Cognitive Behavioral Therapy's role in chronic pain management

Apr 23, 2019 | Susan M. Bee, APRN, CNS | @susanmbee

CBT Triangle

Any progressive pain clinic will include education on the use of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) in the management of chronic pain. CBT consists of the connection of thoughts, behaviors and emotions that all effect how the body feels.

It is a scientific fact that our thoughts effect our feelings and behaviors. If we change our thinking, it can lead to more positive feelings and actions, even if the situation has not or cannot change. Practicing is critical to developing long term behavioral changes. More attention lately has been given to the importance of processing negative emotions. When people deal with pain on a daily basis, there are many difficult emotions such as worry that can lead to pain catastrophizing which make pain worse. Feelings of loss and grief are also common when dealing with chronic pain. Chronic pain sufferers experience loneliness as they begin to isolate and their world gets smaller. Anger is a common emotion as there isn't always an easy fix for chronic pain. The good news is that utilizing the CBT model can help dial down the pain signals and improve quality of life and overall functions.

Below are some examples of how you can make changes in thoughts, behaviors and emotions to help cope with chronic pain.

Cognitive Behavior Therapy Model (CBT)

Thoughts

woman with multiple emotions

  • Awareness of thoughts
  • Re-frame negative thoughts
  • Focus on what you can do
  • Attitude of gratitude
  • Savor positive moments

Behaviors

  • Exercise
  • Set goals
  • Socialize/leisure
  • Relax/breathe
  • Moderate activity

Emotions

  • Tune into and assess your emotions
  • Observe/accept
  • Process negative emotions

Physical Body

  • Respond to your thoughts, behaviors and emotions

The Pain Clinic in Rochester, MN offers education on the use of CBT to help manage pain in the form of a wellness consultation, a one-time 2 hour pain management session and weekly group sessions.

Speak to your primary care provider about CBT programs that are close to you as a referral to these programs is often needed.

 

Helpful Links

  • Learn more about the Wellness program offered in Rochester
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