Wednesday, September 29, 2010


If you know me well, you most likely know that I have some gastrointestinal "issues." The frequency of my attacks isn't high, but the intensity... oh, the intensity. When it hits, it hits hard.

The pain woke me up at 5:30 this morning. I'm not going to go into details, but suffice it to say that at the pain's climax I always - at least briefly - entertain the thought of going to the hospital. Really, calling 911 because I'm in no condition to drive. However, I've never actually done either of those, nor do I really think it's necessary, I'm really just all pumped up because... OW!

There are 2things that help me deal with the pain. One is the knowledge that the pain is going to pass. It has always passed before. It will always come down to a reasonable level with 30minutes. Maybe an hour max. So really, I just have to suck it up and know that things will eventually be alright.

The other is providing myself with some sort of distraction. Specifically, a pain distraction. Some other pain for me to focus on so I'm not consumed with the real pain. Makes me sound kind of masochistic, right? It's not really. This usually involves a continuous, slight knocking on my forehead with my fist, which isn't really pain per se. It's more of a rhythmic soothing, perhaps? I also lightly bite the back of my hand. Usually not hard at all. Only hard enough that there are visible marks for maybe 5minutes. Again, this is all to distract me from everything else going on with my body.

This morning, however, a few hours after everything returned to normal, I looked down at my hand and saw 4distinct teeth marks. I have no recollection of either a) biting myself that hard or b) feeling a bite that hard. I'm actually kind of fascinated by it (not the mark itself, but the process of getting it). It's already faded considerably and will no doubt be gone by the time I go to bed tonight.

But still... crazy.

How do you cope with pain?

1 comment:

  1. So, you probably don't remember much from your Voice & Body Movement class, huh? Of course, I might have not been as focused on the pain reliever portion of the course as I am now.

    The body has several natural pain relievers--the one that really works well when in severe pain (although it's not a cure) is shaking. When the pain hits, try these things: vigorously shake your wrist(s). Let your hand go all slack and shake the hell out of it. You'll discover that the sensation is totally absorbing. Feeling your hand flopping all over the place takes your mind off the other pain. After all, pain intensifies the more you focus on it. Another strategy is to begin a total body vibration. Beginning with clenched fists, just start vibrating arms and legs and even get an inner vibration going. In other words, shake your booty! No need to stand; it works sitting in any position. Focus on that sensation. I've had severe gastrointestinal reactions to food, then had to go teach V&B. I can subtly create the shaking and it alleviates the pain. Much better than banging my head or biting my hand!

    Another natural pain reliever is breathing. Focus on an external object, then allow the breath to enter and expand you in all directions. Focus on the inhalation and the exhalation. Feel the sensation of the breath moving within you. I woke up once in Indiana with this abdominal pain. Lying down made it worse. I couldn't go rooting around the medicine cabinet cause folks were sleeping and it wasn't my house. I couldn't get up and watch TV to distract myself. So I sat in a chair, fixed my gaze on an object on the wall and slooooowly began breathing in and out, focusing on how the breathing felt. Within 15 minutes, the pain in my gut was gone and never came back.

    You are right, the trick is distraction--but you don't have to hurt yourself to distract the mind from the pain. Other kinds of physical activity will do it as well. Remember, the body knows how to heal itself--it's not a cure, but it can get you past the worst of it.