Enhancing Motivation to Change
We often hear "motivation is everything." But what is motivation, and what role does it play when managing chronic pain? The word motivation means "To provide with an incentive, move to action." Here are some tips that might help to provide the motivation to try new adaptive behaviors for treatment of chronic pain.
- One strategy to enhance motivation for trying new coping skills is to consider the positive aspects of old coping behaviors before thinking about costs or consequences of those behaviors. For example, medication use and rest may decrease peoples' pain in the short-term, however, these methods may become detrimental in the long-run, particularly if they are relied on exclusively, and prevent the person from participating in valued life activities. Instead, try coping techniques such as deep breathing, yoga, exercise, and getting healthy support from others.
- Related to the first strategy is to think about how life is different, perhaps worse, since the onset of the chronic pain. The most common responses of most people with chronic pain are: decreased involvement with family, loss of a job, and reduction or elimination of hobbies. Return to these activities becomes a major incentive toward developing new adaptive skills to stay involved with valued activities, despite being in pain.
- Another technique is to practice envisioning a life where you are better able to manage the pain. Add as much detail as possible to this image, as if the future was a blank canvas upon which you could paint a picture of what you would like to see happening. Remember, details are important. This method is extremely powerful, particularly if you include the possibility of still having some pain, but proceeding with the valued activity anyway. If you would be in pain sitting on the couch, or watching a grand child make their first soccer goal, why not envision the latter?
In order to enhance the likelihood of a successful treatment outcome, and to maintain the positive gains after treatment, it is necessary to ask "Is what I'm doing getting me what I really want?" If the answer is no, try something different!
More than the programs ...
At The Pain Center, all of our doctor's and therapists see patients outside of the programs. If you have a new injury, significant stressor, severe pain flare-up or need to adjust your home exercise program - come back to the team that you trust. We're happy to help.
Have a question about a flare up?
You are still a part of The Pain Center family. If you ever have a question, please give us a call at 616.233.3480 and we'd be happy to answer it.