Tips on Pain Managment

Troy Todd, Ph.D., BCN

Our natural tendency is to want to eliminate and prevent all pain. If we cannot eliminate or prevent it, we at least seek to predict it. This applies to physical as well as emotional pain. Usually, pain alerts us to situations that are damaging to us, so by eliminating and preventing it, we protect ourselves. Seeking to understand the source of pain and controlling it when it is difficult to eliminate is usually a good thing for us. However, this is not always a good policy in all situations, such as were the pain is expected and not an indication of actual harm.

In situations where you legitimately cannot control the pain, seeing to eliminate it will actually cause an increase in the perception of the pain, causing you greater distress. In these cases, a different approach is needed: 1. acknowledge the pain, 2. “solve it” by reminding yourself you are doing everything you should be doing so that it is as minimal as possible, and that it will not hurt you, 3. refocus yourself to whatever you want to be focused on, 4. repeat this as frequently as your mind gets distracted by the pain.