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The pain-relieving effects of blogging

Updated: Sep 9, 2023

What is the role of blogging in pain management, such as fibromyalgia?

pain-relieving effects of blogging

Whenever we face a difficult situation, we always try our best to improve it. It is especially true when we are suffering from physical pain. At one point, we are ready to visit a guru our friend heard about from a friend of a friend who is supposedly the best at eliminating pain. Whatever it takes to survive.


During my university years, I took a psychology class that discussed how our bodies cope with pain. We discussed various ways our minds can cope with pain, one of which I found to be very interesting. There was a mention of the link between blogging and pain management. An analysis of the effects of blogging on chronic pain and illness was conducted by Ressler et al. (2012).


In their study, they concluded that blogging prevents the feeling of isolation and encourages the desire to help others.


pain-relieving effects of blogging

“Respondents reported that initiating and maintaining an illness blog resulted in increased connection with others, decreased isolation, and provided an opportunity to tell their illness story. Blogging promoted accountability (to self and others) and created opportunities for making meaning and gaining insights from the experience of illness, which nurtured a sense of purpose and furthered their understanding of their illness (Ressler et al., 2012).”


“Sit with the pain until it passes, and you will be calmer for the next one.” ~Naval Ravikant

A person who does not suffer from Fibromyalgia cannot fully comprehend the kind of pain it causes. Often referred to as "ghost pain," modern medicine has difficulty pinpointing what is wrong with the body. As of today, doctors and researchers are still unable to explain where the disease comes from, why people get it, or how to treat and cure it.


Fibromyalgia cannot be diagnosed without ruling out other conditions since no specific test exists (WebMD). A person may feel isolated and depressed as a result of it. It's hard to live through feeling alone and not understood in any situation and imagine living through physical pain on top of that.


A group support for Fibromyalgia

pain-relieving effects of blogging ang group sessions

We learned about the Interactional School for Fibromyalgia (ISF) during our class. The group program helps people live a better life and manage part of their pain. Like any other coping group, they meet in person instead of blogging. During their discussion, they exchange their personal stories and brainstorm ways to cope with the pain.

Furthermore, they keep a diary to track when the pain is the worst and share their findings with one another. Each time, they try to find new solutions and practice some exercises (Barcellos de Souza, Charest, Marchand, 2007). It is good to have peers in a similar situation, and you can learn a lot from them, which is one reason blogging can be helpful.


By being like a personal diary, it provides "emotionally-focused" coping. "It helps to write down your feelings and what you are going through (Ressler et al. 2012)." It also develops an emotional connection between you and others because they understand what you are experiencing.


You gain much-needed social support from those peers. The benefits of blogging are similar to having your own small caring community. It allows you to talk to newcomers and explain how you managed yourself. In turn, you can find pioneers who can help you cope differently. In addition, it brings together a lot of different personalities. People with Type A personalities may find it extremely useful. It may help you to calm down and get through it if someone is there to help you.


Why blogging?


Blogging brings people from around the world with different personalities, backgrounds, cultures, and solutions to problems. Committing to this is a life goal.


“The commitment dimension reflects a sense of meaningfulness about one’s life both in terms of having distinguishable personal life goals with a feeling of self-involvement and having a sense of community (Schmied & Lawler, 1986).”


pain-relieving effects of blogging ang group sessions








“Although the world is full of suffering, it is full also of the overcoming of it.” ~Helen Keller

Blogging will also bring a sense of control with the attribution of not being alone.


“Control represents the belief that one can influence or be responsible for one’s experiences and life events. Therefore, the possibility for manipulating or counteracting adverse circumstances exists (Schmied & Lawler, 1986).”


Having the hope of being able to manage it better will increase self-efficacy (Ogden, 2017). The online community will bring some encouragement and understanding.


The reality of that control is that the person might cope better with the pain, and they might try something new that another person mentioned. They can try to understand when and where the pain worsens to avoid those situations as much as possible. Having the community and writing about it will help pinpoint those moments. Even reading over their work can trigger a new comprehension or idea.


Recognizing your pain

The gate control theory (GCT) is at the core of all of this. According to this theory, an increase in the activity of nociceptor cells increases pain sensation. Interestingly, nonpainful sensations can override and reduce the intensity of pain.


My friend noticed four points that aggravated her pain;

  1. when she got anxious

  2. when she felt depressed

  3. When she was not busy doing something or working on something

  4. when she gets bored

This is partly due to her increasing the activity of nociceptors, which increases pain, and she focuses on it. Blogging might close those gates by refocusing her attention on something else. When involved in something, she redirects her attention elsewhere, preventing her from increasing the activity of nociceptors or even partially blocking them. Additionally, she might find optimism and happiness in this little community (Ogden, 2017).


Would negativity impact them?


However, blogging can have a very negative impact on some people. Our readings discussed the adverse effects of positive reinforcement on reinforcing bad habits. An example would be a friend showing complete understanding and support to a friend who is not physically active because of their pain. Suppose my friend, who is highly optimistic about her situation and in control, blogs with negative people. Would it negatively affect her if they complained, never exercised because of the pain, or saw themselves as victims? Will her self-efficacy and feeling of control diminish, causing her pain to worsen?


Furthermore, some people comment on posts randomly or attack others to make themselves feel better. Will that affect the community in any way? Other reasons include feeling uncomfortable sharing stories with strangers, having a negative feeling about sharing things online, and having just been diagnosed for the first time without any experience. It might not be a good idea for them to blog, and another coping strategy might be more appropriate (Ressler et al. 2012).


To conclude, blogging can be helpful if we are resilient to negativity and feel comfortable with the online world. Blogging forces you to focus on something else and might block some pain because you don't pay as much attention. Finding people in the same situation can help you feel more understood. Upon discovering a new fact about our type of pain, we might want to try something different. Sharing our journey with others and helping those with less experience gives us a sense of accomplishment. Knowing we are not alone can also give us a sense of belonging.

  • Have you ever tried something outside of the traditional medicine world?

  • Would you consider blogging as a way to cope with pain?

“Turn your wounds into wisdom.” ~Oprah Winfrey


References;

Communicating the experience of chronic pain and illness through blogging, Pubmed, Ressler et al. 2012

Prevalence of Chronic Pain, Treatments, Perception, and Interference on Life Activities, Pubmed, Barcellos de Souza, Charest, Marchand, 2007

Fibromyalgia Health Center

Cardiovascular responsivity, type A behavior, Pubmed, Schmied & Lawler, 1986

The Psychology Of Health And Illness, Ogden 2017


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