What do you know about coaching for chronic pain?

by Dee Emmerson, TCC Writer

An accident, major injuries, a lifetime of central pain …a persistent person.

One person’s experience can produce a ripple effect when a great idea and a mission meet persistence. But this story isn’t about rags to riches; it’s the ongoing story of heroes who live with chronic pain.

You may know how and why Becky Curtis started Take Courage Coaching®—an outgrowth of her own experiences with central nerve pain and a desire to see others benefit from the strategies she uses every day. You can read her story here…

After recognizing that one resource was missing for most people who live with complicated pain, Becky set her sights on making it available to everyone. That missing piece of the pain puzzle was coaching.

Coaching is used extensively in sports and business to improve a person’s “game.” Health and wellness coaching focuses on righting bad habits or helping patients learn healthier lifestyle options. But, coaching for pain? How can you improve chronic pain?

Becky’s brush with death and a stint in an outpatient pain clinic exposed her to the reality of an estimated 16 million people in America—hurting people who don’t know how to feel anything but the pain, despite pain medications and therapies. It’s a lonely, hopeless, often desperate life. She saw firsthand that ongoing support and learning how to personally manage pain is that missing piece.

Delica, a Take Courage Coaching® client, had struggled through surgeries, opioid dependence and pain clinics. “I learned a lot of things in these pain programs but didn’t know how to make it all work in real life,” she recalls. Real life is what patients live with or come home to—daily challenges, frustration with limitations, anger attached to memories, friends and family who want to “fix” you, and medical providers without payment to teach or support.

After an injury during a search and rescue event, William suffered severe pain for 8 years, plus depression and anxiety that grew progressively worse. “Not wanting friends to see me so depleted, I rarely left the house, stopped socializing, and only lamented all I wasn’t doing.” He was skeptical of his case worker’s suggestion to participate in a pain-management coaching program. One of the first exercises his new coach asked him to consider was “visualizing my life not dominated by pain; and I had to dig deep to imagine a good night’s sleep, see myself enjoying the mountains again, and picture my contributions to family and community.”

Lyn’s coach helped her remember that she had skills and strengths—a perception she’d let go when pain took over her brain—and she gained a sense of community with her group. “I now have countless ways to control my pain.”

The number of people getting their lives back—returning to hobbies and activities, enjoying work or a new career, and relishing family and friendships again—grows week by week.

Kelly gets specific: “I was introduced to tools that helped me manage my pain, and gained confidence as my coach and I explored ways for me to return to the things I loved. I eventually chose to reduce my pain medication, until I got completely off the narcotics. For the first time in years my head was clear! Now every day is a day I can make choices that prevent me from being dominated by pain.” After a ten-year absence Kelly rejoined the work force as a Pain Management Coach who helps others reclaim their lives.

Jim, whose professional work and family relationships were about to hit the ditch, found that strategies in his pain-management plan returned him to over 90% of his pre-accident work capacity—a productivity increase of more than 30%. “Rather than focusing on the pain, I see what I’m able to accomplish. I absolutely recommend this to anyone who is suffering with pain.”

William no longer misses out on life. A little at a time, with the help of his coach, he made changes that added up to living again. “I still have physical limitations," he says, “but now I don’t let it stop me. Even with pain, life is good!” Delica’s steps forward and backward are fairly common. Learning pain-management strategies is not one-size-fits-all nor about adding a zillion more to-dos to your already busy life. You decide what’s important and try out the tools each week as you learn about them. That’s where a good coach comes in—helping you sort it out and supporting your efforts. The benefits of a coach were so strong for Delica she decided to become a Pain Management Coach—training through TCC®U that focuses on working with individuals in chronic pain.

If you are like another TCC® client, a physician who lives with fibromyalgia, you are likely feeling hopeless because no cure has been found. As Brenda completed her pain-management coaching with TCC, she began to accept this bleak status but with “management skills and knowledge of how to adjust and adapt. This helps me live the best life I can.”

Brenda explains how coaching can help anyone living with pain:  “The supportive coaching staff understands our struggles, and this helps decrease the emotional baggage of fear, worry, anxiety, anger, and guilt that can accompany a chronic condition.”

One person’s vision and persistence produces a ripple effect… And now you know some of the ongoing stories since Becky’s car careened off the road 14 miles from Wisdom—a little allegory that shows how wisdom sometimes comes in strange packages.

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Take Courage Coaching’s services are provided by telephone. Interested in this program? Contact us here. Referrals can be made here. TCC®U is our coach training program. It is designated as an Approved Coaching School in the transitional phase of the National Consortium for Credentialing Health & Wellness Coaches (NCCHWC). Coaches graduating from TCC®U are qualified to sit for the National Certification for Health Coaches. Sign up for the next start date (August 2, 2018) here

Feel free to forward this to anyone you know
who needs help with pain management or
who might be interested in a coaching career.