Chronic Pain’s Shifting Role in our Society’s “Theaters of Compassion”

Pain: A Political History

In America, from the 1950’s forward, pain, and specifically chronic pain, has become a “political football” and “the Trojan Horse” according to author Keith Wailoo (out of Princeton University’s Wilson [Woodrow] School of Public and International Affairs).

Pain, the disability of it, the medications involved in addressing it, the high suicide rates associated with it, along with many other aspects of the condition are presented by Keith Waterloo in his origin look at pain- focusing on how government, politics and the courts have radically impacted the way society understands, addresses and treats the condition. For those living in chronic pain the changing attitudes in regards to, approaches towards and services available for those living with chronic pain have been dramatically affected by these American societal forces.

“Tracing the development of pain theories in politics, medicine, law, and society, and battles over the morality and economics of relief…

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And When It Happens…

“Life will break you.

Nobody can protect you from that, and living alone won’t either, for solitude will also break you with its yearning.

You have to love. You have to feel. It is the reason you are here on earth.

You are here to risk your heart.

You are here to be swallowed up.

And when it happens that you are broken, or betrayed, or left, or hurt, or death brushes near,

let yourself sit by an apple tree

and listen to the apples falling all around you in heaps,

wasting their sweetness.

Tell yourself you tasted as many as you could.”

~ Louise Erdrich

Coping with Chronic Pain Through Journaling

Journaling ~ “a record of experiences, ideas, or reflections kept regularly for private use”; a valued coping skill for those with Chronic Pain

Research has shown that journaling can have numerous mental health benefits related to and research has also found that it can help with the physical aspects of chronic pain including…

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The Pain Chronicles

Written by Melanie Thernstrom in 2010 “The Pain Chronicles” is a wonderfully well researched look at chronic pain, the science and history and religious and philosophical aspects of it all told from the knowledgeable point of view of a chronic pain sufferer, which Mrs. Thernstrom is.

“Chronic pain is the Wild West of medicine. Thernstrom navigates the territory-its history, evolution and shifting frontiers- with keen intelligence and insight. She never flinches in the face of a subject that is easily overlooked or judged by those for whom it is, ironically, too painful. This is stellar work.” Alice Sebold, author of The Lovely Bones and Lucky.

Pain as Perception

In this excerpt Mrs. Thernstrom discusses the use of perception to help us find our way with chronic pain…

     “When I asked John Keltner, Ph.D (a physicist, pain researcher and Psychiatrist working with the University of California, San Diego) which alternative treatment works best, he shrugged…

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