Archive for "June, 2016"

How Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Can Help with Managing Chronic Pain

blog, Pain Management Jun 22, 2016 No Comments

You have likely heard of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy as a treatment for people who are suffering with anxiety and panic disorders, or with moderate to severe depression. While CBT was originally developed for emotional disorders, it may surprise you to learn that this approach can also be helpful for people with chronic pain from conditions like fibromyalgia or diabetic neuropathy. Here are some things you need to know about this type of treatment, how it can help with the pain, and why it works well in tandem with other methods.

Understanding the Basics

The underlying premise associated with CBT is that the range of negative emotions triggered by your health issue magnifies the pain you are experiencing. For example, the fact that you are living with fibromyalgia every day of your life leads to feelings of isolation, remorse, anger, and a host of other negative reactions. While it’s perfectly understandable that you would experience these and other emotions, they are actually making the pain worse.

Choosing to see a therapist and engage in a series of treatments using CBT is intended to help you gain more control of your emotions. As you begin to eliminate them one by one, that leaves room for more positive thinking. While your pain does not go away completely, you find that it interferes with your life less, and you find it easier to manage.

3 Domains of CBT

Thoughts

The thinking that goes on inside is the cognition domain and refers to all that happens inwardly, such as thoughts, images, memories, dreams, beliefs, attitudes, and where attention goes. All of these can contribute to negative thinking.

Feelings

This includes emotional and physical feelings and how an individual might understand and cope with them. Emotions can cause symptoms such as sleep disturbances, fatigue, and eating changes.

Behavior

This domain includes the way in which thoughts and feelings might make a situation worse, such as avoiding certain activities that would help to improve mood. It might also include the behavior that only leads to worsening mood, feelings, and thoughts, such as ruminating or berating oneself.

The way one responds to circumstances in life can have an influence on mood and feelings and thoughts. For instance, if Timothy was let go from his job after 14 years, he could either experience depressive thoughts, such as thinking that they no longer needed him or that he was letting his family down. Of course, this in turn would trigger certain feelings such as depression, discomfort, and hopelessness. And this in turn might lead to avoiding friends and family or activities he used to enjoy. And, of course, all of this could contribute to the experience of chronic pain.

However, he might see it as an opportunity to make a change in his life. He might have a positive thought about all the skills he has acquired over the years and how he can apply them elsewhere. As a result, he might feel optimistic, excited, and motivated, and he might start behaving in ways to acquire that new opportunity such as networking, planning for the future, and building a new career.

The difference in this example began in the way that Timothy inwardly responded to his circumstances. CBT would assist Timothy in finding the thoughts that might have led to depression or anxiety or stress, all of which can lead to chronic pain, and change those towards positive ones in order to change his life.

CBT in Action

In order for the treatments to have effect, it’s necessary for you to identify the emotions that are complicating your condition. As is true in many aspects of life, a problem that is given a name is easier to address than one that remains unknown or at least a little fuzzy in the mind. As part of the time you spend with the therapist, you will learn to examine each emotion as it appears.

Perhaps you suffer with a lot of discomfort in your feet and lower legs thanks to the neuropathy brought on by your type 2 diabetes. The stinging sensation coupled with areas that are numb leave you feeling discouraged and somehow less of a person. The therapist will have you zero in on those negative thoughts and consciously make the effort to replace them with positive ones. In this scenario, instead of discouragement and a sense of being inferior, you will seek to remind yourself that you still have all of your toes, you can still walk, and that your mind is just as sharp as it ever was. In other words, the pain triggered by the neuropathy is not enough to control every aspect of your life.

Using It For Pain Management

The use of cognitive behavioral therapy for pain management has three basic components:

Making the Connection

The first is helping patients understand the connection between thoughts, emotions, and their pain. This in turn can empower a patient to have more control over the pain they experience.

Coping with Pain

The second part of using CBT for pain management is providing coping techniques to use when pain becomes intense. Some of these coping mechanisms are relaxation techniques and the use of cues that immediately bring on a relaxed state. Using these tools can help to decrease muscle tension, reduce emotional stress, and divert attention away from stress. This also includes helping a patient find the thought pattern that contributes to the pain. Monitoring and documenting thoughts helps to easily identify the connections between them and the specific reactions to certain events in the day. For instance, if John wasn’t able to meet the expectations of his boss, and as a result had the thought, “I am worthless,” this might lead to feeling shameful and perhaps to worse pain in the body. Replacing thoughts with those that are more life affirming can facilitate pain relief.

