It doesn’t come as a surprise that chronic pain takes its toll on one’s mind just as much as it affects the body. After all, hours of suffering for days straight couldn’t go without leaving a mark on your brain, right?
Some people see the world in black and white.
Chronic pain, defined as pain lasting longer than it should (IASP) or for a minimum of 3 consecutive months (ACPA), is a silent epidemic of the modern age. The numbers are surprising: In Europe, around 20% of adults suffer from chronic pain, with the same number spanning a range from 11.2% to a whopping 30.7% of Americans according to different studies. While it may be difficult to pin down exactly, the bottom line is that Chronic Pain is extremely common. Remember, you are not alone.
Pain is a normal, almost essential part of life. Every once in a while we stub a pinky toe against the bed, or cut a finger while making dinner, or pull a muscle when we’re working out. If it wasn’t for pain, we wouldn’t recognize a minor injury that needs to be treated, which would open the door to that minor injury becoming major. Pain is necessary. Pain is our warning light.
But pain isn’t always a fleeting and temporary sensation. Sometimes it can go on for many days, weeks—months, even. Chronic pain often makes people gradually wither and fade away, depriving them of all their passions, hobbies, and the little joys in life. Moreover, the approach to treating such a condition is much different from that of dealing with acute pain from a common injury.
So where’s that fine line between sharp pains, a casual ache and chronic pain? When should you start sounding the alarm? How do you identify chronicpain?
Let’s find out!
The Good Body is a a health related website containing research, case studies, reviews and product analyses. They recently compiled information from several sources, including the CDC and NIH, and created a useful infographic (included below).
What is particularly interesting is how only 15% of chronic pain sufferers (pain warriors) actually seek care from doctors who specialize in pain! Why not??
Unfortunately, the overprescribing of pain medications has contributed to the opioid epidemic devastating our country and others around the world. Many patients now have an understandable, albeit unfair, hesitation and distrust towards those practicing pain management.
So if you have chronic pain, according to these statistics, you're likely NOT in treatment with a pain management specialist. And we get it. We understand. But just like any field, there are the good, the bad, and the ugly.
Consider cosmetic surgery. We've all seen the terrifying results of a nose job gone bad - (Botched, anyone?!) - would we ever NOT ask for referrals, or search for testimonials on a plastic surgeon before we started to count backward from 100?
Don't be part of the 85% that is too stuck by stigma. Take control of your healthcare, be the pain warrior you are, and start asking around your area for the best specialists in pain management!
I popped in on Algone’s physical therapist during his lunch hour to do this quick interview, but I recently hurt my elbows while doing bicep curls (fully extended my arms… rookie mistake, I know), so I was curious what he would recommend for my injury.
"I play varsity baseball at my high school. My coach said we should go to physical therapy to help prevent shoulder injuries, but I thought PT was only for AFTER an injury. Who's right?"
Well Peter, you are correct that physical therapy (PT) can do wonders to help get your body healthy again after an injuy... but your coach is right too!
Here are some common myths (debunked) about physical therapy:
We offer neurostimulation (spinal cord stimulators) at Algone Interventional Pain Clinic as a pain relief program. If you suffer from chronic back pain and your current treatment plan is failing you, join us March 29th from 6:00-8:00 PM at the The Grill (under The Grandview). Neurostimulation is proven safe and effective.
Algone Interventional Pain Clinic has added two new providers to better serve Alaskans with the best quality pain management available. Dr. Nichelle Renk and Dr. Steve Johnson are accepting new patients at our Anchorage location.
Our Anchorage facility is now open at 500 E. Benson Boulevard, Suite 103 Anchorage, AK 99503. Dr. Steve Johnson and Dr. Nichelle Renk are accepting new patients and are eager to let the community know about our unique services. We believe pain management should be done with a caring and dedicated specialist, and that is exactly what we offer. Pain is never easy to deal with and each individual experiences pain differently . Our pain management specialists are here for you.