Positive Emotions to Reduce Chronic Pain
Shared by Dr. Justin Thompson
Chronic pain is something we see in our offices on a weekly basis. It is far too common and often, is a complex situation with various causes. Pain serves as a motivating factor for people to make changes. Pain also engenders negative emotions such as fear, anger, and sadness which negatively affects psychological, social, and physical function. These emotions can make taking steps towards healing more challenging. Additionally, navigating these negative emotions is a different experience for everyone. This is where positivity exercises can come in to play. Positivity exercises have various mental benefit, but. the study discussed below explores the physical benefits of positivity exercises. This study found that inducing positive emotions can reduce chronic pain. This study used exercises that we can all utilize in our daily lives and explores how positive emotions can reduce pain!
Müller et al (2020) used randomized control trials to assign individuals with chronic pain positivity exercises. They found that at post-treatment, the intervention participants reported significant reductions in pain intensity and improvements in pain catastrophizing and pain control, relative to baseline. These exercises are based on understanding individual psychosocial strengths. They are brief exercises done for at least 15 minutes per week and can easily be implemented into any of our lives! Here are a few examples of the exercises used. I strongly suggest you give them a shot, even if you aren’t experiencing chronic pain as they still have positive impacts!
- “Writing down three good or funny experiences of the day,”
- “Doing (random) acts of kindness,”
- “Strengthening and enjoying positive relationships,”
- “Intensifying flow experiences
All of which can increase positive emotions, such as gratefulness, love, and enthusiasm. These positive emotions have been shown to be an analgesic. These exercises can counteract the negative impacts of pain and the negative cascade that can follow. These exercises are a great compliment to your regular pain treatment protocols. If you do not have a current plan of attack for relieving your pain, give us a call. We are always here to help and can identify the root cause of your pain.
Müller R, Segerer W, Ronca E, Gemperli A, Stirnimann D, Scheel-Sailer A, Jensen MP. Inducing positive emotions to reduce chronic pain: a randomized controlled trial of positive psychology exercises. Disabil Rehabil. 2022 Jun;44(12):2691-2704. doi: 10.1080/09638288.2020.1850888. Epub
If you’re looking for a Chiropractor near you that you can trust, choose one who will not only get rid of your back pain, neck pain, or headaches but who will also guide you to living a healthier lifestyle to keep you out of pain. Our Chiropractors located in Dallas, near the corner of Mockingbird Ln. and Abrams Rd., will teach you what the research says about how and why we should eat a better diet, move more and have more positive thoughts. By improving these areas of our lives we can become healthier, stay out of pain and decrease pain!