Chronic Pain Management
Many patients feel that physical pain rules their lives and they cannot see how this can change without a medical cure.
When chronic pain persists in spite of medical treatment however it is usually not due to any ‘biological’ factors such as findings on physical examination, or change on X ray, but to what are termed ‘psychosocial variables’, such as mood, stress and the unique situation of the patient in which the pain occurs.
Inability to function on a physical level may lead to feelings of low self-esteem, stress, anxiety and depression which may cause strained relationships, addictions and an inability to cope with life in general. Research indicates that a combination of psychological and physical therapies appears to provide significant benefits.
The psychological approach
A cognitive behavioural approach has been shown to be the most logical treatment where the pain is accompanied by disability and psychological distress.
In essence, cognitive behavioural approaches aim to improve the way that an individual manages and copes with their pain. The approach is very much related to problem solving by learning to replace negative thinking patterns and thoughts with more positive ways of thinking and coping.
Using cognitive therapy to challenge unhelpful thoughts along with the development of effective challenges, stretching and exercising to improve physical function enables people to take back control of their lives, manage their bodily response to pain and learn to and to do more and feel better. Of course everyone is unique but studies demonstrate that although there is some diminution in effect with time, most patients never return to their previous levels of distress or disability.
- If you are experiencing chronic pain this could have a psychological as well as a physical basis.
- CBT can be helpful for chronic pain by changing the way you think about pain and giving you more resources in order to cope. It has virtually none of the side effects that other treatments, such as medicines, can cause.
*Always consult with a medical professional before commencing therapy.