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Pain Psychology
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Pain Psychology

Most members here have questions about medication.  In my opinion, narcotics and anti-inflammatory meds are just one tool in our pain management toolboxes.  So much of the success of pain management depends on our mental state.  I learned that the same way most CP patients do - through the experience of years of dealing with pain.

At some point, we who have permanent pain and disease processes must learn to mentally deal with the fact that our lives will never be what they once were.  I finally accepted the fact that there was no magic pill, surgery or other treatment that would return me to the person I always thought I was.  The first couple of times psychotherapy was suggested to me resulted in a typical response:  I'm not crazy!  I'm in pain!  I don't need no shrink!

I was not forced into therapy.  My pain doc merely suggested it, and I nearly crawfished on the deal.  I think it was the way she put the suggestion that finally got me in a shrink's office.  She said, "Can't hurt - might help."  She was right.  I was very lucky to hit it off with my pain shrink, and I can't tell you how extremely helpful the experience has been.  I've learned self-hypnosis that gets me through a pain crisis without having to resort to the ER and all the BS that goes along with those visits.  Mental therapy has put my marriage back on track and helped my husband to understand the reality of OUR life with my pain included.  I no longer define myself by my pain, and neither do my husband, my family or my friends.  I am still me.  Yes, I'm different than what I was a few years ago, but I'm still here and I still have a life.  That life has meaning and it has joy.  Don't let your pain kill your joy.

After all that, I'm curious to know how many people here have even tried psychotherapy to deal with chronic pain?  Anyone?
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535089_tn?1400677119
Hi Jaybay; I'm so glad that you have posted this. I have had chroic pain for years and lately my Doc has been trying to push me to see a Pain Psycologist. I have been extremely reluctant to do so.
I tell him that I'm not crazy...That I don't need a Shrink...I only want the pain to stop. But he tells me that it will help....For the life of me, I can't figure out why?
I take a step back and realize that I have a constant pity party going on in my mind....
I often feel sorry for myself and take it out on others and I don't want people to recognize me for that. I want my old self to come back.....Have you ever felt like I do?  My Husband is another problem of mine...He doesn't understand my pain. How can I make him understand? I'm not so sure he would do therapy.
Mollyrae
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82861_tn?1333457511
You BETCHA I understand what you're feeling!  I've been there, done that, and don't intend to ever go back there.  :-)

Give therapy a try.  What's it going to hurt?  Much depends on the therapist and how you relate to the person as an individual.  If you're not comfortable with your therapist, it won't do you much good.

One of the most important things to look for is that the therapist specializes in pain therapy.  They can be difficult to find, but that is a very important distinction.  Too many regular shrinks will look at you as a drug addict instead of a pain patient if they aren't educated in pain and narcotic therapy issues.

I had the idea initially that pain therapy involved griping and moaning about my pain. Why bother?  I can do that for free!  A good therapist will help you learn relaxation and meditation techniques to get you over humps when you really just want to take an extra pill.  A therapist can also help you find the good that is still in your life despite the pain and turn your energies into building a new life.  

I never thought my husband would go with me either, but eventually he attended a couple of sessions at my request.  Some therapists won't go along with that - it all depends on how they run their practice.  Anyway, go ahead and give it a try.  Get your own mental house in order and then worry about your husband.  Understanding will come for him as you come to an acceptance and understanding of yourself.  

Chronic pain affects not only patient's physical life, but their mental life as well.  That, in turn, spreads out into every person to whom we are connected - spouse, family members, friends, co-workers, whomever.  Physically treating our pain is not enough.  Chronic pain causes tremendous mental issues and needs to be treated every bit as much as our physical pain.

Molly, I really hope you give therapy a try. Even if it doesn't help you deal with your physical pain much, you obviously have mental pain that needs to be helped.  You're an obviously strong woman, and even strong people need a helping hand once in a while. :-)
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535089_tn?1400677119
Thank you so much for your advise. My Doctor knows of a good Pain Psychologist that he said is one of the best he's seen in a while. He has urged me to go. He also told me that as soon as I decide to go he will have an appt. for me asap.
I think that maybe it's time I listen to him.
Thank you for the push I needed....You don't know how much that ment.
Take care, molly
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547368_tn?1332173665
I'm glad it worked for you Jaybay. And I am very hopeful it will work for you Mollyrae. It didn't do anything for me. It didn't hurt me but it didn't help me either. I went to five sessions some years ago. I already knew how to work through my pain. I had already accepted the old me was gone and there was a new me to learn about. I am no wonder woman nor am I better than anyone else. I think my profession, faith and support of my husband was what worked for me. My husband has been an understanding saint. Indeed we have become closer with every passing year. He was my soul mate before the CP began and he remains my soul mate to this day.  I am a better person for having gone through the MVA that changed my life. But anyone who says sometimes they don't miss their "old life" to at least some degree never liked their life before CP or is not being honest with them self.

Don't get me wrong. The person or family that never gets past the mourning or encounters issues dealing with the changes suddenly thrust upon them will benefit from the pain psychologist. I am just telling you my experience and everyone is different. I do know that pain psychologists help many CP suffers through a difficult and painful transition period.

So Mollyrae you go for it. I believe it may help you also. God Bless and take care, Tuck
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356518_tn?1322267242
Thanks for a great post Jaybay!

I agree 100% pain is not just physical but mental too and it DOES affect every single aspect of our lives. I have seen a pain psychologist and he was great! He made me realize I was not less of a person because I could not do the things I used to and I am still the same person I was. I had a really hard time in the beginning because I would get mad and angry and depressed because I could not go like I used to and could not do what I used to so I figured I am just a totally different person now and that upset me. I now understand I am still me but I have limitations and I have had to learn to deal with that with the help of my Pain psychologist.
Like you I would have never went but my Dr insisted and I went in with a very low expectation only to be totally surprised at what I got out of it.
I would advise everyone who lives with pain to see a pain psychologist it will help you and your family.
Medications are a part of chronic pain treatment but they should never be the only treatment as they can not help with all the things that are associated with chronic pain. There are many different options and those options are there for each individual to choose what is right for them but don't assume all there is is just medications because there is so much more you can do to help yourself.
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82861_tn?1333457511
Thanks for verifying my opinion Sandee.  :-)  I'm glad your experience was similar to my own.  I went through the same thing that you did including the severe depression.  It's not so much that my shrink "told" me what to think or what to do, but more that she helped me to think of my life in a different way.  That alone was more helpful than any pain medication.

Tuck, you are so very lucky to have such a great support system.  I'm the first to admit that psychotherapy isn't for everyone, but will say it's at least worth trying.  You gave it a good shot and determined you already had your mental house in order.  That's a wonderful thing in itself, but that you realize that fact makes it even better.  :-)

Molly - I hope and pray that a few sessions will give you some peace and a better  outlook on your life.  You don't know until you try, right?  I always come back to what my pain doc said: Can't hurt, might help.  There's no reason to leave any stone unturned in making our lives with pain the best they can be.  Go for it!  :-)
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