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How can a therapist help with chronic pain?

A therapist treating patients for chronic pain will often work in tandem with their medical doctors to make sure individuals’ medical and emotional needs are being addressed. Once a practitioner has learned all they can about a patient’s physical and emotional state, they will design a treatment plan for that individual, which may involve teaching relaxation techniques, changing beliefs about pain and the lifestyle alterations it may require, enhancing coping skills and addressing feelings of anxiety or depression.

Who can diagnose chronic pain?

Chronic pain can be difficult to diagnose, and the cause is not always necessarily physical. A doctor who specializes in chronic pain management could direct a range of tests and examinations to determine a cause of someone’s pain. A neurologist may also be able to make a diagnosis. It’s a process that can take a good deal of time, though, so if someone continues to experience pain while waiting for a clearer diagnosis, they may want to begin psychological treatment to help them manage symptoms.

What is the best therapy type for chronic pain?

Lifestyle changes are essential for managing chronic pain, such as not smoking, limiting alcohol, and maintaining good sleep habits, a healthy diet, and an exercise routine—and therapy can help with all of this. Since stress can bring on or exacerbate pain, therapists can help patients learn breathing and meditation techniques to help manage painful episodes, and cognitive behavioral therapy strategies to cope with pain and stress and challenge unhelpful or catastrophizing thoughts.

Can you overcome chronic pain with therapy?

Different people living with chronic pain are likely to have different experiences and respond to treatment differently. But even if physical causes and symptoms persist, psychotherapy can help people better manage their condition, feel a greater sense of control, and improve their daily lives. Pain activates some of the same areas of the brain that manage emotions. Chronic pain, by triggering negative emotions, can contribute to mental health issues such as depression and anxiety. Therapy can help address these concerns.