Chronic Pain and Codependency Go Together

...and healing one can help heal the other.

Have you heard people talking about the “psychosocial” approach to chronic pain recovery?⁠

It’s a popular phrase in cutting-edge pain science. I would put an extra emphasis on the word “social.”⁠

In my work as a chronic pain recovery therapist and coach — and in my recovery journey — I see social dynamics as central to chronic pain patterns.

Codependency is one of the most common social dynamics I see in chronic pain clients (and I can totally relate!)

Codependency is about an unequal exchange of energy. When we relate to others codependently, our energy gets drained rather than replenished.

And when our energy is depleted, our nervous system may send out an “energy tank empty!” emergency signal in the form of a pain flare.

Chronic pain can indicate that we’ve got a “leaky energy tank”…

And that we need to patch the holes with energetic boundaries.

This is why learning to say “no” clearly and cleanly is so essential to chronic pain recovery!

Saying “no” may be challenging at first, especially if you’ve been conditioned to say “yes” by parents, teachers, bosses, leaders, culture, etc.

When I was growing up, I never heard about the concept of boundaries. It’s only recently that this word has started to enter the collective conversation in a big way. And in my opinion, boundaries are sooo important to healing — both personally and collectively.⁠

But new concepts take time and patience to acclimate ourselves to. We can catch onto them intellectually pretty quickly, but if the idea of boundaries is at odds with our early life social conditioning, it can take our nervous system time, patience, and practice to get used to this idea.⁠

So please be compassionate and patient with yourself as you recondition yourself to set healthy boundaries! It’s bound to be a messy process, but you — and your energy and wellbeing — are so worth it.

This isn’t just a personal journey, it’s one that we’re on together as an evolving society. I’m cheering for you and evolving right alongside you. 🙌

With love, warmth, and unconditional support,



Medika Life has provided this material for your information. It is not intended to substitute for the medical expertise and advice of your health care provider(s). We encourage you to discuss any decisions about treatment or care with your health care provider. The mention of any product, service, or therapy is not an endorsement by Medika Life

Anna Holtzman
Anna Holtzman
Anna Holtzman is a chronic pain recovery therapist and coach based in New York City.
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