By Tara Watkins, LICSW
Aches and pains-unfortunately most of us experience them to some degree at different points in our lives.
For some, the pain may be mild or merely inconvenient, while others experience excruciating, episodic or continuous pain. Some of the most common sources of pain include headaches, joint pain, pain from injury, backaches and pain from illness, infection or disease.
According to the American Academy of Pain and Medicine, millions of Americans suffer from chronic pain, that is pain that lasts for six months or longer. Often chronic pain is described as either shooting, burning, aching, or electrical. Sometimes feelings of discomfort, soreness, tightness, or stiffness are also present.
However, pain is usually a symptom that does not exist alone. Other symptoms associated with pain include: fatigue, sleeplessness, withdrawal from activities and increased need to rest, a weakened immune system or changes in mood (such as feelings of hopelessness, fear, depression, irritability, anxiety, and stress).
Living with the symptoms of chronic pain often take a toll on a person's physical and emotional well being. Research has shown that because of the strong mind-body link associated with chronic pain, effective treatment requires addressing psychological as well as physical aspects of the condition.
Anxiety, stress, depression, anger, and fatigue often interact in complex ways with chronic pain, potentially inhibiting the body's production of natural painkillers. Additionally, negative feelings may increase level of substances that amplify pain sensations, causing a vicious cycle of pain.
Feeling overwhelmed with chronic pain management and emotional and physical symptoms? Temple Emanu-El in partnership with Federal Hill House Association and the RI Parent Network Association will be offering a six week workshop series, starting Monday April 24.th The series will be held once a week and cover such topics as pain management, improving nutrition, exercising to increase strength, medication management, improving communication with doctors, and how to create action plans to problem-solve for better decision-making.
Please contact Temple Emanu-El's Kesher social worker Tara Watkins at 401-527-7772 or email@example.com to find out more about this series and/or explore other options for pain management that might be better suited to your individual situation. If you are unable to attend this series and would like support around chronic pain, please contact your Kesher social worker, Amy Small, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 401-338-8301.
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Amy Small, LICSW, is the new Kesher social worker at the synagogue. Kesher is the congregational outreach program of Jewish Family Service of Rhode Island, funded by the Jewish Alliance of Greater Rhode Island, and currently active at Congregation Agudas Achim, Temple Torat Yisrael, Temple Am David, Temple Emanu-El and Congregation Beth Sholom. Amy may be reached at email@example.com or