For optimum results and making sure that you're minimising the chance of your pain becoming a chronic pain, it's important to attend to your mental health.
Most people when they've got the sudden onset of an acute pain condition are really focused about one thing and one thing only, and that's obviously the pain. And what's the fastest way to get this to resolve? Is it something that they need to do? Do they need to go out and get some medical care to resolve the issue that's occurring? If it's trauma, they're going to get their trauma episode assessed. If it's spontaneous, they're going to get the particular pain issue assessed, whatever that might be. And kind of everything else gets put on the back burner. They're not really focused on other things that might be going on in the background. So they're not really focused necessarily on, "How am I reacting to this pain? How stressed am I about this pain? Do I need to really start paying attention to my mental health? Do I need to optimise my mental health whilst I've got this acute pain?" No, because you're focused on just getting rid of the acute pain. It's understandable.
But for optimum results and making sure that you're minimising the chance that this acute pain doesn't end up being a persistent pain or indeed a chronic pain, we actually find in terms of the research that it's really important to check in with yourself on what is your mental health as you're going through this process. So actually attending to your mental health as you're dealing with this acute pain will really, really pay dividends.
Now, why is that? Part of the reason is that your brain is constantly taking in stimuli from its environment and then logging the importance of those stimuli for itself. So the brain's making its own little map of itself, map of your body, map of the universe in which the body exists. And that's how the brain functions through its lifespan. So not only are you actually experiencing the acute pain episode, but your brain is actually log how you feel about things during the acute pain episode. And essentially, your emotional state gets stored alongside the pain experience. So the more distressed and irritated and out of control you feel about this acute pain experience, that's all going to get stored in your brain alongside the actual pain. And we can see that the more that the brain perceives threat is occurring as a result of your emotional state, then the more alarms are triggered inside the brain in terms of circuitry and so forth.
So the key is to actually check in with yourself as regards to your mental health whilst you're experiencing an acute pain episode and not wait to do that six or 12 months down the line.
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