I’ve written about chronic pain conditions before (click here) and how effective both CBT and hypnotherapy are in helping you deal with them. However, a recent study published by the American Psychological Association showed that, when it came to chronic pain, psychological interventions often provide more relief than prescription drugs or surgery.
Any pain condition can lead to psychological problems if you’re left dealing with it for too long but, psychological problems (such as anxiety, depression, stress and anger management) can also exacerbate the pain you’re already in and, in some cases, even bring it on.
This mind-body-mood-pain conundrum can make for a veritable Gordian Knot: one where your pain is making you anxious, angry and depressed and your anxieties, anger issues and depressions are making your pain feel even worse.
Yet, despite having no harmful side effects or risks, psychotherapy is used far less frequently than traditional medical treatments. And yet chronic pain conditions are one of the most common reasons for primary medical care visits.
I’ve been a pain control specialist at The Royal Brompton Hospital since 2008 and have seen people presenting with pain-related problems in private practise for even longer.
Hypnotherapy is an excellent tool for helping alleviate your perception of the pain, whilst CBT will look at changing all your anger, anxiety and depression-provoking thoughts, leading to a healthier, happier and more pain-free you.
Tops tips for dealing with pain (if you’re not seeking psychotherapy):
- Stay active – pain, or the fear of it can often prevent you from doing the things you enjoy. Don’t let pain rule your life
- Know your limits – Stay active, but be aware of your limits. Don’t push yourself to do more than you can cope with
- Exercise – still good for you, even with a pain condition. Try low-impact exercise that incorporates stretches, yoga, walking and swimming
- Stay social – pain can be isolating, don’t let it happen. Call up a member of your family, invite a friend round. People with more social support feel more resilient
- Distract yourself – don’t let your pain consume you, when it hits, watch a movie, go for a walk, engage with a hobby, as pleasant experiences can help you manage pain better
- Don’t lose hope – you are not your pain, don’t let it define you, seek therapy if you feel you’re going under
- Follow your prescriptions – therapy should be used alongside the medicines you have been prescribed, not instead of them