For those not living with chronic pain, it is difficult to understand the physical, mental, and psychological toll it takes on you. Constant pain is all-consuming and affects your quality of life and those around you.
Negative Feelings and Anxiety
It takes a great deal of mental and physical energy to function when the distraction of pain makes everyday tasks harder complete. And because you don't want to be a distraction in your personal or private life, the effort to hide and/or deal with severe, ongoing pain creates negativity, anxiety, and depression for you.
According to Ausmed, an online educational platform for healthcare professionals, chronic pain sufferers commonly struggle with high levels of guilt, shame, and destructive thought patterns.
Increased Pain Due To Depression and Fatigue
Feeling down and tired is common when you have chronic pain. An article on Arthritis.org states that untreated depression leads to increased pain and fatigue, which leads to decreased function. Insomnia caused by untreated or undertreated pain disturbs your sleep pattern and creates more exhaustion which leads to more depression. Many people don’t get help out of fear of abusing painkillers, some are addicted without knowing. There is stigma against getting help, but there are also different types and approaches to pain management. It’s a vicious cycle.
Medication and Chronic Pain
Treating chronic pain with medication has become much more complicated because the drugs that were created to treat chronic pain (opioids) have been mistreated by those that don’t need them and physicians that have irresponsibly issued them. The media’s focus on high profile individuals abusing and perishing from opioids has made it harder for patients with legitimate pain to receive effective pain medication. With government restrictions on how long (if at all), chronic pain can be treated with opioids, prescribing them has become a burden for doctors. As a result, you may find that access to pain medication, physical therapy, and other pain management resources are limited, and insisting on effective pain relief often results in mediocre treatment or losing your doctor altogether.
So, you’re not being dramatic, you’re not crazy, and you’re not imagining your pain, depression, anxiety, or fatigue. Additionally, chronic pain changes your nervous system and can lead to a separate disease organism and simply must be diagnosed and treated properly. The solution lies with finding healthcare professionals that understand how complicated chronic pain is and will tailor treatments based on your specific needs.
By Kara Masterson
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