For some, chronic pain can change life as they know it. Chronic pain can set physical limits for us. It can change our relationships and can even change our outlook on life. It is not always easy to see past the pain. Everyday with chronic pain is different from the last. It takes practice, desire and determination to live a joyful life in spite of the pain.
When we think of the symptoms of chronic pain we think of the physical pain and we think of the physical limitations. What is often overlooked are the other symptoms that can present themselves as a result of chronic pain. These symptoms are easily overshadowed by the daily struggle that is chronic pain, however that does not make them any less significant. These symptoms should not be ignored and in fact, they should be closely monitored and controlled. Collaboration between yourself and your primary health physician is the best way to combat these symptoms that can be the result of chronic pain.
Our bodies are marvelous machines. They are designed to process pain and recover. However when pain becomes chronic, the process can be disrupted.
Constant or chronic pain can affect your ability to both focus and problem solve. This is due to the pain being a constant distraction from the task at hand. Chronic pain can also change the way your brain processes information. This can affect your home life as well as job and school performance.
If you are dealing with chronic pain, you are undoubtedly putting forth more effort to get you through the day. Working every moment to push past the pain can be exhausting. Chronic pain can leave you feeling drained, frustrated and irritable. Because of the exhaustion, many chronic pain suffers find some comfort in sleep. Sleep is also a time when the body attempts to recover itself and heal. The trouble comes when the pain is so intense that sleep is disrupted and the quality of sleep becomes poor. Many chronic pain sufferers have identify a lack of sleep as a top concern of theirs.
Many people who are living with chronic pain may decrease the amount of social interaction they have in an attempt to decrease stress, save their energy and limit the amount of strenuous activity they are required to take part in. This can eventually lead to isolation and a depressed mood, which is not uncommon in those dealing with chronic pain.
The correlation between your mood and chronic pain can lead to a cycle that is difficult to break. The more pain you are in, the more depressed you may become. Depression in itself can amplify the pain sensation, making the pain worse and can negatively affect your mood. Recent studies have shown that living with chronic pain can actually change the way your brain chemistry works affecting emotions, your sleep/wake cycle and memory.
It is also thought that chronic pain is associated with an increased risk for hypertension. The body responds to elevated pain levels with elevation in heart rate and blood pressure. This is the body’s natural response to a painful stimulus. The study found a significantly higher prevalence of hypertension in those suffering from chronic pain than in those who did not have chronic pain.
Chronic pain can change our lives in a number of ways that may not always be obvious to those around us. By joining forces with you primary care physician in your journey to better health, you can regain your quality of life and learn how to live a full and happy life in spite of the pain.