Discomfort and pain are not the only serious issues that chronic pain sufferers have to deal with. There are a host of challenges people may face that can make day-to-day life difficult. In addition to the pain, many people develop psychological issues such as anxiety, stress, fear, depression and feelings of helplessness and hopelessness. In addition to many pain management issues sufferers might experience, a drop in motivation and productivity because of the pain is an common one. Prescription medications given to combat chronic pain (often narcotics) can have their own side effects and issues. There may be other difficulties, such as finding the right doctor and course of treatment.
Opioid-induced hyperalgesia is another concern. This condition occurs when an increased use of opioids (such as oxycodone and hydrocodone) results in a reduced tolerance for pain and an increased sensitivity to discomfort. Chronic pain sufferers may not understand that this is happening and may increase their dosage. A tolerance to the medication can develop quickly and patients end up hooked. Opioid dependence is a very real concern. Doctors must carefully balance the pain needs of the patient along with the potential risks. Interactions between medications also need to be closely monitored.
Pain management issues can be a complex undertaking for doctors and patients
Stress, depression and anxiety are common for sufferers. They may experience decreased mobility and issues with independence. They may also withdraw from those closest to them. Fear of pain or re-injury may also keep them from activities they once enjoyed. Activity pacing is an example of one way patients can manage their time and avoid inactivity. This type of occupational therapy helps people to balance activity and rest.
Nutrition and lifestyle also play a role. People with chronic pain are encouraged to eat a healthy, balanced diet and avoid excessive alcohol use. Getting a good night’s sleep is very important, though this can be a challenge for people with chronic pain. Maintaining good sleep hygiene is key, and this can include limiting caffeine late in the day, finding ways to relax in the evening and sleeping in a dark room with moderate temperature and no distractions.
Pain management issues can be a complex undertaking for many doctors, holistic health practitioners and pain specialists. Some patients are able to get a clear-cut diagnosis early on. Others may not be so lucky. There are plenty of diseases and disorders that have shared symptoms, so diagnosis may not come easy at first. Finding the right doctor can make all the difference. Ask around for a referral from friends, family or your general physician.