What do you do and say when you hurt?
You may moan or groan. You may make a face and grimace or wince. You may touch or rub the area that hurts. You may stop what you’re doing and limit activity. You may complain. You may even say a few choice words.
The body’s natural vocal, verbal, physical, emotional, and social reactions to pain are called pain behaviors. They’re our ways of expressing our pain. And they can become over-exaggerated catastrophic responses to the pain.
While fine for acute pain like touching a hot stove, we know what to expect with our chronic pain. It shouldn’t be a surprise.
Pain behaviors place undue focus on chronic pain and reinforce the pain circuits in our bodies – amplifying the pain and leading to emotional distress and anxiety. They tell your brain how to react the next time you have pain. You not only learn the pain; you learn the reaction.
Just like a kid screaming for candy at the store. If you always buy the child (in this case, pain) candy when they scream, they’ll continue to scream each time you take them to the store until they get candy.
While it takes time and practice, eliminating pain behavior can help make the pain less intense and make it safer for us to become more active which in return can make our lives better.
Spoiler alert: the answer is usually no. We can't always be fixed.
I can speak from experience. I had risky nerve removal surgery to try to fix my pai
Check out this research to learn more.
While we can’t be fixed, we can change our view. Each shake shapes the broken pieces into a new perspective. Something beautiful and new to see. We just need to take the time to discover it.
It’s easy with chronic pain to focus attention on all types of bodily sensations. Often becoming hyper vigilant, worrying about each pain sensation, and avoiding activity to avoid pain.
What’s important is to change how we think about our chronic pain. To learn to accept it, knowing that it doesn’t mean harm.
Check out this new link on our Resources page for inspirational quotes and just some good plain fun! Check back often for updates.
Complaining about pain and a "woe is me pity party" only puts the focus on the pain and as a result can worsen the pain. To champion pain, it is important to change our thoughts about pain, accept the pain and learn how to manage it.
Check out these helpful resources:
I was privileged to be interviewed by Daniel Pablo Arbilla for his Knowledge Exchange podcast.
Listen to learn about:
Daniel is a personal trainer, exercise scientist and exercise physiologist based out of Australia. In addition to his podcast, he also administers a successful Facebook group.
Thanks again Daniel for giving me this opportunity!
Chronic Pain Champions is an information resource/blog/support group to help chronic pain patients, their families, and friends, as well as healthcare professionals. Learn more about this site and the author.