Exploring the mysteries of pain

The human body is a complex thing, affected by everything it encounters. Thus when something is a bit off, working out what, and why, is no small task. I’ve been struggling with pain and stiffness for years, and experimenting with different ways of living and being to try and alleviate it.

There are a number of factors that, without any doubt, increase how much pain I experience: Insufficient or poor quality sleep. Not enough oil in my diet. Something going awry with my gut leading to loss of electrolytes and oils. Stress, anxiety and depression. Cold. Any kind of jarring physical activity. Airbeds.

Some of those rather imply their solutions! I do what I can, but life can conspire against me. One of the major problems is gut function – an issue I’ve had for more than a decade. I became vegetarian again when I realised that meat (or, I suspect, preservatives in meat) were intolerable to my gut. In the last year or so, I’ve realised that refined carbohydrates also increase my risk of gut-fail. With a switch to mostly brown flours, rice and pasta, I’ve found that my digestive system behaves itself a good deal better, and my overall pain levels have come down as a consequence. How anyone else’s body would respond, I can’t say.

I’ve learned to be much more alert to what my body is exposed to – sound, light, air quality, motion, temperature… these are not things I always have control over. However, quieter, gentler environments help me with staying calm, and that in turn helps with pain.

I’ve been giving a lot more deliberate thought to issues of when to rest, and when to push. There are times when I need to push, and I believe in testing my limits. I want to maintain as much fitness, strength and flexibility as I can, so I have to balance pushing my body against keeping it comfortable. I think I’m doing quite well with this, and overall my energy levels are up.

This time a year ago, one late night in a week was ambitious. Now, if I’m careful about getting early nights the rest of the time, I can have two late nights. By late nights, I mean not going to bed before 10pm. I’m always in bed before midnight.

At this autumn’s Contemplative Druidry day, I was able to sit, stand, move and be still as various activities required and I was reasonably comfortable throughout. I remember how last year I needed to sit on the floor so as to be able to fidget more easily to reduce discomfort. A year on and I hurt less, and I have more stamina, which encourages me to think that I’m getting more things right than not.

I don’t have much hope that I can get myself to a state of being pain free, but if I can keep the pain at tolerable levels, and be able to keep doing the things I most want to do – that’ll do. For the first time in a good fourteen years, the idea of being pain free at least some of the time, no longer seems totally preposterous.


About Nimue Brown

Druid, author, dreamer, folk enthusiast, parent, wife to the most amazing artist -Tom Brown. Drinker of coffee, maker of puddings. Exploring life as a Pagan, seeking good and meaningful ways to be, struggling with mental health issues and worried about many things. View all posts by Nimue Brown

8 responses to “Exploring the mysteries of pain

  • DamagedGoods

    I agree, due to addiction I will not take pain medications that are prescibed ​so I have started watching for dairy/bread/and preservatives also because it can make my day feel very non functionab​le and the world doesnt​ wait for anybody so you have to be vigilant in self awarenes​​​s and damage control. Thank you for your insight because it is a pain is the —gastri​al intestion​al digestive reactors..lol

    • Nimue Brown

      Hello, I can empathise with that – I didn’t mention it in this post, but I have a predisposition to addiction, I can get hooked on all kinds of daft things, so I try to avoid anything that is inherently addictive, as I’d have no chance. Best of luck with it all.

  • Tracy Kruse

    I am going to say this, and you can believe me or not and I encourage you to do your own research. But in the mid 1990s, two scientists came forward and stated that they had been part of ‘weaponizing’ wheat and that it is not just a gluten free diet which needs to be adhered to, but wheat free. Since that time, corn and soy have also been ‘hacked’. Corn at this time is no longer even considered a food, but a pesticide as it has been so badly altered. I would guess that being vegetarian means you have stopped eating grain-fed meats. After years of gut and bowel issues, including invasive surgery, once I found this out and removed these items Completely from my diet, did I find true healing after integrating probiotics and fermented foods. My suggestion is to remove it for at least two months…it takes some time for change. But the wheat also damages DNA and mitochondrial function which affects energy levels and brain function. I think your whole family would notice the difference.

  • Yvonne Ryves

    I was injured around six years ago in a car accident and have been putting myself back together ever since. It’s been a case of listening to my body, seeing how it responded to what I did or who I had working on it and finding what it needed at what time. Like you I have a much greater awareness of my body now and of what it is capable of before it gives up. Recently I have managed to get back to some form of exercise but then got sick, a reaction I believe to my pushing too hard. I have now settled on not rushing, drifting to exercise and then chilling afterwards so my body can recover. And yes I will continue to observe and be aware and adjust as needed. I don’t think there is any other way.

    • Nimue Brown

      lactic acid is something I don’t get along well with… and I think for people with anxiety issues, raised heartbeat beyond a certain point does more harm than good… much to figure out, and of course healing means changing, so the boundaries shift…

      • Yvonne Ryves

        They do that Nimue, its all about watching and adjusting as things change, oh and not taking any notice of what anyone else tells you to do, just going with what feels right for you.

  • Nimue Brown

    Indeed 🙂 I’m a big fan of note swapping and information sharing, but we’re all different, its a case of figuring out what works.

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