Chronic pain is defined as an unpleasant sensory and emotional experience associated with actual or potential tissue damage. Unlike short-term (acute) pain, chronic pain can last for months or even years and can be present without a clear cause.
It is estimated that 20 per cent of Australians live with chronic pain; an invisible illness, which can have a profoundly debilitating and far-reaching effect on the sufferers’ life. Chronic pain can often result in a decline in mental health and quality of life, feelings of depression, anxiety, anger, grief and inadequacy, suicide attempts, a loss of or interruption to employment, financial strain, social isolation and can create tension and conflict in relationships with family and friends.
Who can help me cope with my pain?
A visit to your GP is usually the first step to managing your pain. A GP can provide you with a diagnosis and information on your condition. A GP is also able to make appropriate referrals to other health professionals such as psychologists, physiotherapists, occupational therapists and pain specialists. These health care professionals often work together to develop a customised pain management plan that is suitable for you.
So what is the good news?
While the experience of chronic pain can undoubtedly be frustrating and challenging, there is support and help available to sufferers of chronic pain. Pain management specialists in varying fields, support groups and pain management programs are widely available and accessible to sufferers.
Tips for managing chronic pain
1. Establish a solid support network.
A knowledgeable and skilled team of health care professionals can both support and guide you on your journey to pain management. Community based resources can also be of assistance to you, while the support of family and friends can often be invaluable.
2. Consider making lifestyle changes
Changes in areas such diet, sleep, activity level and stress can help to improve management of chronic pain.
3. Manage your expectations
This can often be the toughest part of living with chronic pain. Where pain is not entirely curable, pain reduction and “management” is the goal of treatment, alongside an increase in level of functioning and quality of life.
Disclaimer: Content on this website is provided for education and information purposes only and is not intended to replace advise from your doctor or registered health professional. Readers are urged to consult their registered practitioner for diagnosis and treatment for their medical concerns.
Blog written by CBT Professionals Clinical Psychologist on the Gold Coast, Veronica Midon. CBT Professionals are a team of clinical psychologists on the Gold Coast with offices in Coomera and Nerang. Gold Coast CBT psychologists offer services to adults, children, and couples. Please call and make an appointment on 56 683 490.