Moving From Hopeless To Hopeful For More Effective Chronic Pain Management
May 5, 2015 by Dr. Steve Grinstead
May 5, 2015
Today I want to focus on the importance of not giving in to hopelessness when it comes to chronic pain management. Please watch my Video Blog below then read the remainder of this post.
The Stuck Point Of Hopelessness
Have you ever felt hopeless and helpless regarding living with chronic pain? If so, take yourself back to a time when you were the most fearful, overwhelmed, or felt hopeless. Remember how living in that state of mind seemed to drain all of your energy and hope for your future. One of my patients, Sheena, had a workplace accident and broke several bones and as she discovered over a year later that she also experienced severe nerve damage.
Her doctors tried various pain medications and physical therapy interventions in her first year while she kept trying to return to her job as a carpenter. Unfortunately, each time she tried she ended up in so much pain she had to stop working again. She was finally put on total disability and told she would have to learn to live with the pain. Unfortunately, they did not explain to her how she could do that and still have a functional and satisfactory quality of life.
She was finally referred to a pain clinic that I was consulting with where I worked with her and her doctors to find out first of all why nothing so far had helped her pain. As I assessed her pain symptoms I noticed that seven of twenty of her identified pain symptoms were neuropathic. I also discovered that she had never had an MRI for her back. When she was finally referred for an MRI, the results showed significant nerve impingements and damage.
Just learning what was really going on was the start of her transition from hopeless to having renewed hope for her future. Within six months she had adequate pain relief and was undergoing vocational rehabilitation in computer programming. She was very excited about her future. Without this healthy transition she would have been at high risk for moving into demoralization.
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