We have, as a society I think, been lead to believe that pain and medical conditions can only be treated effectively in a hospital, doctor’s office or surgical room. If pain arises, the first thought is generally when can I get into see my doctor, and that is of course, the appropriate course of action at least for acute pain. Acute pain is defined as short term, lasting less than 6 months. This exclusively medical ideology that has been instilled in us all becomes a problem when we start talking about chronic pain and the conditions that surround them.
I hosted an interview with Dr. John Sanders who works with chronic pain patients and he discussed how frustrating it could be to see his chronically ill patients suffer despite his best attempts at treatment. What he was seeing consistently is that long term use of opiates was not effective, and in many of his patients that took them daily the treatment stopped working completely by the end of only one year. In his work and in his research he has known that approaches based in cognitive behavioral science are, in his words, the most effective treatment for chronic pain. Unfortunately, at least in his area there is no one to refer his clients to that specialize in this approach.
But his message was clear, approaches to treating chronic pain outside of the medical realm absolutely do work. A study from Mccracken in 1997, conducted a survey of pain patients in a speciality pain clinic and an average of 82% of patients continued to suffer with pain even two years later . The reality is absolutely heartbreaking.
In my own research I came across a book called mindfulness and acceptance in behavioral science by Vowles, Thompson and Mccracken which they published in 2011 . In this book they describe why the modern medical field doesn’t appear to sufficiently solve the problem of chronic pain. They discuss how opiate medications so often fail in the long run and create an entire host of other undesirable symptoms in addition. They discuss how other interventional procedures such as injections or implantable devices are generally short term, costly and in their words, ‘rarely produce beneficial impacts’. They have found that while the medical fields attempts to find new interventions aimed at reducing pain are respectable, it may reinforce a negative message that to live a functional life pain MUST be reduced. Finally they describe how continuous attempts at treatment ending in failure creates feelings of defeat, confusion and dismay in the chronic pain patient and this can actually exacerbate their symptoms. As a result of this knowledge they spend much of their time in this book discussing alternative approaches including, but not limited to cognitive behavioral approaches, mindfulness strategies and acceptance and commitment therapy.
So my question is this. Why on earth has no one been talking about this? Why hasn't every practitioner been shouting this from the rooftops? Maybe many don't know, but it is high time that those of you out there still suffering understand that you DO have options. You can be EMPOWERED with the knowledge that there is another choice, and you haven't reached the end of the road.
I remember when i thought that i had reached the end of my road... I remember what it felt like to feel so defeated, discouraged and miserable thinking that my pain would dominate my life forever. I HAD reached the end of any medical options, that was true. I didn't realize i had options outside of what the mainstream was telling me. There is, there are and you can start today!
Here is how you can start actually finding freedom from pain:
1) Buy the Pain Revolutionized Masterclass today!
2) Search your local Psychology Today for counselors who specialize in cognitive behavior therapy and chronic pain.
3) Search your local Psychology Today for counselors who specialize in acceptance and commitment therapy and chronic pain.
Whichever option you choose, i wish you the best of luck on your journey!!!
1) McCracken, Lance. (1998). Learning to live with the pain: Acceptance of pain predicts adjustment in persons with chronic pain. Pain. 74. 21-7. 10.1016/S0304-3959(97)00146-2.
2) McCracken, L. M. (2011). Mindfulness and Acceptance in Behavioral Medicine: Current Theory and Practice. Lance M. McCracken.