Problem Solving

This component of CBT is the application of skills in daily life. For instance, learning when to use the techniques learned when pain flares up and becomes intense. Clinicians and patients might develop a plan together in order to manage chronic pain while not in treatment.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy can be an essential ingredient in pain management.  In fact, it is widely being used for a variety of physical and psychological illness, in addition to facilitating mental wellbeing, reducing anxiety, minimizing depression, and managing emotional and physical pain.

Progress and Setbacks

Like any type of treatment for physical or mental distress, CBT does not make everything all better after one or two treatments. You may experience setbacks along the way. Don’t beat yourself up if discarding negative thinking does not come easy at first. Many people require time to make the transition to a more positive frame of mind.

When you do have a day when it seems that no amount of effort has an impact, tell your therapist all about it. You will most likely be reminded of the days when you were able to reverse your thought processes and the pain was easier to manage.

Remember that CBT does not cure the underlying physical cause of the pain. That’s not its purpose. What it will do is provide you with a powerful tool that helps lessen the pain and its impact on your life. You will still make use of medication to deal with the underlying symptoms, although you are likely to find that the need to take something specifically for the pain will diminish.

 

If you are reading this on any other blog than Comprehensive Pain Management Center or via my RSS Feed, it is stolen content without credit. You can find us  on Twitter via @CompPainMgmt. Come and visit our blog at http://comprehensivepainmanagementcenter.com/blog/.

Back Pain Relief Without Drugs or Surgery

Back Pain, blog Jun 09, 2016 No Comments

Millions of people in America suffer from some sort of back pain issue. Most of them seek out doctors who will suggest risky surgeries or prescribe dangerous medications to immediately alleviate the pain that their patients experience. An increasing number of physicians now inform patients about an effective, alternative healing mechanism that has been around for ages. That healing mechanism is the human body itself. Here are some of the top ways to activate the body’s healing properties and get back pain relief; side effects could include a lifetime of joy and well-being.

Eat Clean, Nutrient-Rich Foods

Plant-based foods have been acknowledged as powerful medicine since ancient times. These foods are normally full of nutrients that are easily absorbed by the body and are known to give back pain relief. These nutrients are needed to help the body function and heal itself. Since many back pain problems stem from chronic inflammation, back pain sufferers should focus on eating lots of fresh, raw produce and foods that have anti-inflammatory properties. Some foods that should take center stage in their diets are broccoli, turmeric, ginger, walnuts and blueberries. Foods that are known to trigger inflammatory reactions in the body are artificial ingredients, coffee, alcohol, refined sugars, meats, dairy products, eggs and grains.

Get Adequate Sleep

Sleep is an important aspect of the body’s healing process because it is the time when the body can fully repair strained or damaged muscles. Going to bed early and sleeping on firm surfaces facilitate better sleep. Also, the healing process during sleep is enhanced when the body does not have to concentrate on digestive processes or excretory functions.

Exercise Regularly

Moving around is likely the last thing that someone wants to do who is suffering from back pain, but exercise that is performed properly and regularly promotes healing. Back pain sufferers achieve the best results by consulting with physical therapists who can customize exercise regimes that accommodate specific ailments.

Obtain Proper Alignment

Chronic back pain may have its roots in poor posture or spine alignment. Licensed chiropractors effectively diagnose back pain issues and recommend non-invasive, alignment protocols that produce dramatic results. These doctors also recommend stretching and exercise techniques that strengthen back muscles and act as a defense against future back pain.

Indulge in Therapeutic Massage

Massage therapists who specialize in sports injury massage can target the right muscles and provide back pain relief. The protocols that are followed during injury massage therapy improve blood circulation within the body which brings more nutrients and oxygen to injured areas within the back. When injury massage therapy is performed regularly, it speeds the body’s overall healing processes.

Commit to Intermittent Fasting

While some areas in the world are experiencing famine, most Americans eat too much of the wrong foods regularly. This type of lifestyle leads to obesity and many degenerative diseases. The best way to stop this detrimental cycle is to remove junk foods from the diet. After establishing healthy eating habits, one should try fasting once or twice per week. The fasting period gives the body a break from digesting foods, and its energy is refocused on healing. While many celebrities are doing intermittent fasting for weight loss and anti-aging benefits, back pain sufferers are finding some relief from the practice as well.

Engage in Daily Prayer

The body is a temple that houses the spirit that came into existence through the Creator. When a person meditates on their Creator, their spirit is filled with light, peace and joy. That is the environment where optimal healing occurs within the spirit, soul and body.

These are only a couple of options for back pain relief. Talk to your doctor to learn about other relief options.

If you are reading this on any other blog than Comprehensive Pain Management Center or via my RSS Feed, it is stolen content without credit. You can find us  on Twitter via @CompPainMgmt. Come and visit our blog at http://comprehensivepainmanagementcenter.com/blog/.

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