Navigating the Cycle of Chronic Pain

Dr. Kristina Fruechtl Blog

The story of chronic pain has a long history and is not going away.  It is getting worse according to the increasingly overwhelming reports of overuse and abuse of opiate medication for the condition.

The feelings of helplessness turn to something known as “fear-avoidance” which is a common behavior in which the person avoids any activities they know have cause them to feel pain in the past, and perhaps other activities they fear will cause pain.  In the worst cases, this develops to extremely sedentary or unhealthy behaviors and when this cycles goes unaddressed, the pattern gets worse and worse.

The biopsychosocial model of pain includes space for more than just the physical or biochemical sensation of pain (such as a herniated spinal disc or the chemical inflammation mediators), but also the psychological impact with the most basic description as affected mental and emotional well-being and function, and the social affects and contributors.

One of the keys is that you have to affect some part of the pain cycle to change the process, but it also seems that affecting just one area is not enough. Knowing that we are whole and complicated human beings, several things need to be addressed.  This is nearly impossible to do on one’s own and the support and guidance of the right health care professional is best.

For more reading on chronic pain, try these links: