1. Changing old beliefs
A psychologist can help you come up with a plan specifically designed with you in mind to help you determine coping mechanisms for any anxiety or depression that may be accompanied by your pain.
“The idea is that by thinking about the pain as safe rather than threatening, patients can alter the brain networks reinforcing the pain, and neutralize it,” according to Ashar.
The goal of the treatment is to educate the patient about the role of the brain in causing chronic pain and to help them reappraise their pain as they move in ways they’d been afraid to. It also aims to help them cope with emotions that may increase their pain.
Stress can trigger muscle tension or muscle spasms, which may increase your pain. Psychologists can help you manage any stress that may be causing your back pain.
Some psychologists use biofeedback, sensors that are attached to your skin to track your stress response by tracking your heart rate, blood pressure and brain waves.
This can help determine which strategies are most successful in controlling your body’s response to tension.
“This study suggests a fundamentally new way to think about both the causes of chronic back pain for many people and the tools that are available to treat that pain,” researcher Sona Dimidjian, a professor of psychology and neuroscience at CU Boulder says. “It provides a potentially powerful option for people who want to live free or nearly free of pain.”
If you are suffering from chronic back pain, it is important to remember that hope is not lost. With the right treatments, whether it be psychological therapy, exercise or medication, you can find a way to manage your pain.