Chronic Pain

You’ve had a long day at work. Running a forklift to and from your company’s warehouse is a lot harder than it was three or four months ago. In fact, when you go to bed every night, you lay awake from pain – which seems to come from everywhere and nowhere.

WHAT IS CHRONIC PAIN?

Pain is different for everyone, but some experts have a different definition: “Chronic pain is pain that is ongoing and usually lasts longer than six months. This type of pain can continue even after the injury or illness that caused it has healed or gone away. Pain signals remain active in the nervous system for weeks, months or years. Some people suffer chronic pain even when there is no past injury or apparent body damage.”

PREVALENCE FOR CHRONIC PAIN

According to one report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 50 million people reported chronic pain in 2016. A breakdown of that number shows:

  • People 45 and up are most at risk of developing chronic pain.
  • More women than men suffer from chronic pain.
  • More than 36 million, white, non-Hispanic Americans suffer from chronic pain.
  • People who have “some college” education experience the most chronic pain.
  • Slightly more than 25 million unemployed persons have chronic pain.

CAUSES OF CHRONIC PAIN

While many people are dumbfounded as to the real location of their chronic pain, many are also flummoxed by what caused it in the first place. The most likely and usual suspects include:

  • Low-back pain
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Headaches
  • Neck pain
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Irritable bowel syndrome

Other kinds of pain may be the cause of chronic pain, including chronic pelvic pain, nerve pain, pain related to endometriosis, carpal tunnel syndrome, pain linked with gout, and cancer pain.

THE WEB OF CHRONIC PAIN

According to some estimates, chronic pain affects more than 10 percent of the world’s population. If pain lingers for more than 12 weeks, it’s chronic. Many of its worst symptoms can be treated with ketamine. Chronic pain statistics:

  • It affects more than 100 million Americans, with 10 percent saying it lasts more than three months.
  • Chronic pain affects more than 1.5 billion people globally.
  • The World Health Organization names it a leading cause of long-term disability.
  • Nearly 30 percent of Americans say it begins in the lower back
  • About four percent of Americans say chronic pain starts in the face.

IS KETAMINE AN OPTION

Ketamine has been shown to relieve symptoms of depression and other mental health conditions. Depending on your condition and overall health, you may be a good candidate for ketamine treatment to help provide relief from your chronic pain and related ailments.

HOW TO DEAL WITH CHRONIC PAIN

In order to be diagnosed as suffering from chronic pain, you’ll be expected to take a physical exam and then multiple tests like MRI, an X-ray, or CT-scan to look for a physical cause. An electromyography may be used to look for nerve damage. There are many ways to try to relieve chronic pain.

  • Ketamine, a powerful medicine released in the 1960s as a pre-surgery anesthetic. Recently, researchers have looked into its calming effect on our glutamate system – billions of neurotransmitters that control our understanding of pain levels and duration.
  • Other medicines as recommended by your doctor, including non-prescription pain relievers.
  • Other medical procedures as recommended by your doctor.
  • Motion therapy like tai chi, and other physical therapy and holistic options.

If you’ve been diagnosed with chronic pain and reject medicine or medical procedures, you may lessen chronic pain with self-care like exercise, healthy dietary options, limiting stress, and eliminating unhealthy lifestyle choices.

DIAGNOSING CHRONIC PAIN

Some people experiencing chronic pain might say finding its location is more art than science, but if you’re dealing with chronic pain, there are diagnostic tools that can uncover a possible cause: computer tomography, magnetic resonance imaging, nerve blocks tests, discography tests, a myelogram, an electromyogram, bone scans, and ultrasound.

HOLISTIC OPTIONS

What other options are there to deal with chronic pain?

  • Cold and heat. Cold can be used after an injury to reduce pain; heat increases pain threshold and relaxes muscles.
  • Staying physically fit, even with pain, can play a supportive role for someone experiencing some of the more well-known pain conditions.
  • Many painful health ailments are exacerbated by extra weight. It’s reasonable, then, that shedding body weight can help to alleviate certain kinds of pain.

FINAL THOUGHTS

Chronic pain can be a severe, incapacitating, condition that hurts millions of people. If you’re experiencing chronic pain, seek help before the condition results in disability and seriously impacts your life. After diagnosis, your medical provider may recommend surgery, physical therapy, or medicine like ketamine to treat symptoms of chronic pain. If you or a loved one have questions about the clinical use of ketamine to help treat chronic pain we can help. Contact us today to learn more.

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