Psychological Effects of Pain

Chronic pain can have a profound psychological effect on a person, including feelings of hopelessness, anger, sadness, and despair. These feelings not only affect your normal daily routines, but they can also make the pain feel much worse. Here at Interventional Pain Associates, we’ve seen this first hand and can help you cope with the effects of pain with psychological therapy.

Psychological Effects of Pain

The Hospital for Special Surgery lists common emotional responses to pain can include anxiety, depression, anger, feeling misunderstood, and demoralization. They mention, according to a 2014 study, that individuals who experience chronic pain in a primary care setting have a higher probability to experience anxiety and depressive disorders than those who aren’t. 

Pain and emotions can be interrelated, they further explain. Think about when you’re stressed, angry, or anxious, your muscles can tighten and cause further pain. On the other end, if you have pain that prevents you from doing the things you love, it can cause you to feel sad or upset. 

Pain is a “whole person” experience. Most people experience pain physically, emotionally, socially, and intellectually. Pain can affect a normal productive life. It can make concentrating hard, exercising more difficult, and it hard to enjoy your normal social interactions. 

Psychological Evaluation and Treatment 

A psychological evaluation is a good way for us to obtain your current and previous health history to assist you in getting effective medical care and pain relief. 

During your consultation, you will complete several psychological tests and questionnaires. In addition to that, we will conduct a personal interview and psychological testing to better learn more about you. This will help us and you talk about what the best possible multidisciplinary treatment plan will be. After this, a professional recommendation will be made as we discuss your results of our evaluation with you. Your treatment plan could include the following therapies:

Individual and group counseling 

Beginning to see a counselor if needed is a good way to gain further support moving forward in your journey with chronic pain. Even if further treatments reduce the pain you’re feeling, seeing a therapist will help you maintain your mental health. This will give you better tools that will help you mentally function better in your day-to-day life. 


This is a mind-body technique that uses visual or auditory feedback to gain control over involuntary bodily functions. This can include gaining control over things like your heart rate, muscle tension, blood flow and even pain perception. This works by connecting you to a device with sensors that will give you feedback about the different parts of your body. The goal of this is to make subtle changes that will give you your desired effect. In this case, reducing your chronic pain. By doing this, people are often able to improve their physical, emotional, and mental health. 

Relaxation techniques

If you have a hard time relaxing and decompressing, learning new relaxation techniques could help you better cope with your pain. Focusing on your breathing, practicing mediation, and journaling could all be ways you can release your anger, stress, or anxiety and further relax. 


During this type of hypnosis, you’ll focus on relaxing and letting go of your distracting thoughts. You could become more open to goals like lowering pain. Once you have a goal, you’ll work with a therapist to help you reach your goals. According to WebMD, research has shown that medical hypnosis can help with chronic pain.

Visual imaging

Using visual imaging to manage your chronic pain uses your whole body, including your senses and emotions, to create harmony between your mind and body. This connection can help manage and reduce chronic pain. 

Learning or conditioning techniques 

This is another form of behavioral psychology that works to change how you react to an event. It teaches you new ways to approach these situations to modify your behavior. This can help you get a better grasp on how and why you respond to pain like you do. 

Get Help with Interventional Pain Associates

Chronic pain can make you feel angry, sad, or desperate. Ask how our team at Interventional Pain Associates can help you. Call us today at (512)-795-7575 to learn more. 

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