The Canadian Pain Society states "Evidence supports that chronic pain is not just a symptom of underlying illness or injury, but it is a disease in its own right, with significant changes in complex biological, and psycho-social functions." - 2018
A good chronic pain plan involves whole person care and a multi-modal team, which we are starting to build in Saskatoon. Whole person care means you are able to take control of your pain condition through learning about pain, psychological therapy, manual movement, spiritual care and care of our bodies (sleep, nutrition, physical activity), as well as exploring the medications and interventions that allopathic medicine offers.
Below are some of those building blocks and links to resources for self management.
We start with understanding how pain works in the body. Then we talk about movement, which anyone can start to work on at some level. Focusing on the negative worsens our mood and life view, and so looking at ways to emphasize the positive in our lives can really help. Mindfulness tools have been shown to decrease pain and are things we can do anytime, anywhere, without cost. For those on long term opioids for non cancer pain, we know these medications can cause significant long term effects and looking at these medications may make a huge difference. Finally, schedules and routine including a regular natural sleep cycle help the body and brain heal. Sleeping medications used longer than 6 weeks, alcohol and other sedatives do not allow for a proper restorative sleep that allows healing. Finding ways to sleep naturally allows your nervous system to heal the way it is meant to.
Dr Lorimer Mosely explains how the brain controls our pain and how we can address it for real lasting change.
Dr Andrea Furlan tests your pain knowledge
See her many other excellent videos.
Pain is not simple. In fact, its very complex. The more you know about it, the more you can do about it, and take charge of your life again.
Physical movement improves almost everything! Even if it hurts at the beginning, as your body gets stronger from its injury, movement will feel better and better.
It may sound too good to be true, but a positive attitude and an openness to try new things are key to physically feeling better as well.
Mindfulness has been shown to be an incredibly powerful tool for dealing with mental health issues, stress, chronic pain and trouble sleeping.
Opioids are no longer indicated for many types of non-cancer chronic pain. In fact, opioids can make you feel worse - lowering testosterone and increasing infertility, depressing mood, and making pain worse over time (opioid induced hyperalgesia). Sometimes rotating opioids or lowering the dose in combination with other approaches is what is needed.
Sleep is when your body and your mind are able to repair and rejuvenate themselves, and so is very important. There are easy routines to get into to ensure that you have a good nights sleep.