Millions of Australians suffer from chronic pain every year. Estimates show that one in five people ages 45 and over are experiencing persistent, ongoing pain.
Chronic pain can be disabling and stressful for many. It makes it hard for a person to work and enjoy things while experiencing pain on the side.
Treatment for chronic pain will require understanding its symptoms, causes, and management.
Chronic Pain Symptoms And Causes
Chronic pain refers to any muscle aches or joint pains that last longer than six months. The condition has a wide range of causes, making it difficult for the affected area to identify, address, and treat.
Unlike acute pain, chronic pain can persist even after the injury passes on the healing stage.
The roots of chronic pain are both physical and mental. Some researchers suggest that people with this condition may have problems with the nerve and glands, making them feel pain differently.
Persistent, ongoing pain can affect people of any age, gender, race, or background. The common causes may include headaches and migraines, upper body pain, cancer, systemic diseases, arthritis, or the aftermath of a traumatic injury.
People who suffer from this condition describe the pain in many different ways, such as:
- Persistent aches
- Burning sensation
- Shooting pain
- Muscle and joint stiffness
This pain can lead to other symptoms and conditions in some severe cases. These include anxiety, depression, fatigue or extreme weakness, insomnia, and mood swings.
Chronic pain can bring real effects on a person’s way of life and mental health. It is best to seek help from a doctor and create an action plan together.
Chronic Pain vs. Acute Pain
These two might have the same pain, but most have different causes or illnesses.
Acute pain occurs when one gets hurt from a superficial injury. Mostly it is a small cut to the skin or a broken bone. The pain usually does not last long, and it goes away after the body heals.
In contrast, chronic pain can persist long after recovering from an injury or illness. It even occurs sudden and for no apparent reason.
5 Tips For Chronic Pain Management
Here are common ways to treat and manage chronic pain.
For mild cases, the doctor might recommend over the counter (OTC) medications such as Tylenol/Acetaminophen and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, including aspirin, ibuprofen, and naproxen.
The doctor may also recommend antidepressants and anticonvulsants. Choose an appropriate type of medication for different types of pain.
Topical pain relievers are also available for use. Apply creams, lotions, or spray to help ease sore muscles and arthritis inflammation.
Massage is physical therapy for soft tissue injuries and joint pains.
The mind-body therapy treatment can help improve the mind and body’s ability to function. These include relaxation techniques, guided imagery, acupuncture, and other medications.
All these can help alleviate discomfort relating to chronic pain.
Starting a healthy lifestyle is an integral part of chronic pain treatment.
Get regular and adequate nights of sleep and quick power naps throughout the day. Quit smoking as early as possible as the nicotine found in cigarettes is proven to lessen the effectiveness of some medications. Smokers also have a higher risk of feeling consistent pains than non-smokers.
It is also essential for people with this condition to remain active and engage in exercises. The physical activities should be enough to sweat but not too strenuous to the extent of feeling pain.
Start with gentle body exercises such as slow stretches, tai chi, or yoga.
If standard medications and physical therapy fail to offer symptoms relief, the next best option is for a surgical implant. This treatment is rarely used and only for severe cases.
It is best to talk to a doctor about developing a chronic pain management plan.
Living With Chronic Pain
Pain is the body’s complex protective mechanism. It is part of the evolution that intends to protect the body from harm and danger.
Living with persistent, ongoing pains can be difficult.
The key thing to improve pain is by taking care of one’s health. Get adequate hours of sleep, eat a balanced diet, and exercise moderately.
Try to manage stress, depression, and other mental illness symptoms, as these can make the pain worse.
Learn about the causes of pain and understand the limit to avoid being out of control.
Enrol in a first aid course and learn more on how to treat chronic pain and other illnesses.