Pain is one of the most common presenting symptoms to general practitioners. Acute pain often resolves quickly with analgesics and anti-inflammatory medications and treatment of the underlying cause. On the other hand, chronic pain often causes both doctor and patient a great deal of concern.
The mind, emotions and attention play an important role in the experience of pain. In patients with chronic pain, stress, fear and depression can amplify the perception of pain. Mind-body approaches act to change a person’s mental or emotional state or utilise physical movement to train attention or produce mental relaxation.
Psychosocial interventions for chronic pain aim to provide patients with greater self-efficacy through skills that they can apply at home and work. the aim is self-sufficiency and not dependency on a therapist, but in order to do this, a patient needs to be assisted through the sometimes difficult early stages of learning these skills. A supportive, experienced practitioner and a group working toward the same end help enormously.
The facilitator therefore needs skills in the mind-body therapy being used, group facilitation skills and motivational skills (see Resources). Groups are also useful for breaking down isolation, enhancing motivation and providing the benefits of learning from the insights and experiences of other group members.
Excerpt from The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners publication.
Hassed, C. (2013). Mind-body therapies. Use in chronic pain management. Australian Family Physician. Volume 42, No.3, March 2013 pp 112-117