Health Library ~ Family Medicine in Mullica Hill, NJ

Don’t Let Chronic Pain Take Over Your Life

American Osteopathic Association

It is estimated that up to 33 percent of the U.S. population suffers from chronic pain.  Regardless of whether the pain is the result of a previous injury or a disease such as osteoarthritis, the result is still the same—individuals suffering from chronic pain may hurt so much they may allow the pain to take over their lives.

“Sometimes when people suffer from chronic pain, they may give that pain top priority in their lives,” says Craig M. Wax, D.O., an osteopathic family physician from Mullica Hill, NJ.  “It may become all they think about and they may give up their active social lives or abandon all physical exercise for that pain.”

Dr. Wax cautions that this type of response to chronic pain can in some cases make the pain even worse.

“I try to educate my patients that while their pain is very real, dwelling on the pain, or allowing it to take over their lives will never make the pain go away, says Dr. Wax.  “As an osteopathic physician, I treat the whole patient and firmly believe in the connection between the mind and body.”

For example, while treating the patient for the pain, Dr. Wax also provides the patient with relaxation tips.  One technique requires the patient to close their eyes and give their pain a size, shape, color and motion.  Once the patient has given “life” to their pain, the patient is then instructed to replace their vision of the pain with a harmonious image.

“This mental exercise may only last for a few minutes but it shows the patient that it is possible for them to think about something other than their pain,” explains Dr. Wax.

In addition to encouraging patients to think positively, Dr. Wax stresses the importance of physical exercise for those suffering from chronic pain.   

“Too much resting or staying at home can have a negative effect on pain by making muscles shorter, tighter and weaker,” says Dr. Wax.  “Therefore, I stress the importance of participating in low-intensity exercises such as biking, walking or swimming.”

According to Dr. Wax, one form of exercise that is good for both the mind and body is yoga, which incorporates mental relaxation with gently stretching the muscles without putting additional strain on the body.

“By keeping a positive frame of mind and staying active as much as possible, you are taking a stance against chronic pain and preventing it from taking over your life,” states Dr. Wax.    

As complete physicians, D.O.s are able to prescribe medication, perform surgery and can be found practicing in all areas of medicine.  D.O.s can also use their hands to help diagnose and treat injury and illness and to encourage the body’s natural tendency toward good health through the use of Osteopathic Manipulative Treatment (OMT).  For more information about D.O.s and osteopathic medicine, visit

Craig M. Wax, DO, LLC of Mullica Hill, NJ provides information on health, nutrition, family medicine, preventive medicine, wellness, natural treatments, alternative medicine, integrative medicine, osteopathic medicine and just plain common sense.
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