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Things To Start Doing Now to Master Your Pain

10 Things To Start Doing Now to Master Your Pain (Part 1)


These 10 principles may seem simple in some ways, but they are the basis for approaching

pain—and in essence, life—in a healthier way. There will be times when they are difficult, but they are the things that are under your power and control.


Rule Out Your Biggest Fears

If you are experiencing pain, and you suspect it may be life-threatening or relentlessly progressive, then immediately seek medical help to rule out any emergencies or life-threatening conditions. Isolated pain without other concerning symptoms such as severe leg or arm impairments, fevers, significant weight loss, and/or changes in other body systems is rarely serious. Assuage your concerns by doing your due diligence to address potential urgent matters.


Be Aware

Your body’s natural pain response is intended to protect you. Therefore, pay attention to ensure that there is no obvious threat to you. Sudden, acute pain can help us flee dangerous situations. Pain itself is constructed by many inputs, including fear, physical sensations, stress, depression, social isolation, lifestyle patterns, etc. Pain that persists with no serious survival or health concerns can fester in a way that can isolate you from many things in your life. Ironically, merely fixating on the pain or suffering can magnify pain. Noticing what makes your pain better or worse can help you or someone who is trying to help you understand your pain better. However, being aware that there are many inputs that can influence your pain is important to understand so that you can explore those things that improve your pain experience.


Deep breathing enables you to counteract the sympathetic nervous system (fight-or-flight) with the parasympathetic system (rest and digest). Practice some slow, deep breathing to calm down your nervous system. This skill can be used at any time for the rest of your life. Your nervous system can go on high alert or be hypervigilant for various reasons, and it is not always due to physical threats, but the power of breath can soothe your system. There are many scientific reasons that this is a commonly used practice during childbirth.

Master you Mind

Once you have ruled out any emergencies or life-threatening conditions, then your next step is to practice mastering your mind’s interpretation of pain. Are you still anxious despite the fact that there is no evidence that you have a life-threatening condition? Are you uncomfortable with not knowing the pain’s cause? Identify the feelings and concerns you are experiencing. They will be guiding the types of choices that you will make for addressing your pain. It is important to understand how you are interpreting your pain. If you are incredibly fearful, then many of the decisions that are chosen in haste may not always be the best solution or may not be addressing the root cause of your pain.

Remember “Hurt Does Not Always Mean Harm”

Although there are times that harm can lead to hurt, hurt does not always mean harm. Information that is sent to the brain and interpreted as pain does not mean that you are injured or hurt. In fact, it can mean many things including you may not have been moving enough, not been moving well, been moving something too much, or other parts of your life can be causing your nervous system to be extremely sensitive. The body is incredibly resilient, healing, and adaptable. Sometimes the body sends information to our brain because the body/brain needs us to change what we are doing and/or is overly sensitive due to stress, poor diet, lack of sleep, toxins, or other inflammatory states. Just remember that pain does not mean you will injure yourself unless you have extreme conditions like severe osteoporosis.

Dr. Melissa Cady, D.O., the "Challenge Doctor," is an osteopathic physician certified in anesthesiology and pain medicine by the American Board of Anesthesiology. She often writes about and presents on various health and pain-related topics. Dr. Cady is the founder of PAIN OUT LOUD, an online community of pain challengers and pain professionals. She’s also the author of PAINDEMIC: A Practical and Holistic Look at Chronic Pain, the Medical System, and the ant iPAIN Lifestyle.

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