Chronic Pain and Mental Health
- How can chronic pain affect one’s mental health and what is the focus of the Progressive Institute’s Chronic Pain Group?
Chronic pain is not just physical pain – it can also be perceived pain. The goal of the group is to support clients in understanding chronic pain as both the individual’s perception of pain and their personal experience of pain. The group takes a comprehensive look at the impact of pain on an individual’s daily functioning over an extended period of time. Also, observing its effect on home, work, social life and how it correlates with stress. When stress levels rise it often means chronic pain rises. There is a clear link between chronic stress and chronic pain and understanding this connection allows patients to utilize skills to effectively disrupt the cycle of chronic pain and reduce overall discomfort. There is also a strong dimensions of wellness connection between mental health and physical health and how one can impact the other. We help patients shift their perspective of pain in order to understand it as the mind and body’s way of offering protection to their system. Helping them interact with their pain in a different way and lessening judgements towards their pain is critical. . When we can eliminate or refrain from making judgements about pain, we can reduce the overall experience of distress, despite the presence of pain in our lives.
- What therapeutic approaches are used when treating someone with a chronic pain and mental health diagnoses?
Helping bridge the mind body connection is important. IFS (internal family systems) and EMDR are techniques that look at trauma and see how the body is reacting to it. Additionally, body work, somatic therapy and polyvagal therapy have been proven to be beneficial to those suffering with chronic pain. Mindful meditation is also an individual skill that an individual can practice to help connect the mind and body.
- What are some additional resources for someone looking to find more information or pursue therapy?
Support groups are a good way to link up with therapy providers and patients with similar and specific types of pain or trauma. Homeopathic options, biofeedback, and self-care are techniques are good options to employ. Also, the American Chronic Pain Association is an informational and educational organization that helps patients learn more about chronic pain and treatment options that would be best for them.
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