The following equation may sound a little strange, but it makes sense to better understand pain. You can compare pain to a dog living in your brain, like you have 'an inner dog' (If you don't like dogs, you can take another animal!).
Every time the dog barks, you feel pain. This dog used to be your friend. He only barked when it was necessary, namely when very danger threatened. Nowadays you are no longer so satisfied with your dog. He barks as it happens more often, and more often not rightly! Where it used to be a well trained dog, he seems increasingly wilder and disobedient to become. Just like your chronic pain.
How to train your inner 'dog'
If you make this comparison, you will also see why some treatments may or may not work in the long run. How do you train a mean and wild dog?
- Activity: A dog that can lose its energy is already a lot happier. This also applies to our nervous system. Exercise and being outside helps both dogs and our nervous system to relax more.
- Giving attention: Without the right attention and training a dog will never bark less. This also applies to pain. You can't expect anything to change if you keep ignoring it.
- Learning and seeking help: Training a dog is best done when you learn about it, or when you do a course. This is no different for pain, it requires knowledge, discipline and patience to move forward.
- You are the key to the solution: No matter how much help you seek in training a dog, in the end it remains your dog. This means that you have to find ways to keep your (trained) dog happy and healthy. The same goes for pain. Help is needed, but work especially on skills that will make sure that you can reduce that help!