Key messages

  • Psychological therapies help you to manage your pain by teaching you how to manage your stress, relax tense muscles and find distractions from pain.

  • When psychological therapies are suggested, it does not mean that your healthcare team thinks your pain is “in your head” or imagined.

  • Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) is one way you can focus on changing your negative thoughts into more positive ones. A lot of research supports its use to help with pain management.

  • You can use many relaxation strategies when you feel tense, stressed or in pain.

  • Distractions are a great way to help you shift focus away from your pain by imagining a favourite scene, remembering a favourite story or doing brain games.

  • Mindfulness can help you observe your thoughts, emotions and any pain sensations and, over time, learn to accept them so you can manage them in new ways.

  • Hypnosis and biofeedback can help you adjust how your body experiences pain. Both methods should only be learned with the help of a suitably qualified professional.

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