To Power Over Pain or Let Pain Power Over Me?

To Power Over Pain or Let Pain Power Over Me?

I stumbled upon some interesting information on types of human internal power and the influence on behavior. The conversation was about leadership qualities and interaction with employees with a bent toward coaching leaders in a business environment. However, I found myself completely distracted (not unusual) by how much the relationship between the power and the human situation mimics our daily interaction with pain. Hear me out on this one.

Power can be described in four ways: 1) power over, 2) power to, 3) power with, 4) power within. The relationship with power over/to/with/within pain could be described by the way that pain plays a role in your life. Consider these scenarios: 

  1. Power over: “My back pain is so bad but I just muscle through it to get everything done. I am completely wiped by the evening.” 
  2. Power to: “My shoulder hurts so much, but it reminds me to exercise every morning and stretch before I go to bed.”
  3. Power with: “I don’t want to have back pain, but it helps me connect with what other people might be going through.”
  4. Power within: “My ankle gets really bad if I do too much. But that just lights a fire within me to work a little harder to make it better.”

The change of just one word makes a huge difference in the role that pain plays in your daily life. Imagine when pain has power over your life rather than creating power within your life!

The journal PAIN Reports recently published an article about the benefits of psychologically-informed physical therapy (PIPT) for people with chronic pain conditions. The article reviewed randomized clinical trial studies to determine the role that cognitive-behavioral based programs can play alongside standard physical therapy in the reduction of chronic pain. The authors suggest that the findings show PIPT to be a promising care model that can provide significant benefit to physical therapy patients with chronic pain conditions.  Those findings were mirrored in multiple research studies showing the benefits of early physical therapy intervention on acute musculoskeletal pain, anticipation of pain during movement, and in the chronic pain cycle. 

You might be excited to know that physical therapists are experts in pain. In fact, the World Health Organization (WHO) identified physical therapy as a first-line of treatment for chronic pain in the battle against the international opioid crisis

If it is time to take the power back from pain, check out our resources at PT& and schedule an appointment with a physical therapist now. Let us know how we can help. 


  1. Brown B. Dare to lead. file:///C:/Users/jboyette/Downloads/Brene-Brown-on-Power-and-Leadership-10-26-20.pdf
  2. Rogelio A. Coronado, Carrie E. Brintz, Lindsey C. McKernan, et al. Psychologically informed physical therapy for musculoskeletal pain: current approaches, implications, and future directions from recent randomized trials. Pain reports. 2020;5(5). doi:10.1097/PR9.0000000000000847
  3. Bulletin of the World Health Organization 2017;95:318-319. doi: