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Chronic Pain and Your Emotions

What is normal?
Chronic pain can be very challenging to deal with both physically and emotionally. In fact, research studies have found that emotional distress (including symptoms of anxiety and depression) is so highly associated with chronic pain, it can be considered a normal or expected part of chronic pain.

What if I don't do anything about it?
Unfortunately, chronic pain is often only considered a physical issue and the emotional challenges of dealing with chronic pain are overlooked or ignored. A chronic pain condition can result in patients feeling overwhelmed, isolated and unfairly judged by others. Negative thoughts like "I am a burden" and "I am a failure" can also creep into your mind. As time goes on you may question your ability to cope with your pain because no matter how hard you try, you just can't seem to get an edge over your pain. The coping strategies you used successfully for most of your life may not work when you attempt to use them to cope with your chronic pain.

What helps?
Periods of feeling stressed, depressed and anxious are a normal part of dealing with chronic pain. However, if these feelings begin to take over and don't go away, they can also become chronic. Unfortunately, using your usual coping strategies to deal with chronic pain is often ineffective. Without having alternative ways to respond to your chronic pain, feelings of hopelessness and powerlessness develop and your quality of life suffers. Our Wellness treatment program can help get you back on track. We will assist you in strengthening those coping strategies that work, as well as help you develop alternative coping strategies for those issues that challenge you the most. Our goal is to help you regain an acceptable quality of life and no longer be controlled by your pain.

What do I do?
Behavioral health treatment is an opportunity for you to become more active in the treatment of your chronic pain. When you participate in treatment, Dr. Peper (Director of the Wellness Program) will work with you one-on-one using your input to develop individualized pain management strategies. The focus will be on assisting you in regaining an acceptable quality of life that allows you to be you again.

What is a multidisciplinary approach?
Research results show that the best treatment for chronic pain involves a team of professionals from several specialty areas (a multidisciplinary approach). The treatment model at The Pain Center of Arizona supports this approach and behavioral health is one of these specialty areas. Our patients have the added benefit of receiving multidisciplinary treatment "under one roof." This means that medical and behavioral health treatment providers communicate and work as a team to provide the best possible treatment for our patients. Patients interested in the Wellness Program need to be referred by their pain management doctor.