It’s common for patients to talk about their pain levels and treatments with family and friends. Although talking about pain can help us validate our experience, it can actually worsen our symptoms by adding more attention to the pain.
You can’t make positive steps in your life when surrounded by negativity
Stay away from people who only want to complain about pain, and avoid sharing your pain with others unless there is a positive goal associated with the conversation. Talk instead about things you enjoy and find meaningful. Fill your life with joy and hope!
It’s natural for people to ask about your pain, but you have the power to change the discussion. Thank them for asking but explain that you’d rather focus on something else. Suggest a more life-affirming topic of conversation.
I choose not to talk about my chronic pain to myself or with others, including my doctors (unless there is a new symptom that needs acute treatment).
"Pain is physical AND emotional 100% of the time."
- Dr. Rachel Zoffness
Pain is an experience with biopsychosocial factors, including our emotions.
Often times, people living with chronic pain can become angry and less thankful. There may even be some perceived misjustice, as was in my case.
It can be helpful to let go of the unpleasant emotions like anger, unappreciation, and blame as they can negatively affect the chronic pain experience, disrupt relationships, and worsen our symptoms – turning up the pain volume.
While being forgiving, kind, and grateful won’t magically make the pain disappear; they can help lessen the pain and suffering, foster better health, build self-efficacy, and make life more enjoyable.
Learn more and learn how
Read the research
Tom Bowen is a chronic pain patient who turned into an advocate, educator, and collaborator.