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How to Deal With Chronic Pain and Anxiety With Dr. Anna Redmond

In this episode of A Healthy Push podcast, I chat with Dr. Anna Redmond, a chronic pain educator and trained pain psychologist. Anna specializes in working with patients suffering from long-standing pain and the physical impact of stress on their bodies. And she had her own personal journey with chronic pain.

We sat down for a conversation on the relationship between chronic pain and anxiety. We talked about things like:

  • Indicators of chronic pain

  • What actually causes chronic pain

  • Why it's not helpful to 'rate your pain'

  • What to do when you're in a flareup or you're anticipating one

  • Why trying everything to get relief often makes things worse

  • What Anna wishes she knew earlier in her own personal journey with chronic pain

I'm so looking forward to sharing our discussion with you! Be sure to check out the full episode to hear all the amazing insights Dr. Redmond had to share from her years of practice and experience in this field, as well as her own journey with chronic pain.

How to Deal With Chronic Pain and Anxiety With Dr. Anna Redmond

Chronic pain is different from acute pain. Acute pain typically results from an injury and lasts up to six months, often resolving as the body heals. However, pain that persists beyond six months, whether from an injury, stress, or an unknown cause, tends to involve the nervous system.

When pain continues for an extended period, the brain, whose job is to protect us, can become overprotective. It does this by producing pain signals even when the threat isn't as severe.

This has lots of similarities to anxiety and panic disorder! Anxiety shows up to protect you but unfortunately fires off a lot of false alarms. Changing that perspective can be helpful in recognizing that anxiety, like chronic pain, is trying to be helpful in some capacity.

Anna says: "I often see a significant overlap between chronic pain and anxiety in my work. Many people aren't sure what came first: was it anxiety that led to pain, or pain that led to anxiety? This relationship can vary, but understanding the connection can help in managing both conditions. Your pain is real, no matter how it started or what it feels like. The International Association for the Study of Pain recognizes that various situations can cause chronic pain. Regardless of the cause, when pain goes on for six months or longer, the nervous system's involvement becomes significant."

She shares that the empowering part is that you can manage and recalibrate your nervous system to reduce its overprotective response. Techniques like Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), mindfulness, gradual exposure therapy, physical therapy, and biofeedback can help calm the nervous system and reduce chronic pain.

Understanding that chronic pain is often due to an overactive nervous system helps in managing it effectively.  With the right approaches, you can help your brain dial down its sensitivity and live more comfortably.

Make sure to listen to the full episode for all of the helpful insights, tips, and tools Anna shares! And for more information on this topic, and for some helpful resources, you can connect with Dr. Anna on her website or Instagram linked below!

Dr Anna Redmond


Feeling like you've tried everything but you're still struggling with lots of anxious thoughts, symptoms, panic attacks, and fears? Take my FREE 60-minute masterclass today and learn 5 shifts that will actually help you to overcome anxiety, panic disorder, and agoraphobia. And I promise, you won't hear any of the usual stuff from me - like doing breathing exercises, grounding practices, cutting out caffeine, and doing more exposures. Let's get you the peace and freedom you deserve without it being so hard!

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