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Reclaiming your life from pain

If you live with pain on a day to day basis, you will know how much it can take over your life.

You plan your days around your pain, avoiding activities that aggravate it in favor of a more sedentary existence that usually involves the couch. Things that you once enjoyed doing fall by the wayside. Pain also impacts your emotional energy as well, reducing your levels of tolerance and patience which ultimately affects your relationship with everybody around you.

Drugs only go so far to relieve pain. But it is perhaps this “Put a bandage on it” approach that needs to be addressed. Because pain is so much more than a physical sensation. Spiritual, psychological, and social elements contribute to it as well.

Dame Cicely Saunders, best known as the founder of the hospice movement, first introduced the concept of “total pain” which recognizes all the compounding factors that contribute to a person’s pain experience. The significance of these is far greater for the person in pain than for onlookers, which is why medical staff should never assume a person’s level of pain. For example, events such as a child not visiting or being isolated from a much-loved pet may just be enough to tip a person’s pain threshold beyond tolerable.

Taking a more holistic approach to pain management is a much more effective way of managing pain. Nonpharmacological therapies such as meditation, mindfulness, and exercise can help change a person’s relationship with pain and capture and build-on precious pain-free moments.

To explore this concept further, see here.

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