Therapy For Chronic Pain| Pain Management Therapy
We are all familiar with the feeling of pain - and pain is in fact an important part of our survival as it alerts our nervous system that there may be something wrong. In the medical field, the most common symptoms reported to healthcare providers are pain symptoms; and while we think of pain as mostly physical pain, there are emotional and psychological aspects to it. A licensed mental health professional can provide pain management therapy if you need to cope with chronic pain better.
Are you looking for a “pain management therapy near me”?
If you are experiencing chronic pain, you can turn to psychotherapy to help you understand and cope with your pain symptoms better. Bregman Medical Group in Coral Gables, Florida is staffed with licensed mental health professionals who can guide you through pain management therapy.
Psychiatry and Chronic Pain
Some doctors would recommend their patients to see a licensed psychologist or mental health professional for their chronic pain since pain sensation can take a toll on a person’s emotional and psychological wellbeing. Feeling chronic pain in the body can affect a person’s mood and emotions, making you feel hopeless, sad, angry, or anxious. In this case, the psychologist or psychiatrist can provide patients with a better understanding of their pain and thus, be able to address and manage the symptoms better. Psychological treatment is, therefore, an important aspect of chronic pain management to reduce pain intensity.
What is Pain?
Pain is generally an unpleasant sensation that causes feelings of distress and discomfort to us. Addressing pain physically and psychologically is important because if left untreated, pain can have negative effects on our daily functioning. Our work, school, and relationships may be affected by pain as it causes us not to feel our one hundred percent - we can be easily irritated and moody. In addition, experiencing pain can also cause us to feel other physical discomforts like being nauseous and dizzy.
What are the symptoms of pain?
Pain can manifest as a throb, a pinch, a squeeze, or a dull ache. Other times it can be a soreness, a burning sensation, or stiffness. Pain can be a sharp, piercing sensation or it can be like a dull ache. Pain can also last for a short while only or it can be persistent and debilitating.
Furthermore, you can experience pain in a localized area of your body or it can be generalized such as when you feel body malaise due to flu.
What are the types of pain?
Pain can be of two types, which are acute pain and chronic pain. Acute pain is brief and temporary but it is usually sharp and severe. We experience acute pain usually when there is an injury to our bodies. On the other hand, chronic pain persists for a long period of time (at least three months or longer) and can be mild to severe. Oftentimes, a person experiencing chronic pain also has a condition or disease that comes with the pain and has not gone away with time.
The Psychiatric Model for Chronic Pain Relief
To be clear, using the psychiatric model towards treating pain does not necessarily mean that the patient has a psychiatric problem. The psychiatric model holds the philosophy of seeking a sound mind in a sound body. It acknowledges that there is a link between our physical and mental state that contributes to our overall wellbeing.
Through the Psychiatric Model, licensed mental health professionals are able to teach patients the right skills to better manage their pain experience. This is done through a variety of activities that produce results including counseling, medication treatment, relaxation techniques, education about their pain, and other activities.
Through regular psychotherapy sessions, the interaction between patient and doctor is more direct and intense as they process together to identify the patient’s thoughts, feelings, and behaviors in relation to his or her pain.
Chronic pain management counseling
There are different psychological interventions to managing chronic pain. These include the Operant behavioral approach, Cognitive-behavioral therapy, Acceptance and commitment therapy, and Mindfulness-based stress reduction. Your psychiatrist may use these approaches alone or in conjunction with medication and other techniques for pain management.
Some patients find that their symptoms are reduced after just a few sessions of counseling as they learn effective ways to better manage their pain. For some patients who have comorbid and long-term conditions like depression and anxiety along with their pain, long-term counseling sessions may be more beneficial.
Operant behavioral approach
The Operant Behavioral Approach focuses on behavioral strategies that can reduce the intensity of feeling your pain. Your therapist can help you come up with proper goal-setting, activity pacing, and using relaxation methods. You may also be exposed to activities and situations that you are anxious about or otherwise adverse to so that you can decrease your avoidance behaviors.
Acceptance and Commitment Therapy
Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), as the name suggests, is a form of therapy that helps patients develop strategies helping them accept the existence of their pain and their negative emotions… and then encouraging them to commit to activities that would help them effectively move forward with their lives despite the pain. This is a form of behavioral therapy.
By doing this, patients learn to let go of old behaviors that are not useful to them, they are relieved of stress, and they become more resilient and flexible towards their situation.
Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is one of the most popular and widely used forms of psychotherapy. CBT is used as a treatment for mental health conditions like anxiety, depression addiction, and other mental conditions, and because of its vast application, CBT is also one of the most effective therapy for chronic pain management.
