When pain symptoms are ongoing, it can feel like there is never a way out of the discomfort you are experiencing. Living with chronic pain is difficult. The never-ending pain affects everything in your life: work, home, relationships, and happiness.
When the pain sets in, it’s common for patients to seek medical care from a local doctor or specialist. These treatments might provide temporary relief. But, unfortunately, many patients are unsatisfied by the limited pain relief solutions that are available.
Many people learn to cope with chronic pain by finding ways to get through the day despite the pain. For example, you might rely on pain medication to handle a big workday. Or, find yourself neglecting household work because you need to rest.
Does chronic pain ever go away? Is there hope for the future? The good news is that a pain specialist can help you explore unique treatment options.
Acute Pain vs. Chronic Pain
The medical industry categorizes pain in two ways: acute pain and chronic pain. It’s important to distinguish the differences when choosing a treatment plan.
When pain is acute, it is a signal that you have been injured. Acute pain is often intense and sudden, but it doesn’t last long. As your body heals from the injury, then the pain starts to subside.
Usually, you can identify something specific that is the cause of your acute pain symptoms. When this underlying cause is fixed, then the pain will also subside. Acute pain is the body’s way of signaling an injury or problem
Here are a few common causes of acute pain:
- Cuts or scrapes
- Broken bones
- Torn muscles or ligaments
- Dental issues
- Sports injury
- Childbirth and labor
All of these situations cause immediate pain and discomfort. However, when the physical issues are resolved, then you can continue with normal daily activities without the burden of ongoing pain.
On the other hand, chronic pain sticks around for much longer. Patients experiencing chronic pain have these symptoms for months or even years. Typically, chronic pain lasts for a minimum of six months.
Chronic pain continues even after you have recovered from the illness or injury. As a result, the pain remains active for a longer period of time.
Sometimes, chronic pain occurs without a known cause. For example, you might not be able to identify an injury or illness that started the pain. But you experience pain symptoms on an ongoing basis.
Examples of chronic pain conditions include:
- Back pain
- Nerve pain
- Autoimmune conditions
Biggest Difference Between Chronic Pain and Acute Pain
When an acute injury occurs, the most common medical recommendation is to rest during your recovery time. Then, the doctor will provide treatment solutions to help with injury recovery. Taking it easy is essential to support the body’s healing processes.
But resting doesn’t have the same effect on chronic pain. When your symptoms are flaring, then taking it easy can help you get through the current moment.
The problem is that there isn’t a light at the end of the tunnel. Even if you get temporary relief when you take it easy, the pain always comes back.
The best thing you can do is talk to a doctor about the optimal fitness and movement levels to support your unique needs. You can’t stay in bed until the pain goes away. Instead, you need to be proactive about finding the medical solutions that will reduce your pain levels.
Other Effects of Chronic Pain
Chronic pain patients often experience ongoing stress that triggers a domino effect of other physical symptoms. For example, you might have limited mobility, tense muscles, appetite changes, sleep disturbances, or a change in energy levels.
Not only do you experience the physical symptoms that come with chronic pain, but it’s common for these health concerns to affect your life in other ways.
The emotional effects of chronic pain can include anxiety, depression, anger, and fear. These mental health concerns also affect a person’s ability to participate in work or social activities.
Treating Chronic Pain
It’s important to note that chronic pain is not a specific medical condition – it’s a symptom of an underlying illness or injury. Therefore, when you are experiencing pain, the most effective way to get relief is by correcting the underlying problem.
Sometimes, medical treatments can help to make the pain virtually non-existent. But many patients can’t ever overcome the pain.
Experiencing chronic pain doesn’t mean that there is no hope for the future. Even if your pain can’t be “cured,” there are many modern treatment options that address chronic pain. The goal is to help you regain a sense of normalcy in your life.
Stopping the Chronic Pain Cycle
Often, when we talk about chronic pain, it seems like a “chicken or the egg” scenario. This never-ending pain makes it hard to exercise or take care of yourself. In addition, the associated mental health concerns can contribute to poor health.
Small lifestyle changes can have an impact on improving your health incrementally. For example, when you are proactive about managing the pain, you can and energy levels to do the other things that help strengthen your body.
The most effective solution for chronic pain is to implement a holistic approach. When you are caring for your overall health and wellness, it helps your body overcome the issues contributing to these ongoing symptoms.
Finding a Pain Specialist
Treating chronic pain is a complicated process. Unfortunately, most general doctors don’t have the experience or knowledge to help patients achieve the desired results.
In the same way that you visit a cardiologist for heart disease or an oncologist for cancer, there are medical providers that specialize in pain management. Extensive education and training are required to enable pain specialists to provide these services.
There is Hope for Chronic Pain Patients
The Institute of Medicine reported that more than 116 million people in the United States suffer from chronic pain. If you are one of these people, rest assured, knowing that solutions are available to help you overcome the pain.
Instead of relying on pain medication for temporary relief, it’s time to find treatment solutions that provide long-lasting results. Even if you continue experiencing chronic pain in future years, proven solutions can reduce the discomfort and make these conditions more bearable.
Our experienced team at Kentuckiana Pain Specialists is here to offer the support that you need. We help patients overcome chronic pain issues through a comprehensive pain management program. Talk to us about alternative treatment options in Louisville, Kentucky, and the surrounding area: (502) 995-4004.