Chronic Pain and Human Body: Connect the Dots!
Pain and aches are common, and we all experience them at some point. Pain is the body’s most common reaction to alert about a possible injury. The body sends a signal from the point of injury to the spinal cord, which transmits the signals to our brain indicating the injury. The pain tends to lessen as the injury heals gradually.
However, chronic pains are quite different as compared to this. For instance, unlike normal injuries, the body continues to send pain signals to the brain despite recovering, which makes it difficult for the victim to deal with it. This sensation can last from a few days to multiple weeks, depending on your chronic pain conditions. The problem can extend further to other after-effects such as shoulder pain, lesser range of motion, and longevity in pain.
What Causes Chronic Pain?
There are several reasons why one could deal with chronic pain. For instance, people who have a long-lasting illness like arthritis or cancer could suffer from this problem. Chronic pain not only contributes to the disease but also makes the condition worse. Additionally, many diseases and infections can make you more vulnerable to pain.
Most people who have serious injuries tend to deal with chronic pain and its after-effects for years to come. The most common example is a sprain, a broken bone, or a damaged femur, which might leave you with chronic pain.
Are All Chronic Pains Physical?
Surprisingly, not all chronic pains are physical. Many people deal with chronic pain without any physical injury or condition. Professionals regard this as a psychogenic condition or a psychosomatic pain. There are various theories on why this problem occurs.
However, the most promising one indicates lower levels of endorphins in the blood. Endorphins create positive feelings in the mind and uplift the mood of an individual. What makes chronic pain even worse is that certain symptoms may overlap. You could find a person whose chronic pain gets worse with migraines because of psychogenic conditions. This amplifies the all-over pain they experience.
Where Do People Have Chronic Pain?
- Neutrogena pain from damage to the nerves or other parts of the nervous system.
- Cancer pain near a tumor.
- Frozen Shoulder (adhesive capsulitis)
- Arthritis or joint pain.
- Back pain.
- Lasting pain in scar tissue.
- Headaches, including migraines.
- Muscle pain all over (such as with fibromyalgia).
Thus, there isn’t a specific area where a person might experience chronic pain. People tend to experience these pains in different places and different ways. Most people who experience chronic pain describe it as a burning sensation; others might call it shooting, squeezing, or stiffness in the respective area.
What makes this a bigger problem is that the pain from these conditions leads to several symptoms and problems as well. Anxiety, fatigue, insomnia, and depression are some of the most common conditions that these people may experience. The mental conditions may also worsen over time and make things more complex for these victims. You may also see chronic pain sufferers dealing with mood swings because the pain has an impact on their mood stability too.
How is Chronic Pain Diagnosed?
Diagnosis for chronic pain differs from person to person as every person may experience it differently. The best way to diagnose chronic pains is to examine the patient and probe them about the symptoms they experience. Generally, a health professional may inquire the patient about the following things.
- Where a patient experiences pain
- The intensity of the pain on a scale of 1-10
- Frequency of the pain
- Impact of the pain on daily tasks
- What induces or reduces it
- Amount of stress or anxiety one has had
- Past medical history/ surgeries/ medication
Having information on the above-mentioned things makes it easier for the health expert to come up with a better idea of the illness. The health experts may also add a few tests to the list to make better deductions. These tests help determine the patient’s internal health, thus assisting in coming to a better conclusion.
- Blood test
- Electromyography for muscle activity tests
- Spinal fluid tests
- Urine test
- X-rays, MRI
- Nerve conduction studies to assess nerve reaction
- Reflex and balance tests.
Can You Take Therapy for Chronic Pain?
While therapies cannot make chronic pains go away completely, they may still help the patients deal with them efficiently. Let us take a look at some of the most common therapies that might help you reduce chronic pain.
Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT)
The CBT approach operates on the principle that the mind has an immense effect on chronic pain and its intensity on the human body. The CBT approach helps the patients manage their condition when coupled with physical therapy. It teaches the patient to cope with the pain so that they can deal with things in a better way.
A conversation with the patient about their pain and its intensity tends to be quite helpful. The counseling sessions are ideal for psychogenic pains, which one cannot handle with other therapies.
Occupational therapy focuses on helping patients deal with daily tasks with the least amount of pain.
Physical therapy includes exercises and training that strengthen the body against chronic pain symptoms. For instance, if you deal with shoulder pain or find it difficult to move your shoulder, this will help you out. There are plenty of cases where physical therapy has also helped with severe cases like rotator cuff tears as well. So, ensure you check for all of these.
All the solutions that we mention might help address chronic pain in the human body. It all depends on the kind of pain you are dealing with and its intensity. If you feel like all these solutions might not work for you, there are other options that you can look forward to, including
- Walking, Swimming, Yoga
- Stress Reduction
Thus, it is safe to say that chronic pain can have immense effects on the human body, and it is important to address them all. Finding the cure for your specific chronic pain might be difficult, but that doesn’t mean it’s impossible. Combining one of these therapies is just what you need to put yourself in a better position against your chronic pain. However, a health professional might help you choose the best mode of treatment; so, do not forget to discuss your condition with them.
Want to learn more about how you too may get the pain relief you deserve? You just may be surprised at the new ways modern medicine may help you get back to doing the things you love doing. Learn more. Get the details here.