Journal entry, April 1990: “Joint pain traveled 5-6 different places in 20 minutes. It is like having your body turned into a pinball machine.” My uncle had one of those at his bowling alley where my family often hung out. I can still hear the sound of those bells and paddles and points ringing up. If you do not have experience with pinball machines, watch a bit of the video to get the full lights and sounds experience. No need to watch entire video. As lights and bells occur just think shoulder, knee, elbow, shoulder, shoulder, shoulder, neck, back, knee. You get the idea.
Pinball pain – moves from point to point but there is a method to relax into it and not be so reactive to the pain.
When I was first diagnosed someone gave me a small book entitled “Celebrate the Temporary” by Clyde Reid. [ISBN 0-06-066816-4}
One chapter is called Lean Into Your Pain. The concept he puts forth is to move behind the pain. Most of us have a natural resistance to pain. So pain comes, you tense up against it and actually make it worse with that response. His idea was to find the center of the pain and slip behind it, so to speak. He says that ‘leaning into life’s pain requires small doses of plain courage.’ So I tried looking my pain in the eye. When the pinball paddles started slapping and the bells and lights began ringing and flashing I made it a practice to try to sit, breath, look for the source and learn to breathe into the identified point. He points out that when you concentrate on the pain it can actually diminish or even disappear.
I was receiving physical therapy at that time. The therapist was so amazed that someone could have ‘so many painful trigger points and still be walking around.’ She called other therapists over to examine my trigger points as a learning experience. I was amazed. You see, as a child I was told that I was a “ninny” and could not take pain. The therapists say I have a very high pain threshold. Now I must learn to listen to my body and take care of it better. The challenge with fibro pain is one is not always able to trace the pain back to HOW it occured! With acute pain you know you sprained your ankle. With fibro chronic pain you can lose your mind trying to figure out where it came from or what caused it.
So if you have a “pain flare” (an honest term) that turns your body into a pinball machine, stop, breath, look into the pain and try to see it diminish, even as you watch. If nothing else you might relax and stop tensing against the pain thereby making it worse!