Reframing Pain

Chiropractors can often relieve back pain, but what happens when we can’t? Reframing pain is technique I give my patients to help them deal with occasional painful flare-ups.

Reframing PainThe first thing you should do, if you are experiencing recurring pain, is to get it checked out professionally. If you have nothing seriously wrong, and the problem is mechanical (i.e. bones muscles and joints) a visit to the chiropractor will probably sort it out.

However, many people find that the pain may recur in the future. Why? There can be many reasons. Here are some of them:

  1.       Repetitive stress at work.
  2.       Poor posture.
  3.       The tissues become weakened and prone to re-injury.
  4.       Stress or anxiety cause ongoing muscle tension.
  5.       Loss of tissue resilience due to ageing.

A combination of these and other factors often lead to tissue damage. It may take a course of treatment and rehabilitation exercises to heal, but it can be difficult to remove all the causes of the problem. For example. You may be putting a lot of stress on your shoulder because of your job as a builder. Or you may be sitting for hours on end over the computer. You cannot just quit your job so the strain on your body is going to continue.

I teach my patients exercises and tricks to help avoid the worst excesses of posture, but with the best will in the world… this might not be enough; For some people, the painful symptoms will return and there is nothing they can do about it.

Well, actually there is; You can reframe pain.

As I have said, if the pain is severe and ongoing, you need to see a professional. Let’s assume you have done this. You have had some treatment the pain has gone away. But now you feel it starting to come back. This can be frustrating and upsetting especially if you thought you had got on top of it.

Firstly, you need to stop the negative thoughts, let go of the frustration and upset, and think about what you can do. You must do this because negative thinking will make the pain feel worse. Remember the pain is not as bad as it was originally; it is just starting to return, don’t catastrophize; it is not going to be as bad as it was before because you are going to take control.

See the pain as a reminder to take special care of yourself. It is like the oil indicator light in your car; There is no need to panic if the light comes on; It comes on long before your engine has run out of oil. You have plenty of time to top it up.

By the time you have been through a course of treatment you will have learnt the main causes of your pain. So you know what to do. Have you been working too hard, are you under a lot of stress, have you been sitting round in poor posture? It is simple, change what you have been doing and the pain will go away. The original injury will not return.

This is the reframe then: Originally pain was your enemy; it ruled your life and it was unbearable. Now the pain is your friend. It is your warning light. You can say “thankyou” to your body for giving you this warning before injury comes. Do what you need to take the strain from your body, and the pain will go away.

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