Chronic Pain

5256960_sChronic pain (non malignant pain lasting over 6 months) is a condition that not only affects the body but also your mood, sleep, thinking and relationships.  Pain psychology is a standard of care in the treatment of chronic pain. Since all pain has to go to your brain to be registered, anything affecting your brain can influence pain. For example, depression and anxiety both can exacerbate pain sensitivity.

Do not assume your physician thinks your pain is just psychological (all in your head) because you were where referred to our clinic. It is our experience that this condition (pure psychogenic pain) is very rare, and most people are just having difficulty coping with pain that never goes away.

During your evaluation, your physician may also want us to perform an opioid risk assessment to determine your risk level for taking chronic opioids.  {***Please note the final decision to be prescribed opioids lies with your physician, not the health psychologist***}.

Your pain physician may also want to perform an evaluation to see if you an appropriate candidate for interventional pain procedures, such as an epidural steroid injection. Certain psychological conditions can be exacerbated by interventional pain procedures, such as bipolar disorder.

What to Expect Your First Visit

Your first visit consists of a psychological pain evaluation. Please bring your ID and insurance card with you. You will meet with a health psychologist for a full clinic interview to go over your pain, medical history, and how the pain is affecting your life. You will also complete a series of psychological tests. These are paper pencil tests in our office and there is no time limit. You may be mailed a packet of these tests prior to your appointment. If you could complete this packet and bring it to your evaluation, it would shorten the length of your appointment. There are other tests that will have to be completed in the office. Some of these tests have general psychological questions that may seem unusual. Please just answer them to your best ability. Please bring your reading glasses. If you have difficulty reading, we have some of tests on audio, or you could have a friend or family member assist you with the completion of the test.

The health psychologist will take the information from talking to you, your psychological testing, and your medical records to compile a psychological pain evaluation. This will include treatment recommendations for your benefit.


Treatment of chronic pain includes improving your pain coping skills. This is done through relaxation training, biofeedback, reduction in pain behaviors, activity pacing, and cognitive behavioral therapy. Learning pain acceptance without giving up is an important part of coping with chronic pain. We also address sleep disturbance and relationship issues related to your pain. We address depression and anxiety symptoms related to pain. Data has been shown that including psychological treatment of pain in a multidisciplinary setting improves outcomes with chronic pain.

If patients require more in depth mental health treatment, we provide appropriate referrals.