Dr. Susie Gronski


How Pain Can Leave You Feeling Defeated (And What To Do About It)

No one said being human would be easy.

Sometimes, don’t you wish there was a user manual that had all the answers?

But without suffering, pain or hardship, how would we recognize happiness, joy or contentment?

Truth is we need pain to a point, but that doesn’t mean we have to suffer.

Pain is one of those human predicaments where we find ourselves aimlessly searching for an answer, often to no avail. The uncertainty drives us to despair.

“Will this ever go away?”

“Am I going to have to live like this forever?”

Many studies show that the more hopeless or helpless you feel about a situation, the more difficult it is to get yourself out of the quicksand. Those who are more optimistic and surround themselves with individuals who also shed light on the situation get better sooner.

Image courtesy of  ShonEjai

Image courtesy of ShonEjai

As Donald Hebb wrote, “Nerves that fire together wire together.”

What does this mean?

Thanks to a group of monkeys, researchers discovered that we have mirror neurons. Mirror neurons do exactly what the name suggests, mirroring emotions, actions, facial expressions, feelings and so on.

When we observe someone doing a task, areas of our brain light up as if we were doing the same task ourselves. The same goes for feelings and emotions. If you’ve ever spent time with someone who was in a really shitty mood, you know what I’m talking about.

So how can you use your mirror neurons to ease pelvic pain?

1.    Surround yourself with people who have an uplifting attitude and mindset.

In other words, take a Google holiday. Forums can be a dark and scary place (trust me, I’ve been there) and it’s easy to tumble down a rabbit hole. This only leaves you feeling more hopeless and distraught, because you’re surrounded with only gloomy negative stories.

People who are out living their lives healthily are not spending their time on forums, so naturally ‘feel-good’ stories are few and far between when you look online for answers.


2.    Use visual imagery to start feeling good.

Visualize movements or activities that make you feel good or that you’d like to get back to doing.

One common complaint associated with pelvic pain is difficulty sitting. If sitting is typically painful for you, begin by imagining a non-threatening and doable sitting environment. Key word is non-threatening.

Your goal is to find feel-good scenarios of sitting that will break the painful conditioned response associated with sitting. You might start this visual imagery exercise lying down or standing up with the ultimate goal of sitting down. Heck, why not even imagine sitting on a bed of clouds or floating on a bed of cotton candy? Mmmm...

Another way of visualizing sitting is to watch others sitting, especially if they are also laughing. Pay attention to others sitting in ways that you’d like to sit pain-free.

3.    Have a good belly laugh.

The benefits of laughter have been well-documented.

Laughter helps decrease the stress hormones, regulate the immune response and increase nourishing neurochemicals that help modulate the pain response. Laughter is a great pain-killer. And the best part? It’s free!

4.    Believe you can get better.

Lastly, your beliefs and values about pain will largely dictate your recovery. So much so that what you think about pain is a far better predictor of disability than fear-avoidance, catastrophizing and depression, according to this research.

Reconceptualizing the relationship you have with pain will change how you feel. It’s oh-so important to never lose hope. Without this mindset shift, getting better will be an ongoing struggle.

Life is better without pain in your pants. Schedule a free consultation here.