Pain Management Program day 11

“Who’s in control”?

I had a little bit of a slow start today. I got up 15 minutes late, I was in a little more pain before exercises (not that we talk about pain), and my head was just in a fog. One of the PT’s mentioned to me several times that it appeared that I was thinking or mulling something over. It had rained this morning so I’m sure there was a barometric change and I have just stopped taking Lyrica. I’ll have to let this bake for a week or so and see if things mellow out.

I struggled with this morning stretches. I was catastrophizing a bit, thinking that I have reached my limit and was not going to make it through. But in the back of my mind I knew that I would feel better after the stretches and icing. Over the last few days I have noticed that I am missing the very top of my shoulders when I am icing. One of my classmates told me how she wraps the ice around her neck and it lays over the top of her shoulders so I tried that. Once I got settled in, all I could think about was how I was going to freeze the arteries in my neck and I was going to pass out! I survived and the muscles at the top of my shoulders were thoroughly numbed!

Today we talked about desensitization. To understand it we had to first talk about how we get over sensitized to what ever it is that causes us an irrational fear reaction. Starting with maybe just a change in our patterns of behavior we can let it get out of control until it becomes a full blown phobia. Then the process used to desensitize us is to create a baseline tolerance of the thing that we fear (i.e. ability to stand in 1″ of water for someone who is scared of water), introducing an increase, expecting a response and then working to make that level tolerable. Repeat, rinse and dry.  That is the pattern used in desensitizing chronic pain.

The endurance exercises are getting more demanding. Yesterday I had time during the day to get them done. Doing them in a relatively short amount of time I built up a pretty good adrenaline rush. Today on the other hand I wasn’t feeling all that great and I didn’t have much extra time so I had to fit it in when I could. Late this afternoon I was walking through the hospital and caught my self evaluating the way that people were walking.

Through the past two weeks we have learned a lot about how to walk correctly and how our body needs to be more flexible. We used the the stretching, physical therapy and endurance exercises to reinforce the teaching. As I was looking at how people walked or stood, I was wondering how long they have limped like that or why they were guarding themselves. I also ran through my head what I’d like to say to them to encourage them to correct the patterns. Crazy. I wonder if that will be a permanent thought pattern for me now.


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