by Dr. Becky Spelman on 11/08/2014
Despite the huge advances made in medicine in recent years, chronic pain is an epidemic in much of the world. In fact, one of the great ironies of life is that advances in medicine can even contribute to chronic pain, insofar as more people now survive accidents and serious disease. Chronic pain can also be found in association with auto-immune disorders, cancer, stress, and many other conditions.
People suffering from chronic pain often experience enormous distress, both because of the pain itself, and because of the effect that it has on their quality of life. In some people no physical reason can be found for the pain they suffer, and they are doubly afflicted – by the pain and by the fact that they can be accused of malingering, or told that their problems are “all in their head”. In their efforts to control their pain, many sufferers find their world closing in on them, as they feel less and less able to deal with other people and the many challenges that life presents them.
Psychotherapy for Chronic Pain
Psychotherapy cannot remove the source of pain, or eliminate all the pain, but it can help suffers to manage the pain and their reaction to it much better. The result is that stress levels are reduced, and this in turn can help to significantly alleviate pain, which is aggravated by the higher adrenaline levels, tense muscles, and so on, that accompany stress.
Cognitive behavioural therapy can be a very useful approach to treating chronic pain, by helping victims to identify their emotions and reactions, and to focus on changing their behaviours and adopting a more positive approach. In the process, they can learn how to develop better coping skills, while also exploring a range of self-help techniques, including mindfulness, meditation and more.
By becoming more able to control the difficult emotions they experience around their pain, sufferers own natural pain relief response – the secretion of natural pain control chemicals in the brain – can be enhanced, with a positive effect on their pain levels.
Psychotherapy for chronic pain conditions can take place in tandem with physical treatments for pain, including surgery, medication, cancer treatments and other approaches. It can help when the patient and their medical advisor knows the cause of the pain – and when they don’t.
If you would like to talk to someone about pain management, please get in touch with us at the Private Therapy Clinic by telephone at: 020 38871738 or by email to: email@example.com