Chronic pain is a common problem in the United States, affecting about 50 million Americans. The condition is different for each person, but it can have far-reaching effects on your ability to sleep, perform daily tasks, work, and enjoy life. The intensity of chronic pain varies from one person to another. Some people may experience occasional periods of acute pain that are relieved by over-the-counter medications. Others experience constant pain that interferes with daily life. If chronic pain affects your ability to perform the activities you once enjoyed, it might be time to visit a pain medical clinic.
What Causes Chronic Pain?
The causes of pain vary widely. Some people live with chronic pain after an injury or medical condition, while others experience ongoing nagging aches with no clear source. Often, the source of pain lies in the nervous system, which may cause burning or tingling sensations, numbness, and weakness.
Chronic pain is often the result of nerve damage, whether it occurs in the neck or back or another part of the body. Nerve damage can be caused by illnesses, such as diabetes and multiple sclerosis, or devastating injuries to bones and tissue. On other occasions, it may be caused by disease processes that erode tissues, such as severe osteoarthritis and immune system disorders.
When Should You Visit a Pain Medical Clinic?
Many people may not know they have chronic pain because it develops gradually with time, so there is no sudden onset. Pain specialists recommend visiting a pain medical clinic when certain signs appear.
Early treatment for chronic pain is vital. The sooner you can identify the source of your discomfort, the better the chance of treating the problem and getting on with your life. Consider visiting a pain medical center if you experience any of the following:
- Sudden pain in one area for more than three months
- Severe, unexplained, and disabling pain that interferes with your quality of life
- Pain that is only relieved by opioids or other medications
- Constant worry about your pain despite treatment or coping strategies
- Inability to participate in social activities that you once enjoyed
- Consistent feelings of sadness and low moods despite treatment and support from friends and family members
- Your work is suffering because you cannot concentrate on tasks or complete them on time due to persistent pain
- Difficulty sleeping or experiencing frequent mood changes, including anger and agitation
The Bottom Line
Pain is a symptom, not a disease. If you are experiencing persistent pain that makes it hard to function normally at school, work, or in sports, it's advisable to visit a pain medical clinic urgently. The doctor will assess and identify the underlying cause of your pain and create a personalized treatment plan.
Contact a company like Inland Pain Medicine to learn more about chronic pain.