We are told that we shouldn’t “catastrophize” our pain because that makes it much worse, and that we need cognitive therapy to disabuse us of our catastrophic notions.
However, the definition of “catastrophe” is an event resulting in great loss and misfortune, and this is the undeniable truth of chronic pain, and no amount of “magical thinking” can change that.
I believe it’s much better to practice acceptance that this catastrophe of chronic pain happened.
It would be a waste of energy to pretend chronic pain is not a catastrophe, to pretend everything is “OK”, that you’re not expending so much effort, expense, and pain to manage it, pretend it isn’t always a challenge get through the day without collapsing from pain and fatigue.
Instead of spending our limited energy on socially pleasing pretenses, we need to figure out how to contain the spread of this catastrophe of chronic pain into all the other parts of our lives.
Pain catastrophizing – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia Pain catastrophizing is the tendency to describe a pain experience in more exaggerated terms than the average person, to ruminate on it more (e.g., “I kept thinking ‘this is terrible’”), and/or to feel more helpless about the experience (“I thought it was never going to get better”) People […]
Many pain patients are upset at being accused of catastrophizing. This theory claims that our concerns, worries, and fears about our pain are greatly increasing our pain, almost to the point of causing it. The media picked up on the story and makes catastrophizing the actual cause of chronic pain, so this concept has been […]
Pain catastrophizing: a critical review | Expert Rev Neurother. 2009 May | free full-text PMC article This article points out that pain catastrophizing has not been sufficiently studied to make it a certain *cause* of increasing pain. I, and others, believe the catastrophizing could just as easliy be caused by pain. It may be a […]
The causal status of pain catastrophizing: an experimental test with healthy participants. – PubMed – NCBI Eur J Pain. 2005 Jun In the current study we report findings on the effects of experimentally induced catastrophizing about pain on expected pain, experienced pain and escape/avoidance behavior during a cold pressor task in a sample of healthy […]
Catastrophizing: Not a Ploy for Attention Catastrophizing, defined as an exaggerated negative mental set, has consistently shown a negative impact on outcomes in patients with chronic pain and illness. However, the factors that drive this cognitive distortion remain unclear. Who gets to decide which “cognitions” are “distorted” when they are related to personal values? In […]
Fear-Avoidance Conditioning: Maintaining the Chronic Pain Cycle? – Pain – International Association for the Study of Pain | August 11, 2016 In an article recently published in Pain, researchers at the University of Leuven, Belgium propose a model for the transition from acute to chronic pain, based on fear-avoidance With this model, which describes the distinct behaviors underlying […]
Rethinking the fear avoidance model – Body in Mind Rethinking relationships between fear, avoidance and pain-related disability Working as a physical therapist, I have sometimes struggled to understand why some of my patients with seemingly similar musculoskeletal injuries recover and why others develop chronic pain and disability. explore how psychosocial and physiological factors shape the […]
Competing Effects of Pain and Fear of Pain on Postural Control in Low Back Pain? : Spine Objective. To determine whether pain and fear of pain have competing effects on postural sway in patients with low back pain (LBP). Summary of Background Data. Competing effects of pain and pain-related fear on postural control can be […]
Study Finds Strong Correlation Between Health Literacy and Pain Catastrophizing – Pain Medicine News – Aug 2016 Low health literacy was a significant predictor of pain catastrophizing and pain self-efficacy, according to a cross-sectional study of 300 indigent patients with chronic pain at five low-income clinics in rural Alabama Indigent definition: experiencing want or need; […]
Pain Catastrophizing Not Just Psychological The term ‘pain catastrophizing’ was first used to describe a maladaptive style of coping with pain that people with anxiety and depression used. Defining Pain Catastrophizing “Pain catastrophizing can be defined as a maladaptive coping style that includes hopelessness, expanded rumination, and pain magnification,” These three components of catastrophizing are […]
General psychological acceptance and chronic pain… [Eur J Pain. 2010] – PubMed – NCBI These results suggest that, when people with chronic pain are willing to have undesirable psychological experiences without attempting to control them, they may function better and suffer less. General acceptance may have a unique role to play in the disability and […]
The dynamic effect of pain on attention – Body in Mind – 12/14/16 Pain tends to grab our attention, making it difficult to concentrate on other tasks. This is generally a useful feature of pain – if we burn ourselves while cooking, it’s good that our attention switches away from the food and towards the […]
Accepting Chronic Pain: Is it Necessary? — Pain News Network A patient of mine told me the other day, “I don’t think I will ever be able to accept my chronic pain. It has completely changed my life.” I think this is something that most people with chronic pain contend with at some point in […]