Chronic pain can have effects that go far beyond the physical feeling of pain. People who have chronic pain may see effects of pain that limit their ability to work, exercise, spend time with friends and family, sleep, and even manage their emotional health.
Many people feel like their pain has taken away part of their lives. Psychology – as the study of how people think, feel, and act – can be helpful in minimizing pain’s impact on a person’s daily life.
Most patients referred to our psychology department are there because their physicians would like to see them able to function better in their daily lives. Our psychology team helps individuals and groups of people living with chronic pain find ways to get the most out of their lives, even if they’re living with pain that traditional medical treatments cannot resolve. While some people do experience a decrease in pain levels after working with our pain psychology providers, our main goal is to teach proven strategies to help manage pain and get patients back to living their lives to the fullest. While we do provide some traditional therapy for people whose pain contributes to depression, anxiety, and other mental health concerns, that’s not our primary focus.
We use a “biopsychosocial” approach to pain, meaning that we view pain as something that impacts not only a person’s body and movements, but also their thoughts, feelings, decisions, and relationships. Unlike traditional therapy, pain-focused psychotherapy looks at how each person can use their thoughts, feelings, and decisions together to help manage their pain. We offer individual and group pain-focused psychological treatments to help people develop skills for managing pain to the fullest extent possible.
We also work with the medical staff to make sure that individuals referred for placement of a neurostimulation device or a pain pump get the best possible results from the surgery. The pain psychologist will meet with patients to gather information on their pain, medical history, mental health history, and social history. This information helps our staff identify potential surgical risks, and ensures that patients are prepared for their procedure. (Please be aware that if you are referred for this service you are likely to be at the clinic for up to 3 hours total).
When you meet with pain psychology staff, we will spend time getting to know you and the pain-related factors that most impact your life. We will work together to identify strategies to manage your pain most effectively, especially in areas that are most likely to limit you from living your life to the fullest. Some areas of focus may include: how to make healthy lifestyle changes more manageable, increasing physical activity in a way that gives you the most function with the least pain, and decreasing the impact of pain on other health conditions.
While chronic pain is not likely to “heal” in a traditional sense, that doesn’t mean people are stuck where they are. Pain-focused psychological services can help as part of the whole-person approach to pain care – we want to treat all of the factors that contribute to pain.
If you need psychological support for your chronic pain condition, please call us today: (317) 706-7246.