I truly believe that the single greatest education we can offer our patients dealing with either acute or persistent pain is to have them appreciate the fact that ALL PAIN IS GOOD!
I realize that at first that statement sounds simply ludicrous, but here is how I explain it to my patients (Pt) in less than one minute.
Me: Do you agree with the statement that “All pain is good.”?
Me: Would you mind if I shared with you a few examples to explain myself?
Pt: Sure, go ahead.
Me: If I put my hand on a hot stove top and feel pain, is that pain good or bad?
Pt: Obviously since it hurts, it’s bad. You wouldn’t like it.
Me: You’re right; I wouldn’t like it, but is the underlying intention or purpose of pain good or bad?
Pt: I guess it’s good? Pain tells you to take your hand off the stove top and to not do it again.
Me: Exactly. So if I burn my hand, it’s not the pain’s fault. Pain is simply a messenger telling me that something is not right. Would you agree?
Me: What if I twist my ankle and I’m forced to limp. Is that pain good or bad?
Pt: I guess it’s good. It’s telling you to not put all your weight on it so the ankle heals.
Me: Exactly, once again pain is not only good, it’s necessary. It’s not the pain’s fault that I’ve sprained my ankle, is it? Pain is in fact protecting me; so once again pain is good. What if I get severe pain because of kidney stones, is it the pains fault? Is that pain good?
Pt: I guess it’s not the pain’s fault; it’s just telling you to go see a doctor because there’s something wrong with your kidneys.
Me: Exactly. Finally in worst case scenario when people have pain from cancer, is pain to blame? No, pain is simply a messenger telling us that something’s wrong. Although we may obviously not like it, pain’s job is to warn us whenever the brain perceives that we may be physically or mentally in danger.
Pt: So what is my pain trying to tell me?
Me: That is exactly what we have to figure out together.
Then I refer some of my patients to view the INTRO videos on ThePainTruth.org