Did you know that chronic pain and mental health are closely linked? In fact, approximately 50 percent of people who suffer from chronic pain also experience some form of mental illness. This number is even higher for people with chronic pain who also have a disability.
While the relationship between chronic pain and mental health is complex, it is clear that both conditions can impact each other in a variety of ways. Understanding these links can help you deal with your chronic pain.
What Is Chronic Pain?
Chronic pain is defined as any type of ongoing pain that persists beyond the normal healing process and interferes with a person’s ability to function normally. In other words, it is a long-lasting condition that can have a significant influence on your life. Chronic pain doesn’t go away or get better on its own. Most people have to learn how to manage their chronic pain so they can continue living their lives as normally as possible.
What is Mental Health?
Mental health is a fairly broad term that refers to your psychological well-being and your ability to function in daily life. Poor mental health doesn’t necessarily mean that you have a mental illness, although it can increase your risk of developing one. In general, it refers to how well you handle stress and other emotional challenges, how motivated you are in life, and the amount of support you receive from friends and family members. These factors all play a role in managing chronic pain too.
In fact, mental health problems are known for creating barriers that can prevent people from staying active and finding relief from chronic pain. This is because problems with mood, stress, or motivation can increase your risk of developing chronic pain conditions. The reverse is also true—people who have a long history of chronic pain are at greater risk for mental health issues as well.
How Mental and Emotional Health is Affected by Chronic Pain
Many individuals who live with chronic pain experience some type of negative emotion, such as anger or frustration, because of the pain they are experiencing on a daily basis. If you are living with chronic pain, it is important to understand that depression and anxiety are common reactions to this type of condition. In fact, research has found that having both chronic pain and mental health issues can have a profound effect on the overall quality of life.
As you would expect, chronic pain can significantly impact your mental health. This is because it affects how you think about yourself, the life you are living, and what your future may hold. It can also change your concentration levels, force you to focus more on pain than other activities, and affect the quality of relationships with family members, friends, and even your employer.
Ways to Manage Pain and Mental Health Conditions
Living with both chronic pain and mental health issues can be very difficult. However, it is possible to manage this condition by doing the following:
- Taking medication prescribed by your doctor for either condition
- Participating in psychotherapy or counseling sessions
- Engaging in stress-reducing activities, such as yoga or meditation
- Exercising regularly
- Eating a healthy diet that is full of fresh fruits and vegetables
If you are living with chronic pain and struggling with your mental and emotional health, it is important to talk to your doctor about any treatment options as well as the possible side effects of those treatments. Additionally, receiving proper treatment can make it easier for you to manage your pain. You should also consider seeing a therapist who specializes in chronic pain management. Working with a therapist can help increase your pain tolerance, improve your coping skills and reduce feelings of depression or anxiety.
Do you suffer from chronic pain? SEPSC is here to help. We specialize in treating chronic pain and can help you find relief from your symptoms. Contact us today to schedule a consultation and learn more about our services.