Pain signals come from the body, however the perception of pain originates in the top – and the way our brain works can change how we feel and conceive pain. We already know that certain moods and mental states reduce and even aggravate pain sensitivity, weakening or strengthening an individual’s threshold for pain. For instance, being joyful and repeatedly doing things that help improve your mood – exercise, comedy, certain sorts of musical arousal, acupuncture, and sex – can reduce how much pain you’re feeling by releasing endorphins and other feel-good brain chemicals. Nonetheless, this logic also works inversely – negative thoughts and poor mood can drastically worsen even minor aches and pains.
Your mindset can lengthen and intensify your suffering. However it isn’t nearly pain resilience and moment-to-moment interpretations of your body’s pain signals. Recent research shows that the long-term effects of chronic pain on the mind and body can affect an individual’s mental resilience and their likelihood to struggle with mental health issues comparable to anxiety and depressive pondering – meaning coping with pain for months or years at a time can negatively affect your mental health, which in turn could make your pain worse. That relationship is commonly neglected in treating chronic pain. More research on the subject may give us a greater insight into the effectiveness of mental health therapies for pain relief and symptom management.
When Chronic Pain and Anxiety Overlap
Chronic pain will be disabling, and with that disability can come a whole lot of resentment and regret. These negative emotions can contribute to an individual’s worldview and mindset and exacerbate existing issues, comparable to depressive thoughts or suicidal ideation. Yet despite the more obvious link between pain and depression, there’s also a statistically significant link between pain and anxiety.
Patients with chronic pain issues are more likely than the common population to struggle with PTSD and panic disorder specifically. Patients with multiple co-occurring mental health issue were also much more prone to experience not only pain-related disability but increased disability than their chronic pain peers. Yet it’s greater than only a situation of cyclical symptoms. More research has identified a possible genetic link between the pathology of pain and anxiety.
Meaning individuals with certain anxiety disorders are also more prone to experience chronic pain problems and vice versa. These studies indicate that understanding the neurobiology and exploring cellular biology behind the genetic link between anxiety disorders, depressive disorders, and chronic pain conditions may lead to higher treatments. As such, patients with chronic pain issues should pay attention to the increased risk of mental health issues and vice versa – and cope.
Sorts of Chronic Pain
Chronic pain will likely be diagnosed when patients complain of a consistent pain issue for about six months. Some forms of chronic pain are more straightforward than others, comparable to recurring injuries or post-surgical healing problems. In lots of cases, nonetheless, chronic pain is harder to pinpoint and treat. This may end up in frustration, especially as a patient is bounced around from specialist to specialist. Some pain is nociceptive, while some pain is neuropathic.
Nociceptive pain is pain attributable to the right signaling of nociceptive nerves, which are supposed to transmit pain signals. For instance, chronic inflammation could make your wrists and joints tender and painful to the touch and cause pain during on a regular basis activities. Many types of arthritis involve chronic nociceptive pain. Some nociceptive pain is visceral, which is tied to the perception of pain out of your internal organs, comparable to irritable bowel syndrome, bladder pain, and endometriosis.
Neuropathic pain, then again, is felt when there’s a neural dysfunction. Nerve damage, corroded myelin sheathing, and misfiring nerves will be causes of neuropathic pain through conditions like diabetes, post-surgical nerve pain, and sciatica. Sometimes, pain will be made worse and even originate through psychological health issues – individuals with anxiety or depression can experience headaches, stomach pains, and increased pain sensitivity with none known physical or nerve-related cause. This known as psychogenic pain, and in some cases, it will possibly turn into a chronic problem.
Not all chronic pain will be accurately described or explained. In these cases, an individual is experiencing idiopathic pain, which suggests pain with an unknown or unclear origin.
Sorts of Anxiety Disorders
We’ve mentioned that probably the most commonly diagnosed mental health issues related to long-term pain symptoms include panic disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). But there are other anxiety disorders, all of which might exacerbate chronic pain issues. Essentially the most common anxiety disorders include:
Overwhelming feelings of worry in inappropriate or unwarranted circumstances characterize most anxiety disorders. These include phobias involving intense fear of a selected concept or situation.
Managing and Treating Comorbid Chronic Pain and Anxiety
Chronic pain conditions are treated in some ways, depending on a patient’s diagnosis, circumstances, and medical history. Certain chronic pain conditions require particular medication to treat the first condition, comparable to autoimmune disorders requiring specific immunosuppressants. Treating a chronic pain condition alongside a mental health issue requires a up to date approach that considers each and devises a treatment plan that helps patients address their mood or anxiety symptoms while managing their pain symptoms.
Too often, people categorize one set of symptoms as more essential than the opposite. Pain is a more immediate concern for many, but simply specializing in pain relief without addressing mental health issues is likely to be futile. Anxiety treatments can involve medication but are sometimes centered around one-on-one talk therapy. Incorporating therapy into your pain management plan can provide help to address concurrent mental health symptoms and produce more significant relief.