Devil’s Snare (or, The Paradox of Chronic Pain)

Yesterday, I had a driving lesson in the middle of a flare. It was awful. I was doing everything I could to focus on the road whilst in excruciating pain, and I kept saying to myself, RELAX.  I focused on my pelvic muscles and tried to let them go; I’ve noticed they are always braced when I’m not paying attention to them.  But of course, they would be – our body braces against pain!

Suddenly, the image of Harry, Ron and Hermione entwined in the arms of the Devil’s Snare (Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s/Sorcerer’s Stone, of course!). They’re all wriggling and panicking and the boys ask what to do.  Hermione says: ‘Just relax.  If you don’t, it will only kill you faster.’

That’s the paradox of chronic pain. Stress and tension makes the pain worse. But pain makes you stressed and tense!  In the words of the love of my life, Ron Weasley: ‘Kill us faster?  Oh, NOW I can relax!’

I suppose this could be quite a depressing analogy, were it not for the fact that there is a way out of Devil’s Snare.  Anyone remember?

Devil’s Snare, Devil’s Snare/ It’s deadly fun… but it sulks in the sun.

The Devil’s Snare hates sunlight. So the next time Devil’s Snare neuropathic pain has you in its grip: shine a light. Meet a friend, watch a film that makes you laugh, have a chocolate biscuit (or twelve). It’s so hard to focus on relaxing. But who can stay uptight in the warmth of the sun? Do something that makes you smile, laugh, and breathe slower.

LUMOS OLEM.

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