Can Changing Behavior Help Treat Chronic Pain?
Photo by Jacqueline Munguía on Unsplash
With the opioid crisis worsening, several alternative methods for the treatment of chronic pain have been emerging in recent years. One of these alternative methods that has been explored is the modification of a person’s behavior towards their pain. This method is called Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT). The aim of CBT is to assist patients to think in healthier ways about their pain perception.
So, how does CBT work? CBT works by making people think more about the positive aspects of their life and avoid negative, pain associated thoughts that have been interfering with their daily activities. This can be extremely beneficial when they experience episodes of pain. When a patient understands the positives in their life the negative thoughts can be avoided, especially thoughts about how the pain they are experiencing is interfering with their lifestyle, which in turn can improve quality of life. Meditation and yoga are examples of CBT methods that a patient could use to help improve the way they think and behave towards pain. CBT can also improve as well motivate a person to engage in physical activity which has shown to be an effective method in improving pain in certain circumstances. One great aspect about CBT is that there are no side effects associated with it which makes the risk associated with trying CBT negligible.
Even though CBT is not usually used as a stand-alone therapy for chronic pain management, it can have an impactful role in conjunction with other forms of treatment such as prescription and over the counter medications. Hopefully, with the proven effectiveness of CBT, patients will be able to cut down on the number of medications that are used to treat pain and decrease opioid dependence and the pills available in the community.