In Physical Therapy

5 Things You Need to Know About Treating Chronic Pain

One of the most common complaints that patients have when going to the doctor is pain. In the United States, there are more than 100 million people who suffer from chronic pain. As you may know, pain comes in two forms: chronic and acute. Acute pain is what you feel after an injury, such as a burn or a broken bone. In some cases, acute pain is a sign of something wrong with your body, such as passing kidney stones or tonsillitis. Acute pain can become chronic pain. Here are a few things that you need to know about treating chronic pain. 


What Is Chronic Pain?

Different doctors have different definitions of chronic pain. In the eyes of some doctors, pain becomes chronic after three months. Other doctors believe that pain becomes chronic after a year. There are also doctors who subscribe to the belief that pain is chronic is if it lasts longer than it typically should. According to research, acute pain may lead to chronic pain if the way a patient’s brain is wired changes. Sometimes, patients suffer from chronic pain when there hasn’t been any surgery or injury to cause it. Typically, illness is the cause of chronic pain. Some examples of diseases and illnesses that cause chronic pain include:

  • Arthritis
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Lupus
  • Cancer
  • Migraine
  • Joint dysfunction

Now that you know what chronic pain is, here are five things you need to know about treating chronic pain.


1. Chronic Pain Is Real

Unfortunately, many people who suffer from chronic pain are treated as if they are exaggerating or making up their pain. However, the truth is that the pain is 100 percent real, even if the cause is not known. Just about every person who suffers from chronic pain wants to be pain-free and gains nothing from lying about their pain.


2. Chronic Pain Is Associated with Disuse Syndrome

Chronic pain frequently leads to disuse syndrome, which refers to a long-term lack of physical activity. Disuse syndrome can have a negative impact on your cardiovascular, musculoskeletal, psychological, neurological, and emotional processes. Disuse syndrome can lead to an overall lack of wellbeing. Unfortunately, disuse syndrome can be just as debilitating as chronic pain.


3. Chronic Pain Is a Common Cause of Sleep-Related Problems

Chronic pain can lead to a cycle of sleep-related problems. As you can imagine, chronic pain can make it harder to sleep at night. In turn, lack of sleep can worsen chronic pain, creating a vicious cycle.


4. Pain Is Personal

Everyone experiences and copes with pain differently. Even if two people are suffering from the same condition, one may be incapacitated by the pain while the other may only experience minor pain. This is particularly true when it comes to back pain.


5. Happiness Is Possible

Just because you see a person with chronic pain smiling does not mean they are not in pain or are having a good day. Loved ones often make the false assumption that just because someone is smiling means they are not experiencing pain.

Chronic pain is typically a life-changing condition. For more information about treating and coping with chronic pain, don’t hesitate to contact us.


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