Why coaching for chronic pain?
Before Take Courage Coaching I thought I had ways to manage my pain, but I had no idea about the science-based tools that were going to blend together over the next year and open up my severely painful, withdrawn, pain-centered life.
I learned that we really do have the power to change both our life experience of pain, as well as our physical pain. I know all too well the pain in my body, but now I have a great understanding of the pain-brain and how the mind and body live in tandem. With knowledge and intentionality I now have countless ways to influence them and control my pain.
It can be hard to hold on when all you have in your life is constant pain. An amazingly dedicated Coach—whose coaching style is based on self-reliance (so I can coach myself too)—and a sense of community from my caring groupmates provided much-needed momentum and ongoing support.
I can see all around me people who need this brilliantly-constructed program. As much as we pain patients search for help, this really is like stepping out of the dark. My wish is for everyone to be as fortunate as I have become.
– Lyn, Take Courage Coaching® graduate
Why doing pain alone doesn’t work
I’m a communications professional with years of experience in planning, organizing and anticipating situational outcomes. But these capabilities did little to help my life of chronic pain, which was chaotic, unpredictable and much less manageable.
I joined Take Courage Coaching as a client who felt broken and hopeless, and graduated a year later with a renewed lease on life—having just completed my first 5K run. The biggest incentive in my self-management toolbox was learning how neuroplasticity makes it possible for me to adapt and retrain my brain.
– Alice, Take Courage Coaching® graduate
Coaching made the difference
I was on my way to do a lot of things—a paralegal degree, law enforcement officer, 911 operator, long-haul truck driver, diet counselor—when injuries and chronic pain got in the way. For many years I focused on my medications more than I did anything else. I was terribly dependent on opioids—and all the pills for nausea, anxiety, appetite, and constipation—you know the drill. The anxiety drugs nearly killed me. When I was hospitalized I weighed 99 lbs.
A new pain management doctor was the first and only person who expected me to get better. He referred me to Take Courage Coaching for pain-management coaching. At first most of the information looked familiar…I was expecting something mysterious and new. It was the concept of neuroplasticity that grabbed my attention. It hit me that I could change my brain. But I didn’t have to figure it out on my own—it’s the coaching that made the difference.
Today I still have pain, but it doesn’t interfere with my life. I run a small business and love to garden. Best of all I’ve completed pain-management coach training, gained my national certification and am now helping others loosen the grip of pain.
– Becka, Take Courage Coaching® graduate and Certified Coach
Are you missing out on life?
I love helping people. So when I was injured doing search and rescue, I felt useless. For 8 years I suffered with severe pain, 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.
My case worker learned about a pain management program she was sure could help me. I was skeptical. A soft-spoken southern woman introduced herself as my coach. One of my first exercises 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.
I started talking with my coach about the things I love, and her support motivated me to do something with each of them over the next few months. Before long, I was exercising and sleeping better. With new energy I felt like cleaning my shop. I started calling friends again, planned a camping trip with my wife, and became a city councilman. Wow…had I been missing out on life!
I still have physical limitations, but now I don’t let it stop me. Even with pain, life is good!
– William, Take Courage Coaching® graduate
What can coaching do for chronic pain?
Following an accident in 2006, I was suffering with severe nerve pain that left me exhausted and desperate. I had tried every pain medication, treatment and therapy available—even two surgeries. Nothing took away the pain that consumed me; so when I heard about coaching for pain, I was more than a little skeptical. Actually, I was incredulous—coaching to help my pain? Come on!
When I finally called Becky, I still didn’t believe her strategies would impact my pain levels. But I’d tried everything else without success, so I decided to give Take Courage Coaching a try. Becky had just started coaching what she’d learned about managing her own pain, and I couldn’t ignore the fact that she was thriving in spite of central pain that had to be as bad or worse than mine.
I learned pain-management strategies involving lifestyle choices and changes in the way I think. With solutions and things I can do—instead of just suffering through the pain—I’ve gone from working less than 60% to over 90% of my pre-accident capacity. My pain levels are down drastically, I’m off all pain meds, and my blood pressure is back to normal.
I look back and shudder at what my life was before Take Courage Coaching. It’s radically different now—no longer defined by pain. 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—at any level of pain.
– Jim, Take Courage Coaching® graduate
Has pain stopped you in your tracks?
I was planning to cheer on my daughter at a competition 500 miles from home. Instead I awoke to intense back pain—the start of years seeking answers from doctors, corrective surgeries, and searching for a cure they might not know about. Even high doses of narcotics didn’t improve my life. I was still in pain and fuzzy headed, to boot.
I stopped teaching Sunday School, volunteering at my kids’ school, and leading out in 4-H. I rarely left my house, and missed singing for special events and making wedding cakes.
Getting that first call from Take Courage Coaching changed my life. 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 reduced my pain medicine until I was 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.
– Kelly, Take Courage Coaching® graduate
Help with the pain leads to emotional wellbeing
Injuries, pain, surgeries, pain clinics—that’s my history. Oh, and the meds: opioids, meds to help me survive the opioids, muscle relaxants, antidepressants, sleep aids and more. The last pain clinic wouldn’t even take me until I cut down on the drugs; so it was detox first, then outpatient clinic.
I learned a lot of things in these pain programs, but didn’t know how to make it all work in real life. Success was hit and miss. Becky Curtis and I happened to be in the same program, and we stayed in touch. Her idea to help others learn pain management led her to pursue a wellness coaching certification, and she needed a practice client. I needed to be practiced on, so we made a great team.
Becoming part of a group of ladies who were all learning how to manage pain provided amazing ah-ha moments for me—the beginning of my new life. I’ve recovered from the hyperesthesia (over-sensitivity to pain) caused by being on opioids. Pain levels are still high, but manageable with the strategies I’ve learned and now use in coaching others to thrive. Best of all, I have gained emotional wellbeing.
– Delica, Take Courage Coaching® graduate and Certified Coach
Has pain defeated you?
I spent a lot of years suffering with migraines—off the chart suffering. Instead of participating in life, I existed alone with my pain, and it was in charge of me.
To compensate for feeling undependable or irresponsible when the pain stopped me, I over-functioned and nearly destroyed myself in every career track.
Coaching gave me a chance to “try on” new ways of doing and thinking, and I now have a ready supply of tools to manage my pain. I found that pain doesn’t have to control me—that I can take care of myself and hurt less even when the pain number is high.
I’ve re-engaged with family and friends, and am back to working on my writing projects. I no longer believe that a pain flare is the end of my world…that I am an irresponsible or undependable person…that I have nothing to offer the world. I no longer believe that God abandoned me.
– Jessica Take Courage Coaching® graduate