The Impact of Chronic Pain


In the sections that follow, I will be referring to Suzanne, Mike, Sarah and Ashley. They are all characters, like you, who live every day in pain.

You can read about their struggles and triumphs in Book One of Unbelievable Pain Control. This book is based on a true story. Here, these four characters learn how one amazing person was able to demonstrate unbelievable pain control. This incredible person underwent major surgery without anesthesia and without any pain medication after her surgery. (In Book Two, you can meet the real person who was able to accomplish such incredible pain control – control over pain during major abdominal surgery and in several additional dental surgeries.)

Below are some of the things Suzanne, Mike, Sarah and Ashley learned from this amazing person. I have also tried to explain some central ideas about chronic pain and its’ impact on people’s lives. I sincerely hope this information can help you and your family.

Chronic Pain Is More
Than Just Pain

This was a powerful and new idea for Suzanne, Mike, Sarah, and Ashley. They found out that the whole chronic pain program was based on this idea. This simple phrase said a lot – chronic pain is more than just pain.

In the hospital program, they learned that chronic pain is long-term pain that gathers additional components over time. These parts include the pain symptoms themselves, of course. And for many people, several parts of their body are in pain at the same time. (This was especially true for people, like Ashley, with fibromyalgia.) Other components can include limitations caused by pain symptoms and their physical causes, insomnia, fatigue and the many ways all of these parts can affect mood, personality, relationships and life.

Chronic pain can change people’s lives. It can lead to serious losses of work, financial security, personal relationships and even marriages and families. These changes can build up over time. Chronic pain is not just pain. It is all of these pieces added together. The pain program helped Suzanne, Mike, Sarah and Ashley to see this big picture. And, when they could see how their injuries, their pains, and their changed lives were affecting each other, it all made perfect sense. This big picture allowed them to think about healing and recovery in a whole new way.

Chronic Pain Can Change Lives

Over time, chronic pain can seep into every corner of your life. Injuries and illness can affect your health, of course. They can damage a particular part of your body, such as your back and neck. Long-term pain also puts an enormous physical strain on your whole bodily system – your immune system, your heart, your emotions, your sleep cycle and your blood pressure, as examples.

And it doesn’t stop there. Long-term pain can bring limitations that interfere with work or caring for your family. Relentless pain can make you irritable and hard to live with. Sarah found this out the hard way. Her marriage eventually broke down under the strain.

It would be hard to find an area of life that is not affected by long-term pain. This was certainly true for Suzanne, Mike, Sarah, and Ashley. It can be depressing to be faced with these facts, to tell the truth. Their hospital program was reality therapy with no holding back. Seeing the seriousness of their injuries and their damaged lives jolted them into really committing to a plan of recovery.

Don’t Go to War With Your Pain

When you go to war with pain, pain always wins. Always. This was a difficult lesson for Suzanne, Mike, Sarah, and Ashley 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, your emotions escalate and become more intense. This triggers stress in your body and brain. Your brain produces more adrenaline and a variety of hormone changes. These all serve to increase your pain levels and aggravate the injured parts of your body.

Intense emotions can make you stronger, temporarily. 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. And when you are out of gas, you are stuck. It is very hard then to pick yourself up and to start moving forward again.

Going to war with pain can only lead to more pain, more limitations and more losses. This was one of the most important lessons Suzanne, Mike, Sarah, and Ashley learned in the chronic pain program. They will never forget this message.


This article may be printed/distributed freely as long as the entire article and the following bio are included.

Dr. Michael MacDonald is the author of Unbelievable Pain Control: How to Heal and Recover from Chronic Pain and Fibromyalgia and a detailed website about pain that can be found at



©2010 Dr. Michael R. MacDonald. All Rights Reserved