Let’s talk chronic pain. 1 in 5 Australians live with chronic pain, the impact of which extends far beyond daily physical discomfort. Chronic pain can affect an individual’s whole life and the lives of those around them. They can experience difficulties with:
- Social interactions
- Personal relationships
- Mental health
- Occupational functioning
- Physical capabilities
Difficulty in these areas often contributes to feeling a loss of independence and even a loss of sense of self. Adjusting to changes in functioning can take time – many tasks we take for granted have to be re-learned and people may start treating the individual differently as well.
Chronic pain may be physical but it can have a huge psychological toll, often being associated with episodes of depression or anxiety. Psychology sessions can therefore play an important part in adjusting to life with chronic pain. Sessions can help with:
- Learning about chronic pain and the body’s reaction to it.
- Incorporating relaxation techniques into daily life.
- Discussing how to manage issues with sleep.
- Implementing behavioural changes to adjust to the body’s new capabilities and encourage positive coping strategies.
- Raising insight into any negative thoughts and trying to challenge or balance them.
- Rediscovering a sense of self or a sense of purpose when there have been role changes.
- Identifying good support systems and healthy lifestyle choices.