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Stress Management for Chronic Pain

Stress Management for Chronic PainMedical professionals generally classify pain as acute (sharp and sudden from a recent injury), end of life (stemming from a terminal illness) and chronic (ongoing and long lasting). Chronic pain is especially problematic because it can motivate substance abuse and complicate addiction recovery. It can also cause stress, which is a potential trigger for mood disorders, relapse and other unhealthy behaviors. In 2013 BrownUniversity published research in the journal Neuron that showed how stress physically affects an area of the brain that can motivate relapse. This builds upon the growing research into the effects of stress, about which the Psychopharmacology journal wrote, “[Stress] plays a key role in perpetuating drug abuse and relapse” in 2001. San Diego residents who deal with stress and chronic pain should seek professional help to recover from both issues simultaneously.

Stress, Pain and Addiction

Stress, pain and substance abuse influence each other, in the following ways:

  • Painkillers are taken to treat chronic pain
  • Sleep aids are used to sleep through pain or stress
  • Benzodiazepines ease stress-induced anxiety
  • Alcohol is consumed to sedate the central nervous system
  • Stress can motivate substance abuse, mood swings and compulsive eating
  • Ongoing pain and/or stress help accelerate mood disorders
  • Intoxication consequences increase pain and stress

If stress and chronic pain co-occur with substance abuse San Diego residents must address all these issues to foster a lasting recovery.

Stress Management Therapies

The following strategies help people cope with stress:

  • Learn how to refuse friends and manage personal time
  • Avoid people, places and situations that typically cause stress
  • Reduce caffeine, cigarettes and sugar,  but increase exercise, healthy eating and sleep
  • Avoid controversial topics and combative individuals
  • Express feelings in a healthy and constructive way
  • Become better at compromise, forgiveness and positive perspectives

Chronic pain can motivate stress, but consider holistic pain management options to avoid drug abuse or relapse.

Holistic Pain Management

Chronic pain requires ongoing treatment, and narcotic painkillers can lead to an addiction. The following types of holistic therapies help San Diego residents address pain:

  • Acupressure and acupuncture
  • Physical therapy and hydrotherapy
  • Alternating hot and cold applications
  • Chiropractic care and massage
  • Yoga, meditation and relaxation exercises
  • Targeted exercise and physical conditioning
  • Braces, casts, splints and other stabilizers
  • Applying local anesthesia to pain

If people need painkillers, a professional should oversee the treatment by writing all prescriptions, monitoring tolerance levels and weaning the patient once treatment ends.

Substance Abuse Treatment

Drug or alcohol rehab addiction typically involves detox, and certain drugs are best quit with a tapered withdrawal that gradually reduces use. Rehab then treats the addiction with the following therapies:

  • Integrated treatment for co-occurring mental illnesses and mood disorders
  • Behavioral therapies that foster positive mentalities and reactions
  • Individual counseling to address substance abuse and stress-related triggers
  • Psychodynamic counseling to treat unresolved inner-conflict and trauma
  • Education on ways to develop more positive coping mechanisms
  • Group therapy to discuss personal experiences and build support

Chronic pain requires a long-term plan, and rehab centers can provide ongoing support.

Help for San Diego Residents with Stress and Chronic Pain

San Diego residents can call our toll-free, 24 hour helpline to speak with a counselor about treatment options for pain and stress. We understand your frustrations, but we can help, so call us today.