Why are You Going to War With Your Pain?


When you go to war with pain, pain always wins.


This is a very difficult lesson for many people to learn.

The harder you fight, the stronger your pain becomes.  It is like trying to fight fire with gasoline.  You just end up getting burned.

When you fight back (often by getting angry and irritable) your emotions escalate and become more intense.  This triggers stress and physical changes in your body and brain.  Excess adrenaline, cortisol and a variety of hormones are released and transported throughout your body. These all serve to increase your pain levels and aggravate the injured parts of your body.

Then, higher pain levels can trigger even more intense emotions. Then even more pain.

Now, this may seem like common sense. And, really it is. But, it is very hard to implement, especially when your pain levels are high.

It is hard not to get trapped in this escalation. Intense emotions can make you feel stronger, temporarily. Going to war with yourself and your injured body can feel like the only way to respond.

It is very hard to not get angry. It is natural to feel this way. Relentless pain, limitations and losses are ruining your life.

Over time though, day-after-day, intense emotions can weaken you and wear you down.  Your energy to control your pain runs out.  There is less of you left over to survive another day.

Sometimes you may express your anger by pushing yourself beyond your limits. This can feel like a temporary win – like you have gained some control.  But, pushing yourself over and over again, especially when you are driven by anger, is a recipe for defeat and depression.

And when you are out of gas, you are stuck and going nowhere.  It is very hard then to pick yourself up and start moving forward again.

Sometimes overdoing it is worth it to get something important done. Here, you are making a calculated decision that the benefits of getting this activity done are worth the extra pain that will follow.

This kind of coping strategy is taught in many pain management programs, along with relaxation and mindfulness.

Being calm and rational, especially in the face of serious pain, may only be possible some of the time. Whenever possible, though, you may feel like you have some control.

A win is still a win.

Please try to keep reminding yourself that going to war with your pain is not the answer. It can only lead to more pain, more limitations and more losses.

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Thank you for reading. Thank you to Patrick Fore (image above) and Rachel Walker (image below, both from Unsplash) for your creative work. Please feel free to steal, share and join our growing list of subscribers.

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