Managing chronic back pain reminds me of the chicken and egg story. Got to get up and get moving so you can keep flexible and keep the back strong, on the one hand!! On the other hand, the pain gets in the way of moving all together. Sleeping poorly at night, taking lots of pain meds, and looking for that one doctor who might finally have the cure for your pain is perhaps the story of your life right now. Well, it does not have to be. Quite often, the anxiety around being in pain causes you to embrace your body in such a tight way that makes the pain even worse. Also, depression and a sense of helplessness makes it much harder to cope with the pain. No matter how difficult it seems, the key to effective management of chronic pain is keeping the anxiety down and digging in with yourself, asking yourself some questions about your own beliefs and assumptions. For example: “Should I stay away from all fun things because I might have extra pain the next day?” Quite likely you have formed certain black and white assumptions that are in need of modification.
Just keep in mind that while pain might be inevitable, suffering is optional.
Write me at [email protected] or go to www.medicalpsychologyservice.com and let me know how I can help.
G. Katie Dashtban, Psy.D.