The Difference Between Pain and Suffering

McKinney Chiropractor;

Pain and Suffering

Shared by Dr. Bryan Stephens

Pain and Suffering

The difference between pain and suffering

“If you are depressed, you are living in the past.  If you are anxious, you are living in the future. If you are at peace, you are living in the present.”

-Lao Tzu

I was listening to a podcast the other morning and heard an interesting quote on the difference between pain and suffering.  Pain is the physical sensation we get when our body is injured or going through a process of inflammation or repair.  Suffering only occurs as a perception.  Suffering happens when we turn our focus from the present time to being focused on the past or the future.  The explanation went on to describe that when we are too focused on the future, we develop feelings of anxiety.  If our focus is too much on the past, depression begins to take hold.  Regardless of the type of pain or suffering people are going through, there are always tools present in your belt to overcome these situations and hardships.

With pain, the answer lies in decreasing the inflammation in our body.  This is possible through our diet, exercise, and stress management.  If we provide what our body needs, then we lower the systemic inflammation present.  This in turn will decrease the pain and symptoms associated with unhealthy life choices.

When we get to suffering, the answer can be as simple as going for a walk.  Exercise has been shown to outperform medication when it comes to dealing with anxiety and depression.  It is so much better that when exercise and medication are combined, it still doesn’t have the effect as exercise alone.  I also find breathing an easy way to lower acute anxiety.  When my stress builds, I take a minute to count my breaths as I breathe in for 3 seconds and out for 5 seconds.  I usually notice improvement by the third breath if not sooner.  This also helps me to focus on what is right in front of me instead of focusing on the past or future.  Another reminder to stay in the present is what we call the green dot.  I have a sticker on the door frame to help me mentally check into the patient in front instead of letting other worries and busy-ness get a hold of my focus.  Whether it be meditation, prayer, exercise, breathing, journaling, reading, drawing, etc., find what works for you to help ease the tension from your mind and perform your mental exercise daily to help lower your stresses.  I look forward to hearing what daily strategy you have implemented and also congratulate you on taking one more stress out of your life!


Babyak, Michael PhD; Blumenthal, James A. PhD; Herman, Steve PhD; Khatri, Parinda PhD; Doraiswamy, Murali MD; Moore, Kathleen PhD; Edward Craighead, W. PhD; Baldewicz, Teri T. PhD, and; Ranga Krishnan, K. MD Exercise Treatment for Major Depression: Maintenance of Therapeutic Benefit at 10 Months, Psychosomatic Medicine: September 2000 – Volume 62 – Issue 5 – p 633-638

Tzu, Lao; Butler-Bowdon, Tom. Tao Te Ching Hoboken, NJ: Capstone, 2012

Our Message

Our Chiropractors in McKinney, located near the corner of Eldorado Pkwy. and Ridge Rd., take a natural approach to getting rid of soreness caused by low back pain, neck pain, shoulder pain, etc. We know how important getting the right amount of nutrients and movement is to your health. Through Chiropractic adjustments and education, we teach our patients the best ways to relieve pain with Chiropractic and without medicine.