When I was about 35, I experienced an episode horrific pain due to the combination of a herniated disk and an unresponsive HMO.
When I say "horrific pain," I mean the kind of pain where you can't think of anything else. You can't function in any normal way. I did not drive more than a mile for six months. I did not sit down at work for six months (I stood up ALL DAY and lay on the floor to eat lunch). I did not leave my county for a year.
I herniated my disk while tying my shoes, which is pretty stupid, no? If I would have been thinking straight, I would have lied to everyone and said I was snowboarding or windsurfing, because "I was tying my shoes" sounds SO lame.
After six months, the HMO approved surgery, hallelujah, and in a few hours, I was fixed.
So here's my advice for when you are in horrible pain:
Do not close your eyes. Much of your brain power is used up by vision. Shutting your eyes will just give your brain more space to devote to PAIN! I use this when getting blood drawn, getting shots or having IVs inserted...look away, but look at something.
Do not project into the future. Examining my thoughts closely, I found that a lot of my pain came from imagining a future where I couldn't function correctly - "OMG I won't be able to work! I won't be able to walk more than a few feet! What am I going to DOOOOOOO!" Learning to just deal moment by moment and not freaking out over the future was so helpful.
See how I am? One day it is nail polish hints, and the next it is dealing with crushing pain. Count on the Red Stapler for ALL your life advice!