Treating Pain with a Psychological Approach

By December 16, 2015Uncategorized

Chronic pain comes with a set of challenges that can make it hard for a person to fully enjoy life. It can become difficult to be active, engage in activities, be social and develop relationships. Pain is not only a physical feeling but also an emotional experience. Addressing the psychological aspects can be helpful to finding some relief and improving quality of life. Chronic pain can cause feelings of hopelessness, anger and sadness and to treat it effectively, all physical and emotional aspects must be taken into consideration. Psychological treatments can help manage discomfort by dealing with the thoughts and emotions that come with chronic pain.

Pain psychology is a psychological specialty with the psychologist having completed a PhD in clinical psychology and a post-doctoral fellowship in chronic pain. During an evaluation a pain psychologist will assess various factors including cognitive, emotional, behavioral and environmental. They will take the entire body into consideration; looking at all elements taking place both physically, mentally and emotionally. Assessing how all these components interact and affect each other will help pinpoint causes of pain and lead to a more comprehensive treatment plan focused on overall well-being. Taking into consideration the psychological aspects can be useful to finding some relief in daily pain.

Dealing with chronic pain can feel like a lonely battle, however there are 100 million adults in the United States who suffer from chronic pain and are in need of possible remedies to regain control of their life. Pain is not only dictated by physical sensations but also by biological, psychological and emotional factors. Seeing a pain psychologist can help you to think about the mind-body connection and help you cope with the thoughts and feelings that accompany chronic pain. A psychologist can help develop a plan to deal with problems and find new solutions, which can ultimately affect how your brain processes pain. Stress and chronic pain are often associated, however learning stress-reducing techniques can lead to better control of situations that evoke strong emotions and feelings of distress. Addressing psychological factors can help break the pain cycle and provide a healthier way to deal with chronic pain.

Addressing environmental factors, stress inducing situations and the feelings behind pain is essential to paving a road to a healthier life. A psychologist can help walk you through a full range of feelings, thoughts and body sensations to help understand how the mind and body work together and uncover the underlying causes of pain. Gaining a greater sense of control, learning coping skills and decreasing distress in reaction to pain can open the door to a more optimistic outlook on life and a new journey to increased activity and healthier relationships.

http://www.apa.org/helpcenter/pain-management.aspx

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/less-pain-fewer-pills/201407/what-is-pain-psychologist
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