Modern pain management systematically approaches chronic pain management at all three levels (bio-psycho-social) simultaneously. This means using physical treatments to reduce the intensity of physical pain. It also means using psychological treatments to identify and change the thoughts, feelings, and behaviors that are making the pain more intense and replacing them with positive thinking, as well as feeling and behavior management skills that can reduce the intensity of the pain.
Finally, effective pain management must involve not only the pain patient, but also the significant people in their life who can help them to develop a social and cultural context in which to experience their pain in a way that will reduce suffering.
Biological pain is a signal that something is going wrong with the body. The biological, or physical, pain sensations are critical to human survival. Without pain we would have no way of knowing that something was wrong with our body. So without pain we would be unable to take action to correct the problem or deal with the situation that is causing our pain.
Psychological Pain results from the meaning that the brain assigns to the pain signal. The psychological symptoms include both cognitive (thinking changes) and emotional (uncomfortable feelings) that lead to suffering. Most people are not able to differentiate between the physical and psychological. All they know is “I hurt.” For effective pain management you need to learn all you can about your pain.
Social and Cultural Pain, results from the social and cultural meaning assigned by other people to the pain experience, and whether or not the pain is recognized as being severe enough to warrant a socially approved sick role. These three components determine whether the signal from the body to the brain is interpreted as pain or suffering.
Imagine the following vignette
Bob is his college’s star football player. In last week’s homecoming game Bob scored the winning touchdown but broke his arm in the process. This week Bob is sitting on the bench with a cast on his arm that everyone has signed. This cast and how he earned it are seen as an honorable reason for him to be sitting on the bench. In that same game Karl, a big hulking lineman, “tweaked” his back and was also sitting on the bench this week. Unlike Bob, Karl doesn’t have an observable injury and people were asking him why he wasn’t out on the field helping his team. Karl is much more apt than Bob to experience shame/guilt, which will probably amplify his pain symptoms.
If you want to read about the how the Addiction-Free Pain Management® System addresses the biopsychosocial areas you can find my article The Core Clinical Components of Addiction-Free Pain Management® that you can download for free on our Ariticles page.
If you want to learn more about the Addiction-Free Pain Management® System please check out our website at www.addiction-free.com. To learn more about how to develop an effective chronic pain management plan please go to our Publications page and check out my book The Addiction-Free Pain Management® Recovery Guide. To look for my upcoming trainings please go to our Calendar page.
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