Millions of Americans talk to their doctors every day about pain. Fortunately, many of these patients will find a solution to their problems. However, it’s not always possible to pinpoint the cause of chronic pain, and some doctors will turn a blind eye. When you have to fight invisible pain, you can often feel as if every facet of your life is made more demanding and more of a struggle. Let’s look at how to prepare to face the day-to-day battles.
Chronic pain 101
Chronic pain can refer to systemic discomfort or aches and pains in one specific location. For example, migraine headaches are a type of chronic pain. Rheumatoid arthritis is a type of joint pain triggered by inflammation. People with cancer often experience pain during and after treatment. Visceral pain, that deriving from the internal organs, and bone pain, often resulting from bone cancer or osteoporosis, are common as well.
Pain, pain, go away
To fight an invisible pain means being you will be challenged to narrow down solutions that help manage the pain while going about your everyday life. Thankfully, modern medicine has found numerous treatments for chronic pain that are largely considered safe. CBD, a compound derived from cannabis, has been FDA-approved to treat seizures but also shows promise for its pain-relieving anti-inflammatory properties. Products that contain cannabis can be purchased online, but consumption may only be legal in states where industrial hemp cultivation has been legalized.
You likely have to fight invisible pain when it’s most inconvenient: when you’re ready to call it a night. It may be triggered or made worse by your inability to sleep through the night. Sometimes there are physical reasons for insomnia such as back or neck pain. These issues may be rectified by making changes to your sleeping environment. If you’re suffering from back pain, you may be best served by swapping out your old innerspring mattress with a new memory foam model, which helps to eliminate pressure points and align your spine naturally. This simple change of mattress type may not only relieve chronic back pain but also help prevent the need for invasive treatments.
Physical therapy, mindful meditation and diet and exercise programs are also typically recommended. Making positive lifestyle changes such as working out and eliminating unhealthy foods and stress may reduce pain or alter your perception of such, making it more bearable or tolerable.
A hidden foe
Of all the types of chronic pain, fibromyalgia may be the worst. Fibromyalgia is difficult to diagnose and is characterized by heightened response to pressure and pain from head to toe. Women are more likely to develop symptoms of fibromyalgia, which can go beyond pain and discomfort. In addition to discomfort, fibromyalgia can also present with extreme fatigue, irritable bowel syndrome, depression, cognitive decline, chest pains, and painful menstruation. Unfortunately, the specific cause of fibromyalgia remains unknown.
Resources and support are available
If you’ve talked about your pain with your primary provider or even a pain specialist and not received helpful support, you may find it necessary to seek guidance from outside sources. A few of these include:
- Alliance for the Treatment of Intractable Pain
- American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons
- American Chiropractic Association
- American Chronic Pain Association
- American Physical Therapy Association
- Chronic Illness Advocacy and Awareness Group
- Endometriosis Foundation of America
- International Association of Yoga Therapists
Instant pain relief
You’re the one in the ring every day having to fight invisible pain, but your healthcare team should be willing to support you as you do. They may prescribe common medications for chronic pain, but it’s important to ask questions about how addictive those medications can be. There are many natural pain remedies that can reduce or lessen a person’s reliance on pharmaceuticals. Acupressure, listening to music, soaking in Epsom salts and exercise are also all options to reduce and manage pain.
Chronic pain presents obstacles to everyday life that can feel impossible to overcome. But with lifestyle changes, a strong support system and a helpful healthcare team, many of its effects can be managed – and even diminished.
This post is not intended to diagnose or treat any condition. Talk to your doctor if your pain does not go away with self-treatment.
Are you fighting invisible pain?
If so, what tips would you pass on to others to help them better manage their pain? Tell us in the comments below.
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