I believe it is important for people living with chronic pain to understand that sometimes what you most fear you actually create. When you live with chronic pain you hurt. Doing certain things can make you hurt worse. So you come to believe that these things will always cause you to hurt. In other words, you associate those things with pain. You believe that every time you do those things, you will have pain. Because you believe that you are going to hurt, you can actually activate the physiological pain system just by thinking about doing something that you believe will cause you to hurt. This is called anticipatory pain.
Once the physical pain system is activated, the anticipatory pain reaction can actually make your pain symptoms worse. Whenever you feel the pain, you interpret it in a way that makes it worse. You start thinking about the pain in a way that actually makes it worse. You tell yourself that the pain is "awful and terrible," and that "I can't handle the pain." You convince yourself that "it’s hopeless, I’ll always hurt, and there’s nothing I can do about it."
This way of thinking causes you to develop emotional reactions that further intensify or amplify the pain response. The increased perception of pain causes you to keep changing your behavior in ways that create even more unnecessary limitations and more emotional discomfort. This can make you feel trapped in a progressive cycle of disability.
In 2007 I wrote published an article titled Coping with Anticipatory Pain that is on our Article Archive. A couple of months ago I decided to publish a new article titled Moving Beyond Anticipatory Pain for Effective Chronic Pain Management, that you can download for free on our Ariticles page.
If you'd like to receive training for helping people with chronic pain and coexisting disorders, including addiction, I'm very excited to announce we are presenting my Addiction-Free Pain Management® Certification Training in Sacramento on August 5-7, 2010. To learn more about this and my other upcoming trainings you can check out our Calendar page.
You can learn more about the Addiction-Free Pain Management® System at our website http://www.addiction-free.com/ If you or a loved one is undergoing chronic pain management, especially if you're in recovery or believe you may have a medication or other mental health problem and you want to learn more effective chronic pain management tools, please go to our Publications page and check out my books; especially the Addiction-Free Pain Management® Recovery Guide: Managing Pain and Medication in Recovery. To purchase this book please Click Here.
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