Everyone lives with pain – psychological or physical. Sometimes the source of discomfort goes away, and with it the pain. But when the pain reaches a chronic, persistent state, you need to pay closer attention to its symptoms. Knowing as much information as possible means a greater chance of getting treatment.
WHAT IS CHRONIC PAIN?
The United States National Institutes of Health calls chronic pain persistent. Pain signals fire in the nervous system for weeks on end, even years. There may have been an initial accident or there could be an ongoing cause, but some people experience pain without evidence of injury or bodily harm.
WHAT ARE CHRONIC PAIN SYMPTOMS?
Like other kinds of discomfort, chronic pain has symptoms that could be mild or serious. The pain may feel like:
- A dull, unidentifiable ache.
- Throbbing both in the affected region and other areas.
- Burning sensations.
- Pain which has the feeling of shooting, squeezing or stinging.
- Pain which is typified by stiffness or soreness.
WHAT ARE THE KINDS OF CHRONIC PAIN?
- Post-surgical pain. Whether you were hospitalized for surgery on your back, neck, or your foot, you’re at bigger risk of nerve injuries which result in constant pain.
- Kidney stones. The pain from these tiny masses, which vary in size from grains of salt to pearl size, hits fast and furious, with the lower abdomen, back, and groin area susceptible to the most discomfort. In most cases, doctors prescribe pain medicine and recommend drinking plenty of fluids and waiting. Hopefully, when you pass the stone through urine, the pain will end almost immediately. But that doesn’t mean you’re out of the danger zone. Follow-up tests of the stone will determine its composition and offer clues as to whether you’re prone to suffering from kidney stones again. Dietary changes could prevent them from happening again.
- Lower back pain. “Lower back pain is like death and taxes; everybody gets it at some point,” says Sean Mackey, MD, Ph.D., chief of the division of pain medicine at Stanford University School of Medicine. About 9 in 10 of those patients recover fairly quickly, he says, but for the remainder, the pain becomes chronic and life-altering. “The severity of the original injury and how prone you are to anxiety plays a role in whether your pain will persist,” he says. Physical therapy focused on core strengthening is one of the most effective treatments.
Today, doctors recommend a variety of over the counter pain medicine to reduce symptoms of back trouble or chronic pain, but you might also ask your healthcare provider about the benefits of ketamine infusion therapy to make the condition manageable.
- Peripheral Neuropathy is normally caused by diabetes. Damage to the tops of the nerves extending to the hands, fingers, and toes trigger this discomfort.
- Cancer Pain. Whether from the disease, procedures like chemo, or a combo of disease and treatment, some cancer victims — particularly those with advanced-stage disease — suffer terrible pain. Among the most painful cancers: brain tumors, pancreatic, and sarcomas. Doctors prescribe drugs based on the kind of pain; for instance, steroids can help pain triggered by swelling.
- Postherpetic Neuralgia is the pain that lingers in nearly 10 percent of patients who suffer from shingles, the adult version of chickenpox. Following your first episode of chickenpox, the virus lies inactive in your spinal cord and brain, and can reactivate as shingles when you age.
- Trigeminal Neuralgia. Infections, tumors, and other ailments can cause this pain in your trigeminal nerve, which delivers sensations from the face to your brain. The pain is normally throbbing, and in certain cases, happens every few minutes affecting mostly the right side of your face.
- Interstitial Cystitis. It’s a swanky way of referring to an irritated bladder.
- Complex Regional Pain Syndrome. The name of this ailment may sound phony, but the pain is as real as it gets – normally occurring in a limb after simple injury or trauma—even a run-of-the-mill sprained ankle or fractured arm. The swelling and pain begins in a small region then spreads through the limb, making it feel like it’s on fire.
- Cluster Headaches are more incapacitating than a migraine, and result in sudden, razor-sharp pain that’s normally focused around an eye or one side of your head, and happen in clusters or groups for weeks or months.
HOW TO TREAT CHRONIC PAIN
If you have a higher threshold for pain, it’s only natural you ignore minor discomfort. But severe pain which lasts for months if not longer is considered chronic and needs to be treated. You can treat symptoms with over the counter medication or innovative new treatments like ketamine infusion therapy.
Chronic pain can be debilitating if left untreated. Even though it doesn’t have a single cause, its symptoms can be treated. If you’re experiencing chronic pain, we can help. Contact us today to learn more about the innovative new treatments that we offer.