Wellness Matters NewsletterAn Experience in Creative Journaling

Courtesy of Life Esteem, Published by Simmonds Publications
 

CHRONIC PAIN CAN BE MANAGED

Pain Can Be Seen as the Body's Messenger -
And the Message Is This:
Things Are Not Right in Our Lives...
But Let's Make Them Better

     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.

     Pain is actually essential to our survival.  Acute pain is temporary and it can be severe.  It tells us that injury has occurred and that we must take action to protect ourselves from further injury and to seek comfort so our body can heal.  If these actions occur, healing usually takes place.  However, sometimes people do not recover and the pain continues.  Chronic pain is that which lasts longer than three months, is often ill defined regarding its cause, and has a heavy impact on all aspects of a person's life.

   
The Negative Cycle

     Although the cause of chronic pain is usually difficult to pinpoint, most pain experts believe that it is caused by damaged and inflamed nerves, muscles and blood vessels...and it is very real.  The body becomes locked into a vicious cycle.  You naturally limit movement in the painful area, and this causes you to lose strength and flexibility.  If you try to ignore the pain and increase your activity, the pain becomes so severe that you again become inactive.  Sometimes you unconsciously guard against the pain and this leads to muscle tension and spasms.  Your body becomes weak and deconditioned, and you begin to feel frustrated, angry and depressed. Your friends and family do not understand the pain and may underestimate its impact on your life. This leads to more anger and depression.  Sometimes, though, they may overindulge you, and this can make you feel more dependent and out of control of your own life.  These negative emotions can actually perpetuate pain.  The more negativity we feel, the greater our pain... and the greater our pain, the more negative emotions we experience.

The Good News

     This negative spiral, though, can be broken.  We are sometimes told that we will just have to live with our pain after all else has failed, but we are far from doomed at this point.

 

(Continue...........)

 
 

This newsletter is intended to offer general information only and recognizes that individual issues may differ from these broad guidelines. Personal issues should be addressed within a therapeutic context with a professional familiar with the details of the problems.

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