Humming Through Pain, Small Comforts Help
Hum-dee-dum, hum-dee-dee. I like to start my day humming. This is a part of my everyday wake-up routine. You see, when I first wake, I’m greeted with unpleasant body feelings. Chronic pain does not wish to be disturbed. My initial movement is pain provoking and there is no way around this beast. It’s jarring, like the feedback loop of a screeching microphone. Whoa!
I sit for a moment. Next, I reach for the handles of my walker and then I start to hum. Doing this creates a small pleasant vibration in my body. Granted, it’s tiny, but it’s there. It provides me a focus point, and mentally, I work hard to direct my attention toward its soft vibration. Although it is but a whisper in comparison to the feedback loop, I find it comforting.
It takes a wee while but my muscle and nerve endings settle down. And, as long as I move slowly with great caution I can seize the day.
Now, you might ask, why not sing loudly to drown out the noise of pain?
It actually takes a fair bit of exertion to sign out loud, so that’s not productive. Plus, I admit that I can’t sing worth a sack of beans. I lack tone and pitch, so that’s a good way to ruin a song.
Humming is easy to do and there is no need for structure; I can do it whenever I please. It also aids in sinus health. The exhaling that occurs when you hum pushes out air slightly more forcefully than quiet breathing. This, in turn, releases gas produced in our sinuses. Humming improves the airflow between the sinuses and the nasal cavity.
The psychology benefits are many-fold. In addition to boosting your spirits, humming is also calming. In fact, humming plays a role in various meditation practices aimed to lessen stress. This has been documented in research studies by measuring brain imaging scans of people who use the OM chant, which ends with a humming sound. Vibrations from the chant, or hum, stimulates the vagus nerve which elicits electrical signals in areas of the brain associated with lessening depression.
Knowing every day will start with a big ole dose of pain can be a downer. Somedays this ticks me off. However, most days, humming my way through the first bit gives me enough small comfort to find my way to coffee. Ah, coffee …the nectar of the Gods.
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No two people are alike, and that would include people who live with a disability. Yet, if there is one common denominator shared amongst them all, I would venture to say it would be feelings associated with shame.
Of course, we don’t need a reminder to love our mothers but, from what I can see, today’s the day to let her know.
How can I do that?
Discomfort is a big distraction, and, today, it is demanding my attention. I swear that my foot is eight times larger than usual. How do you lean into pain and what does that even mean?