I recently attended a webinar on the opioid crisis hosted by the AMA. Dr. Chad Brummett, Associate Professor, Department of Anesthesiology, Division of Pain Medicine at the University of Michigan Medical School shared his recent research findings on the crisis. The epidemic is transforming the way physicians approach pain management and prescribe medications. Here is what I learned:
According to Dr. Mauro Zappaterra, pain management specialist, mindfulness is an excellent technique for decreasing pain. Start by identifying what triggers your pain. Are there any specific activities, thoughts, actions or beliefs that make you feel an increase in your pain? Has there been an increase in stress in your life? Have emotions such as fear and anger become more common?
A word that comes up for many people is gratitude. Gratitude can change you and your experience of pain. I’ve seen this happen with the chronic pain patients I’ve worked with. They embrace their situation and give thanks for the opportunity to realize what is important in their lives. Being grateful opens you up to grace or being in a state of grace. Gratitude also allows you to recognize that there is goodness in your life and that this goodness is often due to the actions of others — friends, family, doctors and their staff.
The word “grace” is often used as a divine expression — for example, the grace of God. Grace is also an elegance of action, such as walking with grace. And it can mean that we are a part of something deep and powerful and sustaining. Gratitude is a catalyst, then grace responds.