Living with Chronic Pain
There are many different causes for chronic pain, such as, fibromyalgia, arthritis or injury. Maybe you are living with a chronic Illness or you know someone who is. Chronic pain can have a huge impact on many aspects of a person's life. Pain can bring about sleepless nights, irritability & anger, anxiety and depression. It can result result in the loss of independence and feelings of frustration or shame.
Prior to experiencing a chronic illness the persons life may have evolved around work, caring for family and being active. Yet the debilitating nature of pain can limit how much a person is able to do. It can also affect their relationships with their family, friends and colleagues and leave the them feeling lonely and isolated.
Someone who is living with a chronic illness can find themselves questioning who they are now, as their life and identity have become very different to what it once was.
Sources of help
If you are a chronic pain sufferer, you may have exhausted the medical route, with medication, physiotherapy or various medical specialists. However, there are a number of different options that might help you to manage your illness better.
Counselling can provide a safe, accepting and non judgmental space where you are able to feel heard and understood. Talking about your experience in a supportive environment may allow you to make sense of what you are going through and the changes that pain has brought to your life. Counselling can be useful for exploring your changed identity & lifestyle and support you to figure out how you can adapt to this change.
Eye Movement Desensitisation Reprogramming (EMDR)
There has been research that suggests that EMDR can assist people with a chronic condition in two ways:
If the chronic pain was a result of a traumatic event, EMDR can help to process the traumatic memory. See my page on EMDR for more details on this.
EMDR may reduce or eliminate chronic pain from which there is no known organic cause. For example, EMDR would not reduce pain for nerve damage but if there was no known medical cause for the pain then EMDR could potentially help with this. It is hypothesised that some types of pain are held in the nervous system as a memory. When the pain memory is processed and fully integrated it is thought that so does the intensity of the pain.
Research suggests that Mindfulness can help to reduce or eliminate pain. It is thought that by observing the pain rather than fighting against it, can bring both physical and psychological relief.
Join a local group
If you are living with Chronic pain you may experience isolation or not feel fully understood by the people in your life. Joining a support group gives you an opportunity to meet and talk to others who are experiencing similar issues and challenges. It is a chance to feel part of a community of people who just ‘get it’. A group where you can contribute experiences and ideas whilst also learning from what others have to impart. Such a group can help to rebuild your confidence and sense of well-being.
There is a local support group based in Chester-le-Street called My Pain Fibro. Although it originally was set up for Fibromyalgia sufferers it has now expanded to welcome anyone who is struggling with any type of long lasting painful condition. They can be contacted on 07999 075022 or by emailing email@example.com. Click here to visit their Facebook page.
I would be grateful if you could let me know of any other local support groups for sufferers of chronic pain.
Complementary therapies may help a person to feel supported or to manage their pain better. There are many different therapies available, some of which include acupuncture, Reiki or Aromatherapy.
I can offer Reiki along side counselling. Please contact me if you would like further information about this.
Below is a list of websites that contain useful information and advice with regards to pain:
The pain toolkit - This website has various resources, such as leaflets and videos.
Action on pain - Offers help and advice.
Pain UK - Contains information and FAQ’s for specific conditions
NHS Living Well - Explains how to get help from the NHS.