Pain psychology is a field concerned with pain's psychological aspects. This includes the experience of pain, how it is interpreted and coped with, and how it affects people's lives. Even the most resilient intellect may be tested by persistent pain following an accident. This article dives deeper into what pain psychology is and why at NewSouth NeuroSpine, we think it's so important to offer this service when treating our patients.
What is Pain Psychology
According to the Institute of Medicine, at least 100 million adults in the United States live with persistent pain. The American Academy of Pain Medicine reported chronic pain affects more people than diabetes, heart disease, and cancer combined.
The purpose of pain is to notify you of injuries such as a sprained ankle or a burned hand. Chronic pain, on the other hand, is often more complicated. Most people think of pain as a physical sensation alone. Pain, nevertheless, has biological, psychological, and social elements. Furthermore, chronic suffering can lead to emotions such as anger, hopelessness, sadness, and anxiety. To cure persistent pain effectively, you must deal separately with the physical, emotional, and mental components.
Medication, surgery, rehabilitation, and physical therapy are some of the medical therapies that may be beneficial in treating persistent pain. Psychological therapies are also an essential component of pain management. Understanding and managing your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors related to your discomfort might help you cope better with your suffering—and could decrease the severity of your suffering.
The goals of pain psychology are to:
- Help people understand their pain
- Teach them ways to manage their pain
- Improve their quality of life
Pain psychology can help people in several ways, including:
- Identifying and changing negative thoughts and beliefs about pain
- Learning new ways to cope with pain
- Improving communication about pain
- Managing stress and other emotions
- Increasing activity level and participation in meaningful activities
How can Pain Psychology Help?
You can anticipate discussing your physical and emotional health when you see a psychologist. The psychologist will want to know about the pain you endure, where it happens, and what variables might alter it. You may also be asked to describe any concerns or pressures you're experiencing, including those connected with your pain. The psychologist may also use a questionnaire to note your thoughts and feelings regarding your suffering.
Treatment goals are developed for each patient based on their unique needs. Relaxation techniques, changing negative beliefs about pain, developing new coping skills, and addressing any anxiety or depression that may be linked to your pain are all common elements of treatment plans.
Another strategy is to assist you in learning to dispute any unhelpful ideas about pain. A psychologist can help you develop new methods of thinking about difficulties and discovering answers. Several studies show that distracting oneself from pain is advantageous in some situations. A psychologist may work with you in other cases to create new ways of viewing your discomfort. Psychological therapies for pain have been found in studies to change how your brain interprets painful stimuli, making them just as effective as surgical treatment for chronic pain.
A psychologist can also help you change your lifestyle so that you may continue working and enjoying hobbies. A psychologist may likewise assist you in learning new strategies to sleep better since chronic pain is frequently linked to sleeplessness.
Benefits of Pain Psychology
Pain psychology can help people improve their quality of life, manage their pain, and communicate better with their doctors. In addition, pain psychology can also help people to:
- Avoid or delay surgery
- Reduce the need for pain medication
- Improve postoperative outcomes
- Return to work or other activities sooner
After just a few sessions with a psychologist, most patients notice that they can manage their pain better. Those depressed or dealing with a long-term degenerative medical condition might profit from additional therapy. You and your psychologist will determine the length of treatment. The objective is to assist you in learning coping mechanisms for dealing with discomfort and living a complete existence.
Pain Management Tips
Consider the following techniques for altering your behaviors when dealing with pain:
Keep moving. Pain—or the fear of it—can encourage individuals to stop doing what they like. It's critical not to let pain dominate your life.
Know your boundaries. Keep doing anything that acknowledges your physical limits. Make a strategy for dealing with discomfort, and don't push yourself to achieve more than you can manage.
Exercise. Stretching, yoga, walking, and swimming are good options for maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
Make new friends and contacts. Call a family member, invite a friend to lunch, or set up a coffee date with a buddy you haven't spoken to in a while. According to studies, people with more social support appear to be stronger and experience less depression and anxiety. When you need it, ask for assistance.
Take some time to yourself. Find ways to divert your attention away from your discomfort when it arises. Watch a film, go for a walk, pursue a pastime, or visit a museum as a method of distracting yourself. Pleasant activities might aid in the process of coping with pain.
Don't give up hope. Many people obtain the ability to manage their pain and conceive it in a different light with the correct form of psychological therapies.
Take your medications as prescribed by your doctor. If medications are part of your therapy regimen, use them as directed by your physician to avoid adverse side effects. In addition to assisting you in developing better-coping strategies for and management of pain, psychologists may assist you in establishing a routine that will help you stick to your treatment plan.
NewSouth NeuroSpine's Approach to Pain Psychology
At NewSouth NeuroSpine, we believe that pain psychology is an integral part of treating our patients. We offer pain psychology services to help our patients understand and manage their pain. Our team of pain psychologists works with our patients to develop individualized treatment plans tailored to their unique needs.
If you are dealing with chronic back pain, we encourage you to contact us today to learn more about how we can help you.