Em Capito is a licensed psychotherapist who has worked in addiction and mental health treatment for 13 years, specializing in holistic mind-body resilience.
She says pain can quickly become overwhelming and chronic pain in particular can feel hopeless, especially as tolerance builds to the medications that only numb symptoms.
Em says, "Whether we're managing emotional or physical pain, how we perceive the pain and our role makes a world of difference. Pain is a message from your mind and body, a message we can respond to rather than avoid. It's the difference between riding the wave, and resisting."
For both acute and chronic pain, Em says we can all take four big steps to build pain resilience:
1. Decrease stress - Physical and psychosocial stress not only magnify pain symptoms, they can trigger new symptoms and disorders. When we eat an anti-inflammatory diet, create healthy work and home environments, nourish relationships and engage in regular self-care, pain symptoms decrease and we recover faster.
2. Treat mental health problems - Just like we seek out a doctor when we`re physically sick, we can reach out for help when we`re emotionally unwell. Research shows that when anxiety and depression are treated, pain is reduced.
3. Stay active - Even gentle movement, like yoga, swimming or walking, can drastically reduce pain symptom severity.
4. Learn tools to tap into your own pain relief system - such as meditation, visualization and breathing techniques.
You teach yoga and meditation as part of therapy - are there some simple poses that viewers can do at home to try this out?
Restorative yoga is a great place to start because it combines multiple natural pain management tactics - nurturing a resilient mindset and calming the nervous system through breath work, while releasing tight muscles and lubricating joints.
Three yoga poses for pain relief:
1. Triangle pose
2. Seated butterfly with neck release
3. Child`s pose