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There’s no doubt about it. Chronic pain is a thief. It robs you of enjoying daily activities and can even damage your overall health. Here are five ways chronic pain affects you.
If you’re suffering from chronic pain, here’s what you should know about the way chronic pain affects you and your health.
There are two types of pain: acute and chronic. Acute pain is the pain you feel immediately after an injury. Chronic pain is defined as pain that lasts beyond the expected period of healing for an illness or injury.
We’re learning that even low grade chronic pain can affect every aspect of your life. Patients suffering from chronic pain are often at risk for developing further complications, including altered mental states and physical dysfunctions. Studies show that chronic pain actually changes the way the human brain responds to acute pain.1
The constant assault of chronic pain can affect your life in a number of ways. According Perry G. Fine, MD of the Department of Anesthesiology, School of Medicine, Pain Research Center, Salt Lake City, Utah, USA, in the Long-Term Consequences of Chronic Pain include:
- sleep disturbances
- cognitive processes and brain function
- mood/mental health
- cardiovascular health
- sexual function
Chronic pain affects your thoughts, feelings, sleep patterns,, memory and concentration and your relationships. This robs you of the pleasures of everyday life, not to mention harming your sexual, mental and physical health.
5 Ways Chronic Pain Affects You :
#1: Chronic Pain Robs You of Healthy Sleep
Your skeletal muscles possess the amazing ability to completely regenerate following injury. Muscles and tissues repair during sleep.2 However, pain disturbs your sleep. This sets up a catch-22. Sleep helps your body heal. If you’re not getting good quality sleep, your body can’t heal effectively. However, because you’re in pain, you can’t sleep. As this cycle repeats, it affects your mental, sexual and physical health.
According to SleepFoundation.org,
We know that pain triggers poor sleep. For instance, someone experiencing lower back pain may experience several intense microarousals (a change in the sleep state to a lighter stage of sleep) per each hour of sleep, which lead to awakenings. However, microarousals are innocuous for a person not experiencing chronic pain. Pain is a serious intrusion to sleep. Pain is frequently associated with insomnia and these coexisting problems can be difficult to treat. One problem can exacerbate the other.
#2: It Robs You of the Ability to Think and Remember
If you’re in chronic pain, you’re not operating at your cognitive best. Cognitive processes such as memory and attention have been shown to be impaired in up to two thirds of patients with chronic pain.3 A comparative study assessed the cognitive functions in adults with chronic pain. Forty participants had chronic pain while twenty-nine were pain-free. The chronic pain participants performed significantly worse than the pain-free participants on the cognitive measures of long-term memory, selective attention, processing speed, and executive functioning. Significant differences between groups were evident in all cognitive domains. 4
#3: It Robs Your Emotional Healthy
The emotional effects of chronic pain include:
- Anxiety, and
- Fear of re-injury
Chronic pain can influence your thoughts, feelings, memory, concentration, and even connections with others. Living with chronic pain can affect your mood, making you more susceptible to depression, anxiety, and fear. Chronic pain can has been demonstrated to sleep disturbances, depression, and a heightened risk of suicide.5
Such mood disorders can also promote a dependence upon prescription medications designed to treat the pain, such as opioids. The more scared, alone or sad you feel, the more likely you are to depend upon medications which temporarily mask the pain by providing a “euphoric” feeling. However, when the effects of the medication wear off, the negative feelings return. If you’re suffering from chronic pain, this is yet another catch-22 cycle you can find yourself in.
#4: It Robs You of Your Cardiovascular Health
Chronic pain can lead to a chronic stress reaction that causes an increase in blood pressure and heart rate. This stress reaction can lead to harmful health effects, such as a reduced ability to fight off illnesses and diseases. It also can increase the risk for conditions such as heart disease.6
#5: It Robs You of Your Sexuality
Chronic pain may interfere with your sexuality because of the pain itself. However, other factors associated with your chronic pain, including mood disorders, decreased sex drive (libido), medications or stress, can also affect your sexual function 7.
Gentle Chiropractic Care Can Provide Drug Free Relief from Chronic Pain.
Let’s be honest, there is no “one size fits all” solution to chronic pain. (This is the type of thinking that has lead to the opioid crisis.) However, there are many drug free therapies and modalities which can dramatically reduce and even eliminate chronic pain.
Gentle Chiropractic Care harnesses the body’s innate ability to heal itself without resorting to dangerous drugs or life altering surgery. This is accomplished through manual manipulations of the spine and joints. The goal of chiropractic treatment is to restore the neuro-skeletal system to fully functioning capacity.
Gentle chiropractic spinal mobilization is used to restore or to enhance joint function. Unlike traditional high-velocity spinal manipulation, gentle chiropractic modalities utilize slow movement, usually to a firm endpoint of joint movement.
One of the benefits of gentle chiropractic care is that it can be tailored to meet your specific needs. Dr. Danielle uses modified modalities that target a specific joint or area of the spine.