Is living with pain becoming your new norm?
Do you think you have no options?
In a general sense, pain is any distressing feeling or unpleasant sensation usually caused by an intense stimulus.
Remember that pain is a signal, not a disease
Many of us have been conditioned to view pain as a sign of an underlying condition or disease, and this viewpoint can make it difficult to experience relief from the discomfort.
However, pain does serve a valuable function in our bodies - it's your body's way of letting you know that something isn't right.
Pain is unpleasant but it is there for a reason. It signals all our attention to the cause of pain so we may prevent further damage to it. Most people are accustomed to brushing off pain especially when there is no severe injury or blood loss involved. This is why pain awareness and pain management are important for us to better understand and learn how we deal with it.
Here are five (5) things you need to know about pain.
1. Never learn to live with pain
Living with pain is difficult. People who are living with pain are often at risk for depression. Living with chronic pain is even more difficult and it affects people’s relationships and social life as well as their work life. There are many reasons we live with pain and we need to find solutions that will help us live a more fulfilling life.
Chronic pain is pain that persists for longer than 12 weeks despite any medication or treatment. While most people often recover from pain following an injury or operation, some pains can carry on longer even without any history of injury or sickness. The effects of chronic pain are also strongly felt by people suffering from diabetes, arthritis, irritable bowel, and even the seemingly normal back pain.
Did you know that back pain is the most common pain condition? According to a study done by the National Institutes of Health, about 27 percent of Americans believe low back pain is their most common type of pain. That accounts for about 26 million Americans between the ages of 20 to 64 and a whopping 50 billion-dollar industry on back pain relief medication.
As a pain relief specialist, I see daily how some people with back pain and a wide range of other pains just come to terms with living with it to the point that it becomes their new reality.
This is not what “pain management” is about. You don’t manage your pain by just learning to live with it. You have to learn to acknowledge the pain and get help for it.
This brings us to point number 2.
2. Don't wait too long to see a professional
People often manage their pain by just “hoping it will go away”. Sometimes, pain does not go away with only plenty of rest. As a rule of thumb, if your pain persists after 2 to 3 days then it's best to go see a professional. Don’t wait too long to visit your doctor or a pain management clinic.
Studies published in the US National Library of Medicine have found that untreated pain is an escalating global concern especially when biomedical and public health approaches tend to ignore or sideline pain management as only a waste of resources that could be better spent on finding prevention measures and cures. It has been found that people who wait out chronic pain experience significant deterioration of their physical quality of life as well as their psychological well-being.
If there’s one thing I learned in my career as a pain relief specialist, it’s that pain awareness and pain management are two of the most important facets of early intervention for any illness and can considerably affect how further treatment will benefit a suffering individual.
Often I have patients contact me for pain relief, and after speaking with them, I find out that they’ve been in pain for weeks hoping it will go away. And sometimes it does, but when it doesn’t and you wait for a while then it will take me longer to help you to get rid of it, which means more sessions and more money out of your pocket.
You need to be more aware of your body, more in tune with it, which brings me to point number 3.
3. Listen to the pains in your body closely
The root cause of the pain can be difficult to pinpoint because it can come from parts of the body that are generally hard to reach and there are many potential causes for the same symptoms.
I see patients regularly who complain of pains in parts of their bodies that turn out to be coming from a different part. It's very common especially for those who love to self-medicate and self-diagnose. You should not be guessing where exactly the pain is coming from, especially if your pain is internal.
Yes, the cause of external injuries is easy to pinpoint but the pains we experience on the inside are where it gets tricky. Remember, listen to your body as sometimes where you feel your pain and where the root cause of the pain is are very different.
I can give you multiple examples, but I’ll give you one: a patient came in with low back pain and I couldn’t find any tightness in his back, there didn’t seem to be any muscular or structural issues. Then I find out that he is regularly constipated, and aha, that was his low back pain root cause because after an abdominal massage his back felt much better. And of course, afterward, we discussed what measures he can take to address his constipation.
4. You’ve heard it before “Prevention is better than cure”
These are some of the simple steps I recommend to patients who want to journey with me towards pain-free living:
Exercise Daily – small but constant effort in exercising can make a whole world of difference when it comes to managing your pain. This is especially true not only for those who have joint and muscle pains but also for those suffering from emotional distress. The level of intensity does not have to be high; even brisk walking 30 minutes daily still has major benefits on your health.
According to the Mayo Clinic, simple exercises can:
Lower blood pressure
Prevent and manage type 2 diabetes
Help prevent osteoporosis
And much much more
Learn a few self-help techniques - Self-help techniques are a great way to address the body. They are also an excellent way to make sure that you are taking care of your body daily.
I love teaching my patients self-help techniques, that way they can address the pain in the body right away, and help a loved one in pain.
Do daily breathing exercises - There are several different breathing exercises to help you calm and relax. Try Alternate Nostril Breathing technique:
Sit up tall and relax your shoulders.
Close your right nostril with your right thumb. Inhale through your left nostril.
Close your left nostril with your right index finger. Exhale through your right nostril.
Inhale through your right nostril while keeping your left nostril closed.
Close your right nostril and exhale through your left nostril.
This completes one set. Repeat for 5 minutes.
Take Supplements – while I am not a big pusher for lots of supplements, there are a few that I believe should be taken daily. Vitamin D, Magnesium, and Omega 3 are must-haves while some may also need B vitamins and Zinc
5. Observe the warning signs
The connection between the organs and muscles in the body is not always clear.
Physical pain is sometimes a manifestation of internal organ imbalance. There’s a muscle organ connection that is often overlooked and not widely accepted. For example, with large intestine issues you may feel pain in the lower back or hamstrings, the small intestine may refer to pain in the quadriceps, and stomach issues may refer to your neck flexors.
You have to be able to observe the warning signs. Never brush off any minor pains as these can lead to more serious conditions.
Now that you have learned these 5 simple tips, you can start taking charge of your health without living in constant pain. As your pain relief specialist, I would recommend a full-body wellness check every 4 to 8 weeks to keep you on the right track. Book your appointment with me so we can start on your maintenance program today.