What is Chronic Pain?

Chronic pain is really difficult for you to live with. It is different and treated differently from acute pain. Moreover, it can affect almost every part of your life. However, counselling and other chronic pain resources can help you deal with your chronic pain. Additionally, it can bring pain reduction, lower the level of suffering and impact it has on your daily life.

What is Chronic Pain?

Chronic Pain is essentially pain that continues after an injury is healed or should be healed. However, it can also occur for people who have experienced nerve damage or other injuries that never fully heal. Normally, it is not considered chronic pain unless the pain has been persistent for 3 months or more.

Chronic Pain is different from acute pain and needs to be treated differently. The nervous system is much more involved in chronic pain. Additionally, it is often increased or caused by an overactive nervous system. The body uses pain to alert you to danger, but for many with chronic pain, the alert system is extra sensitive and either overreacting to stimuli or reacting to stimuli that are not dangerous. Moreover, the level of pain that someone experiences with chronic pain is often representative to the amount of danger versus safety that their brain is interpreting.

Chronic pain is a holistic condition that can be impacted by many things, such as physical activity, problems within muscles and joints, nutrition, sleep, stress, temperature, past trauma, emotions, and thought patterns. Essentially, anything that the brain can interpret as dangerous can be a trigger for chronic pain. With Chronic Pain, a person may have to pace themselves and plan ahead to avoid pain increases.

What is Chronic Pain

How can Counselling Help with Chronic Pain?

Counselling can help a person…

  • Figure out how to cope with the pain
  • Plan strategies to minimize pain increases
  • Figure out priorities
  • Change thought patterns
  • Identification of the cause behind pain increases
  • Manage emotions
  • Create boundaries to better manage pain.
  • Learn skills to help them communicate their needs.
  • Find validation for the struggles with chronic pain.
  • Reduce the level of pain you feel.
  • Improve other co-occurring conditions that may be affecting your pain like depression, anxiety, trauma, grief, substance use disorders, and suicidality.

Recently, research has found that certain psychological techniques have the ability to resolve or significantly improve chronic pain, especially neuroplastic pain. Pain Reprocessing Therapy and Emotional Awareness and Expression Therapy are the therapeutic modalities with the most notable research about their effect on chronic pain. These types of pain therapies work because they focus on reducing the danger that the brain interprets. Because if we can let the brain know that the things it is interpreting as dangerous are really safe, than the pain will go down.

Chronic Pain Resources

Internet Resources

PainBC https://painbc.ca

Pain BC is a non-profit based in BC. It is has a huge number of resources for self-management of pain, education opportunities for health professionals, and supports for those with chronic pain. It is a truly amazing website to support those with chronic pain.

Tame the Beast https://www.tamethebeast.org

Tame the Beast is a website that is a collaboration between a pain scientist (LM), a pain physiotherapist (DM) and a professional communicator (SC). It shares a number of pain stories as well as providing pain education.

Pain Revolution https://www.painrevolution.org

Pain Revolution is an Australian website that has a lot of information for pain education, as well as handouts explaining pain. It has a good number of resources on it.

Pain Canada https://www.paincanada.ca

Pain Canada is a resource for Canadians, both those with pain and those professionals treating people with chronic pain.

Chronic Pain Centre of Excellence for Canadian Veterans https://www.veteranschronicpain.ca

Chronic Pain Centre of Excellence for Canadian Veterans is has monthly webinars about chronic pain, resources for those with chronic pain and those supporting those with chronic pain.

Chronic Pain Resources: Reading

Rethink Chronic Pain – Dr Gaetan Brouillard

Rethink Chronic Pain is a book written by Dr Gaetan Brouillard, who is a Pain Specialist based in Montreal. This book takes on a multifaceted approach to pain including an explanation of pain, the biological and environmental causes of pain, nutritional influences of pain, natural supplements for pain, ways to treat pain through complementary health approaches (reflexology, acupuncture, etc.), and psychology. It is great in offering some ideas of what next to try and educating on what could be going on with your pain situation.

Change Your Brain, Change Your Pain – Mark Grant

Mark Grant is a Psychotherapist that has specialized in EMDR treatment of chronic pain. This book is great of educating the reader on the connection between chronic pain and trauma. It also offers 15 audio downloads that readers can use to help heal their pain. Headphones are required to get the most out of the audio tracks as they are set up for bilateral stimulation (different sounds to each ear). There are a number of tracks that are set up for using with a trusted partner, for those tracks you may not get as much out of the experience if you don’t have a trusted partner.

Explain Pain – David S. Butler & G. Lorimer Moseley

Explain pain is an excellent book by one of the top researchers in chronic pain. It does a good job on explaining the mechanisms behind chronic pain and what adjustments a person with chronic pain can make to reduce their level of pain.

The Way Out – Alan Gordon & Alon Ziv

The Way Out is an excellent book by the person who helped develop Pain Reprocessing Therapy. It has humour, techniques, and understanding for those suffering from chronic pain.

8 Steps to Conquer Chronic Pain – Dr Andrea Furlan

An excellent book that covers all the basics of chronic pain. It contains a process to tackle your chronic pain but can also be read for information. Dr Andrea Furlan is a respected pain specialist in Toronto, Ontario Canada.

Dr Andrea Furlan https://www.youtube.com/c/DrAndreaFurlan

Dr Andrea Furlan is a pain specialist in Toronto and has many educational videos about pain on her Youtube channel.

Madeleine Eames https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCoNQEC-w_DlFPTiypnhcARQ

Madeleine Eames is a psychotherapist and mindfulness teacher in Kelowna, BC and has many videos about the chronic pain and psychological and mindfulness resources.

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Published by Leona Westra

A Registered Clinical Counsellor (RCC) based in Surrey, BC with specialized training in Chronic Pain, Trauma, Nervous System Dysregulation, and Grief.

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