The interaction between mental health and pain has an impact on everyday life for most patients. A combination of sensory emotional factors influence the experience for patients living with chronic pain. By promoting positive behaviors, managing stress and, acknowledging limitations, patients can take an active role in controlling their pain and improving their quality of life.

Stress, anxiety and depression are common in the setting of a chronic pain.  This is due in part to overlap in the biochemical pathways that are involved in the transmission of these signals.  As a result, prolonged pain can lead to alterations in perception, attention, motivation, and memory. 

The quality of how we work, socialize and spend our time relaxing is all controlled by our mental and physical state. The Mental Health Foundation lists the following helpful recommendations:  

  • Talk about your feelings, whether it’s something to help you stay in a good mood or when you’re dealing with something difficult. 
  • Keep active. Regular exercise can boost self-esteem, and can help you concentrate, sleep and feel better. 
  • Eat well, a balanced diet is crucial for both physical and mental health. 
  • Ask for help. Life doesn’t always go as planned, seek out a family member, friend or professionals to listen. 
  • Keep in touch with others. Whether it’s a phone call, a note, or a sending them a text, keeping open communication is good for you! 

Small lifestyle changes that help improve your overall health include modifications to your diet, adding simple but efficient exercises, such as walks, stretching, yoga or swimming and talking to someone, whether that be a therapist, family or friend. These minor modifications can help you regain control of your life while adjusting both your physical and mental health. 

At Haven Spine + Pain, we partner with top mental health professionals to ensure that this aspect of your pain treatment is not neglected.  Working with a psychiatrist or pain psychologist may be an important part of your treatment plan.  These skilled providers help patients to develop strategies for managing stress, accepting limitations, and emphasizing healthy responses to the emotional components of a chronic pain condition.