January 25, 2020
We’ve made it to the end of January and so far, I’ve stuck to my new year’s resolutions. I have quite a few: One is to read a book a week; another is to learn Spanish. ¿Por qué no? The third is to give up the chase for miracle cures for my chronic pain, and to read up on my body and brain instead.
After 12 Years Of Chronic Pain, Im Ditching My Search For A Miracle Cure
Apparently up to 43% of us in the UK live with chronic pain. I can therefore assume that 43% of us probably woke up on New Year’s day feeling a familiar ache or shooting pain and thought, not another year of this shit?
I have been one of those people for 12 years now. My condition is called pelvic girdle pain – most common in pregnant women – and involves a whole joyful host of symptoms such as a sensitive vulva, stabbing pain upon movement and aching pelvis and inner thighs. I’ve alternately been told the problem is nerve pain, while others insist it’s skeletal. Maybe it’s both.
And no, before you ask, I don’t know what caused it, and before you suggest something, I’ve tried it: Doctors, physios, osteopaths, yoga instructors. I’ve bought lubes and magic wands (less Hogwarts, more stretching out the pelvic muscle) and vaginal dilators and herbal teas. I have a fancy pillow that I put between my knees in bed, and I tend to buy trousers that are generous around the crotch.Related... Vaginismus Can 'Disrupt Or Completely Stop' Your Sex Life, Here's How To Treat It Is Wearing A ‘Period Badge’ A Bloody Good, Or Bad, Idea? Do You Have Extremely Painful Periods? Here Are The Signs Of Endometriosis You Need To Know But a really meaningful change happened in December, when I had an appointment with a new physiotherapist on the NHS. Instead of prodding my poor pubic bone or making me bend this way and that – yes, I can touch my toes! – she recommended a book called Explain Pain by Lorimer Moseley and David Butler. Before we continued, she said, I want you to read that.
Ok fine, I yawned. I’d already been to a conference on pelvic pain in October and learnt a little there, but sure, why not. It’s not as if I really expected this physio to help me anyway. 
Over the holidays, I not only read Testament of Youth and The Great Gatsby, but I also belted through Explain Pain. It said that we have different sensors in our tissues to interpret inputs, like changes in temperature, contact with chemicals, or being hit by a hammer. These sensors send different messages shooting up the neurones, first to the spinal cord, and if there’s enough activity there, up to the brain, which decides what message comes back down – pain, or a good dose of the lovely stuff e.g. opioids, to calm us down.
Amazingly, we are not hardwired to be in pain – our sensors regenerate every two to three days! I learnt that our brains and bodies love motion and moving in different ways: I promptly ditched my plan of doing absolutely no exercise (because it hurt) and signed up to a course of aerial yoga. (We can be active again by finding a baseline and gradually increasing what we do over time.) And I learnt that we have a ‘virtual body’ in our brain, where certain body parts are over-represented, become more sensitive and react disproportionately to certain inputs. 
Importantly, the chronic pain we feel – whether it’s in the neck or the back or the vulva – is completely unrelated to the amount of actual damage we may or may not have in the body. In other words, pain is real, but it’s also all in the brain. This knowledge has – forgive the pun – blown my mind.
A lot of other things made sense after that short, intense course of brain science and physiology. I thought of all those miracle stories – the people who swear by their diet, or take up neuro-linguistic programming, or move to the desert and become reiki masters, or the person who invented their own special form of vaginal dilators with magnets. Those techniques or lifestyle changes are all great, but they may not have worked thanks to the magnets or reiki. It’s more likely they worked because these “gurus” re-trained themselves and shifted their mindset. 
They may have realised they were not in danger when they felt pain, and that it was just the body’s way of protecting them from a perceived threat. With that knowledge, the fear and anxiety melted away. Instead of allowing themselves to be ferried between endless, rather clueless specialists, they took their education into their own hands. They were in control. 
As the book illustrated, I have been past Avoidance City. I have sojourned in Denial Town. I have personally re-enacted that boom and bust graph, where I go hell for leather when I’m pain-free and then spend days, if not weeks, incapacitated and hobbling around like John Wayne.
I know now that knowledge – and moderation – is power. It seems easier to pay someone in a white coat to tell you what’s wrong, but it’s more empowering and much cheaper to read a book. Reading won’t heal your neural pathways overnight, but it’s the best start you can give yourself in 2020. In fact, it’s the easiest, cheapest and most effective New Year’s resolution you can make.
Rachael Revesz is a freelance writer and editor.Related... My Husband Said He’d Get A Vasectomy But Hasn’t. I’m Okay With That Why People With Chronic Illnesses Are Terrified By Talk Of The NHS Being 'On The Table' What Happens To Your Brain And Body When You're Stressed About Money This Is Your Body On Intermittent Fasting
Related Stories
Latest News
Top news around the world
Coronavirus Disease

Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is an infectious disease caused by a newly discovered coronavirus.

Most people infected with the COVID-19 virus will experience mild to moderate respiratory illness and recover without requiring special treatment. Older people, and those with underlying medical problems like cardiovascular disease, diabetes, chronic respiratory disease, and cancer are more likely to develop serious illness.

