Chronic pain treatment, just like depression treatment, is a very big area, and it can be hard to understand.
The right approach to chronic pain treatment can depend on so many things, such as
* what type of pain you are dealing with
* how long the pain has persisted
* what your personal stance is towards painkillers and other medication (and towards specific types of medication)
* the quality of your relationship with your health care givers
* your insurance and/or financial situation
* what the rest of your life looks like
* how the people around you feel about your condition
* what you think of alternative/complementary healing approaches
* your general state of physical and emotional health
* the quality of your spiritual life
* – and so on …
Is chronic pain treatment the same as chronic pain management? For some people that’s the case. There are those whose pain will never completely go away, and the best way to handle it is to find ways to have the pain “meter” as low as possible, to look for moments when it’s almost gone, and to manage the pain as best as possible when it starts acting up. One way of reaching those goals is to use relaxation and meditation.
Before you roll your eyes, saying, “I’ve heard this all before”, please hear me out!
First of all, in my opinion there are too many people who receive the recommendation that they just have to “live with the pain”. Yes, there are people who, after quite a bit of research, end up having to do that. But there are lots and lots of other people who can have complete or almost complete pain relief.
I remember the case of a woman who spent years close to suicide because of horrible migraines and back pain – until we met and together we worked on finding a doctor with the right approach to chronic pain treatment, who helped her find the right combination of medication. Within weeks, she was back at work. Chronic pain is very complicated – but that doesn’t mean it has to be passively accepted.
Second … if you suffer from chronic pain and have tried relaxation and meditation or similar approaches and it hasn’t worked – ask yourself why. I’m going to be honest with you – I’ve met lots of people who tried these approaches to chronic pain treatment once or twice, maybe even without following all of the instructions and said, “It doesn’t work.”
This can be a bit like saying, “I’ve tried baking bread twice and it didn’t work, so obviously baking bread isn’t a good idea. Yes, I did leave out the salt but hey, it’s just one ingredient, what difference could that possibly make?” Just like baking bread, meditation and relaxation take time and experience and until you know what you’re doing, you don’t know which ingredients of the “recipe” you can leave out.
In the next instalment, we’ll talk about how you can make meditation and relaxation work for you.
In the meantime, if you’d like to talk about your issues around chronic pain, send me an email or call me at 604-618-0830 and we’ll see what we can do for you.