Three Lessons For People Dealing WIth Chronic Pain For Better Outcomes
We understand how frustrating it can be to deal with chronic pain. We were chatting with a client yesterday who made a statement that really resonated with us and think it applies to a lot of people in her situation. She was just TIRED. Tired of thinking about her pain with every activity. Having to think about her pain when she got in and out of the car. Tired of having to think about it every time she rolled over in her sleep. Tired of feeling self conscious about how much she complains to her husband. It really does impact every aspect of her life. And it’s part of the reason we love helping those in chronic pain, people who have felt stuck for years, find solutions to their problems through movement and strength is so rewarding.
But it doesn’t come without it’s challenges. When helping people who have been dealing with pain for over a year, the following are three lessons we’ve learned from helping 100’s of those in chronic pain ensure better outcomes.
1) Don’t Make Decisions Regarding Your Long-Term Health Based on How You Feel In The Moment
The journey to overcoming chronic pain is filled with peaks and valleys. Some days will be better than others. For someone who has pain for longer than a year, it’s important to remember that getting to their outcome is a process. They’re not all going to be good days. And if we abandon ship because of one bad day we’re never going to get the results we want, no matter the therapy.
The lesson: One bad day doesn’t mean the therapy isn’t working. It just means it’s a bad day. And when we’ve been dealing with pain for over a year, we shouldn’t be making drastic decisions about our long term health based on one bad day.
2) Too Many Opinions Isn’t Always a Good Thing
We get it, you are looking for answers. You’ve most likely tried every therapy under the book and none have worked, so your continuing you journey by looking for new, innovative treatments. And while we do encourage clients to get as much information as possible, it can sometimes get a little sticky. The problem with too many opinions is two fold:
It leads to confusion. And the confusion then causes you to become stuck. It causes you to give up on plans that you’ve started or second guess the good advice that you’ve been given.
You’re going to come across a lot of providers who will try to fit their treatment into your problem, regardless of whether or not it in actually in your best interest. You wouldn’t believe the amount of times I’ve had to talk a client out of some crazy treatment because the provider promised them some sort of relief.
It’s human nature to look for an excuse to stop something (even if we know it’s working) when their pain isn’t solved right away or they have one of the ‘bad days’ mentioned above. But the key to overcoming chronic pain is to stay positive and stay consistent. If you are going to get more providers opinions, make sure their opinions aren’t trying to sway you from a program you know is working.
3) Celebrate Small Successes
When you’re dealing with daily pain it’s sometimes hard to recognize how far you’ve come. We’ve been working with a client for three months now and one day she came in frustrated one day because she’s still dealing with pain (keep in mind she’s been in daily pain for 10+ years).
After asking a few more questions she admitted that over the weekend she biked over 20 miles and worked in her yard wheel-barrowing around 50+ lbs without any issue. Both of these things are HUGE accomplishments as they would have really aggravated her pain three months prior. Pain can blind us to real world accomplishments. She wasn’t giving herself enough credit for how far she’d come in a relatively short time (3 months of treatment after 10 years of pain). Which is why it’s important that we take take to acknowledge and celebrate these successes to encourage us to keep moving forward.
Staying positive and staying consistent is the key to overcoming chronic pain. Understanding that 10 years of pain won’t be corrected in one month. And not letting us get drifted off course because of a bad day!
Evolve Performance Healthcare specializes in helping adults aged 40+ continue to do what they love and stay out of the doctor’s office- regardless of age!