Chronic Pain and Mental Wellness
Pain – physical or mental, is the most dreaded feeling. No one wants to experience it yet it is so prevalent. When pain exists persistently, it negatively impacts our physical and mental state. This article explores how chronic pain affects your mental wellness, what you can do to remove or manage the pain, as well as how to deal with the mental detriments that comes with chronic pain
Pain is necessary. It protects you and alerts you to dangers. It is also not meant to last for a long time. For some people, however, pain can be an ongoing battle, lasting for months and years, sometimes with no specific cause. Pain that lasts more than 3 months is termed as chronic pain, and this can cause some negative impact on our mental health.
How does chronic pain affect our mental health?
Living with chronic pain is stressful both on the body and on the mind. This persistent mental stress can affect your mood, thinking, and behaviour. Compounded with the physical pain, it can often bring about mental health conditions such as anxiety and depression, resulting in a low quality of life.
Chronic pain can also disrupt your day to day activities, interfering with your ability to function at work and at home. This usually leads to a decrease in the quality of your social interactions and hobbies, resulting in lower self-esteem and increased detachment with society.
it is also common for people with chronic pain to feel fatigued throughout the day due to the frequent sleep disturbances. Trouble focusing and a decrease in appetite and mood is also a common result of chronic pain.
These overwhelming negative changes can further exacerbate mental stress, creating a vicious cycle of more anxiety and depression, which leads to an increased sensation of pain.
What can you do about it?
Identify the root of your mental health conditions
Consult your doctor for underlying causes of mental issues. Talk to your doctors if you experience any symptoms associated with depression such as difficulty falling or staying asleep, lack of interest in previously enjoyed activities, low energy, or lack of motivation. An informed physician will be able to help address the problems or direct you to a place where you can get help for the decreased mental health.
Identify stress triggers.
Stress can increase your chronic pain, so identifying those triggers can help you avoid or eliminate them. For example, you may feel stressed whenever you are late for an appointment. An intervention method then can be to consciously plan ahead for appointments. When you recognize how certain actions trigger stress, you are empowered to intervene to help lessen your own pain without pain medications, increasing your confidence and self-esteem which can help increase your mental wellness and decrease chronic pain.
Share your concerns with someone your trust.
You may wish to share your feelings of uncertainty or fear with someone you trust. When you share your problems, you are inviting healthy support and empathy. You do not need to deal with this condition alone.
Join a support group.
This condition is more common than you think and there are others who are walking the same journey as you. Finding a support group and sharing similar experiences can help you find other resources to improving your condition, as well as increase your confidence in overcoming this hurdle.
Seek for an integrated care plan for pain and mental wellness.
If your mental symptoms are caused by chronic pain, look for courses of treatments that involve both a pain care physician and mental health professionals. When the chronic pain and mental concerns are monitored simultaneously, both professionals are able to communicate how each area affects the other and can find ways to profoundly help you manage both concerns.
Detect the cause of pain to seek effective pain treatments
It is important to detect and intervene your chronic pain condition as soon as you can. Finding out the underlying causes to pain can allow you to seek earlier treatment resulting in a higher rate of remission.
Singapore Paincare Center’s heatlth screening packages for pain conditions are designed for people who may be suffering from chronic pain or well people who just want to get themselves screened due to their general daily aches and pains.