Aching, throbbing, searing, burning, shooting; just a few words used to describe pain. Have you ever experienced these feelings? If so, you’re not alone. Studies show that 25% of American adults will experience chronic pain at some point in their lives. This Pain Awareness Month, we’re raising awareness about pain and the different ways it impacts the lives of many people.
Types of Pain
There are several categories that help us to better understand pain. Acute pain is caused by specific injuries, like a broken bone. The pain is intense, but the cause is known and treatable. Over time, the pain caused by that injury will fade away. Unlike acute pain, chronic pain lasts long past the recovery timeline for the average injury. If your pain lasts for three months or more, it is classified as chronic pain.
What is Chronic Pain?
Sometimes, chronic pain is constant. For others, it is intermittent. For all, it is a burdensome reality that can greatly impact quality of life. The causes of chronic pain vary, ranging from long-term illnesses such as arthritis, to lingering pain from past injuries, to psychological factors such as stress and anxiety. Determining the root cause of chronic pain helps doctors to better understand treatment plans for their patients, although it is easier said than done when the root cause of the pain is difficult to uncover. Physicians utilize blood tests, MRI and other imaging tests, urine tests, and nerve tests to narrow down the possible causes of the pain.
Side Effects of Chronic Pain
As if the discomfort weren’t troublesome enough, chronic pain often brings with it a host of other health issues; insomnia, depression, anxiety, and fatigue – just to name a few. It is important for us to be diligent, seeking medical attention on behalf of ourselves and our loved ones when we see chronic pain start to seep into other areas of our wellbeing.
No one should suffer in silence. Whether or not the root cause of chronic pain can be determined, doctors can help to manage and treat the pain to improve your quality of life. Sometimes therapy and lifestyle adjustments can show signs of improvement, as well as medication such as muscle relaxants. Occasionally, surgery is required. Your doctor will work closely with you to determine a plan that suits your needs best.
Pain is complex, and it can take a variety of medical specialists to discover the root cause of chronic issues. The most important thing is to address it, recognize you’re not alone, and work together with your doctor to strive for a healthier, happier body. Chronic pain can be improved, and we can help! Make an appointment today.