Pain is one of those inevitable fates many of us have accepted as being fact. The level of pain everyone lives with is different but we can all sympathize; pain is no fun. Our body is covered in receptor nerve cells, from the tips of our fingers and toes to our innermost organs, that send signals to the brain about what is happening in our body. Pain is a type of signal that travels through the nervous system, up the spinal cord, and to the brain when we’re sick, injured, or if there is some other type of problem. Chronic pain is one of the most commonly diagnosed problems in America. Estimates range from 11 million to 100 million people but the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released a report in 2018 estimating 50 million people suffer from chronic pain. In 2001 the American Chronic Pain Association (ACPA) created the first Pain Awareness campaign to raise awareness of this invisible burden that has continued every September.
Pain comes in all sorts of conditions and ranges but it can be classified into two main categories: acute and chronic. Acute pain is shorter lasting pain, up to a couple of weeks, often from injury, surgery, and inflammation that ends when the problem has been solved. Chronic pain is long-term pain lasting months and even years, often interfering with the quality of life. Many conditions can cause pain, including:
Back Pain – Experienced by almost 80% of Americans at some point in their lifetime, will also experience it more than once. It includes the area from the lower back to the neck and can have any number of causes from sleeping in an odd position to osteoporosis complications.
Headaches – This includes over a dozen different types such as migraines, cluster, and tension. This can be from a multitude of reasons such as internal stressors like stress to environmental factors like diet.
Arthritis – There are many different types of arthritis affecting millions of people in the earliest of ages to the most mature. Like other forms of pain, it can make day-to-day activities difficult to accomplish without treatment and management.
Because of the complexities of a person’s pain, each treatment option needs to be tailored to each person. Treatment plans can include exercise, injection therapy, surgery, medicine, electro-therapy, acupuncture, emotional therapy, and even Botox shots. New attention is being paid to a person’s sleep and mood, as it may have an overall effect on a person’s actual and perceived pain. Pain management is a continually growing field with new, innovative techniques and medicines that are improving management options and efficacy.
Pain is an invisible hardship that everyone has experienced, likely more than once in their lifetime. For many, chronic pain will be intertwined with the rest of their life, but management options may be able to lessen the severity of the pain. If you are living in pain, visit your doctor to discuss options to ease your situation. For more information or to speak with one of our experts click here or call 703-313-9111.