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-What is chronic pain and how does it relate to codependency?

-How might codependents sabotage their health?

-What are the initial steps we can take to practice self-care and prevent conditions like chronic pain?

Welcome to Episode 129! This week, I had the pleasure of interviewing Dr. Andrea Furlan, MD, PhD, on the connection between codependency and chronic pain. In the episode, Dr. Furlan educates us on what chronic pain is and how codependency a) contributes to the development of chronic pain and b) ways that codependents may sabotage their healing from chronic pain since we can’t practice self-care. You’ll hear ways Dr. Furlan has navigated codependency in her own life, including with her chronic pain patients. We explore Dr. Furlan’s eight steps to curing chronic pain and discuss ways you can begin to implement them in your life asap! It’s a must-listen!

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More on this week’s guest:

Dr. Andrea Furlan, MD, PhD, is an Associate Professor in the Department of Medicine at the University of Toronto and a Staff Physician and Senior Scientist at the Toronto Rehabilitation Institute. Her YouTube page has more than 487,000 subscribers and more than 42 million views. She received a CIHR New Investigator Award, and her research focus is on treatments of chronic pain including medications, complementary and alternative therapies, and rehabilitation.

Deets on the episode:

We begin by hearing Dr. Furlan’s definition of codependency: in a relationship between two people, one person puts the interests of another above their own to help them succeed. Dr. Furlan describes ways that she learned about codependency in addiction medicine and started to see it in her patients who would refuse to take care of themselves.

Dr. Furlan opens up about codependency in her own life where, as a mother, she has had to find the balance between doing the right thing for her and her children related to caretaking. She reveals how she and her colleagues often combat codependency with their patients. “We work harder than our patients.” She details empathy research on doctors who prioritize the needs of their patients over their own which contributes to burnout. Can you relate?

We shift focus to Dr. Furlan’s expertise: chronic pain. We learn what the definition of chronic pain is, the difference between acute pain versus chronic pain, and how it relates to the alarm system in a house. Thing is, with chronic pain, the physical “alarm system” is broken.

Dr. Furlan and I discuss the ways she has seen her patients become codependent with their chronic pain where they form an identity as a “chronic pain patient.” We also hear her struggles with codependent patients who have difficulty practicing self-care and sabotage their chronic pain recovery.

What’s a codependent trying to heal from chronic pain to do? Dr. Furlan suggests these eight steps which she details in her book:
Accept you have chronic pain
Control your emotions
Goals in life

Dr. Furlan leaves us with reminders to practice self-love, compassion, and to create healthy community.

Thanks for coming on Dr. Furlan! And thank you for listening, my dear listener!


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