If you’ve been dealing with chronic pain, then you are already very familiar with how it can make you suffer.
Recurring pain that resists traditional treatments can impact your:
- Ability to enjoy life
But in addition to the obvious symptoms, untreated chronic pain can have some more subtle impacts on your body and mindset.
Here are some of the quieter ways chronic pain can interrupt your life, and what you can do to find a long-term and enduring solution.
1. Your Sleep and Daytime Energy Levels
Sleeping less than 6-7 hours per night can have a world of unhealthy side effects. It’s rare that chronic pain sufferers can regularly achieve the rest they need.
In fact, according to the National Sleep Foundation, Americans with chronic pain tend to have a 42-minute sleep deficit every night compared to their pain-free counterparts.
2. Your Memory and Focus
When you’re in pain, it’s understandable that you’re solely focused on the part of your body that’s hurting. But as it turns out, chronic pain can have quiet effects on your brain as well!
A study by the University of Alberta found chronic pain interferes with the portion of the brain that’s tied to memory retention and concentration, which makes sufferers foggy and unfocused.
3. Your Relationships
There is a myriad of reasons why chronic pain impacts your relationships, and a number of these are tied to your mood and your outlook.
Patients with chronic pain are more susceptible to emotional fluctuations that can lead to mood disorders such as depression and anxiety.
And while common prescriptions (like opioids) can momentarily keep these feelings at bay via a feeling of euphoria, these negative emotions return once the effects wear off.
Also, chronic pain sufferers are naturally prone to depression and mood changes, simply because of the feeling of hopelessness and isolation.
- Can’t enjoy the things you used to.
- Can’t focus on loved ones.
- Get frustrated that you are being held back from your life.
4. Your Self-Esteem and Confidence
The inability mentioned above to do simple tasks can impact your sense of self-worth and your confidence. Perhaps your job performance has slipped or you’ve lost the motivation to do the activities you used to enjoy.
Not being able to complete these tasks isn’t your fault, but it’s hard not to internalize these deficiencies as a sign of weakness.
What Can You Do?
The best way to address pain is to get to the root of the problem. All too often, pain sufferers will get generalized recommendations for:
- Lifestyle changes
- Prescription drugs
The truth is the source of pain isn’t always easy to identify. A treatment that is effective for one person with lower back pain may have no impact on another patient with similar issues.
A one-size-fits-all treatment is not the answer.
We Can Help
Instead, it’s time to work with an experienced specialist who digs deep into your background, history, and the pain itself to find the optimal solution for you as an individual.
With a detailed consultation, you can take a huge step forward in finding an effective, long term solution.