Power of Pain: Tools for Today and Tomorrow

By Barby Ingle, Columnist

Taking each challenge one step at a time can help you gain perspective on your future. There are multiple aspects to pain management to be considered, such as physical and mental health, trends in the healthcare industry, and personal injury liability. Learning about them and putting life into perspective can help us deal with behavioral changes, social isolation and spiritual concerns. 

Understanding that pain causes depression, not the other way around, can be a good place to start. Realize that you have control over your actions, and feeling bad is not a proper excuse for treating others poorly. Doing so can lead to social isolation.

You may not feel like having others around or it may make you self-conscious about losing the ability to do simple activities with them. But creating a support network and staying socially involved can increase your quality of life as a chronic pain patient, as well as increase the human connection that we all need.

Once again, I need to emphasize proper communication for better treatment, attitude, and comfort. Working with your social network, finding out about future trends, and what your doctor has learned can help you keep the pain perspective.

Have hope that a cure will develop. If a new procedure becomes available, you will be prepared and have the support of those around you. When you hear of positive news like a new treatment, ask your doctor about it and if they are willing to give it a try. Find out if it is just another gimmick or if there is real science behind it. Be sure to do your own research and be comfortable with your choices. 

With chronic pain diseases, you have to be your own advocate and motivate others to advocate for you. If you were injured through someone else’s negligence, find out the legal consequences and if any action can be taken. Speak with a personal injury attorney to find out if you have a case. If you do, he can instruct you on how to arrange payments for medical treatments and how the lawyer will be paid. Question if the defendant is responsible for your bills now or if you have to find a way to cover your medical bills and be paid back when and if you win your case.

It is also important to know what happens if you don’t win your case. Ask if you will have to pay charges your lawyer paid to prepare the case or if you have to pay liens. Liens are holds or rights to property or monetary gain on property. Many doctors’ offices will put liens on your case. This means that they get paid before you receive any awards.

Becoming prepared for these new life changes will keep the perspective to your new life on a positive track. Use your community resources such as food banks, church support groups, and non-profits to get the help you need. Help is there, you just have to be willing to take it and put in as much as you can to keep your life on track.

Because chronic pain and bad health in general weakens the immune system, your ability to heal and fight diseases is also compromised. I often can catch someone's cold by being near them through physical contact, such as hugs or sharing candy out of the same dish with a child who has dirty hands.

Often as a pain patient I do not want others to touch me, both for my health and because -- unless they really know me -- they don’t know where it hurts. So I usually ask people not to touch me without asking.

Be prepared to face the pain and have a plan.

Barby Ingle suffers from Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy (RSD) and endometriosis. Barby is a chronic pain educator, patient advocate, and president of the Power of Pain Foundation. She is also a motivational speaker and best-selling author on pain topics.

More information about Barby can be found at her website.

The information in this column should not be considered as professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It is for informational purposes only and represents the author’s opinions alone. It does not inherently express or reflect the views, opinions and/or positions of Pain News Network.