Pain is a weight; a heavy burden to carry around with us day-to-day. Physical pain easily alters our emotional and psychological health. According to Beverly Thorn, Ph.D, Clinical Health Psychology Professor and Chair at The University of Alabama, “Chronic pain also creates many stressors, which can lead to depression, and interferes with a person’s daily functioning.”
When we live with pain for any length of time it increases fatigue, challenges our motivation, and alters our day-to-day physical movement. Things we previously loved to do become something we can’t do because our bodies — and sometimes our minds — are not up for the challenge.
Committing to a treatment plan can be a challenge in and of itself. A treatment plan will ask you to look at your life; to assess what is working and what is not. It will ask that you stay in it until your goals are met. It will ultimately ask you to make some (potentially) uncomfortable changes.
Your decision to heal is a commitment of mind, body, and spirit.
Too often, we allow our pain to become our story: it is what we show the world. Pain plays on our emotions, and oftentimes we don’t even know it is happening. We begin to behave in a way that is wounded and stuck, which only increases the pain manifestation in our bodies, as our energy to heal dies.
If you’re a chronic-pain sufferer, trust me, you are not the only one. Consider these statistics:
- A survey from Gallup-Healthways shows that 31 percent of U.S. adults have some sort of neck or back condition that causes them pain, 26 percent have some sort of leg or knee condition, and 18 percent have another condition that causes chronic pain.
- Forty-seven percent of people in the survey said they had at least one kind of chronic pain (meaning they had either neck or back pain, leg or knee pain, or another kind of pain), and 7 percent of people said they experienced all three kinds of chronic pain.
Chronic pain can be treated, healed, and/or managed successfully. Be mindful that healing takes time, so putting short-term deadlines on your healing can cause disappointment and frustration. Be realistic when you set out on your healing journey. Put together your team, and don’t be afraid to change what isn’t working. Communicate openly with your health care providers regarding your goals.
The healing journey can prove to be one of the most enlightening times in our lives. While it may bring discomfort for a period of time, it will ultimately bring joy. So stay in it … and remember to laugh — a lot.
Start Your Healing Journey Now
Mindfulness can transform pain. Over the past three decades, Jon Kabat-Zinn has clinically proven it. Now, with Mindfulness Meditation for Pain Relief, the man who brought mindfulness into mainstream medicine presents for the first time on audio his original practices for using conscious awareness to free us from physical and emotional suffering. This long-awaited two-CD program begins with an overview of how mindfulness changes the way our bodies process pain and stress.