The word “Chronic” refers to an illness that persists for a longer period of time. And as the name itself suggests, Chronic Pain refers to a type of pain that is long-lasting, and persists beyond the usual time of recovery. This type of pain can either be continuous or recurring, and may occur in any part of the body. Chronic pain can interfere with your daily activities and can lead to the deterioration of your mental health, which in turn makes the condition worse.
According to Webmd, about 25% of the people suffering from chronic pain will develop a condition known as Chronic Pain Syndrome, where people will have symptoms beyond the pain, such as anxiety, depression, insomnia. Chronic pain is a major medical condition which must be treated effectively, as it may worsen if left undiagnosed and untreated. Before we look into various tips to manage or cope with chronic pain, let us delve into the causes and symptoms of joint pain.
Causes of Chronic Pain:
In some cases, the cause of chronic pain is an obvious one, such as an injury, an underlying health condition or a medical procedure. However, in other cases, it is difficult to pin-point the exact cause of chronic pain. Some of the most common causes of chronic pain include:
- Arthritis or other joint conditions
- Muscle tears and sprains
- Stress injuries
- Trauma injuries
- Nerve damage
these injuries and diseases can change your body and make it more sensitive to pain, and this condition may stay long after you have recovered from the injury or condition. Some people may have chronic pain that may not be associated with an injury to medical condition. This response is referred to as psychogenic pain or psychosomatic pain, and it is caused by psychological factors such as depression, stress, and anxiety. This can be the result of low endorphin levels in the blood, as endorphins are chemicals that trigger positive feelings.
Symptoms of Chronic Pain:
Chronic pain not only affects your physical health, but also your mental health and various other aspects of your life. The symptoms may include:
- Burning, shooting, or throbbing pain
- Mood swings
Pain is considered chronic if it lasts or recurs for more than 3 months. In most cases, pain is the symptom of an underlying health condition or injury. Your doctor will first determine the root cause of the pain before prescribing the treatment. If you are facing one or more of the above-mentioned symptoms, your doctor may suggest you to undergo diagnostic tests such as blood tests, electromyography, imaging tests, reflex and balance tests, urine tests, and nerve conduction studies. Chronic pain can be treated by addressing the root cause of the pain. If the doctor is unable to determine the root cause, they prescribe treatment methods to cure or manage the pain itself. This may include medications, lifestyle changes, and therapies.
Tips to live with and manage chronic pain while working:
As mentioned earlier, chronic pain can be treated by diagnosing and treating the cause of the pain. However, depending on the cause and the symptoms, it may take a long time to recover from the pain. However, chronic pain also tends to put a wrench on your day-to-day activities – such as taking a toll on your work, which in turn leads to poor performance and even absenteeism.
Though living with chronic pain is difficult, you can turn to certain chronic pain management techniques to help you cope better. The goal of pain management is to help you enhance your quality of life despite the condition and help you function better. You can talk to your healthcare provider and come up with a pain management plan that will help you get through it.
- Gentle Exercises: One of the most effective ways to manage pain is to take up comfortable, gentle exercises. Make time in your schedule for exercising regularly. However, you must keep in mind that the exercises should not be too strenuous, as it may worsen the condition. You can also include full body stretching and yoga for about 15 minutes a day, to keep your muscles healthy.
- Stay Active: Apart from exercising, you can also engage in activities such as jogging, dancing, swimming, or even taking long walks. These activities not only offer pain relief by strengthening your joints and muscles, but also improves your mood and distracts you from the pain.
- Healthy Diet: The healthier you eat, the more your body responds positively. Poor diet and being overweight can strain your joints and aggravate the chronic pain. Eating right and consuming healthy food helps reduce the inflammation and enables you to cope better.
- Relaxation Techniques: Techniques such as deep breathing and meditation help your body relax and relieve pain, by helping you ease the tension and tightness in your muscles. You can also use smartphone applications that focus on relaxation and mindfulness for this purpose.
- Healthy Sleeping Habits: As mentioned earlier, one of the most common symptoms of chronic pain include insomnia, or trouble falling asleep. Getting enough sleep to give your body its much-deserved rest, is key to recovering from chronic pain. You must ensure that you not only sleep for an adequate time, but also get quality sleep. This can be achieved incorporating certain habits into your routine and sticking to them, such as:
- Committing to a specific time to go to bed
- Reduced screen time before lying down
- Avoiding alcohol and smoking
- Avoiding phones while lying down
- Massages: Massages are highly effective in providing momentary relief from pain while letting your muscles relax. You can seek the help of a massage therapist for chronic pain relief. You can also use a topical pain relief product such as a pain relief gel to massage into your skin for relief.
- Avoid Stressful Activities: In most cases, mental or emotional stress can increase chronic pain, which is why it is essential to avoid such situations or learn to navigate them through relaxation techniques. You can also take part in enjoyable activities and stay connected with your friends and family to help you decrease your focus from the pain.