It’s common for mental health issues and chronic pain to coexist. In fact, research indicates that mental health issues and chronic pain may intensify one another.
People who have chronic pain are more likely to experience despair, anxiety, and substance use disorders. Sleep issues, elevated stress levels, and depression are all consequences of chronic pain. Consult with an best Clinical Psychologist to learn more about chronic pain and mental health.
Chronic pain and mental health illnesses have molecular pathways in common, which adds to their relationship. One illustration of this connection is how depression can increase one’s sensitivity to pain.
Link between physical pain and mental health
Pain also has a psychological component. Chronic pain sufferers are far more likely to encounter mood and anxiety disorders.
Chronic pain that persists over time might make you feel hopeless and sad, nervous as you worry about your condition, or addicted to painkillers. Your pain may then become worse as a result of these feelings.
While stress causes muscle tension and inflammation, which worsens pain, depression can both cause and make pain worse. Therefore, it is possible to become trapped in a cycle of both physical and emotional suffering, with each aggravating the other.
How chronic pain affects your mood?
You may feel poor self-worth or even shame if your chronic pain makes it difficult for you to contribute at work or at home. You can experience miscommunication, rejection, or exclusion from activities. Physical discomfort may also keep you up at night and prevent you from falling asleep. Perhaps it’s hard for you to picture a time when pain won’t limit you. All of this causes psychological turmoil, which exacerbates the pain in the body.
There is no method to get rid of chronic discomfort. It may frequently be the result of an untreatable illness. You can, however, spend some time to comprehend pain and its connection to mental health. Then, you can discover self-help techniques and expert treatment alternatives that can assist you in leading a fulfilling life free from chronic pain or a dependency on painkillers.
Causes of chronic pain
All of us have gone through brief periods of pain. You might have cut your finger while cooking, hurt your ankle while jogging, or bruised your arm while moving furniture. Acute or chronic pain, in contrast to the pain associated with typical accidents, can linger for months or even years. This discomfort may be a constant sensation that consumes your life day and night, or it may be a problem that comes and goes but never truly goes away.
The first step in controlling your chronic pain and any resulting mental anguish is figuring out what is causing it. The following are some typical causes of chronic pain and how they relate to mental health:
- Back/neck issues: This pain can be particularly upsetting and negatively affect your mood and well-being in chronic cases. Neck and back discomfort are strongly associated with both depression and anxiety, according to research. For instance, the inability to sleep may make you more stressed if a back issue causes nighttime agony. You then experience a stiff neck as a result of being under a lot of stress. You could gradually come to feel trapped in a cycle of physical discomfort, lack of sleep, and emotional distress.
- Arthritis: The cartilage between your bones degrades over time, leading to osteoarthritis, the most prevalent kind of arthritis. Additionally typical is rheumatoid arthritis. It is an autoimmune disorder that causes swelling around the joints. Either condition may result in excruciating discomfort. In places such as your hips or knees, you might experience a dull discomfort or scorching agony. Or your hands could swell and you might feel like someone is stabbing you.
- Cancer: As a tumour puts pressure on nerves or damages bones, cancer can cause discomfort. Pain can be a side effect of cancer treatment, including operations, chemotherapy, and radiation.
Unfortunately, those same mental health issues might reduce your chances of beating cancer if they are not treated. For instance, a mounting sensation of helplessness could influence you to deny medical care or disobey your doctor’s advice. The physical strain brought on by illnesses like depression and anxiety can also be taxing on a body that is already vulnerable.
Tips for managing chronic pain
- Low impact exercise: The therapeutic effects of exercise are beneficial for both the body and the psyche. Your brain releases dopamine and endorphins during exercise, which improves your mood. Additionally, studies have shown that exercise might lessen inflammation, enhance sleep, and lessen discomfort. All of those advantages can act as an antidote to the vicious cycle of persistent pain and mental anguish.
- Doing mindful exercise: Focusing on the present moment while avoiding judgement is the practise of mindfulness. When it comes to managing chronic pain, mindfulness can assist you in accepting unpleasant bodily sensations, which can alter how serious you perceive the pain to be. In other words, mindfulness might be able to reduce the perceived severity of the pain.
- Improve your sleep: You may already be aware of the negative effects that sleep deprivation or poor sleep quality can have on your mood and general state of mind. In addition, a 2019 study found that sleep deprivation may make you more sensitive to pain. If you have a condition that produces varied degrees of chronic discomfort, this might be very challenging. For instance, if you have fibromyalgia, not getting enough sleep will simply make your discomfort worse the next day.
- Build social support: More social interaction with friends and family can aid in managing chronic pain. Your nervous system becomes calmer and your stress levels drop when you socialise. Additionally, it can lessen emotions of loneliness and depression. Your discomfort may become less severe when that mental tension subsides. Feel free to take help from an Best Psychologist near me and feel better.