Natural Pain Relief: My Story

By: Loolwa Khazzoom, Founder, Dancing with Pain

June 1st, 2011 • Dance for Natural Pain ReliefPrint Print

Here is the Cliff’s Notes version of my own natural pain relief story:

Life Before Pain

Back in the day, I was an über athletic chick: an avid cyclist, swimmer, and jogger, a women’s self-defense instructor, and most importantly, a dance fiend. On any given night of the week, you could catch me at the local clubs, euphorically dancing the night away.

That all changed following a hit & run, head-on car collision in 1997 — when I joined the ranks of millions of Americans (over half the population) living with chronic pain. Turning to the health care system, I soon found myself spinning through a hell common to those seeking chronic pain relief:

Chronic Pain Hell

I was misdiagnosed, refused tests, dismissed as a hypochondriac, physically injured, emotionally traumatized, and financially drained by the very practitioners who were supposed to help me heal. As a result, I ended up not only in pain, but also in despair. By 2004, I had sunk so low that contemplating suicide became as much a part of my morning routine as drinking a cup of coffee.

That year, a friend dragged me out of my urban apartment – which I had become afraid to leave – and took me to a retreat in the middle of the desert. On the first night, I cried bitterly while watching an electrifying dance troupe perform in the white desert sand. Barely able to walk, I knew I had forever lost the ability to move so passionately and vigorously.

Transcending Pain

After the dancers and audience members left, however, as the music blared over the loudspeakers and tears streamed down my face, I raised my arms – the only body part not in pain – and began moving them to the music. And so I began to dance again.

Having re-conceptualized dance as something other than leaps, twirls, and fancy footwork, I continued dancing at my edge for the duration of the retreat. To my astonishment, I found that edge moving out farther and farther — until the fourth day of the retreat, when I was magically able to tear up the dance floor as in years past. Tears, this time of rapture and gratitude, streamed down my cheeks once again.

Dancing with Pain

Since that time, I have explored the magic and spirit of dance as a powerful and innovative tool for chronic pain relief. I have used it to help heal myself, and I have developed it as a methodology to help heal other individuals suffering from pain.

Beyond the physical aspect, I have used Dancing with Pain® as a metaphor for creating a dynamic emotional and spiritual relationship to pain – so that patients are no longer victims of depression, anxiety, and fear, but rather powerful dance partners with them.

Lastly, I have used the Dancing with Pain® model as an educational tool in guiding health care practitioners – so that they understand how to work effectively and caringly with chronic pain patients.

Want to learn how to dance with your pain? Be sure to check out the Dancing with Pain store, for the “Breakfast Mix,” the first in our series of downloadable audio classes.



Comments

Joan Sura June 27th, 2011

At least 34 million Americans suffer from chronic pain caused by conditions including arthritis, lower back problems, neuralgia, or migraine headaches. Some 15 million working Americans have pain on a chronic basis.

Having injured my back this summer, I have come to learn a lot about pain firsthand.Pain can be hard to define. It means different things to different people and your own perception of pain can change over time. I was sent an article of Findrxonline indicates that For some people, acknowledging pain is a sign of weakness. What most people don’t realize is that pain is a medical problem – and that it can be treated.

How do you measure your pain? It is difficult. No lab tests or X-rays can convey to your doctor what you are feeling. But even when pain is intense, many people struggle to find the words to describe it to the doctor. It is important to understand whether you suffer from acute or chronic pain.

Acute pain is not related to an ongoing condition and declines when you recover from the illness, injury, or surgery that initially caused the pain. Acute pain usually lasts for no longer than it takes to heal.

Chronic pain is constant or recurrent and is caused by a long-term condition (arthritis) or to progressive illness (cancer). Chronic pain lasts for months – and it may last a lifetime. Chronic pain takes a psychological as well as a physical toll. It can lead to anxiety, anger, depression, and insomnia. Chronic pain sufferers may find it difficult or impossible to work and hard to do the things they once enjoyed. Chronic pain can even disrupt a person’s relationships with family and friends.

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