• lisabedoya

truth about pain management


People ask me what I do to manage my own pain, without taking pills. We say we don't want to take pills, but we live in pill mentality. I realize the extent to which I am always waiting for the silver bullet (even as I say I know there is no such thing as a silver bullet.) Deep down, we so wish that one thing would work.


Despite life-stopping migraine and musculoskeletal pain, I have never taken a prescription. I feel it's a slippery slope I don't want to slide down. When I have to work, and I'm in extreme pain, I take Excedrin Migraine. I'm not telling you to do that. I'm only saying that I have managed my pain with only OTC medication...and as little as possible of that. (Nothing I'm writing is a suggestion for you. It's an example of what I do, that might or might now work for you. Only you can decide.)


Below is a very long transcript of my day in pain. Or at least the way I approached yesterday. I don't always have the time and energy for all these things.


Sometimes I lie there feeling sorry for myself and that's it. We're all human.


I believe the trick to chronic pain is to keep your nervous system moving. It's settled into a go-to pain pattern, so give it something else to focus on. Imagine the neural connections in your brain lighting up in a different pattern as you flood it with all these different inputs.


The photo above is me still trying to flood by brain, even though I had no more energy to physically move.


I am breathing into my lower abdomen. I am listening to music. I am pressing the "gates of consciousness" acupressure point on the top of my head. I am not feeling sorry for myself. I am honoring my body because it's a sacred vessel.


Below is a stream-of-consciousness account of part of my day. Today I am almost back to normal. If you make it to the end of this run-on sentence and any of the ideas are interesting to you, get in touch and I'll tell you more about it.


2.7.21 so much pain

yesterday felt it coming on

sitting a lot, twinge in low back

beat myself up for sitting too long

second guess that, because

sometimes pain comes from too much movement, too,

call myself out as liar…*too much* movement is not my problem

get up and move. i complete the low back pain qigong youtube video that i always do

feel better!

pain still lurking though so i get the brilliant idea to take excedrin migraine, the only otc pain relief that works for me

i am one of those anti-med people, but i am not superhuman so sometimes i take it

i lie down

waiting for that heavely spread of relief throughout my head neck and shoulders

that doesn’t happen

the pain level goes back up

i remind myself this is why i don’t take medications

i go to work in pain

the walk to work in fresh air helps a little

i breathe and relax during the one massage i have to do

i go home and spend the night barely getting through things i need to do, then

try to watch tv to take my mind off it, then go to bed and “breath into the pain” all night

actually half the night

i have to get up, move to the couch and get some ice

finally morning

i can’t wait to get up and move

and get coffee

coffee helps

but not two cups, only one

while drinking coffee i press,

tap, and pound on acupressure points throughout my body

sometimes i just pound whether it is an acupressure point or not

any sensation is better than the pain

i stop and apply reiki for long minutes, breathing...

then i pull my hair

stretch out my legs

yoga: cat cow pose

press my palms over my eyelids and breathe in deeply

until i can’t stand that

get up and shake my arms, my hips, roll my neck, bounce up and down onto my toes, then heals pound into the earth, shake everything

lie down on back, legs up on couch, pillow across mid back, slight arch, pillow under neck

i am starting to feel better

hot shower, dr. bronner’s lavender soap with a scrubby thing, also vigorously with a course back brush, really hot water, aim water at neck while i write alphabet with my nose, take shower head off and aim it at my low back, stretch and move around

i take a hit of cal-mag which sometimes helps

now i sit down at laptop. i have some pictures to edit. that is light work so i can feel sort of productive but not too taxed

good. better

butt starts to hurt from sitting

up again, walk around house, moving in all weird directions, shaking, dancing, ok swearing a little

i sit down and do an eft tapping rant

good. more energy moves

now we come to the photo

i am out of moves. it three hours until it will be 24 hours since i took the last excedrin. you are only supposed to take them every 24 hours. i don’t want to take it again. i decide it is good enough that the pain is less and will move through soon enough

breathing and gratitude

i get out my earbuds. this is another thing i do:

i listen to the “vibration” of the pain: the throbbing in my head, the weird high pitched droning or ringing, and all the other messed up vibes that i just feel because i do reiki.

then i find music that can take over and rearrange all those vibrations. sometimes it is chanting. sometimes it is music with binaural beats or healing frequencies. sometimes it is really loud tribal house.

people think of those singing bowls when they think of sound healing. but you can do it with any frequency that feels good. it could be words. a guided meditation that resonates with you

it is the idea of a tuning fork. overtake your pain vibe with another vibe.

you will have to experiment. sometimes the “healing” vibe would not be pleasant if you weren’t in pain. it’s a weird synergy. i used to know someone with a trauma background that could only calm down with high pitched screaming metal. once i was really, really stressed out. i tried it. it calmed me down. you can look up the research on that. i don’t know it.

so that is what i am doing in the picture

this is the music i happened upon that felt really good to my body and brain. it was random. never heard it before in my life. brought to to bliss. it was the bass and the message

song: Holding On: Atella, HOBBS, Digvalley

then i got up and danced around. you have to move your hips a lot. a lot means a lot relative to your pain. if you can barely move them, that’s a lot. don’t hurt yourself. most people are stuck in the hips. maybe you aren’t. none of this is for everybody

the point is you have to try to give your body new sensations. you have to become super sensitive to what it wants

that’s another thing i do

i do it seriously, not with any sense of irony or holding back

i say: body, i’m really sorry you’re hurting. i’m sorry if i hurt you. i’m listening. tell me what’s really wrong.

then i get quiet, i breathe. and i listen

it will probably tell you. you probably knew it already, but chose to keep ignoring it. that’s ok. give yourself a break. we’re all human. none of us are doing what we are supposed to be doing 100% of the time.

there is nothing we are supposed to be doing. we just are. we are hurting and happy and trying and living and loving and hating and forgiving and not forgiving and holding on and letting go. we are human.

if you awaken to what i just said, it might help you relieve your suffering. even if it doesn’t relieve the pain.

maybe not.

the other thing i do, from hawaiian spirituality: ho’oponopono. it’s the idea that everything is already right. and we can make it more right. it’s right that our body hurts. something is wrong with our relationship to it. that’s all right. we are human. we can choose to make it more right with acknowledgement and love:

this is the ho-oponopono prayer: i’m sorry. please forgive me. i love you. i thank you.


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