I was recently honored to be a guest on the Compass Opioid Stewardship Program podcast hosted by Dr. Rachael Duncan, PharmD. and Dr. Don Stader.
I'm so grateful for the opportunity and blessed to be able to share my story with clinicians. I'm also thankful for the generosity of Dr. Stader. You'll find out what he offered me at the end of the podcast. It brought me to tears.
You can listen to the podcast episode on Apple, Spotify, and Libsyn via the links below:
Check out the entire podcast series.
Learn more about the Compass Opioid Stewardship Program.
Hurt doesn't always mean harm
Pain is the body’s alarm system. It’s designed to protect us from danger just like our house alarm or a smoke detector. It’s the body’s normal response to acute tissue damage or injury and heals in normally 3-6 months.
But what happens when pain doesn’t go away?
Once pain persists beyond the normal healing time, it becomes chronic - losing its warning function and becomes its own disease/condition. It’s an abnormal response (with or without obvious pathology).
We know what to expect from our pain by the very nature of it being chronic or ongoing. It’s not like getting burnt, twisting an ankle, or getting stung by a bee that needs protection until the injury has heals. Of course, any unexpected new pain should be investigated.
Pain, stress, and tension are closely related. Muscles tighten and put pressure on nerves resulting in even more pain.
It’s possible to activate your body’s natural relaxation response to help reduce the tension using mind-body tools like:
A chronic pain support group without the negative pain talk and drama: Chronic Pain Champions - No whining allowed
Complaining about pain only puts the focus on the pain and as a result can worsen the pain.
To champion pain, it's important to change our thoughts about pain, accept it, and learn how to manage it. That's the focus of the 1,700 member Chronic Pain Champions - No Whining Allowed Facebook support group.
All it takes to join are answers to a few easy membership questions.
Come join us!
Chronic pain can make it easy to feel overwhelmed, reduce our activity levels, and become isolated. Goals help restore a sense of order, build self-efficacy and sense of control, improve mood, and provide direction by helping with planning daily activities.
One of the tools we learned at the Mayo Clinic Pain Rehabilitation Center was goal setting to help us plan our days and keep us on track. We set goals each day. They didn't have to be massive, but they had to be SMART - specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound.
Some SMART goal examples:
Did you notice none of the goal examples included pain reduction?
Our focus should be on reducing stress, improving our quality of life and increasing functional ability and activity, not pain reduction. Focusing on pain reduction is an easy trap to fall into - leading to frustration and depression. Just as the headline of my website says - we can live well, despite the pain.
Chronic Pain Champions is an information resource/blog/support group to help people living with nonmalignant pain, their families and friends, as well as healthcare professionals. Learn more about this site and the author.
Chronic Pain Champions