The Pain Companion: Everyday Wisdom for Living With and Moving Beyond Chronic Pain

The Pain Companion: Everyday Wisdom for Living With and Moving Beyond Chronic Pain


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A Practical, Gentle, and Empathetic Approach to Pain

Where do you turn when medication and medical treatments do not relieve persistent, debilitating pain? What can you do when pain interferes with work, family, and social life and you no longer feel like the person you used to be? Relying on firsthand experience with severe nerve pain, author Sarah Anne Shockley accompanies you on your journey through pain and offers compassionate, practical advice to ease difficult emotions and address lifestyle challenges. Her approach helps reduce the toll that living in pain takes on relationships, self-image, and well-being while cultivating greater ease and resilience on a daily basis. Dozens of accessible, uplifting practices guide you every step of the way from a life overcome by pain to a life of greater comfort and peace. The Pain Companion also offers profound insights for medical practitioners and invaluable guidance for anyone who loves or cares for others in pain.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781608685707
Publisher: New World Library
Publication date: 06/05/2018
Pages: 192
Sales rank: 611,804
Product dimensions: 5.10(w) x 7.50(h) x 0.40(d)

About the Author

Sarah Anne Shockley is an award-winning filmmaker and former university instructor who has lived with debilitating neuralgia from thoracic outlet syndrome for more than ten years. Because her condition was unresponsive to existing traditional or alternative therapies, she developed a unique method of pain management and pain reduction not reliant on pharmaceuticals or medical intervention. She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Retired surgeon Bernie S. Siegel speaks, writes, and runs support groups in his effort to empower patients. His books include Love, Medicine & Miracles and 365 Prescriptions for the Soul. He lives in Woodbridge, Connecticut.

Read an Excerpt


I have lived with continuous, often intense physical pain since the fall of 2007. Every aspect of my life has been deeply affected, as certainly are the lives of those of you reading these words who also suffer from chronic pain. Living in constant pain has been one of the most challenging things I have ever had to undergo in my life. It has been difficult not only because of the physical suffering, but also due to the intense emotional repercussions. These emotional states include loss, grief, shame and terror; and can be nearly as demanding as the physical pain.

During this time, I have often felt isolated and alone. I did not have access to a support group, nor did I feel well enough to attend one if I had. You may find yourself in a similar situation now. I have written this book to offer you the companion I wish I’d had, a guide on your journey to living with more ease and grace even in the midst of pain and, ultimately, to relieving and releasing pain.

The Pain Companion is not meant to replace conventional physical remedies, medications or procedures, or the many excellent alternative healing modalities available today. Instead, this book addresses the inner life of physical pain, how our responses to pain affect both its potency and longevity, and how that relationship has the potential to either contribute to prolonged suffering or provide a pathway to restoring health and well-being. It provides practical advice for living with chronic pain and for relieving suffering on mental, emotional, and physical levels.


Part One: Pain Moves In, addresses the ways physical suffering affects our lives. It shines light on how pain moves in and takes over our experience, and how we respond to it.

Part Two: The Emotional Life of Chronic Pain addresses the very deep and persistent fears, anxieties, sadness, anger and shame that living with chronic physical pain tends to engender, intensify and hold in place. These are the unseen but potent sides of pain that are seldom talked about and usually given very little room for expression. They include emotional, psychological and spiritual dimensions which are very much interwoven with each other and with the nature of physical pain itself.

Part Two also offers simple, practical steps to work with and help ease these psychological and emotional consequences of living with pain. Part Three: Meditative Approaches to Physical Pain, presents 11 meditative exercises I developed for myself to help open a path to physical relief and release. These are the most effective methods I found to create a more beneficial and healing relationship with the pain in my body. More than any other approach I had been offered by medical or therapeutic models, they helped reduce the amount of physical pain I was experiencing. In Part Four: When Pain Is the Teacher, I present some of the most important life lessons I have learned with pain as my mentor, which offer invaluable wisdom for living life with more ease, grace and wisdom. This section also discusses creating true healing and transformation in life while moving on from the place of pain.

I cannot know your personal suffering, of course; only you can. But I do understand the experience of being in significant and relentless pain for long periods of time, and I understand the fear, sadness and frustration associated with long-term physical debilitation. So, I can say that this book has been written from inside of pain, a perspective on the experience and the healing of pain that we are seldom offered.

I honor you for the courageous journey you are on. May these ideas help you cultivate deep compassion for yourself and aid you in finding increased well-being, peace and solace as well as bodily relief.

Table of Contents


Chapter 1 Life Taken Over by Pain
Chapter 2 The Submersion of the Self
Chapter 3 When Pain Won’t Leave
Chapter 4 Feeling Bad About Feeling Bad

Chapter 5 Pain’s Emotional Traps
Chapter 6 Guilt and Shame
Chapter 7 Anger and Blame
Chapter 8 Victimization and Powerlessness
Chapter 9 Fear, Anxiety, and Stress
Chapter 10 Isolation and Loneliness
Chapter 11 Invisibility and Silence
Chapter 12 Physical and Emotional Exhaustion
Chapter 13 Sadness and Loss

Chapter 14 Discovering Pain’s Purpose
Chapter 15 The Body Made Wrong
Chapter 16 Finding a New Approach
Chapter 17 Communicating with Pain
Chapter 18 Soothing the Wild Animal
Chapter 19 Introduction to Meditative Exercises
Chapter 20 Releasing Breath
Chapter 21 Unlocking Contraction
Chapter 22 Paying Attention to Pain
Chapter 23 Shifting Your Relationship to Pain
Chapter 24 Loving the Places that Hurt
Chapter 25 Imaging Pain’s Form
Chapter 26 Giving Pain What It Wants
Chapter 27 Writing Pain a Letter of Complaint
Chapter 28 Pain As Messenger
Chapter 29 Telling Pain Your Story
Chapter 30 Listening to Pain

Chapter 31 Resistance Is Futile
Chapter 32 Having Compassion for Yourself
Chapter 33 What I Learned From Pain
Chapter 34 The Nature of True Healing
Chapter 35 Enlisting Pain as an Ally
Chapter 36 You Are Not Your Pain
Chapter 37 Some Concluding Thoughts

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

“This very important book offers valuable advice and ideas for making life with pain easier that can only come from someone who has lived through it. I wholeheartedly recommend it.”
— Tracy A. Newkirk, MD

“A practical, insightful, and compassionate guide into and through the lives of chronic pain sufferers. It is beautifully written and sensitive. For those who have searched to make sense of chronic pain, here is a packet of understanding — a place where hope and possibilities live.”
— Amber Wolf, PhD, Holistic Science and Alternative Therapies

“The go-to resource when nothing else works when you have chronic pain. The intuition, wisdom, exercises and meditations offered by Sarah Anne Shockley are helpful beyond measure and can assist you in your journey to find your true self. This is a must-read book.”
— Michael A. DeFino, DC

The Pain Companion is a long-awaited book that offers important insights into the world of chronic pain. Shockley gives a comprehensive and profound look at the meaning within the experience of pain. I highly recommend this book for anyone, especially for people living with pain, caregivers, and medical and rehabilitation professionals.”
— Thaïs Mazur, OTR, PhD, Integrative Medicine

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