Chronic Pain

Staying home is not the best option.

Silhouette of a seated person inside a bubble.

As we said in the last blog a positive attitude and self-management skills can make it much easier to live with chronic pain. And as we said in the last blog, beliefs, circumstances, your mood, and the attention paid to the pain symptoms will determine in good part how difficult it is to manage.

Here is the situation people often face when dealing with chronic pain. The pain causes you to stay home alone, a lot. Your friends say, “Get out. Do something. Stop thinking about your pain all of the time.” They just don’t get it. If you hear it just one more time the outcome won’t be pretty. It’s easier to stay away from people than to risk arguing with them about the way you’re managing the pain or not managing it. Continue reading “Chronic Pain”

Addiction to Pain Medications

Alternatives to Managing Pain.

Circled Dr's appointment on a calendar.

The problems with pain medications are not new ones. The epidemic that many talk of in terms of opioid addiction is real. Many states in response to this problem have created new guidelines and requirements for the prescription of these medications. Some physicians have simply stopped prescribing them because they may not agree with or want to work with the new guidelines. This has left some patients without a prescriber.

A few months ago I posted a blog about non-pharmaceutical interventions for the treatment of chronic pain. The response to that blog was in general positive, but I got a number of angry responses from people who felt I was saying that pain medication should be replaced with these non-pharmaceutical interventions. That is not what I was saying. Unfortunately, people can become so dependent upon these medications they firmly believe there is no way they could manage without them. And for some that may be true. Continue reading “Addiction to Pain Medications”

Chronic Pain

How the skills and attitudes of resilience can help manage chronic pain.

Blue-eyed man looks at his reflection in a broken mirror.

 

Attitude alone cannot cure chronic illness or chronic pain. Positive attitude and certain self-management skills can make it much easier to live with. In previous blogs, we have discussed chronic pain and its relationship to the opioid epidemic. In the next couple of blog posts, we are going to be discussing situations that people find themselves frequently when they experience chronic pain. And we will discuss the ways in which the skills and attitudes of resilience can help you manage the pain.

There is a great deal of research that shows that the experience of pain can be modified by circumstances, beliefs, mood, and the attention we pay to the pain symptoms. For example with arthritis of the knee, how depressed the person is better predicts how disabled, limited and uncomfortable they will be. What goes on in a person’s mind is often more important than what is going on in their body.

Continue reading “Chronic Pain”

Living in Pain

Exploring Non-pharmaceutical Interventions

Pain rating scale showing images reflecting a corresponding level of pain from 0 (being none) and 10 (being the worst pain ever).

In the past few posts, I discussed a number of pharmaceuticals that can be used in treating pain. Most recently, CBD has received a great deal of attention and press, but there is still a lack of consistent research findings to support many of the claims being made. I also discussed the use of non-pharmaceutical interventions to treat pain. But before we talk more about these, we will talk about what pain is.

The International Association for the Study of Pain defines pain as “an unpleasant sensory and emotional experience associated with actual or potential tissue damage.” Acute pain is usually transitory and resolves quickly. Pain that lasts a long time, usually 3 to 6 months, is called chronic or persistent. Continue reading “Living in Pain”

Happy Holidays

Christmas tree made of lobster traps and buoys for decorations.The holiday season is upon here in Maine and throughout the world. People are busy planning for celebratory work and family gatherings. Our focus shifts from business as usual to thoughts of what it is that we are thankful for. As we gather with loved ones, we celebrate the meaning and purpose of the season in keeping with our values and beliefs. And as the year passes, we find ourselves taking inventory of what gave us joy, what brought us sadness and what was accomplished as a prelude to making resolutions for the new year.

As we celebrate the holidays, each in our own way, we are reminded that diversity breeds resilience in both nature and in society. When the environment changes, natures’ fauna either relocates, adapts, or ceases to exist. Luckily, the latter is the most unlikely scenario. This is cause for readjustment of and within the new environment followed by a restoration of balance. Society is no different. If we are to become a resilient world community, we must learn to value diversity.

A resilient world community is our hope for the future. Celebrate diversity; it is our path to restoring balance in an everchanging environment. Albert Einstein said, ” We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.” An influx of new cultures, new philosophies, and new ideas will offer new solutions to old problems that serve to maintain imbalance.

We wish you the happiest of holidays and much optimism for the year to come.

Photo of Charlene Fernald Moynihan
Charlene Fernald Moynihan