One of the most standard pieces of advice for chronic pain patients is to be physically active. But the physical pain itself combined with a fear of movement (kinesiophobia) due to pain make movement difficult. People with arthritis, fibromyalgia and other chronic pain conditions may feel that certain types of movement are off limits to them, but you may be capable of more than you think.
Loolwa Khazzoom is a women who has experienced chronic pain and disability due to a head-on collision in 1997. Her pain was significant enough to spawn thoughts of suicide. She had been through the conventional medical system for years with no substantial help. Eventually, she found a better way. She shifted her perspective from what she couldn’t do to what she could. Loolwa began to dance. Dancing seemed like a thing of the past, but she decided that there were many different forms of dance and that it could be done with any part of the body. She started with what didn’t hurt – at the time, only her arms. Small, gentle upper body movements morphed into a full body experience within a short period of time as her comfort zone quickly expanded. Khazzoom discovered that the mind-body experience of dance could heal.
Khazzoom felt both physical and emotional pain dissipating with dance. She wanted to share her discovery with others, so she founded Dancing With Pain, a company that helps people with chronic pain safely explore and push the boundaries of their pain in a fun and creative way. The classes emphasize the importance of body and thought awareness. Participants are encouraged to move within their comfort zones, to check negative thoughts and to challenge their fears of movement.
Khazzoom’s personal experience with chronic pain has given her insight into the complex emotional, physical and spiritual dimensions of that experience. If you’ve had enough of the standard chronic pain treatment protocol of medicated symptom management, consider dance as a potential source of healing.