by Doctor Jennifer Foust

Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is a type of evidenced-based therapy that has been shown to be effective with individuals who struggle with chronic pain. Dealing with chronic pain can cause several quality of life issues such as no longer being able to work, difficulty completing daily activities, difficulty participating in activities that you once enjoyed, and sleeping problems.  It can also create strains on your relationships with others as well as strains on your sexual relationship. Adjusting to these limitations and strains can be challenging and can cause anxiety and depression symptoms in some people. CBT can be helpful with all of these concerns. 

CBT helps by identifying negative thoughts and behaviors that are creating depressed and anxious feelings or other negative emotions such as frustration and anger.  Experiencing negative feelings can increase feelings of pain as well as continuing to create negative views of your life situation.  CBT can help you break the negative cycle. It can help you to learn new coping skills to manage your pain by helping you to change any negative behaviors or thoughts you have when responding to pain.  By changing these negative thoughts and behaviors, your perception and awareness of pain can change and your negative emotional states can improve.  Like medications, CBT cannot eliminate your pain. It is designed to help you better manage your pain and reduce contributing factors that can make pain worse. 

Anxiety and depression symptoms are not uncommon in individuals who experience chronic pain. For some individuals, it can be very mild and manageable while others may have difficulty handling these symptoms. Some may find that their body is more physically reactive because of the chronic pain that potentially can create frequent anxious feelings. If a person’s body is feeling regularly tense and in pain, a person may potentially feel more anxious in general. In addition, some individuals may worry about their pain and how it will continue to affect their life. Worrying thoughts create anxious feelings. Having difficulty adjusting to the limitations of your chronic pain on your life can create feelings of loss (e.g. sadness, frustration, or anger over loss of job, loss of physical activity, loss of independence, etc.) which can feeling overwhelming.  A person who has experienced anxiety or depression before having pain difficulties may find that the symptoms become worse. Anxiety, depression, and chronic pain can interact in a way that makes all of the symptoms worse if they are not treated effectively. 

At Kroll Care, we are very invested in helping you to manage all aspects of your pain condition including treating anxiety and depression symptoms and managing these quality of life concerns. Kroll Care has trained counselors on staff to help you reduce and learn how to manage anxiety and depression symptoms as well as help you cope with changes in your quality of life. Treating all aspects of your pain condition will help you manage your pain to the best of your ability.