Rich Clementi’s PAIN CORNER
Welcome to Rich Clementi’s “Pain Corner”!
Welcome to Rich Clementi’s “Pain Corner”! In this column, you will embark on a ride through a term we hear used daily, and that word is “PAIN.” Over the last 15 years, I have competed in one of the most physically demanding sports in the world. Being a professional athlete has been a mind blowing experience, but all of those experiences were paid in trade with my body. Over the years, I have racked up a laundry list of injuries including, but not limited to, a dislocated collar bone, a severely damaged ankle, plantar fasciitis, full reconstructive knee surgery, and more dislocated ribs than I thought were humanly possible. Needless to say, as I grew older the healing process became slower and slower.
Wait! You mean I’m not invincible? The drive and the passion were still there, but my own body was fighting against me. To top it all off, injuries started compounding, linking together, and worsening. It was in this moment that I realized I wasn’t a super hero, and I would not always bounce back so easily. My performance started becoming inconsistent and like all athletes, there reaches a day when physically you know you are not the athlete you and everyone else once knew. During this battle with Father Time, I gave a good fight-not with an opponent this time, but within myself. However, I did not accept the fact that I was no longer in control of what was happening to my body. This stark realization lead me on a journey to finding the most healing and effective methods of addressing pain. Initially, I began learning about using foods as anti-inflammatory agents and diet manipulation, as well as the crucial benefits of massage therapy and chiropractic manipulation for the body. I have learned, through trial and error, how not only to stay in the game, but excel.
Most recently, I have found a passion for the pain managment field, and have had the pleasure of learning and experiencing new and innovative ways of treating pain. An interesting perk of working in the field of pain management is the opportunity to observe surgeries in real time. I remember my first operating room experience, and almost salivating like a kid in a candy store. I was viewing all these wonderful invasive and noninvasive procedures, and imagining how these treatments, that I had never heard of, could change the lives of many. These thoughts were followed by some serious feelings of frustration. How had I not heard about all of these procedures? Where were they when I could have used some relief from physical suffering in my own life? Looking back on my own medical experiences, I recalled that no matter who I sought out for a certain problem, I was never referred to another professional, never offered any choices, and never offered an alternate point of view. The conclusion I came to was that once I entered a specialist’s office, that is where I stayed.
We all know “there is more than one way to skin a cat,” and that awareness turned into my mission: discovering options. I knew that my personal understanding, paired with my newfound ability to access the most forward thinking specialists in the field of pain management, provided the perfect opportunity to share and spread a wealth of knowledge. Now, our mission is to challenge points of view, expand knowledge, and share both traditional and non-traditional methods of addressing pain and healing the body.
Each month we will interact with readers and choose certain topics to discuss. We will introduce specialists and share information on a myriad of health services, medical treatments, and technologies to improve physicality and overall quality of life. I look forward to helping readers obtain education from a non-biased, fact-oriented point of view. No one has all of the answers, but knowledge is always king. Please feel free to contact me at email@example.com or contact Metro Fitness Magazine via Facebook for an open or private forum.
It is no secret that emotional pain often goes hand in hand with physical pain. In fact, cultures around the world share the same language and use “hurt” and “pain” interchangeably for both experiences. When I was asked to contribute to this column, and highlight the noteable correlations between physical pain and mental health, I jumped at the chance. As a Certified Rehabilitation Counselor and Mental Health Professional, I know firsthand the startling relationship between these two physological states. I also know too well the deep struggle individuals face when addressing both conditions simultaneosly.
The task of treating both chronic pain and mental illness is difficult because scientists have not yet found a discernible link between the two experiences. However, what is known is that there are distinct correlations between chronic pain and conditions such as Major Depressive Disorder. We also know that chronic pain can exacerbate symptoms of depression and increase risk factors for suicide. Studies even demonstrate that individuals who are more severely depressed feel pain more intensely, thus adding to the intri- cacy of the relationship.
Through my contribution to this column, I hope to deliver information on the linkages between physical pain and emotional health. Tackling the complexities of addressing pain, in any form, may seem daunting, but with healthy coping skills and knowledge, an individual can experience great relief and positive outcomes. “Pain can only feed on pain. Pain cannot feed on joy. It finds it quite indigestible.” -Eckhart Tolle
2. “Depression and Chronic Pain.” NIMH RSS. N.p., n.d. Web. 17 Dec. 2013.
Article written by: Melissa Breland- Recieved her BS in Psychology and MHS in Rehabiltation Counseling. As Certified Rehabilitation Counselor and Menttal Health Professional, she currently provides mental health services throughout the Northshore