Chronic (persistent) Pain & Fibromyalgia
Pain is the body’s way of telling you that something is wrong. While it is normal for the body to send pain signals when injured or ill, pain that lingers after an illness or injury is not normal. In some cases, pain can continue for weeks, months or years after recovery. Pain that continues for three months or longer is considered chronic pain. In addition, some people develop chronic pain ‘out of the blue’, with no injury or illness to trigger pain signals.
Chronic pain can occur anywhere in the body and can range from mild and annoying to pain so severe that it interferes with mood and ability to function.
The symptoms of chronic pain include:
- Mild to severe pain that does not go away
- Pain that may be described as shooting, burning, aching, or electrical
- Feeling of discomfort, soreness, tightness, or stiffness
Pain is not a symptom that exists alone. Other problems associated with pain include:
- Withdrawal from activity and increased need to rest
- Weakened immune system
- Changes in mood including hopelessness, fear, depression, irritability, anxiety, and stress
Adjusting to a life with chronic pain can be a difficult process for many people. Unfortunately for many people with chronic pain, their overall quality of life has been significantly reduced. Problems may include:
- Reduced activity
- Fear of further physical damage
- Worry about the future
- Worries about medication
- Feeling unhappy
- Loss of confidence
- Feelings of guilt, frustration and anger
- Loss of purpose in life
- Relationship problems
How Common is Chronic Pain?
In the UK, the following statistics have been reported:
- People living with chronic pain: 7.8 million
- Women suffering with chronic pelvic pain: 1 million
- Adults suffering with chronic back pain per year: 1.6 million
- Patients with chronic pain experiencing depression: 49%
How Talking to Siobhan Can Help
Evidence suggests that Cognitive Behavioural Therapy can significantly reduce the physical and psychosocial disability experienced by those suffering from both chronic physical pain (e.g. low back pain) and disease related pain (e.g. cancer, rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis), not by taking away the physical cause but by changing the thoughts, feelings and behaviours that influence it’s salience.
Through Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) Siobhan will work with you to
- Explore how the thoughts, feelings and behaviours that accompany your pain, influence how prominent a part of your overall experience of life it is.
- Teach you a combination of physical and psychological strategies to enable you to alter your thoughts, feeling and behaviours so that they reduce the intensity of the physical pain rather than exacerbate it.
- Teach techniques for ensuring that the coping strategies are applied over the longer term are taught along with problem solving skills and the development of plans for future pain flare ups