Behavioral medicine refers to the way a person responds to an illness or disorder. Working with a specialist in behavior medicine can train you in effective ways to:
- Reduce and cope with pain
- Keep your use of pain-relieving drugs at the lowest possible level
- Avoid or reduce the unwanted side effects of surgery or other invasive procedures
Behavioral experts also do evaluations to help determine pain treatment before and after surgery. They work closely with patients to ease distress and help them move rapidly toward recovery once the operation is over.
Behavioral medicine techniques include:
- Behavioral and cognitive pain management approaches that work with the way our brains know and think
- Biofeedback. This approach uses a special electronic machine to train you to become aware, follow and gain control over certain bodily functions we consider automatic. These include your muscle tension, heart rate and skin temperature. You can learn how to change your response to pain by using relaxation techniques based on the feedback your body sends you. This approach is often used along with other treatments. It usually has no side effects.