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Cognitive and behavioral therapy for pain management

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One of the significant fields where cognitive behavioural therapy finds immense application is- pain management. You must have heard of this statement, “it’s all in the mind”...and yes, this line is apt for pain. An important reason why different types of pains like body ache, backache, muscle cramps, headache, etc. become chronic is- you always think that you will have pain. Thus, constant thinking about the pain makes it inevitable.

Here we shall explain you how cognitive behavioural therapy helps to manage pain.

Steps of CBT for managing pain

Talk therapy: Your doctor cannot perform cognitive and behavioural therapy without talking to you. So, communication with patient and therapist is the first step of CBT.

You have to present your medical condition to your doctor and express everything about what you feel about the pain.  During the talk session your therapist will also ask you several question like – “how to think about the pain”, “are you under stress or depression”, “what’s your lifestyle like”, and many other psychological questions that would be useful for the treatment.

Cognitive restructuring

This is a vital element of the therapy wherein therapists help patients transform their thoughts and overcome fears. For example- if you have been thinking all the time that “this pain is bound to occur and I am helpless about it” then your doctor will change your thought to, “this pain has happened before and I can beat it”. Positive thinking helps to build mental strength and therapists believe that when you send optimistic vibes to your mind and surroundings then automatically you suffer less.

Behavioural change

Because of your anxiety and fear, you may be trying to avoid certain actions that would have been beneficial for the pain. In this step your therapist will give you several homeworks regarding behavioural modulation. For example- you will be taught the practical approaches to deal with the pain. Thus change in cognitive thinking and behaviour help you to manage pain.

Lifestyle management

Lifestyle management is also a part of your cognitive behavioural sessions. You will learn yoga, meditation and exercises that you have to practise daily to keep yourself active and mobile.

Duration of Cognitive behavioural therapy for pain management

Usually 10-20 sessions are scheduled by your therapist. But the duration is certainly relative as it depends on your improvement, how well you are following the techniques and the type of problem you are suffering from.

Benefits of cognitive behavioural therapy for pain management 

  • Helps to overcome negativity, irrational thoughts and fear
  • Improved physical energy and vigour
  • Reduced pain due to physiotherapy exercises and change of thought process
  • Overall improvement in emotional health, lifestyle and relationship

How effective is cognitive behavioural therapy for pain?

Cognitive behavioural therapy is not a cure for the underlying medical reason of the pain. But it’s an effective strategy to change your thoughts which are often responsible for triggering the pain. If you are regular with your sessions and follow the techniques properly then improvement is certainly observed. Furthermore, the success of the therapy also depends on the skills of your therapist. So make sure you are the treatment done from a reputed doctor.

Written by: healthplus24.com team

Date last updated: December 17, 2014