Image by Gerd Altmann
Pain is a more terrible Lord of mankind
than even death itself.
If you are in chronic pain, you probably feel alone and frightened. You may feel helpless. You might even feel as if life's no longer worth living. I understand. I understand completely. You have the worst medical problem a person can have.
Chronic pain is the most devastating physical malady that exists. It's even more overwhelming than having a terminal illness, according to patients of mine who have suffered from both conditions.
Being in pain, hour after hour, day after day, rips away your strength, your hope, your personality, and even your love. Chronic pain is a demonic force that can destroy everything it touches.
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But people are strong. I'm constantly amazed by their courage. When life knocks them down, they struggle back up. They do it again and again, all their lives.
Finding A Way Out of Your Suffering
If you're a pain patient who is reading this page right now, you must certainly be strong, because you're still trying to find a way out of your suffering. Despite everything, you still have hope. I salute your bravery. In my eyes, you're a hero.
But you can only stand so much, right? You're human: that's your blessing, but it's also your vulnerability. You probably suffered stoically for months or even years, but after a while your endurance gave out and the pain took over. Finally, you probably began to feel alone and helpless.
By now, you may even feel like a victim of torture. Researchers have found that torture victims and chronic pain patients endure a very similar experience -- a horrific experience that can kill the will of even the strongest person.
The Good News Is...
Right now, you may be hoping that I'll say, "The good news is, I can help you."
It's true. I can help you. Your pain can probably be cured.
But I have even better news than that: You can help yourself. Your own body has a healing force that will enable you to rise above your pain, and feel whole and happy once again.
When I tell this to my patients, some are thrilled -- but others are disappointed. They want me to tell them that I'm the hot new medical pioneer with the miraculous new potion for their pain. That attitude is understandable, because modern medicine has packaged itself as a purveyor of technological miracles. Many of today's doctors enjoy being seen as latter-day sorcerers who can fix every ill with a magical pill.
That may be good marketing, but it's not good medicine -- because it's just not true.
There is "magic" in medicine. But this magic -- this almost supernatural force -- won't come to you in a bottle. It will come to you when you do the honest hard work of tapping into your own inner resources.
When you do this, you will conquer your pain.
The Greatest Miracles of Modern Medicine
The human body performs the greatest miracles of modern medicine all by itself. As physicians, we will never be able to replicate the body's natural healing force. The body's own power lies far beyond the pale mimicry of human engineering.
Your body can heal the pain it now feels. When you cut your finger, you fully expect your body to heal the injury, don't you? You should not expect less of your body in its fight against pain. Your body's inner healing power is unimaginably strong.
Working with my patients -- today's true medical pioneers -- I have developed a comprehensive, proven program for chronic pain that gives them access to their own inner healing power. I believe that helping patients reach this power is the greatest thing a doctor can do.
About fifteen years ago, when I first began to develop this approach, it was considered very avant-garde. My pain program at the University of Arizona's teaching hospital in Phoenix was the first holistic pain management program in the southwestern United States. Since then, though, many of the most prominent pain clinics in America have adopted the therapies I employ and have enjoyed superb results.
Your Brain On Pain
However, even though my approach has been accepted by many mainstream pain clinics, most of the individual physicians in America are still uninformed about this approach to pain, and therefore they often fail to cure pain. One reason they fail is that they do not address the role that the brain plays in pain. That's a big mistake. The brain helps start chronic pain -- and the brain can help stop it.
If you read my first book, Brain Longevity, you know that I consider the brain one of the most amazing entities in the universe. In that book I showed that if the human brain is properly nurtured and medically supported, it can overcome terrible chronic conditions -- even Alzheimer's disease.
Your brain, in fact, has virtually no limits, other than those you impose with your own human frailty. I can show you ways to overcome that frailty. I can show you a path that will lead to your mastery over pain. But it's up to you to walk that path. It won't be easy. But good things never are.
Your Brain Off Pain
On this path, you'll have to give up many of the special indulgences that your pain may have granted you: a sedentary lifestyle, a sense of privilege, drugs that temporarily make you feel good, and the pity of others.
But all of your sacrifices will be repaid many times over. You will regain your sense of personal power, and your ability to control your own life. You'll once again have the energy to do the things you love, and to do things for the people you love. You'll even get reacquainted with a very special person: your own true self.
I have seen this happen many, many times. In fact, when patients work hard, it happens most of the time. I have helped cure many hundreds of "hopeless" cases of chronic pain.
I have been able to achieve "impossible" victories against pain for one central reason: my pain program has evolved far beyond the old-fashioned, traditional approach to pain. Unlike many doctors who treat pain, I don't rely on just pills, injections, and surgery. That limited approach, which I and many other doctors now consider outdated, often gives temporary relief but rarely stimulates the permanent healing of chronic pain.
Battling Chronic Pain On Every Level
My program is different. It battles chronic pain on every level: the biochemical level, the structural level, the psychological level, and the spiritual level. This thorough approach is absolutely essential -- because if you have chronic pain it has probably invaded every part of your life.
To get your life back, to get your true self back, and to overcome the pain that has violated your body, mind, and spirit, you will need to engage in a comprehensive, coordinated program.
If you're suffering now, it might be hard for you to imagine feeling whole and happy again. But that feeling -- though deeply buried--already exists within you. It's waiting for you.
You can return to a life of feeling great. Others have. Others will. Now it's your turn. Let's begin!
