Awwee. That does look painful. It's one of those things where the pain is so concentrated and in a highly used area.. it's just the worst.
I've had success with the solo-comb. If you don't know what it is, it's basically a non-pulling method of pulling... a backcomb and snip/clip kinda thing. I think it was 30 bucks or something like that... and you have to buy blade replacements (I've only used it a few times to do the first time around and then some different touch-ups since). My horse's mane was very uneven and now it is much more even and shorter. I think both short and long manes are beautiful but I have become a sucker for the short mane haha. I don't know if I will have my horse's mane actually pulled in the future. I've never done real pulling. Only solo-comb.
Hope you feel better. (: