Listening to and Accepting Your Pain Works: Fighting it Does Not

Cort

Founder of Health Rising and Phoenix Rising
Staff member
A recent "ethnographic study" of muscoskeletal pain suggested that listening to and adapting to pain instead of fighting it works better. They also suggest that for most people at this point in time - chronic pain is here to stay...
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25642538

"Our findings revealed the new concept of an adversarial struggle that explains the experience of people with chronic MSK pain. This included the struggle to affirm self and construct self over time; find an explanation for pain; negotiate the health-care system while feeling compelled to stay in it; be valued and believed; and find the right balance between sick/well and hiding/showing pain. In spite of this struggle, our model showed that some people were able to move forward alongside their pain by listening to their body rather than fighting it; letting go of the old self and finding a new self; becoming part of a community and not feeling like the only one; telling others about pain and redefining relationships; realising that pain is here to stay rather than focusing on diagnosis and cure; and becoming the expert and making choices. "

"Our model helps us to understand the experience of people with chronic MSK pain as a constant adversarial struggle. This may distinguish it from other types of pain. This study opens up possibilities for therapies that aim to help a person to move forward alongside pain. Our findings call on us to challenge some of the cultural notions about illness, in particular the expectation of achieving a diagnosis and cure. Cultural expectations are deep-rooted and can deeply affect the experience of pain. We therefore should incorporate cultural categories into our understanding of pain. Not feeling believed can have an impact on a person’s participation in everyday life. The qualitative studies in this meta-ethnography revealed that people with chronic MSK pain still do not feel believed. Our model suggests that central to the relationship between patient and practitioner is the recognition of the patient as a person whose life has been deeply changed by pain. Listening to a person’s narratives can help us to understand the impact of pain. Our model suggests that feeling valued is not simply an adjunct to the therapy, but central to it. "
 

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