How to View Pain Differently

This week I have one article I want to share with you about pain. This article has an interesting outlook on how we as a society view pain and how changing that perspective could positively affect the opioid crisis. Below you’ll find this article and my thoughts on its implication.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed below are those of Mark Pew, Senior Vice President of Product Development and Marketing, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Preferred Medical.

Why changing how we view pain can help us address the opioid crisis 

In today’s society there is a drug for almost every type of pain one can have. While this works for some people, expecting to be one hundred percent pain free is oftentimes unachievable for many others. And when it cannot be achieved, the unexpected remaining pain can create all sorts of negative repercussions, including the over-prescribing of opioids. The author of this article – who had his own battle with prescription opioid dependence and perspective on pain, so he knows the subject extremely well – suggests that if we change our outlook on pain and pain management we can better address the opioid crisis in America. Not every pain experience requires drugs, and many can be helped with a simple lifestyle change, such as exercise, yoga or acupuncture. While some pain will require drugs, we as a society can start a culture shift with a change in attitude about pain.

Mark’s Thoughts:
Changing our expectations about pain:

“Too many of us, too often, think of pain as something that needs to be eliminated, and so we focus on pain intensity, with the goal of no pain…He was willing to be uncomfortable and work hard…Part of why Colin was able to make it through is because he doesn’t expect life to be pain-free…I knew that I didn’t want to be on the meds for too long so I went into it expecting for it to be pretty terrible…Some pain is devastating and life-limiting, and sometimes that pain responds well to opioids. But we can be part of an important culture change. We can stop demanding from our doctors a pill for every pain, and we can try to take seriously the non-medication treatments they suggest.”

If you’re dealing with pain—or about to deal with pain (i.e. there’s a surgery in your future)—please invest five minutes to read this article. Your perspective on pain before it happens has a lot to do with how you deal with it when it arrives. Three comments on this post add extra depth to the subject:

  • From Maria Goodwin: “The idea of changing how we view pain and accepting that life is not going to be pain free, regardless of an injury, is one of the best arguments I can think of to help injured workers understand the need to accept the possibility of living with chronic pain, without relying on pain medication permanently. As a vocational counselor and manager in the workers’ compensation system, I have seen the direct impact that permanent pain medication has had in an injured workers life. Helping the worker understand the impact of permanently taking prescription pain medication to their future career and quality of life has to begin with the physician’s understanding and willingness to think outside the box of pain management.”
  • From Debbie Smith: “I complete agree! We can help people better prepare for pain by communicating directly and factually about the level and duration of pain that can be expected. I think it is also critical that we stress the importance of getting up and about after a surgery or injury. My husband recently had a knee replacement surgery that went better than expected due to the exceptional preparation by the medical team. They let us know up front exactly what to expect and discussed ways in which to keep pain at a tolerable level.”
  • From Rosemary McKenzie-Ferguson: “When I stopped taking all the opioid based stuff that the medical team was filling me with they all told me I would never cope with the amount of pain my body was in. My response was simple- I simply will not allow myself to think of myself the way that others believe. I am the first to admit it was hell on wheels my body went into shock as the withdrawal symptoms took hold, I was screaming in pain without making any external sounds. I put my family threw so much heartache as they watched and cared for me. Once my mind was clear and once I finally could grasp what the future would be like it was doable and workable to work with what was in place. It all comes down to understanding just what pain is.”

To read everything on my mind this past week, please visit me on LinkedIn at

Until Next Week,