How to Know if you Have Chronic Pain

Chronic pain is pain lasting longer than three months. It can be the trigger of other stressors, not just the pain itself. Think of lower back pain, avoiding things like treadmills at the gym, aerobic exercises, mowing the lawn, a to-do list at the office. You may have chronic pain if you or someone close to you notices psychological and emotional differences, anxiety, mood swings, eating syndromes, and other related troubles.

Types of Chronic Pain

Chronic pain is the Duracell Bunny of the Department of Perpetual Discomfort. A single charge will go a long way – at least 12 weeks, in fact. It can be dull or sharp, triggering an aching or burning phenomenon in a broken leg bone after it’s apparently healed. It may be sporadic or constant, appearing and disappearing without any obvious reason. And it can happen anywhere in your body but will feel different in various areas.

Here are the most familiar types of chronic pain including:

  • Postsurgical pain
  • Post-trauma pain
  • Headache
  • Cancer pain
  • Lower back pain
  • Arthritis pain
  • Pain that is nerve damage or Neurogenic
  • Pain that is Psychogenic (pain not produced by injury, disease, or nerve damage)

More than 1.5 billion people around the globe experience chronic pain, according to the American Academy of Pain Medicine. Nearly 100 million Americans attribute it as the most widespread reason for long-term disability.

Facts about Chronic Pain

In many cases, you’ll know you have chronic pain if it lasts more than 12 weeks in the same part of your body. Absent a formal diagnosis, you may derive comfort from knowing you’re not alone. Here are some statistics about chronic pain:

  • 100 million Americans suffer from chronic pain.
  • 10% of Americans experience daily pain lasting three-plus months.
  • More than 1.5 billion people globally experience chronic pain.
  • It’s the top cause of long-term disability.
  • 27% of Americans say their chronic pain originates as lower back pain.
  • 15% say it’s the result of a headache or migraine.
  • 15% believe their chronic pain is neck related.
  • 4% of Americans say their chronic pain originated in the face.
  • Twice as many women as men suffer headaches, migraines, or facial pain.
  • 77% of people said their chronic pain led to depression.
  • 51% of adults say they have no control over their pain.

Who Is at Risk of Having Chronic Pain?

According to a post with medical data vetted by Dr. Pat F. Bass, MD, MPH, chronic pain may appear in people with these risk factors:

  • Old age means people need to learn to manage pain.
  • A condition passed down genetically.
  • Of Hispanic or African American heritage.
  • Carrying a lot of weight on their bodies.
  • Suffered from previous injury.
  • Suffered from childhood abuse.
  • Have existing mood disorders.
  • Have high-risk employment.
  • May be diagnosed with PTSD, as is the case with medical professionals, first responders, combat soldiers, or anyone exposed to a traumatic event.
  • Misuse or abuse of nicotine or alcohol products.

How Can You Treat Chronic Pain?

Doctors at the Cleveland Clinic have found chronic pain can be handled in numerous ways, each with varying degrees of achievement based on pain, the patient, and other influences. Treatment options could include:

  • Medicine like ketamine or other pain relievers.
  • Topical products which contain capsaicin or lidocaine.
  • Anticonvulsants, antidepressants, muscle relaxers.
  • Low-impact workouts.
  • Hot or cold wraps.
  • Acupuncture or massage.
  • Deep brain or spinal cord stimulus.
  • Behavioral and mental health counseling.
  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy.
  • Meditation techniques.
  • Pet therapy, music, guided imagery.
  • Healing touch, Aromatherapy, hypnosis.

As researchers widen their search, they’ve discovered ketamine may be one of the most recent breakthroughs in pain management.  According to a WebMD post: “New research shows that ketamine can be effective for treating pain and could be an alternative to opioids.

“Ketamine has captured headlines recently as a possible treatment for severe depression and posttraumatic stress syndrome as well. Ketamine is also being used more in inpatient and outpatient settings to manage pain.”

Tips for Handling Chronic Pain

Here are some steps you can take to reduce stressors which may increase chronic discomfort:

  • Take terrific care of your body: Eat, sleep, exercise.
  • Don’t give up on daily activities: Socialize with your friends, go shopping, take a walk.
  • Get Help: There’s no shame seeking out comfort from friends, family, support groups.

It’s important to note that several medical associations are warming up to ketamine’s potential benefits. In chronic pain, ketamine is believed to reverse central sensitization and enhance descending modulatory pathways.

If you or a loved one is dealing with chronic pain we invite you to give us a call today to learn more about low dose ketamine infusions.

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