Pain occurs when receptor nerve cells send messages to your brain that your body is hurting. The cause of pain is often obvious, such as a visible bruise or cut. This type of discomfort is called acute pain. Individuals can also suffer from chronic pain, which is ongoing discomfort that may not have a visible source. You may not know how to control pain of this variety.
You can suffer from chronic pain due to disease, fatigue, internal injuries from an accident, or psychological issues.
Chronic pain is a significant problem because it can affect your mental and emotional well-being and harm your career and relationships. You may find it hard to be happy and enjoy life with chronic pain.
Furthermore, this pain can be debilitating, but it may not qualify as a disability according to insurance companies or employers.
Here is what you need to know about handling chronic pain and what your rights are if you suffer from debilitating discomfort.
What Is Chronic Pain?
Chronic pain is different from acute pain because of its duration. Pain becomes chronic when it continues beyond the expected recovery period.
Chronic pain can be constant, or it can come and go repeatedly. It is often difficult to treat, and physicians may focus on offering temporary symptom relief.
Migraines are one of the most common forms of chronic pain. These chronic headaches come and go, and physicians often have difficulty isolating their cause.
Conditions such as arthritis or fibromyalgia can also cause debilitating pain. Occasionally, the chronic discomfort is due to an underlying disease, such as cancer or diabetes.
Finally, muscle or tissue damage from accidents, burns, or other types of trauma can cause chronic pain.
Is Chronic Pain a Disability?
Chronic pain is a disability if it keeps you from doing the activities necessary for daily living, like walking, driving, and doing basic housework.
Unfortunately, chronic pain itself does not qualify you for disability help, such as Social Security benefits. You may be eligible based on the underlying cause of the pain. However, you have to provide documentation of treatments, diagnoses, prescriptions, and the persistence and intensity of the pain.
In most circumstances, you also need to show that the pain has kept you from working or performing daily tasks. The pain needs to last for a year or more before insurers and the Social Security Administration consider it a disability.
Pain Coping Strategies
Chronic pain can be stressful and lead to psychological issues and low quality of life. However, you can use proven pain coping strategies, along with treatment, to improve your functionality.
Here are some ideas for how to control pain:
- Get physically active.
- Attend counseling if you feel the pain is affecting your mental health.
- Work with a psychologist to learn how to deal with pain so that it does not harm your mental health.
- Try alternative treatments, such as acupuncture or massage, for untreatable conditions like arthritis or migraines.
- Find a support group for people with similar problems.
- Be mindful at home and work of activities that trigger your pain.
- Take pain relievers prescribed by your doctor.
- Get adequate rest each night and maintain a healthy diet.
You can also ask your doctor about possible diet changes or other lifestyle choices that can help in coping with chronic pain.
How to Get Help for Your Chronic Pain
The key to treating and coping with chronic pain is to find a physician who is willing to work on a personalized plan that fits your specific situation and needs.
Carolinas Pain Center can tailor chronic pain coping strategies and a treatment program to fit your individual needs. We offer an interdisciplinary approach that relies on medication — modern and traditional — so that you can deal with the pain and have the best chance of getting back to a normal life. Contact Carolinas Pain Center to find out more about our chronic pain services.