Millions of people seek pain management treatment for chronic pain every year. Although medication can decrease the severity of chronic pain someone experiences, studies show that psychologists help relieve symptoms by altering how the brain processes pain sensations.
Therapists accomplish this by helping patients change how they perceive negative thoughts, feelings, and behaviors associated with their pain, and transform them into positive ones. Therapists trained in pain management will formulate a treatment plan based on a patient’s physical and emotional health, any factors that contribute to the severity of the pain, and whether their pain is causing them any stress.
Most treatment plans will incorporate mindfulness-based therapy to help patients build new coping aspects to manage the emotional aspects of chronic pain. Therapists will often encourage patients to make certain life changes to improve both mental and physical health, and teach them how to challenge any unhelpful thoughts they have about their pain and develop positive ones.
Learning the art of distraction has also been helpful at deterring pain. Therapists teach patients to find ways to distract their minds when symptoms begin to flare, and to learn how to think of their pain in a different way.
As a result, patients begin to feel better both physically and emotionally. They now have tools to manage their pain, which improves quality of life.
If medications are a part of the treatment plan, therapists will inform patients of any harmful side effects and help them develop a routine to stay on track with the dosage.
Patients who also suffer with depression or a chronic medical condition may have to endure a longer course of treatment, but most patients find they can better manage their pain after just a few sessions with a psychologist.
If you'd like to talk to someone about pain management, please contact us.