising due to your pain?

If you are injured, it is a good idea to take a break from exercising. But it is also important to get back on the horse. For years I wouldn't do any exercise other than very specific things and it kept me trapped in the box of being "injured". Now I do anything I want, and I never have any pain from it.

A good place to start is any exercise that improves your posture. This can help with general well-being too. Here's a post I wrote on why I still do my physio exercises once per week just to maintain good posture.

It still might be a good idea to go to a physio (or physical therapist), chiropractor, masseuse, acupuncturist etc. My physio really helped me through many years of debilitating pain. I probably wasn't ready to examine any of the emotional issues behind what was going on, but I still had to live and work, and she was the one who helped me through all of that.

But as I always say to people, try just ignoring the pain for a while, or reading Sarno's book, as it will be much cheaper than seeing a professional. But remember, you need to do what works for you and only follow advice that resonates with you. I can only talk about what worked for me.

If you have any specific questions, feel free to email me at mindbodyandscroll [at] yahoo [dot] com or post a comment.

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  1. Advice is hard to give, and hard to take, but I have similar issues and am taking the "Mind-Body Prescription" seriously! Thank you for sharing.

    1. Hi Rose, I'm sorry I haven't replied sooner - have been off my game with the blog the past few weeks! I had no idea you had similar issues - thanks for reading and commenting.

  2. The pain that affects me, is thin and not always clearly specifiable, in fact it is the pain or discomfort related to muscle fatigue and fibromyalgia.

    1. Hello! I believe that Sarno's book addresses some of these issues. I think his theory is that chronic fatigue might be in the same category.

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  5. This was a great article. I struggle with pain myself so I felt like I really got what Taron was saying. I like that she gave nice moderate advice. I think sometimes I push myself too hard at the gym, and she is probably right about a short break being appropriate sometimes.

    Thanks Taron for the great blog!

    Agnes Lawson @ Pain Relief Experts


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