Living with chronic pain can be extremely difficult and can take a physical, mental, and emotional toll. However, the pain is not solely physical. Studies have shown that there is a complex relationship between psychological factors, chronic pain, and health.
The Impact of Psychological Factors on Physical Pain
Research has suggested that multiple psychological factors, such as emotion and cognition, can have a direct impact on physical pain. In fact, studies have found that psychological and biological processes can interact to alter the person’s overall psychophysical condition.
The cognitive component of chronic pain, especially those associated with depression, can influence the intensity of chronic pain. Depression can increase the individual’s sensitivity to pain while making it more difficult to cope.
The emotional component of chronic pain can affect the individual’s response to physical pain and can impair their ability to cope. Individuals experiencing Depression, Anxiety, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Anger and Stress can be affected by chronic pain differently.
Chronic Pain and Health
The relationship between psychological factors and chronic pain is complex. Studies suggest that the psychological factors can impact the individual’s overall health. Those with chronic pain may be more likely to face a range of health problems, such as:
- Cardiovascular disease – Chronic pain can increase the risk of stroke and heart attack, as well as high blood pressure and cholesterol.
- Diabetes – People with chronic pain can be more vulnerable to developing diabetes.
- Obesity – Chronic pain can lead to weight gain, which is associated with an increased risk of many serious health conditions.
- Depression – Long-term chronic pain can cause a person to become more vulnerable to psychological disorders, such as depression.
The relationship between psychological factors, chronic pain, and health is complex and well-studied. Research suggests that a person’s emotional and cognitive state can directly influence physical pain and can, in turn, impact their overall health. It is important for those living with chronic pain to discuss their psychological well-being with their health professional alongside any other medical advice.