What is chronic pain?
“Chronic pain lasts months or years and happens in all parts of the body. It interferes with daily life and can lead to depression and anxiety. The first step in treatment is to find and treat the cause. When that isn’t possible, the most effective approach is a combination of medications, therapies and lifestyle changes,” according to the Cleveland Clinic. It’s a kind of pain which includes headaches, lower-back pain, and cancer pain, among others.
Know the symptoms
The way you perceive chronic pain may differ from someone else, but there are similarities for most people who experience it. Widespread symptoms of chronic pain can be moderate to very bad pain that doesn’t subside as expected after an illness, surgical procedure, or injury. Chronic pain is described by many people as aching, burning, electrical, or shooting. The pain also may be accompanied by soreness, tightness, or stiffness in the area which hurts the most.
How you can manage chronic pain
There are many ways to manage chronic pain symptoms, from medicine to therapy to dietary and nutritional supplements. Some people may choose one over another due to spiritual, ethical, or other concerns.
Medication like ketamine is used to treat chronic pain. Medication recommended for chronic pain include store-bought or over-the-counter pain relievers, anticonvulsants, and antidepressants. Different kinds of medications help people who have various forms of pain. For medicine you buy at a store you should thoroughly read and follow the instructions on the packaging. Short-acting medicines treat occasional pain, but your doctor may recommend longer-acting medicines if your pain is constant. In all cases, it’s important to follow your doctor’s instructions.
Several kinds of therapy could help reduce your pain:
- A physical therapist may recommend stretching and activities to strengthen muscles.
- You could try low-impact exercises like biking, swimming, or walking.
- An occupational therapist will teach you how to exercise without over-exertion and perform ordinary tasks differently. This helps minimize your pain or prevents you from reinjuring yourself.
- Behavioral therapy is another option. Well-known methods like meditation, tai chi, or yoga can help you relax and decrease stress.
“Almost anything you do to relax or get your mind off your problems may help control pain. Even if you are taking medicine for pain, you should include relaxing activities in your daily life. Relaxation can actually change the body’s chemicals that produce pain.”
Alternative or natural remedies
Chronic pain has physical and emotional effects. To reduce the depression, frustration, irritability, and other psychological trauma of handling chronic pain, your doctor may refer you to a rehabilitation psychologist. This specialist might recommend meditation, tai chi, yoga, and other relaxation and cognitive strategies to keep your mind focused on something besides the pain.
Changing your dietary habits may help with chronic pain. If you suffer from chronic pain, a dietician or nutrition specialist may recommend that you eliminate processed foods, refined sugars, and foods high in trans fats from your daily meal planning. Try eliminating alcohol, caffeine, and nicotine from daily life.
In some ways, chronic pain is like a counselor you don’t want to listen to, with your body sending out messages that shouldn’t be ignored. Lifestyle changes may be necessary. This can mean riding an elevator rather than taking the stairs, using curbside pickup for groceries, or paying for a lawn service. Another form of lifestyle change would be adding light-impact exercise to your daily routine, like walking or swimming.
Never take herbal or nutritional supplements if you’re on prescription medicine without first talking to your doctor.
Is ketamine an option?
Ketamine is a medicine used for anesthesia that is also a promising new depression treatment. Mostly administered intravenously, ketamine may strengthen neurotransmitters in the brain responsible for perceiving pain and distributing the sensation throughout our bodies.
Chronic pain can be managed with effort and the right therapy or medicine like ketamine. Reducing or eliminating it may take sacrifices but in the end, it’s better than doing nothing, and possibly suffering the consequences of a more serious mental or physical ailment which may arise as a result.
If you or a loved one are dealing with the symptoms of chronic pain we can help. Contact us today to learn more about ketamine and if you would be a good candidate for this innovative new treatment.