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
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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