A New Outlook On Pain

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 painA new outlook on 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.

I am excited to explore the possibility of adding this new specialist to my health care team

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.

 

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