Dealing with Chronic Pain
Chronic pain is the type of the pain that persists and does not seem to go away for weeks, months or years. Although there is no obvious cause of chronic pain, it may stem from an initial injury or illness. Other health problems, such as fatigue, sleep disturbance, decreased appetite and mood changes, often accompany chronic pain. Chronic pain may limit a person’s movements, which can reduce flexibility, strength and stamina. This difficulty in carrying out important and enjoyable activities can lead to disability and despair.
The American Academy of Pain Medicine (AAPM) indicates that many chronic pain conditions affect older adults, and the most common chronic pain complaints include arthritis pain, severe headache or migraine, low back pain and neurogenic pain (caused by or arising in the nervous system). The AAPM also suggests that back pain is the leading cause of disability in Americans under 45 years old. Additionally, more than 26 million Americans ages 20-64 experience frequent back pain.
Chronic pain may feel like burning, a dull ache, soreness, stiffness, stinging, squeezing and throbbing. It can affect your day-to-day life and mental health, but it is treatable with the help of your doctor. You can improve your quality of life by simply dealing with chronic pain with a positive, can-do attitude. The American Chronic Pain Association (ACPA) offers great chronic pain management tips:
- Accept the pain, learn about your physical condition.
- Get involved in your recovery.
- Set priorities.
- Set realistic goals.
- Know your basic rights.
- Recognize your emotions; reduce stress.
- Learn to relax.
- Reach out, share what you know.
When you see your primary health care provider for your pain problem, your brief description should include the location and intensity of your pain, and when it began. You also may want to tell your doctor if anything intensifies or eases your pain and what medications you have taken for pain relief.
Chronic pain requires various management techniques, which may include acupuncture, counseling, lifestyle changes, medication, physical therapy, surgery and more. The ACPA encourages all chronic pain sufferers to remember that as an individual, you have a role to play as the key member of your treatment team to reduce your suffering. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) suggest that self-management of chronic pain is a promising treatment approach in which the individual patient engages in problem-solving, pacing, decision-making, and taking actions to manage his/her pain. The NIH also indicates that self-management programs can differ to meet the needs of the individual patient, but the individualized program helps the person living with pain ultimately learn to think, feel and do better, despite the persistence of pain.
If you or a loved one has a prescription to fill or needs over-the-counter pain relief medicines, Carmichael’s Crowley Retail Pharmacy is here to help. Carmichael’s Pharmacists also work with the patient and the prescribing doctor to ensure the exact prescription is prepared for customized pain management medications in our Compounding Pharmacy.