I Feel Your Pain

By: Loolwa Khazzoom, Founder, Dancing with Pain

September 21st, 2010 • Living with Chronic PainPrint Print

I feel your pain. No really, I mean it.

I’ve been wheelchair-bound, bedridden, and housebound. I’ve lived through years where walking four blocks made me want to run through the streets and shout about my accomplishment. (Or, you know, hire someone else to do it.) I’ve suffered from arthritis, degenerated discs, a torn meniscus, joint pain, chronic fatigue, spondololis thesis, plantar fascitis, insomnia, neuroma, tendonitis, vocal nodules, sciatica, a torn rotator cuff, and (according to two doctors) possibly bursitis and fibromyalgia.

Then there’s the host of mysterious sources of agonizing pain that made suicide seem like a rilly, rilly fun option. This latter category, in fact, almost always seemed to be the one in which my pain fell – the cause undetectable through X-ray, MRI, CT scan, blood test, eye exam, ultrasound, EMG, or any of the other hi-tech gadgets I was poked and prodded with, hooked up to, shoved in, peered at through, or otherwise ineffectively evaluated by.

The more I received medical care, in fact, the worse I got. I was electrocuted by an MRI and left with a back that completely went out every day for the next six months (so much bed, so little booty); splashed in the eye with liquid nitrogen and left with recurrent and horrific eye pain for the next three years (bye-bye contact lenses) injected in my trigeminal nerve for a simple crown procedure and left with debilitating headaches and TMJ (carrots: bad); and otherwise injured in my ankles, shoulder, psoas, wrist, back, and knee, by a parade of conventional and alternative medicine practitioners across two countries.

You could say I developed trust issues with healthcare.

Those trust issues, combined with a pinch of serendipity and a woman I’ll forever think of as my angel, led me to flip the bird at the medical system and set off on a path to rehabilitate my own damn self, thank you very much. At a retreat in the Israeli desert five years ago, I discovered that by reconceptualizing dance as more than leaps, twirls, and fancy footwork, I could use it to self-heal. Practicing the rudimentary steps of what would become the Dancing with Pain® method, I went from barely being able to walk to tearing up a dance floor, in the span of four days.

That pivotal experience, followed by my journalistic inquiry into the science behind it, catapulted me into the burgeoning fields of mind-body medicine and energy healing. I began writing about drug-free remedies for chronic pain; leading training seminars for healthcare practitioners working with chronic pain patients; facilitating lifestyle management programs for chronic pain patients; and teaching the Dancing with Pain® method to people with a diverse range of pain-related conditions – in the process discovering that, based on preliminary trials, the method had a 96% rate of efficacy, no matter what the pain condition.

As I received external validation of my intuitive discovery, my confidence in it grew stronger, and I personally began practicing the method more rigorously. The more I danced, the stronger I became; and the better I felt. Today, I lead a mostly pain-free life and am very active – hiking, biking, swimming, and of course, dancing.

As someone who has been through it all – suffering from pain, healing from pain, working with people in pain, and training practitioners who work with people in pain – I now offer a 360° vantage point from which I can discuss the pain experience. From this vantage point, it is my goal to help increase understanding of, sensitivity to, access to resources for, and treatment of chronic and debilitating pain.

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