Being in pain constantly isn’t any fun, and this can be confirmed by the 30% of Americans who experience chronic pain. Chronic pain can be described as pain that lasts for more than three months, occurring as a part of a chronic illness or lasting beyond the recovery period of an injury. Either way, it can lower one’s quality of life and make it hard to cope with the effects of chronic pain. Here’s a look at the types of chronic pain, what causes it, and how to manage it.
Common Types of Chronic Pain
Chronic pain can occur anywhere in the body, however, the most common types of chronic pain include:
- Back pain
- Cancer pain
- Head pain (headaches/migraines)
- Joint pain (arthritis)
- Muscle pain (fibromyalgia)
- Neck pain
Any of these pains can feel like a throbbing, squeezing, burning, or just plain aching sensation.
What Can Cause Chronic Pain?
Again, chronic pain can be caused by a chronic condition or by an injury. Arthritis is the most common type of chronic pain, but the pain from cancer (another chronic condition) is also fairly common. Many people also suffer chronic pain from car accidents and other types of injuries long after the physical injury has healed.
There’s also something called psychosomatic pain that’s not caused by an illness or injury, but by stress, anxiety, and/or depression. It’s also possible to have a combination of these causes that lead to chronic pain.
How to Manage Chronic Pain
The good news is that there are many ways to treat and manage chronic pain. Everyone is different so it’s important to find the best way(s) to manage your chronic pain. Ideally, you should talk to your doctor about chronic pain management, but here are three popular ways to manage chronic pain.
Your doctor may be able to prescribe certain medications to help you cope with your chronic pain. Some of the most common prescription (and over-the-counter) medications include corticosteroids, muscle relaxers, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), and topical products.
Alternative medications or treatments may also be helpful for some dealing with chronic pain. These include things like relaxation techniques, hypnotherapy, CBD oil, and acupuncture.
#2: Lifestyle Changes
Your doctor may also recommend lifestyle changes in addition to or in place of medications for treating your chronic pain. A lot of chronic conditions are a result of inflammation, so your doctor may recommend an anti-inflammatory diet. This includes eliminating or strictly limiting red meat and other processed foods, fried foods, salty foods, sugary foods, refined carbs, etc. Instead, you’ll eat more fatty fish, fruits and vegetables (especially berries and leafy greens), and complex carbohydrates.
In addition to changing your diet, your doctor will more than likely also recommend getting in extra exercise. It’s not likely, however, that they will recommend weight training and high-intensity exercises, but they may recommend walking, light swimming, stretching, yoga, and pilates. These exercises help improve muscle and bone strength, while also improving your balance and helping you to burn more calories.
Finally, it’s also important to get enough sleep each night, cut out bad habits (such as smoking tobacco), and look for ways to reduce your stress as much as possible. All of these tips also play a major role in your overall health.
Therapy, both physical/occupational, and counseling can also be a way to help manage chronic pain. Both physical and occupational therapy focuses on the physical limitation caused by your pain, whereas counseling can help you overcome the mental limitations that are causing or have resulted from your chronic pain. The type of therapy you need in conjunction with medication and lifestyle changes can help you manage your chronic pain more effectively— if recommended by your doctor.
If your chronic pain was caused by an injury, seeking justice may also be helpful from a psychological standpoint. A Nashville personal injury lawyer can focus on getting you the Justice you deserve while you can focus on managing your chronic pain.
Living a full life with chronic pain is possible for most people, depending on the severity of the pain. Unfortunately, all types of chronic pain can’t be prevented, but there are steps that you can take to prevent some types of chronic pain, and better manage the types that can’t always be prevented. Much of this starts with lifestyle changes because a healthy lifestyle is a foundation for a better quality of life.