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Chronic pain. It need not be so. Thursday April 9, 2015

I am 52. I am having my twenty fifth anniversary. Congratulations, you might think.

Actually not quite. This is an anniversary of chronic pain. It's a chicken and egg situation – has long term pain caused depression or has depression and its bedfellow anxiety caused long term pain? Some of you may well ask yourselves the same question.

For some with chronic pain, depression is a secondary and it can be treated effectively. I suspect that chronic low grade depression and anxiety are both causes and perpetuators of my pain, as I started with pain issues from my teens.

The stigma around depression and anxiety led me subconsciously to search endlessly for physical reasons for my pain - cervical ribs, compressed vertebrae – and undertake physical treatments. Acute pain has turned into intractable.

I swung from "I don't have a problem. My intellect has overcome my pain. I am as fit as my peers. I shall soar again" to "I am helpless and exhausted. I can't do that job because I might get pain. Nobody understands. I need to be looked after. I am not responsible for me." Life became a quest for the holy grail of no pain. The focus of my life for years has been pain avoidance, rather than enjoying a whole life. Not very balanced, eh?

So why do I want to share this with you? I want to share it because I recently completed a wonderful free online course called "Preventing Chronic Pain: A Human Systems' Approach" on Even if you do not have physical pain, I think it is another part of the toolbox for our mental wellbeing.

It explains so much – how pain can develop from acute to chronic to intractable. It explains compassionately and clinically how we can prevent or manage this – the Seven Realms of Wellness. I have shed a tear in mourning for lost years. And so I want to tell you about this course in the hope that at least one of you will not have to shed those tears too.

Sunshine in the rain
A Moodscope member

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Leah Thu, Apr 9th 2015 @ 2:16am

Thanks for sharing your exoerience. It looks like an interesting ands worthwhile course not to mention a whole site I have just discovered.
I was wondering when the next course would start or is there only one a year?

All the best on your new life without chronic pain.

Anonymous Thu, Apr 9th 2015 @ 7:59am

Not sure when they next run it but I imagine more then once a year. Sunshine.

Hopeful One Thu, Apr 9th 2015 @ 8:02am

Hi Sunshine in the rain- so glad you found a solution to one of the most harrowing problems for its suffers for I am among one of them. I will go to the website and check it out .I manage mine with mindfulness and if it gets worse than some analgesics which are quite effective for me. I have avoided surgery. They say in medicine there is nothing that an orthopedic surgeon cannot make worse. Probably an unjustified generalization but whats its saying is that they don't know or can't tell where their expertise ceases and once their tests show no organic changes to correct should refer people for counselling as the patients are unlikely to tell them about their depression or anxiety unless asked and few orthopedic surgeons do.

Les Thu, Apr 9th 2015 @ 8:02am

Hi Sunshine

What a great story of sadness of lost years and yet such a great desire to help others....inspirational.

I have no pain - but if I did I would be straight there :-)

A quote from ’Giraffes Can’t Dance’ – a child’s book by Giles Andreae. Our pupils who are blind with multiple disabilities (MDVI) did a little musical with RSNO using the book – it’s great for self esteem with children. Gerald the Giraffe (whom everyone initially laughed at) learned how to dance from the wise words of a little grasshopper and was hailed at the Jungle Dance as the world’s best dancer!

When asked by the animals how he did it, he said: “We all can dance when we find music that we love.”


crafty wee midden Thu, Apr 9th 2015 @ 8:19am

Interesting....but would not the reason/s for the pain be a factor? I have M.E., and it's difficult enough trying to explain/be believed( for the most part, only fellow M.E.ers understand).....I can't help but think that this approach, while useful in some cases, could also be yet another "it's all in your mind" tool for those who tend to that view already, which makes life harder.....

