The foundation of chronic pain is easy to comprehend. Who can’t understand constant pain? In their lifetime 11-40% of people will suffer from chronic pain at some point. Unfortunately, there is no definitive test for the experience of pain. Many patients will search for multiple reasons for their suffering. While certain things about chronic pain are easy to identify, there are things about chronic pain that some people do not realize about their chronic pain diagnosis.
#1 Chronic Pain Is Not Just A Physical Injury
It’s easy to relate chronic pain with a physical injury, but quite often, that is not the case. It’s a side effect many diseases and illnesses. After healing, pain is more than a physical reaction but also a signal. Pain stemming from a bodily injury affects somatic nociceptors which handle the body’s bone and muscle pain. When the brain needs a notification that there is a problem, the nociceptors will send a signal.
#2 Neuropathic Pain
There are many types of neuropathic for several different reason. Regardless of the source, nerves still send signals to the brain for undetermined reasons. Severe, sharp, and stabbing are words typically used when neuropathic pain is present. With this type of pain, there is ongoing numbness and tingling. It often will originate from the spinal cord. In some cases, the cause of the pain may have a known source. Other times it does not. Pain that migrates beyond the original site over time creates problems diagnostic problems. Often, it’s hard to know for sure what exactly is causing the symptoms.
#3 Symptoms of Chronic Pain are More Than Hurt
Imagine having to battle chronic pain on a regular basis. Like any stressor, it will begin to spill over into other areas your life. For instance, how many people enjoy a good night rest while in constant pain? Lack of sleep will lead to symptoms such as fatigue and mood swings often affecting daily lives. Bodies react to pain in many different ways. It also, directly and indirectly, affects how your brain works over time.
#4 Chronic Pain Causes Structural Changes In the Brain
No matter how much people reject its existence, pain is a healthy part of the nervous system. It informs the brain of abnormalities and allows a person to acknowledge that there is an issue. It becomes a problem when nerve signals keep firing off informing the brain of issues even after healing or for no reason at all. Using prescription medication to relieve pain will always have its side-effects. Sadly, sometimes psychological. Internal blockers begin to minimize, and the continuous use of them will eventually change the central nervous system creating the risk of cognitive concerns later on.
#5 Cognitive Issues May Arise Due to Chronic Pain
33-75% of people with an atypical pain syndrome experience moderate to severe depression and anxiety. Chemically, depression and pain affect the same type neurotransmitters and neural pathways. Furthermore, chronic pain can change with the surrounding environment affecting life activities and identities thus creating an atmosphere for other Illnesses. Medications’ side effects can too cognitively progress the illnesses like anxiety and depression. Isolations behaviors may lead to damage relationships over time. The constant feeling of being a burden can become overwhelming continuing the vicious cycle.
#6 Psychosomatic Pain
We all respond to non-physical body stressors different. Unfortunately, that too can eventually turn into a form of chronic pain since both pain receptors, and mood regulators are affected. Healthcare professionals are now seeing a connection between emotional stressors and migraines. They also see a link between financial woes and back problems. Back pain is one of the leading chronic pain conditions in America today.
#7 Many Doctors Still Focus On Treating An Injury Pain
The outcome of pain management is to provide symptom relief for daily functioning and will mostly include prescription medication. It’s normal for a doctor to focus on the apparent source of the injury to resolve the pain. But seeing as chronic pain may not exude from the source, a narrow-minded focus could lead to a misdiagnosis.
For example, according to the doctor, your injury should no longer hurt because it healed up. There is no reason for you to be in pain anymore according to your doctor. Meanwhile, you are still in pain and feel upset that your doctor does not understand. When your doctor rejects the notion that you are still experiencing pain; it can lead to frustration. Which, is not a healthy for both the doctor and patient. It can lead to everything from being undermedicated to unnecessary surgeries to being overmedicated.
#8 Medication Can Make Pain Worse
Extended use of pain medication can lead to new reasons for pain. Prescriptions work by blocking the transmission of pain from site to brain. The body reassures the brain that it is getting the message and begins to send stronger signals leading to more pain. Pain receptors and processors become distorted, and most stimuli start to be interpreted as pain. Overuse of medication could also lead to drug dependency and addiction.
#9 Effects of Chronic Pain Radiate Beyond the Definition
Chronic pain affects more people than cancer, diabetes, heart attack and stroke combined. With that ratio, people would think everyone around them would have a painful look on their face at all times. There are silent sufferers all around. Knowing that it’s easy to wrap a mind around nearly a half a trillion dollars being lost so far between medical treatments and lost productivity due to chronic pain.
#10 The Opioid Epidemic in America
Many people who depend on medication to live, have been grouped with those who abuse painkillers. As stated earlier, chronic pain is not always a result of an injury. Even if it is, chronic pain can last past long after the injury is gone.
In fighting pain, sufferers have a higher risk of becoming addicted to prescription opiates. Today’s growing opioid epidemic sheds light on this devastating issues. It is a vicious cycle, where medication taken for pain relief becomes ineffective. Thus, requiring stronger painkillers. No one starts the day wanting to become addicted to pills that they never intended on taking in the first place. Prescription opioid abuse is very real and very scary. Anyone taking narcotics needs to be aware of the risk of addiction.
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