Alternative MethodsConventional Methods

March 29

Chronic Pain – All In The Mind?

Tracy Campbell
Core Spirit member since Dec 24, 2020
Reading time 5 min.

Coping with chronic pain is not easy. Ask anyone who has been diagnosed with it and you will quickly understand that everyday living can be a time consuming, energy draining, and frustrating experience. Despite the challenges inherent in living with chronic pain, there are several approaches that can help an individual cope more effectively.

Let’s first define chronic pain. In contrast to acute pain, a diagnosis of chronic pain is usually given when there is any bodily pain that lasts for more than three months. The pain is often debilitating in that it compromises one’s functioning in the area of work, relationships, emotional health, and/or activities of daily living. The causes and types of chronic pain are many. An exhaustive list of causes goes beyond the scope of this article.

Whatever the cause or type of chronic pain condition one may have, we know that the measurement of the quality and intensity of the pain experience is subjective and therefore, the perception of pain varies across individuals. Moreover, chronic pain is often influenced by factors that go beyond the physical plane. This in no way suggests that the pain a person experiences is “not real” or “all in their head” which unfortunately, may be erroneously attributed to someone suffering with this condition. In contrast, consideration of these additional factors give the chronic pain sufferer a launching point to cope more effectively by focusing on potential areas of influence that lie beyond the physical realm alone.

Here are four factors that influence the experience of chronic pain:

Physical factors: Examples include injury, repetitive use, structural changes to the body, accidents, physical trauma, muscle tension.

Biological factors: Processes such as infections, neuropathic pain, auto-immune disease, and sympathetic nervous system over-responding may contribute to the pain experience.

Psychosocial factors: Phenomena such as attention, negative thinking, expectations, beliefs, memories of past pain experiences, social support systems (or lack, thereof), interpersonal relationships, and factors such as age, culture, subculture, gender and status are all examples of psychosocial factors impacting the pain experience.

Emotional factors: Emotions mediate the pain experience through direct pathway connections in the brain. Emotional distress in the form of guilt, depression, anxiety, anger, frustration or fear can all impact the pain experience.

Now that we have considered some of the factors that contribute to the experience of chronic pain, let’s take a look at practices and strategies to address it. In addition to receiving allopathic medical treatment for chronic pain, which may include trigger point injections, cortisone injections, medications (i.e. pain medicines, steroids,) and/or surgery (if indicated) there are several complementary, evidence-based treatments and practices that contribute to more effectively coping with chronic pain.

In our book, From Stressed To Centered: A Practical Guide to a Healthier and Happier You, we offer several of these complimentary stress management and self care practices that can help directly to cope more effectively with a chronic pain condition. Let’s take a look at a few here.

Progressive Muscle Relaxation (page 54): This evidence-based relaxation technique, when used discerningly with specific pain conditions, can provide relief to an overactive mind and to tense muscles. This practice teaches the participant to tense and release muscle groups from head to toe, in accordance with the breath, providing full body and mind relaxation.

Mindfulness Meditation (page 64): Mindfulness-based practices such as mindfulness meditation, teach us how to harness our awareness in such a way that often benefits our health and well-being. Becoming well-trained in the area of awareness and focus can contribute to calm mood, decreased anxiety, a better sense of control over chronic pain, less impulsivity and “flying off the handle”, and more self-management of emotions. It may be a surprise to learn that you do not have to spend hours a day sitting on a cushion to benefit from this practice. Several mindfulness approaches allow the practitioner to learn brief and integrated practices that are very effective.

Thought Stopping/Thought Replacement (page 61): This practice teaches us that we do not have to be slaves to our thinking. Many of us go through the day with intense and worried thoughts that we believe we have no control over. The first part of this practice will help you to identify thoughts that contribute to the experience of chronic pain. The second part of the practice teaches you to replace those negative (or catastrophic) thoughts with something more positive and realistic. When practiced over time, awareness of unhealthy thought patterns is raised, giving practitioners a greater sense of control and efficacy over their thought life, and therefore, their high stress levels which can contribute to the pain experience.

Self-Care and Chronic Pain

We have established that a key factor contributing to a person’s pain experience is the level of stress they are experiencing. Another great strategy to pro-actively manage stress is practicing good self-care on a regular basis. A program of self-care is both pro-active and preventive, in that practiced consistently, in can help inoculate one from the adverse effects of stress. This is especially important for individuals coping with chronic pain.

Good self-care begins with the three pillars: nutrition, exercise and sleep.

However, self-care is much broader than these fundamental components. In our book, we highlight the key components of good self-care, several of which are:

Setting boundaries: Boundaries serve several key functions, which are fundamental to our well being. Boundaries help to protect us, to clarify what is and isn’t our responsibility, to preserve our physical and emotional energy, and to identify and honor our needs and limits. Failure to set or maintaining boundaries often leads to increased stress, inner conflict, anxiety and feeling overwhelmed and over-extended.

Renewal: Making time regularly to rest – mentally, physically emotionally and spiritually helps us to preserve our resources (i.e. energy), and reduce the effects and build up of continual stress. By giving ourselves permission to take renewal breaks (5-20 minute duration) throughout each day, we are pro-actively engaging our parasympathetic nervous system, and eliciting a relaxation response in our bodies.

