The Impact of Pain on ADHD and Energy

By Jeff Copper, MBA, PCC, PCAC, CPCC, ACG – Published August 22, 2022

Pain! Energy! ADHD! They just don’t seem compatible with each other, but yet, they go hand in hand for those who struggle with chronic pain, no energy, and ADHD.

Those with ADHD often have endless amounts of energy, but when they don’t, they may be suffering with chronic low-level pain that seems to suck their life away. It keeps them from doing what they want to do, and they beat themselves up and blame their ADHD.

Sometimes they need more sleep. Sometimes they just need to take a little bit of a break. Sometimes they need to see a physician. But the point really is that I’ve seen many people over the years who are struggling. They think it’s their ADHD. Yes, their ADHD is taxed, but it’s more taxed because of this low-level pain.

If you or a loved one has ADHD and struggle with pain, please watch my video, “The Impact of Pain on ADHD and Energy.” It may give you pause to think about why chronic pain may be the reason you procrastinate on some things.  Here’s the link:


Welcome, everybody, to this edition of Attention Talk Video. I’m your host, ADHD and Attention Coach, Jeff Copper, and today I’m here to talk about ADHD and pain. Really is interesting to me, how many people with ADHD who are older, maybe they’re in some kind of pain, maybe after a surgery, maybe they’ve got arthritis, maybe they had knee replacement, but then went bad. But the bottom line is there’s this low level of nagging pain, and they talk about having difficulty focusing and they talk about having a struggle with energy. And it’s always interesting to me, because they think that it’s all ADD and they should just be doing some stuff, and they beat themselves up.

And what I’ve learned over the years is pain is an interesting thing. If I were to hold my hand out like this, if you will, with a glass of water, I would show you, except to the side … Well, maybe this will work. Glass of water, parallel to the ground, eight ounce glass. I hold it there for a cup … It’s like no big deal. Eight hours later, it’s going to be painful. My arm’s going to get tired. Everything that I think about is going to be focused in on that arm. It’s going to distract me. It’s going to take energy away from me.

It’s interesting to me how many people are with ADHD have these other problems that are creating pain, they’re taking their energy away, and they beat themselves up, thinking that they’re just a horrible person. They’re procrastinating. They’re not getting to anything. They really don’t have the energy. And they’re not realizing the elephant in the room is pain. The pain is like this low level nagging thing that just sucks your life away. The issue really is, you don’t sit there and beat yourself up. What you should do is you’ve got to manage the pain.

Sometimes you need more sleep. Sometimes you just need to take a little bit of a break. Sometimes you need to go see a physician to do some other things. But the point really is, is it’s amazing to me how many people I’ve coached over the years where they’re struggling, they think it’s their ADHD. Their ADHD is taxed, but it’s more taxed because of this low level pain. Again, this is a little bit of an off topic, but I’ve coached enough people around it that were oblivious to it that I had to share it with you, because you know we’re all about insights. We’re all about trying to deal with things that are not appearance based that actually kind of drive the bus.

So hopefully this gave you pause to think about pain. Also, as an aside, if you have allergies, yes, allergies can impact your ADHD. By the way, the medications that you take for allergies, some kind can negatively impact your ADHD stimulant medications. So that’s another example of something in the background that can make your ADHD symptoms a little bit worse. Anyway, back to where I was. The point with this is I hope we give you pause to think. Maybe this speaks to you. And if it does, just give yourself permission to let go, focus on pain management, and realize that you’re probably performing pretty well, given that.

Please subscribe to our channel by hitting the subscribe button and leave your thoughts and comments. If this makes some sense, can you share it with somebody else? And if you have any other ideas for other episodes of Attention Talk Video. Hope you’ve enjoyed this. Take care.

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