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BOTTOM LINE: Temporarily helpful after my pain came down through acknowledging emotions, but difficult to maintain.
I tried so many things to heal from my chronic pain, but then read about people who got better when they stopped thinking about their pain all the time. This is easier said than done when your pain is ever-present. But after my pain came down significantly via John F. Barnes myofascial release (JFB-MFR), there was a point where I consciously decided to stop trying so hard. This doesn't mean I gave up hope. I always remained hopeful that I would get better, but I just stopped trying so darn hard (and putting so much energy into getting better).
A couple months after my second JFB-MFR intensive, which was in 2009. I had taken a break from MFR and talk therapy. Instead I was diligently doing the MFR self-treatment that the JFB-MFR therapists had taught me. After a few months and no discernible difference in my pain, I decided to stop the self-treatment as well.
I think I was also letting go of other concerns at that time, such as feeling like a useless human being because I wasn't working, and feeling guilty about writing because if I could occasionally write then maybe I should be able to work (although intellectually I knew this wasn't true).
About one or two months later, I started feeling remarkably better. And through six golden weeks of feeling amazingly good, I thought I was close to being rid of my pain. But the pain crept back. I can't explain why, except that sadly it can be the nature of chronic myofascial pain.
I think that if you let go of things like shame, guilt, anger, frustration, denial, etc., you change your focus away from pain and disability and your body can re-calibrate to a non-pain state. Maybe that's what had happened for those six golden weeks. Unfortunately it doesn't always stick. I somehow reverted back to conditioned pain patterns. But I remain hopeful because at least I know my body can feel much better.
I used to keep a daily log of my pain levels. My physical medicine and rehabilitation doctor and various physical therapists found my data helpful in understanding my pain. But after almost seven years of charting my pain, I stopped because I thought I might be focusing too much on my pain. This hasn't directly resulted in reduced pain, but maybe in the long term it will help. (After all, it's one of the things Mr. Ozanich did to heal after decades of pain—see his book, The Great Pain Deception).
After my pain came down first with trigger point injections and then with JFB-MFR, I finally didn't think about it all the time. I don't dwell on the pain so much anymore, but this hasn't yet gotten me to that pain-free place that others have achieved. Yes, I'm “better” than I was several years ago, but I'm not fully better, or as good or as functional as I know I can be. Nonetheless, I continue to be hopeful.
Healing from Chronic Myofascial Pain—Support for Chronic Pain Sufferers
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