Monday, July 18, 2011

Magazine Monday: Time Mag & Pain

Time magazine did a special double health issue focusing on the subject of pain way back in March, and I've been meaning to write about it ever since. Well, better late than never!

March 7, 2011 issue

As you may or may not know, nerve pain is a major part of my MS experience and very much affects my daily life, so these articles were very much of interest to me.

In The End of Ouch? by Dr. Mehmet Oz, the emphasis is that chronic pain is a serious and major problem, even a disease in and of itself, but there is hope because it is starting to be recognized in a new light. He suggests the following advice, something that I know has helped me:
Meditation may benefit chronic-pain sufferers by reducing the emotional impact of their condition. A settling, transcendent state puts the pain in perspective and helps it dwindle in importance. 
He points the way to this relaxation guided meditation exercise video from the American Chronic Pain Association. I think guided meditation like this can be helpful, especially if you're new to meditation, although I don't find this particular exercise to be all that worthwhile.

I would also recommend this exercise by the wonderful Pema Chodron, an example of Tonglen meditation. I love the idea she presents of changing pain into compassion.

I've had a consistent meditation practice on and off over the years, and I really want to get back into it and make it a regular part of my life. I try to practice life in a meditative state as much as possible - to live in the moment. My pain constantly calls attention to itself, and I've had to learn to accept this. Even though I feel the pain, I've gotten to a place where I can just be with the pain without letting it control me. Unless the pain is at its worst - when it is, all the meditation exercises in the world aren't going to help the constant loop in my brain regarding how bad my feet and legs feels. But meditation generally helps. Whether you deal with pain or not, give it a try!

I'll be back next Monday to deal with the meatier article in this issue of Time on pain which I seem to recall had lots of stuff I want to comment on and share.


Nicole said...

Does any pharmaceutical relieve your pain? My meditation is off and on. I'm sure if I'm more constant I would get the benefit

Kayla said...

Nicole - yes, without the drugs I don't think meditation would help much. It took me a looooooong time to find a med routine that worked for me, but my current meds help a lot as long as I take them consistently. I use a combo of Lyrica, Cymbalta and Tramadol. High doses of Lyrica were a lifesaver for me.