Home » Injury and Pain Psychology Support: Case Study 1
Alice: A full-time business owner and mum in her mid-40s.
Alice started to have frequent and excruciating lower, back pain whilst working long hours at her computer to meet an important contract deadline. She made adjustments to her workstation, took over-the-counter pain meds, stretched when the pain become too intense, and often put hot water bottles behind her back. After a few weeks, the pain also came when she was in restaurants/pubs or travelling for long periods.
Her physio gave her several exercises, which she did as instructed. After a few sessions, the physio said her pain had no physical cause and that she ‘needed to change her life’. Feeling angry and abandoned, Alice didn’t know what to do. The pain had to go, but she was happy with her life and proud that she’d achieved a good work-life balance.
The daily pain stopped when the important contract finished, but it came back a couple of times a week. She became wary of playing with her child and meeting friends in pubs and restaurants, and dreaded, the unpredictable and painful ‘bad work days’. Worrying that the pain might affect the rest of her life, she decided to see if our support might help.
How Support Helped
Early on, Alice realised the unhelpful pain beliefs that led her to think and act in ways that made the pain worse. After a couple of sessions, she had a good understanding of pain. More importantly, she understood the main causes of her pain and what she could do to prevent and manage it. As she became able to talk about her pain and needs more confidently, she started to make small adjustments at work and within her personal life.
Alice has pain very occasionally. When she feels it coming on, she acts quickly to stop it. In essence, she is continuing life as normal, and no longer fears that pain will affect her future life.