People commonly think about pain as being solely a physical sensation. However, chronic pain, which persists after a period of time in which normal healing is expected to occur, is often the combination of physical, psychological and emotional factors. In fact, a person’s perception of their pain is greatly affected by any negative thoughts and the individual’s outlook. It is not uncommon for chronic pain to lead to depression, anger, anxiety, social withdrawal and loss of sleep. Consequently, effective pain management often requires the combination of physical treatment, such as medications, as well as psychological assistance to deal with the associated emotions and thoughts. Understanding and mastering the thoughts and emotions associated with your pain will help to reduce the intensity of the pain, and enable you enjoy life without being restricted by pain.
It can be extremely grueling to live in constant pain. If you are attempting to manage chronic pain, you may be frustrated with the absence of a specific diagnosis by a doctor as to the cause or reason for the pain. This, in combination with the mentally exhausting task of trying to ignore the pain, may leave you feeling emotionally drained. You may be finding it increasingly difficult to deal with stressors at work or at home that you were able to manage before you started experiencing the pain.
However, it is important to remain hopeful and to seek assistance to effectively manage the pain with a combination of medical, physical and psychological treatment .
If you are continuing to experience chronic pain you may recognise the following symptoms of unrelieved pain which include:
- Increased heart rate and blood pressure
- Higher levels of stress hormones including cortisol and adrenaline
- Gastrointestinal problems such as slowed digestion
- Musculoskeletal problems such as tension and fatigue
- Emotional problems such as anxiety and depression
Counselling can help support you to manage the emotional and psychological effects of chronic pain. Understanding the causes of your pain can help reduce your fear and anxiety. Therapy is an effective means of assisting individuals who are experiencing pain that is unmanageable.
The practitioners at VCPS provide support, treatment and counselling in a caring environment. Our practitioners can assist you in pain management by:
- Helping you to understand the pain you’re experiencing, when it occurs and what factors are affecting it
- Exploring and addressing any stressors which may be contributing to the intensity of the pain
- Providing you with relaxation techiques
- Challenging any unhelpful thoughts or beliefs about your pain
- Working with you to increase your coping ability
- Addressing any anxiety or fear associated with the pain
- Helping you to make lifestyle changes which will enable you to live and enjoy life while minimising the impact of the pain
- Addressing insomnia you may have because of the pain