Episode 7: A Peak into the Journey out of Pain
Learn what to look for as signs of progress that you are changing your state of chronic pain. Quality of life will start to improve even before you sense that your pain levels have shifted.
This is the Pain Changer Podcast Episode SevenDo you think that it’s going to take you years to feel better? Even just a little bit? Well, let me be the first to tell you that is not true. In today’s episode, we’re going to discuss the pain journey in more detail, especially as you move from the corrective stage to the maintenance stage. Today’s episode will blow that limiting belief away, you won’t want to miss it, it’s coming up next. When I was disabled, I don’t think I had a super clear understanding of what it would look like to start to resolve pain. I just kept waiting for my body to feel better. I was waiting for so long that I almost missed it when it actually did feel better. I mean, yes, I broke through paid a few times. But to consistently realize it was gone, painted become such a constant by that point that I didn’t even notice it starting to lighten up. In fact, that happened more than once to your mind will play tricks on you as you start to shift out of your current pain state. There are some good reasons why that happens, which is what we’re going to talk about today, as well as what you can expect for this episode. Ask you to hit pause right now and grab a paper and pen to take notes if you’re in a safe place to do so. If you’re driving or in your place where it’s not safe to do so, then please wait until it’s safe for you to jot down some notes. But you can still listen even if you’re driving. One of the first skills I want to encourage you to cultivate if you’re currently suffering from pain. One of the first skills I want to encourage you to cultivate if you’re currently suffering and pain is patients. I know I said fuck you too when someone suggested I work on that, I get it. And patients will also be one of your best assets to help support you on your journey. Why patients. The first reason you want to work on patience is that the journey out of pain isn’t linear. It will have ups and downs while moving steadily in an upward direction. picture with the stock market looks like in better years with an upward trend going to the right, not downward trend. That’s not what we’re looking for. Nor is it the journey. Nor is the journey the same for everyone. The only thing I’ve seen in common so far with those working on healing physical and emotional pain, it will always take longer than you think it well. That was so aggravating to me at first, that I started to shift my perspective. What else was I going to be doing with my time, I didn’t have energy, my mood sucked. I was staring down a scary path of permanent pain and disability. So I thought I may as well do the work and let go of time, trusting that the universe was giving me space to heal. That was really hard to do. I was terrified I would lose my job due to my health. But I had seen enough evidence of the impact of that was doing other things to take a break up this one that was really hard to do. I was terrified I would lose my job to my health. That was really hard to do. I was terrified I would lose my job due to my health. But I had seen enough evidence of the impact of those doing other types of personal growth work that I had hoped it would be a matter of time before I experienced a break to plus Shannon was there for me in those early days encouraging me and helping me document my physical state at the time. I want to be that person for you to encouraging you as you start this journey out of pain. Or perhaps you’ve been on that journey for a while now. And you’ve already seen the light at the end of the tunnel wherever you are on your journey. My hope is that this podcast helps you remember that you will see better days in the future again. Let’s chat a bit more about the purpose of pain. While it may feel like a punishment, pain is your body’s way of asking you for help or asking you to stop doing something. Pain is there to protect you, not punish you. Think back to when you were young and you accidentally placed your hand on a hot stove that taught you not to do it right. That’s what’s still going on with your current experience of pain. Your body is trying to tell you something. With chronic pain though. It’s not as easy as just don’t touch a hot stove and you won’t hurt. It’s a little bit more to that. Chronic plate live. Chronic Pain is complex, with a lot of variables all culminating together, which makes it more difficult but not impossible to To change, there are the physical changes built to the gray matter in your brain, as well as any physical damage your body endured, then there are also motions that are wrapped up in that physical experience. And I’m not just talking about how you feel about the pain, whether it’s frustration, grief, anxiety, anger, or all of the above, that is only one part of the emotional component. The other part is the stock of motion that is also part of the physical pain. Going back to the premise of cognitive movement, which is that your body will express for you the emotion that your mind cannot. I see it over and over again, and my clients and myself, if you do not find a way to acknowledge and release heavy emotions, such as shame, guilt, grief, fear, anger, and others, they will manifest in your body, somehow, some way, the tendency is to ignore it, or chalk it up to something completely unrelated, or even take on a diagnosis that could have potentially been avoided. Because of that complexity, the path of pain will look different for everyone. There won’t be linear, and everyone will move at a different pace. Since pain is there to protect you. It’s also the PCU that you will. Since pain is there to protect you. It’s also the piece you will notice last as you start to improve and heal. So what can you expect as you start to heal your chronic pain, your mood and energy will improve? First, you may find yourself experiencing joy or bliss or even just find that you’re feeling more hopeful and optimistic. Yet you aren’t