Once an injury or medical problem heals, pain that continues for longer than three to six months afterward is considered chronic pain. Learning coping techniques and finding complementary therapies are important strategies for those suffering from chronic pain.
Pain is your body's way of telling you something is wrong. When you are injured or have a medical problem, pain may be the result. Once you heal, the pain normally ends. However, many people suffer from chronic pain, which is defined as any pain that lasts forthree to six months or more.
Chronic pain is the result of nerve signals that keep firing after the healing of an injury or health problem. There are many types of chronic pain, including visceral pain (from internal organs), bone pain, muscle spasms, headache pain, backaches and neuropathy, among others
Chronic pain, often caused by a past injury or health condition, can range from mild to severe. It can be characterized as a dull ache, throbbing, burning, stinging, shooting, or squeezing feeling. Someone suffering from chronic pain will often:
Chronic pain can interfere with your responsibilities, family relationships and daily life. It will often cause a person to:
Chronic pain often cannot be cured, but there are ways to learn to control and live with the pain. Some of these include pain medications, acupuncture, meditation, psychotherapy and biofeedback. If left untreated, there can be a 'wind-up phenomenon' that can make the pain worse.
In most cases, however, chronic pain will not have you rushing to the hospital. Having a medical alert system would provide some peace of mind, but is not a requirement for people with chronic pain. If a patient is experiencing high levels of stress, he or she should seek out a support group or consult a professional.
Patients with chronic pain are encouraged to learn to cope with their pain by reducing stress. To address the stress, patients should begin by eating right, getting lots of rest, and following through on approved exercise. The power of the mind can be helpful, as well. Speaking to yourself constructively can help lift your spirits. Finding ways to distract yourself from the pain is also a good strategy. For example, find an engaging hobby or an activity that brings you into contact with others. Isolation from others should be avoided whenever possible.
Unfortunately, chronic pain will not go away in many cases. People experiencing chronic pain must learn how to enjoy life while still experiencing the pain. Complementary therapies can help a person manage how the disease affects them. There are many, but not all are good for everyone. A patient with chronic pain should discuss their plans for seeking out complementary therapy with their physician. To keep the pain from intensifying, you should follow through with recommended treatment, such as:
Chronic pain usually will not create an emergency situation that requires immediate transportation to a hospital. Hence, medical alerts may not be necessary. Patients may find that having a system in place makes them feel that help is nearby, and therefore, it can help them relax. Finding ways to alleviate the distraction of the pain is the most useful course of action.