Doctors often ask what our pain score is on a scale of 1-10. But is the pain scale a true measure of our pain? And is it helpful?
I contend we're more than a pain number. We're humans with feelings, emotions, and social interactions. A number on a pain intensity scale doesn’t capture our struggle with pain. And it’s often the struggle with pain that is worse than the pain itself.
Below is a research article that explore is asking us about pain tolerance might be more helpful than asking for a pain score. I hope you enjoy reading it.
What's in your pain toolbox?
Pain rehabilitation goes beyond medicine and medical interventions – and crosses different disciplines. It doesn’t just focus on removing the pain. It focuses on the patient and how they can play a role in their own pain management – improving function and quality of life.
It’s a proven approach – benefiting patients while reducing costs and reliance on the medical system.
Having gone through the 3-week outpatient Mayo Pain Rehabilitation Center, at the recommendation of both my family doctor and a general surgeon, I can personally attest to the value of a comprehensive interdisciplinary approach to pain rehabilitation.
Do I still have pain? Of course, I do. But I’ve learned to live well, despite the pain.
Ready about my experience at Mayo.
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Join Practical Pain Management April 29 for a ZOOM meeting to ask Dr Jeff Gudin and Dr Jeffrey Fudin about managing pain during this pandemic.
Reserve your space today
What You Can Control - Focus on these
What You Can’t Control- Don’t focus on these
“The difference between living and survival. Survival is being barely able to pull through something. Living is being present and enjoying each moment.”
Carleigh Fairchild, Season 3 Alone contestant
I started binge watching the realty television show “Alone” via HULU – starting with season 3. Never seen the show before (not sure why) but now can’t get enough. Love it!
If you haven’t seen the show, it follows the self-documented struggles of contestants dropped into a remote area with a limited number of supplies who need to build shelters and live off the land for as long as they safely can (there are no camera crews – they are truly alone). The last person surviving, either by not giving up or being removed for medical reasons, wins $500,000.
In many ways, what show contestants go through mirrors what we go through as chronic pain patients. Both contestants and patients:
The quote above from season 3 contestant, Carleigh Fairchild, reminded me, it’s often the struggle with pain that is the most difficult, not the pain itself. To survive is to struggle. To live is fulfillment.
If the show contestants can manage the difficult conditions they face, we can do the same and live well, despite pain.
Imagine being in a car with your chronic pain.
Where is the pain? Is pain behind the steering wheel - determining where you go and what you do? Or are you driving?
Here are some ways to control pain.
Are you feeling stressed? Caught up in the COVID-19 madness?
Pain and tension are closely related. Muscles tighten and put pressure on nerves resulting in even more pain.
Deep breathing, yoga, tai chi, guided meditation, and muscle relaxation reduce tension.
Below are links to some helpful exercises.
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.