Wellfie Wednesday Tip #95: Reframing Pain (Part 2)

Happy Wellfie Wednesday! Welcome back! This week's post is brought to you by Aaron (@AaronPerezPT). Enjoy!

     Today's post correlates well with my last #WellfieWednesday post Reframing Low Back Pain. Where I had compared low back pain to the common cold. I really like that analogy; however, it seems most applicable to acute low back pain. Unfortunately, back pain is more likely to persist and can become disabling. Today’s post introduces a helpful way to reframe persistent pain scenarios through a simple yet powerful thought experiment and diagram.

The circle below represents my life and several activities that bring my life meaning and joy.  


At times, pain is also part of my life.


     Fortunately, I’ve never dealt with persistent pain and disability. However, I’ve worked with many people who have. And I’ve learned that sometimes when pain becomes a persistent problem we gradually do less and less of the activities we enjoy. This effectively makes pain a larger part of our life. 


     While pain alleviation is often a primary goal, making this the primary focus of rehab sessions can be unproductive. Rather, focusing on function and strategies that gradually allow us to resume meaningful activities can be really helpful. With more of our life back in the picture, pain will no longer be such a big part of it. It won’t be easy, but it can be done. Pain is often a part of life. Suffering doesn’t have to be. 


     This thought experiment really resonated with me when I first learned it at continuing education course a couple years ago. I’ve used it with many patients since then and found it often helps patients reframe their pain and understand the purpose of rehab. I hope it resonates and helps someone else suffering with persistent pain. 

Thanks again for all of the #WellfieWednesday support, be sure to post your pictures this week and tag the WW crew members in your post (@TheFuelPhysio@Eric_in_AmERICa@AaronPerezPT@DianaKlatt@kuhnalyssa_spt) and keep the wave of healthy change going!

- WW Crew