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Learn how to break free from physical pain Monday

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By Kirsten Laskey

Pain can serve as shackles. People feel imprisoned by it because their extreme discomfort prevents from them doing whatever they wish. Eventually, some may turn to the doctor’s office for a prescription to break those invisible shackles.

A presentation titled, “Your Pain: How to Tell Your Story,” will help Los Alamos residents free themselves from pain.

The presentations will be held at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. Monday at the Betty Ehart Senior Center. The New Mexico Pain Initiative and the League of Women Voters of Central New Mexico are presenting the event.

According to its website, the New Mexico Pain Initiative is a member of the Alliance of State Pain Initiatives and was formed in the early 1990s.

The initiative follows four principals:

• educate health care and allied professionals about pain, its treatment and their role in seeing better pain control for citizens of New Mexico;

• provide information to individuals experiencing pain, their families along with the general public to permit responsive and knowledgeable reactions to the problem;

• dispel the myth that pain is inevitable and untreatable, seek local and state legislative involvement; and

• evaluate laws and regulations that may present barriers in relieving pain.

The American Pain Foundation reports pain is felt by a large number of Americans. More than 70 million Americans suffer from chronic pain and each year another 25 million experience acute pain from injuries or surgery, the foundation states.

The presentation has been in operation for at least the last five years. Monday, Nancy Wertz, RN and active member of hospice and home care along with Dr. Walter Foreman, a pain specialist will among those making the presentation.

People from Los Alamos were first introduced to the upcoming presentation during a conference.

“They thought it was wonderful,” said Sarah Rochester, the executive director of Los Alamos Visiting Nurses. She will participate in the presentation.

“It’s really good,” she said. “It addresses each person’s pain individually and determines how, with the help of a physician and others, they can deal with it.

“This way,” Rochester continued, “they become responsible for it.”

Typically, she said, a person will turn to a doctor for prescription to get rid of the pain. The presentation, however, “really teaches each person how to care for their pain.”

Being pro-active is beneficial, Rochester said.

“For whatever our problems, we live with our problems more effectively when we are pro-active. It increases your understanding of it.”