Do you live with chronic pain and suffer from more than just the physical discomfort? You’re probably so busy focusing on how to alleviate your physical pain that you may not even realize the effect that pain has on your emotional well-being.
If you want to return to the way you were — both physically and emotionally — before your pain began, Hui Kang, MD, and our team at Houston Pain Specialists have solutions for you.
Before we get into how we can help, we want you to understand the connection between chronic pain and emotional health.
The link between chronic pain and emotional health
Your physical and emotional well-being are closely connected. If your body is struggling, chances are that’s taking a toll on what you’re feeling emotionally. If you don’t manage chronic pain, you may find yourself in a cycle of pain and emotional distress, including depression, anxiety, and/or sleeplessness.
Do you find that you don’t have the desire to partake in activities you once enjoyed? Do you feel unmotivated? Is your pain making it difficult to interact with family and friends as much as you used to?
These issues can have a huge impact on your self-esteem. Separation from family and friends can also lead to feelings of isolation and may even affect your feelings of self-worth.
Over time, depression can set it. Even if you’ve never struggled with depression before, the constant presence of pain can put you at risk. Mood changes are not uncommon in people living with chronic pain.
Fear of missing out on activities and experiences or worry that you’ll disappoint people because you can’t participate can lead to anxiety. You may find yourself caught between listening to your body tell you you’re in too much pain to go out and not wanting to back out of a promise you made to a friend.
Sleep as a double-edged sword
Chronic pain can affect your sleep as well, and in more ways than one. Insomnia may develop because you can’t get your mind off of the throbbing in your leg or the tension in your back.
Lack of sleep affects multiple aspects of your life: mood, memory, concentration, activity levels, and even relationships. Fatigue may develop, which can further exacerbate any negative feelings.