Thursday, January 19, 2012

Psychological Therapy for Chronic Pain

Chronic pain sufferers sometimes cannot find relief with their existing drug and physical therapy/exercise routine.  Instead of feeling relief, patients often feel over-medicated and/or sedated by their drug use.  Since this lack of relief is a relatively common occurrence, the disease is gaining more press and some patients are finding relief through other publicized mediums.  One of these alternative pathways is through a psychological approach of cognitive-behavioral therapy.  Cognitive-behavioral therapy, or CBT, is a type of therapy that allows patients to reflect on how you think about and manage your pain mentally.  From that reflection, you then reconstruct your thinking and modify your behavior to reduce stress, manage anxiety, and improve quality and duration of sleep (lack of sleep is extremely common in sufferers of chronic pain).

CBT  has been shown in recent studies to be more effective than standard care in managing pain.  One study compared patients who exercised, patients who exercised and used CBT, and patients who only used CBT.  The CBT and CBT/exercise groups reported the highest improvement in their well-being (37% and 33%, respectively).  This therapy is also effective because it is short in duration, lasting only 8-10 sessions, and attacks the cognitive aspects of pain from the angles of behavioral activation, lifestyle change, and cognitive restructuring.  These aspects aim to improve the occurrence of fun and rewarding activities, identifying and eliminating negative thoughts, and improving diet and exercise habits.  

CBT could be a great complement to a chronic pain sufferer's existing pain management regimen if done properly and with commitment.  If you are interested in seeking CBT therapy, you might want to consult with your pain management physician.

If you would like more information about this page or central Pennsylvania attorney Doug Stoehr's areas of practice, contact our Altoona, Pennsylvania, law firm by calling 814-946-4100.

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