really sure yet why you feel that way, since the sensations in your body? Probably don’t even feel very different yet. If this resonates with you hold on to those feelings. Make them bigger journal about what is helping you feel hopeful and optimistic. If you aren’t sure what’s creating it, stay in the feeling and describe it. What is joy feel like in your body? What about bliss? Where do you feel it? How intensely? How does it feel? Does it feel bubbly? Exciting. Something else? Do you notice any difference in your pain level as you lean into these positive emotions. If you’re in a place that’s safe to do so, I invite you to take a minute. If you’re in a place that’s safe to do so, I invite you to take a few minutes right now. Pause this episode, and write down your thoughts. I promise I’ll be here when you get back. Great. I’m glad you took that time for yourself. Thank you. The next piece that tells you that your body is healing, you’ll notice that you’re doing more. And you’ll probably only notice that after the fact make sure that you are documenting what your normal is now, because as your new normal changes. You won’t even remember what you used to not be able to do, you’re only going to be paying attention to what you can do on any given day. The increase in energy you feel is allowing you to be more productive in your day again, take a note of where you started. I’m going to repeat that a few times. Take a note of where you started. What could you do in a day before you started your journey out of pain? What can you do now? If today’s the first day you’re taking steps to change pain state, then please note where you are today. Take a selfie or create a video to I promise you will be happy to see that contrast later down the road. How much can you do in a day? Regardless of whether today is day one on your pain journey or day? 50? I want you to also answer these questions. What do you want to be able to do in six months? What about 12 months? Take a moment. Pause this episode and write down anything you notice. Do you notice any difference in your physical state yet? Awesome job taking the time to note where you are. I hope you reach back out to me in six and 12 months so I can hear how much progress you’ve made since this episode. The last thing to change in your pain state is your actual state of pain itself. There are a few reasons for this. The first is that you tend not to notice the absence of something as much as you notice the premise is something which means that when pain first lowers you don’t realize it right away. Let me give you an example. Recently, someone I know was trying a new topical whitening to help with their hip pain. They put some on in the morning and they went about the day. I checked back in with him later in the day and asked how to help their hips. They told me they weren’t sure they had noticed their hips, but now that they’re noticing, maybe it a bit better. Huh. They hadn’t noticed their hips. Earlier that exact same day this person was limping due to hip pain. Here’s the thing. If your pain levels are not lowering, you will continue to notice your pain. It’s that simple. It will stay on your radar until you learn how to shift your perception away from physical pain and or when physical pain levels lower. As you get to a new normal with less pain, you will most likely need time to notice that you have a new normal. What you will not notice until you pay attention to it is when pain levels have lowered. And even then, your brain may need more time to let go of the pain. Your brain will continue to hold that pain until you either bring more awareness to what has changed and whatever did you have of that change, or the time when your subconscious feels safe to lower the pain level. As I mentioned earlier in this episode, pain is there to protect us. Which means that your subconscious will hold on to it until it feels safe. The entire job of the subconscious is to keep your body safe and alive. Therefore, that part of you will need a lot of evidence that you are still safe without the pain. I saw this again with a client of mine. Recently, they had a trial for something they hope will help with their pain levels. The trial resulted in a pain spike. And it was quite a traumatic experience overall. From my clients perspective, the pain spike is still a bit higher. Although he also told me that mentally and energetically he’s at a much better place due to working with me. But the physical pain hadn’t changed much yet. His fiancee on the other hand, she noted something different. Yes, he was down for the count for a few days. But then he was sharing a new experience with her, which she didn’t think he would have been up for due to his pain levels just a few days prior. My answer to him was that they’re both right. His brain isn’t ready to change the signal of pain in his body yet for several reasons. So his perception that pain levels have not lowered. That was accurate. And also, they had most likely lowered enough for him to be able to enjoy himself and the experience he had with his partner. In my own experience, there are many days I consciously took stock of my physical pain. Before my subconscious was willing to release the pain levels. I could feel the relief and cognitive movement sessions. And during massage and with other modalities, it all still felt temporary despite the fact that cognitive movement was clearly making other massive changes in my life that may or may not have also been linked to my physical pain. It was several months before my brain really trusted the changes and released me from high pain levels. A couple of months after my first cognitive movement session, I witnessed this for the first time. This became an incredibly pivotal day actually, I had just cleaned my whole house and under two hours, it process that had previously I had needed days to do. I had just cleaned my whole house in under two hours, a process that I had previously needed days to do in order to keep my body from having a pain spike. I sat down in my recliner, and I turn on my heating pad for my lower back to ease the sore muscles feeling