Flip the Chronic Injury Script: All Forms of Pain ARE Manageable
By: Karl Zarse, MD
I have a chronic injury that I have to manage everyday. I also treat chronic pain for a living, and our clinic sees on average sixty people a day. I have seen what works and what doesn’t thousands of times over the years. A key step to success is first seeing your issue with the right mindset, and then you will have the right foundation to work from.
The first concept is that all forms of pain are manageable. I did not say curable, I said manageable. You have good days and bad days, but we want a lot more good ones. You need a strategy to get things under control.
The first step is taking a deep dive and educating yourself on exactly what your issue is, down to the anatomy and function of the entire area. We spend a ton of time glossing over useless news and other spam, take the time to educate yourself so you can understand your strategy around pain management going forward.
Small, consistent habits have a huge impact over the long term on whether your issue stabilizes or gets worse over time. I can not overstate this enough. It’s not that management is hard, it’s hard to stay consistent because as you feel better, you tend to slide back to where you were and that’s the challenge. Make your plan as simple as possible so you can stay consistent. Quality over quantity should be the focus.
And lastly, you need to completely remove the emotion around your issue and accept that it is a part of your life, just the way brushing your teeth is. Nobody really argues that you shouldn’t brush and floss everyday, if not multiple times a day. The same is true of your physical health and how that increases or decreases your pain. Acceptance is a critical step to coping with any issue, as is reminding yourself that you are not alone. Most people have a chronic issue like you.
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