Psychological Counseling & Pain Management

There are various methods to choose from when it comes to dealing with chronic pain.  There are over-the-counter medications such as Motrin or Aleve, prescription pain medications, and physical therapy.  While these options may provide some relief, most of them also have the ability of becoming a crutch that patients depend on, and in some cases, form an addiction to.  However, there is a method that does not involve the risk of addiction, this method is called psychological counseling.  

Psychological Counseling and Pain Management 

Chronic pain can have a significant impact on every-day life, both physically and emotionally.  Constantly dealing with chronic pain can make it difficult to remain positive and upbeat, and unfortunately, not all friends and family members will understand what the patient is going through.  This is where psychological counseling can prove to be beneficial.  It offers patients an opportunity to work through the obstacles pain presents.  It also provides important education and behavioral adaption components that can assist a patient with coping.  Studies have shown that some psychotherapy may be as effective as surgery for relieving chronic pain since psychological treatments for pain may alter how the brain processes pain sensations.   

Personalized Treatment Plans 

Each patient’s pain and physical history is unique, which is why patients dealing with chronic pain are given treatment plans that are designed particularly for them.  When working with a psychologist, a patient can expect to discuss their physical as well as emotional health.  The psychologist will also ask the patient about the pain they experience, where and when it occurs, along with what factors may affect it.  In addition to the previous questions, they may also ask a patient to tell them about any worries or stresses, especially those related to the patient’s pain.  Asking such questions allows the psychologist to form a treatment plan best suited to their patient’s needs.  

Psychological Counseling Can Help Ease Stress

Dealing with pain on a daily basis can be rather stressful.  Unfortunately, stress can contribute to several health issues, such as high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity, anxiety, and depression.  Stress may also trigger muscle tension or muscle spasms that may increase pain.  Managing emotions can directly affect the intensity of the patient’s pain.  Psychologists often use relaxation techniques such as meditation or breathing exercises to help keep stress levels in check.  

There are some psychologists who use an approach referred to as biofeedback, which teaches the patient how to control certain body functions.  With biofeedback, sensors attached to the patient’s skin are used to measure their stress response by tracking processes like heart rate, blood pressure, and brain waves.  As the patient learns strategies to relax their muscles along with their mind, they can watch their body’s stress response decrease on a computer screen.  This allows the patient and the psychologist to determine which relaxation strategies are most effective.   

The Benefits of Participating in Psychological Counseling for Pain Management 

Psychological counseling for pain management provides patients with a chance to express their feelings regarding their pain and how it affects their life.  It also allows for patients to challenge, and possibly alter their thoughts about pain.  Patients learn techniques that enable them to cope with both pain and stress that comes from pain. 

Trident Pain Center is here to answer any and all questions. Contact us today to schedule an appointment with Trident Pain.

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