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Living Well with Chronic Pain

An Interview with Vidyamala Burch

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<em>Edit Article</em> Living Well with Chronic Pain

Photo Credit: Lucy Lambriex

S&H: Tell me about your experience with chronic pain.Vidyamala Burch: In 1976, when I was 16 years old, I had my first spinal injury from lifting a friend out of a swimming pool, which sounds innocuous enough but the accident revealed an underlying spinal weakness, and I went on to have two major back surgeries in 1977. Then in 1983, I was a passenger in a car accident and fractured another vertebra. I was really in a bad way at this stage. I was in constant pain. I had a degenerative spinal condition and was left with partial paraplegia.What is it like to live with chronic pain?Living with pain is like standing in water with a strong undertow always threatening to drag you under. Or like white noise grating on your nervous system. It can literally rob you of everything good in your life.Also, pain is a neural habit. Your nervous system becomes sensitized to it and you become “better” at experiencing it, so rather than pain lessening over time, you feel it more. Little wonder those of us living with pain can become locked into our bodies and frightened to move.You make a distinction between primary …

Sam Mowe is a writer living in Portland, Oregon. His interviews have also appeared in Tricycle: The Buddhist Review, and The Sun. He is also the editor of Lineages, a publication of the Garrison Institute. Sam is a regular contributor to Spirituality & Health. 


This entry is tagged with:
InterviewsChronic PainPainMindfulnessMeditation

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