Pain can be described and experienced in many different ways, and can be acute (short lived) or chronic (on-going). Pain is an individual experience, and the extent can only be appreciated by the person experiencing it. Chronic pain is a real condition, that involves a number of physical factors (many of which no one understands well) and psychological factors.
Chronic pain is pain that typically has lasted for three to six months, or beyond the period of time expected for the injury or trauma. This type of pain can be very distressing, and impact on a persons emotional and physical wellbeing. The aim of treatment of chronic pain is to reduce the impact of pain on a person's life and their day-to-day functioning.
Chronic pain appears to occur when nerves become over-sensitive, and send warning messages to the brain either when no injury is present, or when an injury has fully healed. Chronic pain often involves a difficult cycle. Pain results in reduced activity levels, which in turn contributes to a reduction in fitness and increased tiredness. This then can lead to poor sleep, and emotions such as stress, anger, anxiety and low mood. This results in more pain and the cycle continues.
Psychology factors have an influence on how we experience pain and fatigue, and also the amount of suffering they cause. What we do (our behaviour or actions) has an impact on how we manage and experience pain, and even small changes to this can have a positive impact.
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This resource was developed by a Fresh Minds psychologist, adapted from Te Hikuwai developed by Te Pou o Te Whakaaro Nui resources. For more information on our qualified therapists visit our team.our team