Acute vs. Chronic

Heh heh, glad I could use this Bitmoji. 

I’ve been thinking about acute versus chronic a lot lately, as my pain likes to play tricks on me. Some days my knee feels the pain of my old injury, so much so that I feel like it’s acute pain that needs R&R. I have to remember everything I’ve learned, and that it’s likely chronic pain.

Here are my reminders and the gist of the pep talk I give myself: It’s likely chronic pain. Your injury definitely healed over the time period you’ve had this issue. You may be trying new things that cause pain, but that is normal for recovery of function. I may need to rest, but that doesn’t mean I’m “injured” or close to it. There’s no inflammation. Chronic pain is a memorized signal of pain from a long time ago that’s long expired. Just chill.

I’ve been thinking about this because apparently believing “it’s just chronic pain” and that I’m not in danger, will bring down pain over time by decreasing the sensitivity and fear response in my nervous system.

I’ve had trouble believing this, but I’ve had a few moments of clarity this week. A few times I’ve had pain that is reminiscent of the old injury, and I’ll journal about it and struggle with what I’m believing about it. And then an hour later it’ll be gone. Also, a few times I’ve been worrying about the pain I’m feeling and then had the thought- Hey, I’m not injured! This is just chronic pain. Just the thought changes the experience.

I feel like the repetition of this is so ridiculous. But I will keep trying over and over to have one belief become stronger than the other, so my “go-to” belief isn’t “Oh my goodness… I’m so close to injuring it!” and instead it will be, “It’s just chronic pain acting up.”

It can also work the other way, funnily enough. For the back issues I’ve been having just recently, I can tell myself it’s acute not chronic- so I just need to take care of it and it most likely won’t last forever. 


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