I am currently reading Dr. David Hanscom’s book on overcoming chronic pain, and he brought up an idea that I had often noticed in myself and others — pretty much everyone. We all tell stories about our lives. We create narratives that reinforce our understanding of events and their causes, repercussions.
For instance, I have told a story about a long-lasting flareup of lower back pain that had a definitive starting point. I noticed a deep intensifying pain in my lower back during a yoga class on April 7 of 2016. After that class, I was no longer able to do deep forward bends without intense pain. I became convinced that I had physically torn or disrupted something in my lower back.
The pain is of varying intensity, but I always feel it to an extent, as if it is an extra weight I now have to carry. Dr. Hanscom notes that there can be other situations or occurrences that affect us, even subconsciously, that can contribute to the experience of pain. And it is so easy to spin a tale around an experience one feels powerless to change. The lower back pain has been devastating to my yoga practice, as I’ve had to significantly curtail my activities, and often I spend all day and sometimes two recovering from exercise that I do in order to feel better. So what’s rational about that?
Anyway, I keep a pain journal (usually in my head until I have time and inclination to put it down in a Word file), and I often come up with theories about why this pain has held on for so long. The latest has me and my physiatrist (that’s the qualification of the doctor I see for chronic pain) calling for a spinal MRI. I haven’t managed to get the MRI yet, partially due to transportation problems.
That’s when I started to think about other things that happened around the same time I originally injured my lower back. Less than a month later (it might have even been only a couple of weeks), my husband’s car completely crapped out (its back end separated and thus it was undrivable). This meant that my husband commandeered my car, and I was reduced to my old situation of begging rides from my in-laws. This irritated me greatly, so I badgered my husband to get his car fixed.
Believe it or not, the rear end challenged vehicle is STILL unfixed to this day! My husband presided over the crapping out of MY car, which now has need of a transmission that costs more than the car’s worth, and we bought a used car that he is now driving. So I’m still stuck here at home.
I begin to think that this situation, which stresses me out regularly, could be linked to my regular flareups of this lower back pain that coincided with the car difficulties. Yes, I’m still badgering him about the car. And now (praise be!) he is taking a more active role in trying to get his car back on the road. We may even take the radical solution of having it towed to a friend of my father-in-law about 60 miles away to submit to his expertise this persistent problem.
I am still reading through Dr. Hanscom’s book, and I intend to apply his methods if I can, but already it has given me insights. Another insight, a pretty obvious one, is that sleep is important. So I’m writing this post early in the day. Maybe I can spend the last couple hours of the day relaxing and easing into a good night’s sleep, rather than riling myself up with whatever daily subject I’ve chosen to write about. But whatever the situation, I thank you all for reading, and feel free to comment! ‘Night y’all! (funny — it’s about 1:30 p.m.!)