Chronic Pain: An Invisible Disease

Chronic pain: an invisible disease

When we are in pain, it seems easy to stop it or at least relieve it: we go to the doctor, he prescribes a pain reliever and after taking it, the pain subsides. Unfortunately, this is not always the case and is not the case with all patients. One of the greatest challenges in many medical disciplines is the management of chronic pain. What to do if nothing can alleviate the pain? And how do we control something as unpleasant and exhausting as chronic pain?

A person with chronic pain feels like a thousand needles are stuck in their body. It is obvious that this situation not only affects them physically, but also strains them emotionally and psychologically. So are their relationships. The ongoing stress she is exposed to, along with the limitations caused by chronic pain, can truly shake her relationships, worldview, and whole life.

“There is pain that kills: But there are even more cruel pains that leave us alive without us ever being able to enjoy life again.”

Antoine Laurent Apollinaire Fée

This is a stressful situation not only for the person with chronic pain. Those close to you will also have difficulty understanding them. Yes, sometimes people suffering from chronic pain just encounter ignorance and a lack of understanding. Since people around them – both the empathetic and the ignorant – have experienced different types of pain during their lives, they believe they have the ability to empathize, to empathize. However , it is very difficult to put yourself in the patient’s shoes because pain is very subjective.

Can a Psychologist Help With Chronic Pain?

Pain is a warning from our body that something is wrong. But what if we follow medical treatments and the pain remains? Life can then drain us. Daily activities turn into suffering, and all too easily we fall into the temptation to look to the future with only despair.

Woman wrapped in barbed wire

This feeling of being exposed to pain like a leaf in the wind hurts self-esteem enormously. It is true that the degree of disability chronic pain causes depends on the individual situation of the person concerned. However, all those affected will often feel restricted and frustrated, no matter what level of independence and functionality they have retained so far.

In general, experts call it chronic pain when it lasts for more than six months and medical or surgical treatments don’t help. And while medication can relieve symptoms, in these cases psychotherapy can be of great benefit in treating chronic pain. Using psychology to establish acceptance and empowerment can increase the feeling of being in control of life.

“Joy and pain are not like oil and water, they rather coexist.”

José Saramago

Dealing with pain

There are a few techniques that can be used to deal with chronic pain. One of the recipes for success for growing in times of need is knowing how what influences us works with and within us. Because the discomfort caused by the discouragement makes the disease worse. Anxiety, worry, and insomnia increase the pain. However, once we understand the problem, we can develop better strategies and the stress of uncertainty decreases.

Learning to focus our attention is essential to understanding how much power we have over pain. Let’s train our attention to focus on relaxing stimuli that are of great benefit, rather than the debilitating pain! Here’s how we can work on pain: By focusing our emotions, thoughts, and behaviors on a little bit of health instead of making the pain worse. It doesn’t matter how small the steps you take, as long as you take them in the right direction.

“The man who was not raised by pain will always be a child.”

Nicolás Tommaseo

Woman hangs her head

Do it

Once we understand that we can actively address the problem, we can start working on it. Here are some great recommendations for action:

  • Relaxation and breathing: They are essential to relieve muscular tension. Relaxation isn’t just about lying down or relaxing at the muscular level. Other methods also help us to let go, such as going to the movies, eating in a restaurant, listening to music, talking to a friend on the phone, or going for a walk.
  • Emotions: They are another important part of the process. Knowing them, understanding how they affect pain, and working on distancing techniques can be very helpful.
  • Communicate the healthy way: It makes sense that in the face of chronic pain it becomes a way of life to complain. Working on how we express ourselves and communicating the same message differently will help improve our relationships.
  • Resuming old and healthy habits: It is normal for us to give up activities that we used to enjoy, including daily things, when they become more strenuous. But regaining old dynamics, even small pleasures, helps us live better lives.
  • Making a plan with our therapist: Knowing what our thought filters and cognitive biases are that keep us from changing our thought patterns is fundamental. Our therapist helps us to recognize them and thus supports us in the treatment of chronic pain.

“Pain and suffering are a kind of currency that is passed from hand to hand until it reaches someone who receives it but does not pass it on.”

Simone Weil

As you can see, chronic pain affects not only our bodies, but also our thoughts, emotions, and relationships. It may be invisible, but it carries great weight.

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