Managing chronic pain can be challenging, but it is possible to find relief without resorting to medication or suffering from side effects. One effective approach is cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), a form of talk therapy that can help people cope with the emotional, physical and psychological impacts of chronic pain.
Pain is an important part of the body’s normal functioning. It signals disturbance or damage in the body, helps prevent further injury to the afflicted area and promotes physiological homeostasis. However, pain can become a negative aspect of life when it becomes chronic and no longer serves its purpose. When pain becomes a major problem, it can lead to depression, poor work performance, social isolation and sleep issues. In addition, pain can also increase sensitivity to other mood disorders, such as anxiety and depression, which can then further exacerbate the pain.
This is the cycle that many people with pain find themselves in. In addition, there are other factors that can contribute to the development of chronic pain, including stress, family and job problems, loss of independence, financial issues and more. These additional stressors can make the pain even worse, which can then cause people to feel like they will never get better.
CBT is a form of psychotherapy that teaches patients to recognize unhelpful beliefs and behaviors, replace them with healthier ones and engage in positive activities that can boost resilience. The goal is to improve quality of life and reduce pain-related disability. Studies on this type of treatment show that it is associated with improved mood, less catastrophizing, and greater coping ability, and can lead to significant improvement in symptoms.
Unlike traditional therapies, which often involve sitting on a psychiatrist’s couch and talking through a problem, CBT is more of a skills training approach. “It teaches you to take control of your pain and manage the other things that go along with it,” Hullett says. “This is something you can take with you throughout your life and apply to everything.”
In addition to addressing the impact of pain, the program teaches patients how to handle intense emotions, such as fear, anger, sadness and loneliness, and encourages participants to try new coping mechanisms. These coping strategies can include relaxation, meditation, yoga, exercise, group support, meaning-making activities, humor, religion and faith and more.
Most CBT programs for pain management consist of weekly sessions that last between 45 minutes and two hours. The sessions are typically individualized, and therapists may ask questions, prompt discussions and give patients specific homework to complete between sessions. Typical treatment requires between eight and 24 sessions, with occasional booster sessions. During these sessions, patients will also learn how to manage other conditions that can come along with pain, such as depression, anxiety and sleep problems. In addition, the program provides tools to identify and use helpful coping resources. This includes self improvement action plans, Hinge questions to open the door to possibilities, a comprehensive resource guide and more.
Chiropractic therapy is a natural and effective way to manage pain and improve overall well-being. By focusing on realigning the spine and restoring the body’s balance, chiropractic care addresses the root causes of pain rather than merely masking the symptoms. As a non-invasive and drug-free approach, it provides a safe and sustainable option for individuals seeking lasting pain relief. Whether it’s back pain, neck discomfort, headaches, or joint issues, chiropractic therapy offers a holistic and empowering path to managing pain and living a healthier, pain-free life. If you are considering chiropractic care for pain management, consult with a qualified chiropractor in Atlanta to determine the most suitable treatment plan for your specific condition and health needs.