Education on Chronic Pain Video Transcript

Syam: Hi, I’m Syam.

Ariana: and I’m Ariana.  Welcome to the Pain Coaching program.

Syam: Ariana and I are health coaches, which means we’re trained in techniques to help patients learn how to adopt healthy behaviors to manage their conditions, such as diabetes, hypertension, and of course: chronic pain.

Ariana: The goal of the Pain Coaching program is to teach you skills that you can use to help manage your condition.  Your pain shouldn’t define who you are; the techniques demonstrated during this program can help you learn to manage your pain so that it interferes less with the way you want to live.

Ariana: Quick disclaimer: this doesn’t involve medications or medical therapies, and you don’t need to change any medications or therapies your doctor currently has you using in order to gain from this program.

Syam: We’ll be teaching a set of techniques called Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, or CBT, to help you change your mental and emotional approach to more positively cope with your pain.  It consists of nine modules, each with one or two short videos covering subjects like relaxation techniques, positive pain-coping thoughts, and several other topics.  Each module also includes practice assignments that reinforce the important lessons.

Ariana: Many academic studies have shown the effectiveness of CBT to reduce the physical and emotional symptoms of chronic pain, and to reduce the ways that pain interferes with a person’s life.

Syam: One study even showed that chronic pain patients who go through CBT are three times more likely to report pain doesn’t interfere with their life, and twice as likely to report feeling less pain.

Ariana: So let’s get started with a basic question: how does pain affect a person’s life? Well, of course there’s the sensation that you feel in different parts of your body, but there are many other impacts. Pain can affect the activities you pursue, like how you socialize with other people, or what kinds of physical activities you engage in like sports or exercise.  It can also affect your thoughts and emotions, your mood at any given time, and your perceptions of the world.

Syam: Unfortunately, these other effects can actually make the pain worse.  For example, some people decide to stop exercising due to their chronic pain, but we know that exercise helps our body stay strong and resilient, so cutting out exercise altogether can actually increase the amount of pain you feel.  Likewise, studies have shown a strong relationship between negative thoughts and emotions and the amount of pain a person feels: when we’re angry or sad, our pain can actually feel like it increases.

Ariana: This is what’s called the pain cycle – chronic pain can cause us to change our behavior and attitude in ways that research has shown can increase the pain, such as: decreasing our physical activity, having negative emotions, avoiding or withdrawing from social situations, and becoming stressed and overwhelmed, which can in turn cause more pain.

Syam: The goal of this Pain Coaching program is to invert that cycle and to use your behavior and your thoughts to help decrease the pain.

Ariana: However, this isn’t a quick fix, but a process.  How much you get from it will depend on how much you’re willing to practice what you learn. Congratulations on taking this step: by participating in this program, you’re demonstrating the motivation you need to manage your chronic pain.

Syam: Before we get into the techniques you’ll learn, let’s talk a little more about the science behind chronic pain. That’s coming up in the next video.