Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Understanding and Managing Chronic Pain

Estimates based on research indicate that from ten to thirty percent of the American population suffers from chronic or recurrent physical pain. Pain sufferers often feel that their doctors are not able to give them the treatment they need to alleviate their pain. They may have been told that it is all in their head, and they feel very alone when nobody can seem to give them support for being in pain. They feel helpless, anxiety-ridden, depressed, angry, frustrated, and out of control. They often turn to prescription pain medication, drugs or alcohol for relief – only to find that these quick fixes can cause more complications and devastation in their lives than the original pain.

Tips For Managing Chronic Pain and Regaining Control of Your Life

The first step in taking charge of chronic pain is to learn more about our experience of pain in a structured way. When we live daily with pain we sometimes lose track of just how severe the cycles can be, and we also tend to forget the better periods. We need to increase our awareness of the cycling of pain throughout the day and what we are doing to manage it. We also need to distinguish between the actual pain we experience and our emotional distress associated with this pain. Thus, it is important to keep a pain diary. This allows us to record our level of pain at various times throughout the day – and to see how pain is related to the time of day, mood, fatigue, stress, what we are doing, and whom we are with. It also encourages us to become aware of the crucial question of whether the pain is physical or more associated with our subjective experience of emotional distress.

Negative thinking can greatly increase a person’s experience of felt pain. When we think that our life is over, we will never have fun again, and our plans for the future are destroyed, we are undermining our own sense of control and are setting ourselves up to experience more pain. We need to challenge these negative ideas and replace them with positive thoughts. Examine your negative thoughts and change them to more positive, assertive ideas. Rather than saying, “I am totally incapacitated and will never have pleasure again,” replace it with, “I need to learn what I have done wrong in the past so that I can go on to accomplish things in the future that I have always wanted to do.” These are but a few of the techniques that can be explored in dealing with chronic pain. You are invited to explore the many alternative ways of dealing with pain that therapy has to offer. Please visit our site at or call us at 941-907-0525 for a free phone consultation.

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