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Using Cognitive Behavioral Therapy To Manage Chronic Pain

Author: Danielle Purnell

Using cognitive behavioral therapy to manage chronic pain

On many occasions, much is made of the fact that pain is centered almost entirely in the mind. Of course, this is true - it is the result of electrical impulses carried along pathways of nerves back and forth between the brain and a given part of the body.

However, as interesting as it might be to discuss objectively when it's not an issue, when you're suffering from it you probably aren't thinking much about its mental origins and are more concentrated on thinking, "This really hurts and I want it to stop."

Those who suffer from chronic pain of any kind are, in all likelihood, experiencing this with much more intensity. If such pain has lasted for six months or more, the degree of the pain is almost immaterial - the mere fact that it's persisted for so long is every bit as troubling as its level of severity.

Interestingly enough, a focus on the brain could be the ticket out for patients with chronic pain. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), a therapeutic method becoming particularly common in recent years, can have a considerable level of success in patients with persistent discomfort that stems from no currently extant injury or illness.

During these situations, after the injury or ailment that caused initial pain has healed or passed, the nerves carrying the related impulses may become so accustomed to doing so that they continue to send those messages of discomfort.

By its very nature, which is focused on addressing problems through behavioral adjustments and a reasoned, talk-based approach, CBT has the potential to teach patients with chronic pain how best to manage their physical and mental feelings that are causing them such distress. Combined with guidance regarding the proper use of pain medication and the right physical activities to engage in, this form of therapy can be just the solution that a pain-plagued individual needs. 

In Brief

  • On many occasions, much is made of the fact that pain is centered almost entirely in the mind.

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