Thursday, June 13, 2024

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Pain Management Blog

Chronic pain is pain lasting longer than 12 weeks, the approximate length of time it takes normal, healthy tissues to heal. For those suffering with chronic pain, the impact extends far beyond the pain they are feeling. The issues can be present in multiple parts of the body and can impact others close to them as well. For many who have chronic pain, the side effects can be just as hurtful as the physical pain they are experiencing, especially when those side effects are impacting those they care about.

Mental Health

When faced with constant pain, it’s easy to have feelings of anger, frustration, nervousness, or fear. Additionally, because many people with chronic pain suffer from the inability to sleep, the anxiety felt with pain is compounded with fatigue. Simply managing pain on your own can greatly interfere with your desire to socialize or even to perform day-to-day tasks like chores, errands, or work. The loneliness and social isolation felt makes the mental burden even heavier. Adding to the feelings of being alone is an increased chance of those suffering from chronic pain to feel decreased self-esteem from not being able to perform to prior ability, to do favored activities, or to be able to complete tasks that need to be done.

Cardiovascular Function

Because of a likely overlap in pain pathways and cardiovascular function, there is an increased likelihood of hypertension in patients with chronic pain. Research from Dr. Perry Fine of the Pain Research Center states, “amplified responses to stimuli [experience] baroreflex sensitivity decreases, potentially increasing the risk for hypertension and, in patients with a history of coronary heart disease, [an increased] risk for cardiovascular morbidity.” The increased need of the brain to manage and acknowledge the ongoing pain reduces the brain and nervous system’s ability to protect other parts of the body.

Cognitive Ability

Dr. Fine also found that up to two-thirds of patients show an impairment of both memory and attention when tested. In patients with chronic pain, the brain functions differently and can even be disrupted by long-term exposure to this chronic pain. The brain becomes compromised by the constant input and the natural instincts that attempt to kick in to avoid or reduce pain, when those solutions may not work. Because the brain becomes altered and because neural pathways are either occupied or rewired, it is difficult for memories to form, to be recalled, for concentration, and for focus. The study consolidated by Dr. Fine also suggests that with enough exposure, the brain becomes retaught in how to respond to certain stimulus with the potential for these new teaching to become irreversible.

Other Injuries

When one part of our body is in pain, whether short or long term, the other parts of our body try to compensate for it. A hurt left knee may mean favoring your right leg slightly. A crick in the neck may mean a hunched over back. A tender elbow may mean tense shoulders to protect it from accidental impact. The problem is when we compensate for too long, injuring an additional part of our body. Before long both legs are experiencing pain or your spinal cord is tight from being out of alignment or your shoulders are fatigued from constant tension. What began as an issue our clinic may be able to resolve may spiral out of control into multiple parts of the body needing extensive work and assistance.

We at Republic Pain Specialists don’t believe you need to live with even an additional day of pain. If you have chronic pain, you have been suffering for long enough. Contact us today to set up a time to explore treatment options and begin reducing the impact your pain is having on other parts of your life.




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