Have you ever sprained a joint or broken a bone? Pulled a muscle? Given birth? Gotten a paper cut? Well, you know what pain feels like.
Most people experience dozens upon dozens of painful experiences throughout their lifetime. From small bumps and bruises to deep internal wounds, we all experience different levels of pain.
What if you experienced pain that never went away? According to the Mesothelioma Center, 1 in 5 American adults experience chronic pain at one time. It’s the number one cause of disability on a national and global level.
The month of September is dedicated to Pain Awareness Month, where organizations aim to bring pain and pain management to the forefront.
There are many different types of chronic pain. Back pain, for example, is one of the most prevalent types of long standing pain in adults. Within the United States, 80% of adults will experience back pain in their life. Some other broad reasons for pain are headaches, joint and neuropathic.
Cancer also is a common cause, with 75% of patients living with constant aching and malaise.
In general, it’s more often seen in people over 65, and is more common in women than in men. It also accounts for 24 - 28% of people with less than a high school education.
It seems obvious that if you have to live in a perpetual state of discomfort, it’s going to have an effect on your overall well being. Mental health can go hand in hand with constant pain.
Specifically, anxiety, depression and suicide are seen in higher rates in those with chronic pain.
Addiction isn’t uncommon to see either. Around a quarter of opioid users with chronic pain end up misusing their prescription.
It also has an impact on a nationwide scale with regards to cost. The cost ranges between $560 - 635 billion annually (The Journal of Pain) when it comes to medical expenses and disability programs. The cost is more than heart disease, diabetes and cancer.
What can people do if they experience chronic pain issues? There are a wide range of methods that can be utilized or recommended by a doctor.
Prescription medications are a common solution for reducing it. Exercise can also help to reduce overall pain sensitivity in people.
Depending on the type of pain and the location, different solutions are available. Aside from over the counter medication and prescription, local or regional anesthesia (steroids or pain blockers) at the site of the pain can be another option.
Certain surgical procedures can be a last resort option for those that have exhausted other outlets.
Obvious and natural remedies are still shown to have positive results across the board, in both preventing and managing pain.
Eating a balanced diet and getting quality sleep are beneficial for just about everything. Avoiding tobacco is important, as well.
If you yourself or someone you know is experiencing chronic pain, it’s good to reach out for emotional support through groups or therapy.
For resources, visit the acpa.org.