Anticipatory Pain can Lead to Suffering

I believe it is important for people living with chronic pain to understand that sometimes what you most fear you may actually create. When you live with chronic pain you hurt.  Doing certain things can make you hurt worse. So you may come to believe that these things will always cause you to hurt. In other words, you associate those things with pain. You believe that every time you do those things, you will have pain. Because you believe that you are going to hurt, you can actually activate the physiological pain system just by thinking about doing something that you believe will cause you to hurt. This is called anticipatory pain; which often leads to suffering.

For Some People in Chronic Pain Management, What They Expect – They Just May Get!

Once the physical pain system is activated, the anticipatory pain reaction can actually make your pain symptoms worse. Whenever you feel the pain, you interpret it in a way that makes it worse. You start thinking about the pain in a way that actually makes it worse. You tell yourself that the pain is “awful and terrible,” and that “I can’t handle the pain.” You convince yourself that “it’s hopeless, I’ll always hurt, and there’s nothing I can do about it.”

This way of thinking causes you to develop emotional reactions that further intensify or amplify the pain response. The increased perception of pain causes you to keep changing your behavior in ways that create even more unnecessary limitations and more emotional discomfort. This can make you feel trapped in a progressive cycle of disability.

If you want to learn some tools to cope with this problem please read my article Coping with Anticipatory Pain that you can download for free on our Ariticles page.

To learn about two skill trainings coming up in Sacramento California designed to teach treatment strategies for people living with chronic pain and coexisting disorders including disorders including addiction please Click Here.


You can learn more about the Addiction-Free Pain Management® System at our website If you are living with chronic pain, especially if you’re in recovery or believe you may have a medication problem and want to learn how to develop a plan for managing your pain and medication effectively, please go to our Publications page and check out my book the Addiction-Free Pain Management® Recovery Guide: Managing Pain and Medication in Recovery. To purchase this book please Click Here.

To listen to a radio interview I did conducted by Mary Woods for her program One Hour at a Time please Click Here to go to this interview.

To read the latest issue of Chronic Pain Solutions Newsletter please Click here. If you want to sign up for the newsletter, please Click here and input your name and email address. You will then recieve an autoresponse email that you need to reply to in order to finalize enrollment.

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