As a chronic pain sufferer, you understand how disruptive this type of pain can be to your life. Persistent pain is cruel. It takes the simplest, most enjoyable aspects of your life and turns them into a nightmare. Exercising, sports, and enjoying time with friends, family, and loved ones all become things that you try to avoid.The medical community has not always understood what chronic pain is. A lot of doctors looked at chronic pain as a symptom of an underlying ailment. Their belief was that once the ailment was addressed, the pain should disappear. For this reason, the medical community has focused its attention on treating the underlying condition while ignoring the long-term pain itself.This has led to an unfortunate circumstance where if no underlying condition could be identified, doctors would tell their patients that the pain was all in their head. Have you had the experience of visiting the doctor and explaining your pain only to have them chalk it up to your imagination? If so, you understand how deflating, humiliating, and discouraging this can be.
Thankfully, the medical community is starting to change the way they see pain. They now understand what chronic pain sufferers have been trying to express for decades, that a healthy nervous system does not produce pain. Chronic pain is the primary problem, and it must be treated as the primary pathology.
How It Feels to Experience Chronic Pain
Chronic pain is a very unique, individual, and personal experience. Chronic pain is not like other medical experiences that can be measured like a laceration or an infection. A laceration can be visibly seen and inspected, and an infection can be tested by looking at the white blood cell count. However, there is no medical test to measure chronic levels of pain.
And herein lies another problem. Since there is no way to quantify chronic pain, individuals who suffer from it are often dismissed as being lazy or dramatic. But you and I know that nothing is further from the truth. Chronic pain sufferers have a nervous system that is firing consistently for weeks, months, and some cases years at a time.
Chronic pain sufferers often say that their body feels like concrete. It feels heavy and impossible to move. With time, you may learn how to learn how to hide the pain. On the outside you look happy, but on the inside you feel like fire ants are ravishing your joints. Every second you are counting down until you can go home, crawl into bed, and not put on a fake smile anymore.
A chronic pain sufferer described the experience like this: “On a good day, I am able to engage in my daily activities while enduring a level of pain that would cause most people to stay home from work or school. On a bad day, I’m soaking my body in a bathtub all day long to control the pain and spasms. On my worst day, I find myself in the hospital on pain medications and with an IV. It is surprising how well one can fake feeling okay on the good days.”
The Two Types of Chronic Pain
Chronic pain can be divided into two categories. There is chronic pain with an identifiable pain generator, and there is chronic pain with no identifiable pain generator.
Chronic pain that has an identifiable pain generator includes things like spinal stenosis, degenerative disc disease, or some other problem that can be diagnosed. In many cases, once the underlying problem is addressed, the pain subsides. However, it is important to note that this does not happen in every case.
Chronic pain with no identifiable pain generator is pain that continues even after the damaged tissue is healed. In these cases, the pain creates a pathway in an individual’s nervous system. As a result, the nervous system becomes the problem itself. It is sending pain signals even though the tissue damage has stopped. In instances like these, pain is the disease. It is not the symptom of the disease. Chronic pain is much less understood than acute pain.
How We Can Help with Chronic Pain
Over the years, we have met individuals from various walks of life who are dealing with chronic pain. Every single situation is unique. And for this reason, the treatment plan that we layout for clients is tailored to them.
Although we have years of experience treating individuals with pain conditions, we have never had the privilege of working with you. The first thing we do when we have you come into our office is listen to you. In order to best help you, we need to hear about your experience with pain.
Once we have a complete picture of your situation, we can begin to work hand-in-hand to create a treatment program that will provide both short-term and long-term pain management or pain relief. Long-standing pain does not have to define who you are. Let us use our years of experience and training to help you get back to the quality of life you deserve.