The Pain Whisperer

May 8, 2015





The term, "horse whisperer" or "dog whisperer"  is used to refer to a person who is especially attuned to these animals and can communicate with them in subtle and powerful ways.  Essentially the communication goes from person to animal and there are also subtle communications in the other direction as well.


Treatment of chronic pain, of mind-body pain has an element of this.  Perhaps there is a little of the "pain whisperer" in the physicians and therapists who do this work.  But I think that the magic here is in listening to the whispers that the patient with pain transmits.  I spoke with a  man the other day who in the course of his visit, when asked, alluded to supportive grandparents whom he lived with during his teenage years. 


The narrative might have ended there, but a whisper from these comments hinted at a deeper meaning.  I asked him if his parents had divorced.  "Oh yes, when I was seven."  "But things were pretty good until I was eleven".  What happened then?  "That was when my father remarried, insisted we move to another city, and my stepmom was mean.  By the time I was 14 I lived with my grandparents... and eventually drifted apart from both parents".


There's a lot here.  A lot that can have a lasting impact on a life.  A lot that can cause a growing man to hold feelings inside.... generate chronic pain.... and suffer the consequences for years. 


It starts with a whisper.  The patient with pain reveals the emotional link to pain when one listens closely.


Ultimately, the patient can learn to hear the whispers herself.   Journaling/writing about feelings can help.  Listening to the messages the pain is trying to send makes one gradually more attuned to the whispers.


Have you noticed the ability to hear the pain whisper tro you?


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