Living with chronic pain is no walk in the park, but as time goes on, it tends to become something you learn to deal with.
Not only that, but you also find yourself trying to explain to your family and friends what you're going through and what life is really like.
Some are receptive, and some just don't get it.
Beyond the surface of living with chronic pain, there is a darker side to it.
A side that contains some terrifying secrets.
Arm yourself with this information now so that you're prepared to take on anything that comes your way.
Also, consider sharing this with your family and friends so they can understand your struggles.
Chronic pain can be isolating
When family and friends don't understand how chronic pain affects your life, it can become quite lonely.
Going to a movie? No way, I can't sit in one place for that long. Invited to a summer barbecue? Nope, the heat is going to suck the life right out of me. How about a game of basketball? No, my body can't move like that.
Sound familiar? Chronic pain might be causing you to miss out on life by turning down invitations for activities that your pain won't allow you to do. This will certainly make you feel like you're out of the loop.
Don't be shy about letting your loved ones know what you can and can't do because of your pain. For example, build in a rest period if you're doing a daylong activity. Or, suggest an activity that is low-impact like swimming.
A good way to fight isolation from chronic pain is finding others like you. Use the power of the internet to find chronic pain support groups. Knowing you're not alone is powerful.
Chronic pain brings other problems
Chronic pain is not just one solitary problem. Its impact might begin to affect you physically and emotionally bringing issues like depression, anxiety, fatigue, and problems with sleep.
In fact, in this study, more than half of the sample population with chronic pain admitted to symptoms of both depression and anxiety. It would also appear that this depression/anxiety variable also predicted pain and pain-related disability.
If you're noticing symptoms like these, don't ignore them. Don't let yourself fall into a downward spiral. After so long, it's hard to dig yourself out of that hole. Do something to help treat your depression, anxiety, or insomnia. It may not fix your pain altogether but it will improve your quality of life.
Take some time to research your symptoms and the best ways to treat them whether it be a supplement, exercise program, alternative medicine, or even pharmacologic therapy. Seek help from a therapist or your doctor when appropriate.
Chronic pain is unpredictable
There's no way to tell how any one person will experience chronic pain. Each person's situation is unique.
It doesn't matter if you are a man or a woman, how old you are, or what your general health is like because your perception of pain might be a lot different from the next person.
This can be really frustrating and depressing for a person experiencing pain.
Try to take things day by day and don't wear yourself down by thinking the worst. Work with your doctor, physical therapist, or chiropractor, to prepare for unexpected symptoms.
How can a person prepare for flares of pain? There are plenty of different coping mechanisms to arm yourself with. For example, breathing exercises and mental exercises, like imagery, are powerful ways to distract yourself and calm yourself down.
Chronic pain might not have an identifiable cause
One of the most frustrating things about chronic pain is that the root cause is not always apparent.
Some people know what causes their pain whether it be osteoarthritis, post-surgery pain, migraines, or an autoimmune disorder like multiple sclerosis. Fibromyalgia is also a cause of chronic pain but is usually a diagnosis of exclusion when no other cause is found.
However, low-back pain, which is the most common type of pain, often doesn't have an identifiable cause.
Back pain is the most common cause of disability in people under 45 years of age with more than 26 million who experience frequent low-back pain. That's crazy.
If you're one of these people who have chronic pain with no clear cause, it can be hard to get people to take you seriously. Maybe even your doctor.
The fact that there is no one test or objective measure that ‘proves' you are experiencing pain makes it even more difficult.
Luckily, healthcare providers are becoming more mindful of this problem and are trying to better understand the challenges of chronic pain and treating it safely.
That said, don't give up on trying to find the cause of your pain. Do your research and work with your doctor to make sure you've had appropriate testing and are receiving the right treatments.
If you're not having any luck with traditional medicine, you might want to consider looking into the practice of functional medicine. Functional medicine practitioners focus on addressing the root cause of health issues and support proper bodily function through lifestyle and diet interventions.
Chronic pain treatments have scary side effects
Bad news: The drugs that are marketed to relieve pain can have side effects that are arguably worse than the pain itself.
Acetaminophen, or Tylenol, can cause drug-induced liver failure. You're really rolling the dice if you are a heavy drinker.
Non-steroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs) like Aleve or Advil can cause bleeding in the stomach or kidney damage.
We are all pretty well aware that opioid pain medications can lead to addiction which has its unique consequences and challenges.
Think about it-- when you ingest an oral medication, it is not just traveling to the site of your pain; it is working all throughout your body and hitting all of your major organs. This is how side effects happen.
This is why we are so enthusiastic about transdermal delivery of our Natural Pain Cream. Transdermal delivery sends the good stuff right to the area in pain without exposing the rest of the body to other substances. Thus, cutting down on unwanted side effects.
This is not to say that over-the-counter and prescription drugs don't have their place in the treatment of pain because they do. You just need to be aware of the potential adverse effects and know how to use them safely. Brush up on your understanding of drug labels.
Chronic pain threatens to consume you
I know, I've made chronic pain sound so doom-and-gloom.
It's easy to let all of the bad parts of your suffering from chronic pain get you down and negatively affect your life. But, it doesn't have to be like this.
Pay attention to how chronic pain affects you and be sure to treat concurrent health issues like mental health problems, insomnia, and other chronic health problems. This will make a positive difference in your quality of life.
Surround yourself with the support of family, friends, or other people who can relate to your situation.
Follow your treatment plan and be open to alternative treatments for pain like massage, exercise, meditation, aromatherapy, and acupuncture.
And be sure to arm yourself with as much information as possible about your condition and potential treatments so that you can stay on top of your symptoms.
Being prepared for the darkest times of your chronic pain journey can ease your anxiety for what's to come.
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