Chronic Pain Therapy: CBT Specialist
For those with chronic pain, the discomfort is very real, and you know all too well how intensely you feel it in your body— and how it can affect every aspect of your life. The last thing you want to hear is, “it’s all in your head.” Chronic pain can remain active in the nervous system for a few months or even years and can take an enormous physical and emotional toll. And unfortunately, the emotional component of chronic pain also can make pain worse.
Anxiety, stress, depression, anger, and fatigue interact in complex ways with chronic pain and may decrease the body’s production of natural painkillers. Moreover, such negative feelings may increase the level of substances that amplify sensations of pain, causing a vicious cycle of pain for the individual.
Psychological Interventions – CBT for Chronic Pain
Many neurologists are currently recommending their patients to reach out to a therapist who specializes in CBT in order to address the psychological and emotional aspects of chronic pain. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy or CBT is a research-proven form of talk therapy that helps people identify and develop skills to change negative thoughts and behaviors and regain control of their lives.
CBT says that individuals — not outside situations and events — have the power to create the lives they want to lead. By changing your irrational thoughts and engaging in new behaviors, you can change your experience of pain and develop better-coping skills. Pain can feel impossible to cope with, but we’re here to help you transform your relationship with pain so that you can get your life back.
Symptoms of Chronic Pain
- Mild to severe pain that does not go away
- Pain that may be described as shooting, burning, aching, or electrical
- Feeling of discomfort, soreness, tightness, or stiffness
Factors and Causes of Chronic Pain
Chronic pain can be caused by many different factors. Often conditions that accompany normal aging may affect bones and joints in ways that cause chronic pain. Common causes are nerve damage and injuries that fail to heal properly as well as different physical conditions. Some kinds of chronic pain have numerous causes, started by a single factor or a combination of many factors
Psychological Component of Chronic Pain
In many cases, however, the source of chronic pain can be a very complex and even mysterious issue to untangle. Although it may begin with an injury or illness, ongoing pain can develop a psychological dimension after the physical problem has healed. This fact alone makes pinning down a single course of treatment tricky, and it is why health care providers often find they have to try a number of different types of curative steps.
Pain is not a symptom that exists alone. Problems/complications associated with pain can include:
- Withdrawal from activity and increased need to rest
- Weakened immune system
- Changes in mood including hopelessness, fear, depression, irritability, anxiety, and stress
Chronic Pain Treatment
Because of the mind-body links associated with chronic pain, effective treatment requires addressing psychological as well as physical aspects of the condition. A combination of helpful measures is usually the most beneficial. Some types of chronic pain can’t be cured. But treatment can help you find relief. The right choice for you depends on:
- How long the pain has lasted
- How bad it is
- What’s causing it
- Where you hurt
What types of chronic pain “can’t be cured” ?!
What a great question! Chronic pain is usually treated by targeting the underlying cause, or by using treatment to suppress the pain symptoms. Whilst these treatments can be very effective, it’s not the case in all patients. An example of a case where the cause is known is in some cancer patients. At times, the cancer treatment causes chronic pain. Whilst in most cases the chronic pain subsides post treatment, it’s not in every case, and some continue to experience pain. Sometimes the cause of chronic pain can’t be detected and so all that can be done is treat the symptoms until, hopefully, they subside or the real cause is found. An example of this is Fibromyalgia. This is when individuals have a number of unexplainable symptoms such as chronic pain throughout their body and an especially sensitive and painful response to pressure, along with other symptoms, that when listed apart seem less serious, but when together may be diagnosed as Fibromyalgia. As medical professionals still don’t know the cause, it’s difficult to treat, so it has become more of a ‘management’ than a ‘treatment’ plan. Studies continue to appear, however, and show the remarkable work of researchers towards finding the best medication to reduce pain in Fibromyalgia sufferers. For the time being, there is a lot of research that indicates that chronic pain is due to “learned nerve pathways in the brain.” This means that chronic pain can be unlearned through Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. CBT, thus, can serve to replace treatment plans, or used along side medication.
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