Positive thinking and back pain

positive thinking and back painBack pain can make our lives difficult and restrictive in the everyday things that we do. Back pain is a common condition and affects over a third of the population. It is believed that one in eight people aged between 16 and 64 years old are not at work because of back pain. For many people who suffer from back pain there is no quick fix solution, but there are different ways to help people take more control of their back pain.

Back pain can be managed medically with your Doctor’s guidance. Alternatively you can use manipulative treatments performed by qualified clinicians such as Osteopaths, Acupuncture and Reflexology. All these invaluable treatments are available at Wainwright Therapy Centre

Having either medical or manipulative treatments are essential for back pain but how do you manage the pain at home and come to terms with the chronic pain?

I remember when I was in serious car accident 20 years ago where I was left with chronic back pain and vertigo. An osteopath helped with my treatment. The treatment was invaluable and helped towards a good recovery but it did not help with managing the pain at home or my feelings of despair that I had.  I felt depressed, anxious, vulnerable and frightened of my future.  I needed help in coping with pain and condition but also guidance in how I felt thought about my back pain and myself.

This blog post will therefore look at helpful to help you manage your back pain better by changing how you think about your condition. After all, your body is receiving the treatment, why not the mind receiving help too?

Back pain can make us feel low

When we are suffering from any pain we find that affects our quality of life and our stress levels increase. This is turn can lead us to thinking negatively.  If we can adapt a positive mind and decrease our anxieties, this can help to improving our well-being and may even help towards reducing the pain. Persistent pain is hard to cope with if you are feeling low in mood, frustrated or angry.

Thinking about your thoughts and feelings about back pain does not mean you are making up your back pain or it is somehow in your head. By looking and changing your thoughts and feelings it can help reduce the impact that the pain has on your mood, help prevent your mood from deteriorating and reduce your mood from stopping you doing things despite the fact you are in pain.

Thinking the worst…

Research into pain suggests that certain types of thoughts are unhelpful when someone has pain. An example of this is catastrophizing. If someone is catastrophizing they are thinking about the worst possible outcomes of an actual or potential situation. They think more about the pain, its effect on their life and future in a negative way.

Negative effects of catastrophizing, also influences our behaviour. For example, if we worry about causing damage to our back, we are less likely to do exercise which could mean our muscles become weaker and the pain may increase. This in turn will re-enforce our back is damaged. Our thoughts are necessarily not fact and we therefore need to change our thinking.

Changing our thinking

The most helpful way to change our thoughts is to challenge them and replace them with more helpful thoughts which help us feel better.

How do I change my thoughts?

  1. A lot of our thoughts are automatic so you will need to write them down. You will also need to record how you are feeling. It may be helpful to rate your feelings.
  2. You then need to challenge your thoughts. For example, what is the evidence for my thought? Is it true? Is there ways to look at this differently? Is this helping me?
  3. Replace the negative thoughts with helpful thoughts.

Unhelpful thoughts can exaggerate our pain and how we feel. Try to identify your negative thoughts and change them with more realistic and helpful thoughts. It takes time and practice to change our thought pattern but if it helps you manage your pain and how you feel about yourself, then isn’t it worth  a try?

 

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Hazel Hill has a private supervision and counselling practice in Sheffield. As well as having a private Sheffield and online practice, her clinical experience includes working for IAPT, EAP's affiliate work, and charity. Hazel specialises in workplace counselling, bereavement, anxiety and depression and outdoors counselling. You can contact her on 07814 363855

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