Is Chronic Pain All in My Head?

While the sudden pain that accompanies injuries fades away with time, some trauma can lead to longer-lasting pain that doesn’t go away. In fact, chronic pain affects more than 100 million Americans. That’s more than diabetes, heart disease, and cancer put together.

For people diagnosed with chronic pain resulting from an injury at work, workers’ compensation can help ease the burden, but it’s still difficult to lead a normal a life.

While all pain is real, the connection between the mind and body means that emotions and thoughts can impact the experience of pain. Here our experts clear up common misconceptions about the connection between the mind and the body in the context of chronic pain.

All pain is real

First, it’s important to know that pain is real. When you’re injured and experiencing chronic pain, it’s easy to feel pressured into minimizing your pain or feeling as if your suffering is all in your head. Because a person’s experience of pain can’t be measured from the outside, others may question whether you really have pain. While the experience of pain is subjective, chronic pain is real and individuals suffering from chronic pain are often impacted in their daily lives.

Chronic pain and workers compensation

When you have an injury, such as a broken arm, it’s easy to see the injury on an X-ray. However, if you injure your back on the job and develop a chronic pain condition as a result, it’s not as simple as undergoing an imaging study to see that you’re in chronic pain. This can lead to an initial denial of workers’ compensation.

The team at WolMed has extensive experience with workers’ compensation injuries and knows firsthand the toll chronic pain can take on a person’s life. Our goal is to assist you in rehabilitating as quickly and fully as possible at our state-of-the-art facility staffed with physical therapists, kinesiologists, massage therapists, and licensed counselors. The goal is to document your chronic pain through medical tests and history so that you can get the help you need.

The brain and chronic pain

Chronic pain can occur from repeat work injuries or can be triggered after the initial injury has resolved. The sensation of pain is both physiological and psychological, meaning your mind does play a role in how you perceive pain.

For instance, psychological stress is commonly known to aggravate chronic pain conditions. Your thoughts influence the circuitry that interprets all kinds of sensations, including pain. In this way, there’s a two-way connection between the mind and body, both influencing one another.

Using the mind to manage chronic pain

The professionals at WolMed can put together a chronic pain treatment plan that includes physical rehabilitation as well as mindfulness techniques to help you manage your chronic pain. Mind-body therapies have the capacity to alleviate chronic pain and alter the way you perceive it, so that you can recover.

Deep breathing techniques, for example, positively influence the central nervous system and can dial down the pain signals being sent from your nerve fibers to your brain. Eliciting a relaxation response can also trigger the body to release its own pain-relieving chemicals. Our licensed therapist can work with you on positive thinking strategies that retrain your focus, to help dull pain sensations.

If you’re one of the millions of Americans impacted by chronic pain, WolMed can help. For effective pain management, call one of our offices in Denton or Dallas, Texas, and speak with our friendly staff. Or click the button to book your appointment online today.

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