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The Pain Game
How Recovery Can Be Hindered by Negativity
Pain is frightening. It is uncomfortable and frustrating. But what it should not be, is a hindrance to the rest of your life.
It does not have to be scary, but often we go searching for information to help us understand why we are in pain. More than likely, that leads us down a frightening path of thinking we have X, Y, Z and that we cannot do A,B,C.
I have written many times that you cannot always believe what you read on the internet. Dr. Google is a true “frenemy” and can often provide some great, yet much misleading information. Also, I hate to say this, but even some healthcare workers provide a disservice to patients utilizing certain words when discussing pain. For example, never, cannot and forever are three of the terms that I dislike the most.
Pain and fear can perpetuate a never-ending cycle that delays recovery. It is multi-modal and a science. Pain is not a one-way street as once taught. Although similar, it’s also not as clear-cut as the wiring in our homes. Pain typically occurs not only due to physical ailments, but psychological and social fixtures as well. It is certainly not always clear-cut and is studied daily.
I mean, have you ever hit your finger with a hammer? I sure have. It hurts, I am always afraid blood is going to be gushing out of my finger and I am nervous. However, a roofer might act completely differently. They may barely even feel a hammer hit their finger and just keep going on with their work. So, what is the difference?
Why is it that some people who have had minor injuries sometimes develop constant discomfort? Why is it that your neighbor who had the same injury as you the day before you is back up and running several days later while you are sitting in bed?
The picture above shows something we call the Fear Avoidance Model. It is a well-studied matter, looking at how pain experiences and levels of fear and negativity may throw us into this treacherous cycle that can in turn begin a pain cascade for as long as you let it.
An individual’s “pain experience” is the driving factor between a positive or negative recovery process. If someone has ever told you pain is normal, it is not. If someone has told you that you will deal with something forever, I wish that you think otherwise. If someone tells you that you cannot lift weights, squat, or play a sport again, I really hope that I can help change that train of thought.
Fear drives pain, and pain drives fear. It becomes a never-ending cyclical phenomenon that causes a great disservice to our bodies. We stop moving, become hyper-vigilant to any sort of pain, and can fall into a depressive, disabled state.
But, how can this be changed? Tune in to the video below, and always, feel free to ask any questions you may have!