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Callie K. What if pain is high 24/7? (Episode 3)

Discussion in 'Tell Me About Your Pain Q&A' started by Guest, Jun 18, 2020.

  1. Guest

    Guest Guest

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    Question
    At the end of the somatic tracking podcast, it was suggested to start small and not do it at times when the pain is too high. What do you suggest to people whose pain is high 24/7?
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 18, 2020
  2. Callie Klebanoff MSW

    Callie Klebanoff MSW TMS Therapist

    Answer
    First off, I’m really sorry to hear that your pain is so severe and so constant. But just so you know, that does not mean you are any less likely to get out of pain!
    You mentioned that Alan said to start small with somatic tracking - to try it when your pain is low. So what do you do if your pain is always high? You don’t start small, you start elsewhere!

    Fear is the fuel for the pain. So if your pain is really high, that means your fear is really high. In these moments it can be almost impossible to pay attention to your pain through a lens of safety and as a result, somatic tracking might be really fear inducing and lead to more preoccupation and pain. If your pain is really high, start by trying to communicate messages of safety to your brain by paying attention to a sensation in the body that is either neutral or pleasant.

    Often when we’re in pain all the time, it’s hard not to feel like it’s yelling at us, taking up all our attention and infiltrating our entire experience of life. But in those moments we are actually neglecting so many parts of ourselves that actually feel OK…maybe even nice. Paying attention to a pleasant sensation is one of the best ways to communicate messages of safety to our brains, thus reducing fear.

    See if you can actually try it right now. Start by paying attention to a sensation that actually feels nice. What feels pleasant is going to vary from person to person, but as an example, see if you can start to notice your breath as it touches the tip of your nostrils. Is it cool? Is it warm? Is it smooth? Is it stuffy? Is it dry? Notice if any of those words have a negative connotation to them like “ugh I’m not getting enough breath my nose is stuffed!” Just remember that you’re breathing.. oxygen is flowing… whether it is stuffy or dry. Tune in to that nice sensation of the breath against your nostrils.. whatever it feels like…in an easy and effortless way, knowing that the very act of paying attention in this way is teaching your brain to feel safe.

    If you start to notice that that sensation isn’t working for you, that might be a sign to move on to a different sensation…. Maybe start massaging your toe (I don’t know if you have toe pain so if you have toe pain please ignore that!), or stretching your legs out or rubbing your hands together. Try to notice all the tiny, itty bitty, sensations. Be curious, be creative, paint a picture of the sensations you’re paying attention to.

    Keep in mind, it’s totally normal that while you try to pay attention to nice sensations, your mind will continue to try to pull you back to your pain. It‘s too much to ask for you to NOT think about your pain because then you’ll just be thinking about not thinking about it which is the same thing as thinking about it...I think. So it’s okay to also pay attention to the pain while you’re enjoying this other nice sensation. The intention here is to bring something else into your awareness and not let the squeaky wheel get ALL of the attention.

    As you pay attention to different parts of your body, you might start to notice they all have sensations, some are pleasant, some are neutral, some are totally weird and some are more amplified. While somatic tracking is one of the most effective ways to communicate messages of safety to your brain, if the pain is too high, then this alternative exercise can be just as effective in building the internal resources that give your brain messages of safety, and ultimately neutralize the fear that is keeping the pain cycle alive.


    Any advice or information provided here does not and is not intended to be and should not be taken to constitute specific professional or psychological advice given to any group or individual. This general advice is provided with the guidance that any person who believes that they may be suffering from any medical, psychological, or mindbody condition should seek professional advice from a qualified, registered/licensed physician and/or psychotherapist who has the opportunity to meet with the patient, take a history, possibly examine the patient, review medical and/or mental health records, and provide specific advice and/or treatment based on their experience diagnosing and treating that condition or range of conditions. No general advice provided here should be taken to replace or in any way contradict advice provided by a qualified, registered/licensed physician and/or psychotherapist who has the opportunity to meet with the patient, take a history, possibly examine the patient, review medical and/or mental health records, and provide specific advice and/or treatment based on their experience diagnosing and treating that condition or range of conditions.

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