Pain Entered My Life Unannounced -- Now, I Manage Chronic Pain With Mindfulness | Vidyamala Burch

I am on more than nodding terms with chronic pain. I was 16 in 1976 when pain came into my life and basically took it over. Before the pain, I was a fit, sporty, young woman -- I loved to be outside hiking in the awe-inspiring New Zealand hills. Being active, moving without having to think about it, and enjoying what my body could do were absolutely fundamentals in my life. Like most people, I took these things totally for granted.

My first accident -- innocuous enough, you would think -- was pulling a friend out of a swimming pool. This revealed a back problem where one of my vertebrae had fractured and slipped forward on the one below. I went on to have two major spinal surgeries wh