Chronic pain can affect your entire life... sleep, work, parenting, socializing, housework, relationships, vacations, and even just trying to relax!
You have likely tried what seems like everything from doctors to naturopaths, diets, supplements, massage therapists, acupuncturists, chiropractors...the list goes on and on. If you are fortunate, some of it helps but sometimes, after all that effort, you are left with less money, less energy, and more pain.
I know. That was me. And my daughter.
To learn more about our chronic pain journey
How Can Counselling Help with Chronic Pain?
First of all, going to counselling for pain in no way means that your pain is "all in your head." Your pain is as real as any pain.
However, intense feelings like sadness, despair, anger, helplessness, and hopelessness can intensify your pain. Mental health support can help to process and lessen the effect of these emotions. Counselling can even help to change the brain's physical response to pain. It can help pain to feel not so painful. Often, as function and participation in life increase, and perceptions and expectations shift, the nervous system is eased and pain can start to fade into the background.
Common topics discussed in chronic pain counselling and coaching include:
understanding chronic pain
setting micro goals to slowly participate in life again without getting overwhelmed
caring for yourself
easing your nervous system and helping you to shift out of fight or flight mode
addressing the feelings of worry, hopelessness, and despair that often accompany chronic pain (these topics are addressed more thoroughly in counselling sessions)
understanding the impact of stress and anxiety on the experience of pain
negotiating responsibilities that may be affected by chronic pain (school, work, friendships, family, household duties)
gathering a team of support
Living with chronic pain can be a lonely road. It is helpful to have a supportive partner along the way, someone who knows what it is like to live with pain and who knows the way to living well again.