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How to cope with Chronic Back Pain

Chronic back pain can provoke emotional reactions, such as fear or even terror, depending on what we believe it signals. In other cases, such as in sports, chronic back pain is a nuisance, a feeling to be overcome in order to continue in the competition.

Of course, the first step in coping with chronic back pain or chronic neck pain is to receive a medical evaluation to determine the cause of the chronic back pain.

In some situations, such as a herniated disc in the spine, you may need to pay attention to the chronic back pain so that it can serve as a warning signal of impending damage.

In other cases, especially when the back pain is chronic and the health condition unchangeable, you can try and keep the chronic back pain from being the entire focus of your life. Often patients "act as if" they do not have a chronic back pain problem. This can help "normalize" the person’s activities and keep him or her out of the "sick role".

Whatever your medical condition, there are a number of effective strategies for coping with chronic back pain. These techniques generally include relaxation training, hypnosis, biofeedback and guided imagery.

All of these techniques for coping with chronic back pain make use of four types of skills:

  • Deep Muscle Relaxation
  • Distraction: moving your attention away from chronic back pain signals
  • Imagery: visual, sound or other pictures and thoughts that are pleasant and relaxing to you
  • Dissociation: The ability to separate normally connected mental processes, leading to feelings of detachment and distance from the chronic back pain