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Pain Management: Psychological Therapy

Psychological therapy may be part of your pain treatment plan.

When you are in pain, it is natural to feel angry, sad, hopeless, and/or depressed. Pain can alter your personality, disrupt your sleep, and interfere with your work and relationships. But, it doesn't have to. Psychological treatment provides a safe, non-drug method to treat your pain directly by reducing high levels of physiological stress that often aggravate pain. Psychological treatment also helps improve the indirect consequences of pain by helping you learn how to cope with the problems associated with pain.

The most common psychological treatments are:

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  • Talk therapy: Talk therapy offers the support and counseling of a psychiatrist or psychologist.
  • Relaxation training: Deep relaxation has been associated with healing and pain reduction.
  • Stress management: Stress can make pain worse. Stress management treatment can help you understand the relationship between stress and pain and teach you ways to reduce stress and ease pain.
  • Pain coping skills training: By learning how to accommodate your life to pain, you can improve your quality of life significantly.

Psychological treatment can be considered for any intense and recurrent pain problem in conjunction with other pain management treatments. Your health care team can help you decide which treatments may be right for you.

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Andrew Seibert, MD on August 13, 2012

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