Chronic pain is not uncommon. And because it can be linked to so many unobvious or generalized issues, it can be easy for sufferers to simply “grin and bear it.”
In fact, while millions of Americans suffer from chronic pain regularly, many people wait weeks, months, or even years before they finally reach out to an Interventional Pain Management Specialist to get to the root cause of the problem, and finally find an effective treatment.
But you shouldn’t have to prolong relief. The longer you wait to schedule a consultation, the more your pain can progress and be harder to treat.
So before the need for care becomes critical, look for these warning signs that it’s time to do something now about your chronic pain.
You Notice It Every Day
If you notice your pain every day – even if it’s just for a few minutes at a time – then it’s time to be proactive. Pain that doesn’t go away on its own rarely dissolves or disappears over time, so the only way to address it is to seek help.
It’s Starting to Affect Your Activities
If you are no longer doing activities or hobbies you used to enjoy, it’s a sign that chronic pain is interfering with your life. Inactivity can cause other health problems, as well – from weight gain to depression – so it’s essential to address chronic pain before it severely slows you down and leads to additional issues.
It’s Starting to Impact Your Work
- Have you called in sick more often due to your chronic pain?
- Are you unable to concentrate on the job at hand when your pain is present?
These are clear indications that your chronic pain has reached a point where it’s affecting your ability to live normally and comfortably.
Perhaps you take over-the-counter pain pills more often than before, or maybe you have a couple of glasses of wine at the end of the day to enjoy a little temporary relief.
Self-medicating is a common way to address chronic pain initially, but over time, it can cause a wide array of issues, including unpleasant side effects from any medications, as well as addiction.
As such, you’ll want to make sure you consult an interventional pain management specialist well before your self-medication becomes a routine habit.
Loved Ones Have Noticed That You’re “Not Yourself”
Maybe you’re more moody or irritable than you used to be, or perhaps you avoid get-togethers and social outings simply because you’re worried that your chronic pain will get in the way. If your loved ones have noticed a change in your mood or activity level, then it’s a clear sign that it’s time to find a solution.
Chronic pain doesn’t just cause discomfort throughout the day. It can affect your life in every way imaginable, from your relationships to your work ethic, to your ability to enjoy every day to the fullest.
So avoid the excuses, and seek a solution as soon as you start to notice that chronic pain is taking over your life. With an experienced Interventional Pain Management Specialist, you can take significant strides in tackling your chronic pain for good.
What Causes of Chronic Pain?
One of the most challenging aspects for many chronic pain sufferers is determining the exact cause of the problem.
Millions of Americans live with chronic pain daily, and while the cause of the pain can sometimes be obvious – such as a surgery-related issue or a physical injury – other times, the start of the pain can be more mysterious.
This is part of the reason why addressing chronic pain can be so difficult, and can often result in multiple doctors’ visits and treatment options. On occasion, you may not know exactly how or why your pain started – you only know that it is interfering with your ability to enjoy life daily.
So if you’re one of the chronic pain sufferers who understands the agony but who isn’t sure how it occurred, consider these surprising causes of chronic pain that may be more common than you’d think.
Chronic pain can be affected by the small choices we make every day, starting from the ground up. What you put on your feet, such as flip flops or foam-soled sandals, can have a big impact on your pain, due to poor arch support which trickles up to the feet, ankles, and knees.
Your Screen Time
From typing at your desk in an upright position to checking in on your smartphone throughout the day, our reliance on technology has caused a calculable uptick in arthritis, especially in the thumbs, hands, and arms.
Sounds surprising to be sure, but what you put in your pocket – such as your wallet – can affect your overall alignment. A wallet or billfold that’s tucked away in a pocket can lead to compression and irritation of your sciatic nerve daily, and can even affect the alignment of your spine.
Your Bags and Purses
If you regularly carry around a purse, laptop bag, or another portable case, then stain on one side of the body can be shared. Bags that go over the shoulder and put added weight to one side can easily contribute to back and shoulder issues.
If you like to drive in a relaxed position – aka, with the seat reclined – it could be affecting or causing your neck pain. This is because when you lean back in the car, you may need to slouch forward to hold the steering wheel, which puts more pressure on your head when it’s not pressed against the headrest.
A poor quality mattress can cause a myriad of issues by not supporting your body where it needs it the most. If your mattress is more than 7-years-old, it could be a trigger that makes existing pain worst.
It’s fine to enjoy a couch potato afternoon every once in a while, but if you’re doing it so often, your body can suffer. Watching TV with your neck and head in a tilted position can affect your posture and put added pressure on small muscles and areas of the body – especially if you accidentally fall asleep in an awkward position.
Simply put, the exact cause of your pain may not be clear, and any number of factors may enhance it. That’s why it’s essential to reach out to an Interventional Pain Management Specialist to get to the root cause of the problem and to find a solution that takes all of your life activities into account.