ARE YOU STRUGGLING FROM CHRONIC PAIN?
Often mistaken as purely a physical sensation, pain has biological, psychological and emotional factors as well. Furthermore, chronic pain can cause feelings such as those of anger, sadness, hopelessness and anxiety. At Select Psychology, our team of specialists can provide you with mental health support to cope with psychological effects of chronic pain in a safe and confidential environment.
WHAT IS CHRONIC PAIN?
Pain serves an important purpose of alerting the brain about injuries such as a sprained ankle or bruised knee. But pain can be very complex as sometimes it can carry on for longer after an operation or even surface without any history of injury. Typically, pain that lasts for 12 weeks or more despite medication or treatment is termed as chronic pain. It is impossible to tell which pain will become chronic but factors like stress and unhappiness are some common causes that lead to chronic pain.
Chronic pain can affect anyone at any age. It is more likely to affect people living with long-term health problems such as diabetes, back pain, irritable bowel, arthritis and fibromyalgia. Since chronic pain affects not just your physical health, but also has a significant impact on your psychological and emotional health, it is important to address these aspects. Experiencing chronic pain can also cause feelings of anger, hopelessness, anxiety and sadness. Psychological approaches are specifically designed for patients with chronic pain to help them deal with the effects of chronic pain. These plans often involve teaching relaxation techniques, helping you cope by making you challenge unhelpful beliefs about pain, building new coping skills and addressing any anxiety or depression that may accompany your pain.
Symptoms of Chronic Pain
Psychological symptoms vary between individuals, but they usually include:
- Mood disturbances
- Chronic anxiety
- Poor sleep and fatigue
- Reduction in day-to-day functioning
- Poor concentration/memory
- Changes in relationships including changes to sexual relationships
- Low self-esteem
WHEN TO SEEK TREATMENT FOR CHRONIC PAIN
You should seek treatment when:
You frequently experience physical symptoms such as aching, burning, stinging, throbbing and stiffness
You experience pain but cannot locate a physical cause — stress, anxiety or depression can also cause chronic pain
Experiencing extreme mood swings as a result of chronic pain
Experiencing chronic pain interferes with your day-to-day activities
THE BEST THERAPIES FOR TREATING CHALLENGING BEHAVIOURS
Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT)
BENEFITS OF THERAPY FOR CHRONIC PAIN
Helps improve indirect consequences of pain
Reduces the effect of high levels of physiological stress that often aggravate pain
Teaches you techniques to help reduce the impact of chronic pain on your mental health
Helps make lifestyle changes to challenge unhelpful thoughts related to pain and provide new ways to think about it
As chronic pain often contributes to insomnia, therapy can teach you new ways to sleep better
THINGS YOU CAN DO TO HELP WITH CHRONIC PAIN
If you are suffering from chronic pain, it is best to seek treatment as soon as you can. But in the meantime, there are some things that can help while you wait for your first appointment:
Activity, not inactivity: Staying moderately active whilst being mindful of your physical limitations can help you adapt to the pain better rather than letting it make you feel like you cannot be active anymore.
Exercise but do not exert: Keeping yourself physically active by doing manageable exercises such as yoga, walking and stretching can help you stay healthy.
Be sociable: Do not underestimate how much it can help to be in a social setting to help separate you from constantly thinking about the pain and its effects. Simple coffee with a friend, or going out for a movie or even a walk can serve as helpful distractions.
Distract yourself: When pain reappears, think of helpful distractions such as cooking, engaging in a hobby or reading a book. This can remove your focus from the pain and help cope with it.
HOW CAN OUR PSYCHOLOGY SERVICES HELP WITH CHRONIC PAIN?
We offer a wide range of therapies to help with chronic pain and give you the tools to cope and understand your emotions. We are a private mental health service with highly trained therapists and no waiting lists.
This is how therapy would work:
Get in touch
HELPFUL THINGS TO KNOW
What is the most common chronic pain?
The most common chronic pain is back pain, arthritis, neck pain and joint pain, typically caused as a result of some injury, infection or advancing age.
Are the causes of chronic pain always physical?
Some people can have chronic pain that is not related to a physical cause such as a long-term illness or an injury. This type of pain is usually termed as psychogenic or psychosomatic pain. This can be caused by psychological factors such as ongoing stress, anxiety or depression.
How can diet help me to manage my pain?
Eating right is one of the best ways to reduce the effects of chronic pain. While an unhealthy diet may result in the immune system reacting poorly, the right diet supports the immune system by helping it perform in a structured manner.