What is Acute Pain?
Acute pain is pain that is short term and generally clears up once the source is treated and heals. Acute pain is easily identifiable and treatable by doctors, nurses and healthcare professionals.
What Is Chronic Pain?
Chronic pain refers to any pain that lasts for over three months (90 days), and does not respond to treatment. It is difficult to target and may remain even after the initial source of pain heals. Those who experience chronic pain find everyday tasks such as buttering toast or fastening seat belts excruciating.
The most common experiences include:
- Headaches and migraines
- Lower back pain
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
- Pelvic pain
- Muscle pain
What Causes Chronic Pain?
Chronic pain is complex and has multiple causes. Sometimes it occurs as a result of normal aging conditions within the bones and joints. Other times it develops from disease or birth defects. On occasion, there may be no known cause for the pain at all.
Chronic pain often stems from a combination of factors. For example, many people experience chronic back pain. It could come from years of improper posture, not taking care when lifting heavy objects, or from being overweight. Though none of these things is the single cause for the pain, when combined persistent chronic pain may develop.
Chronic Pain And Addiction
There are a variety of treatments for chronic pain such as physical therapy, physical activity, mindfulness, breathing techniques, and even spinal manipulation. However, until recent awareness of the opioid epidemic in America pain pills were the easiest and most common form of treating chronic pain over the past two decades. The problem? The body begins to build up tolerance to these drugs while also creating an addiction. Pain medications were being consistently over-prescribed and overused. Today, there are millions of people struggling with addiction while trying to also manage chronic pain.
With opioid use in particular, there are unique problems that exacerbate the issue. For example, hyperalgesia may develop with prolonged use. This is a condition where a person becomes overly sensitive to pain, thus causing them to “need” more of the medication. It becomes a cycle of addiction that can begin to create serious problems for the struggling individual.
Is An Intervention Necessary?
If you have concerns about a loved one’s struggle with chronic pain or treatment for it, it may be time to take action.
Here are common signs of an addiction or substance abuse problem:
- Hiding drug or alcohol use
- Taking multiple prescriptions from multiple places
- Lying and cheating loved ones
- Sudden mood swings and short tempers
- Legal problems
- Withdrawing from social activities they once enjoyed
- Impulsive actions and decision making
- Itchy skin
- Needle marks, dry mouth, blurred vision, skin blotches etc
- Complaints of severe confusion, mania, hallucinations, etc
An intervention is really an invitation for your loved one to find solutions for their substance abuse, chronic pain, and/or mental health problems they are experiencing. The intervention encourages the identified individual to seek appropriate treatment solutions and discover new healthy ways of living.
The key ingredients for success include working with a credentialed and experienced professional. The right interventionist will ensure a safe and secure environment that leads to hope and healing for both the individual and their loved ones.
Articles About Chronic Pain
So grateful for the opportunity to be on Dr. Gluss’s KABC Radio show to discuss the Opioid Epidemic that is tearing American families apart. The discussion was insightful and engaging and I hope the conversation continues in different venues about how we can overcome...read more
Aging is as natural as sunlight. Still, during 99% of human history, most humans did not live past the age of forty due to primitive technologies, sciences and medicines. Today, aging past 65 may is no longer a novel act. According to the Hamilton Project, more than...read more
I have been ruminating about the way in which the people I work with - families and their loved ones experiencing substance abuse, chronic pain, mental health and process disorders - live in a land of confusing messages, confabulations and catastrophes. When a family...read more
In Andrew Sullivan’s sprawling New York Magazine take on the voracious nature of the opioid crisis - “The Poison We Pick” - he posits that the “drugs now conquering America are downers: They are not the means to engage in life more vividly but to seek a respite from...read more
Every morning I walk down Santa Monica Blvd. by the Shake Shack past the vacant house the legendary rock band The Doors made famous and cross over to La Cienega Blvd. On the other side is the infamous Alta Motel, a seedy joint where cheap escorts make their way out of...read more
This article originally appeared on Huffington Post. In the 1936 movie Reefer Madness, the lives of several teens at a local high school are forever changed from smoking marijuana. The movie was intended to be a cautionary tale about the consequences of teens using...read more
In the hit independent movie Cake, Jennifer Aniston plays a woman who knows pain. Barely surviving a horrific car accident which kills her 3-year-old son, she is left with a scarred face and wounds with pins in them decorating her arms, legs, and back. Consumed with...read more
“If it doesn’t challenge you, it doesn’t change you…” Everyone knows that exercise in all forms opens the doorway to your heart and mind. Boxing, in particular, has always been fascinating to me. When I was a little girl, my Papa Harry fought with the great Billy Kahn...read more
Is it possible that we’re headed for an opioid pandemic? We know it’s an epidemic. This is a subject I’ve written a lot about & seen more & more when helping with interventions or designing family programs. It is also in the news on a regular basis, including...read more
Additional Resources For Chronic Pain
Healing Back Pain
John Sarno MD
Pain Recovery for Families
Mel Pohl & Frank Szabo Jr.
Recipe for Recovery
Service Board, Chronic Pain Anonymous
Addiction Free Pain Management
Stephen Grinstead & Terence Gorski
Minding the Body, Mending the Mind
Learn To Thrive