Chronic Pain and Chronic Illness

Marble dominos falling as a metaphor for the domino effect of losses that chronic pain and chronic illness often bring to our lives.

Chronic pain and chronic illness are depleting – of time, energy, money and motivation.  Whether they are all-consuming or a constant, nagging awareness in the background, chronic pain and chronic illness both have the ability to steal our joy in the present and threaten our hopes for the future.  In my role at Emory Healthcare’s Winship Cancer Institute, I bring emotional and physical relief to patients and families whose lives have been interrupted by illness and pain. 

Women who have been lifelong caretakers of others can often feel alone or unsupported when it is their turn to need care.  Feeling alone can stem from being alone or from the learned habit of not asking for help or accepting support that is available.  Women, having been socialized to care for others, can be reluctant to take the time and space necessary to prioritize care of Self.  Finally, and most cruelly, women often face misogyny from the medical establishment and the very providers whose role it is to offer comfort and care.

Physical sources of pain and chronic pain are often made more intense by our thoughts and emotions about the pain. For the pain sufferer, there is no way to distinguish between the physical-only ‘functional’ source of pain and the additional psychological overlay.  Even more surprising, sometimes chronic pain is due to emotional and psychological factors alone.  Many of us carry enormous burdens of unprocessed loss, grief, and anger that eventually takes a toll and manifests physically in the body.

Chronic Pain Relief Is Possible

Processing the myriad feelings that can accompany our changing abilities in life is a process that takes space, time and intention.  The good news is that chronic pain can be reprocessed, reduced and sometimes even eliminated with various somatic therapy approaches.  By engaging the Nervous System with somatic, body-based therapies it may be quite possible for you to experience relief.  And while there can be no guarantees, I personally have seen clients eliminate decades-long physical pain – completely.  

I welcome your questions, healthy skepticism and critical thinking on all of these topics.  It can be hard to believe until you’ve seen it or experienced it for yourself, but relief is possible.  Please let me know if you have any questions at all.

© 2024