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Pain management versus coping

 •  • by Paul Ingraham
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Weekly nuggets of pain science news and insight, usually 100-300 words, with the occasional longer post. The blog is the “director’s commentary” on the core content of a library of major articles and books about common painful problems and popular treatments. See the blog archives or updates for the whole site.

Another “versus” post! It’s turning into a series.

Chronic pain “management” involves partial or temporary symptom relief. The more the better, wherever and however you can get it.

Coping” and “acceptance” are learning to live with and work around symptoms, reducing their impact and reducing suffering (distinct from pain), and living better in spite of symptoms. (This is often known these days as Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, ACT, a spinoff from Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, CBT. Too many acronyms!)

There’s some overlap between these things, of course. The terms are informal, plenty of wiggle room, and everyone puts their own spin on them. But I want to highlight that basic distinction between partially effective treatment and symptom harm reduction — both valuable concepts for chronic pain patients, regardless of how we label them.

PainSci Member Login » Submit your email to unlock member content. If you can’t remember/access your registration email, please contact me. ~ Paul Ingraham, PainSci Publisher