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PT Part 2: pain management skills

I have a pretty high tolerance for pain which is great for pushing through life things but not so great for diagnosis.

Sudden pain is something i typically notice, but sometimes it doesn't register as actual pain but just a different sensation, and then when the pain goes away, i can forget that it happened in the first place.  Chronic pain, depending on the degree, is something that I have a tendency to adapt to in my lifestyle to a point where it can sometimes take a while to register that pain is actually happening.

Today, one of fhe first things that my physical therapist Renee asked me (who is the only person i know who regularly calls me Mr. Lee) asked me where i was on the pain scale from 1 to 10.  And i had to stop and think about it for several seconds before coming up with the answer of "2" - even though a part of my mind felt like the answer was 0, which i knew to be false.  At the end of the sessioni she asked me again, and I struggled to find the right answer because i couldn't exactly remember how i felt walking in.  I ended up saying, "two point two."

PT has already been successful in some way then, because it's recalibrating and refining my brain to be more aware of my body in ways that I've gotten much better about in the past decade (versus when i was a total ignorant about my body when i was a teenager) but still could use further fine-tuning and focus.  I did a lot of new exercises today where i had to consciously remind myself to try to relax my shoulders (which are never ever relaxed) and she did a lot of new pressure touching and massaging asking me "does that increase or decrease your level of pain (as opposed to mere pressure)" that could take me a good 5-10 seconds of evaluation to answer because i'm so used to ignoring pain.  I need to change that so that relaxing and pain monitoring is the instinct as opposed to the conscious effort.

Not that i don't want to lose my ability to ignore it when i want to; i love my high pain tolerance, not only is it important so that i can function in my current condition more optimally than if i didn't have it, but it allows me to relish that pain in the context of pushing myself in physical exertion and focus past it to reach certain goals.  But i also want to be able to switch that tolernace on and off at will, to register the pain for its intended and practical purpose of being a diagnosis mechanism, and also in particular to learn how to register the pain in my shoulders in such a way that i have no choice but to learn to relax them long-term.

I'm kind of ready to start a regimen that's linked to the mental part of my PT routine or maybe more accurately the link between the physical and the mental.  I also need to start a serious documentation of self-diagnosis so that Renee can be better guided to how to help me.  I know that in her position i would want data data data, and i need to place myself in a position where i can give her that as much and as accurately as possible.

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March 2017