Greg Lehman published a nice new blog post about a useful metaphor:
“The cup metaphor suggests that pain occurs when all of the stressors/loads in our lives exceed the space in our cup. When we overflow we have pain.”
From Do our patient's need fixing? Or do they need a bigger cup?
And spoons! See also spoon theory, a related metaphor about the limited amount of energy available for life and work when you suffer from a disability or chronic illness. Or chronic pain, of course.