Pain becomes chronic when it lasts for more than 12 weeks. It could result from a traumatic accident, a sudden fall from stairs, improper posture, or lifting something heavy by bending your back.
Although it can occur in all parts of your body, some parts are more likely to be affected, such as the back and knees. This pain could be persistent, or it could come and go.
Gradually, it becomes a part of your routine and mediates with your lifestyle. It will significantly affect your mood and productivity. Some people often start to feel depressed or anxious due to this; they feel frustrated constantly because they are unable to do their best due to that pain.
How the pain becomes chronic?
Chronic pain is a pervasive problem among today’s adults. According to records, almost 25 percent of adults in the United States suffer from chronic pain.
Here are the types of chronic pain that could affect a person’s life for years:
- Backaches or chronic back pain
- Arthritis pain
- Headaches or migraines
- Muscular pain or fibromyalgia
- Cancer pains
- Neck pain
What is the cause of chronic pain?
Causes of chronic pains are also as diverse as their types and what body part they are related to:
But some more common causes are described here.
A terminal or chronic disease such as cancer or arthritis
Injuries and broken bones can also be a cause of chronic pain. These can make many changes in your body, and even if you recover from those injuries, they can still leave you sensitive to pain.
Some people also experience chronic pain related to mental illness. This is also called psychosomatic pain. The reason could be stress, anxiety, or depression. Researchers suggest that it may be due to low endorphins (chemicals that stimulate an upbeat mood).
Effects of chronic pain on your life:
Studies show that 25 percent of chronic pain patients also become depressive.
Twenty-five percent of patients have to leave their jobs due to it; if not, this pain makes it very difficult for them to do their jobs properly.
So, 50 percent of those working people cannot do their best, and their productivity declines.
Mostly, chronic pain patients are people who are middle-aged and have families to feed. This means that families have substantial financial consequences if one suffers from chronic pain syndrome.
Other effects of chronic pain include:
The person has to go through emotional trouble because of chronic pain. A person may experience anxiety, depression, and frustration due to a lack of comfort constantly.
Chronic pain also disturbs the healthy environment around you. The patient cannot keep good relationships with relatives and colleagues because their social potential is limited.
These patients also cannot sleep well, making them agitated and restless. It also affects their mood and ability to concentrate on work.
Two third of chronic pain patients have trouble focusing and also show impaired memories in the long term, and it could be due to restlessness or due to the constant medications they are consuming.
At which level does chronic pain become unbearable
You must understand that chronic pain is not your body’s normal response. It could be due to tissue damage even after it is healed, but your nerves and brain could still detect even a tiny signal from there and tell you that it still hurts.
It may occur at most unexpected times and, due to slight careless movement, cause you a lot of trouble. That is why it should not leave untreated or taken lightly. If you ignore it, then there will come a time when you could be immobile and dependent on others for even the simplest things.
Things only chronic pain patients can relate to:
You only understand some things if you have experienced them; chronic pain is like that.
First, patients’ most common concern is coping with medications and their side effects. And if you are using opioids, then dependency is the biggest issue. People try to avoid them, but they cannot function without them. Other painkillers also have side effects if used for a long time and in higher doses.
Secondly, dealing with it makes you too terrified of any unfamiliar situation. You constantly fear the next pain flare-up whenever you are out with friends having fun or at an office dinner. You sometimes even lie about your pain to avoid making a scene.
Thirdly, it keeps you from doing tiny things for yourself, even if you enjoy them dearly, such as lifting your kids, dancing, going on a hiking trip, or even lifting something from the floor.
What you should expect when visiting the ER
If you are a chronic pain patient, you must have an urgent care kit to prevent and manage your pain because it is the best way to avoid ER visits at unexpected hours.
You should know that ER is not always the best place to visit for chronic pain. There could be a patient whose condition is more critical than you, and, in that case, you would have to wait till your turn.
Your medical practitioner will ask you about your pain and its intensity. It would help if you talked to him about your diagnosis, the reason for the triggered pain, medication, and anything you use to manage it.
Methods to Lessen Your Unbearable Chronic Pain Right Now
There is desperation among chronic pain patients to find a cure. Many people silently suffer through it all their life. It is either due to a lack of awareness, or they learn to live with it somehow by managing with standard treatment methods.
Standard methods of treatment:
The first and most common treatment method for chronic pain is with medications such as NSAIDs, opioids, and other pain-relieving medicines. But unfortunately, it does not work for everyone. In every 1 out of 3 patients, the pain remains the same whether he takes those medications.
Ketamine infusion therapy for chronic pain
A new method for chronic pain treatment is ketamine infusion therapy. Studies show that Ketamine helps to relieve pain when administered in carefully calculated doses. It is done under the observance of a certified medical practitioner. The best part about this therapy is that the drug dosage is so low; therefore, there is no danger of side effects or dependence.
How does it work?
The next question is how ketamine works. Ketamine affects the brain to reduce pain by blocking pain receptors and disjoining the neural connections between CNS and pain receptors. Ketamine interacts with NMDA receptors and blocks them. When there is a receptor blockage for a while, the nerve connections start to reform and stop stimulating the pain.
Those patients who do not get comfort from medications find this ketamine therapy very helpful.
Ketamine infusion therapy also effectively treats some mental disorders such as anxiety, depression, and OCD symptoms. So, if the chronic pain patient is also experiencing any symptoms of the above mental problems, he will feel better after the ketamine session.