really pissed off and frustrated. How could my pain still be the same? Had I been crazy to cancel my tests? Now what was I going to do? That I passed? How true is this, this idea that I hadn’t dented my pain. And instead, I had shot myself in the foot and lost progress to have my pain resolved. So I took a minute. Well, I had just cleaned my whole house and under two hours, and just a couple months before I celebrated cleaning it in under two days. So why was I pissed off now. Plus, I had actually been active too. I put away Christmas decorations and I taken care of a few other things too. Once I marinated on that thought for a while, I realized it was very untrue. My pain had changed, I wouldn’t have been able to clean my house as quickly as I did. The pain was what prevented me from doing it more quickly in the past. So of course my pain had lessened even if I didn’t perceive it to have changed much yet. Even if I didn’t perceive it to have changed yet. I was still puzzled by the fact that even seeing evidence moolah. Of course, my pain had lessened even if I didn’t perceive it to have changed. I was still puzzled by the fact that even seeing evidence of lower pain. My physical body didn’t seem to feel that much different. But then suddenly it did change that day. How level of awareness and taking stock of where my body was. That was the start of continually feeling better. Every day, every week, I shifted my focus to an area that didn’t frustrated me. I started to trust the fact that I had made the best decisions I could for myself regarding the pain, and that I would feel a difference. Sooner or later, the pain levels were low enough that I could easily shift to other topics outside of my body. Over the next several weeks and months, my DOM over the next several weeks and months, my body did reflect my progress with lowered pain levels. And I could consciously feel I simply let go of the level of scrutiny I was putting my body through and decided to trust the fact that I was witnessing progress, even if it didn’t feel like progress yet. The other seat I want to plant about being on the pain journey, your quality of life will increase before your pain levels decrease. It was only four years ago that I was disabled. Within those four years, I not only drastically improved my quality of life and greatly lowered my pain. But I learned so much about pain management, that I have taught and continue to teach others how to experience the same shifts for themselves to even before you’re completely healed, you will be able to do more, and you will feel like you have more of a life again, you do not have to stay stagnant or stuck. I see this with my clients to their mood will go up, their energy will go up, they are able to do a lot more. And they’re able to experience things like joy again, those blasts of joy may not last that long. And the pendulum may tend to swing the opposite way at first and leave you feeling blue sometimes. But the pendulum will slow in time, and the joy will last longer and longer. One thing I encourage as you get these blasts of joy, happiness, excitement, etc, is to feel them, stay in them and make them bigger, positive emotions release endorphins, which will help your pain levels. So enjoy those moments, they will last longer and longer as you keep doing this work and helping yourself heal. With my own pain journey. I was climbing mountains years ago. With my own journey, I was climbing mountains a year after I was disabled a year. And I was in Colorado at the time. So I mean big mountains, the tallest I climbed is over 11,000 feet. That was within one year of being disabled. And even before I climb that mountain, I found joy again. I had started to create a social life after hiding for a few years and my physical and emotional pain. I started to date again. I could travel repeatedly. And without massive pain flares. I could dance again and start to do low impact workouts. Yes, I still had physical pain. And that pain would get a little worse over the next year after that before it got better. Yes, I still have physical pain. And that pain will get a little worse over the next year after that before it got better and to continue, motherfucker. Yes, I still had physical pain. And that pain would get a little worse over the next year after that, before it got better and continued to get better to be where I am today. Even when pain got worse, my quality of life didn’t. Even my pain would look. Even when my pain got worse, my quality of life didn’t diminish. Well, that’s not entirely true because this was also during the early days of lockdown when everyone was affected, not just that was in chronic pain. So I don’t really include that into my overall quality of life because every single one of us was in that. Due to the work I had been doing though, I was able to maintain a rather positive outlook, even during the gloomy days of locked down. My life was full again, after a year of disability. Well, life is full again a year after my disability, and it keeps getting better and better. Even with high pain levels again, which led me to cognitive movement. My life was full in something I was proud of and wanted to live to the fullest. My dearest listener, I want to ask you this again. Where do you want to be a year from now? Don’t worry about whether you think it’s possible or not yet. Just think about where you want to be in 12 short months, write it down. You may be surprised by what happens simply by putting out there whenever you want to create for yourself over the next year. Thank you so much for joining me today. Are you curious? What else is part of your experience of pain? Are you curious? What else is part of your experience of pain? What if it told you that dealing with the root of your issues could actually totally change your pain? What if I told you that I have found fear at the bottom of fibromyalgia in at least one client? And fear was also behind severe back pain and someone else? What if I told you that feeling burdened will most likely show up in your shoulders? Join me again next week, where this is exactly what we’ll be talking about.