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There’s  another side of pain

In our April edition of the HealthFirst, we examine the issue of pain management, something we all at some point in life have to face. Each of us has a different level of tolerance for pain and, when it comes to relief, no two people are alike. For many, though, it’s a combination of remedies and time, lot’s of time.

Sometimes I’ve wondered if pain is just a way of getting our attention — something calling out to us, redirecting us and sending us down a new path. For me, pain from a bulging disk in my spine gave me time to reflect, at times more than I thought I wanted. There was time spent waiting in the chiropractor’s office; there was time lying on my back with an ice pack on the affected area; and there was time devoted to learning what brought relief and what brought more pain.

Then suddenly everything shifted, the pain subsided. Was it an adjustment that had done the trick? Reiki? Massage? Yoga? The irritation continued to call out from time to time, but it wasn’t the focus of my day. It was there to remind me when it was time for a walk, time for the exercises the chiropractor recommended, time to get back to yoga class. It was like a timer going off when the balance of things had gone too far in one direction.

Maybe pain is a test. How will we cope? What are we willing to give up? Just who are we anyway? Lincoln Geiger of Lyndeborough has answered that call in the days and months since the fall of 2012 when a bull rammed into him at Wilton’s Four Corners Community Farm, knocking him off his feet.

Geiger suffered three fractures to his pelvis, three cracked ribs and a lacerated liver. He was in the hospital for six weeks, where doctors put him on morphine and then opioid-based pain pills. Geiger told us that it was the support of the community that kept his spirits up, and his positive attitude in turn helped with the healing process. Now he’s on a mission: To live life to the fullest and give back every day.

Geiger’s story makes pain seem almost like a gift, a different sort of gift than we’re used to, but it made him stronger or maybe it showed him just how strong he really is and how much he is truly loved.

So perhaps pain is an opportunity, one that opens us to the world around us and to others.

In reporter Ashley Saari’s cover story on pain management, some health experts share different paths to overcoming, both acute and chronic afflictions. When we start out on our journey of finding the remedy, we often don’t know what the solution will be. Each of us is on a path of discovery. We hope Geiger’s story will be the inspiration for you, that is was for us, to continue down the path, and that one of the experts we interviewed will have some insight that strikes a chord.

As we transition into warmer weather, we’ll all be happy for the return of old routines, some of which will mean more time spent outdoors. Hopefully, there will be room for some new ones, too. Perhaps a new hobby or new pet is around the corner. However you spend your time, we hope you’ll remember your health and that of the ones you love.

Priscilla Morrill, HealthFirst editor

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