Laughter and fun: There are many health benefits to laughter and fun. Research indicates that laughter releases endorphins (often known as “feel good” hormones) and reduces our stress levels. When we are laughing, we are very much in the present moment, not worrying about the past or anxiously anticipating the future. This both helps decrease muscle tension and also serves as a good distraction from one’s pain. Laughter also has been shown to increase an individual’s pain tolerance. All of the benefits of laughter contribute to making coping with chronic pain more manageable. A helpful tip is to make a list of 5-7 items of things (e.g. a sitcom or movie), experiences (e.g. comedy show, playing a game) or people which consistently make you laugh. When experiencing pain, stress or emotions such as sadness, you can take this list out and choose one to lift your spirits and increase your pain tolerance. This helps you avoid having to problem-solve what to do in the moment.

by Dan Guerra For Brain Blogger


Leave your questions here

To write a comment you must
Category filter
Concern filter
Type filter

All categories

Spiritual Healing
$220 USD
I will do spiritual transformation for you

I will do spiritual transformation. Life occurs as a series of cycles in a single human lifetime. Cycles exist in almost a spiral pattern. There is a flow and …

Wisdom Realms
Chinese Astrology
$10 USD
You are not ALONE

Do you think it’s your fault you haven’t found your partner yet? Or that you are the problem because the relationship is not working? Do you feel isolated, set…

Carmen Oana Oglan
$92 USD
Weightloss Course - Online 12 weeks at your pace

Surely you have noticed that some traditional diets are too restrictive and you can not follow them up to the end, others instead make you lose too much weight…

rossella tocco
Spiritual Healing
$55 USD
1 Hr Intuitive Nutrition Coaching Call

Dive in and discover your biggest areas of struggle and how to tap into the intuition for guidance.
We will talk about your history and your goals for your wel…

Jess Olson
Spiritual Healing
$10 USD
Praying for the Sick and Depressed

Are you sick? Are you really depressed? Do you feel that your life is worthless?
Come book a session with me and see the changes that will occur after that.

Luck Richards Omorede
Chakra Balancing
$10 USD
Soul To Soul Reading Session

Energetic Reading

Complete Chakra System Reading to identify energy blocks.
Techniques are provided to restore balance.

What Is An Energetic Reading?


Deborah Lucero
Spiritual Healing
$222 USD
Healing from Trauma at a Quantum Soul Level

Are you burnt out from clinical therapy practices that require years of treatment with few results? Are you ready to release and transmute your trauma once and…

LunaRio Silver Deer
Career Coaching
$499 USD
Reset 1-0n1 Coaching and Mentoring Programme

Are you returning to work after a career break, or are you looking for a new job or career change?

This programme is for you.

I’ve developed the RESET coachi…

Carla Martins
Life Coaching
$399 USD
1-on-1 Coaching

The journey started with our discovery call, and You decided: ” I’m ready! Let’s do this!”.

We will engage in 1-on-1 coaching sessions for 90 minutes. In this…

Carla Martins
Emotional Stress Release
$800 USD
Retreat( India): Connect With Your Inner Wisdom 1st to 4th Sept

Join us for an immersive experience anchored amidst the beauty and tranquillity of Kasar Devi, Almora, India

1st Sept’22 ( Thursday) - 4th Sept 2022 ( Sunday …

Psychic Reading
$80 USD
I will do oracle and tarot card readings

I will do oracle & tarot card reading in any area of your life. You will get answer from the Angelic, Elemental, Faerie or Galactic realms. I will share wi…

Wisdom Realms
Natal Astrology
$15 USD
15 min reading of SOUL structure

[SOUL STRUCTURE]Each soul has own structure,and knowing it means to have unlimited access to inner energy. This readings are telling about your talents and str…

Ksenia Jdanova
Wellness Coaching
$10 USD
Ask a Question?

Supportive reflection of a current question that you would like clarity around. Using the SMART method to seek quidance in stepping onto your path of potential…

Beverly Lynn
$150 USD
Reiki Services (distant healing session)

In this hour long distant healing session I will use long distance Reiki, crystals and essential oils to balance your Chakras. Balancing your Chakras allows en…

Erin Kirby
Tarot Reading
$10 USD
Intuitive Tarot Reading

Affordable Tarot reading to offer guidance on any given concern.

Elphie Shoppe
$10 USD
Talk Therapy Sessions

Hello there: These times are dread. Do you need to talk with a safe professional about a troubling personal challenge? I am a professional listener and will li…

Eulalee Thompson
Tarot Reading
$10 USD
Tarot Reading

I offer tarot readings with a 100% accuracy rate. The tarot is meant to give you advice, to point you in the right direction or to provide you with clarity. Bu…

Zara Kalil
Angel Healing
$10 USD
Mental Health Advice & Tips

I can help you with past issues and give advice and tips on how to better your life. I can see through my third eye and receive messageson what you need to do …

Beings Of Light
Life Coaching
$10 USD
Discovery call

Are you interested in supporting your health with safe and effective holistic medicine? Not sure if you should switch diets, work with a health coach or explor…

Suzana Da Costa
Wellness Coaching
$50 USD
Mental Health and Holistic Lifestyle Coaching

Hi there! I’m Doug and I offer 1 on 1 Holistic Lifestyle and Mental Health Coaching sessions. Navtigating life with mental health issues of any sevarity is a h…

Doug Peterson
Wellness Coaching
$10 USD
Mental Health and Holistic Lifestyle Coaching Consultation

Hi there! I’m Doug and I offer 1 on 1 Holistic Lifestyle and Mental Health Coaching sessions. Navtigating life with mental health issues of any sevarity is a h…

Doug Peterson
Family Psychology
$10 USD
Psychic Reading

Expert in Love Relationship, Tarot Psychic Reading
I can give you more powerful insight of every part of your life. With the help of Crystal ball my Psychic re…

Aamir Bilal
Career Coaching
$195 USD
Holistic Lifestyle & Nutrition Coaching


If this sounds like you, then you don’t need a new diet… you n…

David Giddings
Bach flower therapy
$120 USD
Bach Flower Essence Consultation

Exploration of where you’re feeling stuck or limited in life and recommendations of Bach Flower Essences to help loosen and dissolve old patterns.

Suzana Da Costa

Related Articles