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Managing Chronic Pain

Person meditating

According to the Cleveland Clinic, Chronic pain is described and defined as pain that is ongoing and lasts longer than six months even after an injury or illness has healed. Some people will experience chronic pain even without any known injury or illness and although the physical suffering is evident, there is also a great emotional or psychological toll on the person experiencing the pain.

It is vital that people with Chronic Pain work with their trusted medical professional to help get some physical relief. In addition, it can be quite helpful to also work with a trained psychotherapist who specializes in working with chronic pain.

There are many tools that can be used to help you mind and body relax, which for some will offer a greater break from the pain.

Some ways to add psychological tools to your list of support are:

  1. Quality Sleep Matters. Be sure to get enough sleep as often as you can. This keeps the nervous system more calm and often will help manage pai

  2. Meditation of some sort. Begin to work with a mindfulness practice. This may be a sitting meditation or it may be movement meditation. Yoga Nidra can often help the physical body relax more deeply and can alleviate some pain. Youtube has many free videos to support this practice.

  3. Keep a journal to notice if there are certain things that trigger a pain response. This could be certain temperatures; certain people's energy; smells; or foods. In addition, when we are around personalities that challenge or trigger us, we may find that our body clenches and this can add pain to an already painful body.

  4. Move your body daily. It's natural to prefer to remain sedentary when we are not feeling well, but research shows that those who move their body daily have higher levels of relief from pain. Movement must be modified to what feels comfortable and being careful to pay attention to what feels good for your body on any given day. A gentle walk; a slow flowing dance around the house; a short swim. Keep movement sessions very short and work up in minutes to see how your body tolerates the gentle exercise.

  5. Positive Self Talk. Speak gently to yourself. Many of those with Chronic Pain will understandably have negative voices in their head that are impatient and frustrated with the situation. This can often sound like a critical parent suggesting you just get over your suffering. Finding a new gentle calm voice to support you through this crisis is critical.

  6. Maintain Hope. Finding other's who have walked your journey and learn what supported them on their own healing path. Avoid getting caught up with support groups of people who are all suffering as this can cause hopelessness and fear.

Chronic Pain is a difficult journey to walk, but with good support and gentle attention to your journey, you can overcome the suffering and move towards greater understanding of your inner world.


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