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How Chronic Pain Can Affect Your Mental Health

It’s natural to think of physical and mental health as separate components of your overall well-being. You don’t visit a psychiatrist for a broken leg, after all, nor do you see an orthopedic surgeon about anxiety and depression. 

Yet, it’s not that simple to separate components of wellness. Your physical state profoundly affects your mental condition, and vice versa. 

As experts in dealing with the effects of pain, Dr. James Nassiri and the team at Westside Pain Specialists know that relieving physical pain can have a huge influence on your mental health. Today, we look at how chronic pain affects your overall mental condition. 

Defining chronic pain

There’s no standard, quantifiable definition of chronic pain. Johns Hopkins Medicine defines chronic pain as “long-standing pain that persists beyond the usual recovery period or occurs along with a chronic health condition, such as arthritis. Chronic pain may be "on" and "off" or continuous.

Sometimes, individual medical conditions have more specific definitions, since normal recovery varies with each condition or injury. 

Depending on its severity, chronic pain can interfere with all aspects of your life, including your ability to complete tasks necessary to get through the day, your work, all while affecting your enjoyment of life. Pain isn’t limited to just its sensory effects. 

How chronic pain can affect your mental health

It’s easy to consider how frustrating life with chronic pain could be. Frustration is a mental condition and, in this example, directly influenced by chronic pain. It’s a simple relationship. 

Extended frustration becomes more complicated. As your chronic pain condition interferes with your capabilities, stress can accumulate as you have greater difficulty with aspects of life that you may have handled easily in the past. 

Pressure can mount if work deadlines become more difficult to meet or you can no longer care for yourself and others in a timely way. This could lead to anxiety and helplessness. 

Your self-esteem could suffer due to these lost capabilities, particularly when chronic pain alters your performance in areas where you take personal pride. 

As your emotional state deteriorates because of pain, sleep patterns may be affected. You could suffer from insomnia or spend more time asleep, increasing your time demands. Fatigue can change the way you perceive your chronic pain. 

Pain itself can wear you down both physically and emotionally. While about 5% of the general population suffers from depression, this number skyrockets to as high as 45% for people with chronic pain.  

The importance of pain management

Effective pain management isn’t simply a matter of reduced sensations. When pain symptoms are under control, your body and mind each have a chance to recover. The psychological factors resulting from chronic pain also become easier to manage. 

Call the nearest location of Westside Pain Specialists to book a consultation with Dr. Nassiri. He can assess your current situation and recommend an improved pain management plan to provide the physical and mental benefits you need to thrive. 

Schedule your appointment in Beverly Hills or Rancho Cucamonga, California, now.

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