CBT works by meeting with your therapist regularly so you can identify your patterns of beliefs, feelings, and behaviors that contribute or are related to your feelings of pain. CBT is also very goal-focused which means that your therapist may give you assignments to do on your own for you to discuss during your next session.
Mindfulness-based stress reduction
Mindfulness practices have proven to be effective in reducing the stress of individuals with mental health conditions and are also effective in people with chronic pain. Practicing mindfulness helps you to only focus on the present moment without any judgment of what you are currently thinking and feeling. It helps individuals to reduce their stress and in turn, also become better at managing their pain. Research supports the effectiveness of mindfulness techniques towards people with chronic pain. Practicing meditation and mindfulness techniques even for a few minutes per day can help patients with chronic pain relief.
Depending on the person’s pain, there are medications that provide pain relief. But take note that these are highly addictive and so must only be prescribed by your physician starting in the least dosage amount.
Opiate Use: What are Opioids?
Opioids are prescribed by doctors for pain relief. They come naturally from the opium poppy plant or they can also be synthetic. Here are common prescription opioids: Hydrocodone, Oxycodone, Oxymorphone, Codeine, Morphine, Methadone, Fentanyl.
Opioids are not always necessary. Prescription opioids are usually very helpful in treating acute pain and sometimes chronic pain. However, treating chronic pain using opioids is only the last resort since the patient will be at high risk of developing an addiction. The misuse of opioids can also result in unintentional overdose or even death. In the US, drug overdoses resulted in 702,568 deaths from 1999 to 2017, with 57% of deaths involving opioids according to the CDC.
It is important that opioids should only be used when necessary and for the least amount of time possible. Dosage should also be the least possible when administered.
Managing pain without drugs or surgery
There are many treatments that you can consider without the use of prescription opioids. These treatments can include simply taking Tylenol or Advil, or through the help of counseling. Cognitive-behavioral therapy is the most widely used therapy that provides a goal-directed approach where the therapist helps the patient to identify and change behavioral and emotional triggers to relieve their pain.
Since obesity can also be a contributing factor to experiencing chronic pain, regular exercise and weight loss can be good for pain management. Exercise therapy and physical therapy are also helpful especially for persons experiencing joint pain, stiffness, and weakness. Lastly, there are alternative treatments for pain relief such as acupuncture and massage.
The relationship between emotion and pain perception
In a review of recent research, it was shown that there is a link between emotion and pain. Psychological research shows that greater pain is more related to emotional stress and limited emotional awareness, expression, and processing. Meanwhile, social research shows emotional communication, empathy, attachment, and rejection are also potentially important in the experience of pain.
Using a functional MRI, brain activity shows that the emotion center of the brain is more activated when a person is experiencing chronic pain, making pain likely an emotional experience.
Psychiatrist for Pain Management
Bregman Medical Group has helped thousands of patients in Coral Gables, Fl, and all over the country through therapy and medication management. You can meet with your psychiatrist/ psychologist online through Teletherapy or Telemedicine.
Contact our office to know more information about Teletherapy and Telemedicine services.
Helpful habits to cope with pain
Here are some helpful tips that the APA suggests to help you cope with pain better:
Know your limits - being aware of your physical limitations can help you create a plan that is achievable to help you cope with the pain that you are feeling.
Reach out to your social group - a lot of research shows that having good social support by reaching out to your family and close friends when you need them can help you become more resilient. Sometimes, a simple coffee break or lunch date with a friend can make the difference.
Stay active - Dealing with chronic pain can be hard, but it is important not to let your pain control you. Know that you can still enjoy your life and the things that make you happy even if you are coping with pain.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Causes Chronic Pain?
There can be many conditions and factors that can cause chronic pain in the body, including injury, rheumatoid arthritis, fibromyalgia, stomach ulcers, nerve damage, cancer, surgery, muscle strains, post-trauma pain, and other conditions. Other factors such as the normal aging process, poor posture, and lifestyle can also contribute to the development of chronic pain. Other times, a healthy person can develop chronic pain out of the blue and so can be complex to pinpoint its origin.
Will my chronic pain ever go away?
Chronic pain does not go away. However, there are numerous treatment options that you can take along with practicing good lifestyle habits to help relieve you from your pain symptoms. There is a growing body of research that supports the effectiveness of pain management and various pain treatment options.
Do I need to meet with my psychologist/ therapist through in-person sessions?
In-person sessions are not needed. Currently, Bregman Medical Group accepts virtual appointments only such as Teletherapy and Telemedicine. If you are a new patient, you may book an appointment through our website. Once you have completely filled out our new patient forms, our staff will reach out to you and provide you with a secure link where you will meet with your therapist online.
Pain Management Therapy Near Me
If you are searching for “pain management therapy near me”, don’t hesitate to book an appointment to speak with a licensed mental health professional.
Get the help you need here.