September is Pain Awareness Month. Pain can can be caused by a variety of conditions, diseases, or injuries big or small. In fact, according to Johns Hopkins, nearly 100 million Americans experience chronic pain- that's more than those who have diabetes, cancer, and heart disease combined! Chronic pain is different from acute pain. Acute pain is when your nervous system is triggered and alerts you that you might have an injury and need to take care of yourself or make a change in an activity you are doing. Chronic pain is persistent and doesn't go away after a few days when you make a change. It can last from a few weeks to years if it is not addressed properly. Pain should not be considered "normal" and something that you just have to live with. When you experience pain, that means that there is a problem and something in your body is not functioning or communicating properly.
What are some types of chronic pain conditions that people tend to suffer from most?
Back pain is by far the most common complaint when it comes to chronic pain. An estimated 80% of the population will experience back pain at some point in their lives. One half of all working Americans admit to having back pain symptoms each year and it is the one of the most common reasons for missing work. Back pain is the 2nd most common reason for doctor's office visits and is the single leading cause of disability worldwide. Americans spend at least $50 billion on back pain each year.
9 out of 10 Americans suffer from headaches. Headaches can be dull and infrequent to consistent and debilitating. Headaches can be caused by a variety of factors including environment, blood sugar levels, dehydration, excessive exercise, lack of sleep, poor posture, looking at a computer screen too long, stress, and more. The majority of headaches are triggered from muscle tension in the neck. If you suffer from headaches, try to figure out what tends to trigger them. Perhaps try to drink more water, get a proper night's sleep, get up and move around or stretch if you sit in the same position for too long, etc.
Arthritis means joint inflammation and is often used in reference to a number or rheumatic diseases including rheumatoid arthritis, fibromyalgia, osteoarthritis, and more. Arthritis affects about 2.1 millions Americans- about 1% of the population. Aside from joint pain and inflammation, people who suffer from arthritis often experience fatigue, stiffness, decreased range of motion, and a general feeling of not feeling well. Most people think that arthritis just affects the wrist and finger joints, and while that is most common, it can also affect neck, shoulder, elbow, hip, knee, ankle, and feet joints.
While there are a number of other conditions that can cause chronic pain, these are a few of the most common. Are you one of the millions of people who suffer from pain on a daily basis? Do you find that pain gets in the way of your daily activities? Do you ever miss work because of pain? Does pain disrupt your sleep? Could your life be more enjoyable if you were pain-free? If you answered "yes" to any of these questions, there is hope! And it doesn't have to involved taking dangerous pain medication.
Many people think that the only way to help pain is through medication. Did you know that prescription drugs are the 2nd most abused category of drugs and prescription painkillers are a huge contributing factor to the overall number of drug related deaths? Painkillers can be addictive and can just mask the symptoms of the underlying issue.
Fortunately, there are many natural paths that you can take to help ease your pain, regardless of what it stems from. You can make lifestyle changes, but you can also visit your chiropractor or licensed massage therapist who can help you discover the underlying issue of the pain and find ways to treat and manage it. Since your nerves deliver the signals of pain throughout your body, and the nervous system is housed in your spine, your chiropractor can find where there might be an interference and what is triggering that pain. People suffering from joint or muscle pain can also find great relief for massage therapy. Both your chiropractor and massage therapist can give you tips on how you might be able to alter your lifestyle to help ease your pain through nutrition, stretches, exercises, and more.
Pain is not "natural" and no one should have to live in pain or rely on dangerous medications to just be able to function in every day life. If you suffer from chronic pain, know that you are not alone, and there are many measures you can take to relieve your pain and live your life!
For more information about how the professionals at A Therapeutic Effect can help you manage and relieve your pain, visit our website, and let us help you become healthier today!