Whenever you are experiencing pain, it’s helpful to ask: What is my pain trying to tell me? Pain is the signal that says something is wrong; that you need to find out what is it, and then learn how to manage it. Sometimes it can be difficult if not impossible to pinpoint the pain generator, and as human beings we want to know why something is happening and we want to know “right now.” But when we’re in pain the more important question is: What can I do, right now, to manage my pain in a healthy way that supports me physically, emotionally and spiritually? The answer will be different for each person.
But what if you can’t answer that question because your chronic pain has become unmanageable, no matter what you try? This brings us to a discussion of pain versus suffering. The psychological meaning that you assign to a physical pain signal will determine whether you simply feel pain (Ouch, this hurts!) or experience suffering (This pain is awful and will just keep getting worse; this is terrible and why is it happening to me!). Although pain and suffering are often used interchangeably, there is an important distinction that needs to be made. Pain is a physical sensation, a warning signal telling you that something is going on in your body. Suffering results from the meaning or interpretation your brain assigns to the pain signal.
Many people believe that: I shouldn’t have pain! Or Because I have pain and I’m having trouble managing my pain, there must be something wrong with me. A big step toward effective chronic pain management occurs when you can reduce your level of suffering by identifying and changing your thinking and beliefs about your pain, which in turn can decrease your stress and overall suffering. Because of the two parts—pain and suffering—chronic pain management must also have two components: physical and psychological. The way you sense or experience pain—its intensity and duration—will affect how well you are able to manage it.
To learn more about how to effectively address chronic pain and suffering please check out my article Pain Versus Suffering in Chronic Pain Management that you can download for free on our Article 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 once again presenting my Addiction-Free Pain Management® Certification Training in Sacramento on November 11-13, 2010 this time in our new office space. 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 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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