Category: Chronic Pain

Details Of Chronic Pain Management

You broke your ankle years ago and seemed to recover nicely. You’ve had no intervening accidents and illnesses that you can recall, but you’ve been experiencing non-specific discomfort for several months. Your lower back and knees hurt, often most of the day, every day. You may be experiencing chronic pain.

WHAT IS CHRONIC PAIN?

One online resource identifies two kinds of pain: “acute and chronic. Acute pain lets you know that your body is injured. It usually doesn’t last long. It should go away as your body heals. Chronic pain lasts much longer. Chronic pain may last months or even years. Chronic pain may interfere with your daily activities. And because the pain lasts so long, people who have chronic pain may also have low self-esteem, depression, and anger.”

SYMPTOMS

Chronic pain affects your physical and mental wellness. While it can be nearly perpetual, pain may be more significant sometimes due to greater stress or activity. Symptoms include:

  • Joint pain
  • Muscle aches
  • Searing pain
  • Tiredness
  • Sleep trouble
  • Loss of strength and flexibility, lower activity
  • Moodiness (depression, anxiety, irritability, etc.)

The journal Pain reported that nearly 61 percent of the people who reported chronic pain as part of the study also had depression, most with “severe” level symptoms.

WHAT CAUSES CHRONIC PAIN?

Sometimes, chronic pain is the result of an old injury or infection or may be caused by a disease. Despite the best efforts of doctors, researchers, and other medical or mental health specialists, sometimes there is no identifiable trigger for your pain.

Conditions that may trigger or lead to chronic pain:

  • Infections
  • Headaches or migraines
  • Back pain
  • Cancer
  • Arthritis
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Nerve damage
  • Previous surgery

Depression and stress can worsen different pain types, including chronic pain.

TIPS FOR COPING WITH CHRONIC PAIN

If you have long-term pain and want to treat it on your own, here are some strategies to consider.

  • Learn to manage your stress levels and identify the triggers.
  • Stay active and engaged. Sometimes the best cure is distracting yourself, often through hobbies or interacting with family and friends.
  • Find a support network outside your family or friends. A peer group of people with chronic pain can offer the emotional support lacking elsewhere.

WHAT IS CHRONIC PAIN MANAGEMENT?

Chronic pain management is complicated and time-intensive. It can be especially challenging and demanding for medical professionals who may be working to help relieve your pain without assistance from other specialists. You can then imagine how hard it is for the patient to relieve their own symptoms, often working alone and dealing with other complications from the condition.

The usefulness of many kinds of interventions is enhanced when all medical and mental healthcare specialists concerned work together as a team. According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, a multiskilled collaborative strategy offers a range of viewpoints and talents that can improve outcomes and lower stress on individual providers working diligently on a patient’s behalf. One of chronic pain management challenges is for multidisciplinary teams to find solutions while not becoming stressed themselves.

Ideally, a multidisciplinary team works in one setting, making it easier to collaborate with peers – not to mention for the patient who may have to go from one specialist to another. Such collective effort benefits if one specialist is identified as the primary care coordinator (this may also depend on whether you’re receiving treatment via public or private health insurance or are paying out of pocket for treatment) and all interested parties – the patient and specialists – have a good rapport.

Chronic pain management may include a primary care provider, addiction specialist, pain clinician, nurse, pharmacist, mental health specialists, other specialists (social worker, marriage and family therapist, counselor, etc.), and physical or occupational therapists.

DIAGNOSIS & TREATMENT

A medical professional can diagnose your chronic pain and recommend treatment. You’ll probably have a physical exam and different tests to figure out the source of your pain, like blood tests, muscle and bone density tests, an x-ray or MRI, and other procedures as needed. Depending on the outcome of these exams, your healthcare provider may offer treatment like physical or occupational therapy, pain medicine, or something else. Successful diagnosis may also depend on a psychiatric assessment. A mental health specialist will review your thoughts, emotions, behaviors, and personal and family history of mental illness as triggers for chronic pain.

