One of the problems with chronic pain is the many ways that it seeps into different parts of your life and changes the way that you interact with the world.
One major area is with work, and this is enormously important because work is not only beneficial for putting food on the table, but it becomes part of who we are and how we identify. It’s a lot of our social life as well. And so if you suddenly stop work, because of say a chronic back injury, you lose all of that, you lose a lot of it. And so it can be really important to find ways to reengage with work so that you can keep that sense of identity, the social components of work, and just ease yourself back into it.
It also affects how you see yourself. So sometimes if you’ve got anxiety associated with that chronic pain, you can see yourself becoming this depressed, this anxious person, somebody that you weren’t before had. And so that needs addressing and treating in order to help improve the outlook for your pain. One of the other things that can happen is that your brain tells you, if you move, if you do something, you stay with that back pain, your back might fall apart, you’re gonna make this worse, and so it affects your ability to go and do exercise, to get out into the world, to do the normal activities around your home.
So what we’re doing within chronic pain clinics, is to look at all those different aspects of your life, look at how your chronic pain has affected you and all those different aspects, and try and give you the tools to bring that all back together and get your more normal life.