How psychologists Can Help With Pain Management
To treat chronic pain effectively, we must address its physical and psychological aspects.
According to new research, 1 in 3 Australians are living with chronic pain but many are not aware that treatment and support from a psychologist can help them to live more enjoyable and comfortable lives.
Most think of chronic pain as a purely physical sensation. However, it is important to note that chronic pain has many psychological and emotional aspects too. It can cause feelings such as hopelessness, anxiety, sadness or anger. That being the case, to treat pain effectively, getting help, and support from a chronic pain psychologist should also be considered as part of the treatment.
Pain Psychology aims to help a person address the ways in which their medical condition is interfering with their daily life and their ability to fulfill their goals and needs. Personalised treatment approaches can be provided to help improve function, meaning, and personal growth.
Psychological treatments – such as cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) – are just some of the evidence-based treatments that are available to help people struggling with chronic pain.
Tips for coping with pain
We recommend the following steps that can be helpful:
- Stay active – pain—or the fear of pain—can lead people to stop doing the things they enjoy. It’s important not to let pain take over your life.
- Know your limits – do your best to stay active in a way that acknowledges your physical limitations. Don’t push yourself beyond your limits but make a plan on how you can manage your pain.
- Exercise – stay healthy by following a low-impact exercise routine such as Pilates, swimming, stretching or walking.
- Maintain social connections – keep in close contact with loved ones. Invite a friend for coffee, call a family member or reconnect with someone who you haven’t seen in a while. Studies show that those who have social support experience less anxiety and depression and are more resilient overall. Remember too, never be afraid to ask for help when you need it.
- Find distractions – when pain flares up, it can be helpful to find ways to distract yourself from it. You could talk a walk, watch a movie, or get stuck into your favourite hobby.
- Don’t lose hope – know that with the right kind of help, support, and psychological treatments, many people have successfully learned to manage their pain.
- Follow prescriptions carefully – if you take medication as part of your pain treatment, make sure to use them exactly as prescribed by your doctor to avoid any unwarranted side effects. Your psychologist will not only help you develop better ways to cope with pain but can also help you establish a good routine, enabling you to stay on track with your treatment plan.
At Positive Mind Works, we have several psychologists on our team who are highly experienced in helping people who are dealing with chronic pain.