Balance. Harmony. Synchronicity. These words are an integral part of daily life for the healthy, but can be equally significant for those who suffer chronic pain. A Life Larger than Pain addresses the complexities of chronic pain and the conundrum of a patient caught in an unrelenting cycle of physical pain.
Anatomical pain and clinical depression have common symptoms: declining activity level, loss of hope and low energy level. The downward cycle includes depression, deactivation, dependency, doctor-seeking, drug-seeking, deteriorating relationships and dormant spirituality. Using the experiences of his own patients as examples of the transformative nature of healing through a combination of Eastern and Western disciplines, Hind combines the principles of both.
The challenge for the patient is to identify these factors and their negative effect on daily life. Semantics are critical, determining how a patient views himself and defines his challenge. Dr. Carolyn Myss speaks of "woundology", a self-perpetuating, obsessive focus on a personal problem. There is a difference between realistic issues and victimhood; the chronic pain patient must move from preoccupation and attachment to empathy for others, integrating illness with a more functional world, where the illness is not the source of identity or a bid for sympathy.
The author stresses the body-to-mind bridge, the actual neural transmission of pain that triggers specific emotional responses in the patient, stimulating a rebound phenomenon that is exacerbated by despair and fatigue. There has been a shift in the two-dimensional understanding of this process, creating a third possibility: "If you can change how the mind perceives it, then you can change how the body experiences it."
The perception of pain is a critical concept in modern pain management, freeing the patient from the predictable cycle, treating the whole person rather than the obvious symptoms, incorporating spirituality and acknowledging rather than trivializing the intangible in a true meeting of Eastern and Western philosophies. Embracing the paradox of pain releases expectations, allowing relief, acceptance and a willingness to take the appropriate actions: "In some cases the spiritual growth may be what strengthens physical healing because spirit and body are in better balance."
For the chronic pain sufferer meditation and spirituality often seem far-removed, obscure, all but obliterated by the recurring need to alleviate pain. This book is written for those who have been disappointed by traditional methods, but are willing to explore a future defined more by the evolution of the process than instant cure, tapping into the profound mind-body connection, the patient proactive in his successful treatment.