There’s plenty of debate in the mind-body healing community about whether or not to take painkillers 💊 for a pain flare.
At the end of the day, the choice has to be yours.
Healing from chronic pain is about moving from fear and helplessness to empowerment and choice — and part of that is trusting your own choices about what’s right for you.
Remember the basics: All pain is real and all pain is created by the central nervous system when it feels unsafe. Pain is triggered by fear, and to reduce pain we have to reduce fear and increase feelings of safety.
These things tend to fuel fear and be fueled by fear:
- All-or-nothing thinking (“you must always medicate” / “you must never medicate”)
- Being hard on yourself (telling yourself you’re “failing” by taking a pill)
- Complying with “rules” instead of assessing the information and your own experience to make your own choices
Learning to trust your own choices is part of healing!
Here’s a handy infographic guide to help you determine which approach is right for you — based on the goal of reducing fear.
I’ll share the approach that’s worked for me:
- When I get a twinge of tension, I first use mind-body tools like somatic tracking, relaxation breathing, checking in with my feelings and positive self-talk.
- Often, the tension dissipates. But it doesn’t always!
- If the tension persists or increases instead, I take a prescribed or over-the-counter, non-opioid painkiller. I don’t agonize over the choice, I don’t attach any judgment to it. I just do it.
- Then I continue with positive self-talk until the tension dissipates.
I used to get very wound up about whether or not to take a painkiller. I’d judge myself as a “failure” and worry that I was doing the “wrong” thing for my healing.
Since I let go of those judgments and worries, I stopped having full-blown migraines completely.
I still get twinges when I’m stressed and occasional flares, but the pain level maxes out at moderate.
In the past, there were times when I’d get a migraine even if I did take a pill. That doesn’t happen anymore.
Here’s what shifted:
👉 I changed my goal from “reducing pain” to “reducing fear.”
👉 When I’m having a twinge or flare, I ask myself: “what can I do to ease my fear?”
It’s about supporting myself, not punishing myself. It’s about feeling better, not getting a gold star for ”perfection.”
I hope this is helpful! Sending warmth, support and encouragement your way 💖
➡️ If you need support with chronic pain and anxiety, 𝗱𝗼𝘄𝗻𝗹𝗼𝗮𝗱 this FREE resource I created for you: 𝗧𝗵𝗲 𝗣𝗮𝘀𝘀𝗶𝗼𝗻𝗮𝘁𝗲 𝗖𝗿𝗲𝗮𝘁𝗶𝘃𝗲’𝘀 𝗚𝘂𝗶𝗱𝗲 𝘁𝗼 𝗖𝗵𝗿𝗼𝗻𝗶𝗰 𝗣𝗮𝗶𝗻 𝗥𝗲𝗰𝗼𝘃𝗲𝗿𝘆.
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