Just because you know your pain better than anyone else doesn’t mean you have to deal with it alone. Family, friends, and co-workers can offer vital assistance in managing chronic pain, but it’s up to you to take that first important step – understand there’s a problem you can’t solve alone.
What Is Chronic Pain?
You’re the best judge of your pain, whether it’s physical or psychological. If you smash your thumb with a hammer, you know the cause and are confident the pain will eventually subside. That’s acute pain. But chronic pain is different, usually persisting for more than six months. It can linger even after you’ve recovered from the injury or illness that triggered it, with pain signals firing in the nervous system for weeks, months, or years.
Know The Symptoms
Chronic pain can happen anywhere in your body. If you suffer from chronic pain, you may experience these types of symptoms:
- Feeling very fatigued or physically drained
- Absence of hunger
- Problems sleeping or concentrating
- Moodiness and other sudden mood changes
- Low energy
Symptoms of chronic pain can be managed, with people who experience it often describing the pain as minor aching, soreness, stiffness, burning, shooting, throbbing, or a stinging or squeezing sensation.
What Causes Chronic Pain?
Sometimes, chronic pain is triggered by a previous injury or infection or by disease. Chronic pain has been estimated to affect about 20 percent of U.S. adults, with about seven percent reporting that the pain interfered with daily life. Doctors and researchers are stumped as to the exact cause, but if you’ve suffered with it long enough, you know that chronic pain triggers may include:
- headaches or migraines
- back problems
- nerve damage
Resources For Chronic Pain
Diagnosing chronic pain can be difficult. Living with it more so, and in some cases even resulting in disability. But people who suffer through its symptoms and other complications aren’t alone. Millions of others experience chronic pain, often in silence, but many resources are available for diagnosis, treatment, and ongoing pain management techniques. If you suffer from chronic pain:
- Talk to your doctor about the pain. A medical exam may reveal the cause, putting you one step closer to possible treatment. Your doctor also may be able to refer you to other pain management resources.
- Consider resources that promote holistic pain management techniques like exercise, meditation, and massage therapy.
- Look online for resources for chronic pain. The internet can be an excellent destination for uncovering useful information and looking for legitimate, vetted resources. Websites with a .edu or .org extensions are an ideal place to start, but commercial sites can also offer a wealth of material to steer you down the right path. Another well-known resource is located here. There also are numerous federally funded websites that provide high-quality information on chronic pain.
- Don’t underestimate the value of exploring local chronic pain support groups in your area. Hospitals, universities, and churches, and charity organizations are prime examples of where to go for information.
People who suffer from chronic pain often get creative in their pain management techniques. Your doctor or support network may advocate working to lower stress levels, reduce your intake of alcohol and tobacco, follow a healthy diet, exercise, and – above all else – do what you want, but in moderation.
- The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offers numerous self-education management programs which you can explore. Developed by Stanford University and offered in English and Spanish, you can enroll in programs that will help deal with stress, teach you how to manage depression, improve communication with family members and others, develop healthy eating habits, and evaluate new treatment options.
Diagnosis & Treatment
“Your doctor will ask you about your medical history. Describing your pain will help your doctor find the right treatment for you. Tell them where the pain is, how bad it is, and how often it occurs. Also talk about what makes the pain better or worse. Your doctor will do a physical exam and may run tests to help determine the cause of your pain.” If your healthcare provider believes there’s a psychological component to the pain, you may be referred to a mental health specialist for a psychiatric evaluation.
There are many possible treatment options, including ketamine infusion.
Chronic pain affects millions, causing untold misery and sometimes resulting in other physical or mental health issues. If you suffer from symptoms, don’t be a martyr because, in this case, silence isn’t golden. Contact us today to learn more about the innovative treatments we provide.