FINAL THOUGHTS

Most people who suffer from chronic pain symptoms come to the realization they can’t treat it on their own. Store-bought pain medicine or a dip in a hot tub only go so far. Contact us today to learn more about innovative new treatments to help you find relief.

can depression cause chronic pain

The Connection Between Depression And Pain

You get depressed occasionally and often notice you have headaches and minor back pain to go along with it. So it makes you wonder – are they related? Chances are very high that pain and depression are linked, but the more you know, the greater your chance of treating both conditions.

What Is Depression?

Depression (major depressive disorder or clinical depression) is a common but serious mood disorder. It causes severe symptoms that affect how you feel, think, and handle daily activities, such as sleeping, eating, or working. To be diagnosed with depression, the symptoms must be present for at least two weeks.” It triggers feelings of sadness and lack of interest in once enjoyable activities. Depression is characterized by emotional and physical problems, to the point where it interferes with daily life.

Types Of Pain

The five most familiar kinds of pain are:

  • Acute pain, which only lasts minutes to about three months – and in rare cases, six months.
  • Chronic pain can be steady or intermittent, persisting for months or years.
  • Neuropathic pain is caused by nerve injury or injuries to the nervous system.
  • Nociceptive pain is triggered by harm to body tissue.
  • Radicular pain happens when your spinal nerves get squeezed or inflamed.

Most pain symptoms are treatable.

Depression Risks

You can be depressed at any age, but it often starts in adulthood. We know that depression can now happen in children and adolescents, though it’s sometimes characterized by irritability more than low feelings. If you had high levels of anxiety as a child, you’re at greater risk of chronic mood and anxiety disorders as an adult.

Risks may include:

  •     Personal or family record of depression
  •     Big life changes, trauma, or stress
  •     Certain illnesses and medications

What Is Ketamine?

Ketamine, pain and depression have a long, interconnected history dating back to the early 1960s. At that time, the medicine was used solely as a pre-surgical anesthetic – gaining fame for treating wounded U.S. combat troops in Vietnam – before scientists discovered it had other curative applications. By the end of the decade, ketamine had become a sought-after option for reducing not only symptoms of physical pain but mental health issues that wouldn’t respond to conventional therapy.

The Connection Between Depression And Pain

Pain and depression are inextricably linked. Depression can trigger pain and pain can lead to depression, resulting in a vicious circle that is hard to break free of. Sometimes the circle makes the pain worsen the symptoms of depression, leading to depression, making feelings of pain even worse. For many people, depression results in unexplained physical symptoms like back pain or headaches. This is often the kind of pain that is the first or sole warning sign of depression. 

If you experience pain and its resultant problems, then you know it can beat you down over time and alter your mood. Chronic pain is likely worse, causing many problems that can trigger depression, such as problems sleeping and ongoing stress.

According to study results published by the U.S. National Institutes of Health, “pain and depression are closely correlated from the perspectives of both brain regions and the neurological function system, whereby chronic pain may lead to depression. One of the important causes for chronic pain leading to depression appears to be the crucial effect of common neuroplasticity changes on the occurrence and development of the two disorders in question. Nevertheless, current efforts in this field fail to sufficiently and explicitly explain their connection. Further investigations into the common neuroplasticity changes shared by pain and depression are warranted to promote the identification of new drug targets and to free patients from chronic pain-induced depression.”

Fortunately, many symptoms linked to mental illness (depression, bipolar disorder, etc.) and chronic pain conditions can be managed.

Diagnosis & Treatment

Diagnosing pain and depression normally depends on:

  • A physical examination to rule out a medical cause for your pain or depression symptoms.
  • A psychiatric assessment to understand your thoughts, feelings, behavior, and personal or family history of mental illness.

If your symptoms have a psychological component, your healthcare provider will compare them to criteria in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders before recommending treatment.

Treatment may include pain medicine, psychotherapy, or ketamine infusion therapy.

Final Thoughts

If you suffer from ongoing pain or depression, don’t let the symptoms control your life. If ignored, pain and depression can lead to even worse physical and mental health conditions. The good news? Once symptoms are recognized, they can often be treated with ketamine to improve your quality of life. Contact us today to learn more.

how-does-it-feel-to-have-chronic-pain

What Does it Feel Like to Have Chronic Pain?

