Time means different things to different people at different moments. Think about your experience with time as you waited for a desired event—a graduation, wedding, or party. The time creeps up slowly and you feel like the day will never arrive. Then it’s over in a flash; all that’s left is a memory. As a youngster, each year is a huge increment of your life; as a senior, each year is a mere fraction. Life has passed, and your memories are a flashing slide show. Time occurs a moment, a breath, a minute at a time. Endless waiting, and then over before you know it. Hours pass so slowly, they seem neverending. It’s relative, of course. Einstein said time and space are part of a continuum. Pain is a similar story. If your pain is here, in this moment, you can be okay with it by taking a breath, stretching, distracting yourself, and getting on with your day. If you get caught up in the “endless nature of my chronic pain, which will be with me till I die,” then each moment becomes frustrating and hopeless with unrelenting pain. In our Chronic Pain Treatment, we emphasize that the difference is in your attitude. Even there, you will find a different perception of time on a different day. It’s the nature of your reality. As with everything you’ve learned in this book so far, a little effort at a time will go a long way. Pacing yourself, taking small steps, and being gentle with yourself as you move through your day, you’ll come to realize that a breath at a time is the key to finding the calm and peace of pain-free moments. Practicing and developing patterns of behavior will take time as well, and eventually new patterns will be established. Persistence over time will result in changes in your experience of pain. If you’ve taken the time to read A Day without Pain, you may be able to understand that time is not necessarily an unavoidable march toward more pain. Today, you may be able to accept that you can actually change how you feel, that if you give yourself time you can alter your experience of pain and lessen its impact on your body and in your life. This book was written to help you help yourself. This book was written to help you help yourself. In it I have attempted to describe what pain is: acute and chronic. I explained that your brain is plastic in that it is changeable, adaptable. I have illustrated how pain can and probably has changed your brain and the way it works. I have described how your emotions are intertwined with pain like two sides of the same coin. Your emotions have a huge impact on your experience of pain. I have suggested that since pain changed your brain, it is possible for you to consciously make further changes, to alter your brain and thereby alter your experience of pain. I described why medications are very often the favorite method of treatment for pain, and I examined some of the problems associated with them, including addiction. Then I revealed how chronic pain is not a one-person problem. Pain is something that has a major impact on the entire family. I described how families can be affected when one member is afflicted with pain. I offered a detailed list of more than two dozen different alternative methods for treating pain. I described how these methods work and the painful conditions that have been successfully treated by them. The methods described here can help reduce your pain, if you give them time to work. Finally, I offered suggestions for how you can incorporate spirituality into your journey toward reduction of pain. This blog post is an excerpt from A Day Without Pain (Revised) by Mel Pohl, MD, FASAM; Published by Central Recovery Press (CRP). As Fast as Possible Time is not a cure for chronic pain, but it can be crucial for improvement. It takes time to change, to recover, and to make progress. While it’s unlikely (though not impossible) that the treatment methods outlined in this book would immediately result in pain reduction, if you give them time to work, you might be pleasantly surprised. It’s progress if every day for three years you rate your pain as a six on a scale of one to ten, and one day after meditation you drop it to a five. It took time, but you improved. It’s progress if you normally spend twelve hours in bed all day, every day, and one day after a month of stretching and soothing baths you find you are up and about more than reclining. It takes time to change, to recover, and to make progress. Exercise is one of the most effective treatment methods available to those in chronic pain. Whether Pilates, Chi Kung, yoga, or any other form of regulated movement, exercise has been proven to help ease pain by lengthening and strengthening muscles, relaxing tension, and increasing flexibility. But it takes time to work. Insomnia is an extremely common problem for those who have chronic pain. Studies have proven that merely changing the aroma inhaled every night can help with sleep and therefore help reduce pain. But it takes more than just one night to work. It may take weeks or months; it takes time. Chronic pain can rob you of yesterday, today, and tomorrow; it robs you of time. Nothing can give you back the moments lost to the experience of pain, but it is my belief that the suggestions in A Day without Pain can give you hope for a future in which time becomes hope—hope for a pain-free tomorrow. So there you have it—time takes time. No easy fix for this problem, that’s for sure. Some of you tried to find such a solution in medication and found that this plan backfired. You could get some short-term relief from medications, but nothing that lasted and not without a price. The alternative is to first believe there is another way to live. There is, I assure you. Anyone with chronic pain can live more fully as he or she learns to cultivate mindfulness, stress reduction, acceptance, and positive regard. These skills are developed like muscles and will eventually replace the old, worn-out beliefs of “poor me,” “it’s never going to get better,” and “I can’t do it” that many of you live with in the chronic pain syndrome. Practice these diligently and your life will change. You will notice a decrease in your pain, and certainly you will suffer less. This change is in your hands and in your control if you choose to exercise it. Physical modalities for chronic pain abound, and I encourage you to pick a few and work them with your body. Find some you feel are helpful. Be gentle with yourself. Don’t be a taskmaster or a judge or a jury. Get on your own side. The pain, it turns out, is a product of your limbic system—a construct of your defense system against the pain, which has turned against you. As you realize this, you will see the pain inside you dissolve, like ice to water to vapor.I wish you many days without pain. This blog post is an excerpt from A Day Without Pain (Revised) by Mel Pohl, MD, FASAM; Published by Central Recovery Press (CRP).