Dr. Drew Sturgeon, is a post-doctoral fellow and neuropsychologist at Stanford University conducting a study into resilience and chronic pain. Sturgeon would like to know why some people with high amounts of pain are able to stay productive while others cannot.
Stanford has one of the most forward thinking approaches to pain of any University. When Jarred Younger was there he produced pioneering studies on the effectiveness of low dose naltrexone in fibromyalgia.
The notice below is from Sturgeon:
“People with chronic pain face many challenges, including greater problems with physical health, higher risks of mental health disorders such as depression and anxiety, and increased rates of job disability. Traditional research on chronic pain has, perhaps understandably, focused on the many problems that chronic pain can cause.
However, focusing only on the problematic nature of chronic pain misses an important point: most people have important goals and interests that they want to pursue, even if they are suffering from chronic pain.
Research suggests that many continue to work, do not show high levels of depression, anxiety, or other psychiatric problems, and lead satisfying and fulfilling lives, despite the presence of a chronic pain condition. They are resilient.
My colleagues and I at Stanford University are seeking to understand how some people are still able to function at a high level, despite having chronic pain.
We believe that resilient individuals may interpret the meaning of pain differently, may behave differently when they are in pain, and may have different emotional responses to pain — all of which help them to remain healthy and functional.
By understanding resilience in chronic pain, we hope to identify and treat others who may be struggling with their own pain.
The Stanford Systems Neuroscience and Pain Laboratory (SNAPL) is currently looking for people with chronic pain to complete an anonymous online survey, to help better understand how people cope with their pain conditions and how to better meet their needs.
This study is the second phase of a survey development project we posted in the National Pain Report in January of this year. Participation in our study involves answering multiple-choice questions about beliefs about pain and strategies for dealing with pain, as well as questions about physical, emotional, and social health.
Responses from this survey will help us to determine whether our questionnaire can be used to effectively predict healthy functioning in people with chronic pain. Participation takes between 30 and 60 minutes.
[WARNING: the link below is says the survey is closed. The survey was just posted two days ago on another website, however. I have contacted the researcher in an attempt to figure out what is going on.]
If you are interested in completing this online survey, it can be accessed using the following Internet link: https://redcap.stanford.edu/surveys/?s=X7NTKF3DYT .
Alternatively, you can ask to be sent a survey link by emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling (650) 724-8783.
Dr. Drew Sturgeon
When I clicked on the link to complete the survey, a page came up that said “Thank you for your interest, but this survey is not currently active.” When I exited that page, another page came up that said “Please enter your access code to begin the survey” but no access code was given. Is this a glitch in the system or is the survey inactive at this time?
It must be a glitch. I went the National Pain Report page on which the letter first appeared and the same thing happened. The survey was advertised only two days ago. I can’t imagine that it’s not active now. I sent him an email telling him what happened.
In a way I think you get used to pain. A bad day after a good spell is far harder to deal with than being the same everyday. On the other hand it gets harder to keep positive the longer and more severely you are ill. I don’t think they will determine anything from this study.
Well if a bad day after a good day is harder to deal with than getting used to having chronic pain that could mean that the upset and disappointment from going from feeling better to feeling bad again makes the dealing with the pain that much harder.
That suggests if you cut out that upset you would have an easier time with the pain?
I certainly agree there are no easy answers. Until ways to shut the pain off are found, dealing with it will be daunting.
I wonder if it’s not just this: people who can function well with chronic pain are not as sensitive or high-strung as others.
There is no way on earth (but I am willing to entertain any theories) on a very bad day with fibro, that I can function well. My mind is not there. All my energy is spent fighting minute to minute the pain. And fatigue, how do people “overcome” and function with fatigue.
I fear this line of inquiry will be used to point the finger at those of us who are overwhelmed by painful input. Why can’t we just ignore it and get on with life.
Certainly, activation of emotions surrounding the pain or fatigue are not helpful and perhaps that is where the research should be going. CBT.
It’s a difficult issue for sure. My hope is that studies like these could provide tips that could be helpful – things to do that many of us have never considered – probably because we never had access to them.
It’s not about ignoring I don’t think – we’ve all tried that…
I’m sure this survey results will prove interesting. What makes my life so limited is the fatigue. Nothing can fix or even treat that it seems. Really, I do feel my life is not worth living a lot of the time.
Fatigue is more limiting in the end than pain I think and its so isolating. Hang in there Christine…
You are worthwhile whatever you are doing. You don’t have to be productive to be worthwhile…I like this old EST saying – “you are the gift!”
I’ve been wondering about that myself lately Christine with my worsening fatigue. Hang in there. I follow a blogger who says “you never know when something wonderful is going to happen.” Remember and hold on to that!!
I sent a request for the link this morning, and heard back from Drew Sturgeon that their target numbers were met inside two days. Way to go, patient population. They had to close it down.
My high pain tolerance came from years of being told that whatever I felt happening was not happening at all. Get over it. I function way too well while in pain because I am so used to it. I have had to come to a healthy middle ground of self-care and knowing when to stop.
I wonder how pain sensitivity factors in with how often one is in pain. Besides fatigue, what gives me the most trouble is my very low tolerance to pain which seems to be getting worse as time goes on. I can remember being in the hospital for a diagnostic test and my back screaming in pain not because of the needle but because the table I was laying on was hard. Forget about dental visits, I dread them. If it is important enough I will find a way to get through it but it colors every decision I make. I’ve gotten to the point that I now do what is going to make me the happiest.
My ex girlfriend had the same problem after 7 back surgeries or so…Her pain tolerance was just sapped…
I have had this illness since the 70’s and now it is controlling much of my life. I would say that I was able to function well for a very long time but it has been in an arc since the late 1990’s. I think that a lot of words used in this discussion are loaded. Who doesn’t want to be high functioning? And words like sensitive or other words that imply that if I were normal I would have been able to bear more. Also, I am one of the most resilient people I know. I am like a cork. But a “positive attitude” is not going to make me a more resilient person or change my health. I have been strong and resourceful for a long time but this exhaustion is not harder than pain, it just has no techniques to make it more endurable. I cannot meditate or stretch or rest to affect my extreme weariness but having help with the pain makes everything better.
A quick couple of somethings:
Grew up from day one with severe debilitating chronic pain that was dismissed by parents as “sinusitis” — they were both smokers.
*I am one of the alleged 17% of the population born with numerous pairs of defective chromosomes which leads to MCS.
*Mononucleosis at age 2 => ME/CFS.
*Aged 8 – 14 head loaded with silver mercury amalgam dental work. (Few cavities; lots of lies.) In conjunction with gold crowns, complete electrical circuits were formed between the different metals in my teeth, creating a ‘battery’ inches from my brain. Horrific.
*Later, extreme pesticide poisoning twice, plus some => severe ES. Excruciating.
*Last year I learned that I have a trait that about a fifth of the population has: being a Highly Sensitive Person. See the book “The Highly Sensitive Person” by Dr Elaine Aron (who is one). Those with this trait experience pain, noise, a lot of motion, chaos, etc as EXTREMELY painful.
What has helped:
*Knowledge of causes – testing, my research.
*Menopause – no more hormonal interaction.
*Amalgam breaking down – losing some of the toxicity as well as the electrical circuits/battery.
*The Forum by est (now Landmark Education) – executive training/personal growth work – losing ‘baggage’ and clearer on everything so as to cope much better overall.
*Being proactive – if I have to pay out of pocket for medical resolutions, I do whatever it takes (within integrity) without waiting for the system to run me through maze after maze with no positive result.