Hi, I'm Dr. Sabrina Nichole Crouch, host of the podcast "F*ck Being Stuck". I was inspired by my own journey to healing chronic pain using meditation. This podcast spotlights the unrelenting women who went from managing to mastering their health challenges, and the badass alternative practitioners who are changing the way we heal.
Welcome to F**k being Stuck – Five Steps to Mastering Chronic Pain for Women of Color. Now, I want you to know that these steps are not in any particular order.
The first step is to understand the facts and the narrative around chronic pain. More than 50 million Americans have been diagnosed with some type of chronic pain condition.
Statistically, women are more likely to suffer from chronic pain than men. And due to racial bias and health disparities, people of color fear worse and don’t always receive adequate care when interacting with healthcare professionals.
A 2016 Princeton University study of white, first and second year medical students found that 40% of them believe the myth that black people are biologically different from white people and don’t feel pain in the same way.
So let that sink in.
My question is, should we believe this narrative? Is this narrative helpful to our healing? Because what this means is that we’re less likely to be believed when we talk about our chronic pain. We’re less likely to receive treatment. And if given medication, we’re given lower doses of pain medication.
The good thing is we can learn new ways of navigating through this minefield of chronic pain.
The second step is to get outside the box of Western medicine and consider alternative solutions.
Western medicine, when you’re talking about pain management, that’s really all they’re doing, is helping you manage. They’re not helping heal you.
So I’m proposing we consider alternatives.
For example, what about going to see a doctor of osteopathic medicine? What about going to see a doctor of integrative medicine, an acupuncturist, a therapist?
What about learning to meditate, learning emotional freedom, technique, or other relaxation therapies?
There are two things that Western medicine doesn’t consider when treating you for chronic pain, and that’s the power of your mind and the power of your spirit.
Those are the two things I propose we use to our advantage.
The third step is to dismantle the formula for suffering.
Kristin Neff, a psychologist, said that suffering equals pain times resistance.
So on the surface, it may seem that we can’t do anything about the pain, but I propose we change the way that we talk about how we feel in our body.
Instead of using the word pain, I suggest we describe the sensations we’re feeling. Is it tingling, shooting, dull, aching, or throbbing? These descriptors are much more helpful than the overarching term pain.
Now, I want to talk to you about resistance. Resistance is the refusal to accept.
In essence, we’re not accepting this condition as it is. We’re focusing our attention on how we want it to be, which is gone.
This resistance causes tension and stress. You know, the thoughts that get caught in your head: This pain will never go away. I can’t take it anymore. Why me?
With those words and those phrases are the emotions that we connect to. It is the tension and the stress. Those emotions are fear, anxiety, depression, and worry about the future.
Pain may be inevitable, but suffering is optional.
I believe once we shift our resistance, we’re going to feel a sense of freedom, at least for a moment. And those moments will lead us to believe that more freedom and relief is possible.
It’s going to be like planting a seed. Suffering is going to be transformed.
Instead of focusing on pain, I suggest we focus on a new way of being that involves being present and embracing the moment we have. Being grateful even with pain.
Because the reality is the only moment we have is this one right here, the present one. By wishing the pain to go away, we’re wishing away moments of our life.
Step four is to get regulated. There’s so much talk about self care, but I think if you learn to self regulate it’ll change your life.
I propose we focus on our internal world and learn techniques to self regulate.
Human beings have an adequate potential for learning self control of their bodies and biological functions. This is a skill we can learn.
It all starts with proper breathing. We often breathe improperly.
People with chronic pain typically have a change in their respiratory pattern. Instead of deeper abdominal breathing, we often result in breathing from our chest. This leads to an overuse of other muscles. Other than the ones that we should be tapping into that are going to trigger a slowing down of our autonomic nervous system.
Proper breathing is going to allow you to reduce stress and anxiety, induce a state of relaxation, lower your heart rate and blood pressure.
You’ll be better able to handle stress, improve your sleep, improve your blood circulation, improve the stability of your core muscles and slow down your breathing rate.
Once we learn to regulate our breathing, we’re going to automatically regulate our hearts and our brain waves. We’re going to be able to easily shift into a relaxed and restorative state on demand. But first, you have to practice.
There are so many apps out there: iBreathe and Calm. They all have breathing pacers.
With practice, you’re going to be able to do it on demand without using the pacer.
My last tip is to find yourself a squad. Social support is so important to your resilience and it can help mediate the negative effects of stress. Women of color, we often suffer in silence.
We dress up the pain in a cute outfit, we slap on lipstick, we keep going. That needs to stop.
The whole idea of pushing through at all costs at your own expense can’t continue.
I want you to get around people that think outside the box. I want you to start researching holistic medicine, alternative therapies, and combine different modalities to find the right combination for you.
Join a support group. Find a group of women who are on the same journey as you.
When you connect with people who are on the same path, it’s going to give you permission to begin to listen to your body and what it needs.
This is where my program fits in. I created an intimate community where women of color with chronic pain can support each other and learn new strategies while on my own journey.
F**k Being Stuck became my declaration of liberation. It was all about me becoming aware that I was stuck and how my condition was affecting my mind, my body and my spirit.
It was a willingness to try something different that was outside of my comfort zone that led to my transformation. Having a choice is empowering, and I want to offer you an opportunity to go on this journey with me.
Do you want to treat your symptoms as part of your body, or treat your whole being, mind, body and spirit?
This podcast spotlights the unrelenting women who went from managing to mastering life’s challenges, and the badass alternative practitioners who are changing the way we heal physically and emotionally.
I’m Dr. Sabrina Nichole, a licensed psychologist, author and motivational speaker, but more importantly I’m a person who was stuck and had to find my way through a chronic pain condition by unconventional methods.
I’m on a mission to help women get unstuck from their thought patterns that no longer serve them in order to find relief and freedom in a way they did not think was possible. My guests and I will share stories of our journey from stuck to unstuck. There is more than one way to heal, and we will explore various methods on this show.
If you are willing to open your mind to possibilities, then this is the right place for you.