Did you know that (opens in a new tab) live with chronic pain? That means that a fifth of our population deals with pain most days, if not every day. If you’re part of that 20%, you may have given up on trying to treat your chronic pain, thinking it to be impossible, or maybe you’ve never sought out treatment for your chronic pain before.
Whatever your situation, don’t give up hope. Since January is a time for starting fresh and making New Year’s Resolutions, this year, set a goal to address your chronic pain, either again or for the first time.
What Causes Chronic Pain?
To best understand how to treat chronic pain, it’s important to know what caused it. Typically, when an injury occurs, signals are sent from the injury through the spinal cord, and to the brain, and the brain interprets these signals as pain. This initial pain is important; when someone breaks their leg, pain plays an important role in making sure they don’t continue to walk on it and worsen the injury. As the injury heals, this pain lessens, until eventually, it goes away entirely.
With chronic pain, however, the body continues to send pain signals to the brain even after the injury has healed. This pain can affect any part of the body and can range from mild to severe. Once this pain continues past twelve weeks, it’s considered “chronic.”
Some common chronic pain conditions include:
- Back or neck pain
- Pelvic pain
Obviously, no one wants to live with pain almost every or every day; this alone makes chronic pain worth addressing. However, chronic pain typically leads to even more problems, like limited mobility, reduced energy, changes in appetite, depression, and anxiety.
How is Chronic Pain Treated?
People with chronic pain often encounter various challenges that can impact their daily lives. However, there are various management and treatment options available to help alleviate symptoms and improve your overall well-being. There are various approaches to relieving chronic pain, including:
- Apply heat or cold packs to the affected area for pain relief
- Practice relaxation techniques such as deep breathing and guided imagery
- Use over-the-counter topical creams or ointments to reduce inflammation
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like ibuprofen and acetaminophen can help relieve pain and reduce inflammation.
- Pain medicine, including over-the-counter analgesics and prescription medications, can play a role in managing chronic pain.
- Prescription medications like opioids or muscle relaxants may be prescribed for severe pain, but their use should be closely monitored by a healthcare professional
- Maintain a healthy diet to support overall well-being and reduce inflammation
- Engage in regular exercise to strengthen muscles, improve flexibility, and release endorphins
- Manage stress levels through techniques like meditation, deep breathing, and engaging in enjoyable activities
- Establish a consistent sleep schedule to promote rest and recovery
- Work with a physical therapist to develop a personalized plan involving exercises, stretches, and manual therapy techniques
- Targeted physical therapy can help improve mobility, reduce pain, and enhance overall function
- Practice mindfulness meditation to cultivate a non-judgmental attitude towards pain and reduce stress
- Focus on the present moment and develop coping mechanisms for managing pain
- Connect with others who understand the challenges of living with chronic pain
- Join support groups or online communities to share experiences, learn coping strategies, and find support and understanding
- Explore alternative treatments like complementary and integrative health practices such as acupuncture, chiropractic care, herbal medicine, or massage therapy.
- Discuss this alternative medicine with a healthcare professional to ensure their safety and effectiveness
Chronic pain management is highly individualized, and what works for one person may not work for another. It's important to work closely with healthcare professionals to develop a comprehensive treatment plan that addresses your specific needs and goals.
Why Would I Need Orthopedic Surgery?
Orthopedic surgeons are trained to diagnose and treat conditions of the joints, muscles, and bones, many of which can cause chronic pain. Many orthopedic surgeries are minimally invasive, meaning they are performed using small incisions rather than large openings. This allows for less risk during surgery, less pain after surgery, and shorter recovery times. If other pain treatments for your chronic pain have failed you, it may be time to consider getting in touch with one of our orthopedic specialists.
Some common conditions treated by our team include:
- Sports injuries
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
- Herniated and ruptured discs
- Hip dysplasia
- Hand injuries
Why Should I Try Orthopedic Surgery at Prima CARE?
If you suffer from chronic pain, our team of orthopedic surgical associates at Prima CARE are capable of diagnosing and treating your condition, alleviating your discomfort, and getting you back on your feet. You shouldn’t be living your life with pain or limitations, and the New Year offers the perfect opportunity to try something new. After all, new year—new you!
Frequently Asked Questions
How is acute pain different from chronic pain?
Acute pain is temporary and typically occurs after an injury or illness, while chronic pain persists for extended periods, often lasting months or years. Acute pain serves as a warning signal, while chronic pain is more complex and may require long-term management strategies.
Can chronic pain worsen over time?
Yes, chronic pain worsens over time if left untreated or not effectively managed. It's important to seek appropriate medical care and develop a comprehensive pain management plan to prevent the progression of chronic pain.
How does physical medicine address chronic musculoskeletal pain?
Physical medicine, such as physical therapy and rehabilitation, focuses on the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of conditions affecting the musculoskeletal system. Physical therapy interventions, including therapeutic exercises, manual therapy techniques, and modalities like heat or cold therapy, aim to reduce pain, improve mobility, and enhance functional abilities for individuals with chronic musculoskeletal pain.
How common is chronic pelvic pain?
Chronic pelvic pain is a prevalent condition that affects a significant number of individuals. It can occur in both men and women, often leading to a decrease in quality of life and functional limitations. Seeking proper medical evaluation is essential for an accurate diagnosis and effective management.