Pain and Merriment

So often in today’s technology-focused world, when we need something fixed, or we want to make sure we have the right replacement part for the kitchen faucet, we snap a photograph and bring it with us to enhance the merchant’s understanding of the problem and the exact solution we seek. More often than not, the photograph speaks volumes—especially if it’s hard to articulate the precise issue we are facing. When it comes to pain, however, it can be a little trickier.

I recently moved to a new state, so it necessitated my finding a new physician, physical therapist, acupuncturist, dentist, and the yet-to-be-found ophthalmologist. Specifically, in talking with my acupuncturist and physical therapist, there have been countless questions about the nature of the pain I experience and what movements make the pain worse or better. I can “show them” where it hurts just fine, but the when and type of movement that lessens or exacerbates the discomfort is really challenging to express. It was then that I realized I wanted to be able to “take a photograph” of the ache itself in real time. Oh, if only it were possible….

For many of us, the experience of pain is not always the same from day to day, or even from hour to hour. It shifts, it comes and goes, it surprises us when it’s there AND when it’s not. We want to find some order to pain’s visits, and for the most part, it feels rather random…at least sometimes. I find it useful to keep a sense of humor about how pain comes and goes and has a mind of its own [sic]. If we can find at least a modicum of humor in the dance with pain, we can feel some relief. It’s rather astonishing how many things actually do influence one’s experience of pain. I’ve talked with you so often about breath work—the slow inhale and exhale that brings some relief; movement, though counter-intuitive at times, often relieves the intensity of pain; heat or cold, depending on one’s tolerance and proclivity; and activity or the company of friends we enjoy can also shift the experience of pain. Today I want to put an emphasis on humor and merriment as a way of keeping the worst at bay when it comes to the pressing, achy, throbbing, stinging, piercing, agonizing pain of all kinds.

Perhaps you can take a look at the simple postures we don that are bound to cause discomfort or pain. You see it all the time—how we stand, sit, stretch, or lift that tempts painful outcomes. Take a look…

Pitch-Pillowed Patty

Flat-Bed Fred

No-Support Sam

Crunched Kyle

Bent-Over Bill

Sloppy Sally / Perfect Pam


Other than that last photo above, sported by perfect Pam which says “good” under it, all the positions above depict positions to AVOID. I share these “incorrect photos” with you to bring a smile to your face and maybe even a chuckle—because you recognize some of them as positions you have found yourself succumbing to from time to time. I find it helpful to laugh at myself on occasion, to remind myself that it’s important not to take life too seriously, even when we are hurting. I am heartened by all the people today who are facing abominable crises that proclaim they “will not be weakened or overcome,” no matter what. It gives me the courage to stand up (whenever possible) in the presence of pain, and live vibrantly, move with grace, and remember to keep smiling. Stay steady, my friends!

It is with admiration that I work with capable women who come face to face with injury, surgery or a difficult diagnosis. I guide them holistically to navigate the medical trauma and maneuver through the emotional mayhem so they can return to a vibrant, independent life. If you or someone you know has such a challenge, I would deeply appreciate you sending them to to contact me to see if we are a good fit to work together.