What is chronic pain? For those that suffer with chronic pain, it's torture...persistent, nonstop pain. Those that suffer from a chronic type of pain usually experience it all the time.
Chronic pain sufferers don’t have the type of pain that flares up and goes away, and usually they will always need some type of treatment throughout their lives in order to cope with even the mundane tasks of daily life. This post explains the basics of what it is, how to identify it over acute pain, what some of the causes of chronic pain are, and some of the treatments.
Where It Starts And What It Feels Like
Chronic pain is not specific to any area of the body. Chronic pain can start anywhere in the body. It can feel duller and achier, as opposed to the immediate, stabbing pains that are sometimes felt in an injury situation. However, some forms of chronic pain can be sharper and more stabbing. It mostly depends on the kind of injury, disease, or condition that's causing the chronic pain.
Chronic pain can be confined to one area of your body, or it can be spread throughout the entire body – and it doesn't go away. If you have a widespread, chronic pain condition, it truly wear you down when it comes to everyday life and activities, including those that are centered around both work and family life. Chronic pain basically sucks the life out of you.
Common Causes And Conditions of Chronic Pain
There are several causes for chronic pain; the most common ones are mentioned below. This is a general guide, because chronic pain sufferers are not a one-size-fits-all group.
• Old Injuries – when a person gets injured, things don't always heal the way they were supposed to. Even when they do heal correctly, sometimes pain remains because of the damage that was done. This is most common with joint injuries, but any type of serious injury can result in chronic pain that may last a lifetime. Arthritis can develop in a previously injured area, turning an acute injury into chronic pain.
• Arthritis – when people have arthritis they often have stiffness and pain in their joints. It can be just one joint, a group of them, or all of them. This pain doesn't usually go away, and it can hurt even when the person isn't using the joint. Moving the joint and trying to use it can make the pain worse, and make it hard to perform normal tasks.
• Fibromyalgia – thought to be caused by a nervous system sensitivity, fibromyalgia can cause widespread, chronic pain throughout the entire body. It's very difficult to deal with because it's hard to treat, and the constant pain makes it difficult for the sufferer to function normally. It can take up to 5 years for a patient to be properly diagnosed with fibromyalgia. It is a frustrating, painful condition that many people (and many doctors) don't understand.
• Depression – even though most people think of depression as a mental or emotional illness, it has a lot of physical symptoms. Chronic pain and fatigue are two of those symptoms. People with depression often experience muscle aches and pains that aren't seemingly related to anything physical, but the pain and discomfort are very real to them.
• Years of Poor Posture – this can lead to severe pain in many individuals, especially in the back area.
• Improper Lifting – individuals that do not lift items properly or take caution when they are physically active may subject themselves to chronic pain.
• Weight – anyone who is overweight is more at risk for the development of chronic pain. The extra weight they carry puts more strain on their back and knees. Every pound a person is overweight puts 5 pounds of strain on arthritic joints, making them much more painful.
• Curvature Of The Spine – this is a congenital condition. However, those that suffer from it will experience severe, traumatic pain that is constant.
• Traumatic Injury – often traumatic injuries can result in traumatic pain.
• High Heels or Improperly Fitted Shoes – shoes without the proper support can result in chronic pain in the foot area.
• Poor Mattress – a poor mattress could lead to chronic back pain.
Common Treatment Options for Chronic Pain
When it comes to treating chronic pain, there are few ways to do so. It is important to work to treat the pain. Leaving it alone could make it worse or simply make your life miserable. Also, if you know what is causing the pain, treating the cause may help alleviate some of the discomfort.
• Over-the-counter pain medication is taken by a lot of people who have things like mild arthritis or residual pain from an injury, as long as the pain isn't severe.
• Prescription medication is often used by people who have fibromyalgia, depression, severe arthritis, or a lot of pain from a past injury. It can help them to function more normally because their body hurts less. This is becoming more difficult as a treatment option due to regulatory changes. Many doctors will no longer prescribe adequate pain management out of fear, even if their patients take their medication only as prescribed.
• Herbs and natural remedies are becoming more popular because they're believed to have fewer side effects. It's still important to be careful with them, though, and check for contraindications with any other medications that are being taken.
• Visiting a pain specialist can help many individuals determine the correct treatment for their chronic pain. Often it varies for each condition and each person.
• Anti-depressants actually help some people to decrease their chronic pain. These medications are used by a variety of individual and can be beneficial.
• Radiofrequency ablation is a popular oupatient procedure that helps patients deal with nerve issues. It is a procedure that is conducted under guided professionals.
• Trigger Point Injections are often given to the area where the chronic pain is felt to help manage the pain and eliminate it.
• Pain pacemakers are a technique for spinal cord stimulation. This pacemaker is implanted in the body, allowing it to send electrical signals to the nerves. It helps to block and relieve pain.
In addition, there are several natural remedies that could help minimize the pain. Chronic pain conditions are very difficult to cure, if they can be at all. Some of these options combined with traditional medical treatments can help to eliminate the pain.
• Mind-Body therapies are a treatment to help the mind and body function properly together. There are various approaches to this therapy. Some involve relaxation techniques, meditation, guided imagery, biofeedback, or hypnosis. The goal is to reduce and eliminate pain from chronic injuries. These types of therapies are more for mild to moderate pain relief.
• Acupuncture is a popular form of treatment for chronic pain. Many Chinese doctors believe that chronic pain is a result of an imbalance of energy in the body. Supposedly, the needles help create balance in the body and reduce pain.
• Chiropractic treatments can be helpful for people with chronic back pain. It is one of the most common forms of non-surgical back treatment.
• Therapeutic touch and reiki healing are thought to activate healing in the body, thus reducing pain. Some patients swear by them, many patients in severe pain get no benefit at all from this approach.
• Changing the dietary fat intake or consuming more plant foods can eliminate pain.
When To See A Doctor for Chronic Pain
In certain instances of chronic pain, your doctor can be particularly helpful. It is important to evaluate the pain symptoms and determine whether or not a medical course of action is needed. When to call a doctor concerning your chronic pain:
• A doctor should evaluate chronic pain that has lasted more than a month and there is no specific reason for the pain.
• Call the doctor if your pain is accompanied by depression, which is very common in pain patients.
• It is important to see the doctor if sleep is interrupted because of the pain.
• Talk to the doctor if an illness or injury healed, but the pain is still lingering.
Managing Chronic Pain
Coping with chronic pain can be difficult because it is constant. Try visiting a pain management expert. He or she might be able provide advice or therapies that can help ease your pain. Also, take advantage of various remedies that could benefit you in addition to medicine. The more you do for your pain, the better.
Next, learning to live with pain by developing pain relief strategies is crucial. Learn how to minimize it. Being proactive in dealing with your pain can allow you to perform daily tasks without being in agony.
It's not easy to be optimistic when it takes two hours to get the pain under control so you can get out of bed. It's not easy lagging behind because every step you take is painful, but you go out because you're tired of being left out. Keep fighting. Create a toolbox of strategies to use when your pain interferes with your life. Be vocal and be your own advocate when seeing a medical professional. You deserve to life without debilitating pain.
I regularly add more detailed strategies I use to combat living with pain. Managing pain is more than one page of advice. I hope my strategies for managing my pain will help you too.