Pain caused by serious medical conditions like degenerative disc disease or irritable bowel syndrome often lasts for years. After six months from its onset, the pain is deemed chronic if physicians are unable to control it with conventional medications or treatments. In addition to causing nearly constant discomfort and distress, chronic pain can take a huge toll on patients' quality of life. As a result, patients may suffer from additional health problems, poor work performance, relationship difficulties and depression. Read on to learn more information.
1. Impaired Health
Chronic pain causes secondary health conditions to develop as the constant stress of feeling sick takes a toll. For example, patients may suffer from an inability to sleep, which frequently leads to full blown insomnia. In addition, high pain levels frequently raise blood pressure enough to necessitate the diagnosis of hypertension. Furthermore, frequent pain signals could damage nerves throughout the body, leading to weakness and numbness in the limbs or face.
Treatment for these conditions often requires the use of medications that carry a risk of developing side effects. The result is a snowball effect that continually drags patients down as they try to cope with severe pain.
2. Diminished Finances
For obvious reasons, chronic pain makes it difficult for patients to work. Some patients may only have trouble on their worst days, while others find it impossible to perform their job duties at all. When chronic pain patients can work, their productivity often drops significantly, leading to possible reprimands, demotions or job loss.
Many chronic pain patients simply give up hope for career advancement while coping with their medical condition. Some patients may even need to quit work altogether and go on disability.
The end result is an inability to sustain the quality of life enjoyed before the pain started. The stress of struggling with finances could even worsen pain levels even more. To top it off, patients must continue to pay for their medical care and treatments, despite a poor financial outlook.
3. Damaged Relationships
Chronic pain reduces patients' ability to go on social outings or enjoy the company of others. Some patients may feel like their inability to cope with the pain brings people down or ruins the mood. Chronic pain may also cause people to lash out at their loved ones unexpectedly. Friends and family of these patients may not understand the level of disability caused by the medical condition in question, which may result in frequent arguments.
As a result, these patients often seclude themselves in an attempt to mitigate the damage caused by high pain levels. Even after gaining control of the pain, many damaged relationships do not recover due to lingering feelings of resentment on either side.
4. Curtailed Happiness
As all of the stressors related to chronic pain weigh the patient down, depression frequently sets in. Seclusion caused by relationship issues drastically worsens depression until the patient feels worthless or unloved. As a result, patients may not seek help for their ill mental state, causing it to worsen over time.
Physicians often ask patients a series of questions about their mental health to watch for signs of depression. If physicians identify the warning signs, patients may be urged to take anti-depressants to alleviate the illness, at least until a suitable chronic pain management technique is found.
Fighting Against The Pain
Because of the potential for secondary effects, physicians always attempt to aggressively treat chronic pain with help from pain specialists. A referral to a pain clinic allows patients to start their journey through the treatment options to find the best combination that controls their pain levels.
At the pain clinic, patients may receive acupuncture, massage therapy, nerve stimulation and unconventional medications. Pain specialists guide patients through the process to identify the treatments that provide the most relief with the least side effects. After finding the best combination, patients return to their general practitioner to continue the recommended treatment to keep pain levels at bay.
Check out sites like http://illinoispain.com for more information.