What is Complex Pain?
Unlike acute pain, which resolves once the injury has healed, complex pain persists after the original injury has healed. Complex pain is typically defined as lasting for 3 – 6 months or longer.
In complex pain, the nervous system’s response to pain does not stop once the injury has healed. Instead, the nerves continue to send the pain signal to the brain. The brain also begins to place greater emphasis on the pain feelings as they persist, making it even more difficult to manage the symptoms.
The goal of therapy is to reduce the impact that pain has on your ability to live and enjoy your life. We don’t want pain to stop you from living a life of meaning!
What Are The Symptoms of Complex Pain?
- Fatigue or lack of energy
- Appetite changes
- Disordered sleep
- Mood changes impacting mental health (anxiety, depression, anger, frustration)
- Physical weakness
How Can Renew Help?
Counselling and psychotherapy, learning to balance activity and pace, making changes to your daily routines and behaviours, neurofeedback, learning different ways of approaching activities and thinking patterns, and learning relaxation strategies are all methods of helping you to manage your pain.
Working with a therapist will help you sort through all of the different strategies and find what works best for you. Counselling and psychotherapy, yoga therapy, sleep therapy, occupational therapy and neurofeedback are all therapies that can help you manage your pain.
At Renew, we often approach complex pain from a cognitive behavioural therapy perspective. Here are some of the foundational components of a CBT for pain program
- Walking program
- Pacing (how to balance tasks, activity and rest)
- Relaxation training (managing stress and decreasing muscle tension)
- Cognitive restructuring (identify unhelpful thoughts and develop a more balanced thinking pattern)
- Behavioural activation (increase participation in activities that hold meaning for you and that you enjoy)