OHSU

Psychological & Behavioral

The Stress-Pain Connection

Research shows that stress makes pain worse. You may be aware of this already. At the OHSU Comprehensive Pain Center, one of our goals is to identify areas of stress in your life. Reducing stress is one good way to manage pain.

Coping Skills and Relaxation

Chronic pain alone can be very stressful. Our psychology specialists focus on helping you develop effective coping skills. Relaxation training may be one of the treatments our psychologists use with you.

Because tension in your body makes pain worse, using relaxation skills can help decrease your pain. Relaxation skills also can decrease your overall stress level. Research shows that training in coping skills and relaxation are effective methods for reducing pain.

Increasing Your Control

When you have chronic pain, you may feel at its mercy or out of control. One of our major goals is to help you identify small areas of control you do have around your pain.

Our psychologists work with you to help increase your level of control. Research shows that this approach works well for pain management.

Mindful Pain Management

Staying present in the moment (giving your full attention to what you are doing without thinking about other things) is important for doing anything well in life. This includes working, playing and talking with others. This technique is especially important for keeping pain in perspective.

Living life fully in the moment, without constant worry about pain, helps you learn to live with pain and enhance your quality of life.