Have you ever seen the hilarious black and white clip of Manchester City goalkeeper Bert Trautmann… At least, my brother and I used to find it funny to watch when we were kids and we used to watch every kind of football video imaginable…
Named FWA Footballer of the Year for 1956, Trautmann entered football folklore with his performance in the 1956 FA Cup Final. With 15 minutes of the match remaining Trautmann suffered serious injury after diving at the feet of Birmingham City’s Peter Murphy. Despite his injury he continued to play, making crucial saves to preserve his team’s 3–1 lead. His neck was noticeably crooked as he collected his winners’ medal, when he collects his winners medal, he just rubs his neck casually; three days later an X-ray revealed it to be broken. He had a broken neck! Haha!
Good old Bert was not one to cry in the face of pain… He got on with it. I wonder if he was raised that way?
Yesterday, I spent seemingly hours putting up a new greenhouse in my garden…We are going to grow tomatoes, wheat grass, runner beans, courgettes and all sorts of other things… It is so exciting. Anyway, have you ever seen how complex a greenhouse is?
It must have a million parts… Another million screws and bolts and then fitting the glass… Not only did time seem to vanish… When I was in the bath soaking my backs aches and pains away, I noticed a big cut on my thumb which is really throbbing this morning, yet I felt nothing when it happened, such was my focus…
Ok, so a cut on the thumb is quite different to Bert Trautmann’s broken neck.
Maybe you an recall when you were last in pain. Maybe it was a headache (a hangover?) or a bang on the knee. How did you handle it? What about for something more chronic? What about when you were a child? Did you cope better or worse? Do children today cope better or worse? Where am I going with this? Let me explain….
Dr. Stefan Friedrichsdorf, at the Children’s Hospitals of Minnesota, teaches his young patients self-hypnosis to deal with their pain. I am absolutely delighted to hear about this.
As we have seen this year in a wide variety of cases, pain is something which can be altered dramatically with the mind and the use of hypnosis… However, with children people are more wary and especially so if you are then teaching them to do it for themselves… I love it though!
A children’s hospice conjures up images of Charles Dickens — gray beds, gray sheets and hopelessness. What could be a sadder place to work?
That’s where palliative care comes in, Friedrichsdorf says. “We’re not the death and dying squad. It’s not about adding days to a child’s life, but adding life to a child’s days. I tell parents, ‘We celebrate every single day.'”
But pain, and symptoms such as nausea and breathlessness, can stand in the way. “Too many of the families who come to us have heard, ‘I’m so sorry, but there’s nothing more we can do for the pain,'” Friedrichsdorf says. “Here, we never give up, and there’s always a lot we can do.”
Often, that means much higher doses of pain medication than is traditional. It also means non-pharmacological treatments — hypnosis, biofeedback, acupuncture, massage — that might sound at first like “granola medicine.”
In fact, mood and anxiety can influence pain profoundly, Friedrichsdorf says. Think of a football player who’s so focused on a game that he doesn’t know he’s broken his ankle until the game is over, he says. When you have a headache and you’re sitting at your cabin, gazing at the sunset, your headache usually gets better, right? When you’re stuck in traffic and your boss is shouting at you on your cell phone, it gets worse.
Dr Stefan’s ambitious goal is to train young patients to control their own pain. One tool is “self-hypnosis.” Friedrichsdorf teaches children to relax, breathe deeply and achieve tranquility by using imagery. “We teach them to ‘go to your favorite place in your mind,’ and eventually to find the ‘pain switch’ in their brain,” he explains.
This is wonderful to hear… Imagine if you were taught these kinds of skills as a child… How differently would you react to pain today? Would you consider teaching your own children this kind of life skill and setting them up to be much more in control of their own mind and physiology… I know I will be…