MedCircle Original Series

Chronic Pain & Mental Health: The Psychology & the Solutions

Mental health plays a huge role in the onset of chronic pain. Here’s how to manage both, straight from a leading psychologist & health psychology expert.

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Series Overview

The Psychology of Chronic Pain & Its Mental Health Impacts 8 Min

Dr. Ramani kicks off this series by breaking down what actually constitutes chronic pain, and how it’s different from acute physical pain. She breaks down the types of chronic pain, and how each kind might impact someone’s day-to-day life. Dr. Ramani also explains the surprising and complex relationship between mental health and chronic pain.

Depression, Anxiety, Substance Abuse, & Chronic Pain [Tools to Cope] 11 Min

There is hope for breaking free from chronic pain once you understand its reciprocal relationship to mental health conditions. In this session, Dr. Ramani does a deep dive on the reciprocal relationships between chronic pain and depression, chronic pain and anxiety, chronic pain and substance abuse—and how to spot whether one ailment is aggravating the other. She also explains what “pain catastrophizing” is and how to manage it. While we know that those living with depression,anxiety, or a substance use disorder are at greater risk for chronic pain and vice versa, learning the tools to cope will empower you to work toward recovery. Dr. Ramani walks through those coping strategies in this session.

Trauma, Sexual Abuse, PTSD, and Chronic Pain [Tools to Cope] 10 Min

Dr. Ramani has firsthand experience treating chronic pain that results from past trauma. In this session, she explains how and why trauma can lead to chronic pain, even on a neurological level. She also walks through whether you have to explicitly remember a traumatic memory in order to experience chronic pain, or if chronic pain can result even if you don’t remember the root trauma. Finally, Dr. Ramani sheds light on the concept of “fear avoidance” and how this may result in depression, anxiety, and other mental health issues—and how to prevent these additional issues from occurring.

How to Manage Chronic Pain at Work & Home 12 Min

Dr. Ramani continues the conversation with actionable ways to distract yourself from, and work through, different types of chronic pain. She first walks through the strategies you can implement immediately—especially those strategies that have actually been proven to reduce chronic pain—and how to utilize them. She also breaks down longer-term coping strategies, such as therapy, and why they work so well on both a physiological level as well as an emotional level.

How to Find Comprehensive Treatment for Chronic Pain & Mental Health 10 Min

How should treatment change when chronic pain is the leading issue, and mental health issues follow? What if the mental health condition is the leading cause? Dr. Ramani answers these questions and more in this session. She walks through comprehensive programs available for someone dealing with these co-occurring conditions, as well as actionable at-home practices for coping and managing both physical & mental pain. Additionally, she shares how to evaluate whether stress stemming from external environmental forces is aggravating physical pain, and how to overcome frustration when treatment doesn’t seem to be working. Finally, Dr. Ramani breaks down one of the most powerful tools in the treatment arsenal for someone coping with chronic pain.

The Life-Changing Power of Support for Chronic Pain 13 Min

Motivating someone in chronic pain to become a more active participant in their life can be tricky; how far should you “push” them in order to benefit their mental health, without pushing them too far and making their pain worse? Dr. Ramani draws that fine line and shows you how to navigate it in our final session. Additionally—what if your loved one isn’t opening up about their chronic pain? Dr. Ramani shares the telltale signs of “pain behavior” and how to open lines of communication to let your loved one know they can be open and honest about the pain they’re experiencing.


Start Watching This Series Now!

You can get free access to all 6 segments of this video series when you become a MedCircle Member. You’ll also get access to weekly virtual workshops and more than 900 educational and inspiring videos. 

About the Series

Pain is a psychological phenomenon.

Many people believe that physiological pain and emotional health function separately from each other, but according to leading clinical psychologist and health psychology expert, Dr. Ramani Durvasula, “To attempt to treat pain without addressing it behaviorally, is leaving out more than half the picture.”

Nearly 20 percent of U.S. adults experienced chronic pain in 2016, and nearly 10 percent had high-impact chronic pain. According to Dr. Ramani, it is one of the biggest public health crises of our time.

However, there is hope—there are tried-and-true ways to manage chronic pain by addressing and managing its relationship with mental health.

In this eye-opening series, Dr. Ramani does a deep-dive on the surprising and complex relationship between mental health and physical pain. She walks through how mental health issues like depression, anxiety, substance use disorder, trauma, sexual abuse, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) are related to chronic pain. She shares how to maintain mental health and wellbeing at work and at home while managing chronic pain. She ends the series with tactical ways to support someone living with chronic pain, and how to seek out effective treatments and resources.

Whether you’re suffering from chronic pain or supporting someone who is, this series will help you find answers and guidance for how to diminish the burden of chronic pain and its mental health impacts.

Who is this series for?

This series is incredibly insightful for those living with a chronic illness. This series will help them understand the potential mental health tie-ins of their condition and how to address them.

This series is also for supporters and healthcare workers who want a well-rounded perspective on the role mental health plays in overall health and vice versa.

In this series, you’ll discover:

  • How the brain interprets both physical and psychological pain—and why their impacts on the body are more similar than you might think
  • Who is more likely to develop chronic pain, and how to minimize the risk of developing chronic pain
  • Guidance on how to seek comprehensive treatment for both chronic pain and any co-occurring mental health issues
  • How to “restructure your environment” in order to better deal with chronic pain and increase productivity
  • The signs your loved one is experiencing chronic pain—especially if they don’t feel comfortable admitting it

“How we’re psychologically feeling is going to have everything to do with the experience of physical pain.”

Licensed Clinical Psychologist, Ph.D.


Start Watching This Series Now!

You can get free access to all 6 segments of this video series when you become a MedCircle Member. You’ll also get access to every video series from the MedCircle doctors.