Chronic pain, the opposite of acute pain, does not go away in time or when the body heals. In fact, chronic pain is diagnosed when pain continues after an injury that appears to have healed, has not. In some cases, chronic pain may even develop out of the blue, with no apparent link to trauma or disease and producing mostly normal diagnostic tests and examinations.

The fact that, at times, there is no concrete cause for chronic pain remains the biggest mystery. It seems that the longer you’ve had it, the less likely it will disappear. According to Dr. Stuart Chen, clinical psychologist, physical pain, over time, elicits irrational behavior, irritability, and frustration because the incessant pain takes an emotional toll on the patient, causing depression, anxiety and stress. Unfortunately, such emotional strain and behavior can make your body hurt even more.

In order to be able to “get back in the ring” and “put up your dukes” and fight the vicious pain circle, your physician will most likely prescribe a pain medication to help restore daily function. Your fight begins by learning to control negative thoughts and feelings that living with chronic pain can bring about by renewing your self-awareness, determination and emotional strength. Most often, seeking psychological counseling offers helpful coping techniques as well as identifying specific pain behavior, such as staying in bed all day, lashing out toward family members and waiting for your next medication dose.

Chronic pain does not have to destroy your life. The key is shifting your focus from thinking about what is wrong in your life to how you can emphasize the good. In other words stop dwelling on the fact that you have chronic pain and learn to manage it.

Accept that chronic pain is there and like a bad neighbor, it may not go away very easily, don’t let it disrupt your life or damage your relationships, and learn new ways of coping with it, so that you can live beyond the shadow of your pain.