A Rainbow of Hope for Chronic Pain

A rainbow is a symbol of hope and promise, its beauty connecting the earth with the sky. It is magical and spiritual.

When I was growing up on our family’s farm in Nebraska, the rainbows over the wide-open landscape were breathtaking. I loved the smell of the air full of the ozone that preceded and followed the thunderstorms. The cooler temperature brought by the rain was a welcome relief amid the sultry summer days. Sometimes I could feel the charged air as if I were being bathed in electrons rejuvenating my soul.

The rainbows also provided my family with a sense of security because they meant we were likely receiving desperately needed rain. Rain was a life-sustaining element for dry-land farmers, because without rain, there were no crops. And without crops, we had no income. A rainbow gave the feeling that survival was possible. A rainbow meant joy.

Over many years of treating people in pain, I wondered whether my patients had rainbow experiences in their lives or whether instead their lives were sere existences. I could tell they were thirsty for more than what their current life was offering. This is why they sought my help.

Rich relationships with people who care can be the rains that offer hope for people with chronic illnesses. People in pain must have a rainbow. They need to believe. They need to have hope and a promise that life can be meaningful and enjoyable.

Rainbows are bridges, literally and figuratively. If you have a rainbow, please share it with a broader community. If you don’t have a rainbow, create one by touching someone who cares. Sharing will build your connectedness and will make your rainbow shine more brightly.


  1. Lynne Smith on February 16, 2015 at 10:29 pm

    My rainbow came from find the neurologist who correctly diagnosed me with Hemiplegic Migraine. He took me off the debilitating amount and combination of medications I had been previously prescribed, found a safe and effective low dose combination of 2 medications, and reduced the frequency and severity of my HM episodes by 75%.
    I am still disabled by this unpredictable disease and have pain, but I am able to enjoy the good days, and find small joys in worst.

  2. Anonymous on September 3, 2015 at 11:21 pm

    I just wrote a post about a rainbow in my life: A rainbow under my feet. This is on a supportive website for people with chronic pain, called Living in Color with Chronic Pain. http://www.chronicpainandyou.com/?p=2010

    I appreciate your passion for your patients, just started reading your new book. While I have researched CP for the past 25 years, I also realized that we are in a crisis with the both the habits and the changes RE: opioid prescribing. I am trying to offer alternatives.
    Thank you. Kerima

Leave a Comment