When you start using a new technique or treatment that helps decrease your chronic pain, it can feel incredible! Each time you do it, you notice your pain getter better, and you start getting hopeful that you have found the solution! Goodbye pain, hello normal life!
But then a setback happens. Maybe you bent down to pick up a shopping bag, or had a really stressful day at work, or just woke on the wrong side of the bed. Whatever it was, all of a sudden the pain is back, and it can feel like it is worse than ever!
It is easy to then feel like the method you were using doesn’t work. Maybe you should leave this one and try a different method or treatment? You have been seeing those ads for yoga with baby goats, maybe try that?
Stay the course!
When learning any new skill, setbacks are perfectly normal and expected. If you were learning to skateboard, you would not expect that once you can stand up on a moving board, you will never fall off again. We all know how many scrapes, bruises and knocks it will require to really be able to skateboard.
The same thing applies with managing chronic pain. In fact, when we get frustrated by the setback, it triggers off your brain’s stress alarm system. This causes your pain to get even worse, and makes it harder for your brain to feel the benefits of what you have been doing.
By practicing acceptance and not getting frustrated with setbacks, our nervous system pain alarm is triggered less. The pain-fear cycle is able to stop. With our brain strengthening the new neural pathways telling us we are safe, our pain decreases, and the treatment or technique you are using will be able to be more effective.
We need to approach this process like learning to skateboard. Falling over is part of the process. It will happen. Probably more than once. But if we are able to accept it, instead of fighting it, then we will recover faster and better each time, and we can eventually get back to the life we want, baby goats or not.
Til next time!