It’s been a while since my last blog. Life gets so busy, scary, overwhelming, happy, sad, painful,confusing…but you all know that. I finally have a quiet morning and I have lots to say.
First I want to share some more cool ideas about what we sometimes call Alternative Therapies. I am a Registered Pharmacist. I work in a large teaching hospital on the east coast. I’m 56 years old, when I went to school, it was all about the science. Medical journals, research articles and their scrutiny. Anything else was pure hocus-pocus. No exceptions.
Times have changed. We now accept there is an important place for acupuncture, chiropractic, therapeutic massage, talk therapy and other modalities. Not everyone finds the right practitioner. It’s might not be the right fit for everyone. These days more and more patients are giving them a try. Why not? They have virtually no side effects, especially compared to the opioid drugs that are causing such a crisis right now.
When I go to work and talk about meditation, float therapy, therapeutic writing and counseling, many of my peers brush me off as “There goes Karri and her fringe ideas again.”
Well, guess what….My friend E. Amy Janke PhD at the University of the Sciences recently sent me an article she collaborated on for the Society of Behavior Medicine.
Improving Access to Psychosocial Care for Individuals with Persistent Pain: Supporting the National Pain Strategy Call for Interdisciplinary Pain Care.
It’s not very long and not hard to understand. In my not fancy interpretation, it says -Especially in the face of this opioid crisis, we need to embrace non drug therapies and …..Ya know what? Insurance needs to start paying for them!
I feel vindicated! I am a skeptical science nerd. I am telling you there are some amazing things out there. I mean “Changes your life stuff!” Pain diminishes our lives. We don’t see our friends and family as much. We miss work. We suffer for weeks on end. People don’t want to hear about it. Its so easy to slip into depression.
Listen up my Rheumatoid family….Try some out of the box stuff. I promise you, there is something non pharmaceutical out there that will help not only your pain but your soul. Open your mind and your heart. Take control away from the doctors and the pain pills. You have options! And smart science/medical people are now saying this too! Lets be out front on this.
Try something “alternative” then lets tell everyone. Its what we need and what other people in pain need to know. If you are doing any of this, I would love to hear about it. Comment on the blog or email me. Lets stick together and help each other. I would love to know if you’re doing something “out of the box” that is helping.
OK Karri, I’m in. So what do I do?
These are what have worked for me:
Chronic illness and pain are NOT easy to accept. Its about loss of control, grief, shame, perceived weakness, lack of understanding from others and learning coping tools. Important….Find the right counselor. It has to be a bit of a love connection to work. If you and the counselor don’t do that little magic connecting feeling, try another.
Meditation is NOT what you think it is. It is not just clearing your mind and sitting funny. My best advise is to find a Mindfulness Meditation class. It is a skill you have to learn and practice. Books and Apps don’t cut it. The energy of a group and an experienced teach mean EVERYTHING. Practice. I helps me with physical and emotional pain, stress and having an open heart. I gives me such relief, I would consider myself kind of addicted.
But I have RA, how would I ever do yoga? Find a place that offers “Chair Yoga” These are classes you do from a a sitting position or holding onto the chair. Only gong as far as yu feel comfortable is emphasized. They are using both Yoga and Tai chi are now being used with great success for back pain, PTSD and returning vets. This is a real thing. Open your mind. You CAN do this. (Medical insurance often pays for gyms and weight loss programs. They should pay for this!)
We all understand that if your mind is relaxed, your body probably feels pretty relaxed too. A massage relaxes the body…and that relaxes the mind. Oxytocin is released (the body’s feel good hormone). Massages used to be for fancy rich people. Now anyone can get one on a budget thru a local spa or chain massage place. Do this!
Hugs and touching. Do a lot of long hugs. Pat or hold the hand of the person you are talking to. Just touch people you love. Talking is easier. Caring seems to pass from their heart to yours. Say I love you at the end of conversations. It just feels good. No cost. I promise you will feel better. (We wont be getting insurance reimbursement on this one)
6. Other therapies to consider:
Painting parties or adult Paint By Numbers
Adult coloring Books
Reading a good book
Taking a Class Start a group about something you like. Put up a sign in your local coffeeshop.
Writing. Google it. Writing helps. They don’t really know why or how but it does.