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Is It Just In My Mind?


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#1 Louxx

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Posted 19 February 2007 - 11:49 AM

Well I've come to think that my pain is only really really bad when I think about it. I found that I can go without having very painful hands, legs, etc. if I don't think about it and I even told my doctor on thursday that I only feel pain when I'm thinking about it.

Does anyone else think this could be the case? because I figured out, you can't really have pain unless your thinking about it. So I've been trying to shut out the fact that I have scleroderma and sometimes it does work (i think... unless thats just when my legs, etc. actually don't hurt)
I suppose I'll never know the answer haha! just thought I'd see what people think about it. :P

#2 Shelley Ensz

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Posted 19 February 2007 - 02:25 PM

Hi Louise,

It is rather true, in some respects, that we can't feel pain until we think about it. That's because the brain can only process one thing at a time. So I am a wholehearted believer in distraction as part of a pain management program.

However, for me it takes complete, involved distraction -- not idle distraction like watching TV, which for some reason seems to exacerbate pain for me. But engrossing hobbies and work (even volunteer work) that require a lot of concentration are a pure pain relief for me.

The only real problem is when I come up for air -- breaks, mealtimes, pure relaxing times, when it can seem like a sudden onslaught of pain. My guess is its the same pain that's been there all along, but I was just too absorbed to notice it.

Another issue is that at certain times in illness, we can be way too wiped out to do anything that is absorbing; even reading a book can be too hard. Those times, I just aim for the most absorbing thing that I am capable of doing -- especially listening to soft music which has its own restorative properties -- or I sometimes resort to medications to get things under control enough to be able to tackle more demanding tasks.

In my book, hobbies are the very best thing for pain relief, especially hobbies that involve creativity of any sort, since creative projects tax every part of the brain.

I'm sure many others will chime in with proactive approaches they've developed to deal with various types of pain. But of course, we also need to explain our pain to our doctors since sometimes treating the underlying condition can make it go away completely...or a least, for a little bit.

So no, I don't think the pain is in your mind, it is definitely in your body...but our minds can only pay attention to one thought at a time, so sometimes we are successful in defeating or overcoming the pain signals. And sometimes, no matter how good our intentions and our effort, there is just no getting around a good ol' fashioned "interesting bodily sensation" (aka pain).
Warm Hugs,

Shelley Ensz
Founder and President
International Scleroderma Network (ISN)
Hotline and Donations: 1-800-564-7099

The most important thing in the world to know about scleroderma is sclero.org.

#3 cat

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Posted 20 February 2007 - 01:06 AM

Its seems that I have been diagnosed with fibro for years, yet very seldom could I escape the pain. I exercise regular. Still nothing. No pill and no Dr. could seem to help. So I thought it was all in my head. Until I started going to a chiropractor and not just anyone but for the first time one that has helped give me relieve for the very frist time. She has helped me like no other Dr. has. She told me that my body was twisted to one side so it makes sense that I would have such discomfort all the time. I tell you it sure has been a blessing. I hope for some of you this might help. All I know is things are not as they always seem. cat

#4 nan

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Posted 20 February 2007 - 11:11 AM

I don't think that the pain is in your head. I think it is always there. What I have been trying to do recently is focus on good things. Like when I get up if I am able to get up I chalk that up to 1 good thing. If I am able to mall walk, that's a real bonus. :D Sometimes I pretend that I don't have sclerodermra, sjogren's, or fibromyalgia, but I will be reminded by a sharp pain or some other fun thing. Take care of yourself!
Nan

#5 kramer57

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Posted 27 February 2007 - 01:49 AM

I have back pain from arthritis and it hurts to walk, the more I walk the more it hurts so keeping busy doesn't help the pain. The only thing that helps is not to move and I'm sure not willing to quit moving!

I'm trying a different tactic. It probably sounds silly, but here it is: I'm trying to make friends with the pain. I'm altering my thinking so that when I have pain, instead of thinking negative things like, "I hate this, it hurts so bad, I can't stand it" instead I try objectively describing the pain (to myself in my head) - like, "here is that hip pain I get when I'm riding in the car. It feels like somebody is giving me shots in my bottom." and tell myself "having pain means I'm alive so I will welcome the pain as a part of living".

I can't really explain it, but having a welcoming attitude towards it seems to be helpful, I guess because when I have pain and then have a bunch of negative thoughts about it, then I have pain AND a bad mood! This way I just have the pain. :)

Karen

#6 bookworm

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Posted 27 February 2007 - 08:37 PM

Karen,

Are you taking anything for your arthritis pain? I have adjusted to a certain amount of pain in my life some of the time, but most of the time, my pain is well controlled by my medicines.

Are you seeing a rheumatologist who understands arthritis and scleroderma?



Mary