I realised very early in my life that helping others brought me joy and purpose.- Jenny Lo Ricco
A Warrnambool health practitioner was inspired to write a book during the coronavirus pandemic.
Jenny Lo Ricco, a former nurse, said she witnessed the health impacts COVID-19 was having on a number of people.
Ms Lo Ricco, who is a qualified Bowen therapist and lymphatic practitioner, runs her own body work practice and has penned a poignant and raw account of her experience with pain. Facing Your Pain has received rave reviews and quickly soared to number one in 11 categories on Amazon when it was released.
Ms Lo Ricco said she had learnt there were physical, psychological and emotional factors that affect a person's health and well-being. "Our body is constantly speaking to us, yet most of us don't listen, or we ignore it," Ms Lo Ricco said. She had her first experience with chronic pain at a young age when she was severely burnt on her left shoulder at age nine.
Ms Lo Ricco collided with her mother, who was carrying a pot of boiling water, in the kitchen. She was rushed to hospital and recalls being in agony as her mother blew on her burnt shoulder for two hours.
Ms Lo Ricco went on to have a number of painful skin grafts.
"Facing pain on my own became both a blessing and a curse over my life and I think it all started with this event," she said.
"I developed a mindset that I was going to be stronger than the pain I endured."
Ms Lo Ricco said there was a silver lining when spending an extended period of time in hospital.
She decided she wanted to become a nurse. "I realised very early in my life that helping others brought me joy and purpose," she said.
Ms Lo Ricco also writes about becoming reliant on pain medication after injuring herself at work.
"There are experiences I have spoken about that may be sensitive, however the point is to highlight what we do with the experience, rather than what anyone has done to us," she said.
"That is the point of it all and I believe that this has been understood by the reader."
Ms Lo Ricco said she was lucky she was able to recognise the signs she was becoming reliant on pain medication.
"I was prescribed Endone at the time which is a very good short-term pain management medication," she said.
She found that it was making her feel fatigued while looking after her son Noah and decided to stop taking it.
However, the pain became unbearable and she began to take it again to be able to work.
"Soon I was taking them even when the pain wasn't so bad, but justifying that I needed to get some solid sleep so I would function during the day," Ms Lo Ricco said.
She got a wake-up call when she was teaching and her mind went completely blank mid-sentence.
Ms Lo Ricco wanted to talk about her experience to encourage other people to listen to the needs of their body.
"Sometimes, as I said, it can be used just to get a good night's sleep," she said.
"For others the fear of the pain they experienced without it is greater than introducing non-pharmacological methods.
"There are a variety of reasons why this can happen. At the end of the day we need to know we have the control. Not the medication. Use what you need, only when you need it."
Ms Lo Ricco said she wanted to encourage people to look at all factors impacting on their health and well-being.
"At a time where we have been told what we can and cannot do, I felt I needed to ask people to listen to themselves again," she said.
"There has been so much external influence that many had forgotten to come back to themselves.
"There is still so much they can do regardless of whether they have access to a practitioner or any other roadblocks.
"There is always another way, even if the progress is not as profound."
Ms Lo Ricco said she was delighted by the positive feedback she had received about her book.
"I feel so incredibly supported," she said.
"There are a lot of people in this area with chronic illness and my aim is to provide some relief as well as education on other things they can do or referrals they may want to investigate.
"I also teach at South West TAFE and love delivering training on many fronts in the health and community sector."
Ms Lo Ricco said Australia needed clinics that focused on pain and its causes.
"We need target-specific clinics that cater for the physical, psychological and emotional impacts of pain and trauma.
"Acute, chronic and cancer pain need to be separated and given the attention they need."
Ms Lo Ricco said she believed treatment of pain needed a tiered approach.
"Mind, body and soul," she said.
"We need to have a blended approach to address the impacts on all of these areas.
"We also need to think about opening referrals up to a much-wider scope of practice.
"Many patients/clients don't even know some modalities exist and that is a true shame."
Ms Lo Ricco said she was also passionate about ensuring people make decisions about their own body.
"At the end of the day though, it is still up to the individual as to what they do with it - this is the point I am making," she said.
"We do our best to provide services, however the individual needs to be ready to tackle the issues layer-upon-layer."
Ms Lo Ricco said she was constantly reassessing whether she was listening to her body.
"Even with all the knowledge and experience that I have, I am human and I live in the real world," she said.
"A world that can turn on a dime, which we all know since the COVID-19 pandemic.
"It is not just about the injury itself. It's about what comes next.
"Find the right team for you and use the right tools for the area you are facing at this time. You will have more control and experience greater relief, by facing it rather than masking or running from it."
Ms Lo Ricco is launching her book at The Whalers Hotel on November 30.
"I will also have some of 'my health team' as guest speakers on the night," she said.
"For those who are not vaccinated or cannot make it, I am also running Zoom at the same time.
"The event can be located on my Jenoah Therapies page on Facebook. Just go to events and click on 'Facing your pain" official launch if attending in person or 'Facing your pain' Zoom launch instead."
Copies of Facing Your Pain can be bought at Collins Booksellers and on Amazon.
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