The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke reports that eight in 10 Americans report lower back pain at some point in their lives. Nearly sixty percent those with chronic pain say that their pain has negatively impacted life. Physical pain is common, and over time it can limit the amount of time that you spend enjoying life. However, this doesn’t have to be something you live with. There are a myriad of pain relief options available, ranging from physical therapy to surgery, that can reduce or stop your pain and increase your wellness. If you or someone you love experiences constant pain, here are the steps you can take to recover.
Understand the Causes
Your first step should always be to consult with a physician to determine the cause of your pain. Aside from chronic pain syndrome, you could be experiencing arthritis pain, an unhealed injury, conditions such as fibromyalgia or chronic fatigue syndrome, or something else altogether.
Sometimes, the cause of the pain may be unclear. For example, many people gain weight as a result of chronic pain. Weight gain also causes excess pressure on the joints, which can cause or worsen pain. Any pain should be an indication that something isn’t right in the body, so you should start by visiting your family physician for a full physical. From there, your physician can discuss pain management services based on your unique needs.
Make Small Lifestyle Changes
Not all treatment options need to be drastic. Muscle pain and back pain can be the result of stress or poor posture, particularly if you work in a desk all day. Tension exercises such as yoga can release some of that built up tension. Likewise, unexplained aches and stomach pain could be a sign of anxiety, which can be treated with meditation, therapy, and physical activity. Older adults who are experiencing joint pain can try physical therapy, tai chi, and light aquatic exercise.
Talk to an Expert
Ultimately, your journey to treat your chronic pain may involve consulting with a specialist. Those experiencing chronic pain syndrome will want to consult a physician with expertise in pain management services, while those recovering from old injuries will want to find a sports medicine doctor or, in some instances, may seek orthopedic surgery. While opioids can provide immediate care in the event of physical trauma or after a surgical procedure, your pain management services should be varied and potentially include occupational therapy and some of the lifestyle changes mentioned above.
Never make any significant health decisions without consulting with your doctor. Whether you’re looking into weight loss procedures, arthritis pain treatment, or going to a rehabilitation center, your physician should always help you develop a safe treatment plan and should discuss risks and benefits of treatment.