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Wednesday, January 18, 2012

A New Approach to Chronic Pain

Bridget Quebodeaux, a GCFP in Los Angeles, shares her experience and insight into chronic pain in this very interesting article. If you suffer from pain, I bet you will find this intriguing:         

Why toaster ovens don't get fibromyalgia...By Bridget Quebodeaux, GCFP

As a Feldenkrais® practitioner, I often work with people who have chronic conditions and unexplained pain. They come from different walks of life. They have different personal histories and life experiences. They have different strengths and weaknesses and different temperaments and moods. They are different. Their pain is different. And yet the first words they speak are often the same: “I’ve tried everything and nothing helps.”
Sometimes it’s as if I’m being offered a fair warning, “Don’t feel badly if what you do doesn’t work. Nothing does.” Other times, I feel as if I’m being dared to make any difference at all. Always present is the hesitant hope that the Feldenkrais Method® will be the something that finally helps.

In recent decades, the biopsychosocial model has become the most accepted model for viewing chronic pain. The biopsychosocial approach says chronic pain is just part of the experience of a whole person living in the world. Hurting bodies cannot be understood in parts or in isolation of the thinking, sensing, feeling person walking around in them and the environment in which they live and ache. Personal histories, feeling management strategies, relationships, and beliefs are no less a part of felt pain than an old injury or a job that requires repetitive movement, and getting better is not a linear process of problem identification and symptom removal.

Research suggests a multidisciplinary healing strategy. Many people take that to mean they need a physical therapist, psychotherapist, massage therapist, energy healer and breath coach (to name a few). My belief is that less is usually more. Doing more won’t make what you do more helpful. Doing more won’t make it more likely that you will stumble onto the one approach or combination of approaches that “fixes” your problem and ends your pain. Doing more makes you tired and it isn’t necessary.
Doing well is much easier and will yield much better results. I suggest beginning by banishing the hope of being fixed. People can’t be fixed like kitchen appliances and old cars.
It may feel as though all your pain exists in one or more parts of your body and if you could just fix those parts, you’d be flying high. Indeed, if you were a ’69 Mustang or a toaster oven, you could have those parts repaired or replaced and be on your way. Not so with the parts of you that hurt.
I began the last lecture I gave on chronic pain with the following quote from the NOI group, “Discs do not cause pain anymore than genital stimulation causes love. Discs contribute to the pain experience.” If discs in fact merely contribute to the pain experience (as I believe they do) then consider the following: