TRUST ME WHEN I SAY I KNOW HOW IT FEELS BECAUSE I AM A PAIN PATIENT MYSELF.
Yes, I am a pain patient like you. Many years ago I had a trauma that affected the nerves on the left side of my neck and left arm. This has left me with a group of problems among which, the CHRONIC NEUROPATHIC PAIN in my left hand is the worst of all. It is sever and constant. It never goes away. Some days it is worse than others but it never stops. On that famous scale of one to ten, it is usually around seven and frequently goes to ten. So there it is. I AM A PAIN PATIENT.
In fact, because I am a pain doctor too, I know that this type of pain that I have will never be cured or stopped, unless some breakthrough medical miracle comes along the way. It has been very difficult to live the daily life, let alone practicing full time. I had to take many medications and see different physicians for this, and a few other medical conditions I had since that trauma. Because you are a pain patient too, I don’t need to explain to you how difficult this might have been. You know what I am talking about and because of this pain, I know how you feel.
I was faced with a difficult dilemma a few years ago. The severe pain and combination of different drugs I had to take for it would make it very difficult to continue my work with my pain patients. I have always loved to help my pain patients because of being passionate about my field but being a pain patient myself has put me in a unique position. I always thought I understood my pain patients, but now I could feel their pain. I could feel what stabbing, burning, sharp uncontrollable and constant pain meant. Not just knowing it, but feeling it as well. But then pain was and still is a barrier to all activities of daily life, including the work I love. The dilemma was this: now that I understand my pain patients better than ever, how could I continue functioning with this pain? I had to increasingly use different medications and received different injections. I could not function like that and I had to do something about this. For once in my life I was truly able to understand and feel what my patients were going through, but my ability to help them was going away. This had led into significant level of suffering. What would be the way out? Is there any way out?
I did a lot of research and realized that with the current science of pain and what could be seen in the horizon, this pain was going to be permanent, sever and constant for the rest of my life. But what could I do continue my life with this, especially as a professional? So I came across the history of mind over matter practices from the ancient times. You could find the traces of these practices all around the world from India, China, Middle East, Pacific Islands, Africa and South America. In all of these places you can find traces or well established practices of ancient tribes of civilizations that managed to control their pain, or even block the pain with the power of their mind. That is how the Buddhist monks block the pain of sitting for hours at a time and meditating. Or the Far East martial arts teachings show the way of fighting through pain with using Zen practices. That is how the pacific Island tribes would manage to cover their body with shape transforming tattoos. In Africa you can find dancing practices that would take the person into a Trance state of mind that would block any pain. Some Dervishes form Sufism practices in the Middle East can pass knives and torches through their skin after long dancing and chanting ceremonies without feeling pain. In South America some shamans perform mind changing and life altering Ayahuasca ceremonies. The more you look, the more you will find about different practices that have been with humans for thousands of years and these practices would give humans a tool to block the pain and reduce suffering. All of these practices would teach you to train the mind to manage the body symptoms.
So I started learning more about mindfulness meditation and could gradually reduce my pain medications form 14 a day to 1 or 2 a day that would not impair my cognitive function. It has not been a cure. I still have the pain and have to get nerve block injections and infusions, etc. however, I am suffering less now. The most important thing is that I could continue my work through my pain with the pain patient that I love so much to help. This has been the most important gift of meditation and Mind over Matter through the concept of Mind Body Temple to me. We call it Mind and Body to better understand the functions and presentations, but in reality there is no separation of body and mind. So training the mind is in fact training the body. That is why if you look at my blog, the majority of my posts are related to this concept, because it worked for me and there is no reason why it would not work for you. I will write more about this concepts as we go.