Pain Clinic For Chronic Pain (Physical Therapy Group)

10/22/2017

Since I was 16 years old and officially got my diagnosis of Fibromyalgia, I knew that getting a placement in the pain clinic was on the cards for me. It was mentioned at every appointment and we constantly hoped the waiting list would hurry up. Nevertheless, when I received the appointment letter through the post I resembled any startled cat GIF on the Internet. I was absolutely terrified as I didn't know what the expect. I don't do well with mysteries. I'm a girl of facts and I like to know exactly what is going on around me. (Maybe I'm a little bit of a control freak. But let's keep that between us, okay?) I'll be honest, I was so anxious about the unknown that I almost backed out of going. How silly is that? My own worries were trying to get in the way of my health. Turns out, I was stressed about nothing. If you're like me, I'd like to give you piece of mind by going through the steps with you so you know what to expect on the first day of class.


Disclaimer: Of course I can only describe my own class and experience, so it may differ for you. But hopefully the basis will be the same and this will still give you some piece of mind. 

1) You Turn Up
This is the hardest step. You walk into a clinic of strangers and you sit down. Sounds silly, I know. But if you're an anxious worry-headed person, this is the part that will make your stomach churn. All I kept chanting in my head was "In one hour, this'll all be over.". Try it, you may find that it helps. I personally found it easier to show up a little early so I didn't have to walk into a room of strangers. You may also benefit from that if you tend to get anxious around new people.

2) Greetings
We had 6 people in our group, and though you weren't expected to stand up and give a short paragraph on who you are (thank God), you did have to put your name on a name tag. I'm terrible at names and quickly forgot them, but it's a really nice touch. Helps avoid having to introduce yourself to each person.

3) Knowledge
Our group leader(?) Sue explained what the cause of chronic pain is and the reason why we get it. Although I knew the gist of it, I found it very interesting. She had a skeleton mannequin that was used as a diagram from where pain originates and how the brain gets involved. It's worth going just for an in depth explanation. You can never know too much about your condition.

4) Mindfulness
We were taught the basics of what Mindfulness is and how it can help someone who suffers from chronic pain. Gentle movements, escape areas of our brains, and relaxation.

5) Movement
Now the physical therapy starts, and by that I mean really soft yoga movements. We're talking about just lifting your hands in a soothing manner and bettering your posture. You aren't going to be pushing yourself like a crazy person, this isn't what this class is about. If you have extremely bad days here and there, don't let that stop you from agreeing to take part in the pain clinic. They know you're in pain.

6) Acupuncture
I'll admit that I skipped this step for over half of the classes. Anne and needles don't mix, but the others all tried it and found it very soothing. So, you do you. I tried the needles in my hands eventually, but I think I was just holding myself too stiff to gain anything whatsoever. The needles or rather, pins, we placed in the scalp, feet, and hands. It didn't hurt in the slightest in my hands, merely felt like my cat was doing his kneading ritual. And no one else said it was uncomfortable, in fact, one woman had a strong dislike of needles like myself and wound up saying she enjoyed the released it offered. So.. if you're braver than I, which you surely are, it's 100% worth a try.

7) Meditation
As the needles were in everyone (minus me), we all tried meditating. Now, I'm not going to say what my experience was with this as I don't want to give you a positive nor negative view going in, you just have to be open for it. Be willing to give it a go - as you should be when it comes to anything that might possibly help ease any of your pain. We experimented with musical meditation, audio, and vocal.

8) The End
You go home, and live to see another day. Well, they do offer you a tea or coffee if you're feeling sluggish after the meditation session, but it isn't mandatory.


We did of course go through so much more in the weeks that followed, but this was the first class in a nutshell (or blog post, ya know). One step at a time. If you'd like to know anything more, or have any questions, shoot me an email at rootingbranches@gmail.com. I'd love to hear from you.

Though it can feel like the hardest thing to ever do in the moment, you will get through it. Throughout the entire course, I was never once forced to speak out loud or do anything that made me uncomfortable. No one was directly asked a question about anything personal and if you're in pain when doing the gentle movements or anything of the sort, the instructor will of already showed you something else to do that will be less demanding on your body.

Health wise, I didn't benefit hugely from this experience, but others in the class did. Pain is extremely personal to you and it may take you a while to find something that'll help - that's okay. Never feel like a failure or embarrassed because you're the only one not gaining anything from an experience. Just keep trying. Heck, I was so open to it that I willingly had a needle put in me when it wasn't necessary. If I can do that, you can agree to some classes. And remember, if you absolutely hate it for whatever reason, you don't have to keep going. This isn't school. Phone up and say it wasn't for you, simple. If you don't like phone calls (like me), email.

All you can do is try.


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