Coping with chronic pain takes a toll on both your physical and mental health. If you’re seeking psychological treatment of chronic pain, you’re not alone. Research shows chronic pain and depression go hand in hand. According to Harvard Medical School, patients with chronic pain have three times the risk for depression as people with no physical pain. Likewise, people who are depressed are three times as likely to experience chronic pain.
For most patients, psychological treatment of pain symptoms is just as important as physical therapy and other physical treatments. Because of discomfort and immobility, chronic pain sufferers often become isolated and may become dependent on medication.
The pain specialists at the Heilman Center are certified, experienced health care professionals trained to treat the symptoms and underlying causes of chronic pain. Our centers also offer psychological pain treatment from caring mental health professionals, either in our facility or referred outside. If you’re struggling with depression and anxiety, don’t wait a moment longer. Call the Heilman Center for Pain and Spine Care today to get the support you need.
Chronic Pain and Depression: Two Sides of the Same Coin
One of the first things chronic pain patients do is blame themselves for their circumstances. Loved ones can’t always relate to their experiences, and they sometimes say, “It’s all in your head.” Just because a cause of pain and depression isn’t outwardly obvious doesn’t mean it isn’t real. Chronic pain brings significant neurological changes affecting both body and mind.
Research shows that chronic pain activates the part of the brain associated with mood and attention. When you’re in pain, this part of your brain is always working, and your mind becomes easily fatigued. Many patients report sleep difficulties, irritability, depression, and an inability to focus. Psychological treatment of pain symptoms can help you find ways to minimize and manage these symptoms.
Isolation and Withdrawal
Many chronic pain patients become isolated from friends and family. Pain makes it difficult to participate in social, recreational, and romantic activities. When you’re unable to work, you miss the satisfaction that comes with doing your job. You also miss the daily friendships and social interactions that are a part of workplace life.
Cultural and Social Pressures
Many families and cultures frown upon discussing pain and depression. Instead of offering support, loved ones might suggest that you’re not trying hard enough or you’re not tough enough. Even when loved ones offer to listen or help, it’s hard to push past old family norms and cultural stigmas. The Heilman Center gives you a safe place to talk with someone who respects and understands what you’re going through.
Emotional First Aid
The Heilman Center for Pain and Spine Care has experienced psychologists and highly trained interventional pain specialists on site who can help you gain control of your chronic pain symptoms. They can also help you become less dependent on medication by offering other alternatives for coping with chronic pain. As part of treating the whole patient, our centers offer powerful emotional first aid tools. These include:
- Relaxation techniques. The companion of chronic pain is tension, both in your mind and in your muscles. When you work with one of our mental health professionals, you’ll learn relaxation techniques to calm anxious thoughts, relieve physical tension, and increase mental focus.
- Stress management. When you’re in pain, many stress management options like vigorous exercise become unavailable. With psychological pain treatment, you’ll learn new stress management skills to help you manage anxiety and irritability.
- Relationship guidance. Chronic pain and depression can turn predictable family relationships into messy and complicated minefields. Our mental health professionals will help you advocate for yourself, explain your situation to loved ones, and become more comfortable asking for help.
- Listening to your body. Many patients depend on medication to relieve pain because they don’t pay attention to their body’s signals. We help you become more in tune with your body so your mind can recognize the signs of overexertion.
In addition to improving your mental health, we will give you the tools to discover new activities that bring you joy. You’ll learn to strengthen existing social connections as well as build new and rewarding relationships.
At the Heilman Center, we consider psychological treatment of pain a normal and healthy part of pain intervention. Don’t let stigma or feelings of isolation keep you from seeking help. Set up a consultation now.