Begin your healing journey

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You have been suffering without and end in sight. You are probably upset being trapped by pain. My suggestion for the first four weeks is to begin with just these four strategies. Then you can begin to move forward through the other stages.

Starting Point

  1. Start the expressive writing exercises, 5-15 minutes, twice per day.
    • Write freely and pay no mind to grammar.
    • Rip up your writing immediately.
    • Verbally expressing yourself in private is also effective
    • Begin writing soon. It is starting point and the foundation for the rest of the process.
  2. Start the active meditation exercises, drawing attention to your senses in the present moment.
    • Practice 15 seconds of this version of mindfulness as many times as you can throughout the day.
    • The writing accomplishes an awareness of and separation from your thoughts in one step.
    • The active meditation is the basic reprogramming tool to be combined with the writing.
  3. Get a restful night’s sleep
    • It is the cornerstone of the solving your pain
      • Real changes won’t occur without adequate sleep
  4. Learn about chronic pain

 

Moving On

After you understand the neurological nature of chronic pain, are sleeping well, practicing the expressive writing and consistently using active meditation, you can progress to the next steps:

  • Do not discuss your pain with others. Since your brain will develop wherever you place your attention, talking about your problems only reinforces these unpleasant circuits. Not sharing your pain
  • You can’t control most stressors in your life, but you can control your reaction. The eye of the storm
  • Be kind to yourself. Forgive yourself and others. Forgiveness
  • Strive to exercise for at least 30 minutes 5 days per week. Find exercise you enjoy, and try to mix it up. Consider joining a group fitness class or gym.
  • Eat a healthy diet full of colorful, whole foods, largely plant-based. Aim to fill you plate with 1/2 fruits and veggies, 1/4 whole grains, and 1/4 lean proteins. Drink water and avoid sugary beverages. Save special occasion foods for special occasions. Shop around the perimeter at the grocery store and avoid the aisles, where there tends to be more processed and packaged food. Don’t shop when you are hungry. Don’t keep unhealthy food in your house. Downsize your plate and bowl size. Plan meals ahead. Eat food and enjoy it!
  • Remember to laugh and play.

Become your own inspiration

These recommendations were created by one of the sports medicine fellows who spent a month with me in clinic. She is a family practitioner who became inspired by watching my patient’s successes. I am saying “my patients” in a tongue in cheek manner. You are your own success. The strategies outlined in the DOC structure are not the definitive solution to your pain. The DOC process simply presents a framework that will allow you to find your own answers.

People wonder why I am so passionate about all of this. It is because my patients inspire me daily. The resiliency of the human spirit is incredible. I am shocked by the depth of misery experienced by most of my patients in suffering from pain and amazed at the capacity to turn it all around. I am honored to be able to contribute my experience to help you begin your journey, but you are the ones that can and do regularly pull off almost miraculous turnarounds to a productive and enjoyable life. The one factor that predicts success is your willingness to engage with these concepts, whether you use the DOC framework or another one.

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I think her outline is a great starting point although everyone does this differently. You cannot fix yourself. You can only engage in practices that simulate your brain to change and you will be an observer of your own healing.

“Better Not Look Down”