A New Outlook On Pain
Written on August 3, 2010 by Kristin Anderson
Kristin finds herself in pain after a cross-country trip and seeks a new source of help
I recently returned from a long trip across the U.S. — visiting the congested streets of New York City and then the congested convention center in San Diego for Comic-Con (yes, I’m a geek and proud of it!). When I visited my pain specialist this week, we discussed the tremendous amount of pain I experienced while walking the streets of NYC and standing in line waiting for Comic-Con panels. Was it worth it? I would say so. I liken it to the pain mothers feel during childbirth—you forget it soon thereafter because the great memories you created trump the pain. However, my pain is chronic, not a one-time event like childbirth and it is seared in my memory despite the fun of my vacation.
In addition to recommending new medications, my doctor suggested I visit a pain psychologist. I already see a health psychologist who helps me tackle all of the emotions associated with living with multiple chronic illnesses. I hadn’t heard of a pain psychologist before. It seems that there is a specialist for just about everything these days—and thankfully those of us with arthritis get to be the beneficiaries from time to time. I am excited to explore the possibility of adding this new specialist to my health care team. He will help me with pacing, examining my thought process when I am in pain, looking at ways I amplify my pain (this is not to suggest I am responsible for my pain, rather it is a proactive approach to manage my response to pain) and how I can incorporate better behaviors and routines into my life.
I celebrated my birthday this week and unfortunately the day brought with it a horrible “body” migraine. Despite the pain, I was determined to celebrate with my friends. But I am hopeful that with my birthday will come renewal and change–by applying new pain management techniques I can look forward to a year of vacations, fun, and another birthday that doesn’t include excruciating pain.