The long-term goal of pain management is to help you cope with a chronic, often disabling disease. You may be caught in a cycle of pain, depression, and stress. To break out of this cycle, you need to be an active participant with the doctor and other health care professionals in managing your pain. This may include physical therapy, cognitive-behavioral therapy, occupational therapy, biofeedback, relaxation techniques (for example, deep breathing and meditation), and family counseling therapy.
You may want to contact some of the organizations listed at the end of this fact sheet for additional information on the Arthritis Self-Help Course and on coping with pain, as well as for information on support groups in your area.
Another technique is to substitute distraction for pain. Focus your attention on things that you enjoy. Imagine a peaceful setting and wonderful physical sensations. Thinking about something that is enjoyable can help you relax and become less stressed. Find something that will make you laugh-a cartoon, a funny movie, or even a new joke. Try to put some joy back into your life. Even a small change in your mental image may break the pain cycle and provide relief.
The Multipurpose Arthritis and Musculoskeletal Diseases Center at Stanford University, supported by the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS), has developed an Arthritis Self-Help Course that teaches people with arthritis how to take a more active part in their arthritis care. The Arthritis Self-Help Course is taught by the Arthritis Foundation and consists of a 12- to 15-hour program that includes lectures on osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis, exercise, pain management, nutrition, medication, doctor-patient relationships, and nontraditional treatment.
1330 West Peachtree Street
Atlanta, GA 30309
404/872-7100 or call you local chapter, (listed in the telephone directory )
World Wide Web address: http://arthritis.org
This is the major voluntary organization devoted to arthritis. The Foundation publishes a free brochure, Coping With Pain, and a monthly magazine for members that provide up- to-date information on all forms of arthritis. The Foundation also can provide addresses and phone numbers for their local chapters and physician and clinic referrals.
American Chronic Pain Association
P.O. Box 850
Rocklin, CA 95677
The Association provides information on positive ways to deal with chronic pain, and can provide guidelines on selecting a pain management center.
American Pain Society
4700 West Lake Avenue
Glenview, IL 60025-1485
The Association operates an information clearinghouse offering publications and cassette tapes for people with pain. They also publish a newsletter that includes information on pain management techniques, coping strategies, book reviews, and support groups.