The pain that lasts for more than three months is known as chronic pain. It can occur anywhere in your body. You can feel pain all the time, or it may come and go. The chronic interfere with your routine activities like having a social life, working, and looking out for yourself and others. Besides, it can lead to trouble sleeping, fatigue, mood swings, anxiety, and depression, making the pain worse. Its response creates a difficulty to break the cycle.
There is exists another type of pain called acute pain, which differs from chronic pain. Acute pain happens when you get hurt, like a broken bone or a simple cut of your skin, and it goes away when your body heals and doesn’t last long. In comparison, chronic pain starts to continue long after you recover from an illness or injury, and sometimes it happens for no apparent reason.
Where Can You Have Chronic Pain?
It is very common in the United States, where approximately one-fourth of the adult population experience chronic pain. Chronic pain can come in various forms and happens across the body. The common type of such pain includes:
- Headaches, including migraines
- Cancer pain near a tumor
- Neck pain
- Back pain
- Joint pain or Arthritis
- Scar tissue pain
- Neurogenic pain from damage to parts of the nervous system such as nerves
- Muscle pain like with fibromyalgia
Causes and Symptoms of Chronic Pain
At times there are obvious reasons for the cause of chronic pain. It can be caused due to a long-lasting illness like cancer or arthritis that brings ongoing pain.
In addition, diseases and injuries cause to change your body that leaves you sensitive to pain. Such changes can stay long after you have healed from the actual disease or injury. For instance, a broken bone, brief infection, or a sprain can leave you with chronic pain.
Further, some people experience chronic pain without any physical illness or injury. It is referred to as psychosomatic pain or psychogenic pain by healthcare providers. Depression, anxiety, and stress are factors behind this pain. Usually, it occurs due to low endorphin levels in the blood.
Chronic pain varies from person to person. Those who are suffering from chronic pain often describe it in different ways mentioned below:
Management and Treatment of Chronic Pain
The healthcare providers first need to identify the cause behind the pain to manage and treat them. Various strategies, including medications, therapies, lifestyle changes, and others, can help manage and treat chronic pain. Let’s have a look at the different ways.
Prescription Pain Relief
Your doctor may prescribe your medicines to treat your severe chronic pain, including cancer pain, low back pain, severe headaches, arthritis, chronic migraines, neuropathic pain, or other chronic pain. Narcotics or opioid medication may be used if you have severe pain, and however, you can get addicted to them. Commonly prescribed opioid medicines are morphine, oxycodone (Endocet), and tramadol (Ultram). These medications work by altering your brain’s perception of pain, and they can trigger constipation. So, you are advised to drink plenty of water and get a sufficient intake of fiber.
The doctor may also suggest various OTC or over-the-counter drugs to treat chronic pain, including arthritis, headaches, and other conditions. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and acetaminophen are the two over-the-counter pain relief medicines. Though they are ITC medications, they do have some serious side effects. Taking acetaminophen in excess can cause liver damage, mainly if you combine it with alcohol.
Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as naproxen, ibuprofen, and aspirin decrease inflammation and pain. However, they enhance the risk of bleeding and ulcers in the gastrointestinal tract. Besides, they can also damage your kidney and increase your blood pressure. Hence, you must follow directions while taking medications for chronic pain.
Have Enough Sleep
Chronic pain interferes with your sleep, and not having adequate sound rest can make your pain worse. Sleeplessness and chronic pain together make a vicious cycle. Pain can keep you from getting sufficient sleep, and not getting sound sleep intensifies the pain and hurts you more the next day.
Thus, getting enough good quality sleep is vital for your health, and lack of sleep can result in weight gain making your chronic pain worse. Besides, sleep is quite essential for stress management. So, talk to your doctor about the same. Also, adopt some good bedtime habits like keeping a regular bedtime and wake-up schedule.
Paying attention to pain will only make it worse. Studies suggest that distraction help in managing pain. It is a robust technique that draws your attention away from pain and its symptoms so that you may feel less pain. Research shows that distraction inhibits the pain signals that travel up the spinal cord, and the brain receives them. It would help if you got busy to feel less pain. So distract yourself with a book, a crossword puzzle, a conversation, knitting, take a cooking class, or something else. It will get your mind off your discomfort and aches. You may not be able to get completely free from pain, but you will feel pain with less intensity.
Supplements such as fish oil and glucosamine can help with daily pain.
Supplements for Chronic Pain
With medication options being limited due to increased risks, adverse effects, or lack of effectiveness, there are safe therapeutic options to reduce pain. Supplements can help the patients with chronic pain fill that void reducing their pain, and research shows that some supplements can help with chronic pain.
You should consult your doctor about what supplements you can take. While discussing supplements, keep in mind that they can be part of your holistic pain management and treatment approach instead of a magic bullet or a quick fix. Painful and stiff arthritic joints may be relieved from chondroitin sulfate, Glucosamine, fish oil, and SAMe.
There is no single or miracle cure for your chronic pain that ails them. Instead, you have to go for a combination approach customized for each individual. It may include a new routine, improved habits, and medication. Take time to discover and work on treatment with your doctor to find what works best for you to ease your chronic pain.
You can find all prescribed and over-the-counter medications along with supplements on Medomand.
Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and should not be relied upon for any diagnostic or medical purpose or the treatment of any symptom or condition.