Pain is a common and normal human experience – we all experience pain from time to time.
The pain we experience is usually important. Pain can tell us that something may be wrong, that we may need to be careful not to hurt ourselves further and that it might be a good idea to get some medical help. But while pain usually gets better with time, sometimes it can persist well after our body should normally have healed itself.
Any pain that lasts for more than six months is said to be chronic pain. Such pain is also often referred to as persistent pain.
Chronic pain can have a variety of causes:
Sometimes, the cause of any particular pain cannot be identified. Other times, even though the cause of pain is known, it is not possible for the pain to be permanently relieved through medical procedures or via medications.
When pain cannot be completely or permanently relieved, it becomes all the more important to learn to manage it and our emotional wellbeing, so that we can maintain a good quality of life.
Chronic pain affects one in five Australian adults.
Chronic pain can affect all areas of a person’s life – their ability to work, to manage simple day-to-day tasks, and to enjoy social activities as they did in the past.
By limiting what people can do, chronic pain can also have a big impact on their emotional wellbeing and overall quality of life. At least 50% of Australian adults with chronic pain experience serious levels of anxiety and depression. Fears of making the pain worse and about living with the pain are common. Feelings of hopelessness, helplessness and loss are also common and very understandable.
When we experience chronic pain, we are often affected by three types of symptoms; physical symptoms, unhelpful thoughts, and unhelpful behaviours.
Changes in behaviour
If the cause of pain can be treated, it should be
It is always important to first see your doctor for a medical assessment of your pain to rule out any malignant or treatable causes for your pain. Maintaining a good ongoing relationship with your doctor is essential to managing all medical conditions, especially chronic conditions such as chronic pain.
Regrettably, some pain cannot be completely or permanently relieved. The good news is that there are practical skills that can be used to manage pain and its impact on our life and emotional wellbeing.
Research shows that people with chronic pain can benefit from learning about chronic pain and several core self-management skills. An effective pain management course, such as the one offered by MindSpot, helps people with chronic pain learn about their symptoms, and learn skills for managing these symptoms and their emotional wellbeing. These skills can help reduce the impact pain has on people’s lives, regardless of the cause or severity of the pain.
For more information about treatment options and assistance for chronic pain: