Pain is my friend - my constant companion!

That is my new mantra but a fat lot of good it is doing me.

I suppose it is because I am so uncomplaining that nobody gives me sympathy. And if you’ve heard that it is because I complain too much that nobody listens anymore, then you have been listening to the wrong people.

I suppose it might be a bit inappropriate for me to ask colleagues to rub my knee, but needs (or knees) must...

I need a new knee and the old one keeps reminding me of that fact every time I walk, stand or try to sleep.

More recently I have done something to my shoulder so I have a right shoulder and left knee. My eyes aren’t great, I am getting to the age when my hearing isn’t as sharp as it used to be. In other words, I make a damn fine reporter - by my standards, anyway.

The reason I am talking about this is that I have discovered that it is all in my head.

I visited my favourite osteopath about my shoulder and he was telling me that latest research is discovering that pain is actually in the head.

We’ve always known that the brain is the nerve centre and the brain tells you you are in pain. But until now - if I heard correctly - we believed that the brain send messages to any injured part of our body basically telling it: “There’s something wrong. Feel pain.”

But this new research seems to indicate that the whole pain thing remains in the brain and pain relief can be found in the mind.

It’s quite an interesting thought and would explain how mystics, for instance, can endure beds of nails, fire pits and extreme bodily positions without feeling pain.

It could also explain why, if I am feeling down, tired or otherwise below par, a stubbed toe or small knock feel even more sore than usual.

It would be dangerous, even fatal, to “cure” pain. We need to feel it to know there is something wrong. Training your brain to ignore it is not going to do you much good when you have acute appendicitis or if you are having a heart attack.

But it would be amazing if chronic pain could be controlled.

Imagine those suffering from arthritis no longer having to suffer.

There are so many incurable conditions that cause huge suffering.

If this research reaches obvious conclusions then people could be cured by something as simple as hypnotherapy, for instance.

I don’t understand it and the pains I am feeling definitely appear to be in my knee and shoulder but it tuns out it’s all in my mind - mind over matter!

While I can see enormous benefits and a whole new range of options for curing pain, the whole thing is a bit annoying.

All my life people have suggested that I can be hard-headed and stubborn. I am independent and have pretty much done everything in my life that I ever wanted to do.

So why can’t I control my own brain? If pain is all in my mind then, like the mystics, I should be able to control it. It’s not going to happen! This is the same brain that has annoyed me all my life by planting songs in my mind that refuse to go away even when I am mad at the world. It was especially annoying when, as a child, I was mad at my parents, loved nobody, was loved by nobody and, in the depths of my juvenile despair, had to listen to Zip-a-dee-do-dah in my head1

“Clear your mind. Think of nothing.” That advice has been given to me on many occasions for many different reasons. . How do you do that?

I guess the answer is that I can’t - not even if extreme anger or sadness does not rid me of the song in my head, trying to clear my brain will probably end up with an entire musical in my head. So, pain remains my friend and knowing it is in my head doesn’t help at all.