I will preface this blog by saying for family and friends who do not want to know too much about my intimate sexual life you may want to skip the second half of this blog 😉
However, considering my blog is about Sex, sass and Spinal Cord Injury Adventures … I would be remiss not stay true to topic!
A majority of folks who sustain a spinal cord injury suffer from extreme chronic pain in many forms after their accident. Before I broke my neck I would look at somebody in a wheelchair and wonder what they felt? … I thought they couldn’t feel their legs or their stomach, etc. Boy was I wrong on so many accounts!
Many of us suffer from something called Neuropathic Pain. Essentially, it is nerve pain that manifests itself in different ways throughout the body 24/7. It’s almost like a cruel joke to be paralyzed and feel pain from the inside out. Regardless, this pain can result in feelings of pins and needles, burning fire, glass cutting you from the inside out, etc. It is different for every person.
Regardless, this chronic pain never goes away and can affect our daily lives with respect to productivity, quality of life, focus, and so much more. I find being paralyzed quite easy at this point in my SCI career, but you never quite get used to the chronic pain.
Personally, I suffer from 4 serious chronic pains at the same time, which can completely throw me off my game on certain days.
- Neuropathic Pain from the chest down and in my arms – feels like burning pins and needles day and night
- Hypersensitivity on my hands and forearms – feels like little shards of glass cutting me at all times
- Neck Pain – from multiple surgeries I have scar tissue damage that prevents me from sitting up in my chair too long, and feels like someone is slowly cutting me with a butter knife on the back of my neck
- Shoulder Pain – I suppose due to overuse it is a combination of nerve damage, musculoskeletal damage, myofascial pain, and soft tissue damage
Since my accident 7 ½ years ago I have always been on the mission to reduce my pain as opposed to finding a cure with respect to stem cell therapy for walking. I have tried so many techniques, of which two I find to be the most successful. However, the pain is always with me no matter what I do – although pain is just a signal from the brain, so I am convinced that if I keep trying I will be able to reduce it greatly on a permanent level one day!
I have tried:
- Opioids – definitely not recommended as opioids just make you drown out life and they don’t actually work on the right receptors in the brain for nerve pain
- Electrical Stimulation Acupuncture
- Neural Muscular Massage
- Physical Therapy
- Lithium Protocol – this one nearly killed me as it can be very dangerous
- Cold Laser Therapy
I’m sure there are few more I am forgetting, but I’m constantly trying to find new ways to reduce pain. The two most successful methods I’ve found in my life are Meditation/Hypnosis and Sex. I will dive into these two a little bit further.
MEDITATION / HYPNOSIS
Considering pain is just a signal from the brain hypnosis and meditation can be very effective, but only if you practice regularly, and are disciplined in your efforts.
I worked with a hypnosis instructor who helped me for over a year creating guided visualizations for me to listen to at 30 minute increments. Meditation is more challenging for me because when I sit quietly all of the feelings of pain are in the forefront of my mind. With hypnosis I find with gentle music in the background and guided instructions I use my mind to enter a world I created to reduce pain. It is kind of like a special room where enter through a red door and inside that room is a beautiful lake and ocean with clouds, beaches, and floaty toys. I’ve taught myself to look down at my body and leave my pain floating above. I know it sounds peculiar, but with years of practice it really helps reduce the pain on the days where the pain just seems unbearable.
Admittedly, I should practice every day, which I don’t do religiously anymore, but it is one of my 2018 resolutions to continue to rigorously get back into it.
I go into a dark closet, tilt my chair back, and listen to the recording. The burning feeling of pins and needles changes to a cool and relaxing feeling. It is hard to describe unless you practice this on your own, and it may be hard to believe that this actually works.
In the beginning I could barely sit still for five minutes, but that’s how you have to start. Try meditation or hypnosis for one minute, then work up to two, then three, etc. There are so many recordings online that you can download for free, and you have to find a voice that is soothing to you, which can relax you.
The second most effective technique for reducing my pain, if you can believe it, is
SEX. Sex is a natural pain reliever — Sex causes increased production of oxytocin, which is often referred to as the “love hormone.” Before orgasm, oxytocin, released from the brain, surges and is accompanied by the release of endorphins, our natural pain-killing hormones.
When you are paralyzed from the chest down the feeling of sex is quite different than what used to be … It is not “Normal” in the sense of the way things feel. While I cannot orgasm in the traditional sense I still have my own type of feeling from sexual intercourse.
As I mentioned above I suffer from neuropathic pain from the chest down and in my arms, which manifests itself in sharp pins and needles feelings throughout my entire body. Generally, this is a very uncomfortable & painful feeling that feels like someone is burning me from the inside out 24/7.
When I have sex these pins and needles change in there, from the best I can describe, density of feeling. The feeling goes from a sharp burning to a heightened pleasurable tingling sensation throughout my body. It is kind of like I am on the brink of orgasm the entire time during sex, which I’m not sure can be attributed to the chemical release of hormones from my brain or the emotional connection I feel with my partner when having sex.
Picture this (yes this may be a little bit graphic;)):
I’m lying in my bed naked with these burning sensations throughout my body, but my partner comes over and starts kissing my neck, my ears, and whispering intimate details about what he wants to do to me. The visual image starts to change the sensation of these pins and needles in my body along with the tremendous love & safety I feel from him being on top of me. After a lot of mental and physical foreplay it is easy to get lost in one another and truly live in the moment of being naked, sensual, and stimulated.
Being aroused, as many of us know, changes the way we act and feel in that moment. Once my partner starts engaging in sexual intercourse with me I look into his eyes and see his arousal, which, in turn, starts to make it even more pleasurable for me. I forget all about the burning sensation throughout my body and I create a mental image in my mind of what sex used to feel like before my accident when I was on the brink of orgasm. There must be some sort of mental connection I feel with my partner because my body starts becoming warm and tingling in the best way possible.
Once I see my partner start to reach the brink of his orgasm my body goes nuts. When you really love someone and care about them, and you see them receiving pleasure because of you the feelings become even more heightened. Interestingly, once my partner orgasms the tingling sensation in my body reaches a maximum level of passion where I feel like I am experiencing the orgasm with him in that moment. Giving pleasure is equally as satisfying for me as receiving it. Sex today is unlike anything I have felt with respect to pain relief over the last seven years. No amount of drugs, opioids, meditation, acupuncture etc. can bring me to that feeling.
Before dating my boyfriend, even before the accident, I had never felt that level of connection with another man or woman. There must be some sort of mental interconnectivity we share when we are intimate with one another. The only other time in my life I can recall such connection in regards to the feeling of pleasure was probably in my young 20s on a copious amount of drugs. Naturally, not the healthiest way to feel something, but it was my “go to” default setting.
Having said all of that, the concept of pain and pleasure is quite a well-known phenomenon for those who have full sensation. What is it about pain and pleasure that create such erotic feelings, which results in leaving us constantly wanting more? I have no idea, but I can say it is the most wonderful pain reduction technique for me above all else!
Moral of this blog: Have more sex!
Even the sensual act of talking about sex with your partner can result in arousal, change your brain signals, and create the most intimate of feelings. I suppose that is why 1-800 sex lines do so well 😉 Sex is primal instinct that can change the way many of us with different levels of sensation reduce our pain.