You’ve been spinning your wheels in chronic pain. Maybe you’ve got shoulder pain. Back pain. Hip pain. Knee pain. Whatever it is, you’ve been in pain for a while.
You keep thinking “I’VE GOT TO GET OUT OF PAIN.”
Every day, you’re obsessing about the pain you’re in and how to get away from it.
You’re in a hole. You’re in a hole of AVOIDANCE. An Avoidance Hole. Or an A Hole for short.
Nobody wants to be stuck in an A hole. It’s miserable. It smells bad. And it’s totally unproductive.
All your obsessing about avoiding pain doesn’t solve anything. You rest more. You use pain patches. You use pain pills. You avoid things you used to love.
And still your body hurts. It starts to hurt MORE. So your avoidance tendencies get stronger and stronger. As a result, your BODY gets weaker and weaker. You keep spinning deeper into the Avoidance Hole.
The good news is there’s a simple way to get out of a chronic pain A Hole.
You switch from Avoidance to Aspiration.
What puts you into an Avoidance Hole is having your mind focused on what you DON’T want.
This is avoidance. Avoid running. Avoid walking. Avoid laughing. Avoid bending over. Avoid coughing. Avoid walking barefoot. Avoid standing. Avoid throwing. Avoid driving for more than ten minutes...
To relieve and eliminate chronic pain in the long term, you need to focus on what you DO want. You want to be working towards aspirational goals and training your body towards those goals.
When I was in my darkest depths of chronic hip pain, I definitely wanted to AVOID hip pain. But I ALSO wanted to get back to playing ice hockey.
And to fuel my progress towards my goal, I had to focus on the ASPIRATIONAL goal, not the thing I was trying to avoid.
So if you're stuck in chronic pain, the question to ask yourself is this:
WHAT DO I WANT TO BE ABLE TO DO?
And be clear with your answer. Don't answer with something weak like "It would be nice if I could..."
Your answer should be clear. "I want to be able to _______________."
Now keep that in mind as you work with your body.
Successfully getting out of chronic pain is about more than just avoiding things that cause you pain. It’s about aspiring to be able to do things without chronic pain.
It’s about setting active goals that inspire you to keep moving, training, exercising, experimenting, and pushing to achieve.
The process of getting out of chronic pain isn’t usually a one day process. It requires reflection, insight, and self-knowledge. To keep yourself motivated, it pays to ASPIRE.
Otherwise you get stuck in a chronic pain A Hole.
(And, by the way, you can also get trapped in the Avoidance Hole in many other parts of your life!)