Around the World

Celebrity News

> Latest News in Media

Watch It
Julia Fox defends viral ‘Uncut Gems’ interview moment: ‘I was stoned’ | Page Six Celebrity News
February 17, 2022
4m-p0_-ePd8
Alexia Echevarria pushed ‘RHOM’ producers to show more of son Frankie’s recovery | Page Six
February 17, 2022
E-wTaN9NfkI
Pete Davidson rejoins Instagram amid Kanye West drama | Page Six Celebrity News
February 17, 2022
SsC3dmsI6t4
Aaron Rodgers And Shailene Woodley Reportedly Break Up | TMZ LIVE
February 17, 2022
FoErdRE8Qe4
Chet Hanks Done Talking About Famous Parents, Becoming Personal Trainer | TMZ
February 16, 2022
5_UrULOkQ6o
Woman Stabbed at Foot Locker During Nike Shoe Release
February 16, 2022
TfuXMs1JdVg
Steph's Freaky Side, "Summer House" & "Love During Lockup"
February 17, 2022
9W_raO0zlA8
Tay or Nay, Offset's Sushi Anxiety & Nick on Monogamy
February 17, 2022
PauYHpJRA6o
Kim Kardashian & North West TWINNING in Matching Pajamas | E! News
February 17, 2022
b-_Oib6R108
Adam McKay - Hollywood Walk of Fame Ceremony
February 17, 2022
tYtzsHoOZzo
Tom Holland, Mark Wahlberg, and the Cast of 'Uncharted' Talk Most Challenging Stunts
February 15, 2022
d3ksX-SKi8c
Ryan Reynolds and Walker Scobell on ‘The Adam Project’, ‘Deadpool’, and Possible ‘Star Wars’ Role
February 16, 2022
5TxJsbJr9Dk
TV Schedule
Late Night Show
Watch the latest shows of U.S. top comedians

Sports

Latest sport results, news, videos, interviews and comments
Latest Events
04
May
CONCACAF CHAMPIONS LEAGUE: Playoffs
Seattle Sounders - Pumas
04
May
USA: Major League Soccer
FC Cincinnati - Toronto FC
03
May
ENGLAND: Championship
Bournemouth - Nottingham Forest
02
May
ENGLAND: Premier League
Manchester United - Brentford
02
May
ENGLAND: Championship
Fulham - Luton
02
May
SPAIN: La Liga
Getafe - Real Betis
02
May
GERMANY: Bundesliga
Bayer Leverkusen - Eintracht Frankfurt
02
May
GERMANY: Bundesliga
Borussia Monchengladbach - RB Leipzig
02
May
ITALY: Serie A
Atalanta - Salernitana
01
May
ENGLAND: Premier League
Tottenham Hotspur - Leicester City
01
May
SPAIN: La Liga
Barcelona - Mallorca
01
May
ITALY: Serie A
Roma - Bologna
01
May
ENGLAND: Premier League
West Ham United - Arsenal
01
May
ENGLAND: Premier League
Everton - Chelsea
01
May
ITALY: Serie A
Udinese - Inter Milan
01
May
ITALY: Serie A
AC Milan - Fiorentina
01
May
ITALY: Serie A
Juventus - Venezia
01
May
SPAIN: La Liga
Rayo Vallecano - Real Sociedad
30
Apr
GERMANY: Bundesliga
Mainz - Bayern Munich
30
Apr
GERMANY: Bundesliga
Borussia Dortmund - Bochum
30
Apr
ENGLAND: Premier League
Newcastle United - Liverpool
30
Apr
SPAIN: La Liga
Athletic Bilbao - Atletico Madrid
30
Apr
ENGLAND: Premier League
Leeds - Manchester City
30
Apr
SPAIN: La Liga
Real Madrid - Espanyol
30
Apr
ITALY: Serie A
Napoli - Sassuolo
28
Apr
ENGLAND: Premier League
Manchester United - Chelsea
27
Apr
CHAMPIONS LEAGUE: Semifinal
Liverpool - Villarreal
27
Apr
ITALY: Serie A
Bologna - Inter Milan
26
Apr
CHAMPIONS LEAGUE: Semifinal
Manchester City - Real Madrid
25
Apr
ITALY: Serie A
Sassuolo - Juventus
24
Apr
SPAIN: La Liga
Barcelona - Rayo Vallecano
24
Apr
ITALY: Serie A
Lazio - AC Milan
24
Apr
ENGLAND: Premier League
Liverpool - Everton
24
Apr
ENGLAND: Premier League
Chelsea - West Ham United
24
Apr
ITALY: Serie A
Empoli - Napoli
23
Apr
ENGLAND: Premier League
Brentford - Tottenham Hotspur
Find us on Instagram
at @feedimo to stay up to date with the latest.
Featured Video You Might Like
zWJ3MxW_HWA L1eLanNeZKg i1XRgbyUtOo -g9Qziqbif8 0vmRhiLHE2U JFCZUoa6MYE UfN5PCF5EUo 2PV55f3-UAg W3y9zuI_F64 -7qCxIccihU pQ9gcOoH9R8 g5MRDEXRk4k
Copyright © 2020 Feedimo. All Rights Reserved.