Monday, July 30, 2012
If beauty is in the eye of the beholder,
then pain perception is in the eyes of its victim.
Sometimes I wonder if the people who research chronic pain and Fibromyalgia have ever been in chronic pain. I love reading articles by Ph.D's that feel if chronic pain sufferers would stop thinking about their pain, then they might not experience as much of it.
It's called pain catastrophizing.
It means just what it sounds like and what it implies is also just what it sounds like.
And I don't buy any of it.
I've been through painful situations in my life. When I was four I fell face first into a glass bowl full of potato chips. No, I wasn't the most graceful kid. When they threatened to take me to the hospital I dug in my heels and said "no." Evidently, the doctor thought he would be cagey and tell me that he'd stitch me up right on the table. To hear my family tell it, I got right up on that table and didn't move a muscle. When he told me if I moved I'd have to go to the hospital I made good on that threat. The doctor stitched me up right there on the table. My brother told me that the only one in control that night was me.
I've always had a lot of control over my body. I learned when my brothers would tickle me until I cried that I could slow down my breathing and talk myself out of feeling what they were doing; I did it. To say that it infuriated them to no end is an understatement but it will give you an idea of what I would do when something felt unpleasant.
To tell me that the pain that I'm experiencing is amplified by the way I feel about it is absurd. If I could think my way out of this pain I would have done so years ago. I know how to distract myself enough so that pain doesn't have to take over. I've done it.
It works for acute pain.
It doesn't work at all for chronic pain.
Maybe it's because so much stimuli causes pain. We have the weather, auditory, hot and cold and noise being some of the issues that can trigger flares. Maybe it's because they still deep down don't believe that a lot of this is in our heads. After all, how much else can go wrong?
I'm back to central sensitization. People with Fibromyalgia have a lower threshold for pain because of increased sensitivity in the brain to it's pain signals. It's not what happens, it seems to be how it happens. Why they're stuck on cognitive behavioral therapy and trying to blame pain amplification on "catastrophizing" is beyond me. It's almost as if they can't find the on/off switch in our brains so they don't bother. I really want one of these guys to experience chronic pain and then tell me that if we think good thoughts it will get better.
I've always said that attitude helps us get through very tough and painful times. It helps for a lot of things but it doesn't take away the pain. It is purely a coping strategy. That's all it is. There are affective dysfunctions, central nervous system abnormalities and cognitive dysfunctions.
Even after all the research the treatments for Fibromyalgia include: Reduce stress, get sleep, exercise and maintain a healthy lifestyle. Boy, I can't tell you how much that advice helps me. Isn't that what we should be doing in the first place?
It seems to me that the blood flow to the part of the brain that deals with pain and the cognitive function is off. There has to be a reason that they can't find out why the pain is amplified so much.
I'm in ponder mode.
I might as well be.
It's humid and the thunderstorms are coming.
That's not a good sign.
I better think and write while I can.
Catastrophizing my a**.