"Do you experience physical pain that has disrupted your sleep? Do you find you have difficulty managing the activities of your day-to-day life because of pain? Do you find that problems with physical pain have left you short tempered with the people you love? Have you worried about becoming overly reliant on pain medication, or worried about feelings of depression and/or anxiety that have developed as a consequence of your pain? Whether it is acute or chronic, pain can derail life in a variety of ways. A team approach to treatment, including your physician, your physical therapist and a psychologist with experience in chronic pain therapy can help you get back on track.
What pain is, and why it seems to affect people differently:
The experience of pain is highly individualone person may sail through an injury, while another may find that same injury gets in the way of every aspect of life. For others, pain is a more persistent experience. Nobody knows exactly why people experience pain so differently, but we do know there are strategies that help people whose lives have been overcome by their experience of pain. Many people who find pain sticks around and take over their lives also worry that a referral to a psychologist means their doctor thinks their pain is "all in their head." Unfortunately, this may make them resist a referral for chronic pain therapy. But when people participate in psychotherapy for chronic pain, they generally discover that addressing the emotional consequences of their pain experience helps them become more resilient in the face of their physical discomfort and get back in charge of their lives.
Psychotherapy for chronic pain:
Chronic pain therapy is somewhat different, because, as any chronic pain sufferer can tell you, their pain does not come with an expected expiration date. The knowledge of this alone can discourage and exhaust the sufferer and can seep into all aspects of life. Sleep can be disrupted by persistent pain. Relationships can struggle as patience frays, and a significant percentage of people who experience chronic pain report that as their pain lingers their resilience to depression and anxiety is lessened.
Treatment for chronic pain, while managed by the primary physician, often includes a psychologist who is skilled in chronic pain therapy. But it is important to know that a referral to a psychologist does not mean your doctor believes your pain is "all in your head." A referral for chronic pain therapy can help you put the pain in its rightful place and get back to managing your life."
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