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    Christmas is coming:

    Pack up your pain and prepare to party!  This month I am going to offer some no-nonsense, easy-to-follow advice. This is because Christmas is coming! I hope you are looking forward to it, but you might also be worrying a bit. There is nothing worse than feeling you are spoiling everything because you are in pain. And of course, if you are anxious this can make the pain seem worse.  What I am going to do in this post is pass on some of the advice I give in two of my books: Managing Chronic Pain in the Family https://www.amazon.co.uk/Managing-Chronic-Pain-Family- family/dp/1999867122/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&qid=1543931148&sr=8-4&keywords=sue+peacock and Break the Pain Cycle in 28 Days. https://www.amazon.co.uk/Break-Pain-Cycle-days-Techniques/dp/0995459975/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1543931148&sr=8-1&keywords=sue+peacock It is all about taking things steadily, doing what you can and enjoying that. I…

    The psychological impact of cancer – Part 3

    Part 3: Life after cancer This is in the final blog in the short series on coping the psychological aspects of cancer. If you missed the previous two, you can find them here: www.apaininthemind.co.uk/the-psychological-impact-of-cancer-and-some-tips-how-to-manage-it-part-1/ www.apaininthemind.co.uk/the-psychological-impact-of-cancer-and-some-tips-to-manage-it-part-2/ Hearing the words “you have finishing treatment” or “come back for a follow up in x months” are a cause for celebration, but often perhaps within a few days, few weeks or months, it’s not uncommon for me to see people who have difficulty re-joining life.  Life during cancer treatment was focussed on medical appointments, there was always a healthcare professional looking out for you. After wishing all the treatments are over, many people find themselves asking what now? And they feel a great deal of unease and uncertainty as…

    Placebo Experiment By The BBC Shows The Power Of The Mind

    As regular readers of this column will know I am firmly convinced that our minds have a big role to play in helping us control pain. I was therefore delighted to see the BBC has, along with Oxford University, carried out a very important study to test how placebos work. This has screened on TV and can still be seen on Iplayer. I have been looking at this and believe it will give give heart to everyone out there who is living with chronic pain.  The programme explains the strange and still not well-understood, working of placebo. We have always known that a placebo can make a difference to pain, but we have not understood why very well. But we are now just beginning to…

    What is Clinical Hypnosis?

      I am often asked the question, ‘what is clinical hypnosis?’ and I always start my reply by saying it is a therapeutic tool, rather than a therapy on its own. For me, it’s all about what works for the client, and I find hypnosis helps me work successfully with a client by bringing their beliefs, emotions and ways of seeing the world into the process of therapy. I love hypnosis, but convincing people that it is a part of serious therapy can be an uphill battle. There are two big misconceptions about hypnosis. One is the belief is that it is ineffective; a weird, untrustworthy unscientific and new-age bit of nonsense. The other is that a hypnotist can make clients do things they do…

    The psychological impact of cancer and some tips to manage it: Part 2

      Part 2: Going through treatment Moving on, into the unknown world of medical treatment ….depression and cancer are linked. Feelings of sadness and despair are not uncommon, wherever in the cancer journey you are. If depression interferes with your daily life and has lasted for two successive weeks, talk to your GP. Clinical depression is treatable through medication and /or psychological therapy. In fact approximately 25% of cancer patients are clinically depressed. Signs to look for include loss of interest in daily activities, persistent sadness/emptiness, sleep disturbance, weight gain/loss, loss of concentration, fatigue, suicidal thoughts or behaviour Remember sometimes it’s difficult to distinguish if symptoms are coming from cancer such as loss of sleep or loss of appetite related to medication or are symptoms…

    The psychological impact of cancer and some tips how to manage it – Part 1

      Part 1: Receiving the diagnosis     Working with people who are living with cancer and beyond can be a huge challenge both physiologically and psychologically. I will be writing a collection of 3 blogs from a psychological perspective, that discusses the stages people go through, diagnosis, going through treatment and lastly life after cancer treatment. The first of these blogs will look at the psychological impact of receiving a diagnosis and offer some suggestions to help move through this part of your cancer journey. Nothing can strike fear, anxiety, depression, grief, or overwhelm you, more quickly than a cancer diagnosis. Your life has been chucked up in the air and come down in a different order. Often what’s worse is your life is…

    A Brief History of Using Hypnosis for Pain Management

      Back in May 2018, I had the pleasure of presenting a talk within a workshop about hypnosis and pain management at The British Pain Society ASM. As some of you know I have a keen interest in the history of medicine, so was delighted to talk about the history of hypnosis in pain management. Of course, with time pressures of a presentation, I can only offer my interpretation of who I think the key influencers were and are, so no doubt I have omitted some, but perhaps that’s for another blog. So here is a summary of my presentation…. Many people have the misconception that hypnosis is the stuff of entertainers and magic shows, perhaps having seen them on TV or on stage whilst…

    Pain is not a vital sign, so it can be controlled

    As a consultant psychologist in chronic pain management, I spend a lot of my time exploring and refining my ideas about what pain is.  The reason I do this is because what we think pain is, has important consequences for how we all view pain and how as a society we treat it.  Over the past few months, I have been very interested to read an articles tracing some of the factors which have led to the explosion in the use of opioid medication. This is at its most serious in the US, but certainly has echoes in the UK as well. You may know the old saying‚ the road to hell is paved with good intentions’. It came to my mind when I was…

    Living with chronic / persistent pain: Managing change

      Living with chronic /persistent pain can be difficult as often it requires us to change. There is an expression used to describe the reality of living with chronic / persistent pain, it is the ‘new normal’. Life may change, it may be more limited in many ways, but it is still life and a ‘normal’ can be established. New routines, new choices, new challenges and opportunities will be there. There will still be a richness. Choices are like clearings in a forest. We cannot determine when we will come across a clearing, we cannot determine what it will be, but we can determine whether or not to enter the clearing and experience what it has to offer. We often cannot change what has happened…

    Coping with chronic pain in the summer. Dr Sue’s top tips

    Most of us feel better in the summer, warmth often seems to ease chronic pain and the sunshine lightens us all up, doesn’t it? A better mood makes it easier to cope with chronic pain in many circumstances, so get out and enjoy it.  You will enjoy the sun even more if you watch out for some pitfalls which can come when you get out and about in the nicer weather.  Heat and joint swelling Watch out for heat and especially humidity if you suffer from osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis as changes in temperature can cause swelling in your joints, which of course can increase your pain. Many of you may already notice that changes in barometric pressure can lead to a spike in pain….

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