How To Cope With Pain Blog header image 1

Psychiatric Pain Management: Grief and Recovery

October 6th, 2014 · No Comments

Welcome to the series Why You Should See a Pain Management Psychiatrist.

Let’s look at making changes in how you see your pain condition and the disability it causes. Both pain itself and the negative changes it causes in your life are CHALLENGING to cope with. People experience a lot of loss – loss of:

  • good health
  • being pain-free
  • doing enjoyable activities with family and friends
  • going to work
  • hope or spirituality

Many go through the Stages of Grief, which are:

  • Denial – you can’t believe this is happening to you
  • Anger – that so many negative changes are occuring
  • Bargaining  – you’d do anything to get back your previous life
  • Depression – difficulty coping, and mourning the loss of your pain-free life
  • Acceptance – coming to terms with pain and the changes it brings

These stages are a process, a working through, and for many, are slow. I believe that to move forward, you often must first recognize and mourn for what you’ve lost.

Let’s look more at acceptanceacceptance of both pain and the changes in your life.

Acceptance is:
1. No longer struggling with pain.
You might say, I don’t like this, but I accept that this is the situation I’m in.

2. A realistic approach to pain.
You might say, I’ll put realistic energy towards getting better, but not put my life on hold waiting for my pain to go to zero.

3. An engagement in positive everyday activities.
You might say, I’ll put my energy towards my life.

Is this worthwhile to work towards? Yes! A pain researcher, McCracken, has shown that- no matter what level of pain intensity – greater acceptance of pain all by itself predicts:

  • lower reports of pain
  • less pain-related anxiety and avoidance
  • less depression and disability
  • better work status

How can you move towards acceptance? Again, the process is often slow. What I’ve found to be helpful is:

  • Grieve for what you’ve lost
  • Mindfulness training = acceptance of what is
  • Have a goal of living a full life despite pain

Sign up for free delivery of How to Cope with Pain by email or RSS feed. If you liked this post, I'd appreciate your linking to it from your site or spreading the word through your favorite social media.

Tags: 1