We are all familiar with the word ‘pain’ and also know how it feels. It is an unpleasant sensation. Pain causes mild or massive discomfort. No one wants to be in pain, but wouldn’t it be dangerous if we couldn’t feel any pain when we knocked something, got burned or bitten by an insect? So, pain is inevitable and feeling it is much-needed, for survival.
There are a few common types of pain which we have felt at least once. Acute pain and chronic pain are the most common among all. The former lasts for a short period, and the later lasts longer. Here, we are going to focus on chronic pain only.
Any pain turns into a chronic condition when it lasts for more than twelve weeks or three months. Chronic pain arises from simple injuries and strains. Most of the time the we don’t realise how pain has turned into a nightmare in the form of chronic pain. It can have severe effects on our day to day life. Doing simple household chores becomes difficult. It is very different from acute pain. Acute pain takes no time to heal and once healed it doesn’t bother anymore. However, chronic pain can bother you for weeks and months. The worst part, the pain remains for years as well. It affects a patient mentally too.
At some point in life, we all have faced instances where we failed to relate to the pain someone was struggling. We told ourselves that they are overdoing it and getting panicked for no reason. There might be some instances where we questioned ourselves how someone in pain is so calm about it. We fail to realise that pain is subjective. Some feel it strongly and some remains composed. There is no specific way to measure the pain one is feeling. Consequently, there is no tangible way of explaining to someone how much pain you may be in.
Acute pains which are untreated can cause chronic aches. Quite a few factors cause this to happen. With age, the bones lose density and joint movement starts changing. It weakens our body structure. The weak body cannot take sudden blows or injuries. The effects on bones and joints play a vital role in chronic pain.
Then there are some other chronic pains which are caused by multiple factors like chronic lower back pain. Starting from the wrong posture, obesity, sleeping on an uneven surfaces, past injuries, ageing, wearing high heels, lifting heavy objects to cancer, lower back pain starts due to several factors. Chronic pain is such a mystery that even after suffering years of pain, the reason remains unknown. It deteriorates the condition of our health. It lessens stamina, strength, endurance, and flexibility.
Muscle aches, joint pains, and burning pain are the main symptoms of chronic pain. Fatigue, sleeping disorder, mood swings, hair loss are also symptoms of chronic pain.
Chronic pain can lead to serious health issues, so regular treatment is a must. If you are feeling chronic pain in your knees, back and joints, then the treatment can be low-intensity exercising, staying active and psychological therapy for pain management. Taking painkillers may also part of the treatment if advised by your Doctor. All these treatment decisions must be made with your Doctor who will advise you depending on the description of the pain of the chronic pain patient.
Psychological Effects of Chronic Pain
Living with constant pain is not a pleasant feeling. One starts feeling low when the day-to-day activity gets hampered. Getting frustrated is natural in such instances. Chronic pain psychologically affects the patient. The complexity of the illness can sometimes make it incurable. Treatment can reduce the intensity of the pain so that you can continue living a good life. A person suffering from chronic pain and feeling constant pain in everyday life creates uncertainty in mind. They start creating negative thoughts and concentrating on simple things becomes difficult.
The psychological treatment of chronic pain can help where everything else has failed, and it should not be ignored. Psychological pain management is also an alternative option for those people who don’t want to rely on medication and for those who are not tolerant to the medication too. There are some patients though who tend to avoid both therapy for pain management and medication. Many people don’t even know that psychological therapy and counselling can help reduce both the feeling of pain and the debilitating effect it can have in someone’s life.
Not getting the right treatment for pain will only increase the problem. For example, relying solely on pain killers would not treat any underlying psychological issues present. Psychological therapy and counselling is a whole different kind of treatment. So, once you are feeling depressed or having constant negative thoughts, you know you need to contact a mental health professional and take our free online depression test.
Two psychological therapies have been shown to work really well with chronic pain. The two psychological therapies for chronic pain are Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, and Cognitive Behavioural Therapy. Some mental health professionals argue that they may be the best treatments for chronic pain. These psychological therapies have been shown to reduce the subjective feeling pain.
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy or CBT
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy or CBT is a widely used therapy for treating a variety of mental disorders. It improves mental health and protects from developing mental health problems.
While suffering from chronic pain you are unable to do simple jobs, and it is understandable that you can get all kinds of negative thoughts about oneself. CBT helps you to realise what you are thinking and that your negative thoughts are without evidence. CBT teaches you to understand the situation. It brings a balanced outlook in your life.
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy or CBT helps to bring you out from the vicious circle of negative thoughts, stress, anxiety, depression webbed by the extreme physical pain. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy or CBT is an effective treatment to help you view the good sides of the world, yourself and others. Stepping away from negative thinking and learning to look at your thoughts from a more helpful angle.
Acceptance and Commitment Therapy or ACT
Acceptance and Commitment Therapy or ACT, similarly to CBT, it can be used to treat anxiety, depression, stress and social anxiety disorder in addition to chronic pain. It is a particularly well-known therapy for treating chronic pain. ACT It is a form of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy with some distinctive features. It increases the psychological well-being of a chronic pain patient by treating the depression, negative thoughts, anxiety caused by chronic pain.
It efficiently works to improve mental flexibility. In this therapy, the patients are asked to accept psychological issues. The motto is to avoid the struggle and denial always. The level of danger reduces a few notches with acceptance. Chronic pain is a debilitating illness. It doesn’t let you forget or find peace. It brings a different side-effect with it which mostly works as a silent killer and can sometimes make people so desperate that they think about suicide.
So, it is not enough to treat just chronic pain. You should also contact a mental health professional to keep your psychological health sound and healthy. Chronic pain in itself keeps you in a painful condition both physically and psychologically, so there is no point in nurturing the mental health problems caused by it. Get help and stay healthy.