September is “National Pain Awareness Month”
Pain Awareness Month jives with my mission to educate people living with chronic pain, their loved ones and their doctors about how safe and effective self-care practices like mindfulness and self-hypnosis can help them take the suffering out of pain.
My name is Michael Ellner. One of the most helpful insights I can share here is that certified hypnosis professionals and/or mindfulness trainers like me and my Hope Coaching associates can have a huge impact on the quality of life of someone living with chronic pain! We can help by teaching people living with chronic pain self-care techniques that offer them some level of relief and some sense of control.
Raising Awareness about Pain:
Pain Hurts! And doctors who do not specialize in managing pain often add insult to injury.
This is because many doctors who are not also Pain Management specialists still do not take patients with medically unexplained pain seriously and are often dismissive or even insulting. What a difference it would make if these doctors were informed of fMRI-research that has shown that the same pain centers in the brain are active in medically explained and medically unexplained pain patients! Pain Hurts! And doctors who do not specialize in managing pain often add insult to injury. The additional stress can actually increase suffering.
I believe I satisfied my goal to help make readers aware of Pain Awareness Month and I am now going to focus on how self-care practices like mindfulness and self-hypnosis can help people take the suffering out of pain.
Overcoming the “Suffering” in Pain:
I say, “suffering”, because our painful experiences are generated by our brains after they have processed the painful signal (neural activity) with several other inputs like stress levels, prior conditioning, beliefs and expectations and what you are focused on. We are actually experiencing our brain’s processed reaction to the painful signals.
Practicing self-care techniques like mindfulness and self-hypnosis can help you relax, de-stress and focus your attention away from the discomfort.
Self Care Exercises To Ease Pain:
Try the following self-care exercise on for size:
1. Close and open your eyes… Inhale and exhale deeply… Now create a safe space in your mind and allow yourself to feel whatever is disturbing or upsetting … get in touch with the unwanted feelings and sensations and as you do…make a fist with your right hand … then, release the fist.
2. Inhale, and exhale deeply and gently…close and open your eyes.
3. Now picture yourself in your mind as follows: You are having a great day, filled with a sense of well-being. Perhaps you imagine yourself doing something you really love, whether you are by yourself or with someone you care about. Your skin is glowing with health, your eyes are sparkling with confidence, and there is a big smile on your face … your heart is hopeful, your mind is peaceful and your spirit is playful.
Excellent…now enjoy those feelings as you make a fist with your left hand … then release the fist.
4. Now inhale and exhale deeply and gently…close and open your eyes. Okay…now… count to ten and at the count of ten, make a fist with both hands at the same time. Now mentally count to five and open your fists…
5. Spend the next few minutes focusing your attention on enjoying what you will be doing… and do it.
HOPE is Realistic!
If you found the above exercise helpful you might want to check out Kelley Woods’ and my e-book: HOPE IS REALISTIC – How to Take the Suffering out of Pain. For more information visit www.hopeisrealistic.com
I recommend checking out the U.S. Pain Foundation’s website for more information about Pain Awareness Month and/or a wide range of additional resources. Also check out the U.S. Pain Foundation. It is an organization for and by people living with pain. The Foundation’s mission is to connect, inform and empower those living with pain while advocating on behalf of the entire pain community.