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Chronic Pain

Chronic pain can transcend the purely physical cause that set it in motion and turn into a crisis that envelopes the entire person. Learn more about how to manage it without letting it manage you.

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Brain & Pain

The brain is a very dynamic organ and can play an important role in managing health. Protecting your most valuable resource—your brain— is an important part of a winning pain management plan.

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Lifestyle & Habits

Becoming healthier is a key to helping manage pain.Carefully decide how you spend your time each day and what habits you cultivate. Learn more about the key traits of highly successful chronic pain sufferers.

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Treatments

We see ourselves as machines: If a part is broken, we fix it. Chronic pain doesn't follow this recipe. Standard medical treatments can certainly help, but if you are not careful, they can also stand in the way of progress.

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2 Mistakes That Could be Keeping You From Pain Relief

What if I told you that, besides being generally unpleasant (to put it mildly), pain can also be deceiving and misleading? Yes! Pain can play tricks with our heads and fill us with thoughts that can be harmful and hold us back from getting better.

Here are two of the most powerful mind tricks that pain plays on us (they may surprise you!):

Catastrophizing

Think of catastrophizing as a thought process where you see the worst in a situation and consider only the most negative of possible outcomes. Catastrophizing is often associated with rumination, meaning you keep thinking that something terrible is going to happen and you can’t get it out of your head. This constant negative thinking can then directly impact your feelings and emotions, which means you can start to freak out or get really depressed.

A lot of pain research done over the years suggests that catastrophizing can have a big impact on how we hurt. Not only does catastrophizing influence the intensity of our pain, but it seems to play a significant role in whether the pain becomes chronic or not. In fact, studies have found that catastrophizing can lead to an increased chance of long-term disability.

In some cases, how we interpret the words we hear from our doctors can determine how much we catastrophize. For example, if your physician tells you that you have really degenerated discs in your lower back, you could respond by ruminating that this a “terrible” problem that will never go away and will likely lead you down a path of becoming wheelchair dependent. Or, you could choose to interpret this as a common diagnosis that happens as we get older and decide you are going to do whatever you can to minimize its impact so you can continue to lead an active and happy life. Two different mindsets to the same problem can lead to very different outcomes.

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Featured Experts

  • Sue Hitzmann

    Creator of the MELT Method®

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  • Carla Hernandez

    Nutritional Therapist at Wise Roots Nutrition

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  • Beth Darnall

    Clinical Associate Professor in the Division of Pain Medicine at Stanford University

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  • Lauren Bringle

    YogaTX

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  • Dr. Peter Abaci

    Bay Area Pain and Wellness Center: A Prospira Center of Excellence

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