Chronic pain syndrome is one of the most unfortunate conditions anyone can suffer from – it comprises extreme, seemingly endless pain that can come on suddenly and often without warning. It is one of those conditions that you hear about and pray never affects you or anyone you know. Unfortunately, this condition is relatively common and that means that a good understanding of what chronic pain is and how to effectively assist those who suffer from it, is something that is both valuable and needed in society. This article provides you with a good overview of what chronic pain is, and information on how it affects those suffering from the condition and the best ways to help those who suffer from this dreadful condition.
What Is Chronic Pain?
Everyone has experienced pain in some capacity, whether great or small. Pain is your body’s natural response to potentially harmful experiences and is typically a good thing. It serves as a warning that something is not right with your body, either externally or internally, and is a useful way for your body to teach you to avoid harmful experiences. However, when your body continues to experience pain long after the harmful experience is passed, it is no longer a safeguard.
When pain lasts for more than 3 months after the cause has passed, this is called chronic pain. It is not always clear why chronic pain develops in an individual. Often, chronic pain comes after an initial injury and in these cases, it is believed that the chronic pain is the result of damage done to the nerves in the injured area, causing more intense and longer-lasting pain than should be present as a result of the original injury. However, sometimes people develop chronic pain without any associated injury at all. These cases are not entirely understood, although it is believed that some may be caused by any number of underlying health conditions.
Often, those who suffer from chronic pain will go on to develop chronic pain syndrome. This is where individuals suffering from chronic pain have developed symptoms beyond pain alone and these symptoms have begun to affect their lives significantly. These symptoms are usually mental health conditions such as depression or anxiety and are thought to be the result of the constant mental strain of dealing with seemingly unending pain.
How Does It Affect Those Who Suffer From It?
The constant strain of suffering from seemingly endless and relatively extreme pain can have a number of negative effects on the psychological state of those who suffer from chronic pain and can often lead to the development of mental health conditions.
In addition to this, chronic pain can have a number of negative effects on your physical health as well. Often, those who suffer from chronic pain struggle to sleep properly and end up feeling tired constantly. This is problematic for a number of reasons. Proper sleep is vital to a healthy lifestyle and chronically disturbed sleep can lead to a number of negative health effects. These include: poor reaction times, obesity, and hypertension.
What Can Be Done to Help People Living With Chronic Pain?
There are a number of ways to treat chronic pain and, depending on the severity of the sufferer’s pain, doctors may find it necessary to include the expertise of a Chronic Care Management company to help in the care and treatment of patients suffering from this condition. However, even if this is not the case, there are a number of steps that you can take to help manage and mitigate the effects of chronic pain.
Exercise. Regular exercise is incredibly important to maintaining your general health and this is even more important when you suffer from chronic pain. It can be easy to become lost in the despair of your pain, but staying focused and dedicated to regular exercise could help you to not only stay in better physical health, but also potentially reduce the number of “bad days” you experience. These bad days are times when the pain feels insurmountable, and nothing seems to help.
Physical Therapy. Physical therapists are experts in their craft who know to help you to increase your range of motion and, hopefully, relieve your pain somewhat. A short course with a physical therapist is a recommended way to begin to bring your condition under control and is often helpful in mitigating and controlling symptoms.
Painkillers. So long as you comply with the recommended dosage on the packaging, then it is entirely safe for you to use over-the-counter medication to reduce your pain. However, remember that these medications have side effects, and often relying on them entirely for pain management is a poor idea. If you do decide to use painkillers to help you manage your symptoms, then try to use them before your pain is severe as they can often help to stop your pain mounting and they can even potentially stop something like a migraine from “taking root”. Make sure to discuss pain medication with your doctor before embarking on a new course of action.
The Best Ways to Support Love Ones With Chronic Pain
It can be a terrible experience to see someone you care about struggle with something as dreadful as chronic pain, and often in situations like this, it is easy to end up feeling helpless in the face of their suffering. However, there are a number of ways for you to help the ones you love with their pain, and that kind of help has to start with communication. Often the best way to discover how you can best help your loved one is to ask them how you can assist them, not only while they are actively suffering with pain, but also more generally. Understanding what they need in the moment and working to ensure you can make them comfortable and relaxed is often the most you can do for your loved ones and though it might not seem like much, it will often make the world of difference to them.