Underlying Themes of Striving to Thriving
The underlying theme in Striving to Thriving are driven largely by two things. First, are patient needs. Second, includes those recommendation made in the “Pain Management Best Practices Inter-Agency Task Force Report.“ From a high level those patient (and provider) needs include the following:
- Education, education, education. When the patient understands chronic pain concepts, treatments are more effective, and the patient becomes empowered.
- Patient activation increases as patients understand the various nervous systems, the biopsychosocial model and neuroplasticity.
- The patient plays an active (rather than passive) role in decisions made in treatment plans and reporting efficacy once educated and informed.
- The patient assumes greater responsibility and leadership in their care. This relieves clinicians of time-consuming educating and mentoring the patient and more time focused on treatment. Also, the patient assumes responsibility for managing and disseminating of important information to all providers. As such, the book is a guide providing educational materials and templates supporting both clinician and patient efforts.
Two more important themes in the book include brain preservation and hygiene. Unfortunately, these are rarely included in most conversations between the patient and their pain specialist, and even less between the patient and their primary care provider. Yet, it is one of the most critical conversations that should take place regarding chronic pain management. Therefore, brain hygiene is a critical aspect of PNE (pain neuroscience eduction) intentionally woven throughout my book.
Why? Because chronic pain attacks the brain in at least three or four ways and I cover them in the text, and what happens if you don’t actively take steps to protect your brain. If you have suffered with chronic pain for any length of time with chronic pain, the clock is ticking and procrastination is your brain’s number one enemy. There are things you can do today to start nurturing and protecting your brain from the ravages chronic pain. In summary, if cognition and memory are important to you, brain hygiene must be likewise and I’ll show you what that mean in the context of chronic pain management.
An important part of the underlying themes is the need for patients developing needed skills to own their healthcare and turn down the volume of their pain. Therefore, the material in this book stress developing the following skills: understanding, coping, balancing, calming and accepting.
- Understanding means growth and the ability to apply one’s knowledge. Important areas include-pain cycle, acute vs. chronic, pain and the brain, the psychology of pain, hurt vs. harm, etc.
- Coping is the techniques, methods and strategies for managing or reducing your pain when your pain flares.
- Balance means sustainable lifestyle changes made enjoying improved quality of life and activities of daily living.
- Calming is the ability to decrease tension, stress, anxiety or depression. Calm results from transitioning to the parasympathetic nervous system from the (fight-or-flight) sympathetic nervous system.
- Accepting is how the patient views their pain and themselves within the context of their pain. As such, adopting rational thoughts about pain and one’s relationship to their pain should be a part of every treatment plan.