Pain Management (Chronic Pain)

Pain serves as a very important function of our bodies, alerting us to when something is not right, we have an injury or need to rest. Normally once we have brought our attention to what is not right and taken the steps to rectify what has happened, pain will naturally resolve in a short period of time. However, in some cases, the pain will continue even after treatments have been sought.

Chronic pain is categorised as pain that persists for longer than 3 months and continues longer than the normal expected timeframes for healing from a specific injury. In some cases there is a clear physical trigger for ongoing pain, in others the trigger can be unclear. Chronic pain can be an extremely complex phenomena developing and being maintained from an interaction between physiological, biological, psychological and social influences.

Often people who suffer from chronic pain will experience periods of depression, anxiety, feelings of hopelessness, low self-esteem, frustration, low self-worth, anger towards others and towards self and toward situations and negative feelings that they are no longer able to interact with the world and perform as they were once able to. Chronic pain can often become debilitating both physically, and emotionally.

Seeing a psychologist can help with management of chronic pain, either independently or in conjunction with medical pain reduction strategies. Psychological treatment focuses on helping an individual to predict their patterns of pain and learn how to manage by taking pre-emptive actions through the use of psychological and behavioural strategies and tools.

Pain management is not designed to eliminate pain, but rather to help an individual continue to live a meaningful life and engage in valued activities despite pain. Pain management strategies aim to help individuals to change negative feelings regarding pain into an attitude of acceptance, allowing the individual to function as best as they can in all aspects of their life, despite pain remaining present.

Common tools and strategies discussed in pain management include:

  • Pacing strategies
  • Psychoeducation
  • Reducing stress
  • Understanding your pain
  • Relaxation techniques
  • Distraction techniques
  • Cognitive-Behavioural Strategies to address negative thinking patterns

Getting help

If you are suffering from chronic pain and would like to address some of the psychological and emotional components contributing to the maintenance of ongoing pain and disability our trained and experienced psychologists at Strategic Psychology can help.

Contact us at Strategic Psychology by phone, email or drop in to our office to arrange to see a psychologist for pain management assistance. No referral is needed to access our services, however, you may be eligible for rebates under Medicare, in which case you will need to obtain a Mental Health Care Plan from your GP.

woman with neck pain wearing black