We’ve all experienced the short-lived pains accompanying a stubbed toe, a broken bone, or a shallow scrape.
Some of us — roughly 25% — experience a very different type of pain called chronic pain. Chronic pain is persistent pain that lasts three months or longer and interferes with daily activities.
You might be tempted to tough it out or try and manage it on your own, but without help from an expert like Dr. David Wu, you risk even more health problems on top of your lingering pain.
At CurePain, we believe that providing the best treatments isn’t enough. We want to ensure you know what you’re up against regarding chronic pain. So here, we explore a few reasons why your pain shouldn’t be the only problem on your mind.
1. Cardiovascular issues
The longer you spend in pain, the longer your heart and veins are under stress. Pain affects your blood pressure, which can lead to hypertension and heart attacks and stroke in the most severe cases.
2. Musculoskeletal limitations
If you live with chronic pain, it’s normal to err on the side of not moving and avoiding using whatever part of your body aches. However, deconditioning and limited movement of your limbs can snowball into even more muscle, nerve, and/or joint weakness.
3. Hormonal imbalances
Your endocrine system can also take a hit if you have chronic pain. What does that mean? It means your body may not be able to release and process hormones. And because your hormones regulate everything from your metabolism to your sex drive, an imbalance could mean trouble for virtually every facet of your ability to function.
4. Cognitive concerns
You may also notice that chronic pain affects your memory, attention, and other cognitive functions. That’s because chronic pain changes the structure of your brain, reducing the amount of gray matter you need to stay sharp. Unfortunately, these issues can also be followed by insomnia and depression.
5. Decreased quality of life
Many who live with chronic pain find that their symptoms significantly impact their quality of life. Sometimes, a simple headache is enough to turn your normal work and social calendar into a herculean task. If you’re in constant, whole-body pain, chances are you’re taking a back seat to life and not enjoying the things you used to.
6. Mental health problems
Chronic pain is hardly ever just a physical problem — many also experience mental health problems. It’s estimated that 35%-45% of people with chronic pain also struggle with depression.
But it doesn’t stop there.
Chronic pain and mental health are closely related and often occur in a cyclical pattern. The longer your pain lasts, the worse your mental health becomes. As your mental health suffers, your pain often intensifies, as well.
Some even develop suicidal ideations or engage in harmful behaviors. Seek emergency medical help if you notice any of these patterns forming.
7. Substance abuse
Nearly 1.27 million Americans are receiving medication-assisted treatment for their pain — many of them eventually misuse and/or become addicted to their prescriptions.
8. Worsening of existing health problems
If you’re dealing with other health problems on top of chronic pain, you may find it much more difficult to manage them. For instance, constant pain can cause spikes in blood sugar levels, making diabetes management a challenge.
Your next steps
It may seem as though you don’t stand a chance against chronic pain and the avalanche of health problems that often follow it, but if you turn to Dr. Wu, you can find relief from your symptoms and safety from accompanying complications.
We have years of experience using various interventional pain management techniques to address many causes of chronic pain. We evaluate everything from your health history to your treatment goals to create a customized chronic pain action plan.
Depending on your needs, we may recommend the following:
- Epidural steroid injections
- Facet joint injections
- Spinal cord stimulation
- Radiofrequency therapy
- Physical therapy
- Cognitive strategies, including stress management
- Lifestyle adjustments
You’ll notice that we help you handle your pain without relying on ongoing drug therapy. If you’d like more information about how we accomplish that, don’t hesitate to call our friendly staff or schedule an appointment online. Our expert is standing by to help you navigate your treatment options and find what works best for you.