People may suffer from chronic pain for a multitude of reasons including cancer treatment, chronic fatigue, depression and others. Chronic pain is defined as pain lasting more than 12 weeks. Chronic pain can be a source of both debilitation and frustration for those who are struggling with it. Luckily, counseling can help with coping skills and management of chronic pain.
- Joint, muscle, or bone pain
- Burning, tingling pain, or pins and needles
- Sleep problems or sleep deprivation
- Loss of stamina
- Loss of flexibility
- Loss of activity
- Mood problems
Behavioral interventions and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT): While we may not have control over whether or not we are in pain at any given time, we are able to manage thoughts about the pain. By changing negative cognition about pain people can begin to create a plan to include better pain management. When we change our thinking patterns our behaviors will follow, ultimately allowing space for better coping skills. “The perception of pain is in your brain, so you can affect physical pain by addressing thoughts and behaviors that fuel it” (Joseph Hullett, MD).
Accepting the pain: Acceptance of chronic pain is one way that we free ourselves from suffering. Pain exists regardless, but when we struggle with its existence we suffer more. Through acceptance we can begin to look at what actually works to manage our pain, rather than attempting to rid ourselves of it.
Support groups: Support groups can provide a place to seek advice from peers and gain supportive relationships in one's life with others who are having a similar experience. Being able to share and be understood on a deep personal level may provide immense amounts of relief for those suffering from chronic pain.
Medication management: A doctor can help prescribe proper medication management for reducing the symptoms of chronic pain, but anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs) such as ibuprophen are often recommended.
Mindfulness: Worrying about the pain or becoming frustrated by it only exacerbates the issue. Mindfulness focuses on looking at our physical and emotional sensations with curiosity and without judgement. Through mindfulness one can create more space to focus on what is working in their pain management, and eliminating things that are not.
Stress management and self-care: Stress can make chronic pain and fatigue worse by taxing the client's already depleted energy sources. Those suffering from chronic pain can develop strategies for self-care and stress management that will help them in the moment and in the future. Good self-care may involve good nutrition, sleep hygiene, or mindful exercise programs. Finding ways to decrease inflammation has been shown to be helpful for those suffering from chronic pain.
Therapists at Live True Counseling Can Help
Therapists at Live True Counseling work with clients in a variety of different ways to explore, understand, and treat various forms of physical and emotional pain or fatigue. We work collaboratively with our clients to create a plan for managing approach unique to each situation to help them become empowered to address their anxiety with integrity and intention. If you are suffering from anxiety and need support, schedule a free consultation with one of our therapists to see how we can help you.