30 Jun Chronic Pain Psychological Counseling
Pain is often viewed as a purely physical or biological condition. However, pain also has psychological and emotional effects, causing feelings like sadness, hopelessness, anxiety, and even anger. Therefore, to treat chronic pain effectively, it’s essential to address both the physical and psychological aspects.
Medical treatments include medication, physical therapy, rehabilitation, and surgery, among others. Psychological treatments for chronic pain deal with understanding and managing the emotions, thoughts, and behaviors that accompany it. This helps patients to cope more effectively and can actually decrease the intensity of pain.
The Nature of Pain
Chronic pain can affect everyday life tremendously, impacting personal and work relationships, social functionality, and even finances. It can be extremely challenging to stay positive and upbeat when suffering from chronic pain, and the reality that many don’t understand what the patient is experiencing only intensifies the suffering.
Why Psychological Treatments for Pain?
Through chronic pain psychological counseling, patients can learn to be mindful of negative thoughts and feelings about their pain, challenge the unhelpful emotions and thoughts, and develop new ways of thinking about their condition. In turn, they can apply behavioral adaptation techniques to make lifestyle changes that improve their relationships and overall functioning.
This ability to manage thoughts and change behavior serves to alter the way the brain processes the sensation of pain, reducing its intensity and lessening the need for pain medications. In addition, counseling simply allows patients to talk through their feelings with another human being without being judged or criticized for them.
Chronic Pain and Stress
Chronic pain is a stressful condition, and stress contributes to a wide range of health issues, including heart disease, hypertension, diabetes, obesity, anxiety and depression. Stress can also trigger muscle tension and spasms that increase pain. If a patient can learn ways to manage stress, they can decrease their pain. The mindfulness of negative feelings and thoughts mentioned above can reduce stress, and therefore directly impact how a patient feels their pain.
Chronic pain psychological counseling can also help a patient reduce stress through relaxation techniques like deep breathing or meditation. A method called biofeedback teaches patients how to better control certain body functions. Sensors attached to the skin measure the body’s stress response by tracking blood pressure, heart rate and brain waves.
As patients learn to relax their muscles and mind, they watch their body’s stress response on a computer screen. In this way, both psychologist and patient can observe which techniques are the most effective, in order to determine which methods for the patient to practice for controlling their tension and stress. Although stress is not completely avoidable in life, managing it can calm the body and mind, lessen pain and improve a patient’s overall health and well-being.
Trident Pain Center understands the psychological aspect of chronic pain is real and can be debilitating. That’s why chronic pain psychological counseling is an integral part of our treatment solutions. Contact us today to learn more about ways to better cope with your chronic pain.