Is Chronic Pain All in Your Head? The Psychological Effects Are, Making Pain Management Essential to Your Wellbeing
If you suffer from persistent pain, whether from trauma, a procedure, health concern, or even an unknown cause, you’ve likely experienced a healthcare provider who’s told you it’s just in your head. That is partially true, though not in the same way they imply. Without proper pain management, this chronic condition can become more than just physical, affecting your mental and emotional wellbeing and thus your overall quality of life.
Psychological Effects and Mental Stress From Persistent Pain Leads to Real Changes in the Brain
In fact, there is evidence that chronic pain and depression are interrelated, and depression-like symptoms develop in certain individuals, though there isn’t a full medical understanding yet of this association.
These signs of depression in chronic pain sufferers may develop as the result of pain interfering with sleep, reduced self-esteem from lifestyle changes due to pain, stress over finances if pain has led to reduced income, or other issues that arise from being in a constant state of extreme physical discomfort.
Chronic pain is also linked to anxiety, leading to mental exhaustion from constant fear that pain will worsen or about how and when it will return if it comes and goes.
This happens because pain is a signal to your brain to activate your fight-or-flight response via your sympathetic nervous system. However, as a response to that pain, your brain can inadvertently intensify the sensation of your physical symptoms.
In fight-or-flight mode, you experience physiological responses, from increased heart rate and blood pressure to muscle tremors and / or tension and even altered memory. The stress that arises from being in this state long term leads to lasting chemical changes in the brain.
But the Good News Is That There Are Leading-Edge, Evidence-Based Treatments Available for Both the Physical and Psychological Effects of Chronic Pain
Roughly 20% of adults in the US suffer from chronic pain, and of those, 25% experience chronic pain syndrome (CPS), which is diagnosed when pain extends beyond physical symptoms. Thankfully, it is treatable since the brain is neuroplastic and can be changed back to its pre-pain state, and you may be surprised to learn that orthopedic pain management specialists are leading the way when it comes to interventional pain management treatment.
Interventional treatments for pain management take a non-surgical approach and may include a multitude of therapeutic techniques to address both physical and psychological symptoms. Commonly prescribed treatments from an interventional pain management specialist typically include a combination of two or more of the following:
- Regenerative medicine to address the physical aspect, such as platelet-rich plasma (PRP) injections and stem cell injections
- Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)
- Joint injections
- Lifestyle modifications
- Non-opioid medications
- Physical therapy and other manual therapies including massage
- Sleep hygiene
- Yoga / mindfulness practices
For Compassionate Pain Management with Your Whole Health in Mind, Turn to Direct Orthopedic Care
Taking a multi-disciplinary, customized approach to chronic / persistent pain, the pain management team at DOC find the root cause of your pain to treat it at the source. Your personalized treatment plan is aimed to either eliminate your pain or drastically reduce it while providing tools to help you cope with the effects through treatments.
For physical and psychological pain relief from arthritis to whiplash pain and everything in between, turn to our pain management specialists here at Direct Orthopedic Care. Dr. Kimberly Ting, Dr. Brannon Frank, and our other interventional pain management providers and staff look forward to helping you improve your quality of life and mobility! Contact us today at 855-898-2655 or schedule an appointment online now! For more information on the cost of care, click here.
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