What It’s Like to Live with Chronic Pain

what it's like to live with chronic pain

According to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control), roughly 1 in 5 Americans suffers from chronic pain, with 8% of them (about 19.6 million people) experiencing pain that interferes with their daily lives. To understand what it’s like to live with chronic pain, you need to understand the impact chronic pain has on the entire body, not just the area experiencing pain. Treating chronic pain requires a holistic approach that supports the whole body and its systems.

What is Chronic Pain?

Chronic pain is typically defined as any pain that lasts for more than 12 weeks. It can be caused by an injury (such as a sprained ankle or broken bone), surgery, or a medical condition (such as arthritis or fibromyalgia). Chronic pain can range from mild to severe, with patients often experiencing “flare-ups” of intensified pain. The pain can feel like:

  • Burning
  • Dull ache
  • Shooting
  • Stinging
  • Stiffness
  • Soreness
  • Squeezing
  • Throbbing

Pain is just one of the many symptoms associated with chronic pain. It also causes physical and emotional effects, such as:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Changes in appetite
  • Lack of energy
  • Limited mobility
  • Mood changes
  • Tense muscles
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Weakness

Because pain puts stress on the body, chronic pain can result in a chronic stress reaction which increases blood pressure, blood sugar levels and heart rate, and suppresses the immune system. This puts patients at a higher risk of developing other conditions, such as heart disease and diabetes.

What It’s Like to Live with Chronic Pain

People who experience chronic pain often have to define their lives by “good days” and “bad days.” Depending on the cause and severity of their pain, a “good day” may be moving without stiffness or much pain at all, while a “bad day” may have them unable to get out of bed or struggling with daily tasks. Often “bad days” or flare-ups are unpredictable, forcing patients to have to cancel or reschedule plans at the last minute. This uncertainty produces added stress and anxiety as patients struggle to maintain a sense of normalcy.

People with chronic pain also struggle with persistent exhaustion. This is because the body is expending large amounts of energy to try and deal with the pain. Additionally, pain makes it difficult to fall or stay asleep, and a lack of restful sleep lowers your pain threshold, making your pain more intense. This creates a vicious cycle of pain and fatigue.

Chronic pain also affects the brain, particularly the areas of the brain that relate to emotional and cognitive function. That is why people suffering from chronic pain can experience faulty memory, fuzzy thinking, lack of motivation, lack of enjoyment, depression, and anxiety. A 2011 Journal of Neuroscience study found that those experiencing chronic pain had to use more of their brains to complete a task, meaning the pain made it more difficult for the brain to process information and solve problems. Thankfully research suggests these changes are not permanent and can be reversed when patients receive effective treatment for their conditions. 

Find Relief from Chronic Pain at Anchor Wellness Center

In order to treat chronic pain, you must identify and treat the underlying cause, reduce pain levels, and get restorative sleep. Dr. Minni Malhotra, MD, FAARM, ABAARM, has extensive experience developing personalized treatment plans that effectively address the source of your chronic pain. As a Board Certified physician in Family Medicine as well as Board Certified with the American Board of Anti-Aging and Regenerative Medicine, Dr. Malhotra won’t just treat your symptoms; she will treat the underlying cause to bring you long-term relief.

Call us today at (832) 246-8437 to schedule a consultation and address your chronic pain.

Share this:
Click Here to Leave a Comment Below

Leave a Comment: