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The Pain is More than I Can Bear

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Dear Life Coach,

I am a 75-year-old man and I have served God all my life from age 11, when I was told about the importance of salvation and eternal life. I worked from age 18, until I retired at age 65. For the last 10 years I have travelled the world, something I wanted to do with my wife, whom I lost just months prior to our scheduled trip.{{more}} Since then, I have travelled and lived alone in her honour. I have five grown children, three of whom are overseas and the other two I see occasionally. My problem is this: two years ago on one of my trips, I started feeling pain all over my body. It started as a tingling sensation that shifted from place to place and was on and off. Now, I have ongoing, excruciating pain in my hips and lower back. Sometimes the pain is more than I can bear and so I am housebound. This is very hard for me as I was such an active person. I am on a small pension and I have employed someone to assist me with washing, cleaning and shopping. I have been to several doctors, but none was able to help me. Sometimes I feel like giving up! Sometimes I wish that death would come soon, since I am old and I have already lived a full life. Don’t get me wrong. I have no intention to harm myself, but I do feel as if I am ready to go home to my God. Sometimes I feel like life is unfair; after serving God all my life, this is how I end up. I do not want to grieve God, so I keep holding on in agony and pain. Sometimes I wonder, where is my God?

Pained Pops (PP)

Dear PP,

I am sorry that chronic pain has caused you to feel hopeless.

Your Situation:

A number of factors are at work here: possible pain disorder, lower back pain, grief and loss, isolation/lack of social support, hope/faith, among others. These I will address briefly.

Pain Disorder

Pain Disorder may develop during an illness in which the individual experienced genuine pain. Psychological factors play a role in the onset of pain disorder, in which the pain takes on a life of its own and becomes the focus of attention.

Lower Back Pain

Minor displacement of the vertebrae can result in lower back pain, and chiropractors are trained to use a variety of non-surgical treatments to remedy this condition.

Grief and Loss

Grief involves emotional numbness, despair, sadness, and loneliness that accompany the loss of someone we love. You have had several losses over the past 12 years: your wife (deceased); children (left home/migrated); job (retirement); and you feel that God has deserted you. It is possible that unresolved grief is being manifested physically as pain in your case.

Isolation/Lack of Social Support

You are housebound and isolated due to pain, and unable to move around and care for yourself. Your children and relatives have not been supportive, and you use your time to focus mainly on your pain.

Hope/Faith

It is wonderful that you continue to hold on to your faith and to hope in God. This has prevented you from giving up. Be assured that your life is valuable and that God has a purpose for you being here.

What to Do:

See a Chiropractor

Slight dislocation of a vertebrae can cause severe pain in the hips and lower back as the surrounding nerves and muscles become inflamed, so it is worth being evaluated by a chiropractor.

See a Pain Specialist

Physiatrists are trained to diagnose and treat pain disorders without surgery or heavy reliance on medication. See more at: http:www.dynacii.blogspot.com

See a Counsellor/Pastor

Your physical pain may have been compounded by psychological issues related to multiple losses and being alone. Talking things through with a pastor or counsellor may prove to be helpful.

Grieving

Grieving may be healthy or unhealthy (if prolonged). Find additional ways to honour your wife’s memory, e.g. setting up a foundation in her name, visiting her grave site, writing memoirs of your life together etc.

Seek Social Support

Call up your children, relatives and friends. Invite people over or plan dates with them (hopefully they can pick you up). Spend time with those you love.

Stay Positive

Continue to be positive and focus on the things that are good in your life and find ways to improve the things that are not so good.

Manage Your Pain

Be Calm: Being anxious or fearful increases pain, so try to remain calm at all times.

Control: The more control you have over your pain, the less you will suffer and the less control you have over the pain, the more you will suffer, e.g. if you are taking medication.

Distraction: Focusing all your attention on your pain increases your pain. Find things to do to distract yourself from your pain, e.g. plan a schedule of activities (do things of interest/importance to keep yourself occupied).

Interpretation: Understanding the reason for your pain may help to decrease your pain.

Counterirritation: Counter your pain by sending a mild pain message to your brain and spinal chord, e.g. applying an ice-pack, hot-water bottle, vibration or massage.

PP, I know that for you life is literally a pain, but please continue to hang in there.

Life Coach

DYNACII

Need help with relationship and other problems? Ask DYNACII’s Life Coach. Email your questions to [email protected] To Chat with the Life Coach, visit: http://www.dynacinternational.com. Dynamic Action Center International Inc. (DYNACII) a non-governmental organization committed to social and spiritual empowerment.

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