Chronic pain is becoming more prevalent, but here's what you can do about it
Do you suffer from chronic pain? Aside from taking painkillers, here are a few other things that you can do to alleviate your pain.
Chronic or persistent pain is becoming more and more common among adults. In the US alone, over 100 million Americans suffer from chronic pain, which costs over $635 billion dollars in treatment and losses in productivity.
A national pain strategy
Because of the chronic pain epidemic, more people are also using prescription medicine to deal with their chronic pain. Sadly, this means that more and more people have been prescribed with painkillers which have contributed to misuse and addiction.
This is why the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services created a National Pain Strategy to address these issues.
The National Pain Strategy discusses strategies and methods to prevent and manage pain as well as increasing the public's awareness of pain and increase their knowledge of pain management treatment.
Linda Porter, Ph.D., director of the NIH's Office of Pain Policy, adds, "We need to ensure that people with pain get appropriate care and that means defining how we can best manage pain care in this country."
Why do people suffer from chronic pain?
There are a number of reasons why people suffer from chronic pain. It can be from an initial injury or infection, though in some cases, chronic pain can also appear without any past history.
The most common types of chronic pain are headaches, joint pain, backaches, and pain from injuries. Other conditions such as tendinitis, carpal tunnel syndrome, and sinus pain. Muscle or nerve pain can also become chronic pain.
Pain is said to be chronic when it lasts for 6 months or more. It not only causes physical pain, but it also has an emotional toll for those who suffer from it.
What can you do about chronic pain?
While taking medication such as painkillers do help with easing chronic pain, it's not a good long-term solution as some types of medication, such as opiates, can be addictive, and can also have negative side-effects.
Here are some alternatives to using painkillers that would help you better deal with chronic pain:
- Meditation or deep breathing can help ease pain. Meditation and deep breathing can help you relax and lower your stress levels. Being more relaxed and stress free can significantly improve your quality of life and reduce chronic pain.
- Stress can intensify chronic pain. If you're too stressed out, it would only intensify your chronic pain. That's why it's important to always find time to relax and destress.
- Exercise has a lot of benefits. In addition to keeping you fit, exercise also makes you stronger and produces endorphins. Frequent exercise also helps improve your mood, and blocks pain signals.
- Quit smoking. Smoking can cause problems with circulation and increase the risk of heart disease and cancer.
- Get a massage. A massage feels really amazing especially after a long work week. Having a massage relieves your tired muscles, and relaxes you.
- A healthy diet does wonders for your pain. It's true that you are what you eat. Eating healthy food keeps you healthy and also strengthens your body.