Anonymous Thu, Apr 9th 2015 @ 8:32am

This rings so true for me. My back pain is a direct barometer of my mental health, sometimes I am literally crippled with pain others relativly pain free. It improved massivly when I was (forced) to give up work but is now back as chronic as ever, chiropractor, acupuncture and swimming do help to treat symptoms but it is only when I am balanced in my head that things improve

Julia Thu, Apr 9th 2015 @ 8:48am

I am so sorry to read about your chronic pain Sunshine. It's the same sort of chicken and egg situation with insomnia and depression. Which came first. However the latest literature veers towards insomnia causing depression rather than the other way round but it's taken them years of telling insomniacs we are depressed and that's why we can't sleep. I know myself well (!) and have never seen me as depressed deep down. My insomnia definitely makes me depressed. It's probably the same with pain. (I often also think also that I need something in my life which is a defence against life and insomnia plays that role but that's another story and an example of over thinking my situation). I will look at your link Sunshine. Thank you.

Mary Blackhurst Hill Thu, Apr 9th 2015 @ 12:11pm

Thank you for sharing this Sunshine in the Rain. I know that my scores always dip if I am ill or in pain, so anything that helps with this is beneficial.

thegreenman555 Thu, Apr 9th 2015 @ 3:51pm

It does look like you can just view the course materials on line & work through the materials. But to do so outside the course may mean you loose some of the context and the value of input from other students.

But thanks for an interesting post & pointing me to a resource I'd never heard of either!

Anonymous Thu, Apr 9th 2015 @ 4:48pm

A book I love too Les! I wrote a blog on here about it a few months ago :-) There is a little Gerald in each of us, hope you're well, love from the room above the garage x.

Anonymous Thu, Apr 9th 2015 @ 4:55pm

Hello Sunshine, that's really interesting. I'm rushing through but I will have s good look at tjat link tonight. I don't have pain but it might be useful in other ways. Thank you! Love from the room above the garage x.

Anonymous Thu, Apr 9th 2015 @ 5:40pm

Les, it's sunshine here or Lesley as my name is. I dance! I love dancing and it takes all the depression and pain away. I do free dance.

Anonymous Thu, Apr 9th 2015 @ 5:46pm

Hi Crafty, I have fibromyalgia and myofascial pain syndrome and have not been a good sleeper. I understand what you are saying and still think that the course was valuable There is a brilliant section on Fibromyalgia - the biggest module in the entire course with lots of evidence in brain scans to show abnormal reactions in parts of the brain. I actually believe that I am not living where I should be. When I am around open people I get better. I recently found out that I live in a town ranked 5th lowest in the UK for openness. That resonated and whilst it is not a bad place I seem to have been ill when living here. I find singing an effective remedy for my energy and spasms in the upper body. Anyway, take care and thank you for your contribution. I do empathise. xx Sunshine aka lesley

Anonymous Thu, Apr 9th 2015 @ 5:48pm

hello Room above! Lovely to hear from you. Sunshine aka Lesley here. The course is compassionate and life affirming and evidential as well. Love and hugs xx

Anonymous Thu, Apr 9th 2015 @ 5:53pm

Thank you, Julia. Although not an insomniac I had sleep problems for years and turned night into day at one point. As a child I was given antihistamines to help me sleep for a period of time. As a student I also had sleep issues and so on all my life. I take amitryptiline to make me sleep and reduce muscle spasms (20 years now) but it has made me passive and I am concerned about it regarding dementia. I overthink as well and have done since a child - school reports as a 7 year old said " Lesley thinks far ahead" I should have gone into public policy or something! I just feel we could all do with a wee party together to rejoice that we are splendid beings and do the best we can. x

Julia Thu, Apr 9th 2015 @ 6:09pm

I take 10mg of Amitryptiline most nights and have also read about dementia in relation to this drug! What dose do you take? Thank you for replying Lesley. We are alike!

crafty wee midden Sat, Apr 11th 2015 @ 8:00am

Thank you, Sunshine....sending gentle hugs Alex xx

Anonymous Sat, Apr 11th 2015 @ 10:50am

50mg. Trying to reduce it. Mirtazapine as well.

Agnes Lawson Thu, Jul 2nd 2015 @ 3:44pm

Torment is never a nice sentiment to have, especially when it took that long. Well, that's one anniversary that shouldn't really be celebrated. Good thing is that you are doing something to diminish and totally eliminate the pain that you are feeling. Well, it seems that the "Preventing Chronic Pain: A Human Systems' Approach" course really helped you a lot. In any way, thanks for sharing such an informative post! I wish you all the best!

<a href="" rel="nofollow">Agnes Lawson @ Pain Relief Experts</a>

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