It is important to be patient with chronic pain. There are reasons why pain has become chronic and it is highly unlikely that pain will disappear quickly once patterns have been established. This is why patience practice is one of my primary coaching principles.
I know, I know… It is so difficult to be patient when you are suffering. However, putting a strict timeline for recovery on your pain just adds to the stress and misery you already endure. In my experience, pain rarely responds well to timelines or ultimatums. It tends to follow its own schedule and the sooner you realize this, the better off you will be going forward.
So, can you be patient with chronic pain? I hope so! You will need to manage it, so try not to add fuel to its fire.
Patience and Acceptance is NOT Surrendering
Patience with pain is actually patience with yourself. You allow your body to work through its issues and journey towards a state of pain-free homeostasis without forcing it to conform to your arbitrary schedule.
“GET BETTER NOW!”
This will probably NEVER work.
Similarly, acceptance of bad days or particularly bad symptoms is necessary to keep your sanity when affected by chronic pain. You can not look for a reason to explain every flare-up or symptom. If you do, you will literally make yourself crazy and I guarantee your pain will worsen. You must learn to live with the pain and pay it as little mind as possible, regardless of its source.
This idea is crucial for all types of chronic pain, but is especially important for the many, many patients who suffer psychosomatic overlay or purely psychogenic symptoms. Remember, this type of pain exists to serve as a distraction from subconscious emotional sensitivities. If you pay it mind, it will persist. If you simply allow it to be in the background of your life, rather than the forefront, you will be amazed how it will fade in virtually all cases.
Practice Patience and Feel Better
I often made the mistake of creating an anxiety vortex for myself. I would say in my internal voice:
“My pain is not getting better. How will I keep working? What will I do? What will become of me? My future seems completely threatened.”
This thought pattern is unbelievably unproductive and damaging. Now, the fear and anxiety have equal control over you, instead of just pain. Instead, it is best to literally take life an hour at a time and see how you do. Don’t worry about tomorrow. Just manage today. In fact, try not to worry at all. Worry robs you of joy and prevents you from recovering from any health issue. You must trust in your body and simply allow pain to exist until it no longer does…
Are you in pain now? Probably. You may have forgotten about it a bit reading the beginning of this post. Now that you focus on it; there it is! The pain is still there. This is exactly my point.
Learn to relegate the pain to an unimportant character in your life story. Push it into the background. Do not let it take the front of stage in your mind or heart. Do not focus on the pain. Let it be and do not fight it. Just allow it to exist, lingering about trying unsuccessfully to get your attention, your approval, your pity, your anger, your hate… Just let it be. This is patience. This is acceptance. This is giving yourself a break!
Can you live every day like this? Yes, you can. You just need to continuously repeat the practices of patience and acceptance, especially when the pain is severe. In the end, you want to defeat the reason why the pain has become chronic in the first place; not defeat the pain itself. You can not fight a symptom, an expression… You can fight your reactions to it and the underlying reasons of fear and anxiety that fuel it. Focus on these things and you will feel better, function better and live better guaranteed.