I just finished reading today Pain:The Science of Suffering
by Patrick Wall. I will be passing this book onto my pain specialist doctor, in hopes that maybe another of her patients will find it useful.
One of the first things I discovered is that reading about pain when you are in pain brings no relief from the pain. In fact, it starts to concentrate your attention on pain, rather than serve as a distraction.
Much of what the book had to say I had already experienced. There was one chapter on the biology of pain, which I don't have enough neurology knowledge to understand. Another thing that was a surprise to me is that, although pain is the #1 complaint from patients, there is little study being done on pain itself. It is considered more of a symptom, and modern medicine is more interested in finding root causes rather than treat symptoms. One exception to the lack of study is in the field of headache and migraine.
Having said that, there aren't a lot of organizations dedicated to the research of headaches. What there is isn't all that well known, unlike for other areas for which The American Lung Association, March of Dimes, American Cancer Society, and the American Heart Association are examples.
The organization with which I am somewhat familiar is American Council for Headache Education or ACHE
. They publish a newsletter and are organizers of headache support groups. ACHE was created by another organization called The American Headache Society or AHS
. The ACHE website says that they are a member of the World Headache Alliance
, another headache organization.
For the benefit of new readers, I'll restate that I suffer from chronic, daily migraines.
Getting back to the book, it seems that I have gone through many of the associated mental states that come from chronic pain. To make a long story short, I've gotten past the point of expecting some doctor or specialist to solve my pain for me. I have seen individuals in that stage, and can offer little help. I have learned that you must take an active role in dealing with your own pain. It is very easy to crawl up in a ball and play the part of the victim, but the mental states that go along with that only serve to make your pain worse.
It took some time, but I have stopped hanging my hat on the prospect of a cure. I have not lost hope that I will someday be cured, but I'm not depending on it. I've come to learn that, even if there is a cure, it won't happen today and I must learn to cope with it now. I'm a long way from that - but at least now I know it and also believe it is possible. Only on very bad days do I allow myself to wonder Why is this happening to me?
I accept that I may never know.
Perhaps it is karma, for the pain I have caused others in this or a former life; but that is a topic for another day.
No music in my head today, just a dull throb.