Today I want to focus on what I call the chronic pain spiral. I know how dangerous this can be and actually started experiencing it this weekend. Please watch my video blow then read the remainder of this post.
People living with chronic pain can sometimes begin a downward spiral when the cascade effect of painful physical symptoms combined with uncomfortable emotion occurs. This is coupled with a negative anticipation effect. People begin to think like a victim; they experience thoughts like “why me” or “poor me” or even “this is must be my punishment.” They start feeling hopeless and helpless, which often leads to grief and depression.
It is important to remember that the cumulative biopsychosocial effects of chronic pain leads to a ever-downward pain spiral. When people try to cope with this condition using potentially addictive medications, the downward addiction spiral is intensified—although the person is so medicated they usually don’t notice the spiral. In addition, the brain is attempting to adapt by telling other parts of the body to produce additional chemicals as it tries to manage the situation.
While it is important to realize that pain communicates with the body that there is something wrong, it is part of a healthy defense system; the fact that pain can sometimes be maladaptive as well, is not always as obvious.
As with any sensory system, pain receptors and circuits can become impaired, resulting in chronic pain that cannot be attributed to any identifiable physical problem. The greatest challenge with regard to understanding the biological aspects of pain is why at times it continues even after a painful stimulus has been removed. Sometimes the pain signal gets turned on but never turns off.
When this chronic pain syndrome happens people often go from living with pain to suffering with pain. To learn more about pain and suffering please check out my book Freedom from Suffering: A Journey of Hope that you can learn more about or purchase at Freedom from Suffering Book