Pain/Camino Francés, Portuguese, Kumano Kodo, Costa Rica

About a month ago my Dentist drilled two holes in my upper right jaw, stitched me back up and sent me home to a week of “pain”. Recently, the wife discovered a sprinkler leak that I’ve consciously avoided for months. The leak is in the manifold valve, that is buried deep underground where the water from a one inch plastic pipe then distributes water from the main supply line.

The leak is fixed and now the “pain” is in my lower back. Recently, I stopped typing on my smartphone on account of extreme tennis elbow “pain” that has now moved to my left elbow.

Is this “pain” that I’m now routinely feeling, an inevitable part of the growing older process?

My most recent solution to “pain” seems to be first in trying to understand it – what is “pain”? If the pain we experience causes us to protect a painful area by not using it, then we risk losing function of that arm, leg or other bodily part, over a period of time. With disuse, then comes the old age arthritis, thus further increasing our “pain”.

I have now opted with the can’t cure it; try to manage it approach to growing old.

The Camino de Santiago, the Camino Portuguese, the Camino Kumano Kodo and the Camino Costa Rica; are now four caminos on our 2021/22 bucket list. Just prior to the covid lockdown I y walked two of the four once so, I’m able to provide a little insight into my experience, when it comes to “pain” on a Camino.

Is hardship and discomfort similar to “pain”? Hardship is dealing with an injury or an illness like for example a blister or bed bugs or a bad cold. Blisters are the most common form of pain that I can think of while walking a Camino. And, if you don’t manage your blisters and continue to walk differently, as a result of your blisters, you now risk getting tendonitis.

The next form of “pain” for us walkers or hikers is back pain. This often results from pilgrims that carry too much weight, don’t train enough or simply have a bad body posture. On the Camino Frances’ and the Camino Costa Rica I experienced incredible heat on my body, almost to the point of heatstroke – were it not for my headgear and clothing protection.

Add this last one as another “pain” experience that can be managed with sunblock and proper head gear and clothing. Exhaustion and Dehydration are two more forms of “pain” that can occur to those that run their immune system down. Dehydration occurs to you when your body loses more fluids than it takes in. Don’t let this happen to you on the Camino as fatigue will quickly set in. Fatigue is this lingering tiredness. It’s similar to how you feel after sleeping in an albergue (hostel) with a chronic snorer – after missing allot of sleep.

If you’re after a healthier lifestyle in your older age then a Camino may be right for you in your future. As you rectify your lifestyle choices, your heart will begin to thank you with increased endurance.

Want to know how to start? Put one foot in front of the other and don’t stop until you walk for about 30 minutes. Try doing it five times a week. While you’re relaxing you can begin reading anyone of the Camino guides available to learn more about the Camino pilgrimages.

“Take your time, open your mind and manage any and all “pain” along the way.”

“Life is short. Smile while you still have teeth.” — Anonymous