Chronic Pain & Mental Health

 Chronic pain and mental health
 Managing the effects of chronic pain and your mental wellbeing
 Helpful links

Chronic pain and mental health

Chronic pain can lead to mental health problems as it wears you down, it's hard to sleep and often people's lives change as they are unable to work, look after their family or do the things that they used to enjoy. People who live with chronic pain often experience fatigue, low mood and other side effects. It is not uncommon to feel grief, frustration, isolation, depression and a diminished sense of self.

It is important to work with doctors and specialists to help minimalize and control chronic pain, but it is also important that you look after your mental health and focus on the positive aspects of your life and make changes that allow you to have valued and enjoyable experiences.

There are specialists that work with people to reduce the effects that chronic pain has on your mental health as well as support and self-help groups. Talk to your doctors and be upfront and honest about how you are feeling and see if they can recommend a course of action to address all your wellness needs.

Managing the effect of chronic pain on mental wellbeing

  • seek help where and when needed
  • try to reduce stress in your life
  • ask your doctor about the benefits of exercise and what types might help you
  • acknowledge the positive aspects of your current identity and life
  • foster a positive identity. What can you work towards doing in the future
  • set realistic goals
  • engage in activities that you can do safely and enjoy
  • learn relaxation techniques such as medication, mindfulness, music or art therapy
  • eating healthy is always helpful
  • control your weight. Being overweight can put more pressure on the body and increase the pain
  • many people find some relief in allied health involvement such as; physio, chiro, acupuncture, psychological assistance, self help and support groups, hydrotherapy, dietary change, hypnosis, massage, etc
  • focus on the important roles you play in the lives of people you love
  • stay engaged with family, friends and community, distracting yourself from the pain can enrich your life
  • recognise that everyone has limitations


Helpful links

For regional services near to you, please use the Directory or the Service Finder Navigational Tool on this website.

About Health - Factsheet: Chronic pain and mental health
Australian pain Management Association
Chronic Pain Australia
Spine-health - Factsheet: 4 tips to help cope with chronic pain and depression