Pain is a nag in the 5th decade and unless I receive a whole body transplant, it is likely a forever friend, crashing parties and obnoxiously showing up when I have planned fun. Although I accept this reality, I do not have to live gritting my teeth and snapping at anyone who comes close. There are pills and shots and booze and marijuana, all sorts of justified remedies when pain is “killing me”, yet none of those promote productivity or participation, both of which are necessary to keep me out of the abyss. Managing chronic pain is individual, as unique as you are, but Doctors do not have time to figure out your equation. That is up to you.
The D.E.A. brought the War on Drugs to chronic pain patients, physicians, and pharmacists in 2014 with its Diversion Control Program governing opioid medication prescriptions. They also reclassified previously non-scheduled pain killers, such as Tramadol, based on reports of abuse. In Illinois lawmakers approved a pilot program for pharmacies to voluntarily put combination locking devices on opioid prescriptions . I can well imagine my stiffly swollen fingers trying to manage a tiny combination lock on a pill bottle, but it does not faze me because I own a hammer.
In 5th decade mature style, pills sit beside right thinking and guided meditations in my pain control toolbox. I cannot think or say my pain is “killing me” when I have witnessed trauma in a busy Emergency Department. I’m good compared to dying and being dramatic is tiresome and without benefit. That is not to say I do not whine, just that I do so only to my Mom or in my journal and by being honest with myself the pain does not overwhelm me.
Guided meditations, whether for wellness, pain relief, or relaxation and comfort put me in touch with my body and help me release tension which amps up pain and makes me unlikable. This practice makes me responsible for contributing to a solution and keeps me from feeling totally out of control. If you suffer from pain, (and who doesn’t?), try changing the conversation in your head to one of support and take at least 10 minutes a day for meditative practice. It will change your experience, I promise.