Pain and Smoking

Pain and Smoking

People with chronic pain are significantly more likely to be cigarette smokers than those without chronic pain. Some smokers with chronic pain report that they use smoking as a pain-management strategy. However, smoking is not an effective coping strategy and has been...
Rediscovering Hope

Rediscovering Hope

    IT IS NOT UNUSUAL FOR PEOPLE WITH CHRONIC PAIN TO REPORT FEELINGS OF DEPRESSION. Signs may include sad mood on most days, loss of interest in activities that were once pleasurable, change in weight (gain or loss of 5 percent or more within a month),...
Don’t Give Up on Goals

Don’t Give Up on Goals

    Life is richer when you can pursue the things that matter, such as love, work, feelings of competence, being part of a caring social network of family and friends, growing as a person.  Chronic pain makes goal pursuit more difficult. Pain can interfere...
Two Types of Coping

Two Types of Coping

    From birth, we are all faced with two basic questions: “What do I want or need?” and “How do I get it?”  Of course, we start out wanting the same kinds of things: to eat, to sleep, to be safe, to sit up, to crawl, to walk… Throughout life, our goals...
Stop Worrying

Stop Worrying

If you have been living with chronic pain, you may have found that you worry about yourself. What if your future is one of loneliness and isolation? What if you can’t get the help you need? What if your relationships suffer? What if your pain gets so bad that you...
Cake

Cake

PainPathways Magazine on Cake. PainPathways hopes the movie Cake will spark conversation about chronic pain and caregiving. If you’ve seen the film we welcome your comments on this page or through Facebook or Twitter. Cake is a 2014 American drama film written...
Living with Pain: Lean into it

Living with Pain: Lean into it

    Most of what I write about in this blog is derived from the science of pain management. But, I also find lessons about coping with pain in daily life. Those lessons often correspond to science-based recommendations. Today I want to talk about something I...
Talking About Chronic Pain

Talking About Chronic Pain

    People with chronic pain often say that their partner, family, friends, co-workers, or boss don’t seem to understand their pain problem or what it is like to live with pain. You may wonder if  others understand the impact of chronic pain on daily life,...
Don’t Let Pain Derail You!

Don’t Let Pain Derail You!

    Your chronic pain problem may have knocked you off course. Your personal, family, work, health, and social goals may have been derailed. You may feel as though you are simply stuck, unable to go forward and incapable of going back to your old life....
Living with Pain: Goals Matter

Living with Pain: Goals Matter

    Chronic pain can make your goals seem unimportant or unreachable.  Your pain may interfere with your social goals, career goals, or family goals.  Personal goals like exercise, hobbies, reading, or learning something new may have fallen by the wayside...
Pain and Anxiety: Rinse It Out

Pain and Anxiety: Rinse It Out

  In spin class, I have frequently heard instructors say  “rinse it out” after a particularly intense bout of cycling. I have always supposed that they are encouraging us to slow down and recover a bit and get rid of anything “toxic” in the muscles before we...
What Are The Barriers To Sex?

What Are The Barriers To Sex?

    Paul Karoly, Aaron Taylor, and I conducted a study of over 2,000 people with different forms of chronic pain from across the United States and found that 63%reported that pain interfered with sexual functioning. Other researchers have found similar...
Improve Your Sleep

Improve Your Sleep

    Sleep plays a crucial role in the daily experience of people with chronic pain.  Of course, research (and probably your own experience) has demonstrated that pain can make it harder to fall asleep and stay asleep. In a study involving people with...
Notice the Positive

Notice the Positive

    It is not uncommon for chronic pain to be linked to depression. For example,  35% of the participants in one study who reported chronic pain were also depressed. Risk of depression was not associated with any particular pain type or site. Pain and...
Rebuilding Intimacy

Rebuilding Intimacy

    One of my first research studies involved examining the significance of the three most important people in one’s life to psychological well being and distress. I asked study participants to identify the most, 2nd most, and 3rd most important people in...
Anger, Pain & Relationships

Anger, Pain & Relationships

    Living with chronic pain can be very frustrating. Not surprisingly, people with chronic pain tend to report greater levels of anger than those without pain. Expressions of anger differ, with some people being more likely to suppress and hide it, turning...