The statistics on chronic pain are astounding. Nearly 100 million Americans suffer from chronic pain. But what exactly is it? In this article, we’ll discuss the definition of chronic pain, its diagnosis, symptoms, and treatment. Chronic pain can take on many forms, and is often specific to the individual, so the best thing to do is consult with your doctor. This is because chronic pain can be caused by a variety of factors, and the treatment of chronic pain is often dependent upon the cause. This condition can be very disruptive, even to daily life, because it is extremely painful and can get in the way of active living.
What is Chronic Pain?
Chronic pain is usually defined in terms similar to this: pain lasting longer than six months. This often depends on the individual diagnosing your pain, however. It is not all the same. Some pain is mild or episodic, while other pain is so excruciating that it completely incapacitates the individual suffering from it. The most common locations of chronic pain are in the head, joints, and back. Other affected areas include wrist, elbow, shoulders, pelvis, and neck. Many times this pain originates from an injury that doesn’t quite heal properly. This is why it is so important to see a doctor. The results of the pain can be devastating if not treated correctly. Emotional problems like anxiety, depression, and anger can arise along with chronic pain, as can substance abuse. Those with this affliction should check in with a health professional occasionally.
Symptoms of Chronic Pain
Many people have pain, but it can often be a gray area between acute pain and chronic forms of pain. There are a few ways you can determine if you have chronic pain and should see a doctor about it. First of all, the duration of the pain is the main thing. If you have pain that won’t go away after several weeks at least, this is a sign of chronic pain. If you have trouble sleeping because of shooting, burning, or aching pain, this is another sign that the pain you have is chronic and disruptive. If you have to withdrawal from most physical activity for several weeks because it is too uncomfortable or painful, this can spell out chronic pain as well. Another typical symptom is when the pain starts to affect your mental state. It is time to see a doctor again when you feel fear, depression, anxiety, and stress due to the nature of your pain.
Treatment of Chronic Pain
The goal in treating an individual with chronic pain is to reduce the symptoms to a point where they can resume their normal activities, such as sleeping, working, and exercising. The problem with chronic pain is that it is often untreatable to some degree. The goal is usually management of symptoms rather than full recovery. Here I will just list some possible treatment options that you can research further for your particular type of pain. The most powerful treatment tools are surgery and prescription painkillers. For example, some people have extreme carpal tunnel that surgery on the wrist is the only way to relieve pain. Less invasive options include relaxation therapy, message therapy, acupuncture, and physical therapy. If you consult with a doctor, he or she will be able to suggest a particular treatment that best fits your symptoms.