In a general sense, pain is any distressing feeling or unpleasant sensation usually caused by an intense stimulus. Some examples include stubbing a toe, getting stung by an insect, a stiff neck after a long flight and sore legs after a game of basketball. You may consider this simple pains, but there are some pains that can last your whole life without you even knowing it.
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 of pain especially when there is no severe injury or blood loss involved. Which is why pain awareness and pain management are important for us to better understand how we deal with pain.
Here are five (5) things you need to learn about pain.
1. Never learn to live with pain
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, there are some pains that 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 as their most common type of pain. That accounts to about 26 million Americans between the ages 20 to 64 and a whopping 50 billion-dollar industry on back pain relief medication.
As a pain relief specialist, I see on a daily basis 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. Which 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 its 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 a 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 be benefit a suffering individual.
3. Listen to the pains in your body closely
I see patients regularly who complain of pains in parts of their bodies that turn out to be coming from a totally different part. It’s a very common problem especially for those who love to self-medicate. To put it simply, you are the best person to know how your body works and reacts to pain. This is the most crucial step towards pain awareness. Next is to not be guessing where exactly the pain is coming from, especially if your pain is internal.
Yes, the cause of external injuries are easy to pinpoint but the pains we experience on the inside is 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.
4. Take the first few steps toward correct pain management
These are some of the simple steps I recommend to patients who want to journey with me towards better pain management:
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 that even brisk walking 30 minutes daily still has major benefits on your health.
According to the Mayo Clinic, simple exercises can lower blood pressure, improve cholesterol, prevent and manage type 2 diabetes and help prevent osteoporosis to name a few. And we all know that most other conditions are also linked to some form of pain so it helps to know that a little exercise can go a long way.
TAKE IMPORTANT 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 and Magnesium are must haves while some may also need B vitamins or Omega 3.
5. Observe the warning signs
Physical pain is sometimes a manifestation of internal organ imbalance. For example, issues in the digestive tract may be felt as pains in the abdominal or rectal area; a mere pain on the shoulder may be a warning sign for an oncoming heart attack; and a simple headache can be a red flag for aneurysm.
You have to be able to observe the warning signs. Never brush off any minor pains as these can lead to more serious conditions needing major surgeries and operations.
Now that you have learned these 5 simple tips, you can start taking charge of your life 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 an appointment with me so we can start on your personal maintenance program today.