What is Chronic Pain?
Medically speaking, chronic pain is any pain lasting longer than 3 months. Anyone who’s ever had chronic pain can tell you it feels like a heckuva lot longer than that. Since I offer counseling for those suffering from chronic pain in the Tri-Cities, let’s talk a little about it.
There are a list of conditions that can cause chronic pain as long as your arm: cancer, degenerative diseases (osteoporosis and other spinal problems), migraines, fibromyalgia, inflammatory diseases such as arthritis, shingles, nerve damage, multiple sclerosis, joint problems, etc. Then there are external causes, such as injuries from various kinds of accidents. Chronic pain can feel like it’s consuming your life at times.
Why should I see a counselor for chronic pain?
Your doctor can help you try to reduce or manage the physical pain that you feel with medications, surgeries, or other medical treatments. Chronic pain affects much more than your physical body, however. It can affect your relationships with others, increase fatigue, cause you to lose income, lower your self-esteem and reduce your ability to concentrate. Chronic pain can lead to sexual dysfunction, affect your ability to drive, increase your health care costs, increase your stress, cause depression and anxiety, and is a risk factor for suicide.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)–a kind of therapy I offer–specifically has been shown by several large studies to help prevent migraines and neck pain, and ease chronic low back pain. Negative emotions such as depression, anxiety and fear stimulate chemicals in the brain involved in pain perception, so reducing them not only helps you feel better mentally but also helps you hurt less.
I am also trained and certified in EMDR (eye movement desensitization and reprocessing) which has been shown to be helpful in treating chronic pain. I use a combination of CBT and EMDR to successfully treat folks suffering from this difficult challenge.
Counseling can help you to function in your life, and give you skills for taking control of your thoughts and emotions. It’s hard enough to have pain, but these additional byproducts of the pain is what we call suffering. Pain we don’t always have control over, but suffering is something you can control! I can help you with this.
What does treatment for chronic pain look like?
I will tailor a specific plan for your based on how pain is affecting your life and your specific goals. There is great variability in treatment for chronic pain, but all of them include some common elements. You will learn the importance of:
- Accepting ownership of your pain
- Tracking your pain
- How nutrition and exercise can positively or negatively affect your pain
- Sleeping well, and how to get a better night’s sleep
- Understanding the nature and function of pain
- Learning how your mind can affect your body, and how to take control of it
- Learning how to find new, less painful ways to accomplish old tasks
- Adopting a healthy attitude toward life in the face of your pain
These are just some of the ways that I can help you with your chronic pain.
If I want counseling, what’s my next step?
I offer counseling for those who suffer from chronic pain here in the Tri-Cities. Please write me or give me a call. Click here to be taken to a form to contact me via email, call my office directly at 509-531-6698. Chronic pain is hard enough without all of the additional emotional and social consequences. Do something today to help yourself take your life back, you deserve it!