More than one in five American adults suffers from chronic pain. It’s a complex, challenging condition — and finding an effective treatment plan goes far beyond simply addressing the physical discomfort.
Chronic pain takes a toll on your mental and emotional well-being, too. Anxiety and stress are common companions of chronic pain, often trapping people in a vicious cycle that seriously limits their quality of life. Fortunately, addressing these psychological aspects can bring significant improvements for your pain and your overall well-being.
Eric Fanaee, MD, and our team specialize in comprehensive pain management in Bethpage, Smithtown, and West Islip, New York. In this blog, we take a closer look at the importance of relieving anxiety and stress for managing chronic pain.
Understanding the mind-body connection
Your mind and body are intricately connected, and this connection plays a significant role in the ways you experience and manage chronic pain.
Mental anxiety and stress can exacerbate pain sensations, making them feel more intense and overwhelming. That’s because stress releases cortisol, a hormone that can heighten pain perceptions.
Plus, the emotional toll of living with persistent pain can contribute to anxiety and depression, creating a vicious cycle of pain and stress. Pain can cause anxiety and stress, and, in turn, anxiety and stress can amplify pain.
This cycle can be challenging to break, but understanding the connection and taking a proactive approach is essential. By addressing both the physical and psychological aspects of your pain, you have a better chance of finding meaningful relief.
Strategies for relieving anxiety and stress
Dr. Fanaee and our team take a holistic approach to chronic pain. We strive to uncover the root cause of your symptoms and develop a treatment plan that addresses both the physical and mental aspects of pain.
We recognize the interconnectedness of physical, emotional, and mental well-being. Rather than solely focusing on pain relief, our approach considers anxiety and stress alongside pain to help you achieve lasting improvements in your overall quality of life.
A few of the most effective ways to relieve anxiety and stress include:
Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)
CBT is a type of mental health therapy that focuses on identifying and changing negative thought patterns and behaviors. It can be an effective way to help you manage anxiety and pain because your therapist guides you through reframing your perceptions and developing coping strategies.
Regular exercise releases endorphins, which are natural pain relievers and mood enhancers. Engaging in physical activity can help reduce stress and anxiety and improve your overall physical health. Talk to Dr. Fanaee about the best types of exercise for you based on your unique needs.
Mindfulness and meditation
Practicing mindfulness and meditation can help you become more aware of your thoughts and emotions. These techniques encourage living in the present moment, helping you manage anxiety and stress by promoting relaxation and fostering a sense of acceptance.
Deep breathing exercises activate your body's relaxation response. Techniques like diaphragmatic breathing can calm your nervous system, promote a sense of calm, and decrease feelings of anxiety and stress in the moment.
Connecting with others can be a valuable way to reduce stress. Talking about your experiences and feelings with friends, family, or support groups can provide a sense of belonging and promote a more positive outlook on life.
When it comes to managing chronic pain, don’t overlook the importance of taking care of your mental well-being, too. Anxiety and stress can exacerbate pain and create a cycle of suffering, but with the right strategies, you can manage these challenges effectively.
Schedule a consultation with Dr. Fanaee and our team to learn more about the benefits of a holistic approach to chronic pain. Call us at 631-265-2020 or book an appointment online now.