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What NOT to Say to Someone in Chronic Pain

by Tracy Rydzy, MSW, LSW 

April 30, 2013

271/365 - Death Toll Rises to 100; Number of Displaced People Up To Over 450,000I will be the first to admit that living in chronic pain can make me a bit…sensitive.  I think when you live with pain or a disability, there is a tendency to think that people are judging you or criticizing you.  I often feel a sense of inferiority at not being able to do what women my age can do.  I also tend to feel there is a stigma attached to being chronically ill and, especially, to taking pain medication.

Through my discussions with fellow chronic pain sufferers and from my own experience, I have compiled a list of things that I am often told that people think are helpful, but for most of us, they are not.  I am cautious in how I state this because I know that most people mean well and really are trying to help.  I also know that after a couple of years living with this, many people feel they need to walk on eggshells with me.  I am sure no one wants their support system to feel that way, so here are some things I personally find less than helpful:
1-    “You just have to accept that this is God’s plan and have faith.”
This is one of the most difficult things for me to hear because it transfers my anger to my higher power and that is not healthy for my faith.  By telling me that I am living in pain is part of some master plan does not increase my faith, but rather harms it.  I know there is a reason for everything and everything happens for a reason, but when repeatedly told to “just have faith,” I feel angered because what I think many people do not realize is that I do have faith, if I didn’t, I couldn’t live with all the negative things in life and survive.

2-    “You just need to relax.”
My pain is not the result of being anxious or uptight.  I have tried yoga, meditation and weekly massages, but it doesn’t make my pain go away.  Loved ones need to recognize that living with chronic pain comes with anxieties.  But these anxieties are not the root of my pain, they are the byproduct of it.  Reminding me that I need to relax or calm down does not help me relax, it does the opposite.


http://blogs.psychcentral.com/chronic-pain/what-not-to-say-to-someone-in-chronic-pain/

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To Soothe Chronic Pain, Meditation Proves Better Than Pills


Mind power: Mediation's effects on your brain could ease your pain.
Mind power: Mediation's effects on your brain could ease your pain.

Could honing your meditation technique cure chronic pain? It's worth contemplating.

By: BY EMILY MAIN

RODALE NEWS, EMMAUS, PA—Chronic pain is estimated to affect over 76 million people, more than diabetes and heart disease combined, and back pain is our country's leading cause of disability for people under 45. And though the pharmaceutical industry seems very adept at introducing one new painkiller after another, the pills don't always help. A new study in the Journal of Neuroscience, however, suggests something else might: meditation. It seems that improving yourmeditation technique could very well be more effective than painkillers at cutting down on pain, and that could save you hundreds in prescription drug costs.


THE DETAILS: This was a small study that looked at just 15 adults who sat through four 20-minute training sessions on mindfulness meditation. However, before and after the training, the participants' brains were scanned using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and during each scan, the researchers put a heating device that induced pain for a five-minute period on each of the meditators' right leg at varying intervals. The brain scans revealed that before meditation, the section of the brain that processes pain was very active, while after meditation training, activity levels were virtually undetectable. Furthermore, after the meditation training, the study participants reported an average 40 percent reduction in pain intensity and an average 57 percent reduction in pain unpleasantness. The study authors noted that morphine and other pain-relieving drugs usually reduce pain perception and unpleasantness by just 25 percent.
WHAT IT MEANS: It's no surprise that mindfulness meditation techniques can help us cope with difficult situations, and this mind-body connection has been so extensively studied by researchers that doctors already know that meditation canlower blood pressure, depression, anger, and anxiety. Some evidence suggests it can boost your immune system and prevent the flu, among other illnesses. However, this is the first study to show that it can lower actual physical pain. "This study shows that meditation produces real effects in the brain and can provide an effective way for people to substantially reduce their pain without medications," the authors write.
If you find yourself suffering from some form of chronic pain, try mindfulness meditation. Fortunately, it's easy to learn, and as this study shows, you only need a few minutes a day to reap the benefits.
Read the full article at Rodale 

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