Treatment of Chronic Pain
Dr. Robert Heller
Chronic pain is usually defined as pain that lasts for 6 months or more. Now you don’t have to have it continuously for that period of time. It’s just that is never really goes away.
As a cognitive behavior psychologist and a chronic pain sufferer I have been evaluating and treating chronic pain in myself and others for more than 40 years. The holistic approach I use doesn’t eliminate but helps manage the “flare ups” that occur periodically, often, for no apparent reason.
For example I have had chronic back pain for many years. Most of the time, I am pain free and able to do most normal activities. However, I do get flare ups that are so severe, I literally cannot move. The pain can be so excruciating that I cannot even get out of bed to go to the bathroom! I have even passed out from the pain and collapsed on the floor laying there for hours until a physician came to my house and administered an injection and some strong medications to control the pain and reduce the inflammation. These extreme acute episodes can take me up to three months to recover from. In my younger days, they might occur twice a year or more. As I have learned how to integrate mind-body practices into my lifestyle, these extreme flare ups have been greatly reduced and I recover from the ones I do get much more quickly.
The use of Cognitive behavior therapy in the treatment of chronic pain helps me and my clients not give ourselves a problem about our problem. I rarely get depressed as I used to as I recognize that I have tools to reduce my pain, speed my recovery and that the discomfort I feel will be manageable and short lived.
I use relaxation and self soothing methods derived from yoga, Tai Chi and hypnosis to relax my body and mind which in turn helps reduce the tightness in my muscles and facilitates the healing process. At times, I may visit a chiropractor, massage therapist, physical therapist, acupuncturist and other health practitioners to assist in the healing process.
I use positive coping self talk to reduce frustration, fear and depression. I use self hypnosis to remain optimistic and as soon as I can, begin to get physically active again, being cautious and patient in not overdoing it to avoid a premature relapse.
Living with chronic pain is not easy but I have found that the treatment of chronic pain through comprehensive holistic practices and an emphasis on living a healthy lifestyle can result in most of us being able to have a good quality of life in spite of our limitations and vulnerabilities.
If you or someone you know is a chronic pain suffer, I know what you are experiencing. Let me help you learn to help yourself to reduce your suffering and improve the quality of your life.