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  • jean Jordan

Why am I in Chronic Pain?

Updated: Mar 20

One of the most challenging questions in medicine - I found it easier to relieve or eliminate chronic pain than to give new clients an understanding of why they have chronic pain




But stay with me - by the end of this blog you will have some answers.


I remember standing in front of a fibromyalgia support group in 2017. I’d been invited to talk about how I worked with chronic pain. Some of what I talked about that day, I'll share with you today, together with some updated information.


Looking for Answers - studying pain management at Edinburgh University


At the time I had just finished some study with Edinburgh University pain department, where I came across research done by Prof Lorimer Moseley (2015). He argued that if people could understand chronic pain they could not "learn to live with pain" but "learn to live without pain."


“Learn to live with Pain"

The idea of learning to live with pain, as proposed by most pain specialists and pain management clinics, was new to me as my philosophy is to give people the tools to find the cause of their pain, take responsibility and yes, make those changes to live without pain.


Client story of dealing with fibromyalgia - CLICK HERE



My Clinical Research into Chronic Musculoskeletal Pain


I completed my clinical research thesis in 2005 that demonstrated I could do exactly what Prof Moseley was suggesting. 16% of the participants had no more pain, regardless of the duration or severity of the chronic pain. 40% were able to return to living their normal lives with little or no interference due to chronic pain.


“But I'm sure you want to know about those that stayed with their Chronic Pain"


Aah, but that's the good news above but the treatment didn't work for some. These people achieved nothing by being part of the research.

  • One person came once, I didn't see them again so no change in their chronic pain.

  • Three participants made no change because they were unable to make any changes.

  • They either disagreed, didn't like my ideas some said well I've done that and it didn't work.

  • So effectively they didn't try the homework that I was suggesting. Therefore there was no change in their chronic pain.


"In any research about chronic pain it's important to read or to find out what didn't work and the reasons why."


In any research about chronic pain it's important to read or to find out what didn't work and the reasons why. Research is complicated, subsidised by someone, as it has to be paid for. Mostly the research is trying to show that the medication or methodology works and often is better than what we do presently.


Learning from what doesn't work in clinical research


But it's also important to pay attention to the 'failures', missteps, or what didn't work. A lot of time and effort went into my research.

  • There were 25 participants,

  • Each had up to six consultations, making a total about 140 hours of face-to-face with those taking part in the study.

  • Plus writing the thesis and doing a literature review.


The important finding in my clinical research, when treating chronic pain was nothing to do with how long a client had chronic pain, whether for six months or pain for 20 years it didn't affect the result. Neither was the severity of the pain nor the disability caused by their pain and impact on their result and personal outcome.



Treatment lessons I learnt from my research into chronic pain




I learnt a very important lesson from this clinical research into chronic pain that I incorporate into the treatment I do to this day and this is one of the main “reasons why” you have to consider if you have chronic pain.


It is your pain; therefore it's your responsibility to take charge so such words as self-responsibility, self-efficacy, self-development and an overall involvement of yourself in any and all aspects of your pain




It's your chronic pain so you need to be a partner in your treatment


Look it’s like this; you cannot make a cake by looking at the ingredients or the packet of ready mixed chocolate brownies. You must "do something". So many of us are used to taking a pill because we've been told we got high blood pressure, or diabetes. Just take a pill and carry on life as normal. Although, more recently we are beginning to find out that doesn't work to make us well, nor healthy.



If you've been on your pain journey for many years, have seen many different chronic pain therapists and specialists you may have heard many explanations of why you are in constant pain, or why medication, pill's, injections or operations have not cured your pain.


"Communicating with patients with empathy and compassion has been shown to be associated with better health outcomes, fewer doctor visits and less medication” (Buchinder & Harris, 2021)

In most major cities there are specialist pain management clinics for more serious chronic pain. Some of you reading this may have already spent time at pain management clinics, hopefully successfully but this is not always the case. Here’s my question to you. Do you want to manage your pain? Or would you prefer to try living without pain?



What is Chronic Pain?


We all know pain, from breaking a bone in our arm to getting a paper cut - so small but so painful. There is a physical injury; the damage is evident, not only can you feel the pain in your arm, but you can see the cut from the paper, "it's bleeding" or your broken arm 'is swollen". This type of pain is labelled 'acute pain' by doctors and you may have found this term online.


The 'acute pain' I described above should heal over time, as our bodies have a good repair system that goes into action when we have an injury.


But if you still have you same amount of pain, or even an increased level of pain or even less pain but it's still pain that interferes with your life, or makes you miserable, then the doctor will change the name of your pain to say that you are now suffering with 'chronic pain'.


Could we have what you're looking for?



​Natural Pain Solutions Provides Self-Help Skills for Pain Relief



This article is the personal opinion of the author, Jean Jordan who is a natural therapist who works online with people who have chronic pain and related stress and anxiety.

Learn more about Jean and discover her philosophy and holistic approach.


Reference:

Moseley, G. L., & Butler, D. S. (2015). Fifteen Years of Explaining Pain: The Past, Present, and Future. The Journal of Pain 16(9). 807-813




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