Some people suffer for a long time before they decide to seek chronic pain treatment. Depending on the individual’s threshold for pain and other circumstances there could be situations where a person suffers for much longer than they ever should have. Although some people can be pretty obstinate about going to see a doctor, the truth is that if they went, they could have been relieved from the pain much sooner.
What is Chronic Pain?
Most of us that have been around for a while have experienced pain, of one sort or another, in life. Some people feel it when they stand up, some when they move wrong, and some just feel it no matter what.
There are different types of pain. There is the type of pain that when you stub your toe or burn yourself. There is the type of pain that comes out of nowhere and is the result of a nerve issue. There is the type of pain that comes and goes for apparently no reason, then there is the type of pain that never goes away no matter what you do.
The way many physicians gauge whether or not pain is chronic is if it has been present for over 12 weeks. However, if you experience lasting pain that you feel is “chronic” it is best to seek help and start the process of treatment sooner than later.
Some people suffer from mild to moderate pain that just lingers there and doesn’t go away, while others experience debilitating pain that drains all of the life out of them 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Causes of Pain
It is not difficult to imagine all of the different ways that a person can experience pain. We mentioned stubbing the toe earlier, which happens to be a pretty painful experience, yet there are several other causes of pain that go a little bit deeper than the typical topical pain we can experience from time to time.
Injured tendons can be a pretty intense form of pain. Depending on the type of injury and where it is at. For example, sometimes people that exercise by lifting weights experience what is known as tendonitis in the bends of their arms.
Since the tendons stretch themselves between our muscles and bones there are many of them all over our bodies. When they become overstretched or aggravated they can cause a lot of pain. What makes it even worse is that it is not much you can do about it other than refrain from using it.
Some of the more popular instances that cause pain can be:
- Nerve problems
- Internal issues
Oftentimes when pain comes on and does not go away it is because of another underlying issue that needs to be addressed.
Pinpointing the Cause of Pain
In order for a specialist to treat chronic pain they need to know what is causing it, and why it is persistent. Although there are medications that act as a “blanket” pain reliever, these are not the best ways to treat pain.
Some of the ways that a specialist can help to determine the cause of the pain are:
- Blood test
For obvious problems such as an impact injury, a cut, or a burn the chronic pain specialist can simply look at the injury and be able to determine why there is pain, however, many problems run much deeper than the surface. The more information the doctor can gather about the pain, the better off they can treat it.
Some Pain Treatments
In some circumstances treating pain is not so difficult. For example, there are situations when a person is experiencing pain simply because they do not exercise enough. Daily stretching and exercising for some time can help to relieve pain and keep it away.
Other types of pain treatments are sometimes a bit more complex:
- Intense physical therapy
Depending on what the cause of the pain is, and how the patient responds to various treatments will help the physician determine the best route to take for treatment.
Spine and Back Problems
One of the most prominent forms of chronic pain is problems with the back and spine. The spine is a complex structure of bone, tendons, ligaments, nerves, and cartilage. Sometimes the nerves that are supposed to be protected by outside layers of tissue become exposed to the bone and cause serious pain that can drive a person to suicide.
One of the biggest problems with chronic back pain is that it is difficult to pinpoint where the pain is coming from and what is causing it. Where other places on the body that experience pain can be x-rayed or looked at through an ultrasound the back has to be observed with something that can see problems in the underlying tissue such as an MRI machine.
A common source of excruciating pain is when a disc in the spine splits open and allows part of the nerve to be forced out and exposed. This is known as a disc extrusion or a herniated disc. Although a doctor can usually determine that this is the cause of pain, there is no way that they can know for sure unless they get an MRI done.
Some of the suggestions a doctor might make to deal with herniated disc pain are:
- Physical therapy
In addition to spine pain, there is also the element of lower back pain that is caused by the muscles tensing up around the spine in order to avoid an injury.
Usually, when a person “throws their back out” in this manner they heal up in a few days or a week and the pain is gone. However, if the pain continues to thrive on, it may be a good idea to have a physician take a look at it and determine whether or not there is any extensive damage.
Shoulder and Neck Pain
Another common source of chronic pain stems from shoulder and neck problems. One of the more popular instances of shoulder pain is from a torn or damaged rotator cuff.
Since the shoulders are attached to the spine through a series of ligaments and tissues that are extremely complex and difficult to navigate, sometimes it is hard for physicians to pinpoint an issue without a thorough examination.
While stretching and physical therapy can be effective for treating shoulder and neck pain, sometimes the only option is surgery.
People of all age groups suffer from joint pain. Sometimes pain in the joints can be caused by an injury, and sometimes the pain can stem from inflammation.
One of the more common ways that physicians help to manage pain in joints is a combination of stretching exercises, if possible, and an injection every few months or so.
In many cases, it is necessary to replace the joint in order to address pain issues such as the knee or the hip. However, just like many other problems that people experience with pain, a little bit of stretching and exercise therapy can go a long way.
Pain from Cancer
Cancer is a horrible malady that affects people all over the world. In many cases, a cancerous tumor can be removed and will not do any more harm to the patient, but when the cancer is malignant there is a reason for concern.
Cancer is basically cells that have mutated in a way that is unnatural for tissue. As they mutate they continue to multiply in a mutated form and wreak havoc wherever they go.
Sometimes the pain from cancer is unbearable. If a person fights their cancer for long periods of time they can be subject to unfathomable, relentless pain.
The positive side of this is that there are people that beat cancer and live to tell about it. However, if somebody is experiencing pain from cancer they will most likely go to some sort of treatment that is more appropriate than a chronic pain treatment clinic can provide.
The best time to seek help for chronic pain is as soon as you feel the need. If you believe that the pain that you are experiencing is the result of a deeper issue, or that it will not go away on its own, it is always good to get it checked out and see what is going on. There is no reason to suffer from pain any longer than you have to. Just go in and get it checked out, you might be surprised how easily your pain can be controlled.