Five Tips for Treating Your Chronic Pain
Posted on Saturday, January 15th, 2022 at 9:35 pm
Pain falls into two categories – acute and chronic. Acute pain happens immediately after you’ve gotten hurt and lasts only as long as it takes the injury to heal.
Pain becomes chronic when it lasts past what is considered a normal healing time. It becomes chronic when it goes on for more than three to six months. Unfortunately, it is not uncommon, accounting for up to 20 percent of doctor visits and affecting an estimated 20 percent of people worldwide.
Chronic pain can follow a traumatic accident or injury. It can also develop after years of repetitive motion. such as happens during your daily activities or normal work. Most people can recover from repetitive motion injuries, but in some cases the pain becomes chronic.
Chronic pain is not consistent from person to person. Common types can include:
- Arthritis or joint pain
- Neck and back pain
- Testicular pain
- Pain in a scar
- Neurogenic pain from damage to the nerves, such as sciatica
- Chronic abdominal pain
- Leg cramps
- Plantar fasciitis
- Carpal tunnel
- Complex regional pain syndrome
- Temporomandibular joint syndrome
The underlying cause of these types of pain may or may not be identified. Some common causes include a traumatic accident or injury, surgery, bony changes in the spine, and arthritis. When it is possible to identify the underlying cause of chronic pain, it can improve the potential success of treatment.
Oftentimes, the underlying cause of chronic pain cannot be identified, which makes treatment more challenging. Fortunately, there are several approaches to management that can provide consistent relief.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a form of therapy that guides patients to examine the relationship between their thoughts and feelings and their behavior as a tool to manage the pain response. Before you dismiss the connection, it is important to note that research has found an association between a person’s psychological factors and the perception of pain. CBT addresses this connection.
Additionally, the therapy can be tailored to meet the needs of a variety of populations, such as children, older adults, and those suffering from specific conditions. However, further research has also found that those patients with the highest expectation of treatment success, experienced the highest level of pain relief. This was not affected by a person’s gender, age, or pain severity.
While you may be tempted to remain still and “nurse” your pain, research has found that this may be the worst decision you can make. Chronic pain is sometimes called the “invisible disability.” To others around you, it doesn’t make sense that you can’t move through life as smoothly as your friends and family.
However, while challenging, it’s important to note that exercise and movement are medicine for your body. Relaxed movement is vital to managing chronic pain and can help improve muscular function. Even with identified medical conditions, such as osteoporosis, arthritis, or surgery, movement is a key component to the journey to recovery.
For example, while you may have heard that movement and exercise contribute to the development of arthritis and chronic pain; research says no. In fact, exercise is a primary prescription for people with arthritis.
It is important to not only exercise but also remain active throughout the day. Too often, people believe they can exercise for 30 to 45 minutes a day and remain inactive for the remainder of the day. This is sometimes called sitting disease and is associated with nearly 34 health conditions. So, while it is important to find an exercise you enjoy, don’t spend the rest of the day on the couch or in a chair.
Research also demonstrates that chronic pain is multidimensional. When you choose a multidimensional exercise you may have greater success. Yoga is one exercise that touches on a person’s physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual aspects. It helps relieve the chronic pain associated with several health conditions.
Address Your Depression and Anxiety
Chronic pain places your body and mind in a chronic state of stress. This is a critical factor in the development of depression and anxiety. In other words, it creates a vicious cycle. As your pain increases, it increases your depression and anxiety, which increases your perception of pain.
By addressing and treating your emotional state you can help relieve your physical pain. The reverse is also true. When patients have intense pain before a total knee replacement and suffer from depression, it adversely affects the outcome of the surgery. In other words, mental distress and depression can increase the risk of chronic pain disorders after surgery.
It is important to note that not all antidepressant medications influence chronic pain. Therefore, it’s important that your pain treatment regimen includes several methods of addressing depression and anxiety that also help reduce chronic pain, such as adequate sleep, exercise, and CBT.
Another factor that reduces depression and anxiety and has a unique effect on chronic pain is staying connected with loved ones. Consider visiting with friends, video-chatting, or speaking frequently on the phone. This helps you focus on others and reduces your perception of pain.
Staying socially connected is also key to maintaining your overall health and wellness. When you are socially connected you have a lower risk of depression and anxiety, and higher empathy, which improves the effect of CBT.
Deep Brain Stimulation
When other noninvasive processes fail to alleviate your chronic pain, you may wish to consider deep-brain stimulation. This is a procedure in which electrodes are placed into the areas of the middle brain involved in pain perception. The wire runs under the skin to a device implanted in your chest. This device sends electrical impulses to the electrodes, which then change the way the neurons in that area of the brain function.
Deep-brain stimulation may help calm pain conditions that have been resistant to other treatments. However, the treatment is not without potential side effects.
Contact Abell and Capitan Law for Help with Your Chronic Pain Disability Claim
If the effects of chronic pain have left you unable to work, long term disability benefits can help pay for your daily living and medical expenses. The process of making a successful claim can be overwhelming and arduous. Contact the long term disability attorneys of Abell and Capitan Law today for a free, no-obligation case review.
Our experienced legal team can tell you about your options for pursuing benefits. We have offices in Kentucky and Pennsylvania, but we represent people throughout the U.S. Don’t wait until you’re desperate. Call us today at (267) 419-7888 or contact us online to schedule your free consultation.