Melissa Reynolds talks Yoga. With chronic pain and fatigue, there’s such a variation. Some people are always at high levels of pain. Some people vary. There are various stages within fibromyalgia and chronic pain and chronic fatigue. Plus, you have other things going on. Some people also have arthritis where their chronic pain comes from. Or there are other complexities. You can’t say, “this is how you do yoga for chronic pain.” Key is letting people see that they have choices, so there’s never a push. They don’t need to be aiming for anything. They need to listen to their body and do what jells with their body. What feels nice? For too long, we’ve been told you have to push yourself. You’ve got to get to this point. This is your goal. I’m sick of external goals I want to work on my own goals.
You’re in for a treat. Amy Baxter, pediatric emergency physician, pain researcher, and device manufacturer, is the CEO and Founder of Pain Care Labs. We talked about:
- Pain is inevitable, it’s life. Unnecessary pain is wasteful and it sucks.
- Doctors’ superpower is writing prescriptions. While lots of research has been done about non-pharm pain, doctors aren’t familiar with it.
- Public policy doesn’t support non-drug solutions. It funnels people to doctors and medication.
- Attitude and attention impact pain. If you focus on life rather than pain, the pain can be more manageable. We’re in control.
- The 1-10 pain scale has limited value unless you’re evaluating what’s not working for acute pain.
- We could teach our kids about pain differently. Think, dancers and other athletes.
- While cannabis may be helpful for chronic pain, it’s not a panacea, especially for young brains.
We learned about TENS units, Buzzy, the Meissner Corpusle, the thalamus (the brains CPU/microprocessor), the Schmidt Sting Pain Scale, the IKEA bias, beta nerves and mechanoreceptors, and more. My head spins.
I think the most important lesson I’ve learned from Amy is that it’s not about the pain, it’s about what we want to do with our lives and how we manage the challenges we face that get in the way, including pain. Let’s take control. It’s the most powerful tool we have.
When I examine the puzzle of pain management and opioid use, I often see Melissa Reynold’s words in my mind’s eye. She lives with, struggles with pain. She’s so sensible about pain. Melissa writes about Fibromyalgia, chronic pain, and pregnancy, separately and together. I read her faithfully and comment more than I do with most. She has inspired me from the start. Please allow me to share Melissa’s wisdom with you here.
Fibro Mama: Pregnancy and Fibromyalgia by Melissa Reynolds
Odd, isn’t it? A book review about pregnancy and pain by a guy! Well, I’m a dad, an Opa (grandpa), registered nurse, and a patient activist. I have Multiple Sclerosis and I know chronic illness and pain management. We had home births with a midwife at one and no midwife at another. Enough about me. I’m reviewing the book because Melissa asked me to. Thanks, Melissa.
Look, no one knows someone else’s experience, it belongs to them. As Melissa says in her introduction, “I can give you tips about what worked for me. … However, in the end, it’s you putting one foot in front of the other. That’s how we live, right?”
Lived experience and a dollar fifty will buy you a Pepsi. Lived experience + self-awareness + systems thinking + good storytelling is golden. Add brevity and it’s priceless. Melissa’s book is priceless. Took me half an hour to read it through once. I marked it up and spent a couple of hours reading it again. Here are the best parts (for me, a guy, who will never be pregnant):
- 16 natural pain relief suggestions – I use many of these myself for muscle tension and cramping. Great list. I never tried oils. I may.
- The sections about the three trimesters, immediately post-delivery, and the first 6 weeks all include sleep, exercise, meditation, and a pain management plan. They’re basic and vital. She lays it out for you.
- I can’t evaluate the extensive section on nursing except to say that it’s comprehensive and empowering. I always love the response, “there is no wrong choice”.
- Using help is big, really big. Melissa has a great care partner. She says to insist that s/he/they be allowed to be with you 24/7 whenever you’re a guest in an institution. Absolutely. Pregnant or not pregnant, fibromyalgia or no fibromyalgia, this is true.
- Last, but so not least – Tips to Cope with a Fussy Baby When You’re Sore. She’s buying minutes for you. Dad’s too.
Thanks for the opportunity to review this fine book. You can get it here.