A psychological approach to pain management involves the recognition that pain leads to changes in several components of the person’s experience: mood (e.g., feelings of frustration, anxiety, irritability, low or depressed mood), thoughts (e.g. concerns about the future, lack of confidence to accomplish things), and behavior (e.g., withdrawal from valued activities and from others). These changes, in turn, can lead to an increase in pain levels as well as to emotional suffering.
Broadly speaking, pain management 1) addresses the changes in the above-noted components so that they impact on the experience of pain as little as possible; and 2) aims to reduce suffering by helping the person develop an acceptance of those aspects of their pain that they cannot change. While this is difficult to do, once a degree of acceptance is achieved it becomes possible to live life more fully despite the pain.