July 7


Can You Change What You Think About Chronic Pain?

By Sue Ingebretson

July 7, 2015

Amazon, book review, chronic illness, chronic pain doesn't have to hurt, fibromyalgia, pain, sandy rozelman

Can You Change What You Think About Chronic Pain?Would you find it helpful for me (or anyone for that matter) to tell you how chronic pain feels? Probably not. It IS beneficial, however, to learn how to adjust your body’s innate ability to change how it perceives pain. In Sandy Rozelman’s book, Chronic Pain Doesn’t Have to Hurt, Sandy details the strong connection between what we think and how we feel pain.

I’m fond of stating the following phrase to my clients –

What you think has everything

to do with how you feel.

Additionally, here’s a fav quote that I have printed in my office:

Every cell of your body is eavesdropping

on your thoughts.” – Deepak Chopra

Fortunately for this community, author Sandy Rozelman was kind enough to contact me a while ago to see if I’d check out her book,  Chronic Pain Doesn’t Have to Hurt, Shift Your Perception of Pain. She provided me with a copy and I’m grateful to report that I enjoyed it immensely. You can check out the book on Amazon using the link above – and don’t miss my 5 Star Review!

Today, she’s kindly allowed me to share a chapter from this helpful book and I hope you enjoy this selection.


What I’ve Learned About Pain

Please heal my fear-based thoughts about my pain.

  • Pain is a symptom, not the problem. When experiencing pain, remember… Drugs don’t cure. They only treat. Drugs don’t fix the problem; they only mask the symptoms. You have the power to manage your pain. Stay with me to find out how.
  • The fear of pain can be worse than the pain itself thus making the pain worse than it really is. This can cause anxiety and intensify its severity. It kept me from exercising for fear of creating more pain. This caused me to be stiff and of course this caused more pain.
  • Chronic pain can be difficult to cure, but it almost always can be managed. And the ways to manage pain may not be what you imagine them to be. Lifestyle changes can have a positive impact on your pain levels.
  • Maintain a healthy weight (note I said healthy, not skinny) and you will have less pressure on your joints and possibly less pain.
  • Get a good night’s sleep. Our bodies repair themselves while we sleep.
  • Find new ways to handle stress and learn to relax.
  • Moderate exercise on a regular basis is necessary in managing pain.
  • Your body uses pain to get your attention. This is a good thing when you feel something hot or sharp; otherwise you could really harm yourself. But pain also gets your attention when you haven’t noticeably done anything to yourself but you suddenly have a pain somewhere in your body. This is your body’s way of telling you to pay attention and find out what’s wrong.
  • Pain can produce a feeling of total helplessness especially when nothing seems to help to ease it. But this is when you need to  reclaim your power and begin to take responsibility for your pain. It is then that you will be able to begin to heal your body, mind, and soul/spirit.
  • Pain is complicated. It’s not just about the messages to your brain: it’s also about the messages from your brain. The sense that you can control your pain will help stop the pain messages from getting through.
  • It’s all in your head. How many times have you been told that? Well, they were right: But for all the wrong reasons. It’s all in your head because you can control your pain with your brain. It’s how the placebo effect works. More on that later.
  • Pain is a very personal experience. The more that you can identify what affects your pain, the better you will be able to manage it. By noticing what factors increase your pain, you will be able to eliminate it in the future.
  • Pain can produce fear which in turn exacerbates your pain. In February 2013, I suddenly experienced extreme pain in my left hip. Since my mother, both of my older sisters, and my aunt all had double hip replacements, I panicked. I was scared. The pain was so bad that I couldn’t stand on that leg. I thought that I had broken or fractured my hip and that I was going to need a replacement too. I went to the emergency room and had x-rays which showed that my hip was not broken. It was just a bad arthritic flare-up. I was very relieved. But that didn’t stop the pain or the fact that it hurt to put any pressure on that leg. But now I could begin to take control of my pain. I was no longer scared. I had regained my power over my pain and I was now able to take measures to get it back to normal. Physical therapy, water exercises, Reiki, and positive thoughts that I was going to be able to get better all played a part in my healing.

Then in May 2013, my left knee began to hurt so badly that I couldn’t walk. Again fear took over. Will I need a total knee replacement? Again, to the emergency room I went. X-rays showed arthritis, but no tears or break. And again I started to take control:  Physical therapy, water exercises, etc. I had actually been doing this all along but the knee pain had sidelined me for a few weeks.  Pain and Fear. Fear and Pain.

  • Pain is relative. Pain is what you say it is. Your thoughts can affect your pain and your pain can affect your thoughts. How you think about pain has a lot to do with how you respond to it. But that isn’t the point. When you have pain, you hurt, and when you hurt many things can occur. You may become angry or upset. You may shut down and isolate yourself. You might take it out on a loved one. All are counterproductive.

I had a client who was having a lot of pain in her back even after several surgeries. I asked her what her pain level was on a scale from one to ten; one being no pain and ten being extreme pain. Without hesitation, she immediately said “ten.” I gently explained to her that ten meant that she wouldn’t even be able to talk to me. She would be screaming with uncontrollable pain. She was doing neither. I then asked her to reevaluate her pain level. After a moment of silence, she said her pain level was six. That number was much more easily managed and she agreed. If you perceive your pain to be worse that it is, it will be worse than it is. 

From the book,

”Chronic Pain Doesn’t Have To Hurt, Shift Your Perception of Pain”

by Sandy Rozelman

Pages 37 – 41


Thanks Sandy for sharing with this community today! Do any of you have questions for Sandy or comments about what she has to share? Please hop into the conversation below!

  1. “Every cell of your body is eavesdropping on your thoughts.” – Deepak Chopra
    LOVE that! There are some very useful considerations here Sue, now if I wasn’t in so much pain I could consider them, LOL! Only joking. Thanks for linking up at Fibro Friday.

    1. Lee – so glad you can joke and have a sense of humor here! We ALL need that and it’s a great reminder of how we can support each other in so many way. Always happy to hear from you and I’m grateful to be part of your community, too.

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