Is My Chronic Pain All in My Head?

misc image

Is My Chronic Pain All in My Head?

While you may feel like your pain is all in your head and that pain is subjective, all chronic pain is very real. We explain why your chronic pain is valid and how chronic pain works in your body here.

If you’ve been told that your chronic pain is all in your head, you might be feeling pretty discouraged and maybe even a little offended. And while there is no such thing as “made-up pain,” pain actually does exist in — and stem from — your brain.

At Sports, Pain & Regenerative Institute located in Fairview and Montclair, New Jersey, our team, led by Aditya Patel, MD, understands that dealing with chronic pain can be debilitating and frustrating. If you feel like your chronic pain is all in your head, we want you to know that you’re not alone and that your pain is real. In this blog, we review how your chronic pain and your brain are connected and how to move forward with treating your pain.

The relationship between pain and your brain

Pain is your brain’s way of telling you something is wrong. You might have injured yourself, or you could be sick. No matter what the underlying reason is, pain is your body’s way of keeping you safe. While this is helpful for acute injuries or illnesses, if you have chronic pain, your brain goes into overdrive and becomes hypersensitive to pain.

Chronic pain is pain that keeps persisting after an acute injury has healed or enough time has passed that your injury should be healed. Oftentimes what happens is that the injury doesn’t heal quite like it should, and your body thinks you’re still injured. Eventually, the number of pain receptors being sent to your brain increases, causing your sensitivity to pain to also increase.

The relationship between mental health and chronic pain

Unfortunately, with chronic pain, emotions only come in to complicate things. The circuits in your brain that process pain and emotions overlap, allowing your brain to process multiple sensations at once. Negative emotions can make your chronic pain worse — not to mention, your chronic pain can bring about a series of negative emotions.

Those who struggle with chronic pain report higher levels of emotions such as anxiety, fear, anger, depression, helplessness, frustration, guilt, and shame.

It’s easy to become stuck in a cycle of feeling like you’re in poor health both physically and mentally.

What are the next steps?

Because chronic pain and poor mental health can make you feel like you’re stuck in a rut and caught in your own pattern of negative emotions, it can be difficult to want to seek help. Or maybe you’re currently on a pain management plan that just doesn’t seem to be working and you feel like you’re out of options.

Dr. Patel and our team would love to discuss pain management options with you and come up with a plan that works best for you. Although pain is subjective, all pain is very real.

To learn more about our pain management treatments, contact us for more information. You can do this by giving us a call at 201-402-7802 or by using our online booking tool today.