Pain management

What is Chronic Pain

There are two main types of pain, acute and chronic pain. Acute pain usually lasts for a short time and may be associated with a disease or an injury such as a broken arm. once the injury or illness is treated the pain goes away.

Chronic Pain tends to last for a long time usually longer than three months often years. Chronic pain can be due to many conditions such as arthritis and different back conditions. It can also be caused by nerve damage in problems like fibromyalgia and spinal cord injury. Although chronic pain in ongoing it can change in intensity and may flare up after activity. Sometimes it is not possible to identify which factors have contributed towards increased pain.

People with chronic pain can become very frustrated with medical treatments to help with their symptoms. Medications for pain can often be effective in the short term but pain management is complicated with longer term use. Some medications can be sedating and reduce activity levels which does not support improved pain management. Some medications such as the opiate based ones can be addictive and the person builds tolerance so they are not as effective at the same dose.

Relaxation training has been shown to have positive effects on pain. Relaxation can reduce stress and muscle tension but more importantly is can increase the threshold at which we feel pain. So when we are truly relaxed we feel less pain. We are all unique individuals and have different ways of becoming relaxed. Some people can train to relax their muscles others may need to use distraction and activity techniques.

Chronic pain can impact on our minds making us depressed, anxious, fearful and even angry. Certain ways of thinking and feeling can then increase or cause a flare up with our pain. This does not mean the pain you feel is all in your mind. Just that your mind is not always helping you to manage the chronic pain you really have The psychologists at Barrenjoey Psychology are trained to work with chronic pain. They will help you learn to take control over your pain and make your life more enjoyable.

    If you are in crisis or require urgent care please call Lifeline on 13 11 14 or call 000 for an ambulance.