Managing the Emotional Side of Chronic Pain

Article about Emotions and Long -Term Pain

The unfortunate news about chronic pain is that it does not only affect a patient’s body, it also modifies their lifestyle by limiting their physical capabilities and impacting their mood and emotions.

It is not uncommon for chronic pain patients to harbor a negative outlook or frustration. Chronic pain is popularly associated with an inconsistent sleep cycle, poor memory, and low concentration. Drastic change in one’s life that is caused by the chronic pain takes a toll on a person’s mood, thus increasing their perception of pain and their ability to manage it.

One of the most difficult time periods for a chronic pain patient is once he or she has been diagnosed with chronic pain but still has not been matched with an adequate treatment plan. This time period can be daunting and frustrating, especially if you are fairly new to the world of pain management. The concept of inflammation or flare-ups can be very startling to new patients and cause them to feel fear of the prospects of their treatment. This frustration is also provoked when certain treatment options do not work as envisioned. This makes the patient lose faith in winning their battle against chronic pain.

Chronic pain has the ability to limit a patient physically. So when the patient is unable to perform activities he or she had previously enjoyed, frustration is bound to build up. Along with this, guilt is also a common emotion that patients experience. Because they are limited to certain activities, some patients often feel as though they cannot provide for or take care of their family as much as they once used to.

In addition to this, sensations of loneliness are also common. This is primarily due to the decrease in relatability the patients have with others in their lives. The chronic pain does become a challenge when you cannot describe your pain to your friends or family. It will be hard for them to understand the sensations you are undergoing as well.

Feeling vulnerable and weak is also commonality that will often push you to isolate yourself from others.

At moments like this, it is recommended to either talk to a psychiatrist or join a pain support group. Talk with your physician about what option is best catered for you. Joining a pain support group is especially beneficial because you have the opportunity to meet, talk, and potentially become friends with people in a similar situation as you. Other chronic pain patients will able to understand your concerns and emotions than your family and friends likely will. By sharing stories and hearing stories of success, your future of dealing with chronic pain will seem more clear and optimistic.

Ways to manage your pain in addition to medication include maintaining a healthy lifestyle. This involves eating healthy and exercising. Healthy eating is essential in order to help you manage your chronic pain. By doing so, you ingest beneficial nutrients that can help minimize your inflammation and perceptions of pain.

Exercise is also essential because physical activity allows your body to release endorphins. This hormone binds to similar receptors in your brain that your opioid medication binds to. With an increase in endorphin levels, you rely less on your medication and you are less at risk for opioid addiction or dependency. Increased exercise will also allow more oxygen to flow to your body and brain, helping your psyche and improving your pain. Yoga is a method of exercise that will help you bring peace to your mind and help you battle the negative emotions that impact you as a result of your chronic pain. Yoga will allow your body and mind to connect, allowing yourself to become more confident and in-tune with yourself.

The road of chronic pain management is a long and difficult one. But to ensure you require the most adequate treatment, it is essential you are transparent with your physician and not shy away from expressing any concerns or requests. Remember, it is important to consult your physician before you make any drastic changes in your lifestyle.

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