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How Chronic Pain Can Affect You

Pain is how your body tells you that something is wrong, that you are ill or injured and should seek medical advice and treatment.  Persistent chronic pain is different, it’s not something that you’re likely to recover from, but instead something that you will need to learn to live with.

This can be hard as physical pain can leave you feeling exhausted, irritable, frustrated and generally have a negative effect on your mental health and wellbeing.  It’s believed that about 20% of the world’s population is affected by chronic pain, and that around 60% of these people have suffered with chronic depression as a result.

You can start to feel depressed when your pain is so severe that it affects the quality of your life and stops you from doing things you used to enjoy.  It can also affect your ability to work or negatively affect your personal and family relationships.

Causes

There are many reasons a person can suffer from chronic pain, either from a physical illness or the result of an accident or complications from surgery. Some of the more common reasons include:

·      Pain related to cancer

·      Gynaecological problems like endometriosis, fibroids and polycystic ovary syndrome

·      Fibromyalgia

·      Arthritis

·      As a result of past injuries or surgeries

·      Endometriosis

·      Nerve damage

·      Migraine

·      Multiple sclerosis

·      Phantom limb pain

Associated Psychological Conditions

Chronic pain can not only result in people developing depression but can also cause:

·      Anxiety

·      Stress

·      Feelings of low self-worth

·      Suicidal thoughts

·      Sleep issues

·      Substance abuse

What is Pain Management?

Pain management is simply a plan to help you cope with long term or severe pain, it can involve medication prescribed by your doctor or alternative therapies to work alongside them.  Not every kind of therapy will suit everyone and it’s really a case of trying what appeals to you the most, until you find what works the best for you.

Alternative therapies

Some of the more common forms of alternative or complimentary therapies include:

·      Acupuncture

·      Mindfulness and Meditation

·      Yoga or Pilates

·      Massage therapy

·      Reflexology or Reiki

Self-Help

Whether or not you choose to go down the route of alternative therapies there are plenty of things you can do to try and improve your health and reduce pain levels.

·      Ensure you get plenty of quality sleep as sleep deprivation can increase your pain levels.  Try to avoid naps during the day and avoid caffeine before bed.

·      Spending time in the out doors in green surroundings is an easy form of mindfulness. 

·      Try and do some form of low impact exercise like swimming or exercises sitting in a chair.

·      Following an anti-inflammation diet can be helpful and may reduce the amount of anti-inflammatory pain killers you need to take.

·      Whilst you might struggle to socialise it’s important to build a support network of people who know your limitations, and who can provide positive support on your better days and help lift your mood.

Professional Help

If you are struggling with mental health issues as a result of your pain your doctor can refer you to see a therapist who can help.  They can provide therapies such as psychotherapy, CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy) and clinical hypnotherapy, which can all help you to think more positively and learn how to manage your pain.  Written by Jan, Jeana and Wendy at Barnsley Hypnosis and Counselling (UK). For more free Information click above link.

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