"Pain is a signal to let us know that we have been injured or ill. Pain can arise from tension and discomfort caused by how we respond to stress or threat. When we are threatened physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually, our nervous systems automatically react to ensure that we are protected from harm or injury. Pain is an essential part of our natural survival system, warning us that something is wrong and motivating us to give our body attention" (Levine & Phillips, 2012, p.3).
There are three types of pain:
* Physical Pain- injury or tissue damage, often confirmed during medical testing or examinations
* Emotional Pain - physiological response to strong emotion, when the system has been shocked, such as grief related to the sudden loss of a loved one
* Post-Traumatic Pain - physiological response (fight, flight, or freeze) to a highly distressing or life threatening situation
Pain can have a specific cause or it may have started out of the blue one day. Often just the fear of anticipated pain can cause a person to tense and unintentionally cause further physical distress. Learning to address fears and anxiety related to pain and anticipated pain may help with with overall pain management.
When an individual experiences chronic pain they can feel helpless, have low self-esteem, low self-worth, or feel hopeless about the future. Living with chronic pain is often a condition that is unseen by others. Having this lived experience that is not seen by others can often lead to invalidation which can create barriers to healing.
* Identifying patterns related to the pain
* Gaining awareness of emotions and beliefs attached to the pain
* Getting to know and understand the pain through body based therapy such as somatic experiencing
* Learning exercises that help with relaxation
* Developing Confidence and Learning Empowering Strategies for Self-Advocacy
Inner Insight Counseling LLC - Therapy in Beaverton, Oregon for Chronic Pain
Recommended Reading: Freedom From Pain by Peter Levine
Evidence Based Research for Internal Family Systems (IFS):
IFS for Chronic Pain in RA patients, The Journal of Rheumatology http://www.jrheum.org/content/jrheum/40/11/1831.full.pdf