The concept and perception of pain is very complex and multifaceted. The study of pain has educated us a great deal about all aspects of the neurophysiology of pain and how the brain transfers and processes pain signals from our bodies. The primary insight that has arisen through this development of knowledge is a confirmation that we can make use of conscious skills and strategies to control the emotional affect and perceived intensity of pain.
Distraction techniques to divert attention from the pain are one powerful means to mind pain management. Alertness to an individual’s patterned responses to aches, and a mindful change of those patterns can be extremely helpful in reducing the effect that physical pain has on our quality of life and sense of well being.
Pain management: fear and anxiety
Fear and an anxiety response actually worsen the perception of pain. This aggravated pain experience makes the next pain episode more uneasy and a vicious cycle of increasing pain, dread and nervousness is created. This results in a chronic pain condition and despair. The secret to breaking this is to use ways, means and skill to stop each pain episode from getting out of hand.
For some, pain can be relieved without the use of medicine. You may need the help of TriBeCa Care’s health professionals to learn to do these for yourself. Mind-body therapies are treatments that assist the mind’s aptitude to affect the functions and symptoms of the body. Mind-body therapies use various approaches, including relaxation techniques, meditation, guided imagery, biofeedback and hypnosis. Relaxation techniques can help alleviate discomfort related to chronic pain.
Some of these techniques are probably best learned with the help of a TriBeCa Care professional, and it usually takes practice for these procedures to become effectual in helping assuage chronic pain. It is often advisable to work on pain coping strategies for about 30 minutes 3 times a week. With practice, you will find that the relaxation and chronic pain control become stronger and last longer after you are done.
Examples of imagery and chronic pain management techniques include:
- Focus on a non-painful body part, and see whether this deflects the mind from focusing on, say, chronic back pain.
- Mentally disconnect the sore body part from the remainder of the body; use dissociation to keep the pain away.
- Split dissimilar sensations of pain into separate parts: If a patient feels burning associated with pain, he or she might find it helpful to focus solely on the burning sensation, and not on the pain by using such sensory splitting.
- Envision a anesthetizing injection of some incredible medicine.
- “Travel” back in time, when the patient was pain free.
- Imagine a symbol for one’s chronic pain, for example, a loud noise; turn the volume down, and reduce the pain.
- Use positive or affirmative imagery to focus on something pleasing.
Sometimes, after you are good at using the techniques with the help of our professionals at TriBeCa Care, you can produce chronic pain relief and relaxation with just a few deep breaths. You can then start to use these techniques while you are engaged in any activity, working, talking, etc. With enough experience you will begin to feel a greater sense of control over the chronic pain and its effects on your life.