You banged your knee on the corner of the kitchen table, but the pain went away, eventually. That was acute pain, specific and with a known cause. But what about your lower back pain that’s haunted you for years? What caused it? These are the enduring mysteries of chronic pain.

What is Chronic Pain?

Pain is different for everyone, but there are two kinds of physical pain: acute and chronic. Acute pain signals that your body is injured. It normally doesn’t last long and should subside as your body heals. Chronic pain is continual and may last months or even years. “Chronic pain may interfere with your daily activities. And because the pain lasts so long, people who have chronic pain may also have low self-esteem, depression, and anger.”

The Symptoms of Chronic Pain

Chronic pain symptoms include moderate to severe pain that does not subside as expected following an illness or injury. It has been described as aching, burning, electrical, or shooting. You may experience soreness, tightness, or stiffness in the impacted area of your body. While chronic pain symptoms and their physical and psychological effects can be daunting, research has proven the efficacy of certain new treatments, including the regular, ongoing use of ketamine therapy.

What Causes Chronic Pain?

Occasionally chronic pain has a clear cause. You could have a long-term illness such as cancer or arthritis that can trigger ongoing pain. But diseases and injuries can also produce changes to the body that instill a higher pain sensitivity. These differences can remain in place even when you’ve healed from the original disease or injury. So, an injury like a sprain, broken bone, or a short-term infection can leave you experiencing chronic pain.

Some people also experience chronic pain unrelated to a physical illness or an injury. Healthcare providers deem this reaction psychosomatic pain or psychogenic pain.

What Does it Feel Like to Have Chronic Pain?

Chronic pain is real and different for everyone it touches. Some people plow through the pain, determined to get out of bed every morning and do what needs to be done – go to work, get the kids ready for school, volunteer at the local food bank. Unfortunately, the pain is so uncomfortable and pervasive for some people that it’s eaten away at their resolve and eventually controls their lives.

If you or someone you know suffers from chronic pain, you know the emotions and reactions it stirs up too well. Chronic pain is inexplicably linked to what goes on in the brain and triggers reactions throughout your body and mind you may not be prepared to handle.

Kristen Domonell has a unique perspective on what chronic pain feels like, noting that “getting up in the morning is no joke.” She also relayed the presence of odd or bad dreams, often of little things in her life which you may be able to relate to, like seams in an article of clothing.

In a post vetted by Dr. Sarah Jarvis MBE, author Sarah Graham relayed the feelings that many people experience due to chronic pain. One person described the pain as “bolts of electricity” through their bones. Another mentioned that chronic pain resulted in insensitivity to the point where their skin felt on fire.

Managing symptoms and the feelings they cause is a matter of determination and resolve to live as normal of a life as possible.

Diagnosis

Your doctor will inquire about your medical history, and providing as much information as possible will assist in finding the right treatment. Be honest about where the pain is, its severity, and frequency. Also, describe what makes it better or worse. Your doctor will perform an exam and do tests to help find the cause. Other health problems will be discussed – as well as anxiety, mood, sleep patterns – which could influence treatment options.

Tips for Managing Chronic Pain

If you suffer from chronic pain, talk to a doctor about treatment options. There are other ways to cope with the pain on your own, however, including: 

  • Stretching exercises
  • Practicing good posture
  • Yoga
  • Staying active and maintaining a daily routine
  • Reduce stress with relaxation techniques
  • Don’t do more than you can handle
  • Take care of other mental or medical conditions
  • Stay positive
  • Stay engaged with others

Chronic pain, while serious, can be managed with novel medications like ketamine. 

Final Thoughts

Chronic pain affects all aspects of your life. The most effective treatment relieves symptoms and offers support. You may be able to manage the pain at home with store-bought pain relievers, but the pain could require therapy, prescription medication, or even surgery. One treatment worth learning about is ketamine therapy. Contact us today to learn more!

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