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  • Writer's pictureMichelle Farnill

Lessons From Pain

I recently read a book all about pain and because it is National Pain Week in Australia I wanted to give you some information about pain management.

The book went into detail about the physical impact that pain has but also the psychological and emotional impact it can have. And they relate the lessons that pain can give you to the following 5 points:

  1. Your pain is real

  2. Emotions drive the experience of pain

  3. Focus on improving function (not making the pain go away)

  4. Expectations influence outcome

  5. Opioids don’t always make pain better

Lets start with your pain is real. Sometimes when we are so in pain people around us start reacting less and less to our pain and it makes us feel like the pain isn’t real or validated. Pain is an individual experience and if you feel pain you need to acknowledge that you indeed to have pain.

With saying this, our emotions drive our experience of pain. If we feel helpless due to the pain then it is likely the pain wont get better as we wont be doing things to actively help reduce our levels of pain. However if we take control and feel empowered to make changes in our lifestyle that can help manage our pain then we can have a positive impact on how we experience that pain.

By focusing on improving function and not simply making the pain go away we can see small improvements in pain and this can help our overall progress. When we see our daily activities getting easier, for example being able to open a jar without wrist pain or being able to sit in the car with reduced pain, we feel we can keep improving. Also if we only focus on pain going away, when we have a setback and our pain increases, we feel like everything is a failure. Whereas when we focus on increasing function, if we have a struggle with daily activities for a day or week we still know we can go back to the function we had before and positively work towards gaining back that function.

Our personal expectations have a direct impact on the outcome of our pain management. If we think it is impossible to have no pain, then our pain will stay with us. However if we have realistic expectations of slowly reducing pain by slowly making changes in our lifestyle to see what works best for our pain, then we are more likely to have a positive influence on the outcome of our pain management techniques.

The research shows that opioid medication work in the short term but using them for more than 3 months can actually make the pain worse. They start to mess with the way our brain and nervous system perceives pain, making you need higher and higher doses of medication to get the same level of relief you previously had. So for the short term they might be ok, but for longer-term pain we need to be thinking about other options for relief.

These alternative options can include:

  • Nutrition

  • Meditation

  • Deep breathing

  • Acupressure points

  • Aromatherapy

  • Gentle exercise

To explore your feelings and expectations about your pain or to discover the right alternative options for your pain management, please feel free to contact me on 0401 638 067 or michelle@tigereyewellbeing.comand we can have an obligation free call to work our what kind or treatment options would work for you, being either kinesiology, massage, bowen therapy and/or dry needling.

Information from: The Pain Antidote: the proven program to help you stop suffering form chronic pain, avoid addiction to painkillers – and reclaim your life. By Mel Pohl, MD and Katherine Ketcham

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