Almost anyone is likely to experience back pain at some point in life. However, some sufferers of chronic back pain who have not found medications and surgeries too helpful are likely to suffer emotionally as well. These patients find it hard to go to places with their families, they can't enjoy the occasion as much as everyone else seems to enjoy. They often report not being able to work the regular 8-hour day jobs; some can't even work at all. They say their sleep has turned into one strenuous ordeal and they also say they are not as happy and satisfied with their romantic relationships.
On top of all this, they take pain medications that often leave them feeling groggy, sleepy, and unable to concentrate, they notice various negative side effects from those medications. That's the time to refer to a licensed pain psychologist (other names of this specialty are: Medical Psychologist, Health Psychologist, and Behavioral Medicine Specialists) who understands pain both from physiological and psychological perspectives. A pain psychologist can help in figuring out how to get back to enjoying life with friends, how to pace your daily activities to where you don't over do or under do it. Pain psychologists can help in sorting out depressive feelings that arise because of being in pain, how to find a way to enjoy your romantic relationships once again and how to find a way to work and feel productive again. Pain psychologists can also help in sorting out your medications and figuring out the best ways to get the most milage out of your pain medicine.
Prescribing physicians often are happy to refer their pain patients to a trained pain psychologist. This is because it really takes both the care of a physician and the care of a pain psychologist to manage the pain and keep it from getting worse.
If you are a chronic pain sufferer, ask your physician about being referred to a pain psychologist.
By G. Katie Dashtban M.A. Psy.D.
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