Psychological Support & Chronic Pain Go Hand-in-Hand
Psychology Can Impact Pain More Than You Think…Acceptance is Huge
If you have chronic pain, there is no doubt it affects your thoughts, feelings and behaviors as well as your body. A holistic approach to pain management can be more effective than treating physical symptoms alone.
Let’s Look at The Relationship Between Physical Pain, Emotional Pain and Stress
Chronic pain can limit your ability to function. Inability to function might make you feel angry, anxious, depressed, hopeless, frustrated and stressed. The more stressed you feel, the harder it is to deal with the pain and the more intense these negative emotions become. If the pain has no discernible cause, you might wonder if you’re imagining it and question your own perceptions. You might feel guilty because you can no longer work, participate in activities you used to enjoy or take care of your family. You might blame yourself if you fail to respond to pain relief treatments, or you might believe your health care providers are undermining your condition.
Here’s How a Psychologist May be Able to Help
Psychologists specialize in helping people to cope with the difficult thoughts, emotions and behaviors that so often accompany chronic pain. Psychologists can help patients to learn pain management techniques and to identify and cope with emotions like depression, anxiety, anger, sadness, hopelessness and discouragement that may accompany chronic pain.
What Will Happen When I See a Psychologist? It’s different for everyone
The psychologist will want to know about your pain and how you’re feeling. Seeing a psychologist gives you an opportunity to share thoughts and emotions that are difficult for you to cope with as well as feelings that you might not want to discuss with anyone else. You might be asked to complete a questionnaire and to discuss other matters affecting your life.
How Will Seeing a Psychologist Help Me?
Roughly 50 percent of those with chronic pain experience some type of mental health condition. Studies have found that those with chronic pain are much more likely to suffer from anxiety and depression than say, the general population.
Researchers have also found that therapy with a psychologist can be as effective as surgery for chronic pain relief. A number of patients find that just a few sessions with a psychologist can help to ease the pain or help them to cope with it more effectively. If you have long-term depression or anxiety, a psychologist can help you get to the root of it and implement strategies to relieve it.
Your treatment plan might include specific practices such as changing your beliefs about pain, developing more effective coping skills, connecting with others instead of isolating, making lifestyle changes, participating in recreational activities you enjoy, engaging in physical activities that aren’t prohibited by pain, getting better sleep, following a healthier diet and learning stress management techniques.
How Psychotherapy Can Help With Physical Conditions and Why We Recommend It At Times
The stress that accompanies chronic pain can cause physical problems like heart disease, high blood pressure, muscle spasms, obesity and diabetes. These health conditions can increase stress and make the pain worse. A psychologist can help you to keep stress under control and thereby reduce the possibility of developing these conditions. Stress management techniques include meditation, yoga, breathing exercises and gentle exercise. Biofeedback can teach you to control certain body functions like blood pressure, muscle spasms and heart rate.
At Jax Spine & Pain Centers, part of our chronic pain treatment program includes an interview with a psychologist to assess how emotional and behavioral factors are impacting your pain. We then incorporate these factors into your pain relief treatment plan.
We understand the importance too of getting to the root of your problem and putting “hope,” back into your life’s equation. An aching body makes every activity more difficult, from getting through your daily grind to going to sleep at night. Sometimes our bodies ache from hard work or exercise, but at other times the causes of muscle aches can be more complex. If you or someone you know has been suffering from body aches, please check out our site as it can help you understand some of the underlying problems that may be causing it. From arthritis to fibromyalgia and the common flu, there are many underlying causes of body aches.
Managing chronic pain has never been harder. New laws are changing that are tying the hands of general practitioners and non-pain specialists from offering you full, long-term pain treatment. As of July 2018, prescription pain medication can no longer be prescribed to patients for longer than 3 days, or 7 days if the physician documents it as a medical necessity. We understand these new laws have left some patients feeling lost and without a care plan moving forward that they feel confident in.
Furthermore, on a regional level we’ve seen multiple office closures leaving pain patients displaced, frustrated and quite frankly scared. Don’t let that be you.
If you are one of the thousands of people suffering from legitimate chronic pain that this new law is affecting, we understand and sympathize with you regarding these new laws. However, there is a silver lining.
This new law affects general practitioners, dentists and non-pain specialists the most, as their offices are not outfitted to perform the required paperwork for long term care. Additionally, these offices do not offer a suite of non-prescription pain relief treatments, as prescriptions are their only method of treating pain.
Furthermore, pain management specialists, such as the providers at Jax Spine & Pain Centers, are fully operational and compliant with these new laws. Since treating pain is all we do, we’re able to more efficiently, as well as, safely navigate the new laws regarding pain management medication, allowing us to put together a full pain management care plan including both medication for short-term relief and treatments for long-term care. Reach out today – Call 904.223.3321 for more information.