Thrive Psychology

Persistent Chronic Pain

What is Persistent Pain?

Pain is either acute or persistent (chronic). Acute pain is due to an injury that is generally healed within a 3 month period. Persistent pain is more complex and the pain will extend beyond 3 months. Persistent pain can lead to additional problems, such as depression, anxiety, relationship breakdowns, fatigue, anger, drug dependency. These things in turn can increase the perception of pain being experienced, making a vicious circle that feels never ending.

What are the symptoms of Persistent Pain?

Persistent pain is characterized by the following symptoms:
  • Mild to severe pain that does not go away
  • Pain described as shooting, burning, aching or electrical
ain described as shooting, burning, aching or electrical Other symptoms can include:
  • Changes in sleep pattern
  • Withdrawal from activities
  • Weakened immune system
  • Changes in mood
  • Physical disability due to injury impairment

What causes Persistent Pain?

This is a complex question. In some cases there is a direct cause for the appearance of pain, for others there is no obvious biological/physical explanation for the degree of pain being experienced. Psychology plays an important role in managing persistent pain - this is not to say a person is imagining the pain - or that the pain is 'in their head' - but there are many factors that can be addressed with psychology, that reduce the perception of pain being experienced.

How can Persistent Pain be treated?

Persistent pain can be treated through a variety of measures, to various degrees of success. Medical can include: medications, acupuncture, nerve blocks, surgery, electrical stimulation, physiotherapy. Psychological can include: relaxation and meditation techniques, learning to pace activities, functional education, psychoeducation of the foundation of pain and it's impact specifically to the client. Pain management through psychology has proven to be highly successful and should be given due consideration.

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