In the past decade, we have revolutionized our understanding of mental health. Nowadays, no one doubts the connection between physical and psychological wellbeing, and exercise is widely-recognized as an effective treatment for mental health struggles. It is surprising, then, that the inverse is not also true. Only recently have researches started to recognize the value of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and mindfulness for the treatment of chronic pain. Put otherwise, for many years we’ve known that caring for the body alleviates the mind, but only recently have we discovered the mind’s role in caring for the body.
In effect, research shows that CBT and guided imagery practices work to decrease chronic pain and, as a result, reduce opioid cravings. These outcomes are nothing short of revolutionary in an era where incidences of such pain are on the rise and the opioid crisis shows no sign of slowing.
CBT & Mindfulness for Chronic Pain in Practice
Knowing the mind plays an important role in addressing chronic pain is all fine and good, but only if accompanied by practical understanding. While detailing all that CBT involves goes beyond the scope of this article, the three main components of treatment are as follows:
1. Understanding pain by connecting neuroscience and physiology.
2. Building cognitive and emotional strategies for pain management.
3. Instituting changes in coping behaviors to maximize functionality, decrease disability, and turn down pain volume.
Mindfulness is frequently included in CBT-for-pain treatment and involves meditation coupled with science, cultivating a focus on the present moment to regulate stress, tension, and brain function, as well as an acceptance of physical sensations.
A Comprehensive Plan
Research shows that the most effective treatment plans for chronic pain and opioid addiction are comprehensive and include more than one angle of attack. While CBT and mindfulness for chronic pain are powerful tools, they work best in conjunction with a varied approach. Ketamine infusions are another cutting edge medical technology that have demonstrated extraordinary effectiveness in providing pain relief in chronic conditions. After initial treatment, results have been shown to last for up to eleven months—an eternity if you’ve been living with pain for years.
As with all healthcare plans, it is imperative that you speak with a physician before instituting changes or adopting new treatments. At our clinic, we are happy to answer your questions and resolve your doubts about the best path to chronic pain management. If you’re one of the many thinking that there has to be something better out there than the status quo, we might just be what you’re looking for!