Finding the right person to help you understand, manage and overcome your pain can be tricky.
Chronic pain is a specialist field just like cancer, diabetes and heart disease.
If you are suffering chronic pain and it’s impact on your life, you need to work with a clinician/therapist who has knowledge, skills and experience in the field.
How do you know?
You can check their suitability by reading about their qualifications and experience on their website if it is available.
Next, it is perfectly acceptable, and I would recommend asking them about their background and experience working with people suffering chronic pain.
If you were going to have some work done on your house, or seek financial advice, you would do your background checks on the person and see what kind of work they have done.
This means you can be more confident in the choice you make.
It is important and personal work.
Some of the Important things people need
- To be listened to and heard
- To be validated and acknowledged as a person (with strengths, dreams, feelings, hopes etc) with a lived experience
- Guidance (at the right time)
- To be challenged (sometimes; over sticky beliefs that are part of the stuckness of pain)
- Practical ways forward
- Compassion and empathy
There is no dedicated chronic pain specialist…
…so I have been pioneering Pain Coaching for the past 15 years to fill this gap.
It’s such an important one.
The numbers of people suffering are staggering. So are the costs.
The people who truly specialist are hybrid.
They come from different backgrounds: eg/ physiotherapy, nursing, psychology.
Often the chronic pain specialist has chosen that route and gained additional qualifications and experience.
Pain is an enormous field of study with many related areas.
To give you an idea: pain neuroscience, cognitive and perceptual sciences, consciousness, human behaviour, basic biology, psychology (many, many different forms of therapy), sociology, enactivism, philosophy.
The true chronic pain specialist will be aware of these fields and more. They will draw upon them and distill the knowledge and models into practical skills and treatments to help you manage, ease and overcome your pain.
Understanding, managing and overcoming chronic pain is an active process
Yes, there can be a place for medication and interventions.
Being pro self-management, self-caring and self-coaching does not mean I do not see their place.
But, the bulk of making life better, getting better, building health, reconnecting with what matters, overcoming chronic pain, dealing with inevitable challenges and living life, requires understanding, knowledge, skills and know how.
Plus a healthy dose of self-compassion, patience and insights that keep expectations and reality aligned.
What is pain coaching?
Pain Coaching is an approach that is person-first — you matter and are at the centre of it all. We dance, you lead.
A Pain Coach comes alongside and helps you understand your lived experience before guiding, encouraging and supporting you as you follow your unique path.
It is very practical, focusing on skills, exercises and strategies that work towards your specific goals, soothe and ease your pain, build wellbeing and deal with challenging moments effectively.
Essentially, Pain Coaching gives you what you need to make a difference in your world. Passive treatments (things done to you) do not offer this sustained change for the better. They can help in the short-term along the way, but are not essential for making life better, getting fitter, reconnecting with what you love, and living with meaning and purpose.
When you understand your pain according to the modern science of pain, this makes sense. In fact, more and more people come to see me asking what they can do themselves.
And that is the key!
If you read or listen to any success story, you will see that the vital ingredient was the person’s understanding shift and then what they did themselves with guidance and encouragement.
Success is individual
You define your success.
For some it will be participation in activities as before the injury and pain.
Or becoming more active and engaging with life again, with some adaptations.
Or living life and managing a particular condition.
There are limitless varieties, unique to the person and their circumstances.
We will always be realistic together, but open to possibility.
I hope this has been a helpful guide for you to find the right person to work with on your journey.
If you think I can help you, drop me a line. We can work together wherever you are across the globe as Pain Coaching works brilliantly online. Or if you want to come to one of the clinics, I would love to see you.