Managing Chronic Pain: How Therapy Can Improve Your Mental Health
Chronic pain is a silent epidemic affecting millions of individuals worldwide. According to Pain Canada, “eight million people in Canada live with chronic pain, a condition that affects both physical and mental health, inhibits work, play, relationships, and overall quality of life.” This is why November 5-11, 2023 is National Pain Awareness Week in Canada. It is a time to raise awareness of chronic pain and its impact on the one in five Canadians who live with this challenging condition.
Chronic pain is not just physical; it also affects your mental health. There is a complex relationship between chronic pain and mental well-being, and support from a therapist can help provide comprehensive support for those struggling with this condition. In this blog, we’ll explore what chronic pain is, how it affects your mental health, and how a therapist can be your ally.
What is chronic pain?
Chronic pain is defined as persistent pain that lasts for more than 12 weeks. It can result from various medical conditions, such as arthritis, fibromyalgia, migraines, or past injuries. Unlike acute pain, which serves as a warning signal for immediate harm, chronic pain often outlasts its usefulness and becomes a condition of its own. The physical sensations of chronic pain can range from dull aches to sharp, shooting pains, often impacting multiple areas of a person’s life.
How does chronic pain affect your mental health?
Chronic pain isn’t confined to the body; it extends its grasp into the mind. The link between chronic pain and mental health is well-established:
Depression and Anxiety: Constant pain can lead to overwhelming feelings of sadness and anxiety. The inability to engage in everyday activities and enjoy life takes a toll on your emotional well-being.
Isolation: Sufferers often withdraw from social activities and relationships due to pain, leading to isolation and loneliness.
Sleep Disturbances: Chronic pain can disrupt sleep, causing or exacerbating sleep disorders. Poor sleep quality can further deteriorate mental health.
Reduced Quality of Life: Living with chronic pain can make it challenging to maintain a good quality of life, leading to a negative impact on self-esteem and self-worth.
Emotional Distress: Chronic pain can trigger feelings of anger, frustration, and helplessness, which, over time, can lead to emotional distress.
How can a therapist help you deal with chronic pain?
Therapists at The Therapy Centre are well-equipped to support individuals dealing with chronic pain, recognizing that this multifaceted issue requires a holistic approach. Here are some ways in which therapy can assist:
Pain Management Techniques: Therapists can teach you various pain management techniques, such as mindfulness and relaxation exercises, which can help you gain control over your pain and reduce its impact on your mental health.
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT): CBT is highly effective in helping individuals reframe their thoughts and manage pain-related anxiety and depression. It empowers you with coping strategies to break the cycle of pain-induced emotional distress.
Emotional Support: Talking to a therapist provides a safe and non-judgmental space to express your feelings and frustrations. This emotional support can be invaluable in navigating the emotional toll of chronic pain.
Stress Reduction: Chronic pain often exacerbates stress. Therapists can guide you through stress reduction techniques to improve your overall well-being.
Improved Coping Skills: Therapists can help you develop adaptive coping skills to manage your pain, allowing you to regain control over your life and mental health.
3 highly recommended chronic pain specialists at The Therapy Centre:
Clinical and Rehabilitation Psychologist
Offers in-person or virtual services
Dr. Marla McGregor is a registered Psychologist who received her Ph.D. from the University of Toronto. She has also recently undergone extensive training in Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing Therapy (EMDR), an empirically validated and best-practice approach for trauma and stress. She has extensive experience assessing and treating individuals who have been involved in a car accident and are struggling with issues such as chronic pain, phobias, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression and other interpersonal problems.
Clinical and Rehabilitation Psychologist (Autonomous) & Clinical Neuropsychologist (Supervised Practice)
Offers virtual services throughout Ontario
Dr. Mich Monette completed their Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology with a specialization in Clinical Neuropsychology at the University of Windsor. She provides both assessment and treatment services to adults. Mich is experienced in the assessment and treatment of adults with mood and anxiety disorders, and has a special interest in chronic pain, chronic illness, and medically complex cases. She has experience treating the mental and cognitive impacts of TBI, post-concussion syndrome, long COVID, and most medical conditions that impact mental and cognitive functioning.
Clinical & Counselling Psychologist
Offers in-person or virtual services
Dr. Padda is a registered Psychologist who received her Master’s degree in Counselling from the University of Toronto, and her Doctorate in Applied Clinical Psychology (Psy.D) from the Chicago School of Professional Psychology, Irvine California. Dr. Padda is a certified perinatal mental health clinician, with a focus on prenatal/postnatal mental health, infertility, child loss and grief. Dr. Padda’s 12+ years of clinical experience and areas of interest also include mood disorders, anxiety disorders, trauma and PTSD stress, emergency / first responder services, chronic pain, relational issues, academic-related anxiety, and inter-generational conflict.
Do you suffer from mental health issues caused by chronic pain?
Chronic pain is a challenging condition that affects not only the body but also the mind. It’s essential to understand that seeking help from a therapist can be a crucial part of your journey to manage chronic pain and enhance your mental health.
The Therapy Centre offers a compassionate and professional team that can support you through this challenging time. We are a full-service practice that works with children, teens, adults, seniors, couples and families. We are comprised of dedicated clinicians with extensive professional training, including psychologists, registered social workers, psychotherapists, and a dietitian.
Our offices are located across the Greater Toronto and Hamilton area, at 2525 Old Bronte Road in Oakville, 849 Upper Wentworth Street in Hamilton, and in Toronto at 1849 Yonge St (Yonge and Davisville). We offer both in-person and Virtual Telehealth services, including secure phone sessions and videoconferencing.
Contact our team today at (289) 291-0205 or firstname.lastname@example.orgBack