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Coping with the Emotional Impact of Chronic Pain

How to Treat the Emotional Side of Chronic Pain

Many people associate chronic pain with physical symptoms, but this devastating condition can impact your emotional health as well. Being in pain day after day can take a serious toll on your mental health. In fact, people with chronic pain are three times more likely to develop mood or anxiety disorders .

People with chronic pain often focus solely on improving their physical health, but coping with the emotional impact of chronic pain is just as important. Here are some tips for dealing with the emotional effects of living with chronic pain.

Educate yourself to reduce anxiety

If you suffer from chronic pain, you may start to worry a lot more than usual. Will your pain ever go away? Will it continue to get worse? How will it affect your personal and professional life? It's also common to start second-guessing yourself. Is the pain even real or is it all in your head? Thoughts like these can cause anxiety and in some cases, panic attacks.

Most of these worries are linked to a fear of the unknown . For this reason, learning more about your condition can help you avoid these emotional consequences. The more you learn, the less you will have to question.

Practice mindful meditation

Practicing mindful meditation is another way to cope with the emotional side of chronic pain. Mindful meditation is the practice of focusing on the present rather than the future or past. Numerous studies have shown that practicing mindful meditation on a regular basis can ease symptoms of depression, anxiety and stress. A regular practice may also alleviate physical pain, which makes it ideal for chronic pain sufferers.

To practice mindful meditation, set aside 30 minutes to an hour each day. Sit comfortably in a quiet spot and focus on your breathing. As your mind wanders, make a conscious effort to pull it back to the present. Following these simple instructions will help you manage both the physical and emotional symptoms of chronic pain.


Resting is not necessarily the best way to treat the symptoms of chronic pain. If you're suffering from chronic pain, it's important to stay active. Studies have shown that exercising works just as well as antidepressant medications when it comes to treating mild to moderate depression . Regular exercise can alleviate symptoms of severe depression, too.

Talk to your physician before starting a new exercise regimen. Your physician will help you understand what forms of exercise you can perform without worsening your chronic pain.

Find support groups

It's common for people with chronic pain to feel isolated and alone , which can lead to depression. Talking about your feelings can help, but you may not be ready to open up to your loved ones yet. In this case, find a support group for chronic pain sufferers.

Building connections with other chronic pain sufferers will show you that you're not alone in the fight against chronic pain. Joining one of these groups can provide you with the emotional support you need to cope with chronic pain and improve your mental health.

The caring therapists at Foundations Counseling can help you and your family overcome life's greatest challenges. Contact us today!