Guest blog by Cynthia Knorr-Mulder MSN, NP-C, CHt
Watch her interview on The Woman's Connection YouTube Vlog
Many of us first experienced pain as a child. A fall off a bike, a bee sting or a scrapped knee from the pavement can cause even the bravest child to run home crying to their parents, seeking comfort and healing. A hug, a band-aid and some soft music can stop bleeding in a second and comfort even the biggest bruise in a matter of minutes.
Healing pain is as simple as it was when I was 5 years old, but along the way as I have studied medicine, I have found that many of us as healthcare professionals have forgotten what heals us best - our relationships, how we live our lives and our feelings of wholeness and belonging. For all the technological advances in pain management, modern medicine still has much to learn about healing pain. Healing is not only a one to one relationship it is a multidimensional aspect of energy.
Pain is a symptom of imbalance. A true healer of pain recognizes that pain is not only a symptom of disharmony of the body, but a disharmony of the patients' life. Heal the patients' pain - heal the patients' life. Patients' with pain are connected to other people, to families, communities, work, their home, and yes even to the their surrounding environment. All of these relationships need to be in balance in order to heal the patients' pain and heal their lives. In fact all of the patients relationships need to be in harmony and balance in order to maintain health.
To start the healing process the patient with pain seeking medical care must find a therapeutic relationship with their healer. This is the most important aspect of achieving healing. Many of my patients are referred to me as the last resort. They have tried everything and nothing has helped their pain. They present in my office with no hope, no emotional strength, no support, no relationships and sometimes a belief that pain will always be a part of their life. But they all present with one thing in common - pain and the intent and desire to get rid of it. I can give them all the medicine in the world, but there is little that I can do to heal them and take their pain away unless they seek healing. It takes more than just medicine to heal the pain these patients experience. It takes intent on the patients' part and a therapeutic, caring and humanistic relationship on my part.
I find myself in a constant struggle between two worlds, the scientific one where I truly believe that nothing works unless data has been researched. Then there is the intuitive side of me - a patient walks in my office and I begin to know their whole life story, why they experience pain and what it will take to change their course towards healing. To care for a patient experiencing pain is an opportunity to enter sacred space, a place where the mind-body-spirit connects to a dimension of healing far beyond this universe.
In order to heal your pain, you need to find a therapeutic relationship with a practice that can nurture and support you. Your relationship with your physician and nurse practitioner should in a sense be a form of preventative medicine. You should feel as if you are in a sacred space where healing occurs. The healer that works with you should look searchingly into your eyes and communicate a sense of caring and trust.
Having experienced my own pain was by far the best and most important part of my training in pain management because I learned what it was like to be on the other side of my profession, as a patient with pain. I got to see through a patients eyes what is like to be a patient in pain. I will never forget this lesson and will never see pain management in the same way again.
To care for my patients I view their pain as more than just a symptom. In order to do this, I have to remember that each patient has a story, each one a reason why they experience pain. I believe that in order to understand pain, you must understand the reason behind the pain, the life force, energy, chi, the thing that connects all things and is within all things, and the consciousness of which we are all a part.
The art of healing is a magnificent experience. In spite of my University education that has taught me to accept the significance of researched theory, I believe that energy healing techniques can dramatically change ones experience of pain. The spiritual intensity and energy that surrounds a patient during a integrative modality session can help the patient return to a way of balance and guides the patient's body back to a pain free state.
As I see how my patients respond to my caring and humanistic philosophy it makes me appreciate the therapeutic relationship and thereby become a better healer myself. Each day I am constantly reminded that the way my patients heal and decrease their perception of pain has as much to do with the patient as it does my skills as a practitioner.
Imagine using the best of modern medicine, the best interventional procedures and the best therapeutic relationships in a multidimensional approach that recognizes the patient as a whole, more than the sum of their body-mind and spirit. At any given moment we all have the ability to heal or be healed. Meshing together both worlds while practicing this philosophy is a very strong pain management medicine. This is what I do each day. This is what I call Integrative Medicine.