Pain is a very common condition. Pain may be caused by medical conditions, injury or surgery. At any given time, around one-third of Australians are experiencing some form of pain, with one in five people reporting that their pain is constant. The incidence of pain rises as people get older and women are more likely to be in pain than men. Pain management is an approach for easing the suffering and improving quality of life.
There are two types of pain:
Acute pain is a normal response to tissue injury, which begins suddenly and is generally short-lived
Chronic (ongoing) pain persists beyond the normal time of healing and usually lasts for longer than three months
An overwhelming majority of individuals with chronic pain experience it for more than a year. This type of pain is usually the result of an injury (for example, a sports or work accident), illness or other health problem.
The body’s reaction to unrelieved pain includes:
- increased heart rate and blood pressure
- emotional problems such as anxiety and depression
- changes to blood gases, namely reduced oxygen and increased carbon dioxide
- higher levels of stress hormones including cortisol and adrenaline
- gastrointestinal problems such as slowed digestion
- musculoskeletal problems such as tension and fatigue
Pain Coping Skills Training
Pain coping skills training refers to scientifically validated strategies and techniques that are taught to chronic pain sufferers to assist them living with pain, and can include the following:
Activity pacing techniques
Attention diversion exercises
Mood management techniques (cognitive therapy techniques)
Medication reduction plans under medical supervision
Communication skills training and couples coping skills training
Assistance with vocational rehabilitation and integrating pain management into the workplace.
It should be noted that these techniques are not intended to cure pain. What they can do is help you to become more active and to feel more in control of your pain. They also take time to learn and there is usually “homework” to be done outside of the consultations so that you can practice the strategies being discussed.
Pain management strategies include pain-relieving medicines, physical or occupational therapy, complementary therapies (such as acupuncture and massage) and cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT).
Studies suggest that a person’s outlook and the way they emotionally cope with long-term (chronic) pain can influence their quality of life.
Counselling can help support you to manage the emotional and psychological effects of chronic pain. Understanding the causes of your pain can help reduce your fear and anxiety.
Therapy is an effective means of assisting individuals who are experiencing pain that is unmanageable. The psychologists are Western Plains Psychology provide support, treatment and counselling in a caring environment.