Psychological factors in pain management
Psychological factors have been linked to the development and maintenance of pain. According to Linton & Shaw (2011), psychological factors significantly contribute to the development of pain. Factors such as situational and emotional moments that exist during pain can have profound effects on the strength of pain perceptions. Psychological factors such as thoughts, fears, attention, emotions, cognitive factors and beliefs affect people’s perception of pain. In as much as pain is a subjective perception exhibited physically, these psychological factors affect pain perception. Several interventions have been proposed that help people cope with pain including psychosocial interventions. Cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) is one of the widely used and effective interventions for managing pain. CBT helps patients change pain-relevant thoughts, emotions and behaviors using appropriate patient training measures (Keefe, 2013).
Theoretical models for coping with chronic illness
Two models that can be useful in coping with chronic illness include acceptance and commitment model and self-efficacy model. According to the acceptance and commitment model, the patient should accept the fact that they have a chronic illness and focus on living positively (McCracken & Vowles, 2014). Adherence intervention ideal for this model would be focusing on living life to the fullest, increasing participation in valued activities and focusing on pursuing personal goals. On the other hand, the self-efficacy model of coping with chronic illness focuses on allowing the patient to manage their illness at a personal level. Based on the model, the patient should make efforts to understand their illnesses, self-care strategies for dealing with the illness and available support groups for that particular patient problem. A possible intervention is for the patient to work with their healthcare provider to understand the problem, its causes and treatments.
Keefe, F. J., Porter, L., Somers, T., Shelby, R., & Wren, A. V. (2013). Psychosocial interventions for managing pain in older adults: outcomes and clinical implications. British Journal of Anaesthesia, 111(1), 89-94.
Linton, S. J., & Shaw, W. S. (2011). Impact of psychological factors in the experience of pain. Physical Therapy, 91(5), 700-711.
McCracken, L. M., & Vowles, K. E. (2014). Acceptance and commitment therapy and mindfulness for chronic pain: Model, process, and progress. American Psychologist, 69(2), 178.