Chronic Pain

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What is chronic pain?

Chronic Pain is pain that does not go away. When pain lasts over a period of six months, or beyond the usual time for recovery, it is said to be chronic. It is caused by a long-term condition, such as arthritis, or a progressive illness, such as cancer. Chronic pain takes a psychological as well as a physical toll. It can lead to anxiety, anger, depression, and insomnia. Chronic pain sufferers may find it difficult or impossible to work and hard to do the things they once enjoyed. It can even disrupt a person's relationships with family and friends.

What causes chronic pain?

Chronic pain’s causes may be unknown, or the pain may be caused by one or more health conditions, as follows:

  • Headaches
  • Surgery
  • Diabetes
  • Shingles
  • Obesity
  • Stroke
  • Arthritis
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Chronic infections such as HIV/AIDS, or their treatment
  • Phantom limb pain, which is pain that develops after an arm or leg, is amputated. This pain may come from the area where nerves were cut in the amputation.
  • Bladder problems
  • Limb pain following injury or tight casting
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder


Isn’t chronic pain only a physical problem? Are Psychologists working in chronic pain trying to see whether pain is real or imaginary?

All pain is real to the sufferer. Psychologists working in chronic pain are not trying to see whether pain is real or imaginary. Psychotherapy can help chronic pain sufferers because pain doesn't just affect the body. It also affects how you feel emotionally, how much you can do, and the quality of your life. Pain makes you feel tired, mentally fuddled, irritable and often depressed. It affects you mentally and emotionally as well as physically. There may be many losses as a result of pain: Thinking patterns can change, become negative, low and full of frustration. Tempers can become short. Memory and poor concentration as a result of long term pain, can affect mood.

How can psychotherapy help a person with chronic pain?

Psychotherapy can help people feel more sense of control and reverse some of the effects of the pain, to reduce depression and anxiety, and improve concentration, memory and self-esteem. The aim is to help people work out ways to live as normal a life as possible despite the pain.

Links:

American Chronic Pain Association

American Pain Foundation

Doctors For Pain 

Tame The Pain