I’M lying there trying to think of what I am going to do. Am I going to have to call one of my neighbours to help me? Or worse, maybe even an ambulance?
Then I remembered that I’ve been successfully playing The PAIN Game that Danyel taught me at the Rethink Pain workshop, and I think it will help. The Pain Game stands for pause, assess, improve and nourish.
First thing I can do is pause. I take a breath and I’m mindful of my experience. Just being in the present moment, with the focus on my breathing in a non-judgmental way, it helps to calm things down.
Then I assess. I haven’t lifted anything wrong or injured myself today. I know I’m safe, and I believe I can do something to improve how I feel.
But what can I do to improve how I feel? I’m alone at home, in my bed with the lights off.
Then I remember that when I smile I produce those feel-good hormones called endorphins.
Endorphins can be even more powerful than morphine, so I’m going to put the biggest, goofiest grin on my face.
After a couple minutes of lying there with a silly grin on my face, a hilarious thought comes to mind. If I end up dying from this and the paramedics walk in, will I still have this goofy grin on my face. I let out a hearty chuckle. Then I realise, it worked.
I feel no pain, and I fall asleep quickly and easily, waking up fine the next day.
Hi, I’m Danyel Degenhardt, and I run my Rethink Pain Physiotherapy business through Jacaranda House. The story you just read was from a client that attended one of my Rethink Pain workshops. She was able to go from the worst pain she had felt in years, to no pain at all with a smile and the intention that it was going to help.
That story is such an amazing example of our ability to improve how we feel. Did she miraculously heal the narrowing of L3/L4? No, she didn’t.
She just understood that pain management is not an outcome. Pain management is a skill, and one she continued to develop by simply playing a game every time that pain impacted her.
I understand that pain is a serious thing, but that doesn’t mean the education and treatment for it has to be. The next time you are impacted by pain, take a page out of her book and play The Pain Game. You might be surprised at how well it works.
By Danyel Degenhardt