Chronic pain effects can be debilitating, robbing people of joy, motivation and energy. It can interfere with everyday life and pose limits on activities and movement. It’s not uncommon for people to become very depressed when their independence is threatened. It’s important to find a good doctor that can help you navigate treatment options, both medical and therapeutic. He or she will be able to help you determine whether the pain is mild, moderate or severe, and what the possible underlying cause is.
Chronic pain can cause a loss of mobility, depression, sleep disturbances, anxiety and side effects from medications. It’s so important that people with chronic pain find the help they need. Relief might not come immediately but through trial and error, you should be able to find a treatment or combination of therapies that work. Getting help is especially important if you suffer from psychological issues that stem from the pain. It’s easy for many people to become withdrawn, depressed and angry. Everyday life can become a hardship and navigating your world may seem impossible. Without help, this emotional suffering can worsen.
Chronic pain affects millions of people in the U.S. and costs billions of dollars in medical costs and lost productivity. Many chronic pain sufferers are also subjected to a stigma. Some people –friends, family members, even members of the medical community – treat some people with chronic pain as if the pain is all in their heads. This is especially true if doctors can’t find a medical explanation for the pain. They may start to feel crazy or insecure that other people think they are imagining the pain. This can further exacerbate the pain and emotional suffering. There is also a stigma attached to some treatment methods.
Narcotic (opioid) medications that are available by prescription can cause dependence. Drugs such as oxycodone, hydrocodone, codeine and morphine can be very effective at treating chronic pain. They can be very dangerous too, especially since most people require long-term management for this type of pain. Opioid addiction caused by these medications is a very real problem. People who have legitimate chronic pain and those who don’t can become physically and psychologically dependent on these drugs. The scourge of prescription painkiller addiction and the social, legal and criminal problems it causes also adds to the problems. Doctors and others may become suspicious that people with chronic pain are faking illness or injury to get more medication.
The bottom line is that it’s very important to find the right treatment that works for you. In addition to treating the problem medically, many people benefit from psychotherapy. Holistic treatments such as acupuncture, hypnotherapy, aromatherapy and massage may also help.