Managing Your Pain Without Pills

What I am about to share is something I learned from personal experience, and the conclusions I came to from that. I do not know how far it can go or whether it can be successful for the majority of people. But it helps me and so I would like to share it so it might help others too.

I suffer from Fibromyalgia. I have quite a few other issues either connected to that or brought on by it. I also have epilepsy. All of these issues combined put me on disability. I am blessed to be a member of a Native American tribe that covers its members medically. But that doesn't mean i enjoy taking pills. I don't. I felt the pill issue was getting out of hand when i reached 18 different pills a day. I determined to quit taking as many as I could. Some of those pills required being weaned off and so I wrote a schedule down weaning myself from those pills. Others did not matter. Before I quit any of them, I analyzed my illnesses and made a list of those things that I could not avoid taking pills for, like asthma and epilepsy and a few others. the rest I quit taking. The next time I saw my Dr. I told him what I had done. He was very supportive and told me he was OK with it, but he would leave those medicines active in case I found I needed them after all.

About two years ago, my teeth began to become very loose. I also dislike going to dentists. One night as I was laying in bed, I started playing with one of the front bottom teeth, the one sitting next to the right canine tooth. I was amazed at the range of motion I could push it back and forth. Back almost flat and and forwards at about a 45 degree angle. The most amazing thing to me was that the pain was bearable. I figured the tooth was loose enough to come out, but i could not get a firm grasp on it with my fingers. So i got up, turned the lights on and went in search of our Kelly Forceps. When I got back to my room, i sat on the bed, lights still on, and reached in for the tooth with the forceps. I was shocked when they barely touched the tooth, at the amount of pain that flooded me. I stopped and considered...why was the pain bearable lying down but not sitting up? I finally decided it must be because lying down I was relaxed and sitting up I was tense with anticipation. So I shut out the lights and got back in bed. Immediately I felt the difference, and I realized that the bright light played a big part in how much pain I experienced. I was able to take the tooth out and the pain remained bearable no matter how i tugged or bent it. Eventually, over time I pulled the next two front bottom teeth (they came out together) and finally the last front bottom tooth. I also pulled a top molar, or tried, but the tooth broke of, actually crumbled into powder, at the base, leaving the roots in the jaw. After quite some time had passed those roots began to break through the skin that had grown over the socket and started working their way out. When they were out far enough, I pulled them, (there were three). But when I pulled the last one A big chunk of flesh tore out with it. When I would run my tongue over it I felt what felt like rough bone. I was sure I had torn some flesh off the jaw bone itself. That is when i finally went to see a dentist. Turns out, I had only exposed a piece of root I had missed. It also turned out that I had inherited a disease or problem that both my mother and her father before her had. My jaw bone was slowly disintegrating.

After all this I analyzed how the pain was bearable. I have since applied it to other pains brought on by the Fibromyalgia and related problems. There was something else that I remembered doing. When I realized the tooth could not stay as it was, It had to come out...I mentally accepted that it would hurt. In practicing this technique more I have learned that if I accept the pain, no matter how much it hurts, (now comes the hard part, trying to describe something that happens within me), it begins to ease. I acknowledge that the pain exists, that there is no escaping it, and I accept it. I think in doing this I am allowing myself to look beyond the pain. When we hurt, our minds focus on that pain, and without realizing it, the more focused you are on it (on anything, really) the more intense it becomes. your body tenses up accordingly which causes even more pain which causes you to focus even more on the pain...it can be a vicious cycle. When you accept the pain, you are telling yourself that yes, the pain is there, but you aren't going to focus on it. I also let the pain escape through breathing...while I inhale, I picture the pain like a light, and draw it up towards my nose and mouth. Then when i exhale, I let it flow out of me with my breath.

1. Dim light to total darkness

2. Accept the pain

3. Let the pain flow out with each exhalation

As I considered these things, I wondered how it could be used for emotional pain. I am very much interested in Post traumatic Stress Disorder...especially its affects on Police Officers, not that I care less for anyone who suffers with it, it is just that I had been reading about how many Law Enforcement Officers had committed suicide because they had been unable to cope with something they witnessed. I decided that it would be easier to talk about an issue that has scarred you, if you could do it in near darkness. Bright lights can make a person feel exposed and vulnerable. LEO's will often refuse to see a therapist because it can go on their record and their colleagues could see them as being weak. Thankfully, as PTSD becomes better understood and accepted as something beyond a persons control, officers are no longer considered weak...at least in more and more places. I think to, if they could somehow learn to discard memories they dont want, like whatever triggered the PTSD, it would help them a great deal. In theory, this can be done by rejecting such images as soon as they pop into the head. it may take time but eventually those images will (or should) disappear entirely.

So this is how I learned to manage my pain. There are still some pains I get caught up in and forget to apply this to so I don't know how far this will take you. At least I no longer use narcotic pain medicines. I use prescription strength Ibuprofen and OFC Tylenol. I also take a muscle relaxer and Benedryl for an under the skin itch similar to nervous leg, but starts in my left shoulder and hip and as it increases it flows down my arm and leg. I hope this will be able to help others to.

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Cyndi Barnier profile image

Cyndi Barnier 5 years ago from South Carolina

Wow, just reading this I'm finding out how much we have in common. I too had to medically retire after 25 years of Gov work; fibrmyalgia; PTSD; arthritis; uterus cancer w/total hysterectomy, and much more. It's taken me several years to wean off these meds and try to heal, inside and out. Look forward to reading more of your hubs and hopefully share notes. Thanks, very helpful!


tlmcgaa70 profile image

tlmcgaa70 5 years ago from south dakota, usa Author

wow...you have been through the ringer, i must say. you have become a stronger person through your trials. it is obvious that you are a positive person. i am glad we met...and believe we shall be good friends.

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