In September of 2018, the CDC released a report estimating that 50 million Americans – just over 20 percent of the adult population – have chronic pain. About 20 million of them have “high-impact chronic pain” — pain severe enough that it frequently limits life or work activities.
Chronic pain is pain that is ongoing and usually lasts longer than six months. This type of pain can continue even after the injury or illness that caused it has healed or gone away. Pain signals remain active in the nervous system for weeks, months, or years.
Many chronic diseases or infections can also cause chronic pain. These include rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes, cancer, multiple sclerosis, fibromyalgia, shingles, and AIDS; diabetes, shingles, multiple sclerosis, cancer, and AIDS can cause neuropathic pain.
People with pain often comment that they find their experiences beyond expression. Talk therapy has been exhausted. There are no words to describe their experiences to others.
New research focuses in on a specific form of cognitive behavioral therapy and examines its benefits for people living with chronic pain. More and more studies have shown that cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) helps people cope with the condition. But, as some have pointed out, it is not entirely clear which aspects of the therapy are helpful for people with chronic pain, or how the treatment could be improved in order to achieve better results.
This is why a team of researchers from King’s College London (KCL) in the United Kingdom set out to examine the benefits of a particular form of CBT – called “Acceptance and Commitment Therapy” (ACT) – on the functioning and well-being of patients with chronic pain.
Yu and colleagues of KCL note that a key aspect of the flexibility model is a therapeutic process called “self-as-context” (SAC) or “contextual self.”
As the authors explain, “self-as-context” (SAC) – sometimes also called “self-as-observer” – refers to a theory of self that is not grounded in self-evaluations. In this understanding of the self, we are able to “experience a perspective where we are neither defined by nor harmed by our own thoughts and feelings.”
For the new research, Yu and colleagues wanted to see if ACT has an effect on SAC and if SAC measurements correlate with chronic pain outcomes for patients who underwent the treatment.
Overall, the results showed significant improvements after treatment. Participants had considerably improved outcomes, and these improvements were confirmed after 9 months. Furthermore, changes in SAC were found to correlate with changes in each of the treatment outcomes: pain-related interference, work and social adjustment, as well as depression. In other words, increases in SAC seemed to improve the ability to function in people with chronic pain.
Ketamine Assisted Therapy is compatible with ACT and will in fact greatly enhance the outcome for improved response to stressful situations. Ketamine, with its anesthetic properties, produces immediate pain relief while opening up the patient for more psychological flexibility.
According to McCracken, a fellow researcher, “Greater psychological flexibility is associated with less pain-related anxiety and avoidance, less depression, less physical and psycho-social disability, and other measures of patient function.”
Ketamine alone reduces the sensation of pain during the infusion episode. The analgesic effect is long lasting and patients have reported a 66% to 80% reduction for several days afterwards. Now, consider the enhanced psychological flexibility and the potentially prolonged benefits that patients experience as a result of Ketamine Assisted Therapy (KAT) – where the therapeutic modality utilized is Acceptance Commitment Therapy.
The synergy evolving from this combination is currently being investigated through rigorous research. Recent observations, thus far, support this hypothesis. We can not state irrevocably that every patient will experience enduring pain relief. Many factors contribute to pain, and the way in which individuals experience it.
We can safely assert that KAT can be administered as a “rescue remedy” for pain. Break-through pain, which occurs in the presence of prescribed pain medications – can be significantly improved by KAT. Likewise, chronic low-level pain may be further reduced through treatment.
Allay Health and Wellness adheres to the best treatment practices. Chronic pain treatment requires that the patient commit (at a minimum) to twice weekly, 2-hour long infusions for 6 – 8 weeks. The length of time for both the infusion session and the number of sessions may be adjusted based upon the patient’s response. A 60% lasting reduction in pain is the targeted outcome with KAT for the treatment of chronic pain.
Covert conditioning is an approach to mental health treatment that uses the principles of applied behavior analysis, or cognitive-behavior therapies (CBTs) to assist people in making improvements in their behavior or inner experience. The method relies on the person’s capacity to use imagery for purposes such as mental rehearsal. In some populations, it has been found that an imaginary reward can be as effective as a real one. Effective covert conditioning is said to rely upon careful application of behavioral treatment principles such as a thorough behavioral analysis.
Some clinicians include the mind’s ability to spontaneously generate imagery that can provide intuitive solutions or even reprocessing that improves people’s typical reactions to situations or inner material. However, this goes beyond the behavioristic principles on which covert conditioning is based.
Therapies and self-help methods have aspects of covert conditioning. This can be seen in focusing, some neuro-linguistic programming methods such as future pacing, and various visualization or imaginal processes used in behavior therapies, such as CBTs or clinical behavior analysis.
Covert conditioning does not have a solid base of research.
If you or someone you know is suffering from pain, it would be best to see a specialist in alternative pain management, Palm Beach Gardens as soon as possible to facilitate the best treatment plan. Some pain might be irreversible, depending on the cause but with the right program and treatment methods, the patient can still live a pretty good life despite their condition.
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