Are you one of the millions of people living with chronic pain? Are you wondering if therapy for chronic pain may help?
Living with chronic pain is incredibly difficult. The pain may be confined to one site on your body, such as your lower back, or it may be all over, such as in most major joints. Either way, living with pain every day can have a major impact on your life.
You may feel like you’ll never have another day without pain again which is a pretty scary thought. You might feel frustrated that you can’t do the things you used to do, whether it’s running a marathon, standing up to bake a cake, riding a bike, or chasing your grandchildren around the backyard. It can be really isolating to feel like nobody else understands what you are going through. You have tried everything from surgery to medication to physical therapy to yoga and yet you feel like nothing works. You have noticed that you are feeling more and more depressed or angry.
You’d like to find a way to get back some of what you used to have and to feel more like your old self. Finding ways to get through your day without exacerbating the pain at every turn would make a huge difference. You want to be able to do something you enjoy without the fear of being out of commission for a week after because you made the pain worse. Getting a good night’s sleep without being up all night in pain would make a world of difference in your life.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for chronic pain can help.
Doesn’t everyone feel pain sometimes?
Yes! Experiencing pain is normal. Usually the pain from a small injury, such as stubbing your toe, will resolve fairly quickly. This is what is known as acute pain. Our bodies are built to react to injury in certain ways and pain is part of the response. Thanks to modern medicine, we have some pretty effective ways to treat acute pain, including over-the-counter medications. However some people experience pain, whether it’s from an injury or has no known cause, that lasts for more than 3 months. This is what is called chronic pain. Up until recently, we didn’t have great treatment for chronic pain. Thankfully, there’s been a great deal of research in the last few years and we now have more insight into how to better manage chronic pain, including the use of cognitive behavioral therapy.
I have an actual injury or condition; this is not all in my head. How would therapy help me?
Your pain is real and it is not all in your head! Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Chronic Pain, or CBT-CP, won’t get rid of your pain. What CBT-CP can do though is help you cope with the pain differently. Therapy includes learning behaviors that may result in lower pain levels and learning skills for coping with the emotions that some people may experience when they are living with chronic pain, including depression, anxiety, and anger.
What will therapy be like?
The first 2-4 sessions will be the assessment phase. This is where we will get to know each other and really hone in on what your goals of treatment are. After that, we will start the treatment phase which typically lasts 8-20 sessions, although some people need more and some need less.
In therapy, I will work with you to identify your unhelpful thoughts and beliefs about your pain and find ways to replace them with more adaptive thoughts. I will also teach you new skills and behaviors to try to increase your quality of life and to decrease your pain levels when we can. These may include things like relaxation exercises, activity pacing, and behavioral activation.
How do I start CBT for Chronic Pain?
If you are interested in learning more about CBT for Chronic Pain or starting therapy for your own concerns with pain, please contact me today!