Chronic pain · Fibromyalgia

🎶 Let the words fall out 🎶

I drove into town trying not to focus on the pain in my shoulders.  If I can just find the right position for my hands on the steering wheel.  Shoulders back and down.  Neck long.  Chin in.  Hang on, I have tablets in my handbag.  If I could just get a red light….

As I drove back from town a couple of hours later I sang along to the radio, feet taping, shoulders dancing, hands drumming on the steering wheel.  I began to think about how much lighter my shoulders felt.  The tablets weren’t that strong.  Yet, my shoulders feel so much lighter.  If I concentrate I can feel the tightness, the pain is still there but I can think about things other than my shoulders, I’m not focusing on it anymore.  

🎶  Say what you wanna say, And let the words fall out, Honestly I wanna see you be brave 🎶

I have loved Sara Bareilles ever since my brother put Little Voice on my iPod mini back in 2007.  Singing alone to her songs was something I had done time and time again.  As I belted out the chorus to Brave however, I realised I had just done exactly what Sara was singing about and it was because of that that my shoulders felt lighter – the hour I had spent talking to my psychologist, letting the words, all the words I had been keeping inside, fall out had helped lighten my pain.

For years I kept quiet about the interaction between my feelings and my pain.  I was about 21 when I first started putting the pieces together.  When I’m sad, the pain is worse.  When I’m stressed, the pain is worse.  When I’m anxious… For years I kept these thoughts quiet for fear doctors would think the pain was all in my head.  It wasn’t until I was 30 that I finally spoke about this strange phenomenon to a specialist.  Much to my surprise, I was told there was nothing strange about this at all.  In fact, this is exactly how chronic pain works.  Acute (short term) pain is caused by injury.  Chronic  pain however works on a bio-psycho-social model – it is affected by biological, psychosocial and social factors.  So stress, for example, can cause the muscles to tense.  Tense muscles lead to pain.  Alleviate the stress, the muscles relax and, in turn, the pain subsides.

There’s only so long you can keep feelings inside.  They’re annoying little buggers, they might stay hidden for a while but eventually, they’re going to make themselves known, one way or another. 

🎶  Say what you wanna say, And let the words fall out, Honestly I wanna see you be brave 🎶

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