Many pain therapists who treat long-lasting pain will say that 'less pain' is not the goal of the treatment. Anyone who is in pain for a long time simply wants 'less pain' during treatment. Who is right?
Immediately less pain
There are quite a few ways to feel less pain quickly. Especially when your attention is very distracted, or when you are stiff with adrenaline, you quickly feel less pain. Of course, there are also medicines that quickly reduce the pain. The disadvantage of all quick ways of reducing pain is that you feel worse in the long term. Life is not fun if you constantly have to distract yourself, or if you constantly feel stressed. And fast-acting medicines also have negative side effects.
Less pain in the long term
Feeling less pain just as quickly does not work as well. That is why many treatments, and also this blog, focus on the long term. By constantly changing small things in your life, you train your brain to deal with pain differently. Knowledge and patience turn out to be a better way than all those quick solutions.
Why therapists have a problem with less pain
In order to experience less pain, a lot will often have to change. Changes in thinking, doing, feeling and attention. Working on pain is top sport - and less pain is like winning the gold medal.
And that's where the problem lies. A top athlete who is only working in his head to win the medal does not focus enough on his training. Her goal is to train in such a way that the chance of winning that medal is greatest, and to focus on that every day. Meanwhile, she may dream of winning the gold medal, but it is too stressful to think about it all the time.
How to think about 'less pain
Practitioners are afraid that you put too much emphasis on 'less pain'. And because of that you are more concerned with what isn't there yet, which causes stress. And stress increases the chance of pain.
I would say: hope for a life with less pain. Think of it as the gold medal. Maybe you'll win it soon, but it could take another three years. Set your goals for what needs to change, and look especially at what is possible. But there is nothing wrong with occasionally hoping for a future where there is less pain. Think what you would do then! Maybe you can take the next step there today.