The Institute of Medicine reports that about 100 million Americans suffer from chronic pain. That’s a lot of people, right? As with most medical conditions, learning to manage this pain on an individual level is almost never the same. Looking for an alternative you may not have tried yet? You may find that cognitive-behavioral therapy works for you. With an intense focus on self-examination, you’ll work on identifying and developing skills that will help you change your perception of pain.
We’ve compiled a few cognitive-behavioral therapy techniques you can try yourself. Remember though, always check with your doctor if you’re unsure about any of these suggestions!
1. Keep A Pain Journal
Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy is about changing the way you behave or react to pain. Consider keeping a journal of the instances where your pain flares up, and record what types of thoughts and behaviors seem to make it worse, as well as what you think helped ease the situation. This technique may help you gain control over your pain as well as enlighten you about what is exacerbating it.
2. Keep Your Thoughts Positive
Patients who suffer from chronic pain may also feel helpless. This feeling can often exacerbate the condition and keep you from moving forward. It’s a hard feeling to get rid of, we know! Instead of thinking negative thoughts, consider choosing a mantra like, “I’ve felt like this before, and I know that I can handle this.” Positive thinking can lighten your mood and give you strength! Like Buddha once said, “The mind everything. What you think, you become.”
3. Create a Rest & Activity Log
Keep a log for 1-2 weeks to find out what when your pain lightens. Can you find any patterns? Any activities that seem to help? Examine what may be helping you as well as what durations seem to keep your pain in check. This can help you realize that your pain doesn’t control your life, you do!
4. Learn Relaxation Techniques
Cognitive-Behavioral therapy focuses on changing the way you interact with pain on a personal level. Mindful meditation, or in some instances even yoga, can teach you to control your distress and pain by retraining the way you think about your pain. This technique doesn’t work for all types of pain, so be sure to check with your doctor first!
5. Practice Coping Techniques
Coping with pain without the assistance of medication can seem difficult. Therapists encourage using mental coping techniques to help you distance yourself from the pain you may be feeling. Consider fully focusing on another part of your body that’s pain-free, or thinking of a place that makes you happy.
The great thing about cognitive therapy is that you can practice some of the techniques we outlined above at home. If you’re looking for a professional to help ease your pain, this type of pain therapy is available in many areas, including the Triangle.
If you have tried and tested this method and it simply doesn’t help manage your pain, you may benefit from our professional pain management services here at the Brian Center of Durham. We provide a variety of recovery services for individuals who have suffered from major physical setbacks in their life. Our pain management services include ultrasound treatments, short wave diathermy, electrical stimulation, and more.