Mastering pain (part 2)

I have become so confident about the effectiveness of the Painmaster™unit that if I am not experiencing great pain relief then I know that it must be because I need to find a different place to put the electrodes (patches). For years I had constant pain in one site on my right buttock with pain extending from there down the right leg into the foot. So originally I could put the Painmaster on the same spots. I used a permanent pen to mark the spots until they were indelibly printed on my mind. (Refer to Mastering pain -part 1)

original position of small round electrodes

   

Nowadays it’s a much more complex issue as the pain has moved and keeps moving to involve other nerves and muscles. Different activities will cause certain areas to become inflamed, e.g., when I garden and do a lot of bending or when I sit too long at the computer. Going on holidays can become a nightmare because I’m sitting in all kinds of chairs which have varying degrees of softness/hardness and have varying angles for the fulcrum between my lower back/pelvis and my legs.The pain can completely flip over to the left side too.

The distributor for Painmaster in Australia and New Zealand has recently produced some great videos that show the versatility of the unit, for instance this video shows how hip pain can involve different areas and how one can move the patches to get the best relief for an individual’s specific hip pain. I want to share with you some of the different places where I put the patches when the pain moves but is still within the buttock and lower back region. I hope this encourages you to experiment with the Painmaster if you are not getting satisfactory results.

position 1
            position 3

position 2

The dominant images (below) from the Painmaster brochure and packaging shows 2 patches either side of the spine.It is probably the best position for treating pain which emanates from the vertebrae, a common place of damage and pain.

across spine   vertebrae pain          cropped image on Painmaster box

Another video produced by Painmaster Australia New Zealand shows the general principle for treating back pain. It also describes my preferred way of getting pain relief. I put one electrode on one side of the spine and the other electrode on the opposite side of the spine. In this way if I am getting a lot of pain around the spine I can calm the nerves and muscles separately on each side of the spine.

2 patches

This is also the set-up I use with 2 Painmasters when I am going to travel long distances on a plane whether the pain is already strong or not. (Painmaster recommends not using more than 4 units at a time.) It seems that my sacrum becomes jammed when I sit for hours in the same seat. I visualise the sacroiliac joints and position the patches close by and then determine where to put the connecting patches to the most painful spot on each of the buttocks. If the pain shifts slightly I can move the patches around until I can sense that the pain is diminishing.

sacroiliac joints

Keeping 2 electrodes over the left and right sacroiliac joints whilst varying the position of the connecting electrodes

electrode above waist

 

For good measure I include this diagram of putting one of the electrodes above the waist. I realised that the muscle running parallel to the spine was tight and painful when a very good massage therapist showed me its link with the strong pain I was experiencing in the top of my buttock.

 

Painmaster Australia New Zealand also provides a great video for placement of patches for lower back pain which might be more helpful than my explanation.

So if you are not experiencing good pain relief using a Painmaster …

  • even though you have read the brochure provided with the product,
  • even if you have looked at all the information and videos on the Painmaster website,
  • even if you have rung the help line – Call Us To Talk To An Expert –                          (in Australia) on 1300 558 252 

                          …  then don’t be afraid to experiment.

electrodes on two most painful points

 

 

 

 

 

 

put electrode where it really hurts

 

 

 

 

Of course I understand that feeling of anxiety about finding the optimum site for the electrodes as soon as possible. I can still get in a terrible mess with lower back pain, especially when I go on a holiday. I might try all the usual places trying to bring the pain level down but still be unable to make any significant impact. I prod all over the the soft and bony parts of the buttock trying to determine the worst places. Sometimes the pain needs to get very strong so that I can’t miss the chief offending spot and at last can set about obtaining pain relief.

I have never encountered another product that takes away the pain while one is actually engaged in the activity or position that is normally guaranteed to escalate the pain. So of course I am an absolute fan of the Painmaster!

But I do acknowledge that not everyone will get the pain relief from a Painmaster that they so desperately desire so I mention my Disclaimer again. I have not yet been able to find a way of using the Painmaster that makes a significant difference to the headaches I get, even though I know they are stemming from my shoulder and neck.(P.S. Don’t put Painmasters on your head! Or the front of the throat where the pulse can be felt!)

However I can assure you that I have found a couple of other ways to significantly alleviate chronic pain which may  help you. So this is not the end of my story …

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The most difficult thing about chronic pain

I found the most difficult thing about chronic pain was that it turned me into something I didn’t want to be. Perhaps my personality type would always have meant that I was going to be super-organised and highly motivated but chronic pain resulted in me becoming very tense and angry as I attempted to control factors that I thought would minimise the pain. I lashed out at those I loved most and this only made me feel guilty that I was not the mother and wife I had dreamed I would be. This grew into a deep sadness about myself. As time went on and the pain only grew worse I felt trapped as all my efforts to overcome it were useless and the medical profession seemed to be at a loss to help me.

When I look back at myself now I am amazed that I managed to do as well as I did. I know that inwardly I was putting my children’s and husband’s needs before my own while all the time I was longing for someone to come and nurse me. Perhaps the pressure to keep caring for my family kept me grounded. I simply did not have the choice to cave in to sorrow. And anyway I did so love them! I did so want to care for them!

Certainly by the time I presented at the first Pain Clinic – after about 18 years of increasing pain – I think was showing the psychological strain of trying to rise above my condition. I was confused about what was wrong with me and I seemed to be hovering perpetually on the edge of break-down.

stretched to breaking point

stretched to breaking point

 

Recently I watched a program called *The Secret World of Pain, a documentary produced in 2011 by the BBC program ‘Horizon’. The thing that most stood out for me were the last 2 pain sufferers. One was crying almost continuously, as if begging for pain relief. The other was holding back a lake of tears but when she experienced pain relief she opened the gates little by little so tears could flow.

In an instant I recognised myself and what can happen to humans who are subjected to relentless pain from which their minds are unable to rest. When you are the person in pain it feels as if you are being heroic by not crying too much and yet the tears you do release seem to be too much for others to cope with. I’m not talking about feeling emotional after only several months of pain – in 1989 when one side of my lower back and leg first became inflamed I was the very picture of optimism. I soldiered on with 5 young children, a husband whose work was demanding and a faith that God would help me sort it out.

But when the pain has gone on for ages, when the pain is often strong and causes sleep deprivation, when no treatment seems to alleviate it and others have exhausted their efforts to help THEN it is extremely difficult to maintain emotional equilibrium. I have cried in all manner of ways– sobbing quietly on my own, hysterical crying, a few tears filling the eyes or sliding down the cheeks, crying in the morning, crying in the evening, crying at anytime – even in cafes because I’ve been beyond caring how I look or how it makes others feel.

And then I stopped crying (well almost)! Because it didn’t change the pain. And sometimes it even made the headaches a lot worse. Also, why cry, when the people who love you can’t do anything more to help. It seems better to spare them some of the agony. But at the back of my throat there was a hurting sensation as if I was holding back a river of tears.

I didn’t want to have the pain but I didn’t have a choice. I simply had to learn how to be a loving person as well as carrying the pain at the same time. My secret is that God kept speaking to me as I would read the Bible in the mornings – somehow I was able to draw strength through spending time with him as my friend. It wasn’t that he spoke to me a lot about dealing with the pain, rather that he was able to concentrate my mind and energy on other thoughts, hopes and plans. I still felt like I was pleasing him and this gave my life such meaning and purpose. And by daily experiencing his close presence it didn’t feel as if I was alone while in pain or that he didn’t care about the pain.

Nowadays he has given me so much to alleviate my pain that I can never be grateful enough. And I haven’t lost the love of my family as I have seen happen tragically to others when they have been overtaken by the misery of constant pain.

There is a time to cry and a time to refrain from crying. There is a time to push through for medical help and a time to wait. But there is always a time for meeting with God. And God will give me what I need today to deal with this day.

Two pale-headed rosellas enjoying the blue berries on a dianella.

2 pale-eahed rosellas enjoying the blue berries on a dianella

Look at the birds … your Father in heaven feeds them day by day (Matthew 6:26)

 

*  The Secret World Of Pain, a BBC documentary which can be watched at

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=75wkm9NTOb8