"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
Our thoughts, emotions, and behaviors can make pain worse or more manageable.
We can change pain and retrain our overprotective pain systems by changing how we think, feel, and behave using a form of biopsychosocial treatment called Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT).
CBT has been found to be one of the most efficient approaches for promoting self-management. It reprograms our minds and bodies to help us feel safe and confident in our ability to manage pain and do the things we enjoy — improving the body’s natural pain relief mechanisms, increasing function, and breaking the chronic pain cycle.
.CBT is based on the core principles that our thoughts, emotions, and behaviors interact together with the pain; that we can become trapped in unhelpful thoughts, emotions, and behaviors; and that we can modify our thoughts, emotions, and behaviors to make our experience more manageable.
It's what changed my pain experience and my life by giving me tools to:
Best yet, CBT is a do -it-yourself therapy. You can use it anytime. You don’t need help from anyone once you learn it. And there are no negative side effects.
I learned CBT while attending the prestigious 3-week Mayo Clinic Pain Rehabilitation Center.
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Image courtesy of McGovern Medical School
Tom Bowen is a chronic pain patient who turned into an advocate, educator, and collaborator.