Sunday, March 30, 2014

Does Having a Type A Personality Impact My Chronic Pain?

I'm a pretty structured person.

Being structured has its advantages. Over the years I've put a fair amount of time and effort into developing a system to do just about everything from washing the dishes, opening the curtains, playing various hands of card and even chewing gum. I know this probably makes me sound a little nutty but I have actually found the best way to chew gum. Very little of what I do hasn't been put through various trials and internal analyses. It's just something I've always done, even before I realized what I was doing. It comes as natural to me as walking.

Now I don't actually believe that there is a right and a wrong way to do most things but I find that there is usually one way that is most efficient or produces more consistent positive results so in that way I guess I believe some ways are better than others, assuming you value those outcomes. And I do. You see, I get actual pleasure from doing things in a tried and true manner, by being efficient and taking as much work as possible out of doing work.

I know, I know, it's nutty. But I guess it has come in helpful over the past 8 years that I've been living with chronic pain and struggling to divvy my limited energies into all the various tasks that need to be accomplished. I simply don't have the energy to accomplish everything I want to and often can't even get the things I need to do, done. But I find some comfort in knowing I'm doing all I can to limit the amount of energy each task requires of me. As an added bonus I'm also satisfying the type A beast that resides in me.

As I think about the impact this level of structure has had on me over the years I can't help but wonder if it might actually have contributed to the onset of my chronic migraines and fibromyalgia to any degree and/or if it is possibly making these more difficult to treat. I wonder what percentage of those of us who suffer with chronic pain year after year have a type A personality. I wonder if the added stress I place on myself as a result of being self-critical and competitive has an impact on my susceptibility to the migraine genes I got from my family.

I think it is clear that these traits run contrary to many aspects of chronic pain management like meditation, proper breathing, relaxed muscles and such. I know studies have been done about the impact the different personality traits have on other illness like heart disease and high blood pressure showing relationships do exist. Seems completely possible that it would play a role in chronic pain too. Everything I've found on the subject online has been about the relationship between personality disorders and chronic pain.

I don't have any of the answers but think it would make an interesting study.

I do tend to believe that being Type A has had an impact on my chronic pain even though I might not understand exactly how and to what degree.

No comments:

Post a Comment