If you’re one of the millions of people that suffer from chronic pain, you should be undergoing chronic pain treatment. Why? Because persistent pain decreases quality of life, often significantly. Moreover, untreated or even undertreated pain can lead to serious consequences.
Treating chronic pain is extremely important, as untreated pain can have profound impacts on your body. It can affect all the major organ systems, causing immense discomfort and interfering with essential daily activities. In some cases, chronic pain that has gone untreated may even threaten your life.
In this post, we cover the basics of chronic pain and provide chronic pain examples and information to help folks from all walks of life reduce discomfort and avoid the consequences of untreated chronic pain.
Types of Chronic Pain
So, what happens if chronic pain is left untreated and you don’t get chronic pain treatment? Well, pain can intensify and complications can occur, which could be dangerous. But, before we get into that, we will answer the question, “What is chronic pain?” and look at the types that can affect people.
Chronic pain is pain in the body that persists for three months or longer. It may be constant or intermittent, as well as mild, moderate, or severe. Sharp, dull, aching, stinging, gnawing, nagging, throbbing, pounding, shooting, stabbing, and radiating are words commonly used by sufferers to describe their pain.
There are various types of pain that can affect an individual chronically. These include back pain, neck pain, headaches, testicular pain, and pain from diseases such as arthritis or cancer. People may also experience neurogenic pain, muscular pain (e.g., from fibromyalgia), and pain from injuries.
As mentioned, chronic pain can affect the major systems of the body, including the endocrine system, the cardiovascular system, the immune system, the neurologic system, and the musculoskeletal system. When this occurs, pain may spread and intensify. Harmful conditions can develop, along with new symptoms.
Consequences of Untreated Chronic Pain
What can chronic pain lead to? Why do you need chronic pain treatment? Can chronic pain lead to death? These are questions that people suffering from persistent pain frequently ask, and they should. Knowing the answers to them can help avert potentially fatal complications and improve life quality.
Chronic pain, when it affects the mechanism inside the body that regulates blood pressure, increases the risk of developing hypertension. This can lead to heart attacks and strokes. When the pain affects the endocrine system, the immune system may weaken, reducing the body’s ability to prevent and fight infections.
“Deconditioning” is another reason why chronic pain management is necessary. Pain affecting a particular part of the body, such as an arm or leg, often causes persons with pain to limit the movement and use of it. This can result in mobility issues and injuries due to weakness of the muscles, nerves, and joints.
In many individuals, there can be neuropsychiatric problems from untreated chronic pain. Issues such as memory loss, attention deficit, anxiety, and depression are common in long-term pain sufferers, and some increase the risk of suicide. Brain disorders and sexual dysfunction can also result from enduring pain.
Treatment for Chronic Pain
Typically, chronic pain does not go away. Chronic pain treatment is required to reduce discomfort and prevent complications and other symptoms. Treating lasting pain generally involves identifying and addressing its cause.
Medical professionals treat and manage chronic pain in a variety of ways. The approach that is taken depends on the type of pain you have, the cause of the pain, and your age and overall health. Often, healthcare providers will use a combination of treatment methods and strategies to alleviate pain.
Healthcare specialists may prescribe lifestyle changes (e.g., stress, exercise, diet, sleep, etc.) and medications to relieve chronic pain, such as corticosteroids, anticonvulsants, opioids, muscle relaxers, and NSAIDs. Medical marijuana can also be useful, and sedatives can help with insomnia and anxiety.
Other medical treatments for chronic pain include transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation, nerve blocks, epidural steroid injections, and specialized therapies. Cognitive behavioral therapy, occupational therapy, physical therapy, and talk therapy are the main therapy treatment options. Additionally, some people may find alternative pain treatments helpful.
Finding chronic pain treatment isn’t hard; it’s just a few clicks or phone call away. However, prolonged pain can be a complex medical issue that is difficult to diagnose and treat. When that is the case, chronic pain sufferers may have to see one or more specialists. In severe cases, a multidisciplinary treatment team may be required.
Different types of specialists are available for treating chronic pain. They include pain medicine specialists, orthopedic doctors and surgeons, osteopathic doctors, and rheumatologists. Your GP can refer you as appropriate. There are also various types of therapists and neurologists that can help with the pain.
What does a neurologist do for chronic pain? They can diagnose and treat neuropathic pain caused by nerve disease. Pain signals are sent by the nerves, and neurologists can prevent pain signal generation and keep pain signals from reaching the brain using advanced medical techniques and technologies.
Depending on where you live, there may be pain centers and clinics that you can visit. These are healthcare facilities that focus on the diagnosis and management of chronic pain and provide physical, behavioral, and psychological therapies.
Don’t Leave Your Chronic Pain Untreated
Chronic pain can last for years and make it difficult or impossible to work, enjoy life, and take care of yourself or others. And because untreated and undertreated chronic pain has a tendency to get worse and can have dire consequences, chronic pain treatment is not something that you want to put off.
How long can you live with chronic pain? That depends on the patient and cause of the pain. But why put yourself at risk and suffer unnecessarily when there are life-altering treatments available? If you’re a chronic pain sufferer, seek treatment. There are ways to reduce, manage, and possibly eliminate your pain.
At Carolinas Pain Center, we specialize in dealing with all kinds of pain and have successfully treated hundreds of patients. If you’re interested in getting professional chronic pain treatment, make an appointment today. Alternatively, you can browse our website and learn more about us here.