Choosing to Live Well with Chronic Pain

Chronic pain comes in a wide variety of forms and the causes are many.  Recent studies show that nearly one third of us, suffer from back pain, joint pain, arthritis; neck and muscle pain, headache and other types of recurrent pain.

I’ve seen people who suffer from chronic pain often fall into a downward spiral of self-pity, depression, and inaction. They feel like they are being drowned in a whirlpool that saps all their strength. There are ways of dealing with it.

Dr. Liza Leal, a physician in Houston, Texas is one of the nation’s leading experts on managing chronic pain. She has just published a new book titled Live Well with Chronic Pain. What she describes, I’ve seen successfully used with my wife who has constant pain from fibromyalgia.

Living Well

“Most people who suffer from chronic pain,” she says, “learn very quickly that total reliance on pain killers is not the answer. Primary care, — a quick visit to the doctor followed by a course of readily available medications, is not usually enough to provide effective and long-lasting relief.”

“You are not powerless,” she says. “You must realize that you have a series of major choices to make and first and foremost is that YOU have to choose to live well.”

Dr. Leal believes that there are important things people can do physically, mentally, emotionally, and socially to manage their pain.

“You are the primary manager of your pain and your physician is your most knowledgeable ally,” she says. “And once you realize the power of choice, you can start addressing the real facts and the many viable options that are available to you.”

Dr. Leal believes that knowledge is power. Her book describes the three tiered approach she refined over many years of clinical practice:

“Learning to live well means learning how to become a more effective pain manager. And that, in turn, involves learning more in three main areas:

Improve Your General Health By Learning The Basic Principles – Learning all you can about matters such as proper nutrition, nutritional supplements, exercise like yoga, sleep, and most importantly, how to motivate yourself and keep a positive mental outlook.

Identify and Learn About Your Particular Condition – Sit down with your doctor and figure out whatever condition may be causing your chronic pain. Then learn all you can about how you can deal with that condition to alleviate the pain caused by that condition. Read, take seminars, do a ton of Internet research, talk with other people, join a support group – get out there and learn all you can.

Create Your Individual Action Plan – Now face the facts and create a plan that identifies a series of steps you can take every day. You might realize that you need to do something about what you eat. You might want to start doing yoga for stretching every day.  You may want to explore alternative health options such as massage or acupuncture. Learn what affects your pain and what pain management methods work best for you.

Dr. Leal finds that the people who are most successful at reducing pain level do so after focusing on improving important bodily functions such as circulation and overall cardiovascular health, muscular strength, and mobility.

“These are the most important first steps,” she says. “You draw a line for yourself, and then learn effective techniques to keep you walking that line.”


For more information visit

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s