Chronic pain can really take its toll on you as it is much more complex. As much as pain is a physical sensation, there is an emotional and psychological link to it. Pain that lasts for more than 3-6 months is known as chronic pain and can negatively affect a person’s well-being. Living with chronic pain can be physically and emotionally stressful. Chronic pain is known to change the levels of stress hormones found within your brain and nervous system which can affect your mood, thinking and behaviour. Socially, chronic pain can disrupt your work, way of life and hobbies. Chronic pain can also disrupt your sleep causing fatigue, lack of concentration, decreased appetite and mood changes. This drastic disruption in your body’s chemicals and routine can bring on depression or anxiety.
Receiving news about a chronic illness diagnosis can be distressing. There are new limits set on your capabilities and you have to change your life to fit these limits as quickly as possible. This huge transition can be hard to cope with and the restrictions on your life can be very upsetting and even anxiety-provoking. It is normal to feel upset for a few weeks, however, if these feelings last longer than that, you may be going through depression. Some medical illnesses cause changes in the brain which have a direct role in depression. Children and teens with chronic illness also experience many forms of stressors and can experience low self-esteem due to the effect the chronic illness has on their physical, cognitive, social and emotional development.
Here are some chronic pain/illness issues that have been linked to mental health problems:
- Multiple Sclerosis
- Back/Neck Pain
- Chronic Migraines
- Menstruation related pain
- Heart Disease
- Parkinson’s disease
Find out more about one of our specialists, Dr Cherie Chan