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The Psychology of Chronic Pain

Chronic pain has become a more prevalent medical concern in recent years, and the opioid epidemic has brought the treatment of chronic pain into the spotlight. A recent article discusses advancements and new theories in the treatment of chronic pain through psychotherapy. This theory involves changing one’s mindset about pain in order to cope with less physical and mental distress.

Many people who suffer with chronic pain will relate stories of hearing the phrase, “it’s all in your head”. While this is untrue, there is strong research evidence to support the connection between the psychological and the physical when it comes to chronic pain. This research examines the complicated pathways of pain, and how our thoughts, behaviors, and emotions may play a role in the severity and duration of our pain.

Psychotherapy is designed in part to help clients tell a new and different story about their lives and to break out of negative patterns. This logic may be applied as well to chronic pain, not necessarily to change the nature of our pain but to change the way we think about and experience our pain. The most common and most often studied therapeutic approach to chronic pain is CBT, or Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, which may be used to come to a different understanding and acceptance of pain.

Given the current climate surrounding opioids and addiction, it is hopeful to hear that there may be different alternatives to treating the rising tide of chronic pain. In treating the whole person, and not just a collection of symptoms, we strive to provide hope and inspire lasting and positive change. Reach out to Main St. Psychiatry if you have any questions!

Learn more by reading the full article at the link below:

Original article found here: https://www.vox.com/science-and-health/2018/5/17/17276452/chronic-pain-treatment-psychology-cbt-mindfulness-evidence