“Pain is whatever the experiencing person says it is, existing whenever he/she says it does”
This phrase was coined by McCaffery in 1968. For the verbally cognitive member of our society this statement is still relevant however today it grossly excludes those people who are unable to self report their pain, for example babies, toddlers, non-verbal or critically ill children and adults.
I studied pain management at University a few years back gaining an immense insight into the many pitfalls of managing pain in our ‘quick fix me society’. Recently I experienced intense acute pain in my left hip joint where I could not stand on my left foot without having 9/10 pain for several days. Within 1 week of attending to my pain, I am now feeling 0/10 pain. My own treatment is irrelevant as I just want to highlight the bigger picture of managing your pain.
Pain management misconceptions have been predominantly engineered for paternalistic Western biomedical convenience
Pain behaviour and suffering can be affected from a boundless amount of variables, specifically cultural expression of pain or not (stoicism). Pain is our body telling us something is not right. If we listen to our bodies pain will protect us from further damage. The same stimuli of pain will be experienced in a unique way by each individual. That’s why some types of pain medication is not always the right answer for everyone.
Responsibility of the patient
Lack of autonomy for the patient may result in a helplessness attitude. Our Western society has created a culture to expect an instant cure with no physical or mental responsibility on the part of the patient. Sadly, the illness role has its fan club to gain misplaced attention that may otherwise not be in receipt of. Developing patient responsibility in creating healthfulness should be a high agenda for optimal healing to occur.
Compliance of pain relief will speed up recovery
One of the most important aspects of healing pain is to get pain relief as soon as possible. Un-resolved pain is a sure fire way for acute pain to spiral into chronic pain that may have no physical basis any longer. Ongoing persistent pain teaches the central nervous system to expect pain by way of plasticity (brain re-wiring). Pain relief can come in many forms; pharmaceuticals, herbs, massage, chiropractor, acupuncture, exercise, energy medicine, relax and rest. Any combination or just one may do the trick.
Emotional distress amplifies pain
Cognitive behaviour therapy will aid the coping skills of resolving pain. Bach Flower Essences support positive cognition behaviours that will aid the healing process by addressing the emotional aspect of the pain individually felt.
Fear of activity amplifies pain perceptions
Exercise is a good example of non-pharmacologic treatment for pain. Individualised regimes, supervision, stretching and strengthening has been associated with best outcomes. Supervision is the supportive key for adherence to exercise rehabilitation. I snapped in half my L3 spinous process in 2016. Unfortunately the neurosurgeon suggested no physiotherapy for at least 8 weeks. In hindsight, physiotherapy at week 2 would have speeded up my recovery significantly, as the physiotherapist taught me to use my pelvic floor muscles for fabulous low back strength and support. That was a lightbulb moment for me. Up until then I was fearful of doing any movement, prolonging my pain experience.
Fear avoidance behaviour is frequently associated with chronic pain. Effecting a downward spiral of reduced activity, reconditioning, postural changes and loss of muscle support of various joints including the spine.
Pain Diary – just give me the drugs
Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory and opioid prescription may contribute to an addiction due to not taking the right dosages or analgesia type for the specific pain intensity. This means opioids could lead to addiction if taken for a mild pain intensity rather than a severe pain intensity. Therefore strict daily monitoring in a pain diary is an essential part of rehabilitation for monitoring pain patterns which will disclose the effectiveness of a pain management program.
A pain diary will aid both the sufferer and the health professional to monitor the effectiveness of both pharmacological and non pharmacological interventions. A diary is a more holistic approach, where the sufferer can scale the pain between 1-10 on a daily basis self-monitoring the quality of life and treatments used. Inadequate assessment, monitoring, reviewing, supervision, support or lack of education will negate many well-intended pain management programs.
Quality of life is the most desired outcome for all but the patient is the only one who knows what their quality of life should look like.
For support in healing your pain I am available for Naturopathy Consultations for an holistic awareness to your unique circumstances of pain.
Bookings or Inquiries:
M. 0487 345774