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We now know that our mood and pain centres in our brain are closely linked.  The way we feel emotionally can have huge implications on the magnitude of pain we feel, and equally, significant pain can affect our mood and stress levels.  A complicated series of reactions explains the connection between emotional and physical pain. For example, the cycle of pain and mental health issues changes your stress hormones and brain chemicals, including cortisol, serotonin, and adrenalin. 

As we mentioned on the 'KNOW YOUR PAIN' page, all pain comes from the brain and people who are still suffering 6 months after an injury have 'persistent pain'. The problem then is less about tissue damage and more about the sensitivity of our nervous system. We now know that mental stress (previous mental health problems or fears and worries about your pain condition) will contribute to the magnitude of pain we feel.

 

On this page we will cover the following:

 

1. What are the types of mental stress?

2. What happens in our brain when we're stressed?

3. What simple tools can I use to reduce stress?

Types of mental stress

COGNITIVE MENTAL STRESS - BELIEFS AND BEHAVIOURS

 

As we have discussed on the 'KNOW YOUR PAIN' page pain can be worrying as we are conditioned to associate it with tissue damage.  Pain science experts now know this is not true for pain lasting more than 6 months. This is still very difficult to feel comfortable about and it is common for people to suffer from the following problems that expert pain scientists have proven to be linked with persistent pain:

1. Catastrophisation - thinking things will never get better.

2.  Fear of movement.

3. Low self confidence

See the video above to make sense of some of these thoughts. Working on these unhelpful beliefs can help your mood and your pain levels hugely. 

SIMPLE TOOLS TO MANAGE COGNITIVE MENTAL STRESS

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