I have a variety of readers for this blog. Many of you are chraintims*, some of you have a loved one who suffers from it, then there are those of you who are just checking this blog out and know nothing about chronic pain at all. This post is for all you.
I recently did an informative speech on chronic pain for my public speaking class and I was shocked at how little people actually knew about chronic pain. So this post is purely informative. This is a collection of facts, some well known others more obscure, to teach every reader a little more about a problem that plagues over 100 million Americans, chronic pain.
What are the most common causes of chronic pain?
The top 4 causes of chronic pain are (in order): back pain, severe headaches/migraines, neck pain, and then facial pain (like mine). Back pain is the leading cause of disability in Americans under 45 years old. Over 26 million Americans ages 20 to 64 suffer from frequent back pain. Those with back pain are three times more likely to be in fair or poor health and four times more likely to have serious psychological distress.
How does pain affect people’s everyday lives?
77% of people with chronic pain are depressed. 59% says it impacts their enjoyment of life. 74% say they have lower energy levels due to pain and 86% report an inability to sleep well.
What are some common treatments for chronic pain?
Although many chraintims are afraid of exacerbating their pain through exercise (a fear called kinesiophobia), it has actually been proven to help with pain. However, unless you have tried exercising while in horrific, pounding pain, you shouldn’t judge an overweight chraintim. (Read my post on why you shouldn’t judge fat people at all here.)
Another way to treat chronic pain is with massage or physical therapy. This really depends on the person and the injury. I tried both of these and it made the pain much, much worse. It is very important to listen to your body!
The last, and most obvious, way to treat chronic pain is with medication. The two most common medications used are opioids and anti-seizure medication. Although opioids are a major contributor to the total number of drug related deaths in America, not everyone who takes them is dangerously addicted. Opioids were created to treat pain and it is appropriate to use them for this purpose. Anti-seizure medication (like gabapentin) effects the central nervous system which causes both seizures and pain. Many chraintims take these types of medication to help treat their pain.
Now that you’ve learned a little more about chronic pain, you may be wondering how to help those who suffer from it. Fear not! I have a post for that too, just click right here.
I got almost all of my information from the American Chronic Pain Association. Check out their website for more information.
Were you surprised by these statistics? Do you think medication is used too often now to treat pain? Let me know in the comments below!
*Chraintim is a word I made up that combines the words in the phrase “chronic pain victim”.
Although all of this information was collected from reputable websites, I am not a healthcare professional. You should consult your doctor regarding all medical decisions.
Thank you to stockimages and freedigitalphotos.net for the image.