What is Chronic Pain?
Chronic pain is something that affects millions of people every year, and it has huge effects on our mental health. When we are in pain, our whole world comes to a stop. We can’t move, can’t focus, can’t be ourselves. Whether it’s an illness or an injury causing this disruption to your life – it can feel like it’s the end of the world.
The Mind-Body Connection
One thing we often don’t consider is how the brain and the body are connected. This is something we talk about all the time in therapy. The brain and the body work together – for good, and for bad. Basically, when our bodies suffer? Our minds suffer too. We’ve all experienced this. Think about a time when you were home with the flu. How was your mental health? It probably suffered a bit. Your body was unwell, and so was your mind. This is normal. And it’s something we work on acknowledging and correcting in therapy.
When the body and the brain are working in harmony, everything feels better. But how do we get there? We use two different methods: Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) to help solve this problem.
“Chronic pain is not all about the body, and it’s not all about the brain — it’s everything. Target everything. Take back your life.Sean Mackey, MD PhD
What Kind of Therapy Can You Use for Chronic Pain?
CBT is a special type of therapy we use to help change our thoughts and beliefs for the better. When we are in pain, or if we are sick, our thoughts will naturally be more negative. We feel unwell, and life is really hard. Is it ever going to get easier? Doctor’s appointments take up so much time, they’re expensive, and does the doctor really listen to what we have to say? There is therapy for pain management. In therapy, we use CBT to help us shift our focus from “the end of the world” mentality that so often accompanies chronic pain patients to a hopeful, new outlook where a future where chronic pain and a new version of a “normal” life are possible.
DBT is a special type of therapy we use to help change our negative or harmful behaviors, and exchange them for healthier behaviors. For example; chronic pain and depression are hard, right? They can rule your life, if you let them. Let’s say that you spend most of your time in bed and rarely leave your house due to fear of making the pain worse. These might not necessarily sound like negative behaviors, but they are harmful to you in several different ways: 1. Your body needs movement, it will help decrease pain if you are mobile. 2. Never leaving your home is going to increase your depression. Everyone needs relationships to thrive. If we were practicing DBT therapy, we would ask you to make small changes to your routine and practice getting out of bed each day, and leaving the house at least once a week.
What if There are Still Questions?
Cardinal Point Counseling knows that chronic pain and chronic illness can be overwhelming and that your mental health can truly suffer. She asks you to please consider therapy as well as your pain doctor. Changing your mentality and habits can drastically affect your mental health.
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