Patient Information Resources

Centre for Orthopaedics
Suite 10-33/34/35 Mount Elizabeth Novena Specialist Centre
38 Irrawaddy Road
Singapore, 329563, Singapore
Ph: (65) 6684 5828
Fax: (65) 6684 5829

Child Orthopedics
Pain Management
Spine - Cervical
Spine - General
Spine - Lumbar
Spine - Thoracic

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My sister has had chronic neck and back pain most of her adult life. As she gets older she seems to get worse -- or maybe her attitude is just worse. The family is having a hard time being patient with her. She's still looking for a magic medical cure. What can we say that will help?

When patients look for a cure and define it as being 'pain free' after years of pain -- the result is likely going to be frustration. Repeated attempts to solve the problem with one treatment after another often cause the person to become more and more negative.

Negative thoughts can lead to what's called catastrophic thinking. Pretty soon the person is thinking about the pain all the time. The general trend of their thoughts is toward the worst case scenario. They play this over and over in their minds.

Your sister may need more than just a few key phrases from her family. If she is open to the idea perhaps an appointment with a behavioral psychologist might help. If nothing else, encourage her to talk with her doctor about coming up with a better plan to manage the pain.

Many times it takes a team of health care professionals to help patients retrain their thoughts and manage their pain. The goal to reduce pain is replaced by goals to increase function. This can help improve the patient's (and the family's) quality of life. Time spent together becomes less focused on one person's health and pain and more enjoyable again.


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