Sleep Issues
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November 9, 2018
Chronic Pain
Pain is the instant reaction of your body towards any injury or illness. It’s like a warning sign from your body to tell you that something is wrong. Usually, the pain subsides when the illness or injury is cured and healed. But sometimes the pain can still continue long after the illness is cured and even after the cause of the pain is treated. If the pain has lasted for more than 3 to 6 weeks, the pain is known to be a chronic pain. Some people having severe chronic pain continue to suffer from an advanced condition called Chronic Pain Syndrome (CPS).

Chronic pain can range from being mild to a severe pain. One can suffer from an ongoing acute pain for several months long after recovering from an injury. Another type of chronic pain is when the pain keeps triggering irregularly due to an unidentified cause. Nociceptors are sensory nerves located under the skin that carry pain signals up to the spinal cord to the thalamus in the brain. When these nociceptors throw pain signals at an unmanageable rate, the cortex of the brain processes these signals to be chronic. Hence, the pain feels like a ‘burning’ sensation. Other than the stinging or burning pain, the person may experience the following symptoms:

  • Fatigue
  • Loss of appetite
  • Insomnia
  • Mood swings
  • Weakness
  • Loss of energy

Other than these symptoms, lack of chronic pain treatment can disrupt and disturb an individual’s daily lifecycle. The person suffering from chronic pain can feel depressed, angry, anxious, and frustrated. This causes an imbalance in his/her daily chores.

Chronic pain treatment has 6 pillars of pain management that have varying percentages of pain relief.

Allopathic Medication

Medications from a pharmacy provide about 30% pain relief for a person suffering from chronic pain. The two types of chronic pain treatment through medicines are analgesic and narcotic. Some antidepressant medicines are reported to have analgesic effects over chronic pain. Antidepressants can bring relief from chronic pain caused by these illnesses:

  • Arthritis
  • Nerve damage from diabetes
  • Spinal cord injury
  • Peripheral neuropathy
  • Radiculopathy
  • Pain from a stroke
  • Headaches and Migraines
  • Low back pain
  • Pelvic pain
  • Lifestyle Changes

Bringing certain changes in your lifestyle can certainly have an impact on pain relief. Exercising, having enough sleep, and consuming the right nutrition for your body can all prove to be beneficial in reducing chronic pain. Other lifestyle changes such as weight loss, stress management, continuing your hobby, etc. can all act as mood lifters and reduce the intensity of chronic pain. However, exercise can have the biggest impact over chronic pain accounting for up to 50% pain reduction.

Studies show that our environment can affect our pain levels and stress levels. Being in a stressful environment can elevate blood pressure, heart rate, and muscle tension. This eventually adds to a weak immune system. Hence, stepping into nature and surrounding ourselves with greenery can induce positive changes in our body, starting with a balanced blood pressure and heart rate.

People suffering from chronic pain can simply make nature part of their lifestyle by going for nature walks, taking hikes, sitting outdoors, etc. Some people even listen to music. Listening to music can reduce pain by 21%!

Psychological Therapy

Psychological therapies have become a mainstay of chronic pain treatment. New advances in psychology have made therapy a widely used multidisciplinary management for chronic pain. People suffering from chronic pain may also experience mental problems such as feeling isolated, anxiety, sleep disorder, depression, relationship distress, disability to work, and many more. Similarly, people that have psychological problems may develop chronic pain. Sometimes, psychological concerns are converted into physical symptoms of chronic pain. This condition is called somatization.

Chronic pain treatment through psychology is categorized as cognitive and behavioral strategies that aim to reduce mental suffering. Psychological therapy promotes active engagement with life by bringing a 40% reduction in chronic pain.

Psychological therapies include counseling, meditation for mindfulness, self-management through mental therapists, support groups for mental health, and biofeedback. This helps in identifying your own unique cause of the pain that you may be suffering from.

Physical Therapy

Chronic pain treatment definitely includes physical therapies and treatments. This therapy has a good 30-40% reduction in chronic pain. Chronic pain treatments include physiotherapy, chiropractors, acupuncture, massages, osteopathy. Pain management programmes are effective for people suffering from chronic pain as they have therapeutic exercises that trigger the pain.

Interventional Therapy

Interventional therapies usually trigger the most visible cause of chronic pain such as an injury or an illness like cancer. Some interventional therapies include:

  • Injections
  • Laser therapy
  • Radiation
  • TENS (Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation)

Chronic pain treatment options vary for different illnesses. Interventional therapies are usually more focused on a specific pain area and provide a permanent cure to the pain in most cases.

Spiritual Therapy

Spiritual therapy is similar to psychological therapy but is more subjective towards each individual. Meditation, praying/worshiping if one follows a religious belief system, being more nature-centric are some types of spiritual therapy. Just by having a holistic body-mind-soul connection can lower pain and stress levels by up to 20%.

If you are having symptoms of chronic pain or need any kind of medications for the pain, you can just reach out to iCare Pharmacy.

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