Chronic pain has more side effects and symptoms than you may initially think. Sure, there’s the obvious – pain, discomfort, physical exhaustion – but it doesn’t stop there. Those suffering from a chronic pain condition may also be seeking relief for the mental symptoms, too.
Chronic Pain Definition
“While acute pain is a normal sensation triggered in the nervous system to alert you to possible injury and the need to take care of yourself, chronic pain is different. Chronic pain persists. Pain signals keep firing in the nervous system for weeks, months, even years.” You could’ve had a mishap – sprained muscle, bad infection, or another cause for pain – arthritis, heart disease, but you could have chronic pain without any of those.
Chronic Pain Symptoms
If you have chronic pain, symptoms may include:
- Moderate to severe pain that doesn’t go away as anticipated
- Pain that can be labeled as aching, burning, electrical, or shooting
- Mild pain, discomfort, tightness, or stiffness
Chronic pain can affect nearly all segments of your life. Sleep cycle, activity, mood, and energy output can all be unsettled by pain. If you’re fatigued, depressed, out of shape, the pain can worsen and be harder to deal with.
The Cost Of Chronic Pain
Chronic pain is a huge burden in the U.S. on medical expenses, lost income and productivity, insurance payouts, and legal charges. But there are other consequences of chronic pain:
- Lower back pain is a significant health problem resulting in limited activity amongst millions of adults.
- Pain affects most people suffering from advanced cancer.
- Arthritis pain affects more than 50 million Americans each year.
- Chronic headaches routinely affect millions, including migraines, cluster headaches, and tension headaches.
How To Deal With Chronic Pain Mentally
When you suffer from pain – a sprained toe, skinned knee, cut finger, etc. – you often know the cause and how to treat it. The physical discomfort normally goes away, but if it persists and becomes chronic, you could suffer just as much mentally as physically. Chronic pain and mental health have a deep connection, and while some pain can be treated in a conventional manner, how do you deal with it mentally? It can be treated successfully. Here are some tips and strategies for dealing with chronic pain.
- Manage stress levels. Mental and physical pain are knotted together, and lingering pain can result in higher stress levels. Learning to deal with stress in a healthy manner can help you cope more successfully with chronic pain. A balanced diet, regular sleep cycles, and exercise or other physical activity are positive means to handle stress and discomfort.
- Talk to yourself fruitfully. Positive thinking can be a powerful tool against depression and chronic pain. Focus on small improvement rather than setting unrealistic goals or becoming preoccupied with perceived failures.
- Stay active and involved. Distraction is one way to fight chronic pain, even if it’s only short-term. It also allows you to focus on the positive facets of your life.
- Join a support group. Finding a group of people who’ve experienced chronic pain and understand what you’re going through is powerful medicine. It means you’re not in this journey alone and can talk with someone who understands your highs and lows.
- Deep breathing or meditation is widely regarded as a great way to help you relax, which may soothe the pain. Tension and stiffness ooze from muscles when they intercept a quiet message to relax, giving your body exactly what it needs.
- Boost chronic pain relief with the natural endorphins from exercise. Endorphins are brain chemicals that help improve your mood while also blocking pain signals. Exercise has another pain-reducing effect – it strengthens muscles, helping prevent re-injury and further pain.
Diagnosis & Treatment
In most cases, a medical doctor will diagnose chronic pain symptoms through different tests and diagnostic procedures. This may include an MRI, x-rays, other imaging tests, blood tests, bone density tests, and many others. As part of the diagnosis, you’ll be asked to provide as much detail about your pain as possible – frequency, triggers, intensity.
Symptoms of chronic pain shouldn’t be ignored. Even if you think you have a high threshold for pain, chronic discomfort has a way of beating down even the strongest among us. Don’t wait until pain takes control. Contact us at NeuroRelief today to learn how we can help you find relief.