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Changing Thoughts About Pain Provides Relief

by Shirley Archer, JD, MA on Sep 21, 2012

Mind-Body-Spirit News

To change how you feel, all you may need to do is change how you think. Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine researchers studied 214 people who suffered from chronic face and jaw pain and found that chronic pain sufferers who dwelt less on their issues were likely to sleep better and experience less day-to-day pain. Lead study author Luis F. Buenaver, PhD, assistant professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, said, “We have found that people who ruminate about their pain and have more negative thoughts about their pain don’t sleep as well, and the result is they feel more pain. If cognitive behavioral therapy can help people change the way they think about their pain, they might end that vicious cycle and feel better without sleeping pills or pain medicine.” Study authors suggested that this approach might also help people with other stress-related conditions, such as fibromyalgia, irritable bowel syndrome, neck and back pain, and some headaches. The research appeared in Pain (2012; 153 [6], 1159–66).

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About the Author

Shirley Archer, JD, MA

Shirley Archer, JD, MA IDEA Author/Presenter

Shirley Archer, JD, MA, was the 2008 IDEA Fitness Instructor of the Year and is IDEA's mind-body-spirit spokesperson. She is a certified yoga and Pilates teacher and an award-winning author based in Los Angeles, California, and Zurich, Switzerland. Two of her books, The Walking Deck and The Strength and Toning Deck, are now featured as iPhone apps. Contact her at