| chronic pain

Flexibility! Not Just Physical, But Mental

Fighting the Daily Interference of Chronic Pain

Most people with chronic pain will tell you it’s not just the intensity of the pain that impacts their lives, but the daily interference of the chronic pain. Both can lead to reduced employment, a lessened lifestyle, and problems with mental health. A study published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health explored goal flexibility—defined as the ability to adapt and to adjust to life’s difficulties and obstacles—and tenacity via an online survey of over 300 people. Edith Cowan University researcher Tara Swindells comments, “it would seem that people can find ways to maintain their mental wellbeing when their pain intensity is high, so long as it does not interfere with important aspects of their daily life.”

The study concluded, “Overall, this study highlights the important role of the goal processes of goal flexibility and goal tenacity in the relationship between pain interference and mental wellbeing in those with chronic pain. Although there was no apparent relationship between pain intensity and mental wellbeing in this study, goal flexibility and goal tenacity mediated the effects of pain interference on mental wellbeing, appearing to provide a buffering effect. Additionally, the level of pain interference appeared to have greater implications for the mental wellbeing of individuals with chronic pain than did pain severity intensity itself, an important fact for clinicians and researchers to consider. The results of this study are promising and suggest goal processes may be an effective way to help individuals sustain mental wellbeing when dealing with chronic pain.”


Read the journal article.

Read the press release.

Holly Caster