Stages of Chronic Pain

7 Stages of Chronic Pain
Written by Paul Harrison

Chronic pain often seems like a mountain, but it doesn’t have to be. Usually, some simple life changes, stopping some bad habits, starting some good new habits can be all it takes. Of course, for many, sometimes it can be a bigger challenge. The huge risks of finally giving up that job because it’s hurting you (that job you never liked anyway) or changing life directions in other ways.

All too often the stumbling blocks that get in the way, such as not listening to help, unwillingness to change, or even sometimes a deep belief that pain is a part of you can cause huge rifts in your mind and body.

The bottom line is… something or some cause is the nub of the pain. Once we learn what that is, combined with support and a willingness to change, the suffering will end. Now I am not saying all pain is bad, heartbreak and pain can be the creator of beautiful poetry and as Leonard Cohen says, the cracks are where the light gets in. However, if pain is causing you more harm than good, it is time to change, but… This has to be deeply and truly, we can’t “trick” the pain into going away.

Here are Helen Kellers 7 stages of grief tailored to Chronic pain. It clearly outlines what we so often see in clinic with chronic pain sufferers and their healing journeys.

1- Stage 1, Shock

The injury occurs, this wasn’t planned for, ok it’ll hurt a few days then I can get on with my life.

2- Denial

This has been painful a while now, but it’s not that bad, I can handle it, it will go away by itself eventually

3- Anger,

Urg! this pain won’t stop; it’s starting to affect my life and the people around me. It’s all I can think about

4- Bargaining

Ok ill do anything to stop this pain, I will book a treatment of XYZ people say that works, a few sessions then it will go away.

5- Depression

Oh no! nothing works, I’ve tried everything! this wasn’t my fault, why has this happened to me.

6- Acceptance and Hope

There nothing I can do to solve this, its time to get some real help, invest in myself and find a professional who I trust and follow their advice to the letter, and stick with it this time.

7- Processing and Change

I understand the pain now, it has made me a better, healthier, and happier person. I’ve changed, and I’m glad this happened to me. The pain no longer controls me, just wish I’d done this earlier!

This is clearly a very linear sequence of events, many stumble on the way, one can bounce back and forth between stages, but one thing I can promise you, once you’re ready to truly change it will all have been worth while in the end. We Can help…

“Although the world is full of suffering, it is full also of the overcoming of it. My optimism, then, does not rest on the absence of evil, but on a glad belief in the preponderance of good and a willing effort always to cooperate with the good, that it may prevail.” Helen Keller.

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