Chronic pain persists when it should not, lasting beyond atypical 3-6 month course. Living with daily discomfort can change a person emotionally, mentally, and physically. Chronic pain is more than just physical pain. Here’s why.
Pain is more than a sensation you physically feel. It has psychological, emotional, and biological components that influence how intense an individual experiences pain, how much it affects their life, and how effective treatment is likely to be. Chronic pain is physically and emotionally stressful. Prolonged exposure to stress disrupts your body’s balance of neurochemicals and stress hormones and cause changes in your mood, thinking, and behavior and is associated with:
· Activity limitations
· Opioid dependence
· Reduced quality of life
Understandably, these conditions, in addition to the physical pain, can interfere with your everyday life. It can affect your ability to function at home and work. It is also common for people with chronic pain to have sleep disturbances, fatigue, and trouble concentrating.
Eventually, these negative changes can increase the pain and intensify the other emotional symptoms. Pain is like a survival signal for the brain. It signals the brain to prepare for fight or flight, resulting in physical and chemical changes in the brain. Changes in the body also occur like increased heart rate and blood flow to the muscles and other stress responses.
Having chronic pain means the activation of these responses never shuts “off.” The outcome may increase awareness of pain and lessen your tolerance to it.
Understanding the experiences of individuals living with chronic pain has improved how we diagnose and manage it. Now more than ever, the treatments available for chronic pain are better equipped to address the multiple facets of this condition. Meanwhile, ongoing treatment research efforts have led to several promising cutting-edge options that are currently under evaluation in clinical trials.
One of the research areas is aimed at developing treatments for chronic pain that are non-narcotic. With the current opioid epidemic and rising misuse of prescription drugs, the need to move away from and explore alternatives to addictive treatments has never been greater.
If you’re living with chronic pain, you can help advance care options as a clinical research volunteer. Rainier Clinical Research Center is currently looking for individuals with chronic back pain to join enrolling research studies looking into new options. To learn more, call us toll-free at1-888-478-8343 or visit our website today!
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