Diagnosing and Managing Chronic Pain
While many people aren't fully aware of it, chronic pain is an actual medical condition that plagues many. It's often dismissed as "all in your head" or even something "you just have to live with," however for those dealing with chronic pain neither is an acceptable response.
Pain is your body's natural reaction to inform you something is wrong. If you are injured or ill it is a perfectly normal experience. But pain lasting for anywhere from three months to years is not a normal occurrence. It's a medical condition referred to as chronic pain. It can happen in any part of your body, while ranging from annoying to downright debilitating. At this point it becomes a hindrance to your daily activities.
Although more popular in older adults, anyone can be susceptible to chronic pain. And no, it's not a normal part of the aging process either. The reason for it being more popular in older adults is their greater risk for diabetes or arthritic conditions.
There are numerous causes of chronic pain, ranging from brain chemistry not regaining its balance following an illness or injury, to nerve damage or even without known or visible cause. Due to the vastness of situations, it's often difficult to pinpoint the actual cause of the pain itself.
Chronic Pain Symptoms
With its numerous causes comes the multitude of symptoms to go along with them. The most common of symptoms are:
Pain ranging from mild to extreme not alleviated as expected.
Shooting, burning or aching pain or pain which feels like electrical currents.
Stiffness, soreness or tightness.
There is also the possibility of chronic pain causing other problems. Fatigue and depression can easily become part and parcel of your daily life if you have been suffering from chronic pain for some time. If your chronic pain gets in the way of your social or physical activities, you will not only become less active, but could also experience feelings of loneliness and depression as a result of the lack of these activities.
Another major factor resulting from chronic pain is the effect it could have on your immune system, resulting in its weakening. This could result in more illness to contend with as your body is unable to fight off other illnesses or infections.
Your physician will likely request a series of tests following some questions about your past illnesses and overall health to determine if you are actually suffering from chronic pain. He or she may require you to undergo testing to check for issues with your nervous system, along with routine blood work.
This may be the best occasion for them to ask you questions about your mental health and mood. By performing this type of examination, they will be able to consider thinking, memory or reasoning skills. In the majority of cases the test results will come back normal, making it that much more difficult for the doctor to understand the exact nature of your pain.
Chronic Pain Treatments
There are various home treatments available to you, and you will probably leave the doctor's office with a list of do's and don'ts such as taking ibuprophen for the pain, getting enough sleep as well as eating healthy. There are some complementary therapies you could try as well, such as yoga or massage therapy.
Following your doctor's recommendations, while taking care of your mental and physical health, you will find there are ways to cope with chronic pain.