Watch the video above and talk about it with a group or mentor. Learn more.

Millions of people suffer from chronic pain, but practical tools are available to help you cope mentally and emotionally.

Key Points:

  • What chronic pain looks like. A persistent form of pain that affects the sufferer for three months or longer. It takes an emotional and functional toll.
  • The cost of chronic pain. This varies from person to person, but generally, you are prevented from doing simple things you’d otherwise do, such as playing with your kids or sleeping well. There is also an emotional toll, such as increased anxiety, depression, or irritability – often with social consequences.
  • Why we experience pain. The Gate Control Theory says that sometimes the “gate” of pain reception is open and other times it is “closed.” There are factors that can “open” and “close” this gate. The problem is when the gate is open and it shouldn’t be. The solution is to find out how to keep the gate closed. If our friends and family seem to be against us, this opens the gate. If people baby us, the pain can seem unbearable, opening the gate.
  • How to cope with chronic pain. If you believe pain is unbearable and unpredictable, the gate will be open. It undermines our ability to cope. A well-balanced life can help close the gate. Exercise, eat well, nurture healthy relationships – these all have positive effects on us. Counseling, like Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy, can also help.
  • Mindfulness. This asks how we relate to our pain. Trying to avoid pain can make it worse. Accepting the reality of pain and approaching it objectively can help us better deal with pain.

Quote This:

Chronic pain can be very lonely. It can have a shame-based quality. -Jennifer Grey

See Also: DrugsHealth, Mental Health, Suffering

Talk About It
  1. What is your initial reaction to this topic? What jumped out at you?
  2. Do you or have you struggled with chronic pain? Or do you know someone who has? What happened?
  3. Do you think there is anything of merit to the Gate Control Theory? Have you seen some of these ideas to be true in your experience?
  4. How does being mindful of our pain help reduce its effects? Have you seen this to be true that accepting our pain helps us deal with it?
  5. Who are the people around you who can support you through pain? How can you be supportive of others through their pain?
  6. Would you say you have a well-balanced life (diet, exercise, work-life balance, relationships)? If not, what steps can you begin taking to find balance?
  7. Write a personal action step based on this conversation.