What is chronic pain? The medical community defines chronic pain as any kind of pain that persists for longer than three months. It may not be ever-present, it can come and go in waves, but the pain is a defining factor of your physical experience. Chronic pain can also occur anywhere in the body and may not stem from an obvious source like an injury.
Due to its intense, lasting nature, chronic pain decreases quality of life and can lead to many different mental health issues. These can, in turn, deepen the harshness of chronic pain. Oftentimes, chronic pain can be treated or at least remediated with diligent care and treatment. Find addiction therapy near you by calling Serenity Grove today at 844.904.3485.
What Is Chronic Pain and How Is It Different?
Chronic pain is quite different from acute pain. Acute pain is what most people think of when they think of times they have been in pain. It could stem from an injury, a cut, or a broken bone. Pain is felt, but it lessens as the damage heals and eventually dissipates altogether. Chronic pain, on the other hand, does not go away and may last far beyond any apparent cause.
Anywhere in the body can be affected by chronic pain. People who experience chronic pain may have it in multiple areas at once. A few of the most common types of chronic pain include:
- Arthritis or constant joint pain
- Back pain
- Neck pain
- Nerve damage
Chronic pain is a lot more common than most people think. Approximately 25% of American adults are estimated to have experienced chronic pain at some point. It is one of the biggest reasons for people to visit the doctor each year. Sometimes, chronic pain is preceded by an obvious cause—many people with arthritis or some forms of cancer experience chronic pain. Injuries and diseases can also change the body in profound ways that leave people more open to chronic pain.
But as already mentioned, chronic pain may not have a physical cause. Healthcare practitioners refer to this type of pain as psychosomatic. It stems from psychological factors and is often influenced by depression, anxiety, and other mental health issues.
Chronic Pain Symptoms to Look For
People experience chronic pain in different ways. It is commonly described using one or more of the following descriptors: burning, aching, shooting, pulsing, stinging, throbbing. The actual symptoms of chronic pain are, of course, headlined by the pain itself. No matter how it feels or manifests, the pain is the most prominent symptom.
It is also common for chronic pain to cause mental symptoms such as depression, anxiety, and mood swings. Fatigue and sleep issues are also common symptoms of chronic pain. Diagnosing chronic pain can be a difficult process. After all, pain is subjective. Chronic pain often has no apparent cause. Medical professionals use a comprehensive evaluation and even sometimes testing to determine whether or not someone should be diagnosed with chronic pain.
Treating Chronic Pain
The best outcome after diagnosing chronic pain is when the source can be determined and fully treated. In cases where the root cause cannot be pinpointed, treatment hinges more on managing someone’s experience with pain. The approach to treating someone’s chronic pain depends on a few factors:
- The type of pain
- The cause of pain, if it can be determined
- A person’s age and overall health
Treatment for chronic pain tends to take a comprehensive approach, combining medication, therapy, and lifestyle changes to produce meaningful outcomes. Four lifestyle changes, in particular, are at the core of treating chronic pain: stress, exercise, diet, and sleep. The more these can be improved, the better someone’s experience with chronic pain will become.
Learn More About Chronic Pain Management at Serenity Grove
Get more information about how Serenity Grove treats chronic pain by calling 844.904.3485 or filling out our online contact form. You don’t have to allow your chronic pain to rule your life. Take the first step toward healing today.