Pain Is Not Suffering
Pain and suffering are different things. Pain is a physical sensation. Suffering is one possible reaction to that sensation. But suffering is not the only possible reaction to pain. It's possible to experience pain without suffering from it.
When you learn to experience pain without suffering, you will be set free. You will be able to love your life again, even though your life may still contain some pain, as all lives do. When you reach this point, your chronic, disabling pain, for all practical purposes, will be cured.
In addition, when you achieve the ability to experience some pain without suffering from it, you will gain much more than just freedom from constant hurt. You will attain a power of mind and spirit that is rare in this world. Generally, this power is achieved only by enlightened yogic masters and by other people who are very spiritually evolved. Why just them? Because, as a rule, only they are motivated enough to do the hard work that creates this power.
But you have your pain for motivation, and pain is the most powerful motivator of all. Your pain may now be a curse, but when you learn to harness it as a motivator, you will transform your curse into a blessing.
I remember once telling an elderly arthritis patient that his pain need not cause suffering, and he blew up at me. "That's easy for you to say," he snapped, waving a gnarled finger in my face, "but if your hand hurt like this hand hurts, I don't think you'd say that. You don't know how this feels!"
He was right about one thing: I didn't know how he felt. If you're free of pain, you can never really imagine the dark cruelty of chronic pain. That's one of the reasons chronic pain is so shattering. It separates people. It obliterates understanding and creates isolation. One result of this psychological isolation is that the divorce rate among people with chronic pain is almost 80 percent.
"I don't know how you feel," I told the elderly man, "but I do want to help you, and I think I can. So let's start right now. I'd like you to imagine a hypothetical situation. Let's say you're a kid again, and you're attending a very strict, old-fashioned school. Imagine that you have a mean teacher who constantly singles you out for punishment. One day he asks you a question, and you give the wrong answer. So he stands you in front of the class, makes you hold out your hand, and slaps your palm with a ruler. Smack! It really stings! On this day he dishes out the punishment again and again, and you're powerless to stop it. Pretty soon you're so depressed and angry that when lunchtime comes, you don't even feel like eating your lunch or playing with your buddies. All you can think about is how much your hand is throbbing, and the more you think about it, the more it hurts. You're really suffering.
"Finally, you're saved by the bell -- school's out. You go to your Little League baseball game, but you don't even feel like playing. You do play, though, because you're a tough little kid who won't give up.
"You're the catcher. You're a good catcher, the only one who can handle your team's best fastball pitcher. The first time he zings one in, though, your poor hand feels like it's going to explode. But the batter is way behind the pitch and he strikes out. Everybody cheers. So you keep calling for fastballs, and you start to dominate the hitters. Three up, three down! Boom, boom, boom! You could call for some curves or change-ups -- to give your hand a break -- but your pitcher's fastball is really hopping, so you stick with the hard stuff. Pretty soon you own the batters, and you feel great. Every time the ball slaps into your mitt, you feel like a hero. You're not thinking about your hand anymore, or your teacher, or anything except how good it feels to be in the game. You love the cheers from the crowd, and the smell of the grass, and the friendship of your teammates. Nothing else exists.
"Finally, last out. Game's over. Your coach comes over and pats you on the back. He says, 'Great game! How's your catching hand?' You tell him it's fine, but when you pull off your mitt, your hand looks like a pink balloon. Your coach says, 'Better put some ice on that.' You tell him you will, but then you start playing a pickup game with your buddies. Your hand is hot and sore. But you want to keep playing. You have pain, but you're not suffering."
The elderly arthritis patient nodded. He got my point, and looked encouraged. He was a strong man, and that was good, because he was in for the fight of his life.
Getting Into A Proactive, Take-Charge Lifestyle
"My pain program," I told him, "can help you feel good enough to get back in the game, so to speak. Then your own spirit is going to take over. And when that happens, I don't think anything is going to stop you."
"What will happen if I don't get back into the swing of things?" he asked.
"If you don't, you'll continue to suffer. It might get worse."
I was understating. In fact, if he didn't get back into a proactive, take-charge lifestyle, he would probably fall victim to the worst nightmare that pain patients face: chronic pain syndrome.
©1999 by Dharma Singh Khalsa, M.D
All rights reserved. Posted with permission
from Time Warner Bookmark.
The Pain Cure: The Proven Medical Program that Helps End Your Chronic Pain
by Dharma Singh Khalsa, M.D.
Are you one of the millions of Americans who suffer from chronic pain? Whether your problem is arthritis or back pain, TMJ or PMS, migraine or fibromyalgia, there's a solution that has worked for thousands. This powerful, comprehensive, four-pronged approach embraces proven techniques from sources ancient and modern, East and West. The lifework of a nationally renowned pioneer in integrative medicine, THE PAIN CURE attacks pain with: -- NUTRITION -- PHYSICAL THERAPIES -- MEDICATION -- MENTAL AND SPIRITUAL PAIN CONTROL. By focusing your own inner resources, THE PAIN CURE gives you stunning control over your pain -- and a new awareness of your true self.
Click here for more info or to order this book. Also available as a Kindle edition.
About The Author
Dharma Singh Khalsa, M.D. is the founding director of the Acupuncture Stress medicine and Chronic Pain Program at the University of Arizona Teaching Hospital in Phoenix. He is the author of The Pain Cure as well as of Brain Longevity and Meditation As Medicine. Visit the website AlzheimersPrevention.org/ for more information.