Quality of life is not strictly about pain itself. Instead, it is about how you react to your pain. You can expect pain to take an emotional toll: That is normal, maybe even inevitable. But people respond to pain differently, and research makes clear that some ways of responding lead to less pain and better outcomes than others.
To get an idea of how you are responding to pain, Michael R. Clark, M.D., director of the chronic pain treatment program at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine suggests you think about the goals you may have established for your life. “For people who are not in pain, this is relatively easy,” he says. “They are usually established in careers and relationships, and it is second nature when they wake up in the morning to know what they are striving for and where they are heading. People with chronic pain, on the other hand, often feel that life is passing them by. Their only goal is to get through the day. Often they wonder, ‘Is this all life can be?”
The answer, according to Clark: There is more. “You have opportunities for success and fulfillment, but if you are in chronic pain, you may need to think more assertively about what you need to achieve your goals.” These goals may be different now than they were before pain saddled you. But evaluating how to reach them is no different: Look objectively at your strengths and weaknesses (perhaps including personality, skills, and education), and try to identify activities or ambitions that match your capabilities. Sound like a familiar process? Then the next question becomes critical: What is holding you back?
For many people in chronic pain, the answer comes down to emotional barriers. These may include depression, anxiety, anger, or loss of self-esteem, along with issues these negative feelings become entangled with, such as weight gain and deteriorating relationships – all of which can make pain more difficult to deal with and quality of life more difficult to achieve.
If you or someone you know is suffering from chronic back pain or neck pain, spinal injury, pinched nerve, etc., do not hesitate to call the North Dallas Spine Center at (972) 916-9432 to receive the care you need.
North Dallas Spine Center – 972-916-9432
7708 San Jacinto Place, Suite 300, Plano, TX 75024