Does your daily routine include adjusting to some sort of nagging pain? You are given one life to live. Why would you want to spend it in pain? Chances are, if you do not do something about it, it will get worse. Especially if it is a degenerative condition, do not “let it go.” It will obviously get harder to repair the more it degenerates. Here are some facts about chronic pain and what you can do about it.
What is considered “chronic pain?”
Chronic pain is pain that has been experienced for more than 6 months. Chronic pain can cause muscles to contract, contributing to soreness and stiffness. An extensive survey and press release by the American Pain Society entitled “Chronic Pain in America: Roadblock to Relief” reveals the following about chronic pain:
- 56% of those suffering with chronic, moderate to severe pain have been suffering for more than five years.
- 41% consider their pain to be “out of control,” meaning that 4 out of every 10 people with chronic pain cannot find adequate relief.
- 47% of those surveyed changed doctors at least once, while a third changed 3 or more times.
So chances are, if you are experiencing chronic pain, you can look forward to at least five more years of it if you do not attend to it.
What are common types of “chronic pain?”
The most common types of chronic pain include back pain, tension headaches, abdominal pain and shoulder and neck pain.
How does chronic pain effect us?
If you think you should “just live with it,” or that it does not or will not effect your life overall, think again! Chronic pain can only have a negative impact on the sufferer’s quality of life. It can also interfere with the normal function of glandular, digestive, eliminative, nervous, and circulatory systems. Chronic pain can and often does affect loved ones and co-workers. Aside from the fact that sufferers may be irritable, have little energy, and feel depressed, they are continuously challenged to simply cope with day to day activities. According to the above mentioned survey:
- 81% report that their chronic pain affects their ability to exercise,
- 41% have difficulty doing their jobs,
- 79% have trouble sleeping, and
- 54% report their spousal relationships are compromised.
How is chronic pain commonly treated?
Ineffectively, overall. Surgery is sometimes considered. Most commonly, however, some type of medication is prescribed, and although some are considered effective in masking pain, most medications available have the overshadowing danger of side effects.
- People taking strong narcotics run the risk of addiction,
- Prescription non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs have repeatedly been in the news because of the risks of internal ulcerous bleeding of the organs that must handle the toxic side effects,
- According to an October, 2000 FoxNews article, 21% of patients taking NSAIDs for two months or more develop ulcers.
Are there any studies on the benefits of seeking alternative health care?
- Nearly 90% of Kaiser Permanente primary care doctors recommended alternative therapies or used them on adult members during a one-year period. This is according to researchers at Kaiser Permanente in Northern California and the results were published in the September 1998 issue of the Western Journal of Medicine.
- According to a British study conducted by Croft et al (1998), 50% of subjects studied from two general practice clinics in Manchester continued to experience back pain and disability 12 months after the onset and 25% still experienced pain. This means 75% of those surveyed are “living with it.”
Is there hope for chronic pain sufferers?
First of all, once you start to feel relief, you have to maintain it or it can come back easily! Medication does not seem to be the final answer. It only works temporarily and comes with hidden danger