Pain management session six

Relationships and communication

We started this weeks session following on from the sleep session last week. We started with the importance of sleep posture, the physio and psychiatrist demonstrated how we should support ourselves with pillows. They explained the key to support was in the 3 curves of the spine. How to allign the curves using pillows to support ourselves in a neutral  position.

Again we had a recap of acute and chronic pain processes and the pain cycle which most peoples seemed to remember, although there were some notes out from the previous weeks I think. 

The theory according to the psychiatrist is pain affects relationship and relationships affect pain. This may be to with Intimacy, family  life, physical  contact and social  life. She showed us a diagram of relationships and people  we communicate  with in a circular diagram which looked similar to this.

It was interesting that during the discussion we missed out siblings from our cicle?

The diagram and discussion was interesting as most of us have felt the affects of having to explain our pain symptoms to other people and that there are very few people who understand what chronic pain is nor that it won’t get better. 

We discussed how we communicate pain to others in a verbal and non verbal way. It was also interesting that most of us regularly don’t communicate how we are at all, as it can be time consuming and difficult to explain.

The conversation soon came around to the fact that people respond in different ways to long/chronic and  short term/acute. The psychiatrist used a really good analogy with snakes and pins. She described a persons reaction to acute pain i.e. If you see someone stand on a pin or being bitten by a snake, you make a big fuss about getting help for that person. You try to reassure them and do your best to resolve the problem. But if someone is still complaining about the snake bite in three to four months, you are not interested, you think they’re making a fuss. You don’t understand why they are still complaining because the initial problem was a long time ago. Therefore people don’t understand long-term pain in the same way as acute/short term pain.

We were given a communication styles handout and a pain tool kit handout which I haven’t read yet, so this is homework for this week. We also reviewed our goal setting and to make sure we are rewarding ourselves if we are successful each week. Rewarding seems to be a problem for everyone as it isn’t something we are used to doing for ourselves. 

We then did our exercise session which is fun. I spoke with the physio afterwards about some thoracic back pain I’ve been having and she gave me personal and specific advice about exercise to help with this. 

The team leading the group are all happy to give advice and they are all approachable. A few of the other lady’s in the class have said they will miss the group when it’s finished as it has become quite a social event and a chance to speak with like-minded people. In some ways our pain comparison has become a little competitive but I think that is to be expected.