September is Pain Awareness Month!
Nearly 100 million Americans experience chronic pain — more than those who have diabetes, heart disease and cancer combined. Chronic pain is often defined as any pain lasting more than 12 weeks. Whereas acute pain is a normal sensation that alerts us to possible injury, chronic pain is very different. Chronic pain persists — often for months or even longer.
Chronic pain may arise from an initial injury, such as a back sprain, or there may be an ongoing cause, such as illness. However, there may also be no clear cause. Other health problems, such as fatigue, sleep disturbance, decreased appetite, and mood changes often accompany chronic pain. Chronic pain may limit a person’s movements, which can reduce flexibility, strength, and stamina. This difficulty in carrying out important and enjoyable activities can lead to disability and despair. Pain is a very personal and subjective experience.
With chronic pain, the goal of treatment is to reduce pain and improve function, so the person can resume day-to-day activities. Patients and their healthcare providers have a number of options for the treatment of pain. Some are more effective than others. Whatever the treatment plan, it is important to remember that chronic pain usually cannot be cured, but it can be managed.
The following treatments are among the most common ways to manage pain:
Medications, acupuncture, electrical stimulation, nerve blocks, or surgery are some treatments used for chronic pain.
(Content: medicineplus.gov. Image: Favim.com tumblr image.)
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