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Chronic Pain Management

What is Chronic Pain?

When there is a painful condition that has been difficult to resolve and has lasted for several months or more, this is called Chronic Pain.

Chronic pain can be the result of many different problems or conditions. It can result from injuries, disease, neurological conditions, vascular problems and orthopedic problems. Back pain is one of the most common types of chronic pain conditions.

Anyone can have a chronic pain condition. As a result, we often think of chronic pain as an “abnormal” situation that is imposed on a “normal” person. The individual must now learn to function and cope with the condition.

Research tells us that while pain is physical, the experience of pain is mental, emotional, psychological and behavioral. When chronic pain is experienced, one’s thoughts can easily lead to feelings like fear and anxiety, sadness, frustration and anger. In effect, these individuals become more psychologically vulnerable. It is common for people suffering from chronic pain to become depressed at some point as a result of the loss of function.

Chronic pain can cause a variety of problems for individuals and their families. Sleep, activity level, mood, concentration and memory, work, finances, family and social life can all be impacted. Some of the medications prescribed for pain can also put patients at risk for developing abuse or dependence problems if they are not careful.

A Comprehensive Approach to Pain Management

When pain interferes with living life the way you wish, it is time for a comprehensive approach to the management of your pain. Overall, the goals of pain management are to reduce the intensity, frequency and duration of pain levels that interfere with functioning. Managing pain does not mean going without medication. What it does mean is balancing the amount of medication one takes with the level of functioning one needs to have. Too much medicine may alleviate pain but make it difficult to function because of side-effects. Too little medicine leaves too much pain to function.

Your pain management psychologist at BHI will work collaboratively with your physicians as part of your pain management team to provide the best care possible for your condition. We want to help you learn to manage your pain so that you can enjoy life as much as possible. Whether it is getting back to work or getting down on the floor to play with your grandchildren, we are here to help you achieve realistic goals.

Some people may be considering the use of spinal cord stimulators or intrathecal pumps as part of their treatment by their pain management physician. In these cases, the physician will require a psychological evaluation before the device can be implanted. The evaluation is not conducted because anyone believes the pain is “all in your head”. Rather, the evaluation is done as part of the comprehensive evaluation and to make sure it is safe to go ahead with the procedure. The psychologists at BHI have conducted many of these evaluations and will be able to work with your physician on this too.

Chronic pain and its management can be very complex. To learn more about psychological treatment options for managing chronic pain, please contact our office at 954-340-0888.

For additional information, you may also want to look at the following websites:

   www.PainAndMentalHealth.com
   www.theacpa.org