Beating Chronic Pain with Mind Over Matter

Now, don’t get me wrong. It’s not like I am saying you can just wish chronic pain away. It’s not that easy. But the right attitude can really help you cope with, or even move beyond, your pain.

Moving well helps you feel well. Feeling well helps you move well. Not feeling good and not moving well will perpetuate you not feeling well, and will make you in fact feel worse. All of that is downright depressing. All of this plays into a vicious cycle. Having a positive mental attitude is a conscious choice you make to be optimistic and to avoid anxiety. It is easier said that done some days, but it will pay dividends.

Can your mind overcome your pain?

2007 research from the University of Toronto showed that chronic back pain patients were more likely to recover more fully, and sooner, when their doctors appeared confident and reassured the patient that they would get better.

“Pain is always subjective and is defined by the person who experiences it”.

-The International Association for the Study of Pain

When you do feel pain, instead of letting your anxiety make your decisions, utilize a coping strategy like enjoying a glass of wine or spending a few moments in your favorite chair, or maybe both at the same time.

Pain, as a form of sensation, stands out from the other senses somewhat because it is subjective.That means that you can cut three people with the same razor in the same place on their arms, and they will describe the pain differently, and likely they will describe the level or pain differently. This means there is a mental component to pain. While that mental components is not well understood, it does exist, and we should all try to harness that to deal with our pain.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy it is a goal-oriented and systematic way of thinking. It can be used as a method to help out-think the pain with strategy:

  • When pain is chronic, your goal should either be to stop the pain or learn to manage living with it.
  • When you pain makes you want to avoid activity, instead be as active as the pain permits. Make the choice to stay active.
  • Make a plan on how to maintain a bright outlook on your situation, and remain optimistic about resolving it and enjoying your life. This plan should be a REAL PLAN, in writing, with a step-by-step process and it should include a reward system to reinforce progress in meeting your goals.


Dr. Romano is a board certified and licensed chiropractor in Maryland. He practices in Frederick, Md at 1780 North Market Street. He has an interest in the science of pain and it’s relationship to chiropractic. He has a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology and a Doctorate in Chiropractic. Dr. Romano and Dr. Schooley are available to speak to groups about pain, the psychology of health, the importance of a healthy nervous system, and other health topics.

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