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The Chronic Pain Cycle links mind and body and can explain the puzzle of chronic pain; simple falls and minor car accidents can result in chronic debilitating pain syndromes. This poster demonstrates how physical and emotional stressors contribute to injury and pain and then how the person’s reaction to the pain can result in a cycle of chronic pain. Both the person’s mind and body react to the pain, and treatment approaches must address both, but even more important is self-management. The role of pain sensitisation in chronic pain is explained.
The complex system surrounding the person in pain is illustrated. The conflicting agendas of members of the system, can lead to chaos. In the No Responsibility Model, the system creates victims by taking all the responsibility whereas the Shared Responsibility Model creates self-managers by sharing the responsibility between the person in pain, the practitioners, the employer and the insurance company.
Learning to change a reaction (unconscious) into a response (conscious) can transform a person’s experience of their pain. Reactions such as avoidance, resistance, helplessness and hopelessness open the pain gate or amplify the pain. Responses such as acceptance, curiosity, courage, and patience close the pain gate or reduce the pain. People in pain can learn to respond instead of reacting as they become more aware of their reactions. As the pain becomes less bothersome more activities are possible and life becomes more enjoyable. Over time, the intensity of the pain decreases.
The self-manager is organised and in control. The self-manager believes in self-healing through relaxation, exercise, attitude and occupation. The Self-Manager’s attitude determines how successful the program becomes: attitudes to relaxation, exercise, occupation, pain, and disability. Learning to live in the present is a way of letting go of emotional baggage that keeps the person in pain trapped. A pessimist can become an optimist when the opportunity for self-development is realised.
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