If pain and discomfort have interrupted your life for three months or longer, you might be dealing with some form of chronic pain.
Fortunately, you’ve come to the right place. Keep reading to learn more about what chronic pain is, what causes it, and which treatment options might be suitable for your unique needs.
Chronic Pain Defined
Chronic pain is classified as a pervasive experience that lasts for more than three months, in which an individual feels pain and/or discomfort that interferes with his or her routine activities. Chronic pain can be constant, or it can ebb and flow as time passes. It can affect the entire body or specific areas.
The constant presence of moderate to severe pain can be detrimental to an individual’s quality of life, as it interferes with work, school, social activities, and self-care. Additionally, chronic pain can weigh heavily on mental and emotional well-being, due to its presence causing or intensifying anxiety, sleep disturbances, and depression.
Chronic Pain Symptoms
Chronic pain doesn’t affect every patient the same way. A wide variety of symptoms is possible, depending on the underlying cause and the individual’s unique sensitivities. The sensations brought on by chronic pain include dull aching, sharp shooting pain, burning, pressure, throbbing, pins & needles, and/or joint stiffness.
Symptoms can range from mild to severe, and intermittent to constant. Chronic pain can cause an individual to feel exhausted on a regular basis, and it can make eating and drinking difficult due to the nausea and stress associated with it.
What Causes Chronic Pain?
Several health conditions can either cause or exacerbate chronic pain. For example, a long-term illness can cause or worsen chronic pain. A significant injury can produce chronic pain if healing is a particularly long process.
In some situations, chronic pain can develop for reasons that are unknown to the patient and difficult to determine for medical professionals. Stress, anxiety, and other mental health conditions can sometimes play a role in the production of psychosomatic pain, but this isn’t always the case.
Sometimes, chronic pain can develop seemingly at random. Patients who experience chronic pain may have been unknowingly exposed to specific illnesses and infections at some point in their lives. A flare-up of one of these conditions can also be a contributing factor in the severity of a person’s chronic pain. Lyme Disease, for one, can be contracted without an individual’s knowledge, and when left untreated, long-term symptoms can manifest. Chronic musculoskeletal pain and fatigue are common in individuals with Lyme Disease.
Chronic Pain Conditions
Existing health conditions can cause or intensify an individual’s chronic pain. Some of the most common causes of chronic, difficult-to-manage pain levels include the following conditions.
Chronic Pain Treatment Options
Several medical approaches are possible when it comes to managing or treating chronic pain. To find the right treatment option, determining the cause of an individual’s chronic pain is essential. In some cases, finding the root cause of chronic pain can be a long, challenging process. In other cases, the cause of a person’s chronic pain is relatively straightforward and easy to discover.
The cause, the type of pain an individual experiences, and their overall quality of life are key factors to consider when searching for an effective pain management routine.
Much of the time, patients and their medical providers choose a variety of applications, allowing each to supplement the others. A treatment plan might include a medication regimen, lifestyle changes, and holistic therapies.
Anticonvulsant medications might be prescribed for patients with chronic nerve pain, while NSAIDs or corticosteroids may be recommended for generalized pain. Furthermore, medical marijuana, sedatives, or muscle relaxers can also be an effective part of a person’s pain management routine.
Pain injections and antidepressants can also help reduce the severity of a patient’s pain levels, so they’re worth considering as well.
Finally, therapy is a decent option to apply for pain treatment as well. Cognitive or behavioral therapy, physical therapy, and alternative treatments are also worth looking into. Acupuncture, massage therapy, meditation, biofeedback, and hypnosis have regularly been applied as pain management plans for people seeking pain recovery.
The individual’s unique circumstances and the way they respond to treatment techniques will impact the adoption or discontinuation of specific relief applications. When it comes to chronic pain, experimentation is common. It’s going to take time for patients to adjust to new routines in order to determine whether that specific application proves useful.
If you’re struggling to deal with chronic pain, there’s no greater time than the present to have an evaluation performed. From there, you and your provider will become better able to choose effective pain management protocols.
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