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A Penny For Your Thoughts...

After I wrote the post just prior to this one, I took some time to think reflect on the people in my life--most especially those whom I know to have chronic pain.  I can definitely see that there is an emotional component to the problem.  And the study in the prior post seems to confirm that what I am thinking is true.

Stated simply, those who have the best coping skills have the best natural ability to deal with chronic pain. Unfortunately, many of us do not have those skills due to any number of reasons. So, the next logical step for people in this group is to learn to improve their coping skills.  I guess I think that's really what my blog is all about.  

I do believe the first step in this effort requires an attempt to find a root cause of the pain, and if possible, to correct it.  This is the best hope of staying ahead of the game.  There will always be situations where this is not possible, or that a given condition can be managed but not cured.  For this group, I would say it is vital to learn all you can about your own situation so that you can be as much a part of the solution as your medical care team!

With respect to the emotional aspect, it is understandable that some of us are more emotionally reactive than others.  No two people are alike, and at heart I think we all know where we fit into this group.  But even the most emotional people can do things to help themselves!  Here is a case example...

I know a certain individual who fits into this very emotional group of folks.  This person has a chronic pain problem, along with currently being unemployed and having a very wayward teenager and a problem personal relationship.  The same individual has a lot of anxiety on a good day. And did I mention that this person smokes a couple of packs of cigarettes every day and drinks a lot of coffee?  Or that they don't really eat fruits or vegetables much and the only meat they like is beef?

And of course exercise is....out of the question...

I can see a lot of opportunities for this person to get a better hold of their situation by working on some of the things in this descriptive.  Just by reducing or eliminating caffeine and/or smoking, or eating more fruits and vegetables as a starting point could definitely be of benefit.  Many things in this example could be improved upon, one thing at a time, eventually improving the situation dramatically.  The chronic pain and drama of life may not go away--but how you deal with it makes all the difference.  

Another thing I think is underutilized in the world of pain management is cognitive behavioral therapy.  More and more studies are showing how this can be of extreme benefit in helping us to build on coping skills and working towards goals in ways we might not think of on our own.

If you'd like to share your opinion on my thoughts, please leave me a comment.  I am anxious to hear from you, especially if you have a success story to share!

Sources: Wikimedia


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