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Pain is the best teacher

‘I have learned to accept pain and made friends with it’. ‘I thank all the people, circumstances and events which gave me pain as it helped me to gain insight into my own self and become a better human being and closer to God.’ 

This is a very surprising statement as very often we hate pain and dislike pain and want to run away from pain. But we do not analyze why we got pain. 

I would divide pain into physical pain, mental or emotional pain, social pain and nowadays there is also spiritual pain. So pain is part and parcel of our lives so why do not we understand it other than shunning away. As more you run away or hate it, it increases in magnitude. 


Physical Pain: 

Generally physically pain is attributed to any disease or discomfort in the body.Physical pain is mechanism of nature to draw attention of mind to look into that particular organ. It is defense mechanism of our body to safeguard the life and for efficient functioning of the body cells. 

Acute pain is cause of any trauma, injury or wound and usually as wound heals with proper nursing care pain resolves. What disturbs is chronic pain. In modern era, lifestyle diseases like cardiac ailments, arthritis, spondylosis, backache, headaches, cancer all are reasons of pain in daily life affecting quality of life. Often patients get depressed and frustrated with their disease and visit doctors who help to alleviate pain through medicine but still pain is not totally gone. Especially being a preventive cardiologist I mostly see cardiac patients who are always having same kind of pain or other. 

The initial reaction to the pain is worry, fear and whether I will die of heart attack. Analysising cause of pain is important. Sometimes patients just get chest pain on two minutes after walk, they stop for one minute it is gone but after that they can walk for half to one hour. Even patients post bypass surgery and angioplasty get pain in-between but since they are post operative, they are not worried but the group which have been advised surgeries and not undergone it are usually worried and panic stricken that their whole day goes in frustration. 

The basic unrealistic expectation which human mind has is ‘there should be no pain’. Pain can be reduced, removed but it can also come back. 

A sound and balanced mind will evaluate the nature of disease, understand the natural course of the disease and know what to expect and not expect in a disease considering chest pain with treatment we can reduce it or eliminate it but sometimes chest can pain. Almost 87% chest pain is non-cardiac related. But we always panic and do not analysis. The pain in chest which increases or walking, exercise and exertional activities and get relieved by rest is connected to heart. But many times pain gets relieved on walking and the pain is constant it could be due to muscular pain which is more common cause. 

As a physician I come across hundred people daily complaining some pain or other so whole day my mind is focused into analyzing and explaining patients we still scared and worried which I attribute to the next category of pain i.e. mental pain or emotional pain. 

Mental  Pain: 

This is the latest type of pain as most of healthy normal people may not have physical pain but emotional pain is universal from a small child to an old man. 

Why emotional pain? 

I have been asking this question to many since childhood and I was student of yoga and meditation apart from being medical doctor that has made me think deeply on this subject. 

Human mind is a complex blend of intellect, emotions, thoughts and is never at rest. It has been researched that almost in a day in our mind there are 60,000 to 80,000 thoughts out of which 90% are repetitive in nature. 

We target good happy events and have generated a habit of storing negative events where we have been unhappy, sad, frustrated and keep on ruminating over these thoughts.Life is a choice. In a given moment we can be happy or sad but we choose sadness. It is easy we have to choose happiness. Be a positive thinker. Most heart patients J have observed who get the disease are always worried, stressed and are bugged down by negative circumstances and events like fights at home with spouse or children, problem with colleagues or boss, financial losses or not achieving goal in life as par their expectations. At IPC, we go to root cause of ailments so we study in each and every case that what emotional disturbances lead to cardiac ailments. In a recent study in London they found that bad marriages where spouses fights and are hostile with daily arguments have attack risk 34% higher than others. 

Mr. Ranade (Name Changed) had undergone three angioplasties even after which he used to get the chest pain and pain in shoulder. Even after our Cardiac Rehabilitation program (Diet/yoga and exercise) he did not improve. I was not ready to give up on the case and when we took very detailed session on Rational Emotive Therapy, we discovered that lot of anger was stored in his mind cause of his step mother in childhood who has troubled him a lot most. Often I have seen that all diseases have its roots in the mind. Hence Yoga should be adopted as a way of life as it says ‘ Yoga Chittavrutta Nirodha’ means aim of yoga is to balance mind and removing impurities of mind and purify your personality. Yoga also helps to channel yours energy and emotions into positive and action and emotions. 

Understand that it is important to balance your emotions for a ‘healthy body and also if you have disease, releasing your stored worries, guilt, frustrations is the only going to help you to control the your disease. Simple proverbs like ‘Forgive and Forget’ are simply forgotten. People often say I can not help circumstances as such I can not help it. That’s why it is said ‘God Helps them who help themselves’ which has deep meaning that we have to look within, analyze and balance our way to happiness. Also ‘Circumstances are the rulers of the weak and instruments of the wise’. All human beings have 24 hours only and those are successful have most adverse events in their lives but ‘Gandhiji wouldn’t have Gandhiji if he would have not been insulted and thrown out of train. But just one incident motivated him and spear headed the freedom movement. 

When there is excessive physical, mental or emotional pain you often think of dying and you do not want to exist in this world. You start asking why am I living, why am I born and when will I die, where will I go after I die, who is God? Where is god & why cannot I see him? When such questions arise you are entering another zone of pain i.e. spiritual pain. 

Spiritual  Pain: 

There is situation where you are surrounded by your spouse, kids, parents and have house, good job and yet there is emptiness and loneliness. Often I have seen even patients rich or poor one common complaint ‘No one understands me’. Some who don’t say I can see in their eyes that how they are surrounded by caring people yet are having walls of isolation. Then mind seeks higher purpose, to unite with higher self God. I always advise that any form of pain, discomfort we should thank God as it just helps us to come closer to him. The purpose of human life is to evolve and unite with almighty God but in day-to-day mundane routine we forget the purpose for which we are born. It is in pain we remember God more often than happiness. 

As I have written my principle in the beginning which I follow in life I have only become, better and stronger person with all the physical, mental and emotional sufferings I have undergone. I thank God everyday and submit myself to become instruments in hands of God. Then life becomes music with inner peace